THE UNCANNY X-MEN #392: "PAX, Part Three: Natural Selection" (October, 2005)
- THE UNCANNY X-MEN #392: "PAX, Part Three: Natural
Selection" (October, 2005)
Writer: Kenn Beck
Editor: Meriades Rai
Playin' With The Queen Of Hearts: JM
Webmaster & EIC: Liam Gibbs
[Genosha, Now ]
"Jeannie?" Iceman said, rushing into the room from the hallway
outside. The scream he heard was undoubtedly from his
teammate, but when he came into the room and saw her holding
the assembled group in a telekinetic crush, everything he was
sure of was toppled.
The woman he thought he knew suddenly seized him and
slammed it against the wall. He screamed in shock and his
eyes went wide as he looked to his friend. "Jean! What are
you doing? We're your friends! Why are you hurting us?"
"My friends are dead! My home is destroyed! How could you
possibly conceive of what pain is?!? But you will know you will
know unless you tell me where you have taken my children!"
She slammed Iceman into the wall again, his concentration
broken to the point where he couldn't use his powers.
"Jean," Professor X said, cursing the fact that his powers were
now beyond his use thanks to Magneto. "Please, you're killing
"Jean? Is this the name of the woman who has invaded my
mind? I-" her features softened for a moment. Here eyes
seemed to lose their fiery intensity, the raw hatred she was
expressing simmering down into a dull burn. "I have been able
to hear what others are thinking before but never with such
clarity. This woman this Jean I see her thoughts so clearly
her fears, about the great bird of fire the Phoenix. It holds such
prominence in her thoughts. But why has she invaded my
mind?" Her features hardened again, and she tightened her grip
on those around her. "Get her out of my mind!"
"Beatrice," Shortpack said, gently probing the foreign thoughts
that swirled through her head. "That's your name, isn't it?
"A tiny man," she said, her eyes narrowed. "Can you see my
thoughts the way I can see yours?"
"Yes," he replied, his voice as soothing as he could possibly
make it. "I can sense your agony. Your grief. So can Jean. She
has been sensing it for a while now, and she has been trying to
help you. She is the one that was in your thoughts on the night
on the night your children were murdered."
"No! They aren't dead. I can save them!" Beatrice screamed. "I
killed the bastards that were responsible, I I used the fire they
built to fry them all! But before I could see if my children could be
saved, I woke up here! Where are my children?" she wailed,
desperation breaking into her voice. Tears built beneath the eyes
that felt alien and unfamiliar to her. "Where are my babies?" She
relaxed her telekinetic grip on everyone, finally breaking into
"Beatrice," Professor X said sadly, "that night happened over a
century ago. Jean told us about what she experienced while
linked to your thoughts."
"A century? That's not possible. How could I be alive? This
woman in my mind, Jean "
"Jean isn't in your mind," Professor X replied. "You are in hers."
She looked around in terror and confusion. "No. I don't believe it.
I used the flames to destroy the men that hurt my children. I
was about to look for them."
Professor X felt immense sorrow for the confused woman. She
had no knowledge that she was dead, let alone her children. It
was going to be up to him to convince her that her life was over,
and that the alien voice she heard in her head was actually the
landlord, and she the temporary tenant in this body.
[Outside, On Stage ]
Nightcrawler followed Cyclops as he strode up to the throng of
cameramen and reporters, his visor dangling loosely around his
neck. Despite the serious gravity of the situation, Nightcrawler
couldn't help but notice a slight smirk on his former leader's
face. Since his ressurection within the cloning cylinder during the
last hours of the Gene War, Cyclops was noticeably more
relaxed. (1) It was most likely due to the fact that his new body
now had complete control over the optic energy that had been
unchecked for his entire adult life, but it was still unusual for the
normally stoic Scott Summers to be so chipper.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, and people of Genosha,"
Cyclops addressed the cameras. "I am pleased to announce
that the sniper has been captured and is currently being
detained. We still have no word on the condition of Mister
Moorhouse, but we will keep you informed of details when we
know them. That's all for now." They turned to make their way
into the Medical Labs, where even now Shadowcat, Synesthesia,
Wolfsbane and Scarlet Witch were securing the sniper, Douglas
Hinson. Hinson's involvement in the assassination pointed a
pretty strong finger at Bennett Serringer, whom Hinson was
running for Vice President under. But something about the whole
set up didn't sit right within Cyclops' mind. Relaxed or not, the
same analytical computer that was his brain was working
overtime, and red lights were flashing all over.
