The Clan Askani: The Askani Wars part 1

Disclaimer: Boak, Rachel Summers, and Apocalypse are Marvel's, the rest are products of an over active imagination (I really oughtta get that fixed...)

Author's Note: Okay, here's part two of First Contact as promised. Not much Gen X in this one, I'm afraid, but there IS stuff on the Askani. Fear not, if I get requests for a part three I promise there WILL be plenty of Gen X stuff, as well as several guest stars. I hope I haven't screwed Rachel's character up, I don't "know" her as well as the Gen X kids, but I'm going to do my best. I know most of you don't really give a flip about Rachel OR the future anyway, (heck, *I* sure don't) but hopefully this'll be fairly interesting. But first, let's tie up one of the loose ends about Dawn's power, shall we? Well, hopefully this'll be amusing, so here goes nothing...

A Switch in Time

They say time flows like a river, and they couldn't be more right. It flows, it twists, it separates and rejoins, all the while dragging you along. Oh, I'm sure it was meant in some philosophical way, but when you're adrift in the time stream it can be deadly realality. I clung to my companion like a lifeline, praying to God that I'd make it through. I COULDN'T let Glenn down, not when he'd virtually given his LIFE to save me. I clutched my companion's hand tighter as we swept through the countless years. I, a thirteen year old girl, was going two THOUSAND years into the future with a woman I barely knew to join a rebellion I knew NOTHING about, whose entire purpose was to destroy the one who could never die.

And I had absolutely NO IDEA what I was supposed to do when I got there. It was the perfect start to the perfect day.

My companion, known as Rachel Summers, Phoenix, and/or the Mother Askani, reached up to her ear and touched the almost microscopic device that was located there. "Boak?" she called in a tired voice. "This is Rachel. Target neo-mutant Dawn Embers acquired, activate temporal beacon and initiate Operation: Switchback."

Operation: Switchback? Temporal beacon? What the blazes was she talking about? Rachel had a LOT of explaining to do.

Suddenly I felt a... I can't find any other way to describe it other then a shimmer in my mind. Rachel homed in on that shimmer and we were literally tossed through a vortex and into adark, cloudy night. It was serene enough, but there was one problem: THERE WAS NOTHING BENEATH US!!! No net, no building, nothing!

"RAAACCHHHEELLLL!!!!" I screamed as I plummeted towards earth. But it was no use; she was exhausted and falling as well. The time warp had drained us both, and I couldn't even call Will or Clarice to my aid. The ground was rushing up to me faster and faster, and all I could do was scream.

Then, quite suddenly, there was a tearing sensation in the small of my back as huge, feathered wings burst forth. Of course, in less then a month I had: (1) discovered I was a mutant (2) met a school full of OTHER mutants (3) discovered I could raise the dead (4) helped rid one of my newfound friends of her sibling's evil influence (5) fallen in love with my best friend and (6) witnessed the death of my parents first hand, so about now it was going to take a heck of a lot more then a pair of wings to surprise me. To my credit, I took it in stride and flapped my new extremities like mad. It was kind of weird, like having sails attached to my back, but it worked. I had to strain to stay aloft, but at least I wasn't about to become street pizza. Of course, being new to this kind of thing, I was still sinking a little more rapidly then I would have liked because, since this was my first flight, my wings didn't have the nessecary muscles to keep me aloft for long.. Fortunately (?) someone was waiting for me below. It was a man dressed in rather odd clothes (think medieval) and partial body armor. He positioned himself so I fell right into his arms, which made little warning signals go off in my head.

"Ah, what have we here?" he said. He was a good featured man, and couldn't have been more then twenty eight. His eyes flared briefly and he said, "I see, an alpha class psi. What are you doing in the lower cloisters?"

"Shy'ar," Rachel called as she staggered up, leaning against a humanoid robot that looked like it belonged on Star Trek, "lay off. She's the one I went to get."

The man called Shy'ar looked at me closely, then put me down. "Oath, Askani!" he swore. "She's a powerful one. Do you know what Apocalypse would do to get his hands on one like her?"

"Then we'll have to keep her OUT of his holding cells so she can help rescue the others."

"Hold on a second," I put in. "WHAT did you say? What are you talking about? Will you at least tell me why I'm here in the first place?"

"Old Englishe?" Shy'ar asked. I noticed for the first time that they spoke in a different language. I guess the only reason I could understand them was because I was picking up the thoughts behind the words. "Askani," Shy'ar continued, "Exactly WHEN did you pick her up?"

