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Chapter One: The Watch
”I watch as the portal opens before me. None of the four who step through have ever been here before. In fact, they have only ever heard of this place in the most vague of terms. They refer to it as the moon. I call it home. For countless eons I have dwelled here, observing this solar system and the many changes it has seen. Today, I shall attempt to enlist the aid of others so I may continue this task. With awe, my champions step through the glistening passageway and into the large observation chamber that I use to watch all of reality. Tessa Niles, the telepathic genius known as Sage...Paige Guthrie, the young metamorph known as Husk...Peter Parker, the brooding superhero known as Spider-man...and Matua, the peaceful mage seemingly built for war. These four are the first to be gathered. But I must act with caution. I must not directly compel these mortals to act on my behalf. For to directly interfere in the lives of these beings would violate the oath I have endeavored all my life to uphold. For this I shall turn to the Sorcerers. It is only through them that I shall be able to see it all.”

As Sage, Husk, Spider-man and the newcomer Matua stepped through the portal that carried them to the Earth’s moon, they noticed a large figure perched atop a throne like seat in the middle of the room. He did not even shift his gaze to look at them. Instead, he stared directly ahead with the most intent of glares that any of them had ever seen. And even though he did not look at them, they were sure that he was aware of their presence. But before any of the quartet could inquire about their surroundings, another portal opened. Through it stepped the large green form of Dr. Henry McCoy and the definitively smaller framed Dr. Victoria Essex. Oddly, five of the six visitors already knew each other, but only two had had the pleasure of meeting the Watcher’s last guest. With flowing robes of crimson Dr. Stephen Strange stepped from the portal seconds before it sealed itself closed behind him. Within his mind, Uatu spoke to him alone, ”Welcome Sorcerer, I am pleased with your efforts thus far. For I know these beings possess the skills to aid you in your undertaking.”

Realizing the Watcher was prone to speaking in vague generalities and ambiguous undertones, Dr. Strange neither acknowledged Uatu nor pressed the issue. Instead, he turned to the gathered men and women and addressed them of his own accord, “Let me welcome you to the Blue Area of the moon. I do not believe that any of you have been here before, so I believe an introduction is in order. Our silent host is known as the Watcher. He has seen fit to allow me the use of his inner sanctum for this important meeting. As for myself, I am called Dr. Stephen Strange. I am the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth and it is I that summoned you here. For your help is needed in order to preserve order throughout all of existence.”
Victoria's natural curiousity almost got the better of her as she saw the others. Were they the same Tessa, Paige and Spider-Man? Or was this some sort of cruel joke?
Tentatively, she slipped her hand into Hank's larger furry one and gave him a questioning look before letting her thoughts be known to him.
"Do you think...could it possibly be? It's not some sick twisted joke?"
Dr. Stephan Strange got her attention almost immediately however as he began to speak.
"The moon, how curious!" she was smiling until she looked up at The Watcher and her smile faded away. After getting a serious case of the cold chills, she turned her gaze back towards Tessa.
"Is it just me, or is this just completely creepy?" she silently asked her, hoping it was still her Tessa.
Tessa’s blue eyes twinkled at the telepathic comment, “It isn’t just you.” The dark haired genius responded, “This is completely creepy, most especially The Watcher.” She then gave Victoria a tiny smile.
“Excuse me for my bluntless Dr. Strange, but we’ve heard this before; albeit in a different format, it is still the same general idea.” Tessa spoke up now looking at the crimson-robed man, “How can you make the assumption that we will accept? The majority of us have gone through too many horrors, perhaps we won’t want to endure anything more…” She trailed off, glancing at Paige and Spiderman, then the newcomer Matua and finally Hank and Victoria.
“I cannot speak for this entire group, but I feel like I should shed some light on that option.” She folded her arms over her chest, keenly avoiding looking at the statuesque Watcher seated upon his throne.
“Not again.” Paige muttered as she glanced around at her new surroundings, just when she thought maybe she’d been sent home instead she arrives at this horrid little place. “The moon? Right and ah’m an 80 year old woman trapped in the body of a gorgeous blond.” She exclaimed as she placed her hands on her hips, her blond hair falling into her eyes as she tilted her head to the left.

