|Season 6, Episode 14|
Survival of the Fittest
-Gaveedra Seven, you need to face punishment for your betrayal!- Rita said, holding six swords out at the Xavier’s School student, one with each of her arms.
-Ugh, can’t you just let it go?!- Rictor asked, sending a shockwave blast at the Mojoverse mercenaries.
Longshot pulled out two knives and tossed them at Julio, aiming to kill him. Shatterstar stepped in, blocking almost all the knives with his swords, but thanks to Longshot’s “good luck”, one of them dug itself in Gaveedra’s skin.
-Lucky me.- The stuntman smiled.
Seven fell to the ground, trying to pull the knife out.
-NO!- Rictor yelled, but Spiral paralyzed him using her spells.
Spiral put her hand on Shatterstar’s shoulder and grabbed Longshot’s wrist, teleporting away to Mojoverse.
From a distance, Mr. Sinister, who had been watching the fight, stood up and teleported away.
-Welcome to Mojoworld!- Mojo exclaimed, his face appearing on the sky as soon as the Longshot, Spiral and Shatterstar arrived in Mojoverse. -I am Mojo, your host. Today, we have the comeback of a fan favorite gladiator, Gaveedra Seven, aka Shatterstar. However, because of his insubordination, he will have to face Mojoworld’s finest warriors… To the death.- He chuckled. -You will have twelve hours to prepare, Shatterstar… Happy Mojo Games, and may the odds be NEVER in your favor!- He laughed, and his face vanished from the sky. Longshot and Spiral held hands and teleported away, leaving a hurt Gaveedra on the floor.
Shatterstar tried pulling the knife out of his chest, but the pain was unbearable. Suddenly, a mysterious figure teleported himself in front of him.
-Hello, Gaveedra.- He smiled.
-W-Who are you?-
-I am Nathaniel Essex. I am here to help you.-
-What… Who are you? Are you a mutant?-
-I am close enough to being one.-
-I am also close enough to being one. I used to be a pure mutant… But I was genetically altered.-
-Oh… Really?- Mr. Sinister smiled. He had just figured out a way to set himself free from Apocalypse. His master thrived to see a world where only the best, pure mutants existed under his rule… And his Horsemen were guaranteed to be part of it. If Shatterstar became a Horseman, Apocalypse’s plan would have failed no matter the outcome. He had finally found Apocalypse’s hamartia, his fatal flaw.
Shatterstar tried once more to pull the knife out, but it was impossible again.
-Here, let me help you.- Essex walked to Gaveedra and put his index fingers on the young mutant’s temples. -Pull it out.-
Seven did as Sinister ordered, and he didn’t feel any pain this time.
-Thank you…- Shatterstar said, looking down at the wound that was healing at an accelerated rate thanks to his own powers. -How did you do that? I felt… Nothing.-
-I am a telepath. I can deactivate the areas of the brain that get activated when you feel pain.- Using his telekinesis, Sinister picked up the bloody knife and tossed it against a tree, hitting the trunk accurately effortlessly. -That… That is telekinesis. Not the same thing.-
-I know.- Shatterstar nodded. -We’re taught that at Xavier’s.-
-Oh… You’re an X-Man?- Essex played dumb. He knew the answer.
-Uh… Not quite. I am just a student. The X-Men is a group of students, you could say. But not everyone who is a student is an X-Man.-
-Interesting… Doesn’t that generate a division between you? Jealousy?-
-I… I would assume some people feel that towards the X-Men, especially the younger ones.-
-What about you? Do you feel that?-
-If I’m being honest… Sometimes.- Gaveedra shrugged. -My closest friends aren’t X-Men… But I think we could perfectly be part of the group… Or at least the New Mutants.-
-I agree completely.- Nathaniel nodded. -I don’t know who your friends are,- he lied, -but I am sure you are perfectly capable mutants.-
-Who is this new player? And why exactly is he helping Shatterstar?- Mojo asked, looking at the camera in front of him. -I am usually against this kind of intrusions, but this can only mean drama!- The Spineless One laughed. -Find out more when we get back from this commercial break!-
-Welcome back to MojoVision!- Mojo exclaimed. -Our contestants have been given twelve hours to rest… But that time is already up! Let’s see how they do when they have to face two of Mojoverse’s finest mercenaries!-
-The twelve hours are up…- Shatterstar commented, looking at the Sun’s position in the sky. -Knowing Mojo, he won’t spare us a single second.-
As soon as the young mutant finished uttering those words, a portal opened up in front of them and two beings walked out of it. The first one to cross the portal was a buff mechanical being. His torso was grey and blue, and his head was protected by another metal layer. His eyes were red, and did not look friendly at all. He was holding a 6’5’’ battle stave which had a choking rectangle on one end, powered by electricity, able to electrocute. The last mutant to cross was a slim, rather short woman with shoulder length pink hair, magenta skin and tattoos on her face. On her forehead, between her eyebrows, she sported a pink diamond and was wearing a dark green outfit with matching long, fingerless gloves.
