Professor Charles Xavier, founder of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, has spent his whole life fighting for peace in a chaotic world. Together with his X-men, a team of talented young mutants who share his vision, they struggle for understanding in a world that hates and fears them. And lately, the world has had plenty of reasons.
One threat comes from the Brotherhood, a group of mutants led by Charles Xavier’s old friend, Erik Lensherr. Unlike the X-men, they seek to dominate humanity by force and have been actively working towards their ambitious goal with a series of plots. It started with an initial recruitment of new members including Pyro, Blob, Toad, and Avalanche. It extended to incidents that led to a confrontation with Weapon X and an incident with the mutant singer, Dazzler. Now Magneto’s message is permeating through mutant communities all over the world, including the subterranean mutant society known as the Morlocks. But as Magneto’s plot grows, so too do others.
The other major threat comes from Genosha, a small island nation run by a military dictator named Cameron Hodge. Recently, Hodge has been spearheading a bold push to aggressively contain mutants like the Brotherhood. His dealings have led to incidents that drew a young mutant named Kitty Pryde into the mix. The X-men were able to save her, but now they stand in a difficult position between two volatile forces. The world is just one major incident away from an all out human/mutant war.
Washington DC – Genosha Embassy
The area surrounding the embassy for Genosha was one of the most heavily guarded areas in Washington DC. Only the White House could possibly boast better security. Every square inch within several blocks was heavily monitored. Armed guards from the Genoshan army, bearing the distinct dark blue/purple uniform insignias, surrounded the perimeter with high powered weapons. This was not a place for tourists or visitors. In delicate times like these, no one was taking any chances.
Inside the heavily guarded embassy, the regime of Cameron Hodge extended even across oceans. Everyone from the janitorial staff to the top ambassador was scrutinized. The unspoken rule of thumb was that their great leader had eyes and ears everywhere. No one dared even think about stepping out of line, especially at a time like this. With the recent difficulties they faced in the Chicago incident, nobody could afford to slip up again.
In the top floor office of the embassy the Genoshan ambassador, Colonel Jonathan Kincaid, was in the middle of a secure video conference between Cameron Hodge and a group of advisors.
“We are running out of time, my lord,” said the Colonel anxiously, “Our partners have been calling us incessantly, clamoring for an explanation on what happened in Chicago.”
“Have they been able to uncover any details regarding the prototype?”
“No, our people have made sure of that,” said the Colonel, “I sent a clean-up crew to take care of it. As far as the public knows, it was an unrelated mutant incident.”
“What about our partners? How much do they know?”
“Enough to warrant concern,” he answered grimly, “We kept dropping them hints that something was going to take place to sway their opinion and they seem to have made the connection. Needless to say, they weren’t impressed.”
“So long as they have no proof we were involved we should be in the clear.”
“Even so, I am running out of things to tell them! They will not support us unless they have a catalyst and the incident in Chicago has hardly sufficed!”
Over the line Cameron Hodge’s expression hardened. There wasn’t even a hint of concern. If anything he looked annoyed.
“Yes, I’m well aware of this pestilent questioning. But fear not. We need only hold them off a bit longer. They may not have gotten what they wanted in Chicago, but they will get what I promised them soon.”
“How soon?” asked the Colonel.
“You need not know the details, Colonel. You need only know I’ve made the necessary arrangements. We won’t have to be graveling these fools much longer.”
Colonel Kincaid still had plenty of concerns, but he trusted his leader’s bold words.
“Very well,” he said, “Should we begin evacuating the embassy? My people have already began shredding documents and purging hard drives.”
General Hodge grinned ominously on the video screen, sending a chill down the spines of even his trusted advisors.
“Don’t bother, Colonel. Like I said, I’ve made the necessary arrangements. Just stay where you are and wait for further instructions.”
“Yes sir,” said Jonathan Kincaid with a loyal salute.
The video link then went offline. Colonel Kincaid and the rest of his officials remained anxious, but they trusted in their leader’s wisdom. He had led them all this far. They had to have faith his master plan would come to pass as he promised.
The Colonel and his subordinates began gathering their things and prepared to get back to work. But just as they were about to get up, a strange tremor shook the room. It was minor at first. It barely made the lights flicker. But it quickly caught everyone’s attention.
“Sir, is Washington DC near a fault line?” asked one of his younger subordinates.
Colonel Kincaid’s expression became as dark as midnight.
Before another word could be uttered, the lights completely cut off. Then in the span of a few seconds the tremor turned into an all out earthquake. The entire building shook violently, causing nearly everybody inside to fall over and cling desperately to anything they could. Confusion soon turned to panic and panic quickly became all out terror.
“Colonel! What’s going on?!” exclaimed a terrified female secretary.
“It’s an attack!” yelled the Colonel, “Everybody get to the shelter! Hurry before…”
But that was all he got out. Before anyone could begin to comprehend the gravity of this situation, a deafening crash came from all directions and everything went black.
Outside The Embassy
“Ha ha ha! You have no idea how satisfying this is!” proclaimed an enthused Lance Alvers, “Take that Hodge!”
The young mutant was seething with intent as he stood just outside the secure boundaries of the embassy. He, Pietro, and John had casually pulled up in an unmarked black van. They then fearlessly approached the secure perimeter and made their move. Pyro scorched the guards while Avalanche kicked up his strongest tremor yet. Their objective was simple. They were to destroy the Genoshan embassy and send a message to Cameron Hodge. It was a message he was sure to receive loud and clear.
Sidewalks cracked and the surrounding streets warped to the seismic upheaval. Nearby guards lost their balance and fell into disarray as the peaceful late morning turned into utter chaos. The epicenter of the attack was focused right on the foundation of the imposing structure. The entire north side of the structure cracked as windows shattered and the foundation shuttered.
“More, Avalanche!” commanded Pietro, “Magneto doesn’t want any survivors!”
“Trust me! Nobody will survive this!” grinned Avalanche.
Clutching his fists, the young mutant unleashed another wave of seismic force. This delivered the death blow to the structure. A massive crack formed from just in front of him and spread directly to the foundation of the building. When it hit, the deafening sound of concrete shattering and steel beams warping echoed throughout the area. As the ground shook violently, the whole embassy crumbled under its own weight.
The faint cries of the inhabitance could be heard as the structure came down in a plume of dust. But the Brotherhood showed no mercy or compassion. As far as they were concerned, these were tools of Cameron Hodge and deserved no sympathy whatsoever. Lance kept the tremors going, making sure every last part of the building collapsed and crushed any survivors that may be inside. While he took down the building, Pyro used his fire manipulation powers to literally torch the perimeter guards where they stood.
“Hahahahahahaha! Just another shrimp on the barbey, eh mates?” he laughed as he heard the pained cries of the Genoshan guards.
The inhabitants in the embassy and the surrounding guards didn’t stand a chance. Anybody who tried to fight back was quickly identified and disarmed by Pietro, who did a quick run-through of the area to make sure there was nobody left. The hapless Genoshans never had a chance.
