The path of evolution is a long, arduous process. From the simplest of creatures to the dominant species of the world, it has driven the progress of life throughout the history of the planet Earth. Over the eons it has taken many turns, taking life to dramatic feats of wonder. But every so often the fundamental forces of life undergo great change in a short span of time. Through a phenomenon called mutation, life evolves into a different state. And humans are no exception.
In a time of growing upheaval, mankind is at an evolutionary crossroad. A new generation of humans has arisen. Born with unique abilities, they are mutants. They are the next link in the evolution of the human species. In an unforgiving world, they live in a society that hates and fears them. And in the struggle for survival, there are those who desire a path of war while others desire a path of peace.
This is the story of Professor Charles Xavier and his loyal students, the X-men. They fight to preserve peace for the generations of humans and mutants to come. And as the threat of conflict grows, their fight has become more vital than ever.
Washington DC – National Mall
It is a time of great upheaval. On the cusp of the new millennium, the human race walks a fine line between a new age of discovery and a new age of destruction. The world has gotten smaller. Information that was once isolated now flows freely. Ideas that once took days, months, or even years to reach the other end of the world could now be received in the blink of an eye. Some of those ideas have inspired hope. Some of those ideas inspired fear, terror, and uncertainty. Whatever the case, the world was ripe with conflict and the extent of that conflict was fast becoming global.
“WHAT DO WE WANT?”
“WHEN DO WE WANT IT?”
“STOP THE MUTANTS! SAVE THE HUMANS! STOP THE MUTANTS SAVE THE HUMANS!”
The heated chants of over a thousand passionate citizens echoed through the famous national mall in Washington DC. As part of this new flow of ideas, they were among those gripped by fear and uncertainty. They were driven to protest together, urging people and power-brokers to heed their calls to protect them against what they perceived to be the greatest of threats…human mutants.
It was already becoming a chaotic affair. Police and riot patrols had already been set up across the mall near the Washington Monument. Their job was to keep the protesters from obstructing traffic and invoking a destructive riot. What started as only a few hundred people had swollen into the thousands. It was hard to tell if the people joining had planned to be there or if they really shared the same fear.
“We are going to need some serious backup!” lamented one of the SWAT patrolmen.
“We may need more than that! I think some of our boys are tempted to join these people!” said another.
“They better not! I don’t care much for mutants, but nobody’s making trouble on my watch!”
The protesters were getting restless. Some started throwing rocks and trash, causing some cars to swerve and a few to stop dead in their tracks. The riot police grew restless as well and started pushing back some of the protesters. A few even pinned down some of them who were close by, namely the ones throwing the debris. But the threat of arrest wasn’t enough to dissuade them. They just kept chanting and protesting, voicing their fears and their dread over the mutant issue.
The situation was getting tense. It seemed to be on the brink of a full blown riot. All it would take was the right push. That push, it seemed, came in the form of an unexpected presence.
From atop the Washington Monument, a lone figure had been watching these protests develop. He watched with a burning mix of anger and resentment, for these people weren’t just protesting against something controversial. They were protesting against his very existence. He was a mutant and not the kind that was easily concealed either. He a large, muscular body, but his mutation gave him a distinct reptilian form. He could swim under water for long periods, survive in swampy conditions, and adhere to walls and buildings. He made his home here in the sewers of Washington DC. For these people to be protesting here wasn’t just an affront to his kind. It was an affront to his home.
‘Stupid, ignorant humans! You come to my city, screw up my mid-day stroll, and find time to yell out against my kind? I’m usually not a political guy, but you asked for it!’
With an angry growl, the reptilian mutant shimmied down the Washington Monument and boldly leapt into the thick of the protest. He landed right between the riot police and the raging protesters. His sudden presence shocked and horrified both sides. Their reaction only seemed to further encourage the angry mutant.
“Oh my God! It’s hideous!” exclaimed a protester.
“Worse! It’s a mutant!” yelled another.
“Ha! You think I’m terrifying? Any of you people look in a mirror lately?!” spat the mutant.
“Go back to where you came from, freak!” yelled one of the braver protesters.
“I am home you stupid redneck hicks! This city is my home! If you think you can come into my home and call me out you’re asking for trouble!”
“Bring it on, lizard man!”
That was all the renegade mutant needed to hear. If these people wouldn’t leave him alone, he would fight them off one by one. Clenching his first, he lunged towards the rowdy protester and attacked him.
That was the last straw. As soon as the angry mutant grabbed the protester, chaos erupted. The protest turned into a full blown riot. Some fled the scene, not wanting to take on the dangerous mutant. Others crowded around to get in on the action, looking to attack the mutant before it hurt anybody. The riot police were forced to break their line and go into full riot mode. Some broke off to handle the enraged protesters. Others tried to break it up between the mutant and the swarm of angry humans looking to vent their frustrations on him. The streets were soon filled with swarms of people. Traffic came to a halt and the chants devolved into a mess of panicked.
“It’s happening! The mutants are attacking!”
“Doomed! Humanity is doomed!”
It was yet another day of upheaval for a world already ripe with conflict. As the riots ensued, all anyone could do was try to get out of the way and run for safety.
While this was going on, a local news helicopter was hovering over the scene to cover the story. It was an ominous sight, seeing waves of people fill the streets. Destruction, anger, and chaos echoed through the air. It was more than enough to be news and in this new age of ideas, it would find its way across the planet for all to see.
“If you’re just joining us, we’re live in downtown DC where yet another anti-mutant riot has broken out. This is the third incident in the last six months in a major city. The protests have swelled to new levels and mutant responses are becoming increasingly forceful. Over a dozen major nations have already enacted emergency legislation to deal with the growing protests. More are expected to be brought to Congress later this week. It has been a grizzly trend, causing widespread damage and fostering greater discontent between human and mutant communities. Experts warn it is only a matter of time before a much greater conflict emerges. It is a sentiment shared by the public. Many are asking how much longer can this go on? Who if anybody will step in to stop this madness?”
Xavier Institute – Charles Xavier’s Study
It was a crisp, cloudless morning over the skies of Westchester New York. The sun was beating down softly on the pristine grounds of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. This opulent manor sat peacefully in the heart of rural New York, far enough from the chaos of the city but close enough to be part of it should the need arise. It was an ambience that was fully embraced as Professor Charles Xavier entered his study. The warm sun illuminated the room, revealing vast shelves of books and large stacks of papers full of knowledge. Bearing a casual suit and a sophisticated poise, he projected an aura of enlightenment.
Bound to a wheelchair, his mobility was limited as he skillfully maneuvered through the neatly kempt study. The whole room was organized with his stature in mind. From his books to the arrangement of his desk, everything was close at hand so he could work as efficiently as possible. Approaching his computer, the Professor opened up his archives on his computer and began typing his thoughts.
