CYPHER: Page 5 of 6

Publication Date: 18th May 2023


Doug made contact with Warlock once more and the two became an inseparable duo, quite literally as Warlock took to absorbing himself into Doug’s body, leaving no physical hint at their connection. A short time later, Professor X approached Doug with an amazing proposition which would alter his, and the mutant race’s, lives forever. Taking Doug to Krakoa, Xavier showed the young man his plans to turn the island into a paradise for all mutants but he needed help to do it. Doug was intrigued by the plan, but also a little skeptical, given how many rises and falls the mutant race had endured over the time. Xavier left Doug alone so he could communicate with the sentient island and find a way to make it livable for all.

As much as he wanted to do so, experience told Doug not to fully trust Xavier and so he chose to keep Warlock’s existence within him a secret. In fact, Warlock would become an integral part of Cypher’s method to keep the island from draining his life force, whilst also creating a nervous system that would reach every inch of the island. Cypher got to work, speaking to the island in a way no-one had ever done before, creating a firm bond between them both. Months passed and Cypher managed to create a symbiotic relationship between Krakoa and Warlock, allowing the island to flourish for the first time in millennia.

Naturally, Xavier would check up on him from time to time and Cypher surprised him with flowers that Krakoa produced. When grown, they would turn into things like teleportation gateways, houses and much more. Mutants from all over the planet began moving to Krakoa, living on the island without fear of being killed by it, thanks to Cypher’s influence. Not that death mattered now, as Xavier had developed a way to resurrect any fallen ally using the combined powers of five mutants.

Xavier still wasn’t aware of Warlock’s presence on the island and, when he asked for a space to be created that no-one could monitor, Doug became suspicious. Doug gave Xavier specially developed biological tumors that could be grown to create “no-spaces,” voids that Krakoa couldn’t even penetrate. Unbeknownst to the rest of the population, Warlock had extended his systems throughout the island, including into the no-spaces, allowing Doug, Warlock and Krakoa to keep track of all the dirty secrets everyone was hiding. Doug struggled to keep Warlock’s presence a secret and so he dropped the façade slightly and had Warlock on display, coating his right arm in TO circuitry. Doug claimed that Warlock was unable to leave his body in a bid to ease some suspicion. [House of X #1, Powers of X #4, Inferno (2nd series) #1, 3]

As more mutants arrived on Krakoa, Xavier decided an inner circle of mutