Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

THE UNCANNY X-MEN #390: "PAX, Part One: The Great Campaign" (August, 2005)

Expand Messages
  • Kenn Beck
    THE UNCANNY X-MEN #390: PAX, Part One: The Great Campaign (August, 2005) ... Writer: Kenn Beck Editors: Bob Lot, Hoang Thai Patron Saint of Gummi: JM
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      THE UNCANNY X-MEN #390: "PAX, Part One: The Great
      Campaign" (August, 2005)
      -------------------------------------
      Writer: Kenn Beck
      Editors: Bob Lot, Hoang Thai
      Patron Saint of Gummi: JM
      Webmaster/EIC: Liam Gibbs
      EIC: Tawmis
      -------------------------------------

      [The Interior Jungles of Genosha, 1859…]

      "Dr. Milbury," the soldier stammered, "there's a… man… here to
      see you."

      The man who would come to be known as Mister Sinister looked
      up from his sheaf of documents and saw the soldier, one of his
      personal guards, sweating profusely. Considering they were off
      the coast of equatorial Africa, a little perspiration was to be
      expected. But the wide eyes and visible trembling were all the
      indication he needed that his time had run out.

      "Dismissed," Milbury said.

      The guard turned and left quickly, the relief on his face evident.
      As he left wooden door creaked back open, and the massive
      form of En Sabah Nur filled the doorway. His frame was draped
      in loose robes, his face covered with a silken scarf. No sense in
      startling the guards any more than he already did. They knew
      Nur to be a powerful man, but the site of his face, chalky gray
      with thick, blue scarring, would only compound their illusion that
      he was not quite human.

      "Milbury, Essex, Sinister…" Nur smiled. "You and your love of
      aliases. I see your little colony has made progress."

      Milbury looked down at the papers on his desk, smiling. "Yes,
      Lord Apocalypse. The future lies within the building blocks that
      make up our bodies. I have been attempting to combine-"

      Nur grabbed him by the throat, lifting him from the ground. "I
      decide where the future lies. You have defied my orders. Instead
      of augmentation of existing mutants, you insist on attempting to
      create new mutants through selective breeding. That is not what
      I empowered you to do." He released Milbury, letting him drop to
      the ground, gasping. "If you ever dare defy me again, Nathaniel
      Essex, I will crush the life from you and make tea from your
      powdered bones." He slid a hand across Milbury's papers. "Your
      work here is done. You work for me. You seem to have forgotten
      that."

      "No, Lord Apocalypse, I have not. I am your servant, and obey
      your will."

      Nur nodded at the paperwork, taking notice of the dossiers of
      Milbury's collection agents, led by the man named Oscar
      Summers. "I know you do. And to remind you of that fact, you
      have one last mission before you return to London."

      "Yes, Lord Apocalypse?"

      "Release the mists."

      Milbury's blood ran cold. He had run a risk by deviating from
      Nur's orders, and now the price was to be paid. And it would cost
      him dearly. The work he had done here could be the key to the
      future of mutantkind, and now he was being ordered to destroy it.
      The mists, brought to him by Nur, were originally a catalyst for
      mutation. With some augmentation, the mists could temporarily
      suppress mutations. "You've lifted the veil, haven't you?"

      The veil was a system of camouflage, decoys, traps, and
      noisemakers that kept the superstitious human settlers from
      penetrating the island's interior. With the veil down, and the
      mists released, the mutants of his colony would be helpless,
      and if discovered, slaughtered.

      Nur chuckled, the sound similar to the stone lid of a
      sarcophagus being slid back. "The humans are, even now,
      approaching. I abducted one of their children, killed him, and
      placed the body within the boundaries of this colony, leaving an
      easily followed trail. Your experiments here must be destroyed.
      The humans must think they are the cause of this colony's
      destruction, lest they wonder what actually did cause it. Now,
      release the mists."

      Milbury bowed his head. "Why?"

      "To remind you," Nur smiled. "There is a price for disobeying my
      orders. Consider yourself fortunate the price is so small." He
      turned and stopped in the doorway. "Your guards have already
      been ordered to the ship. I will expect you there within the hour.
      Do not make me wait." He left without another word.

      Milbury hung his head for a moment, and then bundled his
      papers. Stuffing them in his haversack, he collected his few
      personal possessions, and left his office for the last time.