While this was going on, terrified onlookers and news helicopters gathered around the area. This was in broad daylight in the middle of a sunny day. There were bound to be witnesses and the Brotherhood was counting on it. Magneto wanted them to make a statement that would draw as much attention as possible and this was sure to do the trick. Some people were already running in fear. And there were a number of perimeter cameras that are still active. When Lance stopped his seismic onslaught he turned to one of the cameras and flipped it off.
“You watching this, Hodge? Your days are numbered! You and the rest of the human race are going down!” he proclaimed.
“Easy Lance, I thought Pyro was supposed to be the crazy one,” snickered Pietro as he finished his sweep.
“There’s nothing crazy about sending a message!” grinned Lance, “Besides, Magneto wanted us to make a scene. I’m just trying to get the job done!”
“Sure you are,” grinned Pietro.
More helicopters descended upon the area. Pyro made sure more took notice by setting the rubble ablaze as well. This would also do a way with anybody unlucky enough to still be alive. It left in their wake a truly hellish landscape and would surely draw the attention of the world.
Having made their statement, Pietro looked up into the sky and signaled their escape. A few seconds later three metal transport orbs from Magneto flew in and opened up. They could already hear sirens in the distance so they hurried up and got in. But Pyro continued to linger, burning anything he could see.
“Hahahahahaha! Burn baby burn!” he exclaimed.
“Enough already, Pyro!” said Pietro, “We made our point! Get in the orb so we can get out of here!”
“Aww, just a few more minutes, mate?” asked the crazed Australian, “I’m sure the big man won’t mind me causing a little extra damage!”
“Now Pyro! Unless you want to watch the revolution from a jail cell!” shot Pietro.
Groaning to himself, Pyro stopped his onslaught and joined his teammates in the transport orbs. Smoke, dust, and debris were pouring out from the charred landscape. The ominous sight of death and destruction now dominated the once proud embassy. But the three members of the Brotherhood stood proud of their accomplishment as they flew away in the transport orbs. This one act of destruction was just a prelude. Soon the entire human world would know the same devastation.
Xavier Institute – Backyard
It had been a few weeks since Kitty Pryde joined the X-men. Like all new recruits, there was a difficult adjustment period. Joining a school for mutants was daunting enough, but when she saw the other aspects of the world of the X-men such as the Danger Room, the X-jet, and Cerebro she was a bit overwhelmed. But Kitty proved to be every bit as tough as she seemed. She took quickly to basic life at the institute and the more unique aspects of being an X-man.
One of the first things she did when she arrived was learn more about her powers. Professor Xavier and Hank McCoy revealed that her mutant ability involved manipulating the vibrations of atoms in a way that allowed her to become intangible. This granted her the ability to phase through solid objects, which helped explain why that cup of yogurt passed through her that fateful day and how she was able to pierce the outer shell of that robot attack orb. With the help of some focused mind/body exercises, she was able to manipulate when and how she phased through something. She was a little clumsy with it at first, but she quickly caught on and was already participating in Danger Room sessions. It would definitely be a useful skill for the X-men in future missions.
In addition to learning how to be a student and an X-man, Kitty was also getting to know her fellow peers. She quickly found out there were a lot of unique characters in the X-men. There was the grumpy and crass Logan, the uptight and dedicated Scott Summers, and the intellectual yet animalistic Hank. She had already befriended most of them and found herself getting along well with Bobby, Warren, and Jean Grey. In addition to getting to know them, she also got a feel for the drama going on in the team.
At the moment Kitty was sitting on a picnic table with Warren discussing these matters while eating lunch.
“So let me get this straight…” said Kitty, taking a deep breath as she attempted to summarize everything she just learned, “Miss Munroe is seeing Mr. McCoy and have been pretty steady since she arrived. Except lately Mr. McCoy has been really busy so it’s been a little tenuous.”
“That’s just a rumor. I have no idea if that’s true,” shrugged Warren as he bit into his sandwich.
“Sure you do,” said Kitty skeptically, “And Bobby’s been seeing this Lorna girl he met online that he’s completely smitten with. So he visits her and texts her every chance he gets even though she’s had issues lately that she won’t talk about.”
“That one I know is true,” smirked the winged mutant.
“Right, and Jean Grey hooked up with Logan of all guy. Scott, being the overprotective best friend or so he claims, was totally dead set against it, but respected Jean’s wishes even though he and Logan clash at like every turn. Soon after that Rogue joined the team and got close to Scott, but couldn’t date him because she couldn’t touch. Then she got that power inhibiting collar from those Weapon X creeps and made her move. Now she and Scott have been dating ever since and have been moving really fast, which makes Jean uncomfortable and also irritates Logan. So they’re both on the rocks.”
“That’s a grossly oversimplified summery of the whole affair, but yeah,” said Warren, trying hard not to laugh at these strange romantic situations.
Kitty paused in a show of bewilderment. Then she laughed hysterically, shaking her head as she tried to put all this in perspective. She knew the world of the X-men was complicated, but throwing these personal issues into the mix couldn’t be helping.
“Wow…you guys should start your own soap opera or something!” commented Kitty.
“And that’s just what’s going on now. There have been a number of sordid affairs over the years. You could do a made-for-TV for every one of them. That’s what happens when you mix the Professor’s cause, mutant powers, and the ever complicated world of relationships under one roof.”
“I’ll try to keep that in mind,” snickered Kitty as she went back to her lunch, “But I really haven’t had a lot of luck with relationships. Back home guys always found me too intimidating. They don’t like the idea of being with someone who can kick their ass.”
“That’s not much of an issue around here,” snickered Warren, “Who knows? This may be the place to meet your match.”
“We’ll see,” said Kitty with a wry grin.
It was something she never expected from the X-men, dealing with these complicated relationships. It showed just how human they all were. It was an interesting reminder how they really weren’t as inhuman as people thought. They still had a lot of the same problems when it came to relationships. These cases just happened to be really out there.
“What about you, Warren?” asked Kitty, “You’re rich, handsome, and can fly. Do you have a love interest in the midst of all these crazy affairs?”
Warren shifted uncomfortably. Kitty just touched on a very sensitive issue for him. His history with relationships was long and complicated. It was also full of heartache. He tried not to let it show with the team, but the pain was still present and it wasn’t something he liked to talk about.
“No,” he answered in a low tone, “But if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not talk about it. It’s a…touchy issue.”
“Say no more. I understand,” said Kitty, quickly picking up on the subtext of his words, “Sorry, but I’m still getting a feel for what’s taboo around here.”
“That’s okay,” said Warren, managing a half-smile, “It comes with time.”
“Yeah I figured. I know I’m still new here. I’m not going to learn everything right off the bat. But so long as I’m going to contribute I want to start earning trust.”
“Trust always takes a while. Believe me, I know,” said the winged mutant, “But I wouldn’t worry too much about that. I think you’re doing fine so far. You’ll be running around in spandex playing hero in no time.”
“Thanks!” grinned Kitty, “Any idea how long it will take before I get a cool codename?”
