X-Treme Measures:
Bittersweet Nightmare

The building was extremely impressive, and in the middle of seemingly nowhere no less. It was made of white marble stone with black accents, and the entire thing seemed a lot richer than anticipated. On the side of the building was a large sign with the words, "Essex Laboratories."

Finally, they found it. The location of the murderous bastards. The place of their revenge.

Prometheus stepped from the vehicle, prompting Urchin and Wraith to do the same. He was glad that he didn't have to see Adriana or Jessie leave that car, because they didn't need to be here for this. The Morlocks didn't have much firepower, but both of them would get in the way of those that do.

"This is it?" asked Urchin in the abrupt way she always did. Her skin immediately began to sprout barbs sharper than most stone, her anger literally pouring into her skin.

"Yes. Caliban was certain they were here," explained Adam, the leader who looked a lot like Frankenstein's monster.

Wraith stared at the building and grinned, his powers reacting just like Barbara's had. His invisible aura of anger was flaring up, influencing anyone present. "It makes me so angry that those Marauders got away from us at all. We had them down in the sewers for weeks!"

"William," Prometheus said in a warning tone. Almost immediately, Wraith's powers calmed down, and so did the other two.


"No worries," Barbara said, reaching to pat him on the back. He flinched away, not wanting to be hit by one of the barbs growing on the back of her hand. "What?"

"It doesn't matter if the Marauders escaped us or not. The point is that we have to get them back, or at least confirm that they are here." The leader pointed at the building. "We're going to go in. Quietly. If it looks like it could be a problem, then we'll leave immediately. Understood?"

The two of them nodded.

The three Morlocks moved away from the car and approached the building, hiding in plain sight from the cameras watching. They were used to being feared for their appearance and hunted for their blood, so it was almost like hiding was implanted in their genetics.

Prometheus arrived at the wall first, touching the cool marble and frowning as the memories of the material flooded into his mind via his psychometric abilities. He immediately knew who had been here, who this building belonged to, and what had happened inside. It was an astounding piece of information, information of tortures that he just didn't want to see.

But thankfully, he knew what the object was made of. And that was a powerful thing to his own abilities. For a split second, a pale yellow light emerged from his hand, hit the marble wall, and spread out a few feet until there was a loose circle.

Immediately, that section of wall turned from marble to water, his own energy dropping in the process.

Barbara would never stop thinking that was cool.

The three of them headed inside carefully, avoiding the cameras when needed. Every few feet, Prometheus would touch the wall or a door knob to feel its memories and learn where to avoid.

He pointed ahead, gesturing to both Wraith and Urchin. They knew what the signal meant: that way, into that supply closet.

Urchin yanked at one of the barbs on her palm, breaking it off as easily as pulling out a hair. She inserted it into the doorknob and after a few seconds, the lock unlocked. Being a natural lockpick helped in a lot of occasions, especially when the Morlock was on a mission to "borrow" food.

They shuffled inside and then shut the door, locking it behind them.

"What's a closet going to do?" asked Wraith.

Prometheus pointed at the wall in front of him, ducking under a light bulb on the low ceiling. Barbara seemed to sense what he was going to do.

"You sure, Adam? Do you have another one in you?"

All the Morlocks knew that Adam's ability to transmute the elements was bordering on the divine, and it had a huge cost for him. He'd been in a coma before just from using the ability to turn a pencil into a tiny bit of kerosene, enough to power one of the heat lamps during a particularly cold winter a few years back.

The monstrous mutant nodded and knelt before the far wall. He touched it, memorizing its memories and composition, the details forming like an equation in his mind. The light spread from his hand again, almost like an oozing liquid, and the section of wall immediately began to give way as it turned from drywall into gelatin, enough to see through.

Adam pulled his palm away and cursed, his mind swimming and his body seemingly breaking down momentarily. He had to fight past it, because no matter how tough Barb thought she was, she couldn't drag his huge frame back out through the base the way they came, and especially not without getting caught.

"You okay?" asked Wraith, usually a silent guy.

Adam nodded, although neither of the other two were so sure. "I will be. The hole should be wide enough for us to see what is happening in the next room."

The house was beyond creepy, the type of house people crossed the street just to pass bye. Rickety fence, overgrown lawn, broken and boarded-up windows, faded dark wood.

