Professor Xavier watched in terrified concern as his X Men went toe-to-toe with the deadly, specially trained Mutant Response Division. The force field traps the enemy had begun employing proved their effectiveness, as, one by one, his X Men were pinned down and captured.

The real horror, however, was only just to come, as, with a grim look, the commander of the M.R.D. gave the order to shoot to kill any remaining hostiles. "Too dangerous to be controlled peacefully," they would undoubtedly publish in the newspapers. Most of the major circulations were in the M.R.D.'s and other like group's pockets anyway. One more lie wouldn't be that much of a stretch to save face.

Xavier's attention was arrested by the sight of Wolverine, who was snarling and stabbing wildly at the enemy with his claws, take several quick shots to the chest and shoulder, falling to the ground with a 'thud'. Several tense seconds passed, but the man didn't rise again.

"Why isn't he getting up?" Xavier breathed, eyes straining for any sign of movement. "What could those bullets be made of that he . . . no, impossible. They couldn't have gotten ahold of a supply of . . . adamantium, surely?" Lifting a hand to his temple, he sent out a telepathic message to Cyclops.

"Scott? Come in, Scott. What's going on out there?" he thought urgently.

A report came a few seconds later, "Professor! We're . . . we're not . . . we can't hold them off much longer. They've already taken down some of the younger ones. It's like . . . I don't even know how to describe it. It's like our powers aren't working properly . . . or maybe they've just . . . gained some kind of protection against them . . . Professor, I've never . . . never seen anything like this . . . except. . ." Silence followed his broken report.

"Scott? Scott?! What's happened? Can you hear me?" Xavier repeated, almost frantically. No answer met his tense queries, no response came from the leader of the X Men. "Blast," Xavier muttered fiercely, raising his eyes to the battle once more. He had to get in there. Somehow, he had to help his team. If only there was a way to . . . . A new sound interrupted his thoughts.

"Professor?" a distant voice called earnestly, almost in a whisper. "Professor Xavier? Can you hear me? Please answer, Professor," the person repeated.

"Who . . . Wanda?" Xavier asked mentally, stunned. "Wanda? Is that . . . is that you? Where are you?"

The voice, which sounded unmistakably like that of his old friend's daughter, didn't answer his question. Instead, the words came again, pleading this time, "Professor . . . Professor, can you hear me?"

"Yes, yes, I can hear you," Xavier murmured, both aloud and in his mind. "Where are you, Wanda? What's wrong? Are you in danger? Please, speak to me. Let me help you."

Wanda's words oscillated in strength, fading, then growing louder, then fading again. "Professor," she called once more, "Professor, I need you to follow the sound of my voice."

"But where are you?" he pressed again, looking wildly around the surrounding area but seeing no sign of the Scarlet Witch. "Can you at least tell me that?"

"I'm here," she replied, almost eagerly. "I'm here, but, Professor . . . " she trailed off.

"What? What is it?" he asked worriedly.

"Professor, you have to wake up."

The words echoed like a bolt of electricity throughout his body. All at once, the world went black.

"Wanda?" he muttered weakly, straining against the sickening sensation of falling. Dimly, he became aware of gentle sunlight brushing at his closed lids. With effort, he tried to open his eyes, the world once more coming into focus, both audibly, visibly, and otherwise. And then Professor Charles Xavier woke up.