The Cross-Time Caper

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The Cross-Time Caper
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The Cross-Time Caper- The Cross-Time Caper was a 12 issue story arc beginning in Excalibur #12 and ending in Excalibur #24, that was originally 9 issues long.


It begins with Excalibur and Alistaire Stuart stepping onboard the Lightning Force’s Train as they trade back the Lightning Force of Earth-597 for the crew of another train originally from Earth-616. Reichsminister Mac Taggart throws a nuclear grenade as the portal between their worlds is closing in an effort to destroy the train. Rachel Summers deflects the force of the blast, which is absorbed by Widget, who uses the energy to send the train and its occupants into Earth-1193.[1]

As Prince William is riding his horse, Goliath, after being sent on a quest by his parents, as is the tradition, he narrowly avoids being hit by Excalibur’s train as it arrives on Earth-1193. He charges at Lockheed, who he believes is attacking Kitty Pryde while he is merely trying to rouse her. Lockheed knocks him from his horse with a jet of flame. Excalibur tend to him in the medical bay of their train, and he recognises Brian Braddock as Captain Marshall, his equivalent on Earth-1193, who has been missing for some years. He explains Earth-1193 to Excalibur while they examine the damage to their train. When Kitty is kidnapped by the Shaitan, he joins Excalibur as they rescue her from the Ogre, Butch. When Kitty and Princess Katherine, Kitty Pryde’s counterpart on this Earth, are rescued from Bruce’s castle, William falls in love with Kitty and proposes to her, much to Katherine’s chagrin.[2]

He then takes them to the palace to meet his family. At the Palace, Captain Britain is given the uniform of Captain Marshall, after leaving his old uniform back on Earth-616. After Rachel moves the train to the palace, Excalibur meet the current Queen Mother and Queen Consort. As they talk, the conversation turns to William’s marriage proposal. Kitty turns it down gently, but the Queen mother informs her that she cannot refuse. As Kitty tells her that she is American, the Queen Mother uses her magic to teleport them both away so she can educate her in manners. Excalibur dash towards the Queen Mother’s apartments, but they are stopped by a group of police constables, one human and the rest being giants, who are ordered to escort them to their rooms. Excalibur break past them and find the Queen Mother and her witches using their magic to try and transform Kitty into a princess, by transforming both her mind and body. The police burst in, but before the fight can really begin it is brought to a halt by the Queen Mother. As the transformed Kitty appears, wanting to marry Prince William, Rachel argues with the Queen Mother, but can’t object when she reads Kitty’s mind and finds she does want to marry William.

Later, a team of giants and ogres help Excalibur fix the train, as they watch William escort Kitty around the palace grounds. As he takes her into his small castle in the grounds, they are kidnapped by trolls who burst from the ground. But Kitty phases from their grip and rescues William, before the Queen Mother’s spell reactivates.

Later, when she tries to go to sleep, she is attacked by smaller Shaitans made of shadow. Excalibur come to her aid. Meggan and her Faery friends lead Nightcrawler to a nearby tower, where they find Princess Katherine using a crystal orb to try and kill Kitty. Nightcrawler breaks the orb as Meggan grabs her, and they take her to the palace where the Queen Mother sentences her with high treason. Princess Katherine admits to Kitty that she loves William, and William, though initially unsure, realises he does to, and tells the Queen Mother that he means to marry Katherine instead.[3]

The next day, at a ball thrown in the honour of the engagement, all of Excalibur enjoy the party, except Kitty, who storms out after seeing her crush, Alistaire, dancing with Rachel, who he fancies instead. Excalibur follow her to the train, and on the way, Rachel covers Sir Nigel Frobisher with syrup and feathers for thinking inappropriate thoughts about her. In the train, her anger boils over, and is released by a flaring of the Phoenix force. They don’t notice as Widget absorbs the energy and sends the train to Earth-8910.

As they arrive, they believe that they are on their earth, but Meggan notices that the world is wrong. The lighthouse is lower, and the air feels wrong. In the distance, Kitty sees a tsunami coming towards them, moving at supersonic speed. Rachel just has time to seal Excalibur in cocoons and deflect the force of the wave away from her.

