Fic: Winds of Change (Unexpected Occurrences 1/12)
- Winds of Change (Unexpected Occurrences 1/12)
"This is war." Professor Charles Xavier said it
calmly, but in a tone of great sorrow. He had joined
the meeting last, wheeling in to take his place at the
head of the conference table in the large living room
at the Saskatchewan Outpost. The class had assembled
there, looking subdued and a little bit wary, ushered
in by Scott Summers and followed by Logan.
Arthur had been on the other side of the room, seated
on a couch by the fireplace with April, his
four-year-old daughter. He continued to read to her
as the class filed in. When the Professor arrived,
Arthur turned April over to Adam Greenfield�s care and
joined the group around the table. Adam, baby Ezra in
the sling, had walked off with April, chatting about
an excursion to the playroom as they left. Their
cheery talk had contrasted sharply with the evident
anxiety exhibited by the students remaining in the
room. The Professor had begun by congratulating them
on their success in the wilderness, but had quickly
gotten to the point. Now Arthur and his wife Wendy
were sitting on either side of the Professor, looking
around the room at the students, clearly trying to
assess how they were taking the bad news.
It wasn�t going well. Several of the students around
the table gasped at the Professor�s pronouncement.
Jamie�s wide-eyed expression, Joe�s open mouth, Ruby�s
soft sobs made clear that the news was coming as a
shock. Some were talking among themselves, some
looking to their teachers. The professor cleared his
throat and there was instant silence. All eyes turned
to him, except for Logan's and Scott's. Logan was
frowning at Scott and Scott was trying to pretend he
didn't notice, glad for once that he couldn't make eye
Professor Xavier continued in a calm tone, not
minimizing the bad news, but offering reassurance
where he could. "Canada is a safe haven for mutants,
at least so far," he was saying. "The Martin
government has categorically refused to join the
United States in detaining known mutants, but we don't
know how long they will keep to that stance. Canada
is highly economically dependent on its southern
neighbor, and under a great deal of pressure from the
United States government to comply. Throughout the
U.S., mutants are being imprisoned without trial and
without charges, being treated as prisoners of war.
We believe it is essential that the Outpost location
remain secret, since we don't know what's going to
happen in Canada. Right now it's safe to live openly
as mutants in this country. Alpha Flight is still in
operation, still an active department of the Canadian
federal government. It�s comforting to see a visible
and official mutant presence in Canada. But that�s
only one part of the picture. There's strong
anti-mutant feeling here as well, and polls indicate
popular support among Canadians for joining the War on
Mutants. Putting those facts together with the
economic pressure the United States is bringing to
bear, we can't know that Canada will continue to hold
"I'm sure you all have family and friends you want to
contact back in the States. We do have methods for
getting messages to them, saying that you are safe,
but I'm afraid you can't contact them directly or let
them know where you are. I hope those precautions
won't be necessary for too long, but for now these
measures must be enforced."
"What happened? Things were bad but...war?" Kitty's
plaintive question spoke for them all.
The Professor turned to his Field Leader, who
answered. "We aren't sure exactly what happened,"
Cyclops began. "We'll get to the bottom of it,
eventually. We know what the U.S. government is
saying caused them to cry havoc and let slip the dogs
of war, but we also know that what they are saying
"What is being alleged is that a mutant plot to take
over the U.S. government was launched. It�s evidence
of how strong and deep anti-mutant feeling is in
America - and particularly within a group in Congress,
led by Senator Marley - that the story has been
accepted: by the president, by the press, by much of
the public. The anti-mutant measures being taken by
the federal government are being presented as
defensive. We know what the government is claiming
didn�t really happen, but we don't know what the real
�How do we know it isn�t true?� Oliver asked. �What
about Magneto�s Brotherhood? Could they have been
behind a coup attempt? Just because he�s in prison
doesn�t mean they aren�t still active.�
�We considered that possibility, Oliver,� the
Professor replied. �But it doesn�t fit the facts.