The world is ripe with conflict. Fear, hatred, and uncertainty rule the day. On this very morning, a protest broke out in Washington DC involving a mutant picking a fight between a group of protesters. That fight spiraled out of control, triggering widespread rioting and destruction. Such is the unfortunate context of our times. In the mist of this latest upheaval, the question was asked who will step in to save humanity from this madness? It is quite a challenge, but one I look to take on.
My name is Professor Charles Xavier. I am a teacher, a mutant, and a dreamer. My life is constrained to a wheelchair, but my mind is hindered by nothing. Some say that when one loses function in one part of their body, the rest become stronger. I like to think that what I lost in my legs is made up in my dreams. This is the personal chronicle of a man who seeks peace in a world wrought with conflict. This is the story of man behind the wheelchair, the wealth, and the mutation.
I grew up in a wealthy family with roots back to English nobility. My father was a highly respected theoretical physicist and my mother was an accomplished doctor. I had a lot of privileges growing up. I went to all the best schools and had access to all the best resources. But my mutant powers made me an outcast. While my parents were there for me, they died very early in my life from unknown causes. Yet they left a profound influence on me.
I attended Princeton where I studied medicine and biology. I hold a PHD in both fields and contributed extensively to new fields of biotechnology. I sought to become a genetics researcher, but the more I studied human affairs the more fascinated I became with the social upheavals of the latter 20th century. Through this, I foresaw the coming conflict between humans and mutants.
After I graduated, I traveled abroad and began studying in the field of humanities. Much of my research was done in Israel and the Middle East where conflict was readily available for study. There, I expanded my understanding of the world outside the comfort of my upper class upbringing. I did a great deal of research and wrote many pieces that have been widely published. It is through this work that I have established myself as a man of peace.
This also put my developing mutant abilities into perspective. I was born with the unique gift to read people’s minds and influence their thoughts. This ability is known as telepathy. And while it is poorly understood, I strive to use it for the good of mankind. Some may call me naïve, but I have a great respect for humanity. Our civilization has achieved some truly remarkable feats. We have conquered so many unknowns in our ever changing world, but as magnificent as we have become mankind has a dark side.
As a species of such high function we are capable of great destruction. We hate, we persecute, and we oppress what we perceive as threats. And mutants have unfortunately become a part of that legacy.
Mutation is not a new phenomenon. It has been a part of nature since the beginning of life. Mutation is a major factor that drives evolution. Without evolution, life as we know it would not be possible. Evolution remains a very complicated process that is typically drawn out over millennia. But when conditions are right, large-scale mutations can occur over the span of a few generations, developing new traits that can aid or hinder their survival. This is the issue that mankind is faced with today.
In recent years, the human race has taken a great leap in the evolution of our species. A growing number of individuals are being born with an abnormality in their DNA that has come to be known as the X-gene. Through this one gene, a wide range of abilities become possible. Yet for all its majesty, the X-gene is still a mystery. Nobody knows where it came from or how it developed. And it is this lack of understanding that causes others to fear mutants as a threat. Some even go so far as to say that there is a war coming that will be fought between mutants and non-mutants. Because of this, I have taken it upon myself to stop such horrors from happening.
I began this endeavor during my studies, traveling to war torn areas like the Balkans where I did humanitarian work. I saw first hand the kind of hatred humans are capable of. Torture, rape, and death were almost commonplace and it was my job to console victims. I would have been content to help the world in this way, but all that changed the day I learned I had a cancerous tumor in my spine.
All the best doctors gave me a grim diagnosis. At one point, I had only six months to live. But I fought it, spending nearly a year of my life in a hospital bed undergoing treatment. Eventually, the tumor was removed and the cancer went into remission. When all was said and done, I was told my legs suffered permanent damage and I may never walk again.
It was a devastating blow that took months to recover from, but it also gave me time to think. Surviving cancer reminded me that I was human. Even with all my power, I am as vulnerable as any other. I refused to let my personal misfortune dampen my resolve so I pursued my chosen path through another route. I returned to my family estate located in Westchester, New York. There, I began studying mutation extensively and set out a new course of action that would help humans and mutants alike.
I’ve learned through my experiences that it is very difficult for mutants to live in a world that hates and fears them. So with the vast wealth from my family, I have turned my mansion into a school which I have entitled the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. Here, mutants can live, learn, and use their powers for the greater good. And for those who have trouble controlling their abilities, I use my knowledge of mutation to help them. I believe that through education and training, mutants can exact a positive influence on the world.
Over the years, I have taught many remarkable individuals. Together, we have had our share of adventures and accomplished a great deal. Young mutants who once saw their powers as curses now see them as gifts. Some chose to stay while others chose to pursue their own goals. At the moment, my institute has five permanent residents. They come from different backgrounds, but they chose to stay here because they have come to believe in my dream. And they each have their own story to tell.
My first student is a young man named Scott Summers. Born in Alaska, Scott had a peaceful early life. But that all changed the fateful day when a plane crash killed his parents and left him orphaned at age 8. Traumatized, Scott manifested his powers at an early age. He has the ability to metabolize sunlight and turn it into photo-concussive blasts. They can be quite destructive, but due to brain damage that he sustained as a result of the crash, he is unable to control his power and was fully blind by age fourteen.
Scared of his growing powers, Scott was an isolated young man. He and his brother, Alex, were repeatedly abused at the orphanage that took him in and the foster homes that followed. It affects him profoundly to this day. I learned of him by pure chance from a news report and took him into my school. He has since embraced my school’s ideals and I have helped him gain some control over his abilities. It took a great deal of effort, but with the aid of special glasses made out of ruby quartz that block his power he is able to control his abilities.
As a boy who has overcome so much, I am very proud of Scott. At 22, he is smart, responsible, trustworthy, and a strong leader. He is still somewhat reserved, but his inner strength cannot be denied. His loyalty to the team astonishes even me at times. Under the codename, Cyclops, I am proud to have him at my institute.
Jean Grey was my second student. She arrived not long after Scott Summers. Like him, she grew up in a well to do family. However, Jean’s life took a turn for the tragic when her sister, Sara, died in a horrific car accident when she was eight. Death alone is hard enough for a child, but Jean’s powers involved telepathy so the experience was felt deep within her mind. Such trauma trigged the early manifestation of her mutant abilities. For years she struggled for control. Later she manifested telekinesis, the ability to move objects with her mind. Uncontrolled, this ability was very destructive and her parents were overwhelmed. Eventually they sent her to a series of hospitals after she complained of having strange visions. They feared that she was going mad.