As they wake up and break out of the cocoons, they realise that Rachel is missing. They are approached by Rick Jones, who tells them he can help find Rachel, and recognises them as the Excalibur from his Earth, who also went missing at the same time they did back on Earth-616. As he takes them to his Quinjet, he tells them the Avengers took Rachel’s cocoon away. Excalibur get into his Quinjet, and as he takes off, he tells Captain Britain that he’s the 3rd captain he’s worked with after Captains America and Marvel. In the back, Alistaire alters Kitty and Meggan’s medieval dresses into something more practical. As Rick gets distracted by the sight of Kitty and Meggan, he nearly crashes into Dr Henry Pym, who regained the power of Goliath, but swelled to an enormous size and then got stuck. As Namor attacks Pym for stepping on Atlantis, the Quinjet falls into the sea, but manages to make it to New York. There, they are met by a cyborg Captain America, and Rick begs Captain America to take him back as a sidekick as Captain America runs off. Captain Britain asks Rick where Rachel has been taken. He narrows it down to the Avengers Mansion, Damage Co-ordination or the Fantastic Four headquarters. Kitty and Alistaire reach the fantastic four building, but have to draw a number for a queue to see Reed. As number 7 is drawn, Alistaire and Kitty are annoyed when they draw ticket number 1023.

At the Avengers Mansion, the Avengers are fighting each other, and Rick manages to get close to Iron Man, who tells him that the cocoon is with Reed. The Hulk threatens Captain Britain, who punches him, but to his surprise, the Hulk starts to cry. As Rick comforts him, Captain Britain quickly leaves for the Fantastic Four building.

At Damage Co-ordination, Mysterio greets them, and asks them to change into their proper uniforms so that they’ll be recognised. Nightcrawler puts on his normal uniform, but as he emerges from the changing room, he sees Meggan, who has adopted a new uniform. They ask Mysterio about the cocoon, but he sends them to lost property, where they are told that the two comics writers nearby take all lost property and convert it into a new storyline that then takes place in the world. Disappointed, they leave for the fantastic four building. At the fantastic four building, Excalibur reunite as in the lab, Rachel bursts free of her cocoon. As the fantastic four prepare to fight her, Galactus arrives and as Earth-8910’s heroes all attack him, he warns Excalibur to leave. Rachel carries Excalibur back to England and their train, and she activates Widget’s travelling ability just before the earth is destroyed. Galactus warns the impossible man, who is responsible for this earth, not to do it again. But as soon as he leaves, the earth pops back into existence.[4]

Excalibur then find themselves in a variety of different versions of Earth. In one, they are riding a stage coach, being pursued across the dusty plains by a group of British natives on horseback, having rescued Alistaire Stuart, who is tied to a totem pole. They have entered a world where America is the ancient seat of civilisation, and Europe is the Wild West. They get back to the train, and pour out of the stagecoach in an array of costumes, from Nightcrawler as a waitress to Captain Britain as a cowboy, just as the native British arrive. In the nick of time, Lockheed produces a wall of flame, allowing the Phoenix to send the train on across time once more. In another Earth, Excalibur find themselves in a world out of a horror film, as they rescue Alistaire and Phoenix from Alistaire’s counterpart, and get Captain Britain transformed back to normal from being a duck. Later, Excalibur’s train lands in a field, and they ask questions of police officers until they are certain that they are home. However, Meggan inadvertently shapeshifts into wearing a copy of Phoenix’s outfit, while Phoenix wears a copy of Meggan’s. Phoenix’s powers flare, accidentally triggering Widget, who takes the train back into the time stream, leaving two confused police officers. [5]

As the train arrives in mid-air on Earth-1289, Nightcrawler falls from a broken window of the train and lands on the leader of a group of Space Pirates boarding the ship. Grabbing a sword, he knocks out all the pirates, and having beaten their leader, is knocked out himself by the Princess, who is more than she seems.