"Scott," Nightcrawler said, "you're thinking this doesn't make
"Not one bit, Kurt. If Bennett Serringer wanted Pierce Moorhouse
dead, why would he have his running mate do it? That would
implicate him almost beyond a doubt. He may be belligerent and
arrogant, but he's not an idiot. This operation was sloppy, not a
lot of thought put into it. Seems like an obvious red herring. But
who else benefits from Moorhouse being out of the way?"
"Dane Scurry, for one. If everyone thinks Serringer arranged to
have Moorhouse murdered, Scurry would be the only candidate
"True. Also, we have consider Xavier."
Nightcrawler was stunned yet again. "Scott, I don't-"
"Relax, Kurt, I was joking. Yes, Stephen."
"I don't know what shocks me more; the concept of the Professor
being involved in a murder, or you cracking a joke."
"Let's just say I've had some pressure removed from my life.
Being able to open my eyes without disintegrating a city block
does wonders for one's disposition. The fact is, Stephen Xavier
stands to gain from Moorhouse's death. I expect he'll step into
"But why wouldn't he have waited until after the election?"
Nightcrawler queried. "Moorhouse was a shoe in to win, and his
death afterwards would have given Xavier the power. Is he
counting on Moorhouse's popularity to win the election for him?"
"We'll see what Hinson has to say when we question him,"
Cyclops said. "Let's get inside and find out why Jean dropped
her telepathic link."
[The Med Labs ]
"Beatrice," Stephen Xavier said soothingly, "tell me about your
Beatrice looked at the man and began to speak, but silenced
herself before she uttered a syllable, looking cautiously at the
man. "Do I know you? You seem familiar to me."
"Doubtful," Xavier said, looking at the others. "I wasn't born until
Beatrice shook her head at his mention of a year that to her was
in the far, far future. "Impossible. It is only 1859. There is no way I
have been unconscious for a hundred years."
Professor X sighed. His tone was gentle, but reassuring.
"Beatrice, I need you to look around at where we are. The style of
clothing we are wearing. The technology that exists in this very
Beatrice looked around the room as if waking from a dream,
studying the devices of the medical facility within the Genoshan
Parliament building. "I admit, these devices are strange to me,
but Dr. Milbury had many strange devices in his labs."
"Milbury?" Professor X asked, his voice edged with concern.
"Doctor Nathan Milbury?"
Beatrice's eyes flickered with hatred. "You know him? You've met
"Unfortunately," Iceman said.
"Now I know you're lying. If it has been over a century, how is
Milbury still alive?"
"Beatrice," Professor X said soothingly, "use the gifts that you
and Jean share. Read my mind. You will see the truth. Nathaniel
Milbury is also known as Nathaniel Essex, who is also known as
Mister Sinister. He is a mutant geneticist and a terrorist who
experiments on mutants. Many of my students have suffered at
his hands. He died before my students eyes. (2) I know this
must be impossibly difficult for you to believe and accept, but
your spirit, your mind, is co-habiting within the body of one of
my students. Your body died that night, burned to death by the
villagers. Jean told me she experienced your death through
nightmares. Somehow, your mind has connected to hers,
almost a century and a half later, and shared what you went
through. But you need to understand, that is Jean's body you are
speaking through. Her life you are usurping. Her gifts you are
tapping to reach out into my mind."
Beatrice sobbed and dropped to her knees. Stephen Xavier
walked to her side and knelt, placing an arm around her
"Milbury," she cried, "Milbury was supposed to protect us. But he
released the mists, and they deadened our gifts, leaving us
defenseless before the angry villagers. They thought one of us
killed their child, but it must have been Milbury." She looked at
Professor X and her eyes seemed to have lost any hatred they
once had. "I thought I'd never wake up. I thought I was caught in
a bizarre nightmare, where humans came and enslaved
mutants, made them property, and then were liberated by a white
haired mutant. I tried to tell him that we weren't safe. I tried to
make him defend the colony. But I was sure I was going to wake
up and it would all have been a dream. But it wasn't, was it? All
this time I was just haunting Genosha?"
Professor X smiled a sad smile and nodded. "That white-haired
mutant was a man named Erik Lensherr. And your
communications have not gone unnoticed. He told me that
Genosha had a voice all it's own. (3) It was your voice he was
hearing. And he did what he thought was necessary to protect
the `colony'. But you should know that genosha is now free.
Mutants and humans live here in peace. Today the people are
selecting their leader."
Beatrice looked at Professor X and smiled weakly. "I am sorry
that I hurt you and your students, sir. I have been blind to what
happened on that night. I thought I could save my children, but
Milbury signed their death warrants. And mine." She grit her teeth
and shuddered as she spoke. "He swore he'd always care for
Genosha. He promised he'd watch over us." She began to weep
again. "My sweet darlings. My babies," she sobbed.