Thankfully, I learned of her after meeting her troubled father at a reunion at Princeton. She enrolled in my school and has been a strong part of it ever since. To this day, she still struggles with control, but has come a long way. However, the rift between her and her family is deep. Being thrown into a hospital has created many scars that may never heal. But she is strong and passionate about her life here. Now a beautiful 21-year-old woman and under the codename, Marvel Girl, I am honored to have her at my school.
But before Scott and Jean came into my life, I helped other youths learn to accept and control their mutation. One of those individuals was Hank McCoy. His mutation involved enhanced strength and ape-like reflexes. But unfortunately, such abilities extended to his appearance as well. As they grew, parts of his mutation were making him more animal than man. I helped him keep it at bay with my telepathy, but the animal inside him did not like being contained.
I successfully held back further change in his physiology on through college. He has a truly brilliant mind and went on to become a star football player and a dedicated teacher at a local high school. But when the beast inside him led to an incident that nearly got him fired, he concocted a serum which he hoped would suppress it. I advised against it, but the desire to contain his mutation was too great. As I feared, it backfired. Now his body reflects his ape-like nature on the outside as well. He has the fur and build of an ape man, but I managed to help him retain his mind. While he is no longer able to teach as Hank McCoy, as Beast he has become a valuable member of my institute.
As I opened the institute doors more freely for recruitment, I had hoped that parents of disaffected mutants would jump at the chance to give their child an education in a positive, nurturing environment. Unfortunately, some did not have such noble intentions. Warren Worthington III was an unfortunate victim of such an act. Born into a wealthy family, he was very privileged growing up. But his mutation left him at odds with his family.
Warren was born with full feathered wings and the ability to fly. His gift is a wonder that most can only dream of. But his parents worried his mutant status may affect the public image of Worthington Industries, one of the top multinational industrial firms in the world. Warren loves his powers, but his parents pressured him to conceal them. This caused a great rift, culminating in a fight with his father who wanted to have his wings surgically removed. Warren refused and as a result, his status as heir to the Worthington fortune is tenuous. That tension between Warren and his family, namely his father, is what led him to my institute.
At 23, it worries me that a man with such a gift is forced to choose between his family and his identity. His father loves him dearly, but they don’t understand him. And he worries a great deal about how his son’s mutant status will affect the legacy of the company they built. I have helped him find a new place in life. And under the codename, Angel, I hope his gift will one day be celebrated by his family rather than feared.
Last, but certainly not least is a young man named Bobby Drake. Born into a hard working class family in Boston, Bobby grew up normally by all accounts. He went to school, had plenty of friends, and enjoyed an active social life. Unfortunately, that all changed when he started having inexplicable shivers. They started small, but they soon grew much more serious and began manifesting into unforeseen abilities. Then, while he was at school, it got worse and he ended up covering half his school in ice. It was quite a messy affair, but it revealed the truth. He was a mutant.
After further study, I discovered that Bobby had the mutant ability to make ice and create extreme cold. Needless to say, this evoked a great deal of shock and he was nearly lynched by his peers when they found out. He managed to escape, but the ordeal shattered any hope of a normal life. His parents were fearful for his safety when I offered my services and they eagerly accepted. Here, he can continue his education without fear of prejudice. Bobby remains close to his parents, but he still faces scrutiny.
Never-the-less, Bobby refuses to let past unpleasantness bring him down. He is known for being a jokester and some would classify him as a class clown. But regardless, he is a fine 18-year-old boy who takes our cause seriously. And under the appropriate codename, Iceman, he is a welcomed resident at my institute.
Together, my students and staff hope to pursue peace in a world wrought with conflict. Using the resources at our disposal, we hope to teach humanity that we are not enemies, but allies. I am not so naïve to think that such a dream can be achieved without challenges. As a result, I have organized my staff into a task force that can go out and handle conflicts as they arise. We are the peacekeepers who seek to protect mutants and humans alike. I call this team, the X-men.
It is my hope that through hard work, enlightenment, and struggle that humans and mutants can one day live in peace. Together, I believe we can accomplish so much. We stand on the threshold of a new era. Our very species is changing. We are entering a brave new world. This is more than just evolution. This is revolution.
Smiling at his work, Professor Xavier saved these profound words into his archive. Looking back at the formation of the institute, it was remarkable how much it had grown over the years. And with the mutant phenomenon developing more with each passing day, it would have to continue if they were to keep up. But he and his X-men remained optimistic. Humanity still had a long way to go. But by fostering hopes of peace and understanding, they hoped to make a difference in a world that hated and feared them.
As he closed out his program, there was a knock at his door.
“Professor?” said Scott Summers as he stepped in to greet his mentor.
“Yes Scott. Come in,” he said kindly.
“I just came to let you know that she’s here.”
“Excellent. Let’s not keep her waiting then,” said the Professor, wheeling himself away from his desk.
Riding in his wheelchair, he followed his eldest student towards the elevator. This was an exciting time for his institute. The X-men had matured a great deal since the formation of the team. The time was now ripe for expansion. And today they were set to welcome a new member.
“So what’s this new teacher like?” asked Scott as he and his mentor rode the elevator down to the ground floor, “Hank’s been talking about her a lot.”
“Yes, he’s been corresponding with her for nearly six months. She’s a graduate student fresh out of college and I’ve been looking forward to her arrival. I believe she will make a fine addition to the institute.”
“What about her joining the team?” asked Scott, “Did Beast tell her what we do outside the classroom?”
“Yes, she is well aware of our extracurricular activities so to speak. But that has done nothing to dissuade her. She seems very much enthused about using her powers to make a difference.”
“Think she’ll feel that way after a round in the Danger Room?” said Scott.
Xavier let out a light sigh as the elevator reached the ground floor. The duties of the X-men were not to be taken lightly. Living in a world that was weary and untrusting of mutants was a challenge in and of itself, but trying to do good when they faced so much scrutiny took a special kind of spirit.
“I would hope she is not put off by the more challenging nature of our work,” said Xavier as they wheeled down the hall, “With the way things are we could use all the help we can get.”
“You make it sound as though we’re a handful, Professor,” joked Scott.
“Oh it’s not you I’m worried about. It’s the ever-increasing complexity of our task that concerns me. But that’s why we need allies and Ororo Munroe is the perfect woman for the job.”
“How do you figure?”
“Because I’ve seen what she’s capable of. She has the capacity to do good with her powers. She just needs an opportunity.”
