The poor boy was blubbering like a baby. He had lost the capacity to speak. I thought about probing his mind but I just wasn't ready for the experience. I waved Wolverine over.
"Any idea what that was about?" I asked pointing to Scott who was being lead away by Colossus and Warbird.
"I guess death can do that to ya," he answered.
" . . far too many to count." Logan looked at me for a long moment, like he was trying to size me up. "You really don't know?" he finally asked.
"No, I've been off planet, as you know."
"Gaia went crazy an' sent out an army of her alien buddies to take over the Earth."
"Well yes, I know that. Gaia's powers are impressive but nothing the X-Men can't handle."
"Oh yeah?" he said with a half-smile. "Well her powers got amped up quite a bit when she went evil. It was really touch an' go there, Chuck."
"I see. Well everything seems to be okay now. In fact today is just perfect."
"Yeah, I think that was the angel's doing."
"Really? Warren's powers have grown then."
"No, no. I mean a real angel. He was fighting along side Maggie."
"Oh. Um, where is Maggie now? Have you seen her?"
"No. She flew up with that angel. She had wings an' golden armor."
"Up? I've been scanning for her and can't find a trace. Perhaps I'll talk to her church superiors and see if they've heard anything. I see Hank has taken Gaia to the infirmary. I'm going to go check on her."
When I arrived in the med lab, I saw Gaia lying out on a table. Hank was standing over her.
"Her vital signs are healthy, Professor," Hank told me as I rolled up. "But her neural activity is minimal."
"A sleep state?" I asked.
"No. She's non-responsive to external stimuli."
I rolled up next to her and reached out with mind, entering Gaia's subconscious. She was totally calm and at peace. I could sense no darkness, no anger. I also couldn't find any memories of the past few weeks. It was like whatever she had experienced had been wiped clean.
Probing deeper, I found a closed off portion of her psyche. A sealed vault, locking out part of her persona. Carefully, gently, I pried into it, not wanting to do any damage to her mind. Once I had penetrated the sealed off area, I saw all that was missing from the last few weeks.
Gaia had somehow, probably subconsciously as a defense mechanism, segregated those painful, traumatic experiences that she could not acknowledge. I saw it all - her meeting with Gaea, the Earth Mother, the contact with evil that corrupted her, her taking command of her alien race and assembling them into an invasion force - and her battles with Maggie.
Maggie! Gaia had killed her!
But somehow she had come back, resurrected perhaps by that angel.
I re-sealed the mental vault Gaia had created, strengthening in so that those memories could never be accessed. Leaving Gaia in Hank's capable hands, I hurried to my study. I have to find Maggie.