“Couldn’t yuh just send us all home? Ah mean ah can’t speak for all of us but ah’ve got a husband back home who’s probably having a fit without me.” Paige continued being the outspoken teenager that she was. “Ah’ve got t’ agree with Tessa, we’ve heard this all before and it ain’t any more interesting then the first time.”
Peter briefly glanced over at the other heroes that had been brought here. All of them were faces he recognized, all except one, and he did not care to become acquainted with the new comer at the moment. There would be time for introductions later. Right now, he was interested in their surroundings and in their host, the Watcher as he was called.
The blue eyes behind the mask began to around the room they were in, analyzing its interior. His gaze soon made its way to the Watcher and remained fixed on him while Peter waited for Dr. Strange to continue.
”I watch as they arrive. Their inquisitive nature pleases me. With the Sorcerer’s aid, they shall do fine.”

Dr. Strange smiled. He knew to expect this reaction from the newcomers. Folding his arms beneath his cloak, he let them speak their peace before correcting them. The group was already jumping to conclusions when they obviously knew so little. “Actually Sage, you have never heard any of this before. You come to be where you are because you needed to know the truth.” But his thought pattern was cut short by the impetuous young girl called Husk. She too doubted the Sorcerer, but he would dissuade her misgivings. With a wave of his hands, the walls of the complex seemingly disappeared, exposing the stark lunar landscape that lay beyond the walls. Hoping this display would be enough to convince her of her current location, he continued, “As I was saying, the facts you thought you knew were not facts at all. They were based only in the fantastical theories of a misguided cosmic entity. All of reality is not crumbling. Your homes were never destroyed. The alternate realities that you have bore witness to are just that. Alternate realities...skewed versions of the homes you all know. None of which threatens the whole of reality in any way. In fact, your presence in these realities has only resulted in more tangents to the time line. It was on your last “mission” that I first became aware of your presence in the time stream, and the ripple effect it was having across the space-time continuum. It was then that I first took notice of the increase in spacial distortions, and came to realize that these instances needed to be monitored. To be watched.

“As for your loved ones, I have informed them of your safety myself. So, while it is true that Jono misses you, he knows that you are safe. As for your inclusion in these matters, I can only say that each of you is here for a reason. But, if you wish to leave, you have only to ask. I will not hold anyone against their will.”
“Excuse my misgivings then, one cannot always tell truth from lies.” Tessa said with a brief look of apology, she had to admit she was happy to hear that her reality was still safely intact and she would be able to return to it at some point in time. The dark haired woman looked around the room once again, taking things and recording them into her memory, “I must ask, if you do not wish to hold any of us against our wills how would you respond to a member of this group beginning whatever you wish us to do, but halfway through requesting to leave?” She asked Dr. Strange, “Would you let them leave?” She was attempting to get a handle on the situation, thrown into a completely different dynamic.

This man wasn’t going to keep anybody there, it felt so different than where she had been previously; she had no choice in being there and the thought that her reality was gone. Now to be sent here and told that her reality was in fact intact and her loved ones still breathing threw the young woman for a loop.
“What is it exactly that you expect us to do?”
Hank closed his fingers around 'Toria's and glanced down at her as she stood next to him. His nose twitched, filling with mostly familiar scents. "I don't recall Stephen ever having a sense of humour about this sort of thing." he thought, his golden eyes glancing over at the Watcher. "Uatu either.."