Cairo, Egypt – 12 Years Ago
Professor Charles Xavier finished buttoning up his shirt after his extensive checkup. His oncologist, Dr. Mathew Risman, was still going over his test results. There was a lot to look over after several days of extensive work. Cancer was a complicated foe and Xavier had been fighting it for years now. At times it felt like a losing battle. His legs were already damaged and he had to use a cane to help himself get around. It was a discouraging sign given that this was the third international trip he had made to a renowned doctor for treatment. A man of lesser means would be either bankrupt or dead, but he was determined to fight this disease.
Dr. Risman didn’t look to optimistic. Xavier could sense doubt in his mind. One of the downsides of being a telepath was it was hard to be surprised by anybody. He could sense what they were going to say before they even said it. Sometimes it was a good thing, but it left little room for hope.
“Well Charles, I’ve got good news and bad news,” said Risman.
“What’s the bad news?” sighed Xavier.
“We were too late to stop the damage from spreading. At the rate you’re going even a cane won’t be enough.”
“So…I’ll need a wheelchair?”
“If it continues to spread, that’s a real possibility,” he said with a look of sympathy, “But in terms of good news, the treatments did what they were supposed to. They’ve stemmed the spread. You’re not quite in remission, but you’re close.”
Xavier let out a sigh of relief. It wasn’t the news he was hoping for, but it was better than nothing. Looking down at his legs, he cursed his body. How was he ever going to continue his work like this? His options with a cane were limited enough, but in a wheelchair they would be even more restricted.
“You should be thankful, Xavier. Most people in your position would be lucky to be alive.”
“I am. It’s just that my health isn’t helping the plans I had for my life.”
“Cancer rarely helps with anything,” said Dr. Risman with a sympathetic expression, “But it’ll work out in the long run. It always does.”
He helped Xavier to his feet and led him towards the door. His left leg was still strong so he used the cane to balance his right. But knowing that the damage would spread, even this limited mobility would be impossible eventually. It was sad to see a man of such brilliance struggle with a condition like this, but nature worked in unusual ways.
“The nurses already have your bags outside. I’ve even called a cab to take you to the airport. I imagine you want to get home soon.”
“Thank you, Doctor Risman,” said Xavier.
They walked out through the sliding doors where two nurses were loading up a cab. He was ready to go home. He had even more to plan now that his legs were failing him. But as long as his mind remained strong, he was hopeful.
One of the nurses was about to pick up the last bag when suddenly, a figure ran by at full speed and snatched it right from her arm.
“What the…stop! Thief! Somebody stop that girl!” yelled the nurse.
A couple of security guards who had been casually standing by the entrance were shocked by the call and quickly sprang into action. They immediately scrambled to block the girls path.
“Freeze girl! Give back the bag and go easy on yourself!”
The girl didn’t say a word. She just stared down the guards, the bag in hand with no intention of letting it go. They pulled their guns on her, but she wasn’t going down without a fight. They were about to attack when suddenly her eyes turned white and a gust of wind swooped in from out of nowhere, blowing the two men back against the wall and knocking them out cold.
“Sorry, but I don’t have time for jail,” she said.
The girl ran off into the crowded streets, pushing past anybody who stood in her way. The commotion drew more hospital officials. They crowded near Xavier and the downed officers. But the girl was long gone. It happened so unexpectedly, but the theft itself wasn’t what intrigued the professor.
“Damn thieves!” cursed the lead security officer, “Punks like that should be locked up in a cell and left to rot! Don’t worry, sir. We’ll get her!”
“Thank you, officer,” said Xavier, “I’m sure you’ll do your job.”
While commotion ensued, the thief ran as far as she could away from the scene as possible. She ran until her lungs burned and eventually took cover in an alley. There she sat down at the wall and opened the bag she just took, hoping to find something of value. But after a quick search, she was disappointed to find little of value. Of all the bags she could have taken, she took the one with shaving equipment and a series of books. At the very best, she could sell them for a buck or two and that was just not enough.
“No! Not again!” she groaned.
15-year-old Ororo Munroe was in serious trouble. This was the third job she did today and again she came up empty. This was getting out of hand. She had been reduced to pick-pocketing again after stealing cars got too risky. She needed money and she needed it fast. There were some very bad people out to get her and if she couldn’t get the money she needed, she was as good as dead.
Sinking to the ground, the young African woman lost herself in thought. How could she ever let it get this bad? It wasn’t like her life wasn’t complicated enough. She was already different in many ways. A while back she discovered she could manipulate wind and air currents. It took her a while to make sense of, but based on what she heard from news and media outlets this was not a good time to be a mutant. While the abilities had their perks, it was chaotic and difficult to control. It sure helped her get out of jams like the one she just escaped, but it did little to solve her problems.
She lost track of time as she contemplated her next move. Either she tried to do another job or risk another car theft. Each carried risk, but what choice did she have? She was about to head back out into the streets when an unexpected presence broke her from her daze.
“That’s quite a trick you did back there,” came a voice from the end of the alley.
Ororo shot up and saw the man she just robbed standing there leaning on his cane. She quickly scanned around him, looking for police. But to her surprise, she didn’t see any.
“Relax, there are no police with me. I followed you here by myself.”
“You…followed me?” she said in disbelief, “How did you manage that?”
‘Just because you can outrun me with your legs doesn’t mean you can outrun me with your mind.’
The young girl fell back and looked at the older man in shock. Did she just hear him talking in her mind? She rubbed her head, not sure if the stress was getting to her. Then Xavier stepped closer and smiled.
“It’s alright. You didn’t imagine it. I spoke to you with my mind. It’s part of my mutant power. And I suspect you have a few powers of your own.”
Ororo took a defensive stance. She didn’t know this guy, but she wasn’t going to the police. Xavier sensed this uneasiness and rose his hand in a gesture of peace.
“Relax, I’m not going to turn you in Miss…”
“Ororo,” she said, “Ororo Munroe.”
“Ororo…that’s a nice name,” smiled Xavier, “Pleased to meet you. My name is Charles.”
“Look, if you want your stuff back, take it. I don’t want any trouble. I…I just need money.”
“I don’t care about the bag.”
“Then why’d you follow me?!” she demanded, “I’m already in enough trouble as it is.”
“Let’s jus say I’m curious and I want to help.”
“Help me?” said the young girl in shock, “Why would you want to help a thief?”
Xavier just stood before her and smiled. Ororo still looked nervous, but she sensed no hostility in this man. She may have been young, but she wasn’t naïve. She had lived on the streets long enough to know the dangers of trusting people. But at this point in her life she had few options. If this man could help her out of this predicament then maybe he was worth talking to.
“Because I can. Henceforth, I must. Now tell me, Ororo…what is your story? Why have you resorted to thievery?”
Ororo held her head low. Her story was a sad one, but she was desperate. So she began telling him her story. And from that day forth her life would never be the same.
