Protectors of the Universe: Defenders #7
Written by WarlorTVor and
Morfex, Edited by Marvelite
Protectors of the Universe: Defenders
"Future Crimes: Part Seven"
This story takes place after Defenders #1, Defenders
#2, Defenders #3, Defenders
#4, Defenders #5, and Defenders
Note: The Defenders is an alternate future to the current POTU titles
The Crossroads of Time
"There are some who fear us for what, not who we are. And for that reason, we must learn to control our mutant powers and use them wisely, or not at all."
-Professor Charles Xavier
Magnus wailed, "Please! My daughter! She is only a child! Someone please, help her!" The cries were met with a solid slap across his temple with a bulky length of firewood. His mind reeled, dizziness almost reaching unconsciousness. The man who had struck him was the same man that had tried to extort him of his rightful wages earlier. Beyond that, Magnus could not focus his vision as spots blurred before his eyes.
"My daughter! ANYA!!!" Magnus suddenly heard a voice from the fringes of consciousness, and recognized it instantly. It was Magda, his beloved wife, pointing toward the second story window of the blazing building where they had taken up residence.
Magnus turned to look just as a shrill scream pierced the air. His daughter's death cry would haunt him until his final breath. He struggled to stand but a half dozen villagers overpowered him and kept him pinned down. He managed to raise his bloodied head in time to witness a sight that would forever change him. Immersed in flames, still wearing her thick woolen nightgown, Anya fell from the second story window and landed with a loud cracking sound on the cobblestone street below.
The man who would one day strike fear throughout the world as the mutant menace Magneto could do nothing but weep at the sight of the light of his life snuffed out as a result of petty ignorance and blind prejudice. His sobs came from the deepest parts of his heart and soul, which broke irreparably with every heaving sigh. Only another parent could imagine thee utter desolation that follows the death of a child. It was against the very nature of life. In an ideal world family members grew old and passed on by generation, their lives filled with love and memories of their children, grandchildren, and beyond.
But the life of Magnus would never follow this pattern. His parents and sister were torn from him in his early teens, victims of the gas chambers in Auschwitz. His beloved Anya was only seven years old, an innocent completely unaware of the savagery begotten of racial hatred. Now it was too late, she would never live to reach adulthood. As Magnus died inside, he heard a voice within him. "Never again."
He stood suddenly, surprising the men that tried to hold him in check. His eyes blazed with insane fury and more. They literally began glowing with a pulsating white burst of power. The shock wave of his sudden outburst engulfed every villager in the square.
Only Magda seemed immune to its power. Sobbing, Magda clutched her belly, feeling something inside her shift anxiously. Tonight was to have been the night she told her beloved husband the news. Anya was going to have new siblings. Now, Anya lay dead, still smoldering from the flames. And Magnus, Magnus had transformed into something no longer human.
The villagers gasped, more in shock than anything did. One woman managed to utter, "Witchcraft!" as Magnus lifted them all a meter above the ground. Then his murderous rage seemed to find the realization that the strange phenomenon was indeed of his doing. Baring his teeth malevolently, Magnus begged release of this strange yet satisfying force churning within him. "Die." He commanded, and at least sixty villagers felt the iron in their blood altar course, forcing weak hearts to fail. Aneurysms, suffocation, every manner of death surrounded Magnus and Magda.
In moments, it was all over. There they stood, surrounded by the grisly scene. Magnus placed a small blanket over Anya's form, snuffing the last smoldering wisps of smoke from her burnt hair. He lifted her effortlessly, swaddled in the blanket, as he had countless times before. He turned to Magda, expecting the same utter sorrow from her. He knew that he would not survive the torment of this night without her to share their grief and mourning. He was shocked, then, to see her cringing from him, her eyes widen as if she had glimpsed the Devil himself.
"Get away from me, you… you monster!"
"Magda, beloved," Magnus suddenly sobbed, not knowing if his heart could bear her reaction. "What are you saying?"
"Do not dare call me that! See how you callously murdered these people!"
"But… they killed our Anya!"
"And death must always beget death?! When does it end, when there is no one left to blame or murder?"
"Magda, please, I…"
"NO!! Get away from me!" Tears poured from her eyes, smudging the dirt and ash on her face. "My husband is dead! You… you are nothing like a man I love! Nothing!" She gave a final, longing glance at the fragile corpse in his arms, then turned and fled.
"Magda, stop…" but the efforts of that night suddenly took their toll, and his knees buckled under him. He gripped the child in his arms tightly, and attempted to stand once more. He must pursue her and convince her that it was all a misunderstanding! His must find his beloved Magda…. He must… stand…
His legs were leaden weights beneath him, he sat there on the cold cobblestone, and his daughter's lifeless body still gripped tightly. His sobs grew louder as he buried his face in her blankets. In the town square, all was silent but for the crackling of the burning edifice and the heart rending sighs of a father no more.