Phoenix and Shadowcat(Kitty Pryde) find themselves separated from Excalibur, hanging upside down in a smokehouse, without their powers. Shadowcat’s boots are loose, and so with some effort, she falls to the floor, and battles the cook who plans to stew them, ending up throwing him through a wall. As Phoenix herself gets free, they are surrounded by guards, who bear a strong resemblance to Lockheed. However, they are congratulated for defeating the cook, who wasn’t that popular, and so they are inducted into the guards themselves.

Nightcrawler awakes in a pool within the royal palace, unaware that the Princess knocked him out. She seduces him in the pool, and afterwards, they retire to the Princess’s bedroom, where they are served wine. The servant spills a drop on the princess, and Nightcrawler becomes slightly suspicious of the Princess as the servant quakes with fear at the spilling of the smallest drop on the Princess. It is quickly forgotten as the Princess and Nightcrawler are lost in each other’s arms…

Alistaire Stuart finds himself being chased through ruins, but just as the mercenaries, who reveal they are working for the Princess, capture him, he is rescued by Shadowcat, Phoenix and one of the guards. They are chased around a corner, where they are captured by a green tentacle creature that pulls them up into a hovering ship.

Back in the palace, Nightcrawler awakes to see the Princess leaving the bedroom with a mysterious cloaked figure. His curiosity piqued, he follows them into the dungeons, where one of the prisoners puts him in a choke hold. He throws them off, to find it is the pirates’ leader from earlier. She reveals herself to be called Kymri, the true Princess of the Planet, who has been overthrown by Anjulie, who seduced her father and then drained the planet of its life force. She herself is being held as a sacrifice. He releases her from the cell, and they fight their way into the cave where her crew are being held, to find they have been eaten, and nothing but skeletons remain. They find Anjulie feeding Excalibur to the Green creature. They leap into action, Nightcrawler saving Excalbur while Kymri battles Anjulie and the cloaked figure, who she kills, before she finds it was her father, under a spell Anjulie had put on him. Anjulie goes in for the kill, but Shadowcat phases her through the platform, and she falls away towards oblivion. However, the creature, desiring life energy, grabs the Phoenix, to drain her of the immense life energy the Phoenix possesses. As the creature tries to digest Racheal, it inadvertently releases the full power of the Phoenix, destroying it and allowing Excalibur to use their powers once more and survive.[6]

After the destruction of Anjulie’s creature, a wild victory celebration ensues. However, Rachel sits apart, her Phoenix powers having seemingly been drained by the effort of destroying the creature. Meggan tries to comfort her, but Rachel slips away. She finds and lives with this reality’s Jean Grey for a few weeks, but as she comes to terms with herself, they are attacked by slavers, and this reality’s Jean is killed, and Rachel captured. When she wakes aboard their ship, she attacks them, and drawing swords, begins her escape. Further away, news of Excalibur’s plan, to elect a Champion to protect the planet, has reached the slavers. They discuss plans to combat this, and decide to enter their own contestant, so they regain control of the planet, having been driven off by Princess Anjulie. Back at Kymri’s newly freed city, Excalibur open the tourney to elect the Champion. Various contests, from boulder throwing, to races, to puzzles and sword fights, whittle the competition down to three: Kymri, Lockheed (of their current reality) and a disguised woman, who Kitty recognises as Rachel in disguise. As Kitty tries to fix Widget, who has become inert since Rachel’s powers faded, she, Nightcrawler and Captain Britain are struck down by an assassin. Suspicion falls on Rachel, who no one else has yet recognised. However, Alistaire soon recognises her, but is stabbed in the back by the real assassin. He takes Meggan hostage, but Rachel throws her sword through his head, killing him. Their friends lie dead, but Meggan has a way to save them. She persuades Rachel to embrace her Phoenix powers, which she had been subconsciously blocking. Using Meggan as a conduit, she restores the dormant world’s spirit, bringing the world and their friends back to life. Lockheed and Kymri take up the mantle as Champions of the world, and Excalibur prepare to depart. Kitty reveals herself to be the storyteller, and they board the train. As the train departs, Kitty sees the Starjammers and Professor X outside, but the train vanishes before she can stop it. [7]