Warren shook his head and grinned. It was nice to see Kitty was taking to being an X-man so quickly. But she was getting ahead of herself. It was a phase everybody seemed to go through when they first arrived. The idea of being a hero has that effect on people.
“Be patient, Kitty. It’ll come. Just remember it can get a little chaotic around here both on and off the field. You just have to learn to deal with it before people can really trust you.”
“Oh believe me, I’ll learn,” said Kitty Pryde confidently, “I just hope I get a chance to show what I can do. I hate it when people treat me like a little girl.”
“To be fair…you are a little girl,” Warren pointed out with a humored smirk.
Kitty shot the winged mutant a bemused glance.
“Hey, just because I don’t have muscles exploding out of every limb like Wolverine doesn’t mean I can’t kick ass! I’ve got what it takes to be an X-man. I just need one chance and I’ll prove myself.”
Warren shook his head and laughed again. Nobody could ever fault Kitty for not being ambitious. She really was determined to be part of this team. For someone so young, that was saying something. He heard about how her uncle trained her to fight from a young age. It definitely showed in the way she carried herself. That didn’t mean she was ready, but it did put her ahead of the learning curve that came along with all new X-men. With the way things were going with the Brotherhood and Cameron Hodge, she may get her chance sooner rather than later.
Xavier Institute – Front Yard
Not far from where Kitty and Warren were eating lunch, Scott and Jean were taking walk together along the front yard. They had been eating lunch together as well, something they hadn’t had a chance to do lately. With all the drama of relationships and missions, it was easy to miss the little things that they still cherished together as friends. But no matter how complicated their lives as X-men or students got, they always found time to catch up.
They tried to avoid topics like relationships, the Brotherhood, and Genosha. They talked about movies, TV, books, and whatever else came to mind. They laughed, joked, and smiled as they had been doing for many years. It wasn’t easy when there were so many other issues they had yet to work out, but it was something they felt they had to do and it was good for them.
“So you and Bobby really thought you could make a few extra bucks making ice sculptures and selling them upstate?” laughed Jean, “Even though Bobby’s idea of art is remarkably skewed and you have trouble drawing stick figures?”
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” he shrugged, laughing at the memory, “We were saving for this new video game system and we thought we could wing it.”
“I’m sure you could,” snickered Jean, “Did anybody even buy them?”
“One guy did, but only because he found it so ridiculous. I’d rather not describe what it looked like, but it was supposed to be a rocket.”
“That’s okay. I can use my imagination.”
They shared another round of laughs. There were never any shortages of things for them to talk about. Whether they involved stories from the past or just mindless rambling, they always found something meaningful in it. Jean found herself linking arms with her friend as they walked around the front yard of the mansion. Scott smiled at her gesture and took her hands in his.
This was nice. They needed something like this to ease the stress. They had so much going on with their respective relationships and the everyday workload of being an X-man. Scott and Logan were still at each others’ throats and Jean wasn’t getting along any better with Rogue. But they tried to make it work. Even though they may not always support their choice of partners, they still supported each other.
As they walked and laughed together, they passed the garage. Inside Logan was working on his motorcycle as he so often did. When he looked up and saw them walking by, Jean waved and blew him a kiss. He waved back, but found it hard to smile when he saw her holding hands with Scott. Jean could sense he didn’t approve. He was always a little antsy whenever she spent time with Scott. Even though she constantly reassured him of her feelings, it still didn’t sit well.
They kept on walking and Scott didn’t comment at first, but it was too difficult to ignore.
“So…are we going to talk about it or what?” he asked, “I know we said we would avoid relationship issues, but you and I both know that’s what’s on our minds.”
Jean sighed and stopped walking for a moment as she looked back towards the garage.
“Guess it was a little naïve to think we could totally ignore it,” she said.
“Just a little,” said Scott, trying to sound more light-hearted, “But seriously, I think we should at least touch on it.”
“You’re right. We should,” she said distantly, “Where do you want to start?”
It was a daunting notion. Scott rubbed the back of his head awkwardly as he drew a blank for a second. Then he said the first thing that came to mind.
“Well…how are you and Logan doing?” he asked.
Jean shifted and looked away before responding.
“We’re fine,” she said, “He’s still been a little off lately. It’s not easy getting him to talk about personal issues. He’s a complicated man dealing with a past he doesn’t even remember. But I think he’ll come around. I’m helping him.”
“Good luck with that,” said Scott, trying to hide the distaste in his tone.
“What about you and Rogue? How have things been going with her?” asked Jean.
Now it was Scott’s turn to shift. He and Jean hadn’t really talked much about his relationship with Rogue. They hadn’t really had a chance. With Jean clashing with Rogue so often it was difficult to even bring it up. If Scott could keep his head about her and Logan, the least she could do was be civil when talking about him and Rogue.
“They’re moving along,” he answered, “Rogue is a unique woman to say the very least. Dating her has been…an experience.”
“I’ll bet,” said Jean, “The way she carries herself around you is really something. If I video taped it I could probably make a reality TV series out of it.”
“I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not, but I’ll take it,” said Scott with a half-grin, “But you’re right. She’s not afraid to put herself out there. She’s not afraid to show affection either. It’s just not always what we would call traditional.”
“With a personality like hers, that’s hardly surprising,” commented Jean, “Is it ever overwhelming?”
“It can be,” sighed the X-leader, “I’m sure you noticed that things have moved a little fast with us.”
“That’s one way of putting it,” said Jean dryly.
“But I really do care about her. She’s someone I can relate to. She has a good heart even though she doesn’t always have a level head. It’s not easy keeping up with her. I do my best, but I know in the back of her mind she’s afraid that one day she won’t be able to touch again. So long as she can she wants to make each second count and I guess I’m the lucky guy who gets to go along for the ride.”
Jean thought about that for a moment. It was not easy to sympathize with someone she didn’t get along with, but she could see where he was coming from. She could also sense that he really did like this girl. It may not be the head over heels kind of love, but it was definitely there. She still had her share of concerns though.
“I guess I can understand that,” she said, “But be careful, Scott. I still remember what happened with the last woman you were with. You keep going with the flow and you may get swept away.”
“I know. I haven’t forgotten that either. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve made mistakes with relationships in the past. We both have.”
“But do you get the sense we’re making those same mistakes again?” wondered Jean.
“I like to think we’ve learned from them. Like you said, it’s a work-in-progress. Rogue and I may not be on the same page now, but I’m sure she’ll come around.”
“Yeah…I’m sure,” said Jean distantly.
There was a brief silence between them. Scott could tell she was still concerned. Just as much as he had his reservations about her and Logan, she had hers about him and Rogue. It seemed as though they were on the same road, just on different sides. It was a very different road then the one they were on before Logan arrived. For a while it seemed they were heading a certain path together, but fate unfolded differently and now they found themselves in complicated situation.
At a loss for words, Jean linked her arm with his again. Scott managed a smile and held her hand again as well. These were not easy issues to talk about. It still seemed a lot easier when they were there to support each other.
