BIOGRAPHY - Page 2
But who WAS Ahab? Why did he hate mutants so much from the start? The answer may never be revealed on Earth-811. In the divergent pathway of Earth-616 created by Rachel Summers and Kate Pryde's excursion into the past, however, a new history unfolded for the man who would be Ahab, raising deep questions about the nature of fate versus free will.
Professor Roderick "Rory" Campbell was a genetic researcher and psychologist specializing in control theories from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland. Moira MacTaggert and Charles Xavier invited him to work with Moira at the Muir Island Mutant Research Center off the coast of Stornoway. Professor Campbell was specifically contacted to offer his assistance as a full-time researcher looking into finding a cure for the deadly Legacy virus, the future-engineered plague attacking the present’s mutant population.
On the night Rory was to arrive at Muir Isle, however, the resident super-team Excalibur was engaged in a pitched battle with Siena Blaze. One of the morally bankrupt Upstarts, Siena Blaze damaged the surrounding environment on an elemental level every time she used her powers. As a side effect of the battle, massive damage to the ozone layer and ionic disruptions created a deadly storm, destroying Rory's rented boat and killing the captain. Rory barely clung to life atop a piece of the ship, drifting up onto the shores of Muir. He may have died there if the telepathic Phoenix hadn't detected his presence after the battle and sent Excalibur out to rescue him. Rory was quite grateful to Rachel Summers for the rescue, and she was quickly charmed by the Scottish psychologist as well. [Excalibur (1st series) #72-73]
Rachel was struggling with a secret at the time, however. Her teammate Brian Braddock, Captain Britain, had been lost in the wild timestream as Excalibur returned from saving her future. Because she was a potent temporal anomaly in his timeline, Captain Britain was being drawn to Rachel, effectively trying to replace her in the present to reclaim his rightful place in time and space. Rachel dreaded the idea of giving up her new home and family in the present, especially after learning her "parents" Scott Summers and Jean Grey were getting married, setting the stage for her actually being born in this timeline. All of this she uncharacteristically confessed to Rory Campbell when he noticed signs in her behavior that she was hiding something. A bond between Rory and Rachel was forming at a remarkable pace, moving past simple trust and flirtation. [Excalibur (1st series) #74]
Before their relationship could grow, however, time ran out for Captain Britain's return to this timeline. Amanda Sefton, the sorceress known as Daytripper, used Phoenix and Meggan (Brian's girlfriend) as a physical and emotional anchor to reach out into the timestream and call Captain Britain home. It was hoped that Rachel would simply be able to pull Brian out of the timestream and back into the present, but ultimately she needed to leave the timeline in order to make way for Brian. As all this was going on, a series of images related to the X-Men from various points in time began flashing into existence around Excalibur and their allies. Most eyes were focused on Rachel's plight, but Rory Campbell's eyes fell on a lone figure in the images... Ahab, Houndmaster of the Sentinel Hierarchy, rabid anti-mutant murderer and undeniably Rory's own future self. [Excalibur (1st series) #75]
After this revelation, Rory was petrified with fear of someday becoming the monster Ahab. He began second-guessing every decision he made or didn't make, afraid that THIS would be the moment that set him down the path to genocide. [Excalibur (1st series) #76] Amanda Sefton eventually reached out to Rory, revealing she had seen the same vision in the timestream he did. Amanda counseled Rory, helping him to recognize that time was not absolute and his decisions were still his own. Rory felt better, but still agonized over the revelation and asked Amanda to keep his secret between them. [Excalibur (1st series) #80] He began actively avoiding situations where he would interact with mutants, dreading that he might be hurt and then begin blaming mutantkind as a whole, as Ahab did. [Excalibur (1st series) #86]
In the meantime, Rory and Moira's work studying the Legacy virus took a dark turn. Their theoretical models had gotten them no closer to a cure, or even treatment once the virus was contracted. Worse, Moira contracted the virus herself, becoming the first human to be infected by what had previously been a mutants-only virus. [Excalibur (1st series) #78-80] Their work didn't get any easier when word of the Legacy virus was leaked to the public, stirring up anti-mutant hysteria even further. [X-Men Prime]
Eventually, Rory decided to confront his fears and proceed with his secondary role on Muir Island -- the psychological treatment of criminal mutants. Excalibur had hosted Spoor for months, a serial killer and former member of Magneto's Acolytes. Spoor produced psycho-stimulatory pheromones, a mood-altering effect that often let him push his victims into killing themselves or each other instead of getting his own hands dirty. Rory believed the key to treating Spoor was to remove his sense of control, and devised a new treatment schedule around this theory. At the same time, Rory hoped this controlled exposure to a dangerous mutant would help him overcome his own fears about becoming Ahab.