In the void between worlds, Excalibur’s journey is violently disrupted. Again, Meggan and Rachel’s appearances have switched, and in fear Rachel lets out a psionic burst, knocking the train out of transit. As they crash land on Earth-9019, Rachel staggers out of the train, and into a road, where a group of racing cars rapidly approach. He teleports to her, but doesn’t have the strength to jump them out of the road. In the nick of time, Lockheed flings them out of danger.

Meanwhile, Meggan has disappeared, but Kitty locates her on TV, in a worldwide Grand Prix, with this reality’s version of Jamie Braddock, who is the number one racing driver. However, she seems to be in some kind of trance. Rachel, meanwhile, is unconscious in the train. As Kitty takes a walk outside, she realises that Captain Britain is also missing. As she walks across the road, she finds a car buried in the embankment. Before she can look any further, Widget consumes it, and reproduces it in full working order for her. Nightcrawler tries to persuade her to stay and look after Rachel, as she is a younger member of the team, but Widget refuses to go without her, so he relents. As she begins her pursuit of Jamie Braddock and Meggan, she finds Captain Britain walking slowly along the road. He reveals that he tried to rescue Meggan, but Jamie Braddock used his abilities to remove Brian’s powers, which are only slowly returning. As they set off, they are pulled over by two police officers, who call themselves ‘The Dirty Angels’, for multiple race violations. But they soon recognise Brian Braddock, mistaking him for this world’s version, who died in a car crash of the very car that Kitty is now driving. They tell them about Meggan’s kidnapping, and The Dirty Angels speed off to arrest Jamie Braddock, for Meggan’s kidnapping and the murder of this reality’s Brian Braddock. Meanwhile, Jamie Braddock pulls into a hotel, where he learns of the news that Brian is entering the race. This shocks him, as he thought he had killed them, and causes Meggan to briefly snap out of her trance.

Back at the train, while Alistaire and Nightcrawler fix the train, Phoenix staggers out of bed, and finds that she is changing shape in sync with Meggan, which at the hotel, Jamie Braddock sees through his string view of the world. He sees that Meggan and Rachel’s strings are overlapping, and as he pulls Rachel’s, she is pulled from the train to the hotel. However, The Dirty Angels smash their car through the wall, and Rachel ends up back in the train. As Kitty and Brian approach the hotel, they begin to realise that their bodies are changing, becoming more like the inhabitants of this world (who are in a Manga style). As they stop to help at the hotel, that The Dirty Angels have accidentally destroyed with an anti-matter cannon, Jamie causes Meggan to attack Brian, while he tries to take control of Kitty. Fortunately, her phasing powers keep him from grabbing her strings. However, Jamie then turns on Lockheed, distracting Kitty enough so that he can then control her. Meanwhile, Brian continues attacking, until he finally realises it is Meggan, and turns on Jamie. Jamie in turn buries them all under a pile of rubble from the hotel, and kidnaps Widget and Lockheed. He leaves, and as Brian digs himself out from the rubble, he swears vengeance on Jamie.[8]

As Jamie Braddock stalks along an alleyway, hunting for Shadowcat, Captain Britain grabs him, to take vengeance on him, causing Jamie to lose his grip on Widget. However, after a few moments, Jamie gains the upper hand, and a flick of his fingers sends Captain Britain shooting through a series of walls. As he begins to play with the strings that make up Captain Britain, Shadowcat stalks the roofs, where Widget opens a portal in an effort to protect her. She spies Captain Britain and Jamie, and shouts at him to stop, but he sends Lockheed, now under his control. She dives through the portal, just as Lockheed’s bolt of flame destroys the rooftop. Back at the train, Nightcrawler and Alistaire Stuart are still trying to fix the train. The Dirty Angels, pursued by an angry mob from the Pitte Stoppe Hotel, beg them to let them take shelter in the train, which they allow. Alistaire sends the mob off on a wild goose chase, while Nightcrawler tries to get some explanations. Inside, Rachel wakes up, recovered from her attack by Jamie, and starts to see through someone else’s eyes. She soon realises it’s Meggan, and contacts her with her psi powers. Despite her protestations, Phoenix takes control of Meggan’s body, using her powers to transform her into Wolverine so she can track down Jamie. Meanwhile, Shadowcat wakes up in a strange house. She travels down to the Kitchen, where she meets the housekeeper, Emma, who tends to her, before revealing that this is the Braddock’s London Townhouse, which is being used by Jamie.