Magneto�s gang is fragmented. There are few of his
henchmen left and he hasn�t been in a position to
recruit more. And what we�ve learned of the federal
government�s allegations suggests that the mutants
they are seeing as ringleaders are not associated with
Erik Lehnsher. In fact,� he added solemnly, �some of
them are associated with our school and with the
X-Men. Among the mutants currently being detained as
�enemy combatants� without trial or charges are two of
our graduates: Marie Charbonneau and Tabitha
Stanley.� A couple of students gasped. Logan�s angry
glare intensified, mixed with alarm.
The Professor continued. �Marie � many of you know
her as Rogue � graduated from Xavier�s a couple of
years ago, and often goes on X-Men missions with us.
She�s a student at George Washington University, or
was until recently. Tabitha is, of course, our best
known graduate and a world-renowned scientist. Both
Rogue and Tabitha have been active in the founding of
the Mutant Rights League and both have been very
public about their mutant status. We know that
neither of them had any intentions of disrupting the
government and that the League is committed to working
within the system to improve the lot of our people.
We don�t know what evidence was used to deem Tabitha
and Rogue enemy combatants, and the government isn�t
�What we do know is that a number of Senators and
their staffers became suddenly and seriously ill,
shortly after Senate hearings that were attended by
several members of the Mutant Rights League, including
Rogue and Tabitha. The first casualties were among
those senators and staff who had been meeting
privately with league members at the Mutant Rights
League office just before the MRL members were
questioned at the hearings. News reports said none of
the MRL members themselves had gotten sick. By the
time the first of the deaths occurred, the media were
saying that the Senators and their staff had been
poisoned by the MRL. The illness - whatever it is -
has been spreading rapidly since then. It�s often
fatal. Fifteen thousand dead in Washington, twice
that in Baltimore, new cases as far south as
Tallahassee, as far north as Boston. And not one
confirmed mutant casualty. It seems that not only are
none of our people dying, they aren�t even getting
�Within days, the hysteria was out of control. The
rumors went from poison to an infectious agent, one
planted by mutants and to which mutants are immune.
It was said that the Senators were purposely infected
first, with the plan that they would spread it to
other government officials. The Senators who met with
the MRL were scheduled to attend a state dinner two
days after the meeting. It was alleged that the MRL
had planned to infect the President and Vice President
through those Senators. A law was quickly passed
allowing the detention of all mutant citizens without
trial and seizure of all mutant property. The Mutant
Detention Act suspends normal arrest and judicial
procedures, making it nearly impossible to get
accurate and complete information. We don�t even know
how many mutants are in detention.�
"The school?" Oliver asked, turning to Scott. "What
happened? Who got out?"
The Professor smiled reassuringly and answered the
question. "We were able to evacuate the entire
school, I'm glad to say. The Mutant Detention Act was
rushed through Congress in a closed session, but we
were alerted just in time. We did have to split up
into a number of groups, though, since we would not
have been able to get over the border - or even out of
Westchester - en masse, without attracting attention.
Some of your classmates and teachers are on their way
here, some are with Alpha Flight members and in other
safe places in Canada, and some are still trying to
get out of the States." His smile vanished and he
continued. "We haven't yet heard from all of our
students and faculty, and don't yet know for sure that
they are all safe. We are also trying to contact
former students and staff. Names of detainees are not
being released, so we can't know for sure that some of
our people � beyond the two we know of - aren't in
"In custody? Detained?" Joe sounded outraged.
"What�s going on? Are they just going quietly? What
kind of mutants are they? I wouldn't let them take me
like that. Why aren�t they fighting back? Why aren�t
*we* fighting this?"
Wendy jumped in. "We are fighting it, in every way we
can, Joe. But it's not that simple. We're a small
population and fragmented. Not organized. And they
have the force of the government and the law behind
"Law? What kind of law? One that locks our people up?
That blames us for some sickness we had nothing to do
with?" Joe was practically yelling now.