      As he crossed the crude street that bisected the scientific quarter
      of the colony, he saw dozens of the mutant residents looking at
      him. One of them, known to her people as Beatrice, stopped
      Milbury in the street. "Dr. Milbury," she said, "are you leaving? We
      saw the protectors leave in formation with the big stranger,
      heading towards the coast."

      "Only for now, Beatrice." Milbury placed a hand lovingly on her
      cheek. "I will return shortly."

      "But with the protectors gone, who will keep us safe from the
      coastal humans?"

      Milbury smiled a sad smile. Damn you, Apocalypse, he thought,
      you planned it like this. One last stab at me, even as I have to
      destroy my greatest work. I have to lie to them, tell them they will
      be okay, and they will curse me as they die before our ship is
      even below the horizon.

      "All will be well, Beatrice. I shall only be gone a day."

      Beatrice watched as Milbury walked to the forbidden shed at the
      center of the complex. Milbury disappeared within, and emerged
      a moment later. He stopped in front of Beatrice, and now a small
      crowd of mutants had drawn close, curious at the news of Dr.
      Milbury's sudden departure. He looked at Beatrice, who had
      grown to be one of his favorite subjects. "Beatrice," he said. "Go
      to your children. Give them a nice big hug."

      Beatrice nodded, smiling a confused smile. Milbury turned and
      walked through the gate, in the direction that Nur and the
      soldiers had gone. As the other mutants looked about in mild
      confusion, Beatrice felt a sudden sense of dread, as if a tumbler
      in her brain had clicked. Her powers had always allowed her a
      special insight into the minds of others, and from Dr. Milbury,
      she had glimpsed the edges of a profound sorrow. She stepped
      over to the forbidden shed and tried the door handle. It wouldn't
      budge. One of her friends, a large mutant named Hamish,
      stepped up and grinned. "He's gone one minute and you already
      want to go into the forbidden place?"

      When Beatrice looked at him, all his humor was gone. Her face
      was now that of one who has learned a terrible secret. He turned
      and slammed his large frame into the door, which gave easily.
      Beatrice stepped past him into the dark interior. As she did, she
      saw the fuse on the small explosive strapped to the barrels in
      the center. Her eyes flew wide and she dove away from the
      building. As the explosive charge detonated, the barrels erupted,
      and the air was instantly filled with a thick, choking green mist.
      As she drew in her first breath, she felt her entire body begin to
      burn, her senses seeming to dull. In her confusion, she heard
      the voices of her children screaming in terror deep within her
      brain, and then, she heard nothing at all.

      [Genosha, Now…]

      "NOOOOO!"

      Marvel Girl sat bolt upright in the bedroom that she shared with
      her husband. Cyclops sat up next to her, his eyes wide. Just six
      months ago this would have blown the far wall of the room, and
      the citadel that contained it, into smithereens. But since his
      death and resurrection within Magneto's cloning cylinders, his
      powers were fully under his control. (1) He looked at Marvel Girl,
      who sat soaked in perspiration, sheets clinging to her skin,
      panting in terror and confusion, and laid a comforting hand on
      her shoulder. She turned to him and without a word began to
      weep.

      "It was her again, wasn't it?" Cyclops asked. Marvel Girl had,
      since their occupation of Magneto's former headquarters, been
      dreaming of a woman who lived on the island more than a
      century ago. Horrible dreams of chaos, fire, blood, and death.
      Somewhere deep inside, they both thought that perhaps her
      mind had finally just let go, and Cyclops witnessing the
      apparition of the woman's two dead children only seemed to
      make him think he was joining her. "Let me see," he said
      soothingly, feeling the tingle in his frontal lobe as their psy-link
      allowed him to share what she had experienced.

      "This has to end, Scott," she finally sobbed, "I don't know how
      much more of this I can take."

      "I know, Jean. I think that tomorrow we should discuss you
      leaving Genosha until we can figure out what exactly happened
      here."

      "No," Marvel Girl said vehemently, "I don't want to leave. I want to
      find out what happened, and how we can make it right."

      "Jean," Cyclops said sternly, "that would mean we'd have to
      actively try to harness what you're dreaming. It's bad enough
      these images seep into your mind, if you open the gates to them
      you may drown."

      "I've drowned before," Marvel Girl said, remembering the
      moment when she was taken from the shuttle which had sank
      into Jamaica Bay and placed in suspended animation by the
      Phoenix Force. (2) "This is much worse. But Scott, I have to
      know."