"1996," Rachel replied.

Shy'ar's mouth dropped open. "1996?" he exclaimed. "I expected her to be a little more... recent! From the Scion of Genetics at least!"

"Hold on a minute..." I started.

"But 1996?!" Shy'ar continued, "That's even before the X.S.E!"

"I said, HOLD ON A MINUTE!" I screamed, sending my thoughts along with my voice so they could understand me. All three of the people spun around and stared at me. "Thank you," I said in a calmer voice. "Now, from the beginning, WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE AND WHY DID YOU BRING ME HERE?"

Rachel sighed. "I probably should have told you this from the moment I arrived in your time," she said. "All right, from the top. This," she pointed to her robotic companion, "is Boak, a synthcon; a being with an organic brain and robotic body."

The synthcon nodded and said, "I owe Askani a lot. She saved me from Apocalypse's scrappers."

"He disagreed with Apocalypse's survival of the fittest dogma," Rachel told me. "I ran into him my first day here and helped him reassemble himself with my telekinetics. He's been following me around ever since."

"True enough," Boak agreed.

"And Boak?"

"Yes, Askani?"

"Don't call me Askani. It's Rachel to my friends, please."

"All right, Askani."

Rachel sighed, then turned to Shy'ar. "Shy'ar is another friend," she told me. "He is what would best be described as a mutant hound, able to track and identify mutants. He is how I found most of the Sisterhood."

"What Sisterhood?" I asked.

"The Clan Askani," Rachel explained. "The group I created who will someday be crucial in the overthrow of Apocalypse. Unfortunately, most of the others were captured, and as of now only I and one other remain."

"Really? Who?"

"Corinth," Rachel called. There was a small movement within the shadows of a nearby building and a little girl stepped out. She looked to have a trace of Native American blood in her and couldn't have been any older then nine. "This is Sister Sundance, or Corinth to her friends," Rachel told me. "The last remaining of the Sisterhood."

"Hi," I said. The girl looked nervous, so I touched her mind gently, just enough to show her a glimmer of my personality and past. The little psionic "getting to know you" deal worked, for she relaxed. "I'm Dawn Embers, like Rachel said. I'm here to help you get your friends back."

:One thing you should know about Corinth,: Rachel sent. :Her mother, Sister Gena, died three months ago. She was linked with Corinth when she died, which caused the poor girl to witness her death. She's been severely traumatized, and is almost pathologically shy. Be very careful of how you speak and act around her.:

:No problem,: I sent. "Well, now that we're all acquainted, what should we do now?"

"Go back to Askani Hold, or what passes for it these days," Rachel replied. "Actually it's a lot like a bomb shelter at the moment; Apocalypse's troops saw to that."

"Rachel, I think you're forgetting one thing," Shy'ar said. "She speaks in Old Englishe, she's bound to be noticed."

"That shouldn't be a problem," Rachel said. She turned to me and said, "Here, look inside my mind. You SHOULD be able to absorb the language using your telepathy."

"I can DO that?" I asked.


"If you say so," I shrugged. I touched her mind, focusing on language. It was a telepathic crash course that took approximately eight seconds. This would have been a great thing to know when I was taking German in school! "How's this?" I said, switching to the "common" language.

"Perfect," Rachel smiled. "Come, Askani Hold's only a few blocks away."

"Blocks?" Boak said.

"Archaic term," Rachel told him. "Never mind."

We had walked about two blocks before I felt a tug on my sleeve. I turned around and discovered that it was Corinth.

"Hey, Corinth," I said. "What is it?"

"I've never seen a person with wings before."


It took me a second to realize that I still had two very large, very conspicuous wings set on my back. Not that I wasn't glad for the extra advantage, but this could get to be a problem.

"Ummm, Rachel?" I said.


"What should I do about these?"

"About what?"

"These." I waved said appendages.

"You SHOULD be able to retract them."

There's that "should" word again. "How?"

"Just concentrate on retracting them."

Oh, THAT was a big help. Oh well, it's not like I had anything better to do. I concentrated on the wings, willing them to shrink back into my back. Now, I can't speak for other metamorphs, but for ME changing HURT. A LOT. I mean, I've SEEN other people change form, and they make it look effortless. Maybe it just takes a lot of practice to get it right. However, for me this was no picnic, and I had to grab hold of the side of a wall to keep from falling over. Not only that, but I felt a desperate need for a familiar face. Almost subconsciously I reached out with my powers and called the one person I knew would be there for me; my cousin Will, one of first to die at the hands of Sinister in the name of some insane genetics project.