Wendy answered him calmly. "Nobody's arguing with
you, Joe. It's unconscionable what's happening. I'm
just saying I can understand why some didn't fight
back. We're not just mutants, you know. We're
regular people; we're citizens. We're accustomed to
thinking that the law is there to protect us, not to
persecute us. And it's true that was changing for
some time in the States, well before this crisis. The
Mutant Registration Act, laws limiting mutant
immigration and travel to the U.S., restrictions on
mutant participation in the professions and commerce -
the signs were all there. We know that. It�s
certainly clear in retrospect that this is the
culmination of a pattern of increased and increasingly
institutionalized antimutantism that has been going on
for years. But it's not always clear what to do, how
to resist. A lot of us thought that if we just kept
on with our lives, cooler heads would prevail
eventually and things would get better."
"And we had plans for if things didn't happen that
way, which is why you're here now," Arthur added. He
paused and then said, "And it's not true that everyone
went quietly. There were mutants who fought back.
Some were killed resisting arrest. We have powers
that normal humans don't - that's true. I hear yours
are the same as mine,� he said to Joe, directly.
"Super strength, right? And sure, you and I could
take on a whole lot of normal humans coming after us.
If it comes to that, we�ll fight as long as we have
breath. I want you there with me, fighting on my
side. But I don�t want it coming to that, because we
can't take on a whole army, no matter what our powers.
If we're going to save our people, that's not going
to be how we'll do it."
Joe didn't reply. None of the other kids said
anything. Charles Xavier took the silence as an
opportunity to bring the meeting back under control.
"Wendy and Arthur will show you to your rooms now," he
said to the assembled members of the wilderness
survival class. "We're in pretty tight quarters and
it will likely get somewhat more crowded. At least we
hope so. We'll do what we can to give you chances for
solitude, but there are a lot of us in a pretty small
place. There isn�t going to be a lot of privacy. So,
let's work on getting along together. Any problems
are to be reported to the floor supervisor.
�I want you all to compile lists of people you want
contacted - names, phone numbers, email addresses,
whatever information you have. We will have to get
word to them circuitously but we will tell your family
and friends that you are safe and well." He smiled
reassuringly. "Dinner is at 6:30. Oliver, please
show everyone where the dining hall is." The students
got up to leave, following Wendy and Arthur out.
Logan started to stand up, too. "Just a minute,"
Charles said. "Cabinet meeting before dinner. 5:00
in the Command Center. Scott can show you where it
is, Logan." He wheeled out the door, leaving Logan
and Scott alone in the living room.
"So I'm in the cabinet?"
"Of course you are," Scott answered. "You've always
been a key member of the team."
Logan changed the subject. "Where's Rogue? Where are
they holding her?"
Scott sighed deeply. "We don't know yet. We hope
she's okay but we don�t know anything. We�re going to
find out. We�ll get her out of there. Tabitha, too."
"So why am I hearing this for the first time with the
kids? I'm in the fucking cabinet and I don't even
know there's a war going on until now?"
"I'm sorry, Logan. I should have told you earlier."
"I don't want to hear you're sorry. I want to know
why you didn't tell me. What, did you think I'd tell
the kids before we got here? I know how to keep my
fucking mouth shut."
"I know that. I don't doubt your discretion. Ever."
"There wasn't time. The kids were there - I didn't
have a chance to talk to you privately."
"Don�t give me that shit, Cyclops. We had time to
ourselves. You spent it sucking my dick, not telling
me what the hell's going on."
"It's hard to talk with your mouth full." Logan's
angry countenance made it clear the joke had fallen
flat. "I'm sorry. I thought we had enough to deal
with out there." He paused, wondering whether to say
more. "And I didn't want to think about it, okay? I
didn�t want to believe it�s come to this. It felt
like as long as you didn't know, it wasn't really
happening. I wanted that for one more day. I was
wrong. You deserved to know. I was being selfish."
Scott turned to walk away, but Logan pulled him back,
wrapped his arms around him. "I'm sorry," Scott said
again, right in Logan's ear this time.
"It's okay." He disengaged and stepped back, arm's
length from Scott. "Don't fucking do it again," he
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