She shuddered and tried to go the long way around, in order to avoid it. She wasn't sure where she was headed, she just wanted to go anywhere but there.

But then something caught her eye. A flash of gold in the upstairs window. Normally, she might have been too afraid to even consider stopping to stare. But something about that flicker was too curious to avoid. It reminded her of something horrible. Something that she shouldn't even have to think about.

She found herself heading toward it, the tension mounting in every step. She wanted to slow down, but her body wouldn't let her. She continued her almost fast-walking pace until she was at the front door, still confused and still scared.

She didn't bother to knock, as though her body was on auto-pilot. There was something weird going on, but she couldn't quite figure out why she didn't seem to have control over herself.

The door opened for her, creaking in all the expected ways, on its own. She shuddered before venturing into the frightening home.

It didn't slam shut, almost like she had expected. But a cool breeze seemed to pour from the open door causing a shiver to overtake her whole body.

The gold flashed again, just at the top of the stairs, underneath a door. She felt like someone had left her on autopilot, and she couldn't fight it.

The stairs were creaking under her every movement, and she wondered vainly if she was truly that overweight. But her ponderings were cut off when she suddenly found herself in another room, the door slamming shut behind her.

The girl shuddered from the feeling before looking around.

Her eyes widened.

In front of her was a boy, a very familiar boy with stark golden skin. He was shirtless and sitting in a chair, and someone had tied him up completely. The light reflected off of his golden skin to the point where the shadows extended throughout the room.

"Grant! Grant! What's going on? What happened?"

The boy didn't move. In fact, he didn't seem to be moving at all. It was as though he were frozen in mid-sentence. She moved to his side, kneeling in front of him to examine.

A trickle of blood dripped from his mouth, in bright contrast with the metallic yellow of his lips.

She wanted to scream, but no sound would come out. It was like something was gripping her throat, unable to let go.

She was going to try to turn and get help when someone suddenly stepped out of the shadows, the bright flash of a knife dripping with blood catching her attention.

Her mouth dropped open when she realized who it was.

She turned to run, but as she did, she smacked straight into a mirror, her reflection bouncing off and rubbing her head. But as she did, the reflection suddenly twisted of its own accord and smiled.

Then it pulled out its own knife and stabbed forward, eliciting a scream from the original. Or was it the reflection?

Rivera awoke from the nightmare, the nightmare she had had twice before. She screamed into her pillow, freaking out and sweat pouring from her body. She looked wearily over to Camille, her roommate, who had fallen asleep reading a French novel; she was glad that she had not woken up her friend and headed outside, not wanting anyone to know what was really going on.

For once, Maya and Chayce, the voices inside her head, were silent.

She didn't know if that was a bad thing or a good thing, but she wished that Xavier were here to help her find out. And not the cheap imitation that her boyfriend had built.

Rivera headed into the bathroom, glad that no one was using it. It took her several minutes to calm down, her adrenal gland working hard from the sheer fright of the nightmare. She gripped the desk hard, afraid to use her powers although she didn't quite understand why.

She looked from the sink and stared at her reflection, pondering the image before her. Was it really her, or was this just Maya or Chayce messing with her mind?

She had no definite answers, but she needed to find some. And she knew exactly where to look.

Adam had finally recovered enough after using his alchemical powers, looking through the window-like gelatin with Urchin and Wraith. His head was swimming with memories of the wall, screams of agony from the atoms that didn't want to be forcefully changed into something that they clearly weren't.

The inside of the next room was clearly a laboratory, the laboratory of the infamous leader of the Marauders. Nathaniel Essex, aka Mister Sinister. Or just Sinister.

Desks, tables, measurement charts, grand computers, and glowing instruments filled the lab. It was literally filled with nothing that the Morlocks could identify, although if Prometheus could get his hands on anything, he could probably figure it all out. Or at least what it was made of.

No one was in the lab right then, but their attention was brought to these five tall glowing blue tubes with various wires and machines attached to them. Whatever was inside was filled with a dark liquid, murky enough that only a shadow was visible. Each one was of a similar size, and whatever they were couldn't be good.

"What's inside those things?" asked Wraith, confused, before rubbing his temple. "I can feel... something from them. But it's... too foreign to understand." He paused for another moment. "It's, um, similar to what a fetus feels like inside the womb. Primitive, nonliving emotions... It's like these things, whatever they are, are alive and yet not."