“Look, I won’t lie to you, Scott. Rogue still…troubles me,” said Jean, maintaining a sincere tone, “But you promised to respect my decision when I got together with Logan. The least I can do is return the favor.”
“Thanks,” said Scott with a warm smile, “And I’ll try to keep doing my part.”
“I know you will,” she said, smiling back, “Just remember if you ever need to talk, I’m here for you.”
“Don’t worry, that’s something I’ll never forget,” assured Scott.
They kept smiling as they stood together, enjoying this moment. It was a rare feeling of peace in their otherwise chaotic lives. It was comforting to know that no matter how messed up their personal or profession lives were, they were still there for one another.
But as they were enjoying this moment, the front door to the mansion burst open and Rogue came rushing out with an urgent look.
“Break it up, you two! The Professor just called an emergency meeting in the War Room! We got ourselves a big problem!” she said.
“How big?” asked Scott, quickly taking the serious poise as an X-leader should.
“Come and see for yourself,” she said in a grim tone.
Scott turned to Jean briefly. As much as he would have liked to continue this moment with Jean, urgent matters like these couldn’t wait. She nodded in understanding, knowing just as well how serous this was. Without another word, they rushed back inside along with Rogue. Even as they met up, Jean noticed Rogue giving her a dirty look. Even in her urgent state, seeing her with Scott in such a position did not sit well. But Jean was in no mood to start another fight.
‘Not now, Rogue.’
Rogue’s look persisted, but she didn’t say anything to provoke her further. She just ran alongside them towards the War Room. For a conflict this big, they would have to set aside their differences. They had much bigger issues at hand.
Genosha Research Facility
This was a big day for Cameron Hodge. It already had the makings of a day that would be long remembered in the pages of history. The destruction of the embassy in Washington provided the spark he had been waiting for. An attack on Genoshan soil by a team of renegade mutants was tantamount to an all out invasion of once species upon another. What the incident in Chicago failed to provide, the Brotherhood of Mutants delivered without them having to lift a finger. Now the next step could begin.
As soon as news broke of the attack on the embassy, Cameron Hodge was rushed to the main research facility on the island under heavy guard. He already delivered a message to his military to instill martial law. Every man, woman, and child of his country would now be subject to wartime measures. That meant everybody was technically a soldier and obligated to follow orders from the top military brass. But Hodge wasn’t under the illusion that his people alone could stand against the coming mutant onslaught. To defeat his enemies, he had something far grander in mind.
Security around his main research facility was among the tightest in the world. Nobody without top military clearance was allowed in. If a stray farmer ventured onto their grounds, the guards were allowed to shoot on sight. The facility was already on high alert with troops, tanks, and fighter planes preparing for battle. Some of Hodge’s most elite units were stationed here and were getting ready for what was sure to be a battle for the ages. As Hodge rode by on his armored convoy he smiled. This was what he had been working for since he seized power on this island. Now it was finally coming together.
As they rode up to the check point, his personal guards turned back to address him.
“They’re ready for you, sir,” said his driver.
“Excellent,” said Hodge, “Take us in. But first, send a message to every commander. Have all units fortify their positions. They are to hold firm until I say otherwise.”
“Yes sir,” said the driver.
The driver relayed the message to the security personnel outside. They respectfully saluted their leader, affirming that his commands would be done. Within an hour this whole island would be one big fortress. It would be a glorious stand worthy of the Alamo or the battle of Thermopylae. But unlike those battles, this one would have a very different outcome.
Hodge and his convoy passed through the checkpoint and several others until they drove into a large, warehouse-like opening in the west end of the front building. This facility, one of the largest structures on the island, was a hotbed of research and advanced weapons development. It was here where the fruits of his labor took form and substance. What other countries spent decades developing, he and his regime had attained in a few short years. The cost was high, both in terms of resources and in money. But the payoff was potentially huge.
Once the convoys stopped, the large sliding doors behind them were closed and secured. Then every vehicle in the convoy opened up as contingents of Cameron Hodge’s personal guards rushed out and surrounded their leader. Only the lead guard had the privilege of opening the door for him. And when he stepped out they made sure the first person he saw was the man responsible for their progress. He was Genosha’s lead scientists and engineer, Bolivar Trask.
“Hello Trask,” greeted Hodge, “It’s good to see you.”
“You know how to make an entrance, Cameron,” said Trask, shaking his leader’s hand, “I heard about what happened at our American embassy. This is really going to happen, isn’t it? It’s just as we planned.”
“Don’t tell me you’re surprised,” said the Genoshan leader coyly.
“Of course not. It’s just a little overwhelming, that’s all. I knew the mutants would rise up sooner or later.”
“Seeing as how we’ve been preparing all these years, it might as well be sooner. Is everything ready in place?”
“Yes, they’re all programmed and ready to go,” said Trask anxiously, “Come, I’ll show you.”
Hodge and his body guards followed Trask into the bowls of the vast facility. The middle aged scientist/engineer looked as though he hadn’t slept much these past few weeks. Not that anyone could blame him, but he knew this was coming. He knew the part he was going to play. Hodge knew he was taking a risk when he brought this man on board, but this man had the genius and the motivation to do what he needed him to do.
He didn’t look like much as he followed him into the primary manufacturing area of the facility. Trask was a short, lanky, pale-faced figure with glasses and an unkempt complexion. He had his share of gray hair, making him look a lot older than he really was. Many mistook him for being in his late forties. But he was really in his mid-thirties. It was a testament to the stress this man had endured. Once the pride of MIT, Bolivar had his share of bad luck. It was that bad luck that became Hodge’s golden opportunity.
Following close behind the anxious man, Hodge and his entourage was led to the primary observation deck of the manufacturing area. This part of the facility was a noisy, chaotic place. Teams of scientists, engineers, technicians, and workers labored around the clock on the pride and joy of the Genosha military. As they passed by, onlookers paused and saluted their leader. But quickly went back to their tasks, working at a feverish pace under the watchful eye of their dear leader and his armed men. Hodge smiled at the fear he instilled in these people. It would make them work harder at this most pivotal time.
Once in the observation deck, Trask brought up a program on a screen. On that screen were bold words that read “Project Sentinel.”
“As you can see, we’ve been working overtime on the first batch,” said Trask as he brought up a production report, “Every part of the facility is working at full capacity. As it stands now, there are a total of 300 units. At our current pace we can have 300 more by the end of the month.”
“Cut that figure to two weeks,” said Hodge, “We’ll need the reinforcements once the conflict is in full swing.”
“Are you sure that’s necessary? 300 should be more than sufficient to neutralize mutants around the world.”
“Don’t get overconfident, old friend. You can never be too careful with these things,” said Hodge as he looked out over the manufacturing area, “The mutants are more organized than we suspected. We have to make sure we overwhelm them with the first wave so they cannot reorganize.”
