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The door closed behind the retreating figure of Voght. And the Master of Magnetism turned back to the viewing port; the endless, empty void they called space.

But it was not so empty. For in the system of Sol, on the third planet from its star, life had evolved. Life that was determined to survive.

And now that life was turning against itself, destroying each other, and in the process, destroying itself. There used to be more enemies; different countries waging wars, having little political squabbles, but none as frightening as the battle that had been on for decades, and would most likely carry on till the end of time.

There were the two factions, as they always had been. It had not changed over the years. One of the only things that escaped the ravages of time. It was Homo Sapiens versus Homo Sapiens Superior. The never-ending battle, driven by that, which was the basic block in the make-up of man: the need to survive.

The Earth was so beautiful, and Magneto longed for it. He longed to be able to return to it, on the day when its people learnt to accept differences, learnt to accept peace.

Until then, he would be in exile, fighting uselessly against the emotions of man; never to see his home again.

" Yes, it is a beautiful sight."

The unexpected, yet familiar voice shocked him out of his reflections.

He turned to face the man on his computer screen.

" Agreed, Mr. Creed, but one hopes that it will stay that way."

Magneto fixed his icy gaze on the face of Graydon Creed. If looks could freeze, Graydon Creed would have been a block of ice.

" I imagine Mr. Creed, that this is not a social call."

Creed's eyes narrowed and looked at him searchingly, but could detect no obvious sarcasm or overt impoliteness. Thus, partially satisfied, he continued.

" Quite the contrary my dear Magneto. This is a business call."

His only response was a raised eyebrow form the white-mane man. Magnus was trying his best not to be insulting, so as not to provoke his antagonist. He could not afford it.

" We would like you to turn yourself in to the authorities, for your various crimes."

Magneto raised the other eyebrow. " And that would be...?"

" You know who I mean, Magneto. Us."

Magneto could have laughed aloud, but he restrained himself. Who did Creed think he was dealing with? Charles? Magneto had not been born yesterday. " And if I find no reason to?"

Creed's face was definitely smug. In fact, he was smirking. " We do have means to persuade you." And he moved aside, leaving the screen empty, to allow something in the background to be seen, a sight that made Magneto stiffen.

" Pietro... Wanda..."

His mind reeled. The memories washed over him, smothering him, drowning him.

His house... burning... and the voice of a little girl... Anya... his little girl... Magda running: running away from him... her children...their children... Pietro and Wanda... " you can't be our father... you're not our father!"...

He had already lost Anya and Magda. He would not lose Pietro and Wanda. He owed that much to them. He clenched his fist and gritted his teeth. No, never again.

Creed moved in but stayed in a corner of the screen, so that Magneto could still see his children.

" So you see, we do have our methods. And we can do other things..."

A blinding flash of light, and it faded away to show Pietro and Wanda convulsed in vigorous spasms, a blue light crackling round them.

It suddenly stopped, and they collapsed to the ground like empty sacks of flour.

Magneto's heart could have stopped beating then, but he recovered in time. And when Creed moved back into view, he had calmed himself enough, so that Creed might not see how disturbed he was.

" Be at the Nagave Desert tomorrow, at 1300 hours. If not..."

No explanation was needed. Magneto slumped slightly in defeat. He had no choice. Creed had won this round. The screen winked out, along with Creed's image. And Magneto unclenched his fist, only to find that he had dug in so hard, his palm was bleeding.

And, oblivious to the jarring pain that it caused, he slammed that fist down on the table, and let the sound echo round the room, round the empty void that was his soul, so as to ease the greater pain that he felt deep inside.


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