As Wolverine, Meggan, being controlled by Phoenix, tracks down Jamie. As a car takes down the building she is standing on, Meggan is transformed into Longshot, where she uses his blades to take out the car, which transforms after crashing to reveal it is Captain Britain under Jamie’s control. Realising who it is, Meggan takes back control, but the mind controlled Captain uses the opportunity to attack. Phoenix transforms her again, into Dazzler, to stun the Captain, just as Jamie arrives, and begins his own attack.

Reading papers provided by Emma, Kitty realises that the Earth she has arrived on is her own earth. Borrowing some of Elizabeth Braddock’s (Psylocke) clothes, she prepares to go back to Widget and bring the rest of Excalibur home. However, before she leaves, she hears Dazzler’s laser in an upstairs room. Emma tells her not to enter, it being Jamie’s room, but her hope that the X-men are still alive cause her to ignore it and phase in.

Back on the alternate earth, Meggan as Dazzler’s beams stop working, and she can no longer hear or speak. Jamie, through use of a cue card, tells her that he has removed the air between them to prevent sound being conducted, so Dazzler’s powers, that transform sound to light, fail. To combat this, Phoenix causes Meggan to become Havok, whose plasma beam passes straight through Jamie. On Earth, Kitty sees the hole open up in the Jamie Braddock of this reality, realising that they are linked in some way. The next beam Meggan passes through Jamie, who uses it to destroy this world’s moon, the hole in his chest being ineffective at stopping him. Becoming Storm, she hits Jamie with lightning, then quickly becomes Cyclops to knock him from his perch, and for a final strike, uses Rogue’s powers to take Jamie’s. However, he is unaffected, and begins to absorb both Meggan and Phoenix’s instead. Before he can do so, Nightcrawler, Alistaire and the Dirty Angels fly in on Excalibur’s train, landing it on top of him, Meggan getting away in the nick of time. However, he soon gets up again.

Back on Earth, Kitty, relying on the fact that earth’s Jamie has reverted to being a child, gets him to go to bed, causing the other reality to fade away. She passes through Widget’s portal to get her back to the team, but finds herself only on the other side of the wall. She is stuck on Earth, and retreats to Brian Braddock’s house, where Courtney Ross watches intently.[9]

Flying over London, Crusader X (a version of Captain Britain on another earth) spies military helicopters converging on Euston station. W.H.O is already on the scene, with Alistaire Stuart as the Brigadier in this reality, and his sister Alysande the scientific advisor. A mysterious train has arrived on the platform, with no passengers and a wrecked interior. On board however, Dai Thomas finds a picture of Nightcrawler, who he knows as one of Prussia’s spies. To protect the Queen’s summit of the World’s powers, Crusader X sets off on the trail.

In a mansion outside of London, Jean Grey arrives at this reality’s Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. However, as she arrives, she finds Jason Wyndgarde, who has haunted her dreams, with a horse and cart. He has come to take her as the Shadow Queen of the Hellfire Club. She resists, and the Phoenix flares, before reality is restored. She is still confused over which is real and which is a dream. Excalibur, hiding in a warehouse, tend to Rachel, who has being overwhelmed by the psychic cry of her mother. She realises instantly that only Mastermind could be behind Jean’s distress, and the Hellfire Club with him.