“I…I understand,” said Trask obediently, “But I assure you that no amount of organization will be enough. Every one of my sentinels is sufficiently equipped with the necessary firepower, strength, and intelligence to counter any mutant attack.”
“They had better, considering all the resources I’ve given you to develop them. This advanced technology does not come cheap, nor is it readily available.”
“I am fully aware of that sir, but I would be able to progress much faster if you could give me more details as to where this technology came from. These advanced computer chips and fusion battery cells are beyond anything I’ve worked with before and are difficult to integrate into the systems.”
“We’ve been over this before, Bolivar,” groaned Hodge, “I cannot divulge where this technology came from. I can only tell you that it is unique to Genosha and if you want to continue to have access to it, you had best stop asking questions about it.”
Trask fell silent. This wasn’t the first time he inquired about these advanced components that Hodge had been able to provide him with. They were decades ahead of anything the rest of the world had. Technology like that didn’t just come from nowhere. But Hodge, like the rulers before him, were very secretive of where this technology came from and Trask wasn’t about to risk losing it.
“Now then, what is the status the demonstration I’ve organized?” inquired Hodge.
“It’s still on schedule,” answered Trask, “We’re set to begin within a few hours in the central arena.”
“Have you had any problem with our participants?” asked Hodge ominously.
“None sir. Your men have kept them in check. Most have already been weakened. They should prove easy prey for my sentinels.”
“Hopefully not too easy,” said the Genoshan leader, “We want them to be prepared for when they face the more tenacious mutants out there.”
“You mean like the Brotherhood and the X-men?”
There was a strange undertone to Hodge’s words. He seemed to imply there were bigger targets out there. Trask wasn’t aware of anybody more formidable than the Brotherhood and the X-men, but he trusted his old friend’s foresight. He just provided the means. Hodge provided the strategy.
“Come, I’ll take you to the arena,” said Trask, “We’ll commence as soon as possible.”
“Good, I look forward to seeing your creations in action,” grinned Hodge.
“And just out of curiosity, how much longer until the attack begins?”
Hodge laughed and placed his hand on his old friend’s shoulder. Trask was a brilliant man, but he was too anxious for his own good. Given what he had been through in his early life, he could hardly blame him. But that was the past. This was about the future.
“Oh you need not worry about that, my friend. Everything is under control,” he assured, “Just take comfort in the knowledge that as soon as this day is over, a new era in humanity will begin.”
Xavier Institute – War Room
News reports from several different countries were being streamed into the War Room all at once onto the central holographic screen. They all covered the same ghastly scene at the Genosha Embassy in Washington DC. Images of rubble and charred ground dominated every moment. It was as if they were broadcasting from a war zone, but being in the nation’s capital struck hard and it was sure to leave an impact on the millions of viewers all around the world.
But the one scene that kept playing over multiple times were the video feeds that came from the security cameras that hadn’t been knocked out. They showed clear as night and day the three Brotherhood members responsible for this carnage. Avalanche, Quicksilver, and Pyro showed little hesitation or remorse for what they were doing. Even though the video image was not of high quality, they could tell they were enjoying this attack. They knew what their actions were going to stir in the course of world affairs and they didn’t care one bit.
Professor Xavier’s expression was grim. His X-men shared his grave demeanor. Scott, Jean, Bobby, Warren, Hank, Ororo, Logan, Rogue, and Kitty all turned to their mentor for their next move. It seemed as though the peace they had been fighting for was an afterthought. The Brotherhood had made their move and now conflict seemed inevitable.
“Those miserable punks!” growled Logan, “You shoulda let me gut ‘em when I had the chance!”
“I’m almost inclined to agree, Wolverine,” said Warren as he watched the video replay again, “Just look at them! They’re sending us on a crash course to Armageddon and they’re enjoying themselves!”
“Please tell me we get to beat them to a pulp, Professor,” groaned Bobby.
Professor Xavier sighed as he turned off the broadcasts and addressed his team.
“I understand you’re all frustrated and anxious,” he said, “But we cannot allow the Brotherhood to lead us down this path. We’ll only be doing what both sides want. It can only lead to more suffering for everyone, human and mutant alike.”
“I don’t know if this is a path we can avoid, Professor,” lamented Jean, “Magneto wanted to start a war and it looks like he’s going to get it. I can’t see Genosha being diplomatic after having their embassy was destroyed.”
“That doesn’t mean we can’t stop it,” said Xavier in a determined tone, “As bad as this is, something about it doesn’t seem right. I know Erik better than anyone and this doesn’t make sense. If all he wanted was to start a war, why didn’t he do this sooner?”
It got everybody thinking. It did seem a little odd, given what they knew about Magneto. This was something he could have easily done months ago. For him to choose now of all times seemed too random. Magneto was a lot of things, but he certainly wasn’t irrational.
“You have a point, Professor,” said Scott, “Magneto is too strategic to just attack out of the blue. He had to have known that attacking the Genoshan embassy would get a worldwide response. Question is how does it play into his favor?”
“You mean besides getting people all around the world to start fearing mutants?” said Warren dryly.
“There may be more do it than that, Warren,” said Hank, who was pacing back and forth in front of the computer, “Magneto appears to be targeting Genosha specifically and not humanity as a whole. That very well may be the key.”
“Why would it matter?” asked Kitty, who was trying to sound strong in her first real conflict as an X-man, “Genosha has been the most vocal about attacking mutants. Seems like a good place to start.”
“There may be more do it than that, Kitty,” said Hank as he continued to pace, “Cameron Hodge has boasted repeatedly that he’s on the cusp of creating an anti-mutant system that would have far reaching implications. He’s always been vague about the details, but serious about the proficiency.”
“Is that something we can take at face value?” Scott inquired.
“It would be prudent to do so,” said Hank, “Genosha does have a history of mysterious developments. It tends to be the case of countries ravaged by centuries of war.”
“So then I guess it’s just a matter of who we attack first,” said Logan gruffly, “Either hit Magneto or Hodge. Both sound worthy of a one-way trip to the nearest morgue.”
“Yeah! As far as Ah’m concerned, they’re both guilty as hell!” said Rogue strongly, “So how are we gonna stop them?”
“It isn’t just a matter of stopping both sides,” said the Professor intently, “We have to stop this war and stem growing uncertainty across the globe.”
“With news like this being broadcast around the world?” said Ororo, gesturing to the images on the War Room computer, “That’s a tall order, Charles.”
Ororo had a point. It was a daunting notion given that millions were probably glued to their TVs watching this dire news. But the more Xavier watched it the more it bothered him. It was bad by every measure, but something about it just didn’t sit well. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he had a strong feeling that there was something else to this affair that everyone was missing.
He directed his attention to one of the broadcasts that was reporting on the layout of the Genosha embassy. It was nothing shocking. It just outlined how secure the area was and how much money Cameron Hodge poured into protecting it. Then he saw another message stream across a graphic. The embassy had been on high alert at the time of the attack. And yet they barely put up a fight. The Genoshan officials just capitulated, as if their forces weren’t even trying to resist. That sparked the Professor’s curiosity.
