X-Men: Special Threats. Issue Zero

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X-Men: Special Threats. Issue Zero Empty X-Men: Special Threats. Issue Zero

Post  AndyWright on Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:30 am

X-Men: Special Threats
Issue Zero

“Last stop! Graymalkin Lane!”

The bus slowed to a stop. Air hissed out of the suspension to lower the last step closer to the sidewalk. The engine idled with its low rattle, waiting.

Illyana sighed as she stepped off the bus, looking down the street at the entrance to the private road that led to the school. The bus took off loudly behind her, quickly leaving her in absolute silence. She hadn’t been here in years. She wasn’t sure why she was here now.

“Hey! Are you going to the Xavier Institute too?” yelled an excited voice behind her. Apparently, someone else had got off the bus with her. Illyana slowly turned around to see a bright-eyed girl with wavy brown hair smiling at her, her back hunched over from an over-stuffed backpack hanging desperately onto her shoulders. She couldn’t be more than eighteen.

Illyana stared at her a moment, then started walking.

The girl followed.

“I’ve been dreaming about coming here. Like, for forever. Before, they wouldn’t let you come if you weren’t, you know, but now--”

“Wait.” Illyana turned her eyes but not her head toward the girl. “You’re not a mutant?”

The girl shook her head. “No. But it’s funny. All my friends call me ‘The Mutant.’ Cause, I’m pretty awesome at just about anything athletic I do. I’m really, really good at surfing. But no special genes or anything. I’m just an old fashioned freak is all.”

“What’s your name?”


“Well, Sarah, if you’re nothing but a regular-old white girl, you probably shouldn’t be here.” Illyana tried to walk faster than the girl to keep her behind her, but she caught up and walked alongside her, keeping pace.

“Well, actually, I’m half Mexican, a quarter Puerto Rican, and a quarter white. I just got the Mexican genes that make me look really white. All that Spaniard blood I guess. I get more people guessing I’m Asian than Hispanic, though. Kinda lame. What about you? You’re accent sounds Russian, but it’s not all that noticeable.”

The corner of Illyana’s mouth crawled up slightly. “I’m one of the new kinds of freaks.”

The girl frowned, not getting the joke or the sarcasm at first. Then it sunk in, and all that bubbly joy disappeared. “I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have used that word. I’m so sorry! Damn it, I’m--I’ll just shut up.”

Illyana sighed in relief, hoping she really would. Two seconds later she felt guilty. Great. Guilt. She thought she’d finely honed herself to the point of being completely immune to it. Preparation before returning. And now she was hit with it before she’d even entered the property.

This was not a good omen for things to come.

* * *

Thin shells. Eyes closed, Xavier felt the minds of the men surrounding him in his office, the fascinating organs encased in delicate vessels. He hated these moments, where he felt both enormous anger and the reality of his power at the same time. There was nothing on Earth that could ever bring him to use it in such a way, to destroy those around him. Nothing.

Regardless, he still knew he could. He opened his eyes.

“It’s for your own protection. For the entire institute.” The man with the unnaturally high widow’s peak smiled, but not in a condescending way. He was far too well practiced to let something like that slip. Xavier didn’t bother seeing what he was really thinking. He didn’t want to step foot inside the man’s mind anyway.

Xavier smiled back. He was also well practiced. “Of course.”

The man turned around. His muscle-clad entourage turned almost in unison, except one man who waited to flick a speck of lint from the shoulder of his jet-black suit. They left the mansion. They stepped into their matching black GMC Yukons. They left.

The new machines did not.

Expensive, and easy targets, the government had finally retired the towering Sentinels. Replacing them were the small, fast, and powerful Valkyries, housing the same technology used to make the Thor cyborg abomination. That ridiculous clone meant to try and intimidate "rebel vigilantes" into falling in line. The men in the black suits felt that these feminine, metallic beings would be suitable guardians for the Xavier Institute. No, that was backwards. They did not feel this. They said it. What they felt was that they would be suitable watchdogs to keep Xavier and his associates from getting in the way of the new “stability.”

“Sir.” A familiar presence came up behind Xavier’s wheelchair.

Xavier turned and gave Scott a tired smile. “Yes.”

He knew Scott was looking out the window, at the glimmer of the gun-metal body of a Valkyrie seen through the leaves of a seven hundred year old oak tree. A tree that had been there before any European had ever seen these grounds.