Urchin looked at the mutant like he was from a different planet. "That doesn't make any sense."

Adam understood more than Barbara did. "Wraith is saying that they could be unborn infants. Whatever that means, it can't be good."

Barbs grew along the women's arm, and she gestured to them. "Should I take them out?"

Adam shook his head. "No. Even if you had perfect accuracy from here, you'd leave a trace that we were here with your barbs. Sinister would find us in a heartbeat, and we could be dealing with another massacre. Our numbers are already very low, and I don't think we could fight them off this time."

"Are you saying we should leave?" asked Wraith.

Adam nodded. "Yes. Let's get out of here. We know where he is, and maybe we can do something about it later."

The three nodded and understood, although Urchin was upset about having to miss out on a possible fight. Carefully, they exited the room and headed down the hall, going back the exact route they left.

But just as they turned the last corner, Wraith paused, feeling aggression nearby. From behind a closed door, a woman in her early twenties smirked before snapping her hands together.

A pink burst of light and a huge wave of energy erupted from her body, aimed directly towards the three Marauders. Prometheus's eyes widened and without warning, he lunged forward.

The pink energy slammed into his body, producing enough force to shove him against the now-dented wall and breaking several ribs.

"No! Adam!" Urchin screamed, her barbs growing instantly.

The monstrous mutant shook his head, pointing towards the door. "Go! Now! Save yourself!"

Arclight, the female Marauder who could emit shockwaves of energy, smiled as she heard the cliche statement. "Oh, come on. Does that ever actually work?"

Urchin snapped her wrist in the mutant's direction before turning and running out of the front door, dragging Wraith along for the ride. The barb was fired so quickly that it erupted from the Marauder's shoulder, almost like an arrow from a bow.

"Damn! She's not as bad as I thought," Arclight commented before walking toward the Morlock leader. "You, on the other hand, are quite useless in a fight, if I remember correctly. But Sinister has other means for you, don't worry. Oh, and don't worry either about us going after your friends... We already know where your tunnels are, and that is more than enough."

"I still don't understand why you two wanted to come with me."

Rivera, Grant, and Camille were walking steadily through the streets, looking for a specific spot.

"Why wouldn't I come?" asked Grant. "The Morlocks are fascinating."

Rivera shot him a look that made him gulp.

Camille nudged him in the side, before whispering, "You're here to support her too, remember? She's really freaking out about her dreams. Get your head out of the science book."

"Oh, right," he said a little louder. He was about to answer but Rivera just shrugged it off.

"Don't worry, it's all right. I heard her." She looked at the street sign and then smiled. "Look, this is where Reese said he and the others found them, right? Right underneath us?"

Camille nodded. "Yep. Jackie said it was at the corner of Lee and Kirby."

Grant pondered that a bit. "Why do those names sound familiar?"

The three of them entered the sewer from the manhole cover, heading down the ladder. As they did, Camille decided that once they were on the pathway, it was as good a time as any to ask.

"Hey, Rivera, what is it about the dreams that freaked you out so much? I mean, it seemed scary, but it could have just been a normal nightmare."

The duplicating girl took one long look at Grant, long enough to communicate an idea to Camille silently. "It's.. just that the feeling was too real, too frightening. And this isn't the first time I've had the nightmare either, so I figured it was smart to try to figure it out." Her face grew solemn for a moment. "I wish that the Professor could be the one to help me figure it out."

They all did. Not only would it save them a trip through the dirty, underground sewers, but it would also make them feel totally better about this whole new world out there, a world of revelation.

"How much farther?" Grant asked after they had been walking through the murk for several turns now. "Rivera, can't you split up to search faster?"

The duplicating girl took one look at the two mutants and shook her head, after a single moment of ashamed hesitation. She was totally afraid of using her powers, afraid that the nightmare was relative to something going on in her own mind. What if her inner desire and her conscience turned on her as soon as she summoned them?

"Oh," Camille said. "I guess that, um, does make sense. It's not too much farther."

Just as she said it, they passed a tunnel that seemed to be catching voices from one end and spewing them through to the other end. The three took a deep breath and nodded, before heading down that tunnel.