He turned his attention back to Stephen as he began to speak, listening as he patiently repeated what he had already told Hank and 'Toria. As he finished Hank looked around at his former companions and the large newcomer who had been chosen to complete their team. "I know this is all a lot to take in. Especially when we believed our home realities were gone, and everything we knew and loved destroyed with them." Hank's eyes seemed to flare in anger at the lie that had been perpetrated on them, although he managed to keep his tone even as he continued. "But as Stephen has said that is simply untrue. Our worlds go on. No cataclysmic event has occured, other than the usual everyday ones we are all used to. We no longer have to hope that one day we can mend enough realities that we can some day return home. We can return home whenever we choose to." He smiled as he looked over at Tessa. "We are being asked to help. Not forced into doing it. Not cajoled into doing it. Not tricked into doing it. We can make a difference now because we want to."
Matua had stood silent, slowly letting his gaze trace around his surrounds as the others spoke back and forth. The little man in the strange clothes had said something about the Blue Area of the Moon....but which moon? Where? Quietly his eyes drifted up to the heavenly lit sky as the walls and ceiling that had once surronded them faded away and left him standing seemingly exposed. The stars were all different. Every single one of them. There wasn't a single constellation that he recognized anywhere in sight, though in the past few months of his life that was a feeling he had unfortunately become more accustomed with.

And this new group he found himself with...who were they? Two of the females appeared to be human, and one had the coloring of a Saurian, but the fur of something that belied any trace of reptilian heirtage. And the other one...the other male who had remained silent all this time. What was he? Human? Atlantean? Some new species he was not yet privy to? The funny dressed human had claimed to be some sort of Sorcerer Supreme of Earth, which Matua suspected to be the small blue globe floating in the lunar sky. So that was it? From this distance it didn't look half as bad as some of his former companions had made it sound. But then again who was he to take the words of pirates and theives at face value.

He stared at the planet a for what seemed like ages before his mind finally came back to the moment, his sudden arrival into awareness alerting him to the fact that once again he seemed to be in a place where his mind was unclear and his thoughts unfocused. Even if the man was some sort of Sorceror and magic was possible here, would he have to learn his craft for a third time? Would he even be able to? And these things they said...they made no sense to him, while at the same time seeming to be common knowledge to almost everyone else. Had he once more been pulled from a place he knew to an entirely knew one?

Of course he had, he chastized himself, suddenly remembering the feirce battle in which he was engaging only moments before. Charon's favorite son, the Lawbringer Qztr, had come upon them on some jungle planet, raining death and destruction upon them as only he could. There had been a plan of sorts, Kaine calling the shots and leading the way. Evinlea had advanced.... There was a blast of light. No. Of energy. Coming straight for him. The sheild he had errected around himself and the Atlantean had failed. He could remember the heat upon his skin....