      Cyclops nodded. "I know, Jean. I promise you, we will look into
      this together. I'm with you. The Professor and Shortpack should
      be arriving in Genosha tomorrow. Let's wait until they can assist
      you and then we'll find out what really happened."

      "Okay, Scott," she whispered. She leaned against him and he
      laid back on the bed, gently stroking her head, whispering
      soothingly to her as the sun broke over the horizon of Hammer
      Bay.

      [Genoshan Parliament…]

      Angel stood at the podium at center stage, his metallic feathered
      wings glimmering in the sunlight. Before him, the assembled
      remaining population of Genosha stood, their faces beaming,
      their admiration of their acting President clear. (3) He had always
      been charismatic; it had served as a valuable tool in running his
      company for years. To run an entire nation, he had needed more
      than charisma, but it was a challenge he had relished. He was
      proud of the success he had been able to claim in the fulfillment
      of that task, with only a few stumbling points. Now, one last task
      remained; helping these citizens to elect one of their own as a
      leader. He turned back to his mentor, Charles Xavier, who
      nodded and smiled. Behind Professor X, Shortpack, Scarlet
      Witch, Nightcrawler, Unus and Shadowcat stood in a line.
      Shortpack was at a full five feet nine inches, wearing a smile that
      was tremendous, a smile that was seldom absent from his face
      now that the size altering effects of his powers were under his
      control. (4) Angel smiled at Shadowcat, whom hed had just
      learned had returned to the Institute after a long absence. He
      then glanced over at PAX, the peacekeeping force that had been
      assembled from his former teammates to keep order in
      Genosha. Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Dazzler, Texas Twister,
      Rictor, Wolfsbane, and Synesthesia stood in a line as well. He
      then turned back to the crowd and spoke.

      "Genoshan citizens! Thank you for joining us here today at the
      final debate between the three candidates for President. We, you
      and I together, have restructured your government into one that
      truly serves the best interests of all Genoshans. The time has
      come to turn control of what we've created, side by side and
      shoulder to shoulder, to one of your own native sons. Tomorrow,
      you will each cast your vote for the representative of your
      choosing, and embrace the future of your homeland. I look to the
      future of Genosha, and I see an unprecedented potential for
      success and peace. The country has risen from the ashes of
      war and terrorism and made a new destiny for itself. We stand
      on the shores of a new world, under the dawn of a new day, at
      the beginning of a new era. I feel a strong sense of pride at
      seeing what this nation has become. And my colleagues and I
      will continue to be there, not only to assist you should you ask for
      help, but to witness the greatness that Genosha can achieve
      when it is guided by the will of its people rather than by the
      mistakes of the past. It has been an honor to serve as your
      leader in these past few months, and I thank you for allowing me
      to play a part in the shaping of a great nation."

      Angel stepped back from the podium and was met by a
      thunderous and hearty applause. He smiled and waved his
      hand, acknowledging the appreciative crowd as a man in a
      charcoal gray suit stepped up to the microphone. "Thank you,
      President Worthington. My name is Charles Filgretti, Genoshan
      liaison to the interim President. For the past few months, you've
      heard from each of the candidates for President, and today, you
      will hear from them one last time before tomorrow's election as
      they each make a statement. I remind you that this is not the
      forum for questions, that there will be a final question and
      answer session tonight. Without further hesitation, I am pleased
      to present the first candidate for Genoshan President, Mr. Dane
      Scurry!"

      There was a hearty round of applause as Dane Scurry stepped
      up to the podium. He was dressed smartly in a navy blue suit,
      which matched well with the icy blue tint of his skin. He waited a
      few moments for the applause to die down, and then began his
      speech.

      "My fellow Genoshans, you all have seen me already in the
      debates, you know my position on the issues, so I won't be long
      here today. Because today is nothing but the final step of a long
      journey. It is tomorrow that I am here to talk about. Tomorrow is
      the day when you get to cast aside the chains of oppression and
      take your first breaths as a free nation in over a score. Through
      its history, Genosha has long been a place of great turmoil and
      strife. The Genegineer's Mutate transformations, Magneto's
      takeover, and his eventual expulsion, all these events have taken
      a deadly toll on the mutant population. But they have also taken
      their toll on the human population as well. I think it is vital that
      we, as a nation, look to tomorrow in the figurative sense as well
      as the literal sense. We need to unite Genosha's sons and
      daughters, whatever their genetic codes may be, and strive
      towards guaranteeing that no blood will ever be spilled here
      again. I know there are some that would seek to keep human
      Genoshans out of our borders, to expatriate them for the sins of
      the past. But I say that is only continuing the cycle of prejudice
      and hatred. Charles Xavier, who's students have brought peace
      to our island nation, teaches that an open hand can win out over
      a closed fist. That peace and harmony are within reach, and are
      goals worth fighting for. Remember that tomorrow. Tomorrow,
      we make history. Thank you."

