I wiped Vampirella
's lipstick from my mouth and jumped down onto my chair. Fortunately I had brought my advanced hover model with all the James Bond-y bells and whistles. A large ball of dark flame rose from the Hellfire Club just outside of Central Park.
"Should I come help, Charles?" Vampirella asked.
"Ooh, me me me!!" Hotstuff yelled from the front of the carriage.
"Vampi, as much as I would love for you to come, you have Hotstuff and perhaps it wouldn't be wise. Go back to your Hotel and when this is over, I will meet you there."
I could see that she was a bit disappointed to be left out of the potential action, but the fact is I find Vampirella rather distracting. I had been so captivated by her in fact, that I had tuned out the mental communications, actually, the calls for help, from my X-Men.
I put my chair into over-drive and raced to the Club. A large chunk of the roof was caved in and a long plume of smoke was rising from it. Scanning the wreckage psionically, I found Wolverine, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Storm, and Gambit locked in a mortal battle in the main ballroom on the third floor with Hellfire troops, led personally by Sebastian Shaw, the Black King. I had sent a second team, Gaia
and Shadowcat to the old Master Mold base to see if they could find any leads to the Sentinel involvement.
Flicking the safety catch on the armrest, I pressed the large red button activating the turbo jet in the undercarriage. I shot up the three stories and crashed through the large plateglass window into the smoking ballroom.
Both Nightcrawler and and Cyclops were sprawled on the floor unconscious. The Hellfire troops were shooting their energy rifles at the team but Colossus was standing out front, taking the blasts squarely in the chest.
As soon as I burst into the room, I used my psionic powers to take control of several of the troopers. I had them turn their guns on their comrades and then themselves. The Black King, Sebastian Shaw, unfortunately had psi-blocker head gear on, so I couldn't reach him. With his troops eliminated, I assumed the remaining X-Men could make short work of him. Instead, Shaw started laughing.
"This was all a trap to bring you here, Xavier. You were a fool to come!"
"What is it you want this time, Shaw?" I asked with vehemence.
"Oh, the usual, global domination. The new friends I've made will ensure that all my dreams come true. Time to say goodbye, Xavier!"
A large metal barrier suddenly raised in the far wall and a screaming hoard of Brood warriors charged in. Instead of their usual clawed hands, they had cybernetic Sentinel repulsor hands, and they were firing at us like they knew how to use them.
Wolverine charged ahead, claws out, howling in full berserker rage. He was cut down almost instantly in a hail of energy blasts. Colossus was also struggling to stay afoot against a heavy barrage. Gambit ducked behind him and grabbed onto the floor with both hands. Glowing energy flowed from his fingers down through the wood surface. In no time at all, the entire floor was vibrating with raw pulsating energy. I could see where this was going.
Putting my chair into top speed, I charged at Colossus and Gambit and smashed into them, pushing them across the room and out the far window as Storm scooped up the still bodies of Cyclops and Nightcrawler and fled out another window. Just as we cleared the sill, the floor erupted with a massive explosion of pure kinetic energy. The whole top two floors of the Club were vaporized. There was no sign of Shaw.
We searched what was left of the Club. Inside Shaw's private chambers, I found a data disc detailing Shaw's part of the larger scheme. His function indeed was to eliminate the hero's communication network on the blogosphere and to take out major threats to the plan - namely myself and the X-Men. Obviously Shaw was just a pawn in someone else's game. Or maybe a knight or bishop. Not a rook, though.
Before we returned to Westchester, I checked my cel phone messages. There were several from Vampirella. Apparently she also had quite the adventure after we left each other. I rushed downtown to her side. Fortunately I had my credit card with me. Bail wasn't cheap.