Scott’s breathing was uneasy. “I’ve had enough.”

“I know.”

“We can’t go back. To the old days, hiding in this mansion, protecting the weak by the cover of night. Rescuing orphans and giving them a safe home. Where no one would bother them.”

“I know.”

There was a long silence. A crow called loudly from outside. The trees rustled in the wind. Xavier felt a cold shiver go down his spine.

Scott took in a deep breath. “Logan sent me a message. He has an idea.”

Xavier couldn’t help but laugh. He stretched out his back in the chair and turned to fully face Scott. He saw hard lines on the forehead, just above his heavy eye-wear. “Now you’ve got me worried! You, considering ideas from none other than the Wolverine?”

Scott nodded.

Xavier relaxed again, breathing out slowly. “I got the same message. Tell him--We move.”

* * *

Xavier’s voice crackled out of the digital recorder: “Tell him--we move.”

Fox, sitting at his desk, tapped the side of his face, keeping time with the ticking of the clock on the wall. The right corner of his mouth rose slowly. “Good.”

Gary, standing with his team of suited goons in front of NSA Chief of Special Threats Elrick Fox’s desk, looked incredibly relieved. He wiped off some of the sweat that had been beading up on his high widow’s peak. His mission had been simple, plant the bug without being noticed by anyone. Simple, except that Xavier could read minds.

Which was why Gary was hired for this job. Because he had a very specialized ability: he could keep telepaths from reading his mind, without the telepath knowing he was doing it. It was hardly even a super-human ability, though. He was just an extremely unlikable person. It gave him a psychic “bad stench.”

A pause of silence on the recording ended, Xavier’s voice sounding somewhat weary: “I haven’t spoken with Frost yet. She’s still in DC. She’ll--”

Fox stopped the playback. He handed the recorder back to Gary.

Gary’s relief faded as his hand extended toward the recorder. “Aren’t you going to listen to what they’re going to do?”

“You’re done. You’ll report back to your former commander. Good job.”

Gary’s fingers slowly closed around the recorder, but he did not withdraw his hand back to his side right away. “Sir, I don’t understand. I thought we needed to--”

“Charles Xavier is an extremely resourceful, dependable person. Even civil, until he’s backed into a corner. Remember that he’s long-time friends with Eric Lensherr. You are who you hang out with.”

“I still don’t--”

“You don’t need to. I said you’re done. Go. Get out of here.”

Gary’s team slowly left the office. Gary waited for them to file out, giving one last awkward look back at Fox before turning to leave. He then stumbled back as a female figure entered through the door, wearing a long, dark-gray jacket with a thin, silver trim along the hem.

A flat voice came from under a hood that covered her face in shadow. “Excuse me.”

He nodded to her and squeezed by her to leave. She closed the door behind him.

Fox turned slowly in his chair to face the wall. The only sound in the room was the ticking of the clock and the creaking of his chair. He then turned only his eyes on the dark figure. “I don’t want you to interfere on this one.”

“Sir, I do not understand your avoidance of hearing the entire recording any better than the man you just sent away.”

“Relax, Six.” Fox shook his head. “We’re not the bad guys here. I’ll let Xavier have a little privacy. For the moment anyway.”

Last edited by awilliamwright on Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:13 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added a new little blurb to the beginning that better sets up the over-all story arc.)

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Post  Paul E. Schultz on Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:49 am

Very tightly written! You delivered a great mood piece and set a stage for things to come. I'll admit, I have no idea what's been going on with the X-Men since the mid-90s, so I'm totally lost, but you've written just enough to give me hope that this could be a good, solid story. Loved the melodrama.
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Post  AndyWright on Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:55 am

Thanks! Yeah, I may need to add some hints here and there to make things a little more clear. It's a bit terrifying putting something up for an audience without the usual editing cycle I normally go through! Probably good for me.

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Post  Craig DeBoard on Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:49 am

Holy crap, if the government is using the Thor Clone technology as a replacement for Sentinels, the X-Men are in some trouble! This was written so incredibly well, Andy. I'm definitely curious who will fill out your core X-Men team.
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Post  Eric Nyman on Sat Jun 16, 2012 11:19 pm

Dude incredible set up piece. I loved the interaction with Scott and Xavier and Thor Clone technology has me going Holy Shit. I look foward to reading more.

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