      There was another thunderous ovation, and Scurry waved and
      smiled as he stepped back. Charles Filgretti, still applauding,
      stepped to the podium. "Thank you Mr. Scurry. It is now my
      pleasure to introduce our second candidate, Mr. Bennett
      Serringer."

      The crowd's reaction was far more diverse and intense.
      Serringer, part of the Mutants First Party, played heavily upon the
      mistrust engendered between humans and mutants, calling for
      Genosha to close its borders to anyone not possessed of the
      mutant gene. He had found an alarmingly large number of
      ardent supporters to that view, and they all cheered passionately
      for the man as he strode to the podium. There were also a
      smattering of boos and hisses. His form was large, but carried a
      certain air of weakness to it. His muscles looked thin and ropy,
      his belly had a slight paunch to it. In short, his time spent
      laboring as a mutate was long behind him, as was his desire to
      ever labor again. The only evidence of his servitude was the
      number 6146 which had been emblazoned in his forehead. He
      wore this with an almost perverse pride, forgoeing the removal
      which was an option of the reversal process. He has served his
      nation as a slave, and this mark was a badge of honor to him.

      "My brothers and sisters! Mr. Scurry is right. Tomorrow is the
      future. The future of our nation, and our race, hangs in the
      balance. Mr. Scurry would have you open the doors of our
      homes, our lives, to the very people who tried to strip us of those
      precious commodities. I say to you, we cannot allow this! We
      have shaken off the rule of our human masters, and cast out the
      madman who would wage war with the rest of the world! It is
      time for us to lead ourselves into prosperity. I have seen first
      hand-" and with this, he pointed a bony finger at the inked
      numeral desecrating his brow as if saluting- "what the humans
      would have in store for us! Mutant kind is nothing but a
      commodity to them! So they must be kept at bay. I have no wish
      to make war with humanity. I seek only the right to live among my
      own kind in peace. The distinguished Professor Xavier would
      have you believe that the Gene War Magneto started is over. But
      the War has not ended, nor was it started by Magneto. It started
      when the first mutant to suffer persecution by a human hand
      spilled blood. When the world renounces its racial hatred, then
      the war will truly be over. Then perhaps it might be feasible to
      allow Genosha to become a great melting pot. But until then, we
      need to think of the walfare of Genosha's main population. The
      world simply isn't ready to let us live in peace with them. So we
      must have a place where we can live in peace without them. Vote
      Serringer in tomorrow's election! Mutants First!"

      There was a near hysterical burst of applause and cheering from
      a large segment of people who had crowded near the stage. The
      boos had also grown in intensity, and some minor scuffling
      broke out, but it broke itself up before Cyclops could even turn to
      order his team in to keep the peace.

      Filgretti stepped to the podium again, clapping politely. "Thank
      you Mr. Serringer. And finally, our last candidate for Presidency,
      Mr. Pierce Moorhouse!"

      The crowd reaction instantly swelled to outright adoration. While
      Angel had squelched an overwhelming popular motion to
      nominate him to remain President, he had his doubts about his
      chances were he to run against Moorhouse. The man was
      insanely popular among the Genoshan people, as his wealth
      and limited fame in America had always found ways to help
      fellow Genoshans. He had set up shelters for Genoshans who
      had left the country as he had following the introduction of the
      mutate bonding process, used his company's considerable
      resources to help Genoshans escape, and personally assisted
      many of them financially until they could acclimate into the
      societies they fled to. He was truly a benefactor of the Genoshan
      people. It was also almost a foregone conclusion that he would
      be sworn in tomorrow evening, beating out Scurry, the everyman
      who meant well but suffered from some antiquated ideals, and
      Serringer, who's anti-human dogma seemed to hold the more
      violent minded populous in the palm of his hand. Angel smiled,
      because he felt that the right man was going to win this election.
      Barring any turmoil tomorrow, he and his friends in PAX would
      be able to return home to the United States and let Genosha
      grow on her own.

      Pierce Moorhouse nodded to his Vice President, a man named,
      coincidentally enough, Stephen Xavier, and smiled. "Wish me
      luck, S.X."