When they emerged, they were inside the main Morlock bunker. It was a large storm shelter, built during the Cold War for the rich elite in the city so they could be safe in case of attack. It was stocked on one side with provisions, and the other sides each had a designation like bunks and living areas. The entire place looked as though it had once been very busy, a lot busier than it was, but there were still almost two dozen mutants, all of them so physically revolting that it was almost charming to Grant. And Rivera, by extension. Camille didn't really even see them and just complained about her shoes being ruined, despite how often she pulled the murk from the water with her powers.

Immediately, the tall, skinny mutant known as Caliban appeared before them, emerging from the crowd. "What brings you here, X-Men?"

There was no malice in his voice, or at least, not that Camille could tell. Although he seemed to not care for strangers too much, but at least he knew who they were.

Rivera took a deep breath. "I need... some help. Locating a mutant for me. See, Logan gave me a description of her, and said that this was my best bet. I just need to know where she is."

"And why should I help you? What do you have that others do not?"

"Bravery, compassion, success, love," Grant said, blushing on his last choice of words.

"A breath mint?" asked Camille, creating only a small smirk on the small-mouthed Caliban.

"Since you seem to have such dedicated friends, I will locate the mutant you seek. But at a price."

She handed the paper to him, but as she placed her hand back on her side, two suddenly ran right into the room, panting and screaming. Caliban didn't seem too surprised, not even a little bit; Rivera realized that the mutant probably knew his fellow Morlocks were coming.

"Sinister has Prometheus!" Urchin suddenly screeched, and immediately, every one of the Morlocks just stopped and stared ahead. There were varying reactions, but the insectoid mutant Adrianna burst into tears, comforted by Jessie.

"No! My Adam!" she screeched, her mouth clicking almost like some kind of beetle. The scarlet wings on her back seemed to flicker as though they were urging her to take flight.

The X-Men felt like outsiders, watching the family of mutants with less than desirable physical mutations react to the news that their leader was gone. For several minutes, many emotions were expressed but Rivera felt bad that she even had to see this.

Grant and his girlfriend shared a look, seemingly knowing what the other was thinking. "Um, Caliban, who's Sinister?" asked the boy.

The pale mutant's head hung low, his expression even more morose. "Mister Sinister and we Morlocks do not have a nice history."

"So he's not a good guy?" asked Camille. "We'll help you get your leader back! Right guys?"

Both Grant and Rivera nodded, although both were a little bit apprehensive. They still didn't know anything about the situation, but Urchin was more than freaked out. If the New Mutants' story was right, then seeing the barbed mutant so upset was definitely not good.

"We'd love to help you," Rivera said truthfully, almost glad for the distraction from her problems. But in the back of her mind, she wondered if she would even be helpful at all. She was too terrified to use her main ability.

Prometheus was battered. He was bruised. He felt like his entire body was going to suffocate from the lack of energy. Adam had used his alchemical powers more than he ever should in one day, and he had a feeling that Sinister was going to make him use it again. For what purpose, he didn't know.

He was completely secured in a tube not unlike those five containers that he and the others had observed in the lab earlier. In fact, if he considered it, he was probably in that lab, but turned away from those five mysterious... things.

His hands were bound, nothing touching his fingers or his palm, the conduit for his abilities. He had no room to move his legs. He was completely trapped.

Adam waited for several minutes before the door opened suddenly, creaking against the unwanted movement. He peeked up, surprised to see the mastermind himself.

Sinister was a tall man with impossibly gray skin, shining red eyes, and a coat that made him look too much like some kind of vampire. His armor stretched from his neck down, colored a deep blue color so that he nearly blended into the shadows. The gem on his forehead seemed to glisten in the faded light.

"Hello," the man greeted, his voice slimy and grim. "You must be Prometheus, a fitting name for a mutant such as you. Were you aware that you have a stark resemblance to the monster from Shelley's novel, Frankenstein? I suppose you would, as you are quite intelligent, but I was curious."

"Cut to the chase," Adam said meekly.

"Oh, a fiesty one, huh? That will not matter in a few moments, as you will most likely be too tired to think straight. You might even die, but I will do everything in my power to make sure that some part of you lives on. Never fear."

Adam grimaced at the insinuation, but he didn't let it show for longer than half a second.

