I was about to ask her about it when I received an urgent call from Gaia. She and her team had investigated the abandoned Sentinel factory in Virginia for any clues as to the Brood/ Sentinel/ Hellfire alliance that has been plaguing us. She found the base fully active and in the process of producing accelerated growth clones of the X-Men. This indeed is a serious problem. The team managed to escape and Gaia was able to destroy the base.
The immediate danger is that there are two other former Sentinel factories that I know Master Mold has used. It is entirely possible that these have also be reactivated as clone laboratories. Fearing the worst, I called in some friends and split us up into three teams. I lead one with Vampirella, Cyclops, Wolverine, Colossus, Beast and Phoenix. As Gaia did such a capable job at the first base, I had her lead the second team to one of the factories. She had Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator and his Danger Sled, Cable, Deadpool, Beast, Northstar and several other X-Men with her. Storm lead the third team to the former Weapon X factory where it has been rumored that Bastion, the amalgamation of Master Mold and Nimrod, has set up his headquarters. What his part in this is, we aren't sure. Her mission is merely recognizance.
Cyclops flew the X-Jet at top speed to Wyoming, where one of the former Sentinel bases was located. I could sense right away that the structure had some kind of psionic shielding around it. Clearly, someone was home.
Landing the jet and we moved on the base. Surprisingly, we encountered no resistance. As we entered the dilapidated building, I began to wonder if we had been wrong, if the place really was abandoned.
"No way," said Wolverine. "I smell fresh scents. There are people here."
"I agree, Charles," said Vampirella. "And there is a very dark presence."
None the less, we moved through the base undisturbed. When we got to the doors of the main lab, there was definitely an audible humming, like large scale machines in operation. The giant metal doors slide open and behind them was revealed a large pale skinned male in a metallic blue uniform with a weird cape made of straps flowing behind him.
"Mr. Sinister, I should have known," I said.
"I appreciate your punctuality," he replied. "You are right on schedule."
"On schedule for what?" I asked, as another set of double doors to the side slid open.
"Sebastian Shaw had his task, taking out the hero's communication network as well as several who would rise to oppose us. We all have our role to play. Mine is to eliminate you and the X-Men. I now consider that mission accomplished."
Out of the doors came a man in a wheelchair who looked exactly like me. Behind him walked Wolverine, Colossus, Cyclops and many more X-Men. They all wore green jumpsuits. The coldness in their eyes told me that Sinister had left out their humanity in the cloning process.
"Just so you don't think I've forgotten about your other team, there are a whole other set of X-Men to meet them."
I just smiled. Gaia had taken out the first base quite easily. I was fully confident she could do the same again.
As if reading my mind, Sinister said, "Oh, and if you think that witch will have such an easy time of it, I have four fully grown Gaia clones at the other base with the X-Men. She won't stand a chance."
His cold evil cackle filled the cavernous chamber. This was going to be tough.