“Hmm…I wonder,” he said distantly.
“Please tell me we have a plan, Professor,” said Kitty.
“This could be a clue,” said Xavier as he paused the broadcast detailing the embassy, “If Hodge went to such lengths to secure his embassy, why did he let the Brotherhood get so close? His forces should have put up a better fight.”
“The Brotherhood is sneaky,” shrugged Bobby, “We’ve seen them pull these stunts before.”
“I’m not contesting that, Robert. But the Brotherhood’s exploits are no secret. Cameron Hodge is smart enough and paranoid enough to plan appropriately. Yet he didn’t. It doesn’t make any sense unless…”
Then some of the others started following his line of reasoning.
“Unless he expected them to attack,” realized Scott.
“Perhaps he even wanted him to!” added Hank.
“Why in the hell would Hodge want the Brotherhood to attack?” said Rogue skeptically.
“Can you think of a better way to get the world on his side?” said Hank, “Now he has the whole world watching him! He knows that if Magneto attacks, he’ll have a large stage to make a statement!”
“And a perfect means to demonstrate these mutant containment systems he’s been boasting about,” said Xavier.
This situation was getting more complicated by the second. Looking at the broadcasts, it didn’t seem so clear cut anymore. The Professor had good initiation about this sort of thing. There were too many inconsistencies to ignore. If there were other forces at work then that had to be their focus. If there was even the slightest chance that they could uncover the truth, then maybe this war could be averted.
“We cannot allow this to worsen, X-men,” said Professor Xavier strongly, “If we don’t do something, then both Magneto and Cameron Hodge will get what they want. Magneto will have his war and Hodge will have his prestige. And mutants and humans alike will suffer the consequences.”
“So what do we do?” asked Ororo anxiously.
“First and most importantly, we must learn the truth. That means going to Genosha and finding out what Cameron Hodge is up to.”
“A trip to a hostile island run by a ruthless, military madman bent on causing a global war?” said Logan with a smirk, “Sounds like the perfect vacation!”
“I’m sure you’ll pack your swim suit,” commented Rogue, “But how will uncovering Hodge’s dirty secrets stop the war? For all we know he could’ve been bluffing about these fancy mutant containment systems.”
“I highly doubt that, Rogue,” said Hank, “Remember that system that attacked Kitty in Chicago? That could just be a sample of their capabilities. Imagine a whole island dedicated to such monstrosities.”
“Seeing as how I still have the bruises from that last fight, I’d rather not,” groaned Kitty.
It was an ominous notion, facing something similar to what they faced in Chicago. That weapon was too advanced to write off. If Hodge’s plans were as big as he claimed, it was difficult to contemplate what else he had in store. If Magneto really was going to attack, he wouldn’t hesitate to use them and that didn’t bode well for anybody.
“Investigating Genosha isn’t going to be easy, sir,” said Scott in a concerned tone, “Hodge has likely fortified the whole island with his forces. Getting to him and his systems before Magneto will be a challenge.”
“Which is why I’m going with you,” said Xavier as he turned off the computer.
“What?!” exclaimed half the team simultaneously.
“Ha! No offense, Chuck. But you ain’t exactly conditioned for combat,” said Logan, gesturing to his wheelchair.
“I know, Logan,” said Xavier, hiding his bitterness, “But with my advanced telepathy, I’ll be able to uncover the truth faster. If possible, I want to confront Hodge personally. I need to know what he knows.”
“Does that mean you’ll break into his mind and extract his thoughts?” asked Kitty.
“You know how I feel about such intrusion, Kitty,” said Xavier strongly, “But if we’re stop this war we must be willing to do what’s necessary.”
They were strong words from a man who was very limited physically. Nobody could ever fault Charles Xavier for having guts as well as brains, but a mission like this was still risky and contained potentially difficult decisions.
“Are you sure about this, Professor?” asked Scott, already concerned about how they would go about this mission with their mentor in the line of fire.
“I’m sure,” said Xavier as he started wheeling towards the exit, “You have put your lives on the line for me and your kind many times before. It’s only proper I do the same.”
“That’s noble of you sir, but Wolverine is right. You’ll be putting yourself in harm’s way,” said Jean anxiously.
“I know the risks, Jean. And I’m willing to accept them,” he said, his tone resolute, “Now suit up and prep the X-jet. We’ll discuss our plan of attack once we’re in the air.”
They all knew Charles Xavier well enough not to argue. He made his decision and he wasn’t going to let anybody stop him. It was brave for someone in his condition, but foolish as well. He was not a fighter by nature, but was willing to go to great lengths for his dream. Men like Cameron Hodge and Magneto were determined to propagate their madness. It was only fitting that Charles Xavier was equally determined to stop them.
Nobody said a word as they followed their mentor out and prepared themselves for battle. They had a daunting task ahead of them. They were going to a nation run by a madman who made a political career out of demonizing mutants. In addition, that same nation could be attacked by Magneto and untold hoards of mutants at any given moment. The X-men were thrusting themselves into the crossfire of a potentially devastating war. If they didn’t stop it then Xavier’s dream would officially become a nightmare.
The only one who lingered for a bit was Kitty. She had been training something like this, but she had never taken part in it. She tried to be strong, but she couldn’t help but be a little intimidated. All she could do was set her fear aside and follow the others. Her parents and uncle always wanted big things for her. It couldn’t get much bigger than this.
“Follow me, Kitty,” said Jean.
“Please tell me I’m getting my codename now. I’m not going to sound very heroic if I just go by the name, Kitty,” she said.
“The codename can wait. The mission can’t. For now, let’s get you a uniform. You’re officially an X-man now. Time to show the world what we’re made of.”
White House – Oval Office
In times of peace, the president’s office was chaotic enough. In times of war, however, the tension was beyond measure. Decisions that could affect the lives of millions if not billions were debated and made within these walls. No president ever wanted to be in office when a major conflict broke out. But as history had shown time and again, conflict of the greatest magnitude can break out at any time.
At the moment the president and his staff were dealing with such a conflict. The destruction of the Genoshan embassy sent shockwaves throughout the international community. Countries all over the world were scrambling to find out everything they could and prepare appropriately. The big question on every leader’s mind revolved around one specific issue. What was going to happen with mutant relations? This attack could very well usher in a war between species. If the ominous images of the Brotherhood attacks were any indication, it was bound to be devastating.
Sitting behind his desk in a daze, the president listened to his most trusted advisors. Among them were his secretary of state, his secretary of defense, three of the joint chiefs, and a well-known senator from New York named Robert Kelly. Normally, congressmen were not allowed in meetings of this nature. But Senator Kelly was an up and coming star in the political world and a major voice in the mutant issue. He offered his own perspective along with the normal logistics his advisors and generals offered.
“I’m telling you, Mr. President! We have to get behind Genosha before it’s too late!” said Senator Kelly urgently, “If Cameron Hodge is going to confront a mutant onslaught, then we can’t afford to leave him to fight it on his own! We must show our support!”