"Excuse me for my ignorance, and forgive my interruption....." he said as he laid a hand over his heart, his head bowed almost completely as he gazed intently at the ground. "...but would one be so kind as to tell me who you are? And if possible....what is going on?"
Peter's eyes left the Watcher to look at the impressive view Dr. Strange had given them. So many stars, all of them so far away, light years away. And even further were planets and more galaxies. For a brief moment, Peter was lost in the vastness of it, lost in how from this perspective, all the problems on earth seemed insignificant and mute. But only for a moment. Stephen's explanation brought Peter's attention back to the Sorcerer. While relieved that his world was unharmed and that the ones he cared for were still alive, Peter couldn't help but feel enraged at the fact that he had been decieved. All of them had, and that people had suffered because of it.
"Great. So he's basically telling us that a bunch of people suffered and died because some idiot who had more power than he could handle didn't have his facts straight."
It meant they had been reality hopping and needlessly putting themselves and others in mortal danger when they could have been at home helping those who really needed it.
However, at the same time, now they were being offered a chance to make a difference, to actually do what they thought they were doing in the first place, helping worlds that needed. Or so they were being told.
"How do we know that he's not feeding us another load of bs? What if he's just another idiot who hasn't the slightest clue of what he's doing? What if he's wrong and is sending us on another futile goose chase that'll get us all killed?"
Almost immediately after that thought had came across his mind, another one came to counter it.
"What if he's right? What if there are world's really in danger? What if what he's asking you to do will save lives on a larger scale than anything the Resistance could accomplish? Are you willing to take that risk? To just turn your back on people in need just because you weren't willing to give the guy a chance?"
There was a long pause within Peter, silencing both voices that had been debating the issue.
The thought was short and simple, but it spoke volumes to the man under the mask.
"Alright, I'll play his little game on the off set chance that what he's saying is true. But if he's lying..."
In was a sentence that Peter knew he didn't have to finish. Liars and traitors didn't sit well with him, as they quickly found out. His focus on the small turmoil within him was diverted tothe questions being made by the unfamiliar face. Peter turned his attention to the new comer, willing to help shed some light on the situation for him.
"We've been reality hopping," Peter quickly pointed to his teammates that he had been reunited with, "to different worlds for a guy named the Timebroker, who believed that our homes had been destroyed and that the only way to restore them was to fix dangerous anomolies in alternate worlds. He used the fact that we no longer had homes to force us into helping him. What Dr. Strange is informing us, however, is that the idiot got his facts wrong, that our homes were never gone and that the only thing we accomplished on the missions the Timebroker had sent us on was getting our teammates killed."
A hint of anger could be recognized in the Spider's voice, but Peter kept it in check.
"Now Dr. Strange is offering us the chance to help people in alternate worlds for real. To use our abilities to, as he put it, 'preserve order throughout all of existence.'"
Peter paused a moment to let this all sink in.
"But again, unlike the Timebroker, Dr. Strange is giving us a choice. We can help or go home."
Peter let his gaze move from the new comer over to the caped sorcerer.
"And as for my answer...I'm in."
Tessa smiled at Hank, “That’s a little bit of a foreign thought to me, McCoy.” The smiled faded as she listened to Spiderman’s explanation, “As for our names, you’ve heard a few of them already but I’ll inform you of the rest.” Tessa paused looking at Matua, He was large enough to rival Hank in size she noted absently, “My name is Tessa Niles, or you may call me Sage if you prefer. The big green guy is Dr. Hank McCoy or Beast; the woman beside him is Dr. Victoria Essex.” She pointed at each one in turn, “The southerner is Paige Guthrie, also known as Husk; and that is Spiderman.” She paused taking a breath, “Most of us have genetic variants, four of us are what some realities call mutants; Spiderman is the only one that is not.” Tessa kept her gaze on Matua, “Does that question well enough?”
Victoria squeezed Hank's hand as he spoke and watched everyone's reaction as Dr. Strange filled them in. She could feel Spider-Man's anger and knew he was feeling the exact same thing she had when Stephen had told her and Hank the truth.
None of it had been necessary...and Scott's death had been in vain. It was a hard pill for her to swallow.
Her only consolation was that she had gotten to see Piotr and Kitty again and it took a great weight off her heart to know they were safe and alive.
Her dark eyes watched Paige carefully before she finally spoke.
"Paige...You among all of us have more of a reason to go home any time you want. And that's the grand part, you can. But we were all brought together for a purpose with no weighty obligations and no need to worry about everyone at home. I'm staying. Other than the few people back home who did miss me, for the most part they all thought I had just holed myself up in the lab for the better part of a year. home's here now...and so is my family." she squeezed Hank's fingers as she looked over at him, then back to Tessa, Paige and Spider-Man, then to the newcomer.
"We are here to make a difference, because we can. So who are we to turn down Dr. Strange?"
Alternate Realities? Like The Negation? Just how many universes were there? How many other power mad emperors just waiting and biding their time before setting off to conquer the universe next door? But at the same time....paradise. How many peaceful spaces were out there? Full of compassion and love and totally unable to defend themselves against the likes of Charon and his Lawbringers, or whatever else might be lurking out there in this "Alternate Realities"?