At the Hellfire Club, the White Queen, Emma Frost, has just died, burnt out through trying to conquer Jean’s mind. The Shadow King orders Mastermind to torture himself for a minute, not only for losing him his White Queen, but for failing to convert Jean to their cause. As he turns his own powers on himself, Tony Stark enters to discuss their plot. In return for using their combined resources to enlist Jean Grey in the Hellfire Club, Tony Stark will gain access to the World Powers summit and kill the world leaders, as the America of this World is still part of the British Empire.

Jean watches the X-men of this reality in the grounds of the Mansion. As she walks inside, she feels a pressure on her mind. As she enters to meet Xavier and MacTaggert, she sees them dead, apparently slain by her own hand. Mastermind’s work is done, and she is converted into the Shadow Queen.

On a rooftop in central London, Nightcrawler tries to comfort Rachel, who can sense what is being done to Jean. Suddenly, Crusader X bursts onto the scene. Before he can grab Nightcrawler, Rachel holds her in place with her powers.

Outside London, Jean Grey flees on horseback, pursued by an image of the Shadow King. She still can’t accept the role of the Shadow Queen, but as she tries to escape, the Shadow King catches her, causing Rachel on the roof top to lose concentration. As she flies off to help her mother, Crusader X swings into action. They duel on the rooftop until Crusader X finally captures him. He puts Nightcrawler under arrest for spying against the Empire, and flies off into the night. On the rooftop, Meggan, Alistaire and Captain Britain arrive to find the aftermath of the fight, and the disappearance of Nightcrawler and Rachel. Meggan senses Nightcrawler’s scent, and Excalibur set off in pursuit.

In a lane outside London, Rachel finds a mortally wounded Jean Grey. She tries to use the Phoenix to save her, but as the Shadow Queen starts to emerge, she stops supporting her, and with Jean dead, she swears a reckoning on the Hellfire Club.[10]

In a room deep within the Tower of London, Nightcrawler is interrogated for his counterpart’s espionage crimes. Despite his protestations of innocence, he cannot convince them that he is not this reality’s Nightcrawler, though Alysdane, W.H.O’s scientific advisor, is open to the idea. It is met with incredulity by all else in the room. She tries to persuade them to stop, as Excalibur’s train is clearly not of their world. With Nightcrawler proving resistant to their interrogation, Dai wants to get Professor Xavier in, but he is informed that all the telepaths are unconscious, and Jean Grey is missing.

Crusader X converges on the mansion, along with Archangel. He finds all the mutants at the Mansion, psychic or not, have been injured to varying degrees, up to Lady Moira MacTaggert and Lord Charles Xavier, who are catatonic from the psychic blast. With Jean Grey, mutant liaison for the Summit missing, Crusader X goes to track her down.

At Merlin Mews in the same reality, Courtney Ross is accosted by a gang on her way to work, for being Crusader X’s girlfriend. As they begin to attack her, they find themselves being burnt, as Lockheed swoops in. He is quickly followed by the rest of Excalibur, who succeed in scaring them off. It becomes quickly apparent that they think she is Kitty, and are surprised when she tells them she is Courtney Ross.

In the Hellfire Club, Rachel arrives to take Jean Grey’s place at the Hellfire Club. Iron Man and the Shadow King are pleased, believing Jean herself has arrived and the plan is proceeding normally. Iron Man suits up, to go to the conference where he plans to assassinate all the Monarchs of the World’s Great powers.

In the Tower, Alysande comes to talk to Nightcrawler about his reality. As she comes close to him, he teleports them out onto the roof, with Alysande revealing that W.H.O were unaware of Nightcrawler, and by extension, his counterpart’s, ability. Below, Captain Britain smashes through the wall, on a mission to rescue Nightcrawler. On the wall above, Nightcrawler grabs Alysande as the wall collapses, and leaps through the debris before depositing her safely on the ground. Suddenly, Crusader X flies backwards overhead, the force of Captain Britain knocking him skyward. They are evenly matched in their fight and it goes on and on and on. In Hampton Court, site of the summit, Rachel knocks out the guards, and Iron Man bursts into the conference room. Surprised, he finds the Phoenix, who has already alerted the authorities and moved the conference elsewhere. He fires upon her, realising he has been betrayed. She starts to manipulate Tony psychically, but he switches his suit into automatic mode. She reaches out to Meggan, who comes to her aid, just as the Iron Man Suit knocks her out. Meanwhile, Lockheed manages to draw the Captain and Crusader’s attentions to Iron Man, and they burst in to fight him. They take him down effortlessly, but as they track his movements back to the Hellfire Club, they find it empty, all the members gone…[11]