      Xavier gave him a thumbs up, and then turned and smiled at
      Professor X. Professor X didn't see him, as his attention was on
      the charismatic candidate with his hands up, politely, and
      perhaps a little disingenuously, beseeching the crowd to be
      silent. They continued to cheer for a few moments longer, and
      then finally settled down.

      With a tremendous smile on his face, Moorhouse placed his
      hands on the sides of the podium, his thumbs resting on its top,
      and began to speak.

      Before the first syllable could leave his throat, his left bicep
      exploded a thick spurt of crimson ichor. By the time the weapon's
      report reached their ears, Moorhouse had already been hit a
      second time, his chest crumpling under the impact of the
      projectile. Instantly, the crowd flew into a panic, and Angel
      launched himself into action. He wrapped his metallic wings
      around Moorhouse, hearing a sharp ping as the feathers were
      actually dented by the last projectile. Unus instantly created a
      thick dome around the group on stage, while Iceman reinforced
      it with sheet upon sheet of ice.

      Cyclops fired a beam at a precise point off in the distance, and
      Angel's enhanced vision could see that he had found his mark.
      As the crowd began to panic and scatter, Marvel Girl reached out
      with her telepathy and tried to calm them down. She succeeded
      only in stopping a full scale riot. There was still a sense of blind
      panic rippling through the crowd.

      "Unus, stay with Professor X, keep him safe," Nightcrawler
      ordered. "Shortpack, stay with PAX, help Jean get this crowd
      under control. Scarlet Witch, Shadowcat, let's go."

      Cyclops nodded quickly and issued his orders to his own squad.
      Wolfsbane, Synesthesia, you're with me. The rest of you; crowd
      control. Make sure that no one takes advantage of this chaos."
      He fell in line with Nightcrawler's group.

      "Nice shot," Nightcrawler said. "Did you see who it was?"

      "I didn't see anyone," Cyclops looked at Nightcrawler. "I just
      calculated the angles, and fired where I knew the sniper had to
      be."

      "Unglaublich," Nightcrawler replied, "I sometimes forget about
      your uncanny proclivity for trigonometry."

      "When you shoot pure destructive energy out of your eyes, you
      learn to know the angles," Cyclops said, and for a moment,
      Nightcrawler was stupefied; he could have sworn Cyclops was
      smiling.

      "This is your territory," Nightcrawler said, "I put my team at your
      disposal."

      "Alright," Cyclops said, pointing ahead. "We're going after
      someone who may or may not be enhanced, may or may not still
      be armed, and may or may not be alone. I want everyone on their
      toes." He cracked his knuckles and to Nightcrawler's
      amazement, smiled again. "Let's go bag us a bad guy."

      [On Stage…]

      Shortpack had linked with Marvel Girl and tapped Professor X's
      brain for help. The three of them guided by Professor X's years of
      experience, managed to partially calm the crowd. They were
      assisted by the fact that the crowd hadn't heard another shot,
      and felt that the danger had already passed. Angel and Unus
      stood shielding Moorhouse as Xavier knelt over him, checking
      for a pulse.

      "I saw the second shot," Angel said. "It was a bright flash, but the
      bullet was real shiny. The third one hit me in the wing, and I
      actually felt it."

      "You could see the bullet?" Xavier asked.

      "These wings aren't the only thing I have that are like an
      Eagle's," he said. "My vision is just as superhuman. I also saw
      that Cyclops tagged the guy with is optic blast." He looked down
      at Moorhouse. "I thought his powers could deflect anything?"

      "Correction: anything man-made," Xavier said. "But bullets don't
      just grow in the wild. How the hell did this happen?"

      "Only one thing in nature is hard enough to actually dent my
      wings when they're in metallic form. Diamond."

      Iceman looked over at them with an incredulous look.
      "Somebody tried to kill him with a diamond?"

      "Correction," Xavier said, slumping back on his heels.
      "Somebody DID kill him. He's gone."

      [Next Issue: Who Killed Pierce Moorhouse?]

      1. It happened in AMU's X-Factor Vol. II #13.
      2. In Uncanny X-Men #101.
      3. Angel was nominated and accepted as acting President of
      Genosha following Magneto's departure at the conclusion of The
      Gene War.
      4. See last issue for details.

      Be Sure To Visit Our Readers Board at
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/altmarvel-readers/ to discuss this
      and any other issue of Alt. Marvel Comics!
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.