His time spent with the Goddess and the human trying to save his own universe had come about completely against his own will, but it was a task he had accepted on principle not long afterwards. This time he was being asked to help. Asked to risk his life for the protection of other realms. But could he actually do anything? Qztr alone had proven more than a match for he and his friends on every occasion they'd crossed paths. Would this smaller group be any match for the likes of him? For something worse?

He bowed slighty to Sage as she offered a expansion to Spiderman's explination, and then lifted his gaze somewhat to the one called Dr. Essex. Her visage filled his view for a moment before turning his sight upon Stephen, his lips parting as he voiced another question of his own.

"Who is this 'Dr. Strange' to ask us to do anything?"
Paige could feel her knees going weak at the mention that Jono was alive and well and knew that she wasn’t died, her vision began to blur with tears she wasn’t willing to let fall in the companion of some many. “Though ah still don’t trust yah, ah believe that yah aren’t lyin’ when yuh say Jono knows ah’m alive. For that bit of information ah’m thankful.” Paige looked at Dr. Strange, still untrusting of him as a person but he seemed sincere when he said their loved ones are alive and well. Plus if Hank and ‘Toria trust him then she didn’t really have any reason not to, after all they hadn’t lead her astray yet.

The blond shifted her gaze when Victoria spoke, “Yuh right Victoria, ah do have a big ole’ reason to want to go home. But ah’ve never been one to leave mah teammates high and dry, Jono will be there when I decide to go home either for good or for a visit. But either way he knows ah’m safe and that alone has eased a great deal of my burdens.” Paige paused for a moment to push strands of blond hair out of eyes and in the process try to wipe away the few tears that had fallen. “Ah can’t very well say ah’m going home after the speech Victoria just gave, so y’all aren’t rid of me that easy.” The blond metamorph flashed a smile at her teammates as she said this; after all they were as much her family as the people back in her own reality.
Hank released 'Toria's hand and strode over till he was in the middle of the group. "Perhaps Stephen or Uatu there can direct us to somewhere more comfortable and suitable to continue this discussion. I'm not sure what the rest of you have been through since we last saw each other." He turned to Matua and smiled a toothy grin. "And from the looks of our new friend here, it's been a while since he has had a chance to relax at all."
"I watch as they react. They are inquisitive...relieved...angry. Their emotions rule them. I hope that the Sorcerer has chosen wisely with these beings."

Each of them had their opinions on the current situation, and Dr. Strange knew that. So he simply took a moment to step back from the assembled group and let them ask their questions and speak their minds. Stephen noticed that the stranger among them, Matua, seemed confused. He was having difficulties grasping the physics of the moment. He also took note of Peter's anger. The masked man did his best to conceal it, but one as attuned to his surroundings as Dr. Strange couldn't help but notice. Realizing the heroes needed more of an explanation to soothe their concerns, Dr. Strange continued.

"I realize that some of you may not know me. I am the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth, Dr. Stephen Strange. It is my task to safeguard this particular corner of reality against any that would do it harm. I have a counterpart in every reality, and it is their role to do the same as I. Now, I can understand if you are harboring anger over the time you spent with the Timebroker. But you should not. You accomplished far more than you could know in your travels. Even though it may have seemed like all your efforts brought was death, allow me to assure you it was not. Your deeds were heroic, even if they were guided by something less then pure fact. The entity known as the Timebroker was only doing what it thought was right. It sensed a growing ripple throughout time and space and perceived it as a threat to reality. Such a conclusion was certainly possible, for as many of you probably know, stranger things have happened. But fortunately for all of existence, what the Timebroker sensed was not a collapse, but merely a great and widespread increase in divergent realities, splitting off of one another at an exponential rate.” Looking at Matua once again, Dr. Strange realized that he was perhaps speaking in terms that the man could not fully understand. He did not want to insult the man’s intelligence, but at the same time he wanted to be sure that everyone understood. “In case some of you are unfamiliar with the concepts surrounding alternate realities, allow me to explain. Simply stated, an alternate reality is a separate universe created due to alternate choices. For example, in your daily life, you may choose to go outside and watch the sun set. But you could also have made the choice to remain in doors and play with your children. Either one of those choices could cause your life to change in different and unpredictable ways. And with each choice you make, or do not make, a complete different reality may be forged.”