-Clarice? What did Mojo do to you?!- Gaveedra asked, perplexed.
-How do you know my name?- She spat bitterly.
-We… We’re friends…- Shatterstar’s voice started to crack. -Back at Xavier’s…-
-I have a feeling that she is not the one you know.- Sinister commented. -But Mojoverse’s own version of her.-
Blink pulled one of her short javelins out and threw it at the mutants. Sinister reacted quickly and stopped it in midair with his telekinesis. Due to the javelin’s unstable nature, it exploded creating a portal right in front of Essex, that pulled him in.
Shatterstar channelled vibratory shock waves through his swords and blasted them at the two Mojoverse mercenaries. Blink opened up a portal that teleported the shockwaves behind Gaveedra. The former gladiator was propelled forwards. Torgo grabbed Seven’s throat and slammed him on the ground. The mechanical being was ready to deliver a killing blow when a ruby blast hit him, pushing him away.
-You again?!- Clarice asked, annoyed.
-You are not the only one who can teleport, child.- Mr. Sinister smiled.
-Yet no one does it like me!- Ferguson started running towards the mutate and threw two javelins at him as a diversion. Then, she smashed a third one against the ground beneath her and teleported herself above Essex, punching him repeatedly.
Exhausted, Gaveedra looked at Sinister, waiting for him to envision his destination. As soon as Nathaniel looked up at Blink, Shatterstar used his last energies to open an X shaped portal and teleport himself next to Blink, slashing her torso with his swords. Both Clarice and Gaveedra fell to the ground.
-That’s enough, Blink!- Mojo’s face appeared in the sky. -They’ve fought well. But they won’t be as lucky next time.- The monstrous face vanished.
Clarice nodded, opened up a portal and walked through it.
-Gaveedra, what was that?- Sinister asked.
-Whenever I use my powers, I exhaust myself.-
-I was talking about the teleportation. Why didn’t you do it before?-
-I need a living “anchor”, someone to visualize my destination before opening a portal… And you…- Shatterstar was unable to finish the sentence, as he fell asleep.
Mr. Sinister picked him up and tried teleporting themselves out of Mojoverse.
-Nice try!- Mojo’s face appeared again in the sky. -But you can’t teleport away unless I allow it! Which won’t be so until these Games are over! And… Even by then, you’ll both be dead!- The Spineless One started laughing as his face disappeared.
Essex cursed under his breath. With little to no knowledge of Mojoverse, he couldn’t just teleport away to any safe location, so he had to walk, carrying Gaveedra with him.
When Shatterstar woke up, he found himself in the Coliseum where he used to fight as a gladiator.
-Why… Why are we here?-
-This was the only safe place I could reach by walking.-
Gaveedra’s eyes slowly started getting accustomed to the light. -Light pierces my eyes, and I’ve returned to the coliseum, the place where I was truly born. The place where a young boy once asked me if I was strong enough to shatter the very stars.- Shatterstar sat up and wrapped his arms around his knees.
-So… Tell me about yourself… About Julio…- Mr. Sinister inquired.
Seven looked up at him immediately. -How do you know his name?-
-I am a telepath, my son.- Essex lied. -And I have been in contact with your mind for hours now.-
Shatterstar nodded, since the explanation made sense.