With the help of Brian Braddock, Rory constructed a laser therapy room. The enclosed mirrored walls of the room were filled with computer-guided, low-powered lasers. Harmless under normal conditions, the lasers were programmed to intensify and home in on any hostile action. In this fashion, Rory intended to remove Spoor's feeling of control, having unrestrained therapy sessions in the room where Spoor was incapable of striking out at Rory if he wished. Rory also employed mood stabilizer pills to prevent Spoor's power from being used against him.
At first, the therapy seemed to be working. Rory confronted Spoor with his poor childhood and drove the killer to tears with his psychoanalysis. Amanda Sefton arrived on Muir and expressed her concerns about Rory risking himself like this, but Rory told her he was in control. The sessions with Spoor turned dark shortly afterwards, though. Spoor's contrite demeanor changed and he revealed he had been counting Rory's mood stabilizers. The doctor was out, which meant he had to leave the room to avoid Spoor's power, which meant Spoor still had control despite Rory's efforts to convince him otherwise.
Rory remained in the room in defiance of Spoor, trying to regain the upper hand, but that was a mistake. Spoor had been paying attention, and he saw that Rory had feelings for Amanda, but couldn't act upon them since she was with his team leader, Nightcrawler. Spoor taunting (presumably enhanced by his powers) pushed Rory over the edge. Professor Campbell ripped the leg off his chair and began beating Spoor furiously to make him shut up. Sure enough, the laser grid in the pen zeroed in on the hostile action... and cut off Rory's lower leg. [Excalibur (1st series) #88-90]
The leg was unsalvageable, and the pain began to affect Rory. He became bitter over his injuries, and bitter over the idea that letting himself be bitter took him down the path towards Ahab. Rory became cranky and less outgoing during his rehabilitation. He reacted with fear at the presence of new mutants, trying to avoid being put in a situation where they might hurt him again. However, the distinction between fearing what would happen if he were around mutants and fearing mutants themselves was a blurry one, and Rory understood he was fighting a hard battle. [X-Man #12, Excalibur (1st series) #95]
After the downfall of Black Air, Alistaire Stuart approached Rory about his new agency known as the Department, incorporating the remnants of Black Air and the old Weird Happenings Organization. Alistaire offered Rory a post at the Mutant Liaison and Management office, coordinating between the Department and Excalibur, as well as discovering and offering support for other emerging mutants in Britain. With Moira's blessing, Rory decided to leave Muir Island, hoping this new benign position would aid him in helping mutants, yet never having to fear them again. [Excalibur (1st series) #101]
Rory still found his integrity being tested, however. Moira MacTaggert continued to grow weaker from the Legacy virus, and a cure seemed no closer than when they started. Fearing Moira would die before finding a cure, Rory made a deal with Sebastian Shaw of the Hellfire Club. Knowing Shaw had greater resources (and fewer scruples) at his disposal, Rory believed the Black King was in the best position to continue Moira's research were she to die. Rational or not, stealing the data was still a betrayal, and the act weighed upon Rory's mind. The cybernetic prosthetic limb Shaw offered to sweeten the deal may have only made Rory feel more guilty. [X-Men (2nd series) #63]
In time, Rory left the Department altogether to begin working full time at Shaw Industries searching for a cure. He interacted with Excalibur a few times during this period, and remained on friendly terms with the group despite their suspicions of his employer. [Excalibur (1st series) #111] His next encounter with Moira at Captain Britain and Meggan's wedding was a tense one, however, as the former research partners were now ostensibly in competition with each other in the race for the cure. Rory's guilt over taking Moira's research may have informed his almost antagonistic response to her over his place with Shaw Industries. [Excalibur (1st series) #125]
Moira MacTaggert eventually did pass away, and the Legacy virus was cured by Hank McCoy along with the sacrifice of Colossus. Rory Campbell's reaction to these events has never been catalogued.