Stephen attempted a genuine smile, hoping to set the group at ease. As Henry said, each of them had been through some difficult times recently, and they deserved a rest. Allowing his spell to drop, the walls of the Watcher’s citadel became visible once more. As the room seemed to reform around them, Dr. Strange ushered them toward the door, out onto the moons surface. For the first time since his guests arrived, the Watcher allowed his gaze to shift for only a moment as he briefly surveyed the group as they left his presence. As they walked, Stephen Strange continued, “Do not allow your surroundings to alarm you. The Blue Area of the Moon is completely habitable, with no danger to any of you. You will find that you can move and breath as easily here as you could anywhere. We have the Kree Empire to thank for that. And as Uatu’s home is not exactly built for entertaining, I thought we would find a bit more comfortable surroundings. As for your time spent together, that is completely up to you. If you wish to remain, you may. Or you may return to your lives at any time you wish. And you will certainly not be required to serve with us indefinitely. You will only be called upon when you are needed. The rest of the time you may continue to live your lives as you have always known them. Sage, you specifically asked what I expect of you? Simply put, I need you to help me keep assist in observing the rapid increase in alternate realities, and to protect them. To be heroes.”
Victoria looked over her shoulder as they left The Watcher's chamber and studied him for a moment. She was almost entranced by the being that sat there in silent watch of all realities, but did not envy him in the least.
Quickly catching up with everyone, she silently listened to Dr. Strange speak in relative terms about the things she already had been told.
"But honestly, what if we don't want to go home. I mean, not to sound...silly, but I have maybe 4 people that are remotely interested in where I've been and what I'm doing right now... my adoptive parents, my friend Peter, and well.... Wade..." she didn't look at anyone as she spoke, she was too intent on the lunar landscape and taking it all in.
"So to be all honest, they are all better off without me there...because I only bring danger into their lives...and I'm not willing to do that. So in my down time, if I could just go somewhere else, that would work for me."
She knew that Sinister would be waiting...and she wasn't ready to face him, not yet. Someday, but not right now.
Letting her eyes trail to Hank, she smiled softly as they continued to walk.
Peter followed the others as Dr. Strange gave his little speech to the new face among them. He wasn't really listening. Most of it he already knew and that which was new information he wasn't all that interested in. His focus was else where. Though his mask was pointing the in the direction of Stephen Strange, his eyes were on Tessa. She had told the newbie earlier that he was the only one among them that was not a mutant. It was...strange to say the least. At home, had he shown so much as his masked face in public, the people would be on him in moments, as would the authorities. Taking the costume off wouldn't have helped either. Wherever he went, he was marked as a mutant, an inferior, someone who needed to be disposed of or feared. And yet, Tessa didn't know. Heck none of them did. He knew that for the most part it was because he hadn't exactly been open with his teammates. but they hadn't really bothered to find out about his mutant heritage, nor did they seem to care. It was as if whether he was a mutant or not was completely irrelevant to them. It felt...comforting.
Peter's eyes left Tessa to examine their surroundings, but only for a moment. Soon, they were on Victoria as she spoke, part of which he could relate to. Here he was being asked to fight to help worlds, but the moment he got home he would be right back in the middle of the mutant war. Then he would be called again, then sent back into battle. He would never know a moments peace, a time to rest. Though, in all honesty he wasn't to familiar with that term to begin with. It was going to be tough yes, but he knew that if he had the power to make a difference, he couldn't ignore it. Taking in a deep breath, Peter let his gaze rest on the caped Sorcerer and waited for their mission to begin.
“If that is what you expect there is no way I can say no to staying here.” Tessa responded seriously, knowing that if part of their task was to monitor that somebody within the group would need to be keeping recorded data of the events. She was not the only one equipped with specs with similar recording capabilities, but one tended to have an advantage when they were living computer.
“Of course, I am only making an assumption with this but you will need somebody to keep recorded data of the realities.” She continued, pausing when she heard Victoria speak up about whether she could go somewhere else during breaks. Tessa didn’t want to make a guess, but she had a nagging feeling in the back of her mind that Victoria was afraid to go home to her reality because of Sinister.
“You could always tag along with Hank back to his reality.” Tessa told the white-haired woman, with the faintest of teasing looks, “I’m sure he would enjoy that.”
Victoria gave Tessa a wide eyed look of horror at her suggestion and quickly masked it again.
"Girl, have you ever seen his ex? I mean, she's a GODDESS! No thanks, I feel inadequate enough as it is. Maybe I'll just tag along with you." the thought ended with an bit of an evil chuckle.
She knew Hank would hear her thoughts, he always did, so she made sure to smile brightly and listen to everyone as Dr. Strange led them away.
Again, she looked back over her shoulder towards where they had left The Watcher.
"Hmm? oh..right then...umm..well Tessa, while that idea sounds lovely, and really it does...I don't know, maybe I'll just go home...and deal with what's there." she made a bit of a grimace..."but I'm all up for this, I'll be here as long as I'm wanted and needed."
It was blatantly obvious that he was the proverbial 'odd man out' as Kaine would say, but neither of those things would change the matter at hand. He was still being asked to travel to different universes, to voluntarily keep himself away from home. And to do so at the request of some so called Sorceror in a frilly cape. Lunacy.

