More food for (dark) thought...
Dark Legend Chapter 2
X-Men AU � Dark Legend Universe
PAIRING: None this part.
ARCHIVING: Yes to the list archives and the challenge archive, other folks should ask first (I haven�t
said �no� yet).
FEEDBACK: Yes, please! Feeding writers increases productivity! Tarchannon@...
DISCLAIMER: None of the characters are mine � they belong to the people at Marvel. I�ll only use and
abuse them a bit � probably less than my muses did!
SERIES/SEQUEL: Yes, the Dark Legend Universe. This section is my continuation of the introduction to the Dark Legend
SUMMARY: A plague visits the House of Xavier bringing death and dark changes.
NOTES: 1) �_� contains spoken dialog, /_/ contains thoughts, *_* contains mental communication
The Diary of Dr. Henry McCoy � August 23, 2027
My hundred and third attempt to replicate the accident that had sparked my second emergence had failed. I am no closer to determining why I am immune to the virus, and I am beginning to lose hope. I had hypothesized that the accident had provided the immunity since I could find no other logical reason, but I have been unable to recreate the conditions of the accident. I think the pressure and isolation is getting to me, and I am embarrassed to admit that I threw a tantrum in the lab this afternoon. Between the cultures and the broken plastic, I had made quite a mess. I think Bobby may have heard me, but I guess that would be a good thing since it reinforces my cover. Unfortunately, my outburst did little to relieve the darkness that seems to be permeating everything.
It�s been four months since the attack on the Mansion, four months since the Legend Virus plague had started. They had been the darkest four months of his life, and the worst part was, none of the others really realized what had happened. My initial studies indicate that the virus lays dormant in neural tissue, creating strange behavioral modifications among the survivors.
The Friends of Humanity had added introduced the Legend Virus � clearly a modified Legacy virus - to the Academy by using a purified powder carrier brought in by a pair of zealots disguised as concerned parents of a prospective student. They actually had had the nerve to brag about it on television! It had spread quickly, infecting everyone in the school in a matter of hours. Unfortunately, Warren and a few others were infected and had left the grounds at the end of the school day, carrying the plague to Salem Center and New York City before they started exhibiting symptoms. The virus had spread quickly from there, vectoring by touch and by aerosol throughout the mutant population, crossing the country and the world in a matter of days and weeks. It was in China that the first evidence of poor genetic engineering was revealed nearly a month after initial exposure. Like the Legacy Virus before it, the Legend Virus began to infect humans, initiating a devastation that made the Legacy human death toll look inconsequential.. Apparently, the construction was so faulty, more than one instance of the conversion came about, and quickly the people of the world started dying. The human-killer variant hadn�t reached the United States yet, but it seemed that it was only a matter of time.
From the information that I had been able to gather over the last few months from colleagues from around the world, the virus was about 75% lethal in mutants without previous Legacy immunization, which seemed to provide some additional protection in many, but not all, mutants. The new strain that affected humans was about 60% lethal, but prior immunization seemed to have no effect. Fortunately, about 20% of both mutants and humans were naturally immune.
The world was dying, if not through extinction, then by disruption of civilization.
Strangely, the X-Men, all of whom had received my second generation Legacy virus booster vaccine, had survived in unexpected numbers. Among those with the second vaccinations, the infection triggered a bout of severe illness, during which a second emergence occurred, much like the lab accident had changed Hank from nearly human to a blue, leonine mutant of significantly more power. Worse yet, the people that survived emerged strangely twisted from the presence of the virus. Darker, more intense, exaggerated in a typically bad way. Uninhibited. All of the X-Men were almost a dark parody of their former selves.
My friends are no longer the people they once were.
I still hold out hope that if I can figure out why I am immune, or why others in the population are immune, I can use that factor to help remove the final traces of virus from my friends. Perhaps, this will restore them to their original personalities. If I am not successful in developing a cure, I am deeply afraid that the world will fall into a dark age.
So for now, I am playing along with the others, pretending to have been affected - assuming a deep scowl and a hostile, aggressive demeanor. Twice now, I have had to threaten physical violence to protect my secret project, and I am afraid that I will be discovered if I don�t find help soon. Before the attack, the others had left me well enough alone, and now with the changes, they are far less likely to bother me with random visits, as they are involved in their own distasteful pursuits. But I am still vulnerable.
I have been working feverishly to develop a solution to the Legend Virus, and I am getting tired. I started praying today.
* * *
Ganymede Estate - Just outside New Orleans, LA � August 24, 2027
�What do you have for me?� the tall, trim, beautiful man with copper hair and red-on-black eyes asked him softly, voice melodious and rhythmic with a distinct Cajun accent. The man stood looking up at him, head tilted down, but eyes looking up to meet his, only partially screened by artfully unruly hair. A cocky insolence was evident in everything about the man, from the tilt of his hips to the long ash on the end of the cigarette hanging from the corner of this mouth.
Nathaniel Essex was a powerful man, wealthy beyond a prodigious need, and having a very long reach that descended into the darkest of the places on Earth. He had uses for one such as this � smart, educated, streetwise, hungry. Many uses. It was the hunger that had brought the banished Prince of Thieves to him: the hunger for a challenge, the hunger for contact, the hunger for the company of those like himself. He knew the thief hated having to return so close to his home, knowing he could not go those last few meters, but Essex knew that the young man didn�t dare refuse him.
�Go over to that cabinet, open it and remove the gold box. Within there is a white powder. I want you to see if you can identify the odor.�
The thief looked at him quizzically, but after a moment obeyed. He sauntered over to the case, nimbly opened the cabinet and did what he was asked to do. �Don�t smell anything,� he said after a moment.
�Good. Now I want you to return to your room. If you start sneezing, I want you to notify me. Otherwise, I want you back here in the lab at 08:00 tomorrow for your instructions.�
The Cajun knew nothing of his sinister intentions, nor any of the hundreds of things he had done that few would consider acceptable, or even worse, ethical. All he knew was that he was the brilliant physician that had saved his precious Belladonna � his Juliet, now farther away than if she was dead. Essex mused that his ignorance would likely be his undoing. Essex left the lab and exited the building to stroll through the garden courtyard. The night was hot and sticky, the air close and carrying a hint of growth and decay. The moonlight never touched him as he moved from inky pool to inky pool under the moss-laden trees and considered his plan.
Essex had known that the young man had been exposed to the virus several times before and had shown no sign of infection. But he had to be absolutely sure the man was immune to the Legacy Virus.
The man, sometimes known as Sinister in the dark alleys of the world, felt the wetness trickle form his nose, and removed a handkerchief to staunch the red flow. He paused to rest for a moment, sitting the wrought iron bench beneath a large magnolia tree, listening to the sounds of the night. He extracted a small pill from a vial in his shirt pocket, and swallowed it almost without thought.
Essex sat for some time, eventually seeing the light of the guest room go out. He sighed, disturbed and desperate, as he whispered to himself words that barely penetrated the think air.
�To think, the fate of the world just might depend on this Cajun thief.�
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