Setting: Age of Apocalypse
The bombs were falling. Screams filled the air. The pungent smell of blood filled his senses, overwhelming him. All around him, people were dying. His people, the X-men. He looked around for his family, a mutant teleporter he saved from Abyss years ago and a feral little fellow who had given in to his wild nature as a result of his inability to adapt to the horror Apocalypse had unleased upon the world. Their world.
He waited for his impending doom. It would most certainly hit him much later than the other X-men for he was a mutant with a unique genetic make-up. His mutant healing factor would not keep him from eventual death but rather would provide him with a slow and painful one. His body would knit itself painfully together as radiation from the fallen bombs ravaged it. In the end, his healing factor would be overwhelmed and he would finally be able to succumb to the peaceful repose of death.
In his last moments, he allowed his mind to wander free. Surprisingly, the memory that first surfaced from his mind was an encounter with the mysterious stranger, Bishop. Bishop and him had been alone in a room. Wishing to break the unbearable silence, he asked Bishop, "What was your world like? How is it any different from this?"
Bishop had looked at him with much loathing in his eyes as he hissed, "You were a homocidal maniac. You'd kill without thinking twice about it. You'd kill anyone, male, female, young, old. You enjoyed the kill. The thrill of the moment. The power. The knowledge that you alone decided life's end. The smell of fear. The taste of blood. You basked in all these and never regretted it for a moment. You were the devil incarnate. Tell me Creed, how was it any different?"
Creed was stunned. All that Bishop had said was quite possibly true. He had worked for Apocalypse once, he did enjoy killing. Even though he had switched sides and was presently walking on the side of the angels, the scent of fear and blood still turned him on. He struggled with the idea that his counterpart was a truly evil and bloodthristy killer. In the end, he just didn't want to think about it.
"What about Blink?" he asked, in order to diverge the topic from his evil double.
"She did not survive the 'Phalanx Covenant'," came the grim reply.
Creed blinked. "You mean..."
"She's dead." Bishop said flatly.
Another memory, a more recent one surfaced...
At their approach, the crystal glows ever brighter...grows ever larger and larger...it's light burning even the eyes of the blind... as Destiny...whose second sight allows her to glimpse alternate realities...finds herself staggered by vision upon vision. Each facet of the vast gem reflects a sliver of history from a timeline not hers. And she knows...once and for all...that every word of that mysterious Bishop's story has been...
"...True...God help us all...time is broken...the child Illyana and I have no choice but to facilitate Bishop's journey into the past... so that he may repair the continuum."
"We choose a team to escort you..." Pietro blurted out.
"No. Only we three can go...for we no longer have counterparts in this other reality."
In an instant, Creed realised the one way he might be able to change the fate of his family. One way to help his alternate self to understand the value of life, the joy and beauty in it, to learn that taking an innocent life was wrong. Perhaps the only way for the X-men of the Age of Apolcalypse to live on...in the memories of Clarice Ferguson.
"BLINK!" Creed bellowed.
Blink looked up and teleported herself and an injured Morph whom she had been tending to to where Creed was.
"Blink, listen. Teleport yourself into the heart of the M'Kraan crystal. NOW!" Creed's words came out in a rush.
"Just do as you're told, girl!" Creed snapped.
Creed pulled Blink to him and enveloped her in a tight hug. "Wherever you end up, let the X-men live on. Promise?" Blink nodded, still unsure of what was going on. "One more thing...help me to be a better man." Creed planted a light kiss on Blink's forehead before releasing her.
"Good luck, kid."
The last of the bombs fell.
End of Prologue.