He looked down at his hands as he gently closed them, concentrating on his internal energies as he attempted to reach out and touch the energies of the world...or rather...moon, around him. Slowly his eyelids flittered down, shutting as contact was attempted with the greater power. The hand on his left fell back to his side as he focused on the palm of his right, trying to visualize and form in his mind the effigy of the small pixies he had used to entertain the child back on Ciress.

Unmoving air was parter ad he opened his fingers, his eyes following suit. For surely if that was Earth in the sky's backdrop, then this universe could not be to vastly different from his own, and his magics should still surely work. But if they failed him now, even after his time spent in both Negation and Normal space....then he was truely somewhere new. Somewhere between the lives he new. Somewhere where he would need to make a decision. One he wasn't sure he was capable of making.
“inadequacy, not a treasured feeling.” Tessa shot back, “but, I’m sure you could live up to a Goddess.” She gave her friend an innocent look, her blue eyes sparkling just a little.
“You wouldn’t want to join me, half of the Institutes male population would be drooling all over you…including my ex, and I wouldn’t submit my worst enemy to his fawning.” Tessa screwed her face into a brief look of disgust.
“If you really have to return home, couldn’t you just take the Jolly Green Giant with you?” She was being a little bit of a pain, but the usually un-emotional telepath was allowed one of these kinds of moments every month or so, just to prove to those around her that she was still human.
"Tessa...stop and think for a moment..." Victoria leaned forward and placed her hand on Tessa's arm.
"How exactly am I going to explain Hank to Piotr and Kitty?" Victoria gave her a curious look and almost laughed.
"I mean, that conversation would go something like..."Mom, Dad...this is Hank...yeah..I I know..but no..he's not *that* Hank McCoy...he's from a different technically he's not my Godfather.." and would degenrate into mindless violence on Piotr's part, Kitty'd probably faint...and well...that's just the introductions...that's not me explaining my relationship with the guy who looks remarkably like my Godfather, only green."
Victoria looked at Hank and smiled rather sheepishly. The seven degrees of separation that involved the mind boggling aspects of hers and Hank's relationship and the fact that in her reality Hank McCoy was her Godfather was enough to send the most learned mind into a plaid state.
"So yeah, while I'm all for this hero business, I think it's best that I NOT go home for a least until I can get it all figured out."
Peter had had his head lowered to the ground, contemplating an issue that his recent thoughts had brought to light. Disregarding the commentary being exchanged between his two teammates, Peter spoke his concern to the magician.
"Dr. Strange, I was wondering, how is reality hopping going to affect our time frame? Would a day spent in an alternate universe be equal to a day missed in our own worlds, or would such a difference in time vary for each of our worlds and the ones we visit?"
It was a concern that continued to grow the more he dwelled on the matter. Even though he felt a sense of responsibility to help those in need, he didn't know how much time away from his world he could tolerate. The Resistance was quite literally fighting a war. Too much away time could put his allies back home at risk. The painful memory that bore itself deep in his mind and the photograph in his belt reminded him of how much could change in a mere moment.
”I watch the blue orb float peacefully before me, filled with immeasurable possibilities. I see all that transpires below me, and catalog what to some must seem the most trivial of details. Thus is the life of the Watchers, and that is the oath we swore. But I seek knowledge, and through the Sorcerer’s endeavors, I may finally be able to study more than I could possibly observe alone.”