Charles Xavier and the man now referring to himself as Eric Lehnsherr attempted to bridge the gap between them.
"Join me, Charles! Our dreams are the same, only our timeframe and methodology are different! Imagine what we could accomplish together!"
"Magnus, we have had this debate countless times. We can only agree to disagree. The differences between us are irreconcilable as long as you are willing you supercede Mutant Rights above Human Rights, rather than make them equal."
"They cannot be equal, Charles! It is equality that empowers the inferior humans to subjugate us. If we claim our rightful place on the evolutionary scale, Homo sapiens will be forced to treat us as the superiors that we are! Your formula will never achieve your dream, old friend. Over a decade of trying, and what do you have to show for it?"
Xavier had had his doubts and regrets before, but ultimately he knew that the opened hand, not the closed fist, must ever be his path. "Magnus, I know your dream to be a righteous one, but the ends do not justify your means! Your shows of force merely perpetuate the fear and hatred that the humans have of us."
"You are right, Charles… Our differences are irreconcilable. I have tried your way and seen the futility. But you have never tried mine. Think of what I have accomplished. Genosha is now a nation of free mutants, a sovereign state recognized by the world's governments. Hundreds of mutants arrive weekly, seeking a land where their freedom of expression can flourish. Regardless of our pasts, despite our potential future conflicts, you and your students will always have a place there. All mutants can claim citizenship at will. And believe me, Charles, they will. Ask the mutants who have suffered and died from lynch mobs, death squads, and internment camps, which route they would choose in hindsight. Patiently hoping that the humans will one day become enlightened by observing your example? Or taking whatever measures necessary to ensure the survival and prosperity of their families?"
Xavier balked at the words, the very thoughts that had kept him awake into the small hours of the night. Blast him, of course Magneto's way was more provocative, with short-term results and no regard for law. Working from within the system was tedious and frustrating, but Charles knew in his heart that it would have the long-term results he desired, if Magneto's decisions did not continually undermine it.
"Go then, Magneto, build your nation. Create a target for the world's frightened and ignorant. Perhaps with the spotlight on you, I can accomplish more in the shadows."
With that Magneto did a very unexpected thing. He placed his hand firmly on Xavier's shoulder. "Charles, I truly wish things could have been different." With that, the Master of Magnetism was gone.
Magneto hovered over the charred remains of two Sentinels who had attempted to hinder his escape from the Mutant Interment Camp, that was only a few miles away at an old abandoned U.S. Army Military Installation. He was not clad in his customary crimson red and purple body armor. No, his attire was much more simplistic. Magnus was clad in dark green overalls torn in several key areas. They were stained in blood, none of it his own.
Magneto turned his head toward the desert-like horizon. Rolling mountains jutted out of the reddish dust covered earth of the desert. His eyes closed for a moment as if to clear his mind, and cleanse his soul of the torment and hell that he and his fellow brethren had to endure over the past weeks. He could almost hear the screams of murder and death that had taken place, in the Mutant Interment Camp that he had been held in for the better part of a month until he managed to escape only a few hours ago. Only to be hunt down like a dog by the Sentinels that now lay stretched out at his feet.
The plan for escape was well thought out … but executing the plan was murder ... literally. He had been one of a dozen and a half mutants who had managed to destroy the security field and tried to escape. The others now lay dead at the hands of butchers and murderers. The voices of the dead called out to him once more. Tormenting him, crying out to him to make sure that their deaths … that their noblest of all sacrifices were not in vain.
Pain and agony surged through his body but he could not feel an iota of the discomfort that possessed him. For his hatred was much too strong. His eyes were turned to pure white, his stubble-covered jaw started to ripple uncontrollably back and forth.
"How dare they!" he swore under his breath in a low monotone voice. "They shall pay for what they have done to my people! And I will be the one to make them pay!"
But first … an alliance with the devils had to made … A deal that would ensure his victory…
Magnus turned away and started to rise from the ground, as if gravity possessed no effect upon him whatsoever. A sphere of electric energy encompassed him. Crackling white and crimson red energy danced across the surface of the sphere, it appeared to manifest itself around him at his whim, and he soared off toward the horizon.
When I was a child my people talked while others prepared for war. They used reason while others used tanks and they were destroyed for their trouble! I won't stand by and watch it happen again! I won't!"
Magneto stood there.
His breath was haggard in his chest. His entire form was racked with pain, his uniform was caked with already drying blood, not of his own. He pulled his height to his full posture and straightened the folds in the heavy cape that wrapped around him, as if the mortal conflict had not even taken place, let alone that he was involved in it.
At his feet laid the limp form of the Quasar of this universe, his body all ready starting to grow cold under the pale moonlight that bathed the two of them.
