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5986GRAIL: Devastation -- X2 novel (diary 1) Scott POV

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  • Minisinoo
    Jul 23, 2004
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      GRAIL: Devastation (diary 1)
      Minisinoo


      Main novel URL: http://www.themedicinewheel.net/grail/grail.html

      Novel Summary: At Alkali Lake, Jean Grey gave her life to save her
      fellows. But if so, what's risen from the water?

      Warning: This tale contains ADULT situations and imagery. As a
      thriller, it contains surprises. Be warned; won't code it to death.


      -------------------------------
      From Scott Summer's Personal Journal:


      Ideologues are never detail men.

      When William Stryker tricked Charles Xavier into assaulting the
      world's mutant population telepathically, he gave no thought to the
      consequences to *non*-mutants. Likewise, when Erik Lehnsherr
      reversed the process, targeting non-mutants, he didn't stop to think
      about consequences, either. As a result, an estimated 11 million are
      dead worldwide, over 70% of those in industrialized countries. And
      that doesn't count the maimed and wounded.

      Cars, trucks and buses collided on highways, interstates and
      autobahns. Some pileups were so massive, it took days, not hours, to
      clean them up, with fatalities hitting triple digits. Planes fell
      out of the sky or crashed into runways, killing hundreds at once when
      their mutant or non-mutant pilots lost control. Heavy machinery
      chewed up life and limb. The injured and ill and elderly succumbed
      to heart attacks or strokes. Hospitals filled, and rescue workers
      and EMTs couldn't possibly get to everyone in a disaster of such
      magnitude.

      No doubt Stryker or Lehnsherr would have called all that "collateral
      damage," anesthetizing human loss into meaninglessness.

      Third-world countries fared best, and maybe it's time they got a
      break, but the simple fact is that falling on the ground for five
      minutes of encephalic agony when herding sheep or cattle is rather
      less catastrophic than seizing at the wheel going sixty miles an hour
      down Interstate 95. Chance had a great deal to do with who lived and
      who died.

      So what's one more death in all of that? What's one more empty bed?
      Perhaps I should have felt solidarity in grief, but I just felt
      dwarfed in my loss.

      On the upside, we could avoid explaining exactly what had happened to
      Jean. Police departments were overwhelmed, and they took my report
      that she was missing and had been on the road at the time, and added
      it to their pile. Meanwhile, we ran one of the mansion cars off the
      highway, through a guard-rail, and down a bank into the Hudson. I
      got a call three days later that her car had been found, but no body.
      They'd keep looking, however . . .

      I played along. I'm a pretty good actor when I have to be, and I was
      still in a state of shock that wasn't fake. The whole scenario
      wouldn't have held up under normal circumstances, but these days were
      anything but normal, and there were a lot of white crosses on
      highways. Even without the body, the case was shunted aside and
      regarded as closed, informally. They had too many cases, and no
      reason to suspect this one was anything but what it appeared to be.
      Certainly no one at the mansion was telling them to look at the
      bottom of a lake on the other side of Canada.

      The most tangled aspect of the whole worldwide disaster involved who
      to blame. Almost every government was howling for blood, and while
      William Stryker made a conveniently dead scapegoat, there was still
      the matter of just who'd authorized Stryker in the first place? The
      U.S. and Canada both wound up on the block since Stryker had been
      U.S. military but his base had been Canadian. Many apologies were
      made, a number of Pentagon and white house functionaries lost their
      jobs, and at least one U.S. army general's career went down in
      flames.

      It still wasn't enough. The U.S.'s world reputation sank further
      while Canada's barely stayed afloat, conspiracy theorists had a field
      day, people all over the world still suspected mutants, and President
      McKenna essentially gave up all chance at re-election.

      I'll vote for him anyway. Why? Because he made the hard choice --
      he took it on the chin and prevented a mutant pogrom by concealing
      the damning truth. There are some things the public doesn't need to
      know. I guess that makes me an elitist, but my general experience
      has shown me that people shoot first and ask questions later when
      they think they're threatened (whether or not they actually are).
      McKenna had a choice -- rise to the occasion and be remembered as a
      great man in retrospect even if he sacrificed his political career
      now, or play the coward, try to save himself, and wind up with a lot
      of innocent blood on his hands. So far, he seems to be trying for
      the first option, which makes him a president worth having, in my
      books. Too bad most of the public can't know, and won't for a good
      long time if we're to avoid civil war.

      In none of the trials, debates, or international media circuses has
      mention of the professor or the school -- or Magneto -- come up.
      It's known that Lehnsherr broke out of prison, but he hasn't been
      connected with the attacks, and Stryker's assault was explained as a
      "machine," intended to target mutants, that malfunctioned. Stryker's
      own paranoia has worked in our favor. Only a handful of trusted
      operatives knew what he was actually up to, and most of them died at
      Alkali Lake. The three who didn't have had their memories erased.

      In fact, a number of people have had their memories tampered with, at
      least marginally. Anyone whose discretion isn't certain no longer
      knows enough about the school to be a threat -- that includes parents
      and siblings, maintenance people, and even the UPS man. The
      professor may be an idealist, but he's a pragmatic idealist. After
      all, his school hides the base for a mutant strike force -- not usual
      operating procedure for an ideologue. He's not Stryker, or
      Lehnsherr, and he pays attention to details and collateral damage.
      Soldiers may have attacked us once, but they damn well won't again,
      and whatever face he turns to the students, however reassuring he
      tries to be, they don't know how he sits in a dark office after the
      sun goes down, staring out the window at ghosts. He may know
      intellectually that he was forced to do what he did, but that doesn't
      change the fact that he *caused* those millions and millions of
      deaths, worldwide. And he feels it. That's why I'm still here --
      because he feels it.

      But I'm not talking to him unless I have to -- because he didn't
      force Jean to get back on the plane.

      Understand -- it's not that I'd (romantically) rather be dead with
      her than alive without her, not if the cost would have been everyone
      else trapped there, including the kids. I'm not stupid, nor
      sadistic.

      No, what makes me so mad I can't see straight is that she didn't
      *have* to die. There were options. She ignored them, and Xavier let
      her.

      If she could power the plane from outside, she could have fucking
      done it from inside, too. If she could pick up several *tons* of
      titanium and steel and hold it in the air until the engines cut in,
      then her own one-hundred-and-thirty-eight pounds wouldn't have made a
      spit of difference. If she could hold off a goddamn *tidal wave*,
      splitting it like Moses, then she could have managed to hold it for
      another few seconds while Wagner teleported her to safety. Xavier
      tells me all that's hindsight, that she made the best choice she
      could at the time, people don't think straight in a crisis, and I
      shouldn't let my grief take away her bravery.

      But dammit, *I* thought of those things. The truth is that she
      locked me up in the plane like I was three instead of almost thirty
      and didn't let me command because she didn't *want* to survive.
      That's the *choice* she made. And I seem to be the only one who's
      willing to speak the truth.

      Jean didn't 'sacrifice' herself.

      She suicided.


      --------------

      Feedback always welcome.


      =====
      --Min
      The Medicine Wheel: X-Men Fanfic
      http://www.themedicinewheel.net/



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