Walking across the dusty, grey surface of the moon, Dr. Strange led his charges ahead toward an alien looking structure some ways from the Watcher’s citadel. As they made their way, the Sorcerer attempted to answer his companion’s questions. “The passing of time is actually quite similar in most realities that I have visited. Although I have been told of planes where time passes at different rates than you would be used to. I can understand the apprehension caused by being away from your homes for these extended periods of time, but it cannot be helped. If you decide to remain with The Watch, as one of my associates has taken to calling you, you will invariably loose time in your own reality. It would be unsafe to tamper with the time stream, especially in conjunction with our traversing reality.

“And if you do not wish to return to your home dimension Dr. Essex that is your choice. You will be free to spend your time wherever you wish when you are not under my watch...within reason of coarse.” As they walked, Dr. Strange noticed an increase in the magical aura around him and his companions. He smiled as he looked back over his shoulder and saw the skeptical Matua attempting to make contact with the mystical energies that flowed in and around him. It was obvious to the raven haired man that the large Ciressian was very skilled in the mystical arts. To be so far from anything familiar, and to still be able to tap the arcane, displayed great concentration and force of will. Somehow it set Stephen’s mind more at ease to know Matua was with the team.

As they neared the alien building, Dr. Strange commented to Tessa, “Yes Miss Niles, that is precisely why you were chosen to be a part of this group. Your unique abilities, as well as the abilities of your comrades, will be very useful to us.” And then, as if to explain who ‘us’ referred to, Stephen Strange swung open the doors to what used to be the Inhuman’s private gardens, revealing an eight-foot tall green Minotaur type creature, and two young humans. The male human was introduced as Barry West and the female was introduced using only the simple moniker, Rogue. Strange peered up at the green beast, but addressed him with a tone that could only be described as friendship, “It is wonderful to see you, Rintrah. Your teleportation incantations seem to be progressing nicely.” With a slightly jabbing inflection he added, “Or should I ask your passengers if my assessment of your spell work is correct?”

“No Doctor, I believe I delivered them here without incident,” the large, emerald furred alien replied in a soft, kind voice. “Well then that is good. I trust you informed them of their situation, and that Mister Wong is proceeding well with his appointed tasks?” It was not even so much a question since the Sorcerer knew that Rintrah wouldn’t have recruited two beings without an explanation, and that Wong was infallible in his duties. Dr. Strange then continued, “If you eight would excuse us for a moment, my apprentice and I need to speak in private. Please, make yourselves comfortable and try to become better acquainted.” With that, Strange and the green Minotaur called Rintrah excused themselves to a small antechamber, leaving The Watch alone for the first time since they had appeared on the moon.

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