“That’s taking a huge risk, Senator. One that may greatly hurt the credibility of this country and its allies,” said one of the joint chiefs strongly, “The United States can’t just throw its support to some charismatic dictator with a history of human rights abuses.”
“Don’t tell me we’re going to start arguing human rights in wake of a terrorist attack!” exclaimed the senator, “It would look even worse if we didn’t stand behind a country that has been victimized by mutant violence! It would show that America is not only weak, but gutless!”
“I don’t appreciate you using that tone with us, Senator!” said the secretary of defense strongly, “I know you are a crusader for mutant containment. You make no secret of your biases towards people like Hodge. We all know you don’t like mutants and have built your career around pushing for containment policies.”
“Bias or not, that doesn’t mean my points aren’t valid,” said the senator, lowering his voice somewhat, “I still know more about the mutant issue than anybody in this room.”
“But the fact remains, this is a sensitive situation,” said the secretary of defense, “One wrong decision and we’ll be caught up in an all out war between humans and mutants.”
“A war that was bound to happen sooner or later,” Senator Kelly pointed out.
“With all due respect, Senator, it’s a war that had best happen later. And during someone else’s administration,” said the secretary of state, who was right next to the president.
Senator Kelly scowled the secretary’s remark. But this heated debate was going nowhere and they all knew it. The President could only listen and contemplate what to do next. He hadn’t said much since the conversation began. He was too lost in thought, trying to wrap his head around the situation he found himself in.
Presidents before him had faced tough decisions. When he ran for office he understood he may have to make a decision to go to war with another country. But this was no ordinary war they were dealing with. This was a war between two species. Six and a half billion people stood against thousands of mutants, each with survival in mind. One side feared the other and war would only propagate that fear to irreversible levels. Whatever he decided, he had to decide carefully. The fate of millions may depend on him.
“Mr. President…” Senator Kelly began.
“Don’t start again, Senator. I’ve heard enough from you!” said the President strongly as he turned to his joint chiefs, “General, what do we know about Cameron Hodge’s plan?”
“At this point, very little sir,” he answered, “All our spy efforts have failed to infiltrate Genosha. But based on satellite reconnaissance we can say with near certainty that Hodge’s nation is a veritable fortress and he’s the warden. I can’t imagine too many happy citizens living in such a closed society. But somehow he’s managed to amass the technology and hardware to create a number of impressive facilities.”
“And where exactly did he get the materials for that?” asked the President.
“Private contractors, mostly,” responded the joint chief, “Some from America and most from abroad. We’ve tried repeatedly to find out what he’s working on, but whatever it is it’s safe to assume it’s big. So it’s reasonable to assume that whatever this mutant containment system he’s been talking about is, it’s every bit as big as he claims.”
“Do we have any details as to just what exactly this system is?”
“None sir,” answered the proud officer, “Nobody seems to know, which is why many other nations are hesitating to get behind Hodge. I believe they may be waiting on us to make the first move.”
The President muttered a curse under his breath. So many countries were quick to criticize America’s policies, yet when the important issues came along they turned to them without so much as a polite inquiry.
“Say we do get behind, Hodge,” inquired the President, “What are the potential risks?”
The secretary of state took over from here.
“If Hodge succeeds and the mutant threat is defeated, he’ll have a lot more credibility in the international community and his systems would be most likely sought after by a multitude of other nations, us included. Which means he would not only have authority, but leverage on us all.”
“That’s a lot of power to give to a ruthless dictator,” mused the President, “What about if he fails?”
“If Hodge is unable to repel the mutants then the fight is on. Mutants like Magneto would be emboldened and wouldn’t stop at attacking Genosha. To them this is mutants versus humans, not just mutants versus Genosha. With Hodge taken out they may start attacking humans, regardless of nationality. Mutant populations in every country may rise up and create civil unrest. It would be tantamount to a genetic civil war.”
Both outcomes were hardly desirable. It seemed lose-lose no matter who succeeded. The President’s expression sank for a moment as he digested every scenario he could think of.
“Is there any possible outcome that may be remotely positive?” he asked desperately.
None of his staff said anything at first. But then the secretary of defense stepped forth.
“The chances are remote,” he said, “But if both sides bludgeon each other to a point where they’re both too weak to carry on, the conflict may burn itself out. But that is contingent on the will of both sides. If they both remain unshaken, they will not stop.”
“Are there any possible means by which this could be facilitated?”
“None in our control sir,” said one of the joint chiefs, “But some reports indicate that Charles Xavier and the X-men may get involved and try to mediate the situation.”
“Charles Xavier?” scoffed Senator Kelly, “Don’t tell me you have faith in that madman! His X-men have caused nothing but trouble wherever they go!”
“And yet they have done some good over the years,” reminded the joint chiefs, “Public opinion is pretty split over them. Some consider them heroes while others consider them monsters. But if they are able to make some headway, then we may be able to stave off war. It all depends on whether or not we choose to support Genosha.”
It was a faint glimmer of hope in an otherwise hopeless situation. The President was not keen on placing his faith in a group of renegade mutants run by a mysterious man like Charles Xavier. But if they could do something to stop this war it was worth giving a chance. He had few other options. He was a lame duck president on his way out of office. He had little public or congressional support and any controversial decision was sure to be scrutinized if not torn apart. He would not leave office with that kind of legacy.
“Mr. President, whatever you decide we need to take action,” said one of the joint chiefs, “I know you’re not in prime position to make such a decision with so little time left in your term, but you have a chance to do something that could very well affect the course of history.”
With his general’s words in mind, the president sighed and made his decision. It wasn’t the most assertive decision, but it was all he could do for now.
“For now…let’s stand pat,” said the President, “But I want every carrier group and military wing we have in that region on high alert. If I see for a second that the situation is getting out of hand, we’ll intervene.”
“For Hodge or the mutants?” asked one of the joint chiefs.
“We’ll scale that mountain when we get to it,” he replied, “I want our entire military focused on that area. Also tell the Vice President to get as many world leaders on the line to make sure they hold steady to. I know it’s risky, but if we’re to make the best decision as a country and a global community we must let this affair unfold. Is that clear?”
“Yes sir,” his joint chiefs and secretaries stated.
“Good, then make it happen,” the president ordered.
His staff complied with their commander-in-chief’s requests and ran off to carry out their duties. The President got up from his desk as well, needing a moment to collect himself after making such a decision.
The only one who didn’t move was Senator Kelly, who remained stoic and unimpressed by the president’s decision. It was nowhere near what he wanted. Just letting this mess unfold was the same as doing nothing. For all he knew this could be some sort of endgame for the mutants. At least with Hodge they had a chance at fighting back. He long suspected mutants would rise up like this. It was why he pushed so hard for mutant regulation policies. If this affair didn’t pan out in their favor, then humanity would be in grave danger.
“You’re making a mistake, Mr. President,” said Senator Kelly ominously, “You may have just doomed the human race by not taking more decisive action.”