On Earth-23238, Illyana Rasputin and that particular reality’s Kitty Pryde, who takes the name Kit, watch Excalibur as they traverse the space between worlds. As they talk, a henchman bursts in, warning of a raid by Justicers. Magik conjours an image of Kitty, and sends it into the time stream.

In the time stream itself, Alistaire Stuart tinkers with Widget, trying to find out what makes him work. Angry at the loss of Kitty, Widget stuns him before Phoenix can stop him. She shouts at him in anger, before an image of Kitty appears between them. As the rest of Excalibur tend to Alistaire, Widget emits a flash of light.

Back on the alternate earth, Kit Pryde and Illyana stand behind their legal representative as he talks down the Justicer in charge of the raid, Justicer Bull. As the two trade arguments, there is a flash, and Excalibur’s train crashes through the large glass dome that envelops the room. As the train crashes in, Phoenix is barely able to stop the train before it falls out the other side of the dome. Kit Pryde staggers to the window in shock, before someone pushes her from the building. As Captain Britain stumbles from the train, he dives to her aid, but is fired upon by Justicer Bull, stunning him. Meggan too dives after them, but she blisters and then begins to go up in flame as her affinity to nature causes her to react violently to the pollution that permeates the planet. Kit, the Captain and Meggan tumble down into the depths of the city.

Back in the tower, Nightcrawler climbs to his feet, as one of the Justicers, Cadbury looks down on him. As he sees the Justicer’s face, he sees himself, but as a standard human. While his counterpart is in shock, he grabs the gun with his tail, dodging his feet and fists until Justicer Bull stuns him. The Justicer gathers her troops, ordering them to seize everyone in the room and search the train. In a sing song voice, Illyana reminds her that her warrant allows her only to take Kit, and seize Nightcrawler as an illegal mutant. Angry, but ultimately knowing she is right, Justicer Bull orders her troops out, taking Nightcrawler as prisoner. Still falling into the underground of the city, Captain Britain is still unable to fly. As he sees the ground coming towards him, he thinks that they are both dead, until he plunges through it. The ground was not the ground at all, but a heavily polluted river. As he drags Kit to the surface, Meggan, still in flames, tumbles in, setting the river and its pollutants alight. The Captain grabs her, and is barely able to fly them to a ledge over the river. He sees Meggan’s face, covered in boils and blisters, caused by the polluted atmosphere.

In the Old Bailey, Nightcrawler is tried. Despite his protestations, he is summarily condemned to be imprisoned, and genetically altered to remove his abilities. As he is thrown into a holding cell, he hears a voice he knows. Meggan’s! He fights off her attackers, and finds Meggan, but not the one he was expecting. This reality’s Meggan cowers as he comforts her, while her former attackers back away.

Under the city, the group are under attack by monstrous, human like creatures, somewhere between human and cockroach. Captain Britain holds them off for as long as he can, before he is overwhelmed. Meggan throws them off him, her body finally adapting to the pollution in the atmosphere. As the creatures flee under the renewed assault, Kit is comforted by Captain Britain, as she slowly slips away. Before she dies, she tells Captain Britain about Illyana, and how she pushed her from the window to take over her gang. But he is incredulous, still believing her to be Kitty of their reality. After Kit has died, he turns to talk to Meggan, but she has disappeared.

In Kit’s tower, Alistaire tends to Rachel, who is suffering from some kind of illness. As he does so, Illyana uses the opportunity to try and threaten him into helping her further her own aims.