Stephen Xavier gently held her, soothing her as best he could. "I
am truly sorry for your loss, Beatrice. I lost my child, too. When he
died, there was nothing I could do. The pain was so great that it
made me blind to what was happening in my life. It devoured
me. Such was your pain. Your grief was so powerful it wouldn't
let you leave. You stayed, thinking you could eventually save your
children, to see them again. And you can see them again. But
you have to let this woman go. Your children are waiting for you,
just as my son is waiting for me. You just have to let go. Your
work is done."
Beatrice nodded. "I pray you are right. I pray that I am still found
worthy of God's Kingdom. I want so badly to see them." Cyclops
and Nightcrawler walked into the lab, and instantly, Beatrice's
face changed. "Your name is Scott," she said, smiling weakly.
"Of course it is, Jean, what are you talking about?"
"Scott," Professor X said, "this is not Jean. This is the woman
Jean told you about. She is speaking through Jean."
Cyclops looked at Professor X and then back at Beatrice. "Jean
told me what happened to you and your children. I'm very sorry."
Beatrice continued as if she hadn't heard him. "The minute you
walked in the room, her mind erupted in joy. She loves you so
much. She she lives for you." Tears spilled in a fresh flood
down her cheeks. "I once knew love like that. Hamish he was
like a father to my children, and like a husband to me. He gave
his life so I could get to my children. Milbury Milbury killed him.
He killed us all. I wish I could have seen his face when he was
killed." She once again looked at Professor X. "I'm sorry for
"There is nothing to be sorry for," Professor X replied. "Grief is a
powerful force. But you have not let it destroy you. Jean wanted to
help you. I pray you'll find peace now that your tale has been
"Go, now Beatrice," Stephen Xavier whispered. "Let this woman
go, and be with your dear children. Do not burden your soul with
hate for this Dr. Milbury. I'm sure he suffered for what he was
Professor X looked appraisingly at the man who shared his last
name and smiled as he saw Marvel Girl's eyes flutter and then
resume their normal look. She shook her head and tears spilled
down her cheeks.
"Oh, Scott," she said, holding Cyclops, "she's gone. I wish there
was a way I could have helped ease her pain."
"You did," Professor X smiled sadly. "You gave her a voice to
speak the grief and fury she has been existing with for over a
century. You have helped her find some sense of closure."
Angel stepped over to Stephen Xavier and put a hand on his
shoulder. "You've got an amazing talent with words, Stephen.
Pierce was wise to choose you as his running mate. I think the
people will consider that if you step into his place for the
"No," Xavier said. "I am willing to do what it takes to serve
Genosha, but I don't want to use my friend's death to achieve
power. But," he continued, looking up at Dane Scurry, "I would
like to put my services at your disposal, Mr. Scurry, should you
win today's election."
Dane was visibly taken aback and his eyes went wide in
confusion. "Of of course," he stammered.
"This is outrageous!" Bennett Serringer bellowed. "Your
tampering with the election! Your defection to his side effectively
destroys my party's chances!"
"I think your chances," Scarlet Witch said as she entered the
room, "were destroyed the instant Douglas Hinson
assassinated Pierce Moorhouse. There will be a formal
investigation, but we have Hinson in custody below in the brig.
He was found in the woods fleeing the scene, he attacked us,
and his energy signature was the one that melted the murder
weapon. He won't yet tell us who put him up to it, but the truth
WILL be revealed."
Serringer's mouth was agape. "Hinson? Hinson killed
Moorhouse? I I don't how ."
"His surprise is genuine," Shortpack relayed to Professor X
telepathically. "He has no knowledge of Hinson's involvement. I
think Hinson may have acted alone on this."
Serringer looked up at Stephen Xavier and his eyes were wide
with fright and realization. "I swear, I had no knowledge of this.
There is no way I would ever I never would have done anything
like this. I swear to you! There are telepaths here! I'll let them
read my mind! They'll tell you!"
"He's telling the truth," Professor X said. "There is no trace of
knowledge in his head about assassinating Pierce. His running
mate was not acting at his request."
Xavier looked at Professor X and then back at Serringer. "It
doesn't matter. A good man died today, and from what Beatrice
showed us, even death cannot kill your spirit if you believe in
something strong enough. Pierce is still with us. He would want
me to help the right man lead Genosha. And guilty or not,
Serringer, you are not the right man. The people won't care if
you're innocent or guilty. There's blood on your hands. I'm
making my stand with Scurry." He stepped up to Serringer and
lowered his voice. "And God help you if you did have anything to
do with this."
Professor X nodded to his students. "It's time to tell the people
what has transpired."