“Spare me your criticisms, Senator. My decision is final,” said the President as he started distantly out the window, “You may be willing to dive head-first into a mutant/human war, but I’m not. We can’t thrust ourselves into the conflict until we’re absolutely sure that it’s the right thing to do.”
“And what if we’re too late? What then?” said the Senator firmly.
The President’s expression then became solemn again.
“Then God help us all.”
Abandon Rock Quarry – Upstate New York
The commotion throughout this normally secluded area had reached a fevered level. Under cloudy skies and brisk winds, hundreds of mutants converged. They came from far and wide. Some were former Morlocks. Some looked completely human. Some were young, a few not even teenagers. Others were old, looking as though they had endured humanity’s intolerance one lifetime too many. They came by bus, plane, and car. There were even those that came on foot, using their powers to endure the journey. Others with flight powers gathered others and flew them in. Some even had teleportation powers, allowing them to bring in mor. Then there were those that came from around the world. They had to be flown in via large transport orbs, programmed to pick mutants up from specific areas around the world. For the past two hours, the sky had practically been raining down orbs full of mutants, looking to join the battle. It made for what was by far the largest mutant gathering in recent memory, if not ever.
The setting was unimposing. This place was just an abandoned rock quarry, half of which had been flooded by rain already. But it was the perfect staging area for the first true uprising of the mutant race. Here mutants could gather around and appreciate the sheer scale of this moment. Never before had they come together with such unity. Even for those hardened by the intolerance they endured, it was an emotional sight and at the center of it all was the man who brought them together, Magneto.
Standing in the center of the quarry with his Brotherhood, Magneto watched as mutants poured into the area. It was just as he hoped, mutants from all walks of life coming together to stand against their human oppressors. He saw in them a sense of excitement and even a little desperation. Like the rest of the world, they saw what happened in Washington. They heard the fiery speeches of Cameron Hodge and others like him. They could no longer afford to wait idly for humanity to wipe them out. They had to stand and fight for their rightful place in the world.
While the sight of so many mutants was welcome, Magneto still felt this gathering was undermanned. There could have been so much more if only his plans to strike fear into humans had worked. Were it not for Charles Xavier and his X-men, he could very well have the whole mutant race in this one area. But there were still plenty of mutants to do their part. One way or another, they were going through with this uprising. Either they would succeed, or go extinct trying.
“So many mutants,” mused Toad, “Looks like they got your message, boss.”
“So it would seem,” said Magneto in his stoic tone, “You did well, Mystique.”
“It wasn’t too hard,” said the shape shifter boastfully, “A little word of mouth goes a long way when you promise vengeance, freedom, and a better life. I made sure every mutant knew where to be when the transport orbs arrived at in the locations you specified.”
“And I made sure they were all safely transported to this special gathering place,” said Magneto, “Once they’re all unloaded I’ll be able to address them all at once.”
“Good, then we can scrap them,” groaned Pyro, “My arms are still sore from unloading them for weeks on end.”
“Considering your shortcomings against the X-men, you should be thankful I’m letting you participate,” said the master of magnetism, “But you, like everyone here, deserves to be a part of this no matter where they come from. While Xavier may have kept me from getting the entire mutant race behind this moment, our numbers will still be more than sufficient to carry out my plan.”
“But fewer numbers may lead to greater casualties, father,” reminded Wanda.
“No great movements ever came without sacrifice, my dear. We must be willing to do what is necessary for the good of all mutant-kind.”
“But do you think they’re ready for this?” his daughter asked.
“They look ready to me!” said Pietro, grinning at the sight, “Xavier and his kindergarten dropouts don’t know what they’re missing!”
Not everyone shared Pietro’s confidence, but having so many mutants on their side was encouraging. It would lend strength to their uprising, sending a message to all humanity that mutants weren’t going to take being oppressed. They were the superior ones. They were the ones with the power and soon all of humanity would come to know as such.
It was almost time to begin. The last batch of transport orbs landed letting out the last wave of mutants. The others that made the trip through other means also made their way into the quarry where they joined the growing crowd in the center of the large rocky pit. There was a great deal of commotion. Some were already clamoring for the battle to begin. Others were confused about where they should be. Their only unifying force was Magneto, the man who summoned them.
Upon sensing that every mutant was here, Magneto made his presence known by using his powers to levitate himself high into the air so everybody could see him. To silence them, he literally tore slabs of ore from the surrounding cliffs and started swirling them around himself and the crowd.
“Wow, guy knows how to get people’s attention,” commented Blob,
“Shut up!” said Wanda strongly, “Either take this seriously or we’ll leave you behind along with the X-men.”
With the rocks swirling and the winds kicking up, every mutant that heeded Magneto’s call gazed up and listened to their leader.
“My fellow mutant brethren!” he said in a booming voice, “Thank you for joining me in this most momentous of occasions. We’ve come far and wide from different nations and backgrounds to be together on this glorious day. We all know why we’re here. It’s because we’ve been wronged. All of us! We’ve been cheated, marginalized, oppressed, and in some cases worse. We are all victims of the same tyranny. And that tyranny is humanity! It is a tyranny that has ravaged this planet, caused countless suffering, and destroyed any trace of innocence that civilization ever had. Some of us have endured more than others. As a boy, I had to sit by in a Nazi concentration camp and watch as these treacherous humans murdered my parents! Some would say such evil takes exception. I would say it is one too many!”
There was a look of seething intent as Magneto mentioned the death of his parents. It always stirred his deepest hatred for the human race. And that hate reverberated throughout the frenzied crowd.
“Make no mistake!” he went on, “Human beings have descended into a barbaric breed with the coming of the mutant race. As mutants emerge, humans grow more fearful. And humans will always be fearful. They will never rise above their primitive instincts that make them unworthy to guide the path of civilization. It is only us, the mutants of the world, who can lead this world on the correct course. And it starts today! Right here on this hollowed patch of earth, it begins! Remember it because this is the place where mutant kind will unite! This is the place where we as an emerging species came together and proclaimed that we are the future! The reign of humanity shall finally come to an end! This is not just evolution! This is revolution!”
A great round of cheers erupted from the audience. Their desire for revolution had been stirred. The mutant community had been waiting a long time for someone like Magneto to come along. He was the leader that would lead them out of this world of oppression and injustice and into a new age. Humanity had its shot and now it was time to give way to a new mutant dominated order.
In a show of overwhelming power, Magneto summoned the full force of his powers. The veins in his head and neck bulged as he forced a massive chunk of iron ore the size of a stadium out from the rocky ground beneath them. This massive or was big enough to hold them all. Some were shocked by this show of power, but many cheered Magneto on as he used his power to flatten and shape it into a giant metallic disk that would carry them across the world. With a determined grunt Magneto flew towards the horizon, guiding the massive disk with him that contained his mutant army. Together they headed east towards the shores of Genosha where the forces of Cameron Hodge awaited them.
“Onward, my mutant brethren! Genosha awaits!” Magneto proclaimed, “The battle against humanity begins now!”
Next Issue: Uprising Part 2
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