"Pathetic fool . . ." Magneto said in a voice of utter disdain in his accented voice. He brushed away the speaks of blood that had captured and held his clothes under siege, then turned around and slowly moved away from the body of his enemy.
And that was when Quasar decided to attack!
His once placidly closed eyes snapped open, and a faint smile touched the thin, hard line that was his lips. A scream tore away from his lips and he lunged forward, power crackling from his energy bands. He made his charge, and the power that swirled around his closed fist continued to whine as it increased in both intensity of power and of light.
Magneto swirled around at that moment and merely waved his hand faintly in the air, causing his charging attacker to stop in mid-air. He screamed in frustration and an insidious smile touched Magneto's visage, which was cloaked in utter shadow, caste down by his metal forged helm.
"You are the Other, aren't you?" asked Quasar, his form was racked in pain and held at the will of his enemy.
"I do not know in what you speak of!"
"The Other!" he said exasperated, struggling to move, only to find his movements were minimal at best. "The one spoken of in the Prophecy!"
"I know not of this Prophecy, nor do I know if I am this . . . this 'Other' that you continue to mention in your death throes!" His smile widened at this for a moment, and the sheer gustier sent chills to run down Quasar's spine. "And I will be the one to end your pathetic life, you fool. You never should have challenged me! That was your error! A fatal one at that!"
"To hell with you . . . you sonuva-!"
Quasar never had a chance to finish the curse that was only moments from oozing from the lips. For a sudden wave of pain had seize his body. He didn't know what was happening at first! Darkness started to seize control over the fringes of his purview of vision. And a sudden pain was felt in his chest. Then he realized it! He realized what was happening to him.
His heart was no longer beating.
He was having a heart attack!
But how? How could Magneto be doing this to him! He, a Protector of the Universe! The Protector of the Universe! How can this simple . . . mutant have such yielding power over him! It is unfathomable to say the least!
"How . . .?" he rasped in a harsh voice.
Magneto moved in closer, his hand still forward, a rim of power encircling it seductively. "Fool, I control the power of magnetism itself. All things composed of metal, even in the slightest degree, are well within my power to bend as I will!" A faint harsh laugh tore away from his maw in the form of seething venom. "Even blood!"
He gasped for air. Trying to force it into his lungs, however it would not come! The muscles in his body tightened suddenly. His face turned took on a complexion of a bright red, his eyes started to bulge from their sockets and blood refused to pump in his heart. And then darkness claimed him.
The physical form of the dark shade that is Quasar went limp. And his entire body pitched forward, in a lifeless husk. Magneto lowered his hand, and released his power. It had all been a simple task really, merely controlling the iron in the blood so that it would not reach the heart was not at all neither difficult nor taxing on his magnitude of powers.
He turned once more, this time certain that Quasar was indeed dead, and started to stalk closer toward the small entourage of heroes that had gathered themselves on the far side of the war torn building, after only affording a sidelong glance to the now dead Quasar.
"Why?" Adam Warlock who had bodily stepped forward during the conflict asked.
Magneto merely stood there, as if the golden one had not spoken at all, the wind pick up his hanging cape in a gentle zephyr and whipped it around back and forth in rhythmic motion.
"Why did you save us?" and he made a vague motion toward Doctor Strange and Quasar who stood there, farther back, horribly disheveled. Strange in fact looked as if took the worst of the dark Quasar's attacks, he could hardy stand, it was not without grave effort and mass amounts of pain that he was able to and then he needed to rely on his fellow Defender to act and serve as a crutch for him.
"My reasons, Adam Warlock, are mine and mine alone. They do not concern you," the master of magnetism said curtly, with a dismissive wave of his hand.
"Then why are you here?" Warlock asked no wishing to leave the conversation at mere vague words of ownership over motives.
A cruel smile touched his thin lips at that moment.
"I am here . . . to aid you and your gallant crew, Adam Warlock, against Myth-Breaker and his forces. And from the way I saw how the three of you handled the weakest of all Myth-Breaker's forces . . . you might just need my help . . ." And with that he offered his hand stretched outward toward Adam Warlock.
Warlock caste his darkened gaze over toward Strange, who merely nodded his head in agreement, it was a subtle gustier one that could only be detected after years of working alongside one another. Warlock turned back toward Magneto and took the offered hand: the deal was struck, the partnership forged.
"I will be keeping a mindful gaze upon you, Magnus," Warlock said, breaking away from the mutant's grasp.
Magneto only smiled at this. It was a dark and cold sight to behold, truly if one did not know better one would assume he be a demon, if not Lucifer himself.
"I would expect no less, Warlock," he chimed, moving past the golden skinned man much like a spectre would, his cape rippling around him. "I would expect no less . . ."
To Be Continued
Now leave us comments below or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to check out the POTU Archive Pages for more information on this continuity and more stories contained in it.
E-mail feedback/submissions to email@example.com