[New Orleans ]
Gambit stood atop one of the highest buildings in New Orleans
and looked down on his city. There was a time when nothing
could have made him leave. The smells, the sounds, the sights,
all evoked pleasant memories of nights in the French Quarter,
picking pockets and cracking safes, running with sweat beading
down your neck, the thrill of the chase. But even being immersed
in the sensations of the city he called home, Gambit found no
solace. He eventually planned on returning for good to the city,
but it would not be alone. He planned on returning with Rogue
and their child. But that was not to be. She instead returned to
the ground from whence all people came, dying at the hands of
that strange alien Artifact. The X-Men had gathered the pieces of
Artifact and kept them locked away in separate containers in one
of the sub basements. There was no energy detected in the
fragments of circuitry and gemstones, and it served as a grim
testament to Rogue's sacrifice.
Gambit felt tears begin to flow again. Their child would have
been less than a month away from being delivered. He imagined
what she would have looked like, her belly and breasts swelled
from the pregnancy, her face glowing with happiness. The vision
was angelic, as were all visions of his dear Rogue.
"God, Chere, how I miss you." He took a battered old photo of her
from his pocket and gently stroked the cheek. "Dere ain't a day
goes by dat I don' t'ink about you, and what I would do do get you
He put the photo back in his jacket and sat on the ledge of the
roof, watching as rain began to gently fall on the streets below.
[Genoshan Parliament, The Brig, Three Days Later ]
"Xavier!" Hinson rasped harshly. "What are you doing here?
You'd better have a damned good explanation for this!"
"No need to whisper, Douglas. No one knows I'm here, and I am
undetectable to the sensors. I have gone through great pains to
assure that no one knows I am connected to Moorhouse's
"Well, you didn't take great enough pains! The teleport unit you
rigged up malfunctioned! I had to flee into the jungle! You're lucky
I didn't just rat you out right there and then!"
"No," Xavier said, pulling a small device out of his pocket and
setting it on the table outside Hinson's cell, "you're the lucky one.
I have ample evidence and alibi that exonerates me from any
involvement. Tell, don't tell, either way, I will never be
successfully connected to Moorhouse's death. I took your
silence as honor among conspirators, but now I sense that
you're using it as a bargaining chip. Well, let me share a secret
with you, Mr. Hinson. Everything has gone perfectly according to
plan. The fact that you haven't attempted to reveal my connection
means you've earned a quick and painless death." He picked up
the tiny device and held it up.
"You sold me out!"
"Of course I did, Hinson. If you escape, they launch a full
investigation, a prolonged search, and there is still the toss up of
the election. But with you in custody, that completely discredited
Serringer, and with Moorhouse out of the way, Scurry was
guaranteed the Presidency. Serringer dropped out and left the
country after he was cleared. And my withdrawal from the race
removed me from suspicion. Now, with my acceptence into
Scurry's cabinet, I have situated myself directly within the power
structure of the Genoshan Government, and can manipulate
things from the inside. Moorhouse's politics were too well known
for me to manipulate. Scurry, however he is trustworthy, yet
flexible enough to be open to suggestion from trusted advisors.
All that remains is for you to be removed from the equation."
Hinson's eyes narrowed. "You'll pay for this, Xavier."
"We all pay in the end, Douglas. Just as dear Beatrice paid for
my folly over a century ago." Xavier smiled and pressed the small
button on the device. Hinson immediately clutched his chest, the
veins in his neck standing out like high tension wires as his
body began to convulse. "An electro-cardio pulse modulator. One
of my experiments, designed to send impulses to a human heart
from the outside. Think about it as a hand held pacemaker. It
could save millions of lives. But today, it takes one."
Hinson dropped in agony, a foamy ring of spittle surrounding his
mouth, as his eyes rolled up in his head. After a few moments,
his movements stopped, and the last person alive with
knowledge of Stephen Xavier's involvement in assassinating his
friend and running mate was dead. Xavier smiled as he keyed in
the teleport device and vanished.
He appeared just outside of the President's office within the
Genoshan Parliament building. Inside, Dane Scurry was
discussing the proposed revitalization of Genosha with the new
Vice president, Jenny Ransome. They looked up when Xavier
opened the doorway and smiled.
"Mr. President, Madame Vice President," he said deferentially,
nodding his head.
"Yes, come in Mr. Xavier," Scurry smiled. "Jenny and I were just
discussing what's next for the people of Genosha. And I insist
that all my top advisors call me Dane."
"In that case," Xavier smiled, "you can just call me S.X."
[The End! Be here next month for the start of the biggest X-Men
tale yet, leading up to issue #400! Revision Quest begins next
month with the first chapter: WARHUNT!]
1. In AMU's X-Factor Vol. II #13.
2. In AMU's Uncanny X-Men #350.
3. In Uncanny X-Men #384.