And, for the moment, my only real friend.

I decided on keeping him inside my mind at first, so as not too alarm the others. :Dawn?!: he called. It was good to hear a familiar voice the future was so strange and desolate that I, despite my jaunty banter, was starting to get depressed and even a bit scared. :What is it? I can feel you hurting, what's wrong?!:

:Will...: I sent through clenched teeth, :if you'll give me... ONE SECOND... I'll explain.:

:Kiddo, this is no time to be vague,: he snapped. :After what happened to your par--:

:WILL, SHUT UP AND LET ME CONCENTRATE!: I cried. I saw Rachel and Corinth flinch slightly and toned down the psi speak. :I'm sorry,: I sent, :Just let me... finish this...: I finally managed to retract my wings and leaned against the wall, covered in sweat.

"Remind me NEVER to do that again," I gasped.

:Will you PLEASE tell me what's going on now?!:

:Patience, cousin dear.:

"Why has your aura... doubled?" Shy'ar inquired, frowning.

"My cousin," I told him. "He wants to know what's going on."

:And I still DO if you wouldn't mind clueing me in!:

"Fine, come on out." I yanked him out of my mind and shoved him into the physical plane.

"Now what were you..." he started. Then he looked at our surroundings and abruptly changed gears. "...Dawn, this is nearly TWO THOUSAND YEARS from when I last saw you. Would you mind telling me how you're here?"

Sigh. Can you say temporal paradox, boys and girls?

"Ohhhkay," I said taking a deep breath. "You know when Glenn got poisoned by Mr. Sinister? Well, I had to go to the future to save him, see? And so, well, here I am."

Will cast his eyes heavenward and sighed. "All right, I know better then to argue with you about something like this, but you never TOLD me about--I mean, you WILL never tell me about something like this."

"Of course I didn't. Er, won't. Remember Back to the Future? If I TELL you it'll screw up the time stream or something like that, which could result in catastrophic events. You know, like nuclear war, mass hysteria, William Shatner getting his own sitcom..."

"All right already! I get your point."

"I'm glad we understand each other," I said sweetly. "Are we at Askani Hold yet?" I asked Rachel.

"Yes," she replied, gesturing to an odd shaped building. It was a residence, I guessed, for it was fairly small. I instructed Will to return to where ever he went when he wasn't with me and we went inside. It was dark and dusty inside, and not the most homey place I had ever seen, but Rachel said, "Above isn't too much to look at, but we live down below." She telekinetically opened a small trap door, which had been hidden under a lot of what I could only hope had been dirt. I followed her down the stairs and into a substantially larger area, which was, thankfully, much, MUCH cleaner and brighter then the upper part. It was like a long hallway with lots and LOTS of doors on either side with a large one at the end of the hallway.

"This'll be your room," Rachel told me, pointing to a door. "But first, psionically concentrate on this lock."

I looked at the panel on the door dubiously. "Um, why?" I asked.

"One of the perks of being a telepath is you can learn a lot of valuable information," Rachel told me. "In this case, I learned a lot about the virtues of psionic locks. This panel is capable of identifying brain waves. It will open up when it senses brain waves it "knows", but will stay locked otherwise. In other words, it won't open for you until it gets your scent."

All right, that sounded a little weird, but hey, it WAS the future, right? I touched the lock with my mind and a little light on the panel flashed. The door opened for me like one of the doors on Star Trek and I began to wonder exactly how useful an electronic door was if the electricity was cut off. I mean, it didn't have a door knob, how were you supposed to get out if it got stuck?

"You'll find a uniform inside," Rachel told me, startling me out of my trite thoughts.

"Why would I need one?" I asked.

"Well, your shirt is now in shreds," Boak replied, indicating the large holes made by my wings, "the uniform doubles as body armor, is made of unstable molecules, and serves as a--"

"Boak," Rachel said reproachfully.


"All right, I'll wear it," I sighed. I walked in the room and the door shut behind me. It was about as large as my room in the Academy with an adjoining bathroom. There was a uniform on the bed, which bore an uncanny resemblance to the one I had first worn back in Massachusetts--you know, the blue and yellow one. There was also what seemed to be a knee length robe and a long dress as well. Hmph. I missed my leather jacket and jeans already.

