I love, love, love dystopian parallel universes. This is a work in progress. I'll add some more along the way. We'll see.
Second Snowball Earth
"Curse this infernal white." She hissed through the heavy scarf wrapped around the lower half of her face, white to begin with, but now dusted with frosty accumulation. Everything was accumulating frost; snow goggles, fur-lined jacket, a bag of supplies, everything. Emma Frost sank deep within the warmth of her jacket, mentally bracing for the heckling that was about to come. Her companion looked at her aghast. And why wouldn't they? Everything she owned was white, from clothing to cars. She was the White bloody Queen, after all. The irony was a million and one jokes waiting to be said. Picking the 'right one' was the hardest part of this whole conversation. She could 'hear' it all, the puns falling into rank and file. Which one, which one. His mind whirled with the very best material for the most snappy reply. Yes, she was eavesdropping. No, she was not ashamed. It wasn't like she hadn't been there before. Often, in fact. (FYI, his astral form was usually in his briefs and webshooters.) If only he put this much effort into focusing on their planetary dilemma, all the world's problems would have been fixed already. And…he got it.
"You know, I've been thinking your wardrobe needed a little change-up. I didn't want to say anything, but the all-white thing was getting a bit played out. And with this lovely change of seasons, you tend to blend in with the environment." He gave a sassy snap of his fingers as best he could with the thick gloves on, doing his best to mimic a competition judge of those ridiculous talent show contests. Oh, she'd do anything to see even those useless sitcoms. Any semblance of normalcy. Resuming his normal voice, Peter cracked a crooked smile from under his heavy winter gear. "Ever consider something more, oooh, I don't know. Maybe a splash of blue and red? We could be twinsies!" Giving the chatty Spider-Man a frosty side-eye, the White Queen shook her head. But, underneath her scarf, Emma Frost smiled. "Darling, I find myself covered in red and blue often enough, I don't need to wear it too."
Smiles were a rare commodity these days. Even the cold-hearted White Queen had come to appreciate levity when she could get it. Despite everything that had happened, somehow, Peter Parker had managed to exude that upbeat demeanor. Though she would never admit it out loud--in public--but Emma envied his positivity. Goofy though he was, he was also intelligent with an awkward charm. The end of the world made strange bedfellows. "Emma, my love." Spidey scooped her up in his arms, twirling her once before dipping her. "You make me want to speak French, and I don't know a word of French. (Except maybe bonjour and oh la la! Does oh la la count?)" He wiggled his eyebrows playfully, dawning what Emma could only imagine as an attempt at a debonair smile. Clicking her tongue, Emma pushed lightly against his chest, breaking up this touching display. "Save it for somewhere warmer, Romeo. We still have a mission to finish."
Every generation since 1918 has feared the next world war. Sometimes it happened, sometimes it was narrowly avoided, and sometimes it was political hyperbole from a pampered generation that had long since been detached from the horrors of the previous conflicts. World War Three began not with nations quibbling over borders, but with the sun. Superpowers carried with them the potential to do great or terrible things. Someone chose the latter. No one is quite sure who struck, but they struck without provocation, without warning. They struck the light bringer, the Earth's resident star. Whilst not totally killing it, they weakened it substantially. The sun grew dim. Earth was plunged into a new ice age on a planet-wide scale. It was a giant snowball. Those who survived the initial temperature drops began fighting for precious resources. Neighbor fought neighbor, nations fought nations, and superhumans were among all of them. Heroes, villains, young and old, it did not matter. War ravaged the freezing planet as life became a daily struggle. Survival of the fittest. When the population grew too few for daily war, people began banning together, trying to gather survivors.
Trudging through the snow, Spider-Man and the White Queen set out across the frozen wasteland that once was the sprawling metropolis known as New York City. Everything was blanketed in white. For the things too narrow for much snow to sit upon such as traffic lights and street signs, icicles hung. Cars, long abandoned, were now just mounds of snow, hidden by the heavy accumulation. The pair had to weave through them, plodding along with the awkward snowshoes. Aside from the whistling of the wind, there was silence. Odd, considering Spider-Man's habit of cracking jokes, even when no one was listening. That was because Emma and Peter kept communications telepathically only. Sunlight bathed the empty city in its dulled light, but their environment looked as though it were barely past dawn. Reaching out with her psychic senses, the White Queen pinged the area for any mental signatures. Their merry band of survivors had received a distress message from within the heart of the city. She couldn't sense anything. Nothing; not bird or dogs, certainly not mutant or human. Peter, on the other hand, began twitching incessantly.
There were other dangers besides the cold environment or even one's own kind. The Dr. Moreau sub-category of evil genius sorts had a field day with the absence of adult supervision. This new ecosystem offered a tantalizing pallet of possibility. The snow-hardy horrors they unleashed were most likely the future inheritors of the earth when the homo genus residents ultimately succumbed to their fate. One such fur-covered nightmare that looked better suited for the Pliocene epoch lurked just behind the duo, triggering the all-too-familiar Spidey-sense. And none too late. The creature looking somewhere between a dog and a dinosaur adorned in silver fur pounced on its suspecting prey, claws poised for the kill. Peter pushed the White Queen out of the creature's grasp, narrowly avoiding the claws himself. "Impeccable timing, darling." Emma huffed, climbing to her feet as the all too familiar veneer of diamond replaced vulnerable flesh. "Well, you know, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man." There was that unwavering positivity.
Twisting around in the snow, the beast let out a low snarl. "A predator." Emma sneered. No, not Arnold's ugly mother--you know the rest. This was a Predator X, a bio-engineered mutant hunter. Left to its own devices, nature took its course; evolution enable the horrid beast to not only adapt to its environment, but reproduce and adjust its dietary needs as required. Mutants were still on the menu, but so were mutates.