Last Rook

Chapter 1

There was a significant amount of chatter in the control room when Jubilee and Rogue entered. Professor X, Cyclops, and Storm were looking at an aerial view of rural area. Jean and Beast were at a computer while Gambit stood nearby.

"My my, don't you all look serious?" Rogue said.

"There's been an explosion at a farmhouse in upstate New York," Professor X answered.

"What's so important about this farmhouse?" Jubilee asked.

"We've been trying to track Sinister for a while now," Jean said. "We haven't had much luck, but we did determine that this farmhouse was a potential laboratory so we've been keeping track of it."

"Since the explosion, we've detected unusual traces of energy," said Professor X. "Storm, Jean, Beast, I'd like you three to check it out."

"Sure thing, Professor," Jean responded as she left with Storm and Beast.

As they approached the farmhouse site in their jet, Jean started to scan the area telepathically.

"There's a lot of interference, psychic fragments. This place was definitely occupied by people, but for what reason?" Jean frowned.

"What is it?" Storm asked as she landed the jet.

"Something familiar."

The three exited and started shivering.

"Bobby?" Jean suddenly called out.

"He's here?" Beast asked.

"Hey, the cavalry's here!" Iceman said as he emerged. "But you're a bit late."

"What are you doing here, Bobby?" Jean asked.

"I was in the area when I heard about the explosion. Local news reported that there were people inside, so I came to check it out."

"What did you see?" Storm asked.

"Lots of deformed mutants. They attacked me when I got too close so the reporters and first responders ran away."

"Are you all right?" Jean asked.

"Yeah, after a couple minutes, they all died."

Beast looked around the bodies and equipment.

"It seems that these mutants were still on life support."

Storm bent down to examine a body.

"This one looks like a young Cyclops."

Jean and Bobby approached and they confirmed the resemblance.

"Everyone here seemed to have been connected to these tubes. Based on these readings, I think Sinister was growing these individuals, but for what purpose?"

"Look over there," Jean pointed. "Footprints leading away from the farmhouse, in a different direction than everyone else." Jean followed the footprints until there was no more trace. Everyone then regrouped and headed to the mansion.

"The DNA analysis confirms it," Beast said. "The body that resembled Cyclops is genetically identical to Scott."

"Sinister was growing clones," Professor X concluded.

"Did you notice optic blasts shooting at you during the fight?" Cyclops asked Iceman.

"They attacked me from all sides. I stuck mainly to defense and the occasional beam of ice. I couldn't determine anything specific being thrown at me."

"What about the missing clone?" Cyclops asked.

"We could not locate any bodies in that vicinity," Storm answered. "Perhaps this clone was more fully developed and able to survive."

"We couldn't determine this clone's identity," Beast added.

"I'll try to track this person down using Cerebro. If I cannot, we'll just have to keep an ear and eye out for potentially indicative reports," Professor X remarked.

It took two days before Professor X came across the clone when he happened to be using Cerebro.

"X-Men, I've located the clone," Professor X telepathically told Jean, Storm, Cyclops, and Gambit, who were present in the mansion. "Get to New York City."

"Do you know who it is?" Jean asked.

"I cannot determine his identity, but I believe it's someone we know."

"Bobby wanted to be involved. I'll tell him to meet us there."

Soon, the four X-Men and Iceman arrived at a suburb of New York City.

Jean telepathically scanned the area. "The professor said he's around here."

Jean suddenly pointed to her left. "Over there."

Everyone saw a figure dash through an alleyway and they gave chase. They finally closed in.

"Stop!" Cyclops called.

When the figure didn't, Cyclops shot an optic beam and hit the clone. The clone stopped and started emanating red energy.

"That doesn't look too good," Gambit commented.

The clone quickly turned around and shot energy from his hands, making the X-Men scatter. The clone then burst through a wall, running away.

"It took me a second to realize who that was without the tattoo," Cyclops said.

"You know that guy?" Iceman asked.

Jean answered, "Yes, that's a clone of Bishop, a mutant from the future."