Sinister walked over to a computer and pressed a sequence of keys, immediately stirring a response in the machine holding him. He was terrified of what this thing could be doing to him in a matter of moments.

"Don't worry, Morlock. The machine will simply force you to use your powers to help out a few... projects of mine."

Immediately, there was a shock of electricity and it poured through Adam's body, forcing him to scream out. His hands began to glow with strange light, flickering almost like the current that had just shocked him.

Without warning, something shot out and hit the palm of his hand, injecting into the upper layers of his skin. Adam tried to struggle, but there was nothing he could do as his blood was taken into a syringe.

The mutant torturing him then turned off the machine, allowing the Morlock to catch a break. He sighed and breathed heavily, wanting this whole thing to just be over. His hands stopped glowing just as Sinister smirked.

"That is exactly what we needed from you, Prometheus. Thank you for being such a willing patient."

Essex walked over to the machine and pulled something out, before showing it to Adam. It was a vial of blood, the blood emitting a light blue light that made the contents seem purple.

"What did you need my blood for?"

Essex smiled, before showing the mutant a beaker. A beaker full of water. "Add your blood to water, and then I'll have the means to create any kind of substance. To change one thing into another is a worthy aspiration, the truth to a historical movement for alchemy, and I think this will surely help one of my clients. I was having a bit of trouble with one, but no longer."

The mutant scientist smiled before walking around to his desk. He pulled something from a drawer, a tiny flask of something. "Watch this."

He took some of the blood from the vial with a dropper and added it to the small beaker of water. Another second passed as the water-blood mixture began to glow, even brighter than before. Sinister added one more liquid to the mixture before emptying the contents of the flask into the mixture.

The mutant walked over to Adam, showing the mutant the tiny beaker. A thin blond hair was sitting in the mixture, and within another moment, it suddenly transformed into a brilliant diamond thread.

Adam's eyes widened with shock, but he didn't have a chance to ask. There was a loud crash upstairs, followed by the reverberation of Arclight's shockwaves.

Sinister cursed under his breath and headed upstairs, hoping to squash this before it ever started.

Camille leapt to the side to avoid one of the dreaded energy harpoons, but ended up hitting the wall at an awkward angle. Part of her shoulder melted, splattering against the wall and causing her to nearly vomit, but after a moment, her arm solidified.

Harpoon's eyes widened at her mutation, before creating another projectile. He smirked before swinging his arm like a javelin thrower, launching the harpoon forward.

The mutant girl cursed, hating using her powers like this, and melted completely, her body and clothes turning into a puddle on the floor. The energy weapon passed harmlessly above her puddled body.

"Mmm, that's an interesting one you have there," Harpoon said, wondering. "Arclight, can you handle her?"

The female Marauder paused in her fight with Rivera and Grant, before turning toward Camille and slamming her hands together.

Another huge burst of energy left her body, purple light streaking right for the puddle mutant. Camille didn't have time to think as the wave of energy rushed over her body, picking the liquid up and splattering it against the wall directly behind her. The shockwave subsided only moments later.

Rivera gasped at Camille's situation and her concentration slipped, just long enough for the feral mutant named Hairbag to lunge at her, knocking the X-Woman to the ground.

"Rivera!" Grant scowled and stretched his two arms forward almost like rubber bands, aimed directly at the beastly Marauder. But without warning, the shockwave inducing mutant turned to him and unleashed her powers, throwing him backward as well. He smacked against the wall, his body nearly flattening from the impact.

Rivera coughed awake, realizing that the other two X-Men were down. And that she was the only one left; her ability to mimic movements was not going to help her here. That only left one thing.

Immediately, she shot to her feet. "Let's even the odds!" With a white flash, she summoned her clones Maya and Chayce. An unfamiliar pain wracked her skull for a sharp moment before fading away, and the two clones and her were able to resume the fight.

"Odds or not, you're not getting through my shockwaves!" Arclight exclaimed, clapping once more. Purple energy gathered and then pulsed like radiation, aimed towards all three clones and the two down X-Men behind her.

Without a half-second later, Maya laughed.

With sound.

She actually made a sound. Like she had a voice. Her clones did not have voices.