Back at the Old Bailey, Nightcrawler, this reality’s Meggan and other prisoners are escorted under armed guard to a prison transporter. As they approach it, he teleports out of his handcuffs, taking out Justicer Cadbury, and taking his gun, which he uses to free the prisoners. He and Meggan take a transporter, but as they take off, a Justicer fires on them. Meggan dives in front of Nightcrawler and she dies, switching back to her standard form as she does.

Back in the tower, Alistaire resists Illyana’s powers, but as she tries to get into his mind, Rachel makes a stand. However, in her weakened state, she is no match. As Illyana ties her in shadow, a transporter smashes through the dome, and Nightcrawler dives on Illyana. However, she stops him in mid air, but before she can do more, she sees more Justicers in pursuit. Hiding Alistaire, Nightcrawler and Rachel under shadow, she presents an innocent face to the Justicers. However, Meggan, disguised as Kit, shatters that illusion, as Illyana flings her across the room with her powers. The Justicers open fire, but she becomes the Darkchilde, and so the bolts bounce off harmlessly. Before it can attack, Captain Britain punches it, and as they battle, the Lord High Justicer and the Chief Magistrate, this reality’s version of Brian and Betsy Braddock fly into the building, with Betsy using her powers to restore Rachel to health as the two Brian Braddocks attack. Rachel, with the power of the Phoenix once more, burns away the Darkchilde to reveal a now powerless Illyana. As they celebrate their victory, Justicer Bull attempts to arrest them all for their super human abilities. Alistaire talks her down, as he makes her realise that the definition of a superbeing also sums up the Justicers. She announces that she has paperwork that will last her until the evening, leaving them time to activate Widget and leave once again.[12]

On their train in the space between world’s, Excalibur are surprised as an image Opal-Luna Saturnyne, Omniversal Mastrex appears, reprimanding them for interfering in multiple realities. She announces that they are being brought to the Omniversal hub. Before she signs off, she also tells them that she plans to deal with the Phoenix once and for all, after the failure of Gatecrasher’s Technet which she sent.

In the Omniversal hub, Excalibur’s train winks into being. Inside, Nightcrawler tries to find out as much as he can about the Mastrex. Upon finding she isn’t a telepath, an idea springs to mind. To prevent the Mastrex from finding Phoenix, they disguise her in Kitty Pryde’s clothes and a wig. As they leave the train to pass through immigration, Lockheed, overjoyed at seeing what he thinks is Kitty, lands on Rachel’s shoulder, and tugs at her hair. Fortunately, Rachel manages to keep the wig on, and for now, passes as Kitty Pryde.

The inspector grumbles as he goes through his large tome containing all the inhabitants of the Omniverse. He edits Captain Britain and Meggan’s records due to their new costumes, but stops when he investigates Shadowcat. He finds that the variations with the record are not simply due to her aging, as Rachel claims. Luckily, he puts it down to a mistake by the archivist. As the archivist starts a fight with the inspector, Excalibur split up, with Brian going to try and persuade the Mastrex out of capturing Phoenix, and the rest looking for a way home. As Captain Britain tries to see Saturnyne, he is repelled by a number of guards and alternate versions of himself, while elsewhere, Nightcrawler duels with Chevalier Bretagne, another version.

Suddenly, Rachel clutches at her head as the messages of all the telepaths pass through her mind, while Alistaire watches Captain Britain fight on TV. As they watch, Rachel is sealed in a quick setting material by Captain Cymru, to try and stop her phasing. However, not being Kitty, Rachel quickly bursts out, and knocks out Cymru. Nightcrawler and Meggan arrive to see the aftermath. They go to Captain Britain’s aid, taking out his attackers, before Rachel hears Widget cry out in her mind. They rush back to the train, where the Mastrex is just leaving. She has recalibrated Widget to take them home, but she sees through Rachel’s disguise immediately. However, she pretends not to notice, letting them go home. The train arrives in a cave, and after a quick check, they know they are home.[13]



Lightning Force's Train

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