-Are you in love?-
The young mutant nodded again, and sighed. -I must admit… I wanted to have a more open relationship before… But I am emotionally invested in Julio.-
-Would you do anything to protect your… B-Boyfriend?- Sinister asked.
-Do you trust me?- Essex wondered.
-I… I do. When you asked me why I didn’t teleport before, it’s because my “anchor” needs to be someone I’m connected to.-
-And you connected… With me?-
-Yes.- Shatterstar replied.
-Then, since I trust you too, I need to tell you something. I need to warn you about a new Age. A new Age that will affect not only mutants, but the whole world… And every change brings death, inevitably.- Sinister closed his eyes briefly. -I can guarantee you to live past it… And by doing so, you will be able to protect Rictor.-
-Why can’t you guarantee Julio’s survival as well?-
-The other three spots have already been taken.-
-How do you know this?-
-You will have to trust me, Gaveedra.-
Suddenly, Spiral and Longshot appeared in front of the two contestants, who stood up immediately.
-Sit back down. The show hasn’t even begun…- Rita smirked, pulling out her swords.
Longshot pulled out his throwing knives, ready to throw them at the mutants.
-Can everyone in Mojoverse teleport?- Sinister asked.
Spiral started dancing, generating a powerful magic bolt between her hands, and then threw it towards Shatterstar. Since Gaveedra was still not well rested, his movements weren’t as agile as they should have been and the bolt was headed directly towards him. Suddenly, Essex flew in front of the bolt, taking the hit himself.
-Nathaniel!- Shatterstar ran towards his new friend.
-Oh, look at that! Shatty made friends!- Rita laughed, conjuring another spell and throwing it at Gaveedra.
The former gladiator looked up and gracefully jumped above the bolt, letting it hit the coliseum’s circular wall. Seven pulled out his swords and ran towards Spiral, who did the same. The blades clashed, leading into a proficient sword fight.
Mr. Sinister stood up, ready to fight Longshot. Essex started levitating and firing ruby blasts from the diamond-shaped scarlet mark on his forehead. The Mojoverse stuntman performed a number of backflips, dodging every blast.
-Lucky me.- Longshot smiled.
-There is something off with your mind, child.- Sinister said, looking into the slave’s mind. -It reminds me of a newborn child’s… Tabula rasa, the human mind having no innate ideas… Your mind has been erased.-
-I don’t know what you’re talking about!- Longshot yelled, throwing knives at Mr. Sinister, who crushed them with his telekinesis, while flying closer to the Mojoverse slave.
Essex realized Mojo’s mercenaries would be a problem if Shatterstar joined him and Apocalypse, he paralyzed Longshot and walked to him. Slowly, he placed his thumb on the stuntman’s forehead, reminding him of his past.
Longshot’s life appeared in front of his eyes. He remembered being created as a slave. He remembered his creator, Arize, deciding that those slaves should be able to fight their oppressors. He remembered being given enhanced abilities. He remembered being forced to perform dangerous stunts due to his unwillingness to cooperate as Mojo’s slave. He remembered beginning a rebellion. He remembered being a rebel leader. Suddenly, Longshot turned around and started throwing knives at Spiral, who was perplexed by this betrayal.
-WHAT ARE YOU DOING, YOU IDIOT?!-
-NO! STOP!- Mojo’s face appeared again in the sky, ending the Games.
Sinister walked to Gaveedra. -Shall we?-
The young mutant nodded.
Essex put his hand on Shatterstar’s shoulder and he teleported them back to Earth.
Mr. Sinister and Shatterstar appeared in Apocalypse’s lair, where he was waiting.
-That is a fine specimen, indeed!- En Sabah Nur commented, looking at Gaveedra.
-He is one of Mojoverse’s finest mutants. He was a gladiator back there…
-And if he is still alive, he must be the best there is.- Apocalypse commented. -Perfect.- He smiled, turning Shatterstar into the Horseman of War.
While he was being turned, Gaveedra looked at Sinister in pain and whispered:
-I trusted you… To me, you are... Utterly… And contemptibly… Sinister…-
- Horseman of War Shatterstar's sprite was made by User:Nekhene.
- Blink (Mojoverse)'s sprite was made by Marvel Avengers Alliance Wiki's User:Ami7mina.