The two clones clapped in the same manner as Arclight, and without warning, two identical but less powerful shockwaves rocketed forward. The three opposing forces collided in a massive explosion in mid-air, vibrating everything in the room. More of the force was blown backward and Arclight was blasted backward at least twenty feet.

Rivera tried to communicate with her clones mentally, as she had been able in the past. Nothing. What had they- she just done? Redirect an attack? Like Kris, but different? What?

The two remaining Marauders seemed surprised by the revelation, but not any more than Rivera herself.

"Let's see you mimic these!" Harpoon exclaimed, energy harpoons materializing and then firing straight at the X-Men.

Grant recovered from the momentary shock of this and stretched as fast as he could to try to help her. He was about to push the main Rivera out of the way when Maya and Chayce suddenly ran into the path of the harpoons. They made gestures with their arms, and just like before, an identical set of energy harpoons appeared and collided with the opposing ones, creating a firework like explosion.

"They're mirroring their attacks!" shouted Grant, getting out of the way of one of Hairbag's pounces.

Rivera froze at the mention of a mirror, reminded of her nightmare. What did this mean?

"It doesn't matter what she's doing," Harpoon explained. "It truly doesn't."

Chayce smiled a little awkwardly; Rivera called her the shy clone, and Maya was anything but. "Well, she doesn't have to do anything."

"Exactly," Maya exclaimed proudly. "Because we'll do it for her!"

At this point, both Grant and Rivera were just flabbergasted. Echo's powers weren't supposed to work this way; her clones weren't supposed to be able to speak, or laugh, or emote. They were supposed to be mentally linked with the original, and yet, that was gone.

What had happened to her powers? What had happened to her?

Maya and Chayce both immediately sped forward, hoping to finally take down Harpoon. Maya smirked as she saw an option open for her in the background, and nodded to Chayce.

The two Echoes immediately mimicked any attack that Harpoon made to cancel them out and rushed the man. He tried to find back-up with Arclight; the mirroring effect had taken her out. Hairbag was too busy trying to get out of Grant's snake-like squeezing. So he had no reinforcements.

Maybe Sinister would come to his rescue.

As if.

Essex passed through the hallways confidently, not a care in the world. After all, who could stop him? He was one of the most powerful people on the planet, both financially and physically. Even more so mentally; if he was able to "work his magic," he'd be even more powerful mentally in only a few short weeks.

So what did Sinister have to fear?

He rounded the corner and smiled. Definitely not these.

In front of him were two Morlocks, the two that he had found on the security footage alongside Prometheus. If he remembered correctly, they named themselves Urchin and Wraith.

"Stop right there and tell us where Adam is!" Urchin shouted, her barbs shooting through her skin almost like quills on a porcupine.

Sinister rolled his eyes, and immediately, his anger began to flare up in response. Odd; he was usually in control of himself.

Then sadness. Sorrow. Defeat. He wasn't one of the weaker forms of humanity, but he knew what sadness was. He could push past the feeling, the alien feeling of manipulation.

"An empath," Sinister explained, somewhat impressed. "You can control the limbic system of others through a pheromone. Interesting stuff, but pointless." Wraith practically started to whimper himself.

"Let our leader go and we'll let you go," explained Barbara, trying again.

Essex just stood there. It started to make her furious, and the craving for vengeance that she had tried to hold back immediately burst to the surface.

She suddenly ran forward, screaming bloody murder. This man was responsible for the massacre of so many mutants, and now, he was going to pay. She felt Wraith give him a boost of adrenaline-enhanced anger, and she reveled in the feeling.

Sinister held up his palm calmly and twisted it downward, repulsing a beam of red energy. Barbara was shocked but her battle reflexes managed to kick in and they were the only thing that saved her.

She twisted in the air, aiming a long spike from her wrist at the man's head. She thought she might have gotten him for a moment, but it only took one more second for another smaller beam to collide with her abdomen, hurling her through the air.

"Urchin!" shouted Wraith, trying to give her another emotional boost.

She smacked against the hard concrete wall and cursed, blood gushing from a place on her scalp. She broke off three barbs and hurled them through the air, but the enhanced human reduced them to ashes before they even got close. She almost wanted to quit, but Wraith increased her resolve and activated her fight response.

She screeched again as she stood up and pounced. With quick reflexes, she dodged the first two strikes and then made contact with a place on the man's shoulder.