Xavier Institute – Foyer
Upon entering the foyer, Scott and the professor met with Jean, Warren, and Bobby. There all stood near the door in full uniform, ready to greet their new teacher. It promised to be a nice break from the usual rigors of being students and being part of a mutant task force. They were all optimistic about having a new face for the institute. It had been a while since they had a new member in the X-men and it never hurt to have some extra muscle on the team.
“Hey Professor, so where’s this new teacher?” said Bobby as he casually juggled snowballs, “I took a break from watching my Family Guy DVDs to meet him.”
“First of all, it’s a she, Bobby,” said Jean, rolling her eyes, “And second, you’ve been watching TV all day.”
“Yeah, yeah, and it’s rotting my brain and sending our nation’s youth down a moral sewer,” said Bobby in a sarcastic tone, “What’s your point?”
Rather than scold him for that, Jean sighed in exasperation. Trying to get Bobby Drake to take anything seriously was almost as challenging as any peace fostering between humans and mutants.
“And we wonder why they call us a menace,” she commented to Scott.
“At the rate we’re going we may prove them right,” he added.
“Not on our watch, they won’t,” said Jean, casting her friend a smile, “Even if some don’t take it as seriously as they should.”
Scott smiled back while Bobby shot Jean a look. The younger mutant couldn’t help but shake his head as he put his snowballs away and turned to Warren, who kept to himself rather than get involved with these all too frequent maturity debates.
“Always with the flirting. How long has it been going on now? Over two years?”
“Don’t tell me you’ve been keeping track,” smirked Warren.
“Don’t tell me it hasn’t been annoying you as well,” quipped Bobby, “I mean seriously. Why don’t they just get a room and start making out already?”
“I heard that, Iceman!” said Scott with a disgruntled tone.
“You really have to work on your whispering, Bobby,” said Warren.
“Like that does any good when we’ve got two psychics in the house.”
Jean chose to ignore that comment. It wasn’t the first time Bobby joked about her and Scott. It probably wouldn’t be the last. It seemed to be a popular issue for him lately. She and Scott tried not to make much of it for any number of reasons. With a new teammate arriving, they had enough to deal with already.
The wait finally ended as the front door opened and Hank stepped in with several heavy bags in his strong, gorilla-like arms. Following close behind them was their new teacher.
“Announcing Miss Ororo Munroe,” he said as if he were a butler at a classy party.
“Thanks for the opening, Hank,” said Ororo, “But I can introduce myself.”
Upon entering the foyer, Professor Xavier smiled and extended his hand in a welcoming gesture. It was a gesture she readily accepted. Looking at her now, she saw a very different woman from the little girl he met on the streets of Cairo all those years ago.
“You must forgive Hank. He has a propensity for the dramatics,” said Xavier, “Welcome to the Xavier Institute, Ororo. It’s a pleasure to have you with us.”
“It’s an honor to be here, Professor,” she said respectfully as she shook his hand, “I’ve been looking forward to this day since I graduated.”
“As have we,” he said, “It has been a while since we’ve had a new teacher in our midst and we’re very excited about having someone of your caliber join us.”
“You flatter me, Charles. This is the least I can do after everything you’ve helped me with. Getting me into America and into school is generous enough. Giving me a job right after I graduate is nothing short of overwhelming.”
“Let’s just say I like to invest my time and energy into those I know can make a big difference for us,” the Professor grinned, “As such, allow me to introduce you to your class.”
“No need for formality, Charles. I’m sure I’ll get to know them all very well soon enough,” said Ororo as she smiled at her new students.
The eyes of the four students widened, especially among the boys. She was a beautiful woman, no question about it. She bore a tall, shapely frame and dark ebony skin. She wore casual black pants and a purple sleeveless shirt bearing the logos of her school that tightly hugged her frame. But the most catching feature of this woman was her long flowing white hair that drifted down her back. It went well with her beautiful blue eyes that bore the same radiance as a clear sky.
She was young too, looking to be in her mid twenties. She had a friendly and caring aura to her, almost as if it were divine of sorts. She carried herself in a graceful, yet strong manner. She had X-man written all over her. For some, however, that left an impact of a different kind.
“Wow…” said Bobby with a wide eyed look, “Class just got a lot more interesting.”
“Bobby…” sighed Jean, elbowing him in the ribs.
Ororo laughed at this scene as she approached her new students.
“You must be Bobby Drake,” she said kindly, “Hank’s told me a lot about you.”
“Well just so you know, half of it is all lies,” he said, blushing as he shook her hand, “If Hanks has told you anything about freezing his bed sheets for April Fools Day…
But before Bobby could finish, Scott stepped in and extended his hand in a welcoming gesture.
“Please forgive Bobby’s lack of maturity, Miss Munroe,” said Scott respectfully.
“It’s quite alright. I didn’t study to become a teacher without developing a strong appreciation for patience first,” said Ororo with a smile as she shook his hand.
“Don’t start, Iceman,” said Jean, quickly changing the subject before Bobby responded, “So what’s your mutant power?”
Xavier smiled as he cast his newest staff member a welcoming smile.
“Why don’t you show them?”
Taking a step back, Ororo showed them her abilities by raising her hand and causing a gust of wind to swirl through the area. Her eyes turned an eerie white as the air was guided around by her whim, forming a small rain cloud just overhead. Soft echoes of thunder echoed through the halls and a light rain began to fall upon the bewildered students. Needless to say, it was an impressive feat even by their standards.
“Wow…and I thought we had seen everything,” said Warren as the wind rippled through his wings.
“Ororo has the ability to manipulate air and water currents, allowing her to affect the weather,” explained Xavier, “Henceforth, she will go by the codename, Storm.”
“Storm?” said Jean, impressed by her little demonstration, “Not bad. It definitely fits you.”
“Thank you, Jean,” smiled Ororo as she stopped the winds, “These powers can be pretty intense, but I was lucky that the Professor here helped me gain control and emigrate from Africa. And now that I’ve graduated, I’m ready to put these abilities to good use.”
“Well you’ve come to the right place for that,” said Hank proudly, “The X-men are all about using mutant powers for the greater good.”
“Yeah, that and running around in skin-tight outfits,” added Bobby coyly.
Ororo couldn’t help but laugh and blush a little at the young man’s remark. It was all in good humor, but for Jean it was one remark too many.
“That’s it! Strike three, Bobby,” said Jean as she grabbed him by the ear and dragged him down the hall.
“Ow! Hey! What gives?!” he complained.
“Maybe joining me and Scott for a little Danger Room exercise will do something about that wit of yours.”
“What? Just for showing a sense of humor? How is that remotely fair? Professor, please help me out here!”