"This thing's worse then my Generation X costume!" I scowled as I put on the uniform. "I've gotta have a looooong talk with Rachel about THIS." I put the robe on and tied the belt or sash or whatever it was. "Oh yes, a VERY long talk." I stalked out the door, feeling more then a little annoyed at having to give up jeans and tennis shoes.

"You know," I said as I stalked into the main room where the others were, "Some people think wearing stuff like this is a sin."

"You can't wear what you came here in," Shy'ar told me over a mouthful... well, I'm STILL not sure what it was. "You have to be as inconspicuous as possible."

"Well, it doesn't mean I have to LIKE it," I said, wrinkling my nose. "The only time I've worn a dress in the past THREE YEARS was last night when I went dancing, and it was only because there was a dress code."

Rachel smiled. "I had a friend like you once," she said. "Kitty didn't like to wear dresses either."

I dimly remembered a person named Kitty from my studies about the other branches of the X-Men. "Kitty... Pryde?" I said. "Shadowcat?"

"Yes, that was her," Rachel said, reverting to Old Englishe. "How'd you know? I thought you were new to the Xavier clan."

"I had to look through the files about other teams and the history of the X-Men and stuff like that," I shrugged, shifting to Old Englishe myself. "Excalibur, right? The team you used to belong to?"

"That's it," Rachel nodded. "Tell me, how are they doing? How much has changed since I left?"

"Umm, let me see..." I scrounged around in my memories for the appropriate files. "Oh yeah. They have four new members, Rahne Sinclair, Douglock, Pete Wisdom, and Piotr Rasputin. Um... some current missions were when Nightcrawler battled D'Spayre and..."

I filled her in as much as possible, and she listened eagerly. She missed her friends and was sorry she hadn't been able to visit them when she had come to pick me up. She fingered her pendant again and sighed. "I DO miss them," she said. "Even Brian. I wish I could have seen them again."

"So..." I said, "is it okay if *I* ask some questions?"


"Okay... what exactly is Operation: Switchback?"

"Exactly what the name implies. We take you out of your time and then switch you back. Mind you, it's not very easy to pull bodies into the time stream, but with the help of the Phoenix Force and Corinth it was possible.


"Part of Corinth's psionic powers are the ability to boost the powers of another, and the Phoenix Force--or what's left of it--also acts as an enhancer for my own abilities."

"You sound like a college professor."

"I've been around enough of them."

"Don't you two know it's rude to speak in a foreign language in front of us commoners?" Shy'ar interrupted.

"But you swear in Shi'ar all the time," Corinth said softly, smiling a little.

"You're Shi'ar?" I inquired, remembering the Shi'ar equipment that I had seen at the Academy.

"Half, actually," he replied. "My father was Gra'jar, a warrior of the Shi'ar, and my mother was Wisp, a member of the Xavier Collective. My father was attempting to renew ties with earth when he met my mother. She was the last of the Collective, facing Apocalypse's followers with only a plasma rifle, her powers spent. Gra'jar was intrigued, he wanted to know what would inspire a Terran to fight against impossible odds. He transported her to his ship and healed her wounds. They fell in love, and soon afterwards I was born. My parents and I might have remained aboard my father's ship had Apocalypse not decided it was a threat and destroyed it. I was seventeen at the time, and my parents agreed that transporting me to earth was my only chance at survival. Some years later I met Ask- I mean, Rachel, who recruited me for the Askani Clan."

"Hm. Cool."


"Oh. I meant, um, that's interesting." Sheesh. This common language thing was getting confusing.

"What about you?" Corinth asked me. "What was your life like?"

"Pretty average, actually," I replied. "For my era, anyway. Well, I THOUGHT it was average until I found out I was being manipulated by Mr. Sinister. He kidnaped my parents and when I confronted him... it resulted in my friend almost dying."

"It's all right," Rachel told me. "We'll save him. But we have to rescue the other Clan members first, only they can help you."

"You'd best get some sleep," Boak advised me. "You look like you haven't slept in days."

"Only twenty six hours," I told him.

"Boak's right," Rachel said. "We've got things to do tomorrow. It would be best if you were well rested."

I sighed and trudged back to my room and counted sheep. I only got as far as three before I fell asleep.

TEASER: Would you believe Dawn is assigned to infiltrate Apocalypse's stronghold all by her lonesome? Well, believe it, 'cause that's EXACTLY what happens.

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