She felt elation as she saw the blood staining his armor, but Sinister did not seem to notice. He waved his hand and she was sent flying, burns gathering on her side from the pure force.

Barbara knew she was outmatched, but again and again, she tried to attack him.

"You're beaten," the man said after the fourth try. "Contrary to popular belief, I don't want to kill you. Your DNA would only cause unsightly barbs and I don't need you for my ultimate mission."

Ultimate mission? That didn't sound good.

No one saw the next thing coming. The ground underneath Sinister's body cackled with blue light before suddenly transforming into a pit of quicksand. The man was startled enough to be taken by surprise, and his whole body was covered up to his neck.


Adam, Adrianna, and Jessie walked around the corner and without warning, Adrianna literally flew over him and a cloud of orange dust was emitted from her butterfly-like wings. The dust was a powerful sedative, enough to even put an elephant to sleep.

The Morlocks were reunited. And the five of them stood in front of the man, who was muttering absolute gibberish as the sedative quickly took effect.

Barbara stood up uneasily, her various bruises and burns evident. "Can we kill him?"

Adam, who was almost literally going to pass out from over-excitation of his powers, shook his head. "That would make us no better than him."

Barbara thought of his "ultimate mission" and grimaced. "I have a feeling you might regret it."

"What are we going to do with him?" asked Jessie.

Insect Queen looked to her lover, Prometheus. "The proper authorities."

But before anything could happen, there was another loud crackling that reverberated throughout the whole hallway.

"Oh, no! The X-Men!"

Camille slicked out from the wall, reforming from a puddle of melted earth. She did not like the way Arclight's powers worked, but as she rejoined the battle, she was surprised to see Arclight unconscious.

And even more surprised to see what Rivera's clones were doing.

A firework-like cackle spread throughout the hallway as energy harpoon met another energy harpoon, and every time the clones were close enough to hit him, they did. There was a screech from Hairbag as he was captured by Grant's malleable mutation, unable to struggle against the bindings.

So she practically did nothing?


"Damn it!" Harpoon said as he took a shoulder to the stomach and then a chop to the chest, debilitating enough to knock out his breath. "Retreat!"

Arclight was unconscious. Hairbag was captured. Who was retreating?

Harpoon turned to run but instead found himself taking a punch to the face from Jessie, knocking him out cold.

"Well, glad that's over," she said with a smile.

The police had arrived at the scene in no time. The Marauders had been taken into custody, and the Morlocks and X-Men had personally watched them get captured by specialized police units, from the shadows so that the Morlocks would be okay.

But Sinister, somehow, got away. When the cops arrived, he had broken free from the quicksand.

"I still don't understand how," Camille wondered. "You had him, no?"

Adam nodded as they headed back into the sewers to be welcomed home by the Morlocks that were left. The X-Men wanted to follow to be sure it was safe.

"Yeah, we did. He was trapped in a special substance that could have held a normal person there for days, like quicksand. But he got out somehow."

"Figures," Rivera said with a squeeze of Grant's hand. Rivera had re-summoned her clones without any trouble, despite the confusion of the day. Either way, she still needed to know what was going on.

Caliban met them on the way and everyone cheered as they returned home with Adam, their leader. Even if they hadn't managed to capture Sinister, the Marauders were still gone. So that was good enough for them.

The X-Men watched awkwardly from the sidelines as the Morlocks celebrated, and they all felt too much like outsiders. But after a moment, Caliban walked over to Rivera and the other two.

"I understand that you sought this person?" questioned Caliban, pointing to the name on the paper she had given him earlier.

Rivera nodded. "Yeah, she's the only person who I think can help me."

The Morlock nodded. "Her location is sporadic, almost like she is always on the move. But she can be found most often here." He pointed to the address, a place just outside of Boston.

"Thank you so much!" exclaimed Rivera, shaking his hand and taking the address.

"No, thank you, young X-Men."

How was that? I know it might have seemed confusing with the Morlocks and all, but I thought it was decent. Plus, it's still addressing some of the things from previous Season Three chapters, and leading up to a nice plotline. There's some key elements here that I hoped you picked up on.

Rivera's clones can only mirror attacks used against her, and it has to be in that almost exact moment. She can't use other people's powers. It's an upgrade of her adoptive muscle mimicry.