“I’ll be in the lower levels,” said the Professor with an amused grin, “Hank, why don’t you show Ororo to her room?”
“Certainly, Charles,” said Hank as he picked up her bags and led her up the stairs, “Come Ororo. Your quarters await.”
Laughing at the sight of Jean dragging Bobby down the hall by the ear with Scott and Warren following close behind, Ororo followed her friend and fellow teacher upstairs. The institute was a lot bigger than she had imagined. Looking around, the descriptions from Hank hardly did justice its grandeur. The halls and ceilings were vast and spacious, bearing a variety of art and assorted décor. It wasn’t too opulent, but there was definitely a touch of class in how it was all laid out. It was clear that this mansion was meant to house many students and now that she was on board, they would be able to handle a growing resident population.
Xavier Institute – Upper Levels
Making their way through the elaborate upper halls, Hank led the African beauty towards the room they had set up for her. After talking to her via email for months now, he looked forward to having her here. It had been a while since he had another adult besides Charles to converse with. He could also use some help with the teaching load. Having already developed a strong friendship with Ororo via their online communications, he was confident she could do many good things for the institute. If things continued to go well then maybe it would turn into something more.
“I hope you’re comfortable here,” he said as they approached the end of one of the halls, “Down here is where Xavier and I reside. Scott and Jean are nearby too, but most of the students will be in the other wing.”
“Yes, I noticed there were quite a few,” commented Ororo, her eyes drifting over the layout of the hall.
“Well we’ve had our share of residents that have come and gone over the years. But Xavier plans to take on many more students. With the mutant population growing, we must be prepared to keep up. But for now, the students we have know how to carry themselves.”
“Indeed,” said Ororo, “They seem like a spirited bunch, especially that Bobby Drake.”
“Oh yes. I’m sure you’ll enjoy teaching him. Just be careful. Sometimes he can’t stop himself from going too far. Scott and Jean, on the other hand, are very responsible. They’ve spent most of their lives within these walls and are well-versed in our ways. You probably won’t have to worry too much about them. Warren’s the same, but he prefers his own way of doing things. Don’t expect him to be the most punctual member of the team.”
“Thanks for the warning. It’s sounds like they can be a handful.”
“True, but they’re all fine youngsters once you get to know them. I’m sure they’ll grow on you after a while.”
“I suppose I’ll have to wait and see,” said Ororo, smiling at the prospect of working with these remarkable youths.
Hank smiled back. He had a good feeling about this woman. She carried herself with amazing grace, yet she was clearly strong given those powers she wielded. Add to that, she was a gift to the male eyes. The mansion would surely be different with her and Hank looked forward to seeing how she adapted here.
Halfway near the end of the hall, they arrived at their destination. And being the gentlemen he was, Hank opened the door and showed the African beauty into her room.
“Here we are,” he proclaimed, “I hope this is to your liking. Xavier and I made sure that you had a balcony for the flights you told me you so often enjoyed. Plus, we left some extra room for plants since I know how much you like to garden.”
“You remembered?” said Ororo, playfully running her fingers through his thick fur, “That’s very sweet of you, Hank.”
“I do what I can,” said Hank, blushing from her actions.
Ororo had a feeling that she was going to enjoy this place, especially with someone like Hank. It was amazing that someone with a codename like Beast could be so sweet. And after exchanging so many emails over the past few months, she already found a good friend in him. At the rate they were going maybe she could find more in him as well.
“Thank you,” she said warmly as she continued to take in her surroundings, “This is all very surreal for me. I honestly can’t tell you how much this opportunity means to me. If Professor Xavier hadn’t given me a chance, I would still be a pickpocket back in Cairo.”
“It’s what he does. I’ve learned as such in all the years I’ve known the Professor. He took me in when my life was looking grim as well. He took us all in and taught us how to make a difference. And based on what I’ve seen so far, I can tell you’ll make a fine member of the X-men.”
“You really think so?”
“I know so,” said Hank confidently, “I may not have Charles’s knack for reading people, but I’m fully capable of judging strength and spirit. From what you’ve shown me already, you have both in great abundance.”
That earned him another kind gesture from Ororo. And for a man who wasn’t used to close contact, it sure felt good.
“I hope you’re right,” she said, locking her arm with his.
“Oh you’ll see,” he said, fighting off another blush, “In the meantime, how about a tour? As a new member of the X-men, you’re officially entitled to the institute’s secrets.”
“Secrets you say? This I have to see. Lead the way Mr. McCoy.”
And in the spirit of new friends, Hank guided her out the door and into the maze that was the Xavier Institute. So far, Ororo’s welcoming had gone even better than expected. She was just as sweet in person as she was through email. As she clung to his arm, Hank couldn’t help but smile. With her here life was certainly going to be a lot more exciting.
Weapon X Facility – Canada
General Wraith, a high-ranking officer from the United States and long-time associate of Weapon X, entered the main lab of a top secret facility with a mixture of intent and ambivalence. He was escorted by several well-armed soldiers as he went through the vast array of security that included retinal scanners, titanium reinforced doors, and enough armed men to occupy a small country. But even these measures offered little comfort. For a veteran officer, he endured many headaches because of this program.
Walking past the vast array of high-tech machinery, he was reminded of just how far this project had gone. It started off as a joint effort between the American and Canadian military. They wanted to create a new breed of weapons based not on technology, but on flesh. The emergence of new enemies and the growth of the mutant population created a demand for something that could sway the balance of power. Over the years, however, Weapon X became so much more.
“Ah, General Wraith,” greeted Dr. Abraham Cornelius, “It’s been a while.”
“Not long enough, Doctor,” said Wraith with a stern tone, “I can’t tell you how much I despise being back in this place.”
“Oh come now, with all the memories we’ve crafted here I can think of no better place to finish what we started.”
“Funny, you never struck me as one for nostalgia,” said the general dryly.
“Oh I have a certain appreciation for the past. Morbid it may be, I’m not the kind of man who runs from failures. I like to think of them as new challenges.”
“Enough sweet-talking,” said Wraith firmly, “Where is it?”
“Always to the point,” sighed Dr. Cornelius, “You haven’t changed one bit, General.”
Wraith’s demeanor didn’t change as Dr. Cornelius clicked a button on a remote control and unveiled what he came here to see. Behind him in an area surrounded by transparent plastic polymer barriers, a gurney rose up and turned to an upright position so it was facing the two men. Strapped to the gurney by heavy metal shackles was an unconscious figure.
It was an imposing looking man. He bore a burley frame, unkempt hair, and a feral stature. He was also in a fairly tattered state. His body was dirtied with the clear signs of an intense struggle. Yet there were no scars, only dirt. He wore only a pair of tattered jeans, indicating that the fight that brought him here had been a difficult one. Dr. Cornelius looked at him with an ominous grin, but Wraith on the other hand was less enthused.
“Ah Wolverine, our star specimen. I must say I’m impressed you managed to retrieve him,” commented Dr. Cornelius, “I can’t tell you how many perfectly good mercenaries I’ve lost trying to get him back.”
“Which is why you called me,” said Wraith, “You know as well as I do that I’m the only one with the right connections to bring this annoying little grunt in.”
“And your help is much appreciated,” complimented the doctor, “Although I’m somewhat surprised you managed to get Sabretooth to do the job. I would have thought he of all people would despise helping us even with this.”
“Never underestimate the power of leverage,” said Wraith strongly, “But enough courtesy. Are we ready to begin?”
“Of course, old friend. The show is about to begin.”
Cornelius snapped his fingers and a team of subordinate scientists manned the surrounding consoles. In addition, numerous security personnel surrounded the central area where the subject known as Wolverine lay motionlessly on the gurney. They all armed their weapons and kept them locked onto the mysterious figure. Given his history, they couldn’t afford to take any chances.
General Wraith kept a close eye on Dr. Cornelius as he manned the main console, activating a series of robotic arms above the gurney. They each contained an assortment of tools common in any project this deep. If necessary, they could peel away every layer of flesh for anybody unlucky enough to be the subject. But the main feature was the central probe that possessed a special little package on the tip.
“You better be right about this, Cornelius,” said Wraith in a threatening manner.
“Relax, General. I know the stakes,” said Dr. Cornelius as he activated the robotic gears, “Weapon X may have been officially decommissioned, but our goal has never changed.”
“It’s not the goal I’m worried about. It’s the times,” said Wraith ominously, “Every year it’s getting worse. Politicians, people, and entire nations are turning to people like me to protect them. Whether it’s mutants, rogue nations, or aliens they want results. And there’s only so much I can do with what I have. So I’m back to Weapon X.”
“I guess I should be honored,” said Dr. Cornelius with a half-grin, “Then again, you military men are always the same. You want a weapon that’ll do everything, but never stop to consider whether or not you can control it.”
“You told me you’ve solved that problem,” said Wraith, “This bio-chip thing is supposed to do what we couldn’t do the first time around.”
“Technology has come a long way since then,” said Dr. Cornelius as he moved the needle into position, “We no longer have to be sloppy in our efforts to make the ultimate weapon. And I can think of no better prototype then our dear Wolverine.”
Wraith scoffed at the notion. In all the years he had known Dr. Cornelius, there was never a moment where he wasn’t suspicious of him. Even now with gray hair and a pale face, he was just as ominous as the first day of this project. So much of this was his brainchild. His obsession with it bordered on the realm of psychosis. But he was good at what he did and that was all General Wraith needed.
The air grew tense as every scientist and soldier watched the center area. The robot arms inside the chamber extended, allowing the needle to maneuver into the proper position just below the nose. This way, they could inject the package directly into the brain. It was somewhat archaic, but that was how they usually did things here at Weapon X.
“We’re ready, Doctor,” said one of the subordinates.
“Excellent,” said Dr. Cornelius with an eager grin, “Load the neuro-neutralizers. Once this chip is in, we’ll have a lot to rebuild in that brain of his.”
His fellow scientists complied, entering the appropriate commands to activate the pumps that filled the syringe below the needle with a viscous green fluid. Now they were ready and the real fun could begin.
“Just out of curiosity Doctor, why Wolverine?” asked Wraith.
Dr. Cornelius didn’t take his eye off his favorite specimen and grinned.
“That’s not knowledge you need be concerned with, General. But let’s just say Wolverine is more than just a specimen to me. He is the epitome of Weapon X. He is the essence of my work. And nothing is going to stop me from completing what I started all those years ago.”
General Wraith fell silent as he watched the needle draw near the figure. He wasn’t convinced that Dr. Cornelius was telling him the full story. He had known that from day one. But as long as he got what he needed, he was willing to deal with whatever agenda this man may have. He just wanted this to be over. The sooner this pesky little freak was out of his life, the better.
Dr. Cornelius’s hands trembled with anticipation as he prepared for the final step. He had waited so long for this moment. So many factors had worked against him since the beginning of this project. Many years had passed since he last came so close to his ultimate goal. Finally, his work would be complete and he would fulfill a very personal promise he made many years ago.
The needle was in place. It was ready to go in. All that was needed was the push of a single button and the needle would thrust in and inject the chemical and the chip. Dr. Cornelius was just about to push it. His finger was right on it. Then suddenly, the eyes of the figure on the gurney shot open.
The howling yell of a man deranged by feral inclinations erupted throughout the area, startling every figure on hand including General Wraith and Dr. Cornelius. And in that split second, the figure known as Wolverine reacted.
A distinct ‘snikt’ noise echoed from inside and three metal claws popped out of each knuckle. The claws shredded the metal shackles with ease, allowing the Wolverine to free his arms. Then he swiftly sliced through the robotic arms above him, rendering them useless metal scrap. Then he freed his legs and tore mercilessly into the clear plastic barrier that imprisoned him.
“Hit the alarm!” yelled General Wraith, “All units converge on Wolverine! Do NOT let him out of this facility!”
“Oh dear…” said Dr. Cornelius in a daze, “It’s happening again.”
Wraith’s units surrounded the glass while Wraith grabbed Dr. Cornelius and led him into a safety area where they wouldn’t get caught in the crossfire. Cornelius was a bit reluctant at first. He was so close to fulfilling what he set out to do. And once again it was slipping away.
“Come on, Cornelius!” urged Wraith.
“We’ll get him back. I’ll call Sabretooth.”
Dr. Cornelius could only watch as he disappeared behind a heavily reinforced door with Wraith and a few guards. It closed just before Wolverine shredded the plexiglass barrier. By now every armed troop in the area converged on him, but the feral figure attacked them without fear. With his claws as his only weapon, he tore into his attackers.
“Shoot him! Shoot him!” yelled the guards.
But they were no match for the Wolverine. He leapt skillfully over the soldiers and pulled off nimble spin-moves, ribbing into flesh with his claws. The agonizing yells of the Weapon X guards filled the room as they fired aimlessly, trying to hit the agile target. But in the process, they blew out the lights and only made it harder to fight. Sparks flew and several scientists got caught in the crossfire as they tried to flee. Even they weren’t immune from the Wolverine’s wrath.
“RUN! RUN! LET’S GET OUT OF HERE!” some of them exclaimed.
But try as they may, nothing was going to stand in Wolverine’s way. He ruthlessly impaled anybody unlucky enough to be close to him. It was a familiar feeling, allowing his entire system to act on instinct. There was no rationale or reason to his ruthlessness. His every fiber had only one focus…escape.
Xavier Institute – Sub Levels
After an hour of touring and casually chatting, Hank led their newest member to the sub-levels where the institute’s grandest features resided. It was here where the world of the X-men took shape. Thanks to his vast connections, the Professor had amassed a great deal of high tech resources to help him realize his dream. The exact nature of these connections was never fully revealed, but the technology it offered was unparalleled. And as Ororo’s eyes fell upon this futuristic wonderland, she couldn’t help but be amazed.
Everything looked so high tech. The walls had a smooth, metallic feel to them. It was almost like being on an alien starship. There were fully equipped medical facilities, a high tech lab, and locker facilities with showers. But one of the most impressive features she encountered was the Danger Room. Hank had told her about it in their emails, but he never went into great detail. He said she had to see it for herself to understand what it was and he wasn’t joking.
“Keep moving, Bobby! You’re falling behind!” said Scott as he skillfully blasted a series of targets with his optic blasts.
“Keep your visor on, Cyclops! The Iceman’s is just getting warmed up!” said Bobby as he came in on an ice slide, making quick work of remote turrets that were firing paintballs at him.
“Better warm up faster, Iceman! You’re still lagging behind!” added Jean, standing by Scott’s side as she used her telekinesis to shield them from oncoming shots.
They were in a strange forest setting where trees concealed paintball guns and targets appeared from the branches. It was a standard level exercise that the team performed on a regular basis. It required teamwork, coordination, and firepower to traverse. And looking down at the scene before her, Ororo never would have guessed their surroundings were just holograms.
“So this is the Danger Room? It’s…amazing!”
“Indeed,” said the Professor as he, Ororo, Hank, and Warren watched the activity on a video screen, “The Danger Room is how the X-men train. It uses advanced holography along with advanced AI to simulate a wide range of environments. It also allows us to test mutant powers in a controlled setting.”
“With just holograms?” she said in amazement.
“Not completely. Some holograms are projected in a way that makes them feel quite solid. Others are machines utilizing advanced robotics to create all kinds of scenarios. Either way the danger is real,” said Warren, “I have the scars to prove it.”
“I don’t doubt that,” said Ororo as she saw Bobby get knocked off his ice slide, “I take it this will be one of my classrooms.”
“In a manner of speaking,” chuckled Hank, “But it’s actually quite fun once you experience it. I’ll be more than happy to show you sometime.”
“I’d like that,” smiled Ororo.
Warren cast Hank a look. Was he actually flirting with her? He wasn’t used to seeing Hank in that light. He was his teacher who would spend hours on end musing over quantum mechanics and reciting Shakespeare. But he shook it off. He would have plenty of time to rationalize it later although he had a feeling it boiled down to Ororo being the first new woman in the mansion in quite a while. Hopefully she would have better luck than the last girl they had.
“Come, there’s one more area I wish to show you,” said Xavier, wheeling himself out of the observation deck.
“You mean there’s more?” said Ororo.
“Oh yes. We’ve saved the best for last,” grinned Hank.
Passing through a series of sliding metallic doors, Ororo was led into a large, sphere shaped room with a metal bridge to a central console. There, a strange rested on a docking station with numerous wires and tubes running out of it. Ororo was once again taken by such a grand sight. It seemed as though this place had more to offer than she imagined.
“Wow…what is this?”
“This is Cerebro,” explained Xavier as he brought up a large, holographic computer screen, “This device amplifies my telepathy and allows me to connect with every mind on the planet.”
“Every mind on the planet? How do you manage that?” said Ororo in amazement.
“With careful focus and utmost concentration,” answered Xavier, “To an untrained mind, this machine could do great harm to the user. But in the hands of a telepath, it is a powerful tool for the X-men. With it, I can locate any being in the world, human or mutant. I’ve also calibrated it to warn me when a spike of mutant activity arises. It acts as the eyes and ears of the X-men, allowing us to go where we are needed.”
“It also saves a bundle on the phone bill,” joked Hank.
“I’ll bet,” said Ororo in awe, “This device…this whole mansions…it’s incredible!”
This was whole new world for Ororo. She was certainly not in college anymore. This was more than just a teaching job. And without a doubt, her life would never be the same.
“Yeah, you get that a lot around here,” grinned Warren, “You never know when something will come up. Sometimes it’s just…”
Suddenly, Warren was cut off. The Cerebro’s alarms went off and a red alert signal flashed across the holographic screen.
“I hate it when that happens,” groaned Warren.
“What is it, Charles?” asked Hank urgently.
“Cerebro has just detected a new mutant anomaly,” said the Professor as he feverishly typed on the console, “It appears to be coming from northern Canada.”
Entering a series of commands, a large holographic readout formed. While it loaded, the Professor put on a helmet with numerous wires and tubes running into the system. Within a few seconds, the file was loaded. Only he quickly surmised that this was no ordinary incident.
“Hmm…this is strange,” said Xavier with a perplexed expression.
“Strange how?” asked Hank, looking over the largely blank display.
“No background. No picture. No connections. Not even an age,” said Xavier, “His mind is also heavily guarded, but I can sense a great deal of inner turmoil. A most mysterious character indeed.”
“Does he at least have a name, Professor?” asked Warren.
More blank screens of random information popped up. None offered anything in terms of an explanation. Looking over what little data there was Xavier had an ominous feeling about this. And more often then not, when his instinct told him something was off, there was usually a good reason.
“There seems to be only one name listed…Logan,” he announced as he closed down the file, “Warren, go tell the others we have a mission. Hank, come with me.”
“On it! We’ll have the Blackbird ready in five minutes tops!” said Warren, taking to the air and flying out of the room.
“What about me, Professor?” asked Ororo, “Is there anything I can do?”
“Indeed there is,” affirmed Xavier, “But before we can send you out into the field, we’re going to have to get you a uniform.”
With an enthused smile, Ororo stood poised to break in her new role as an X-man. It was only her first day and already she was set for a mission. Not a bad start by any stretch. After all, if she was going to be a part of this, she was going to need experience.
“A uniform?” said Ororo with an intrigued look, “Anything else you think I’ll need?”
“Yes…a level head,” said Xavier ominously, “Because when fighting battles such as this, you must expect the unexpected. And I have a sneaking suspicion that this Logan character is much more complicated than he seems.”
With the Professor’s ominous words in mind, the X-men prepared for a new mission. The Canadian wilderness awaited them as did this mysterious individual known only as Logan. They didn’t know what to expect, but such uncertainties were always present. That was the essence of both evolution and revolution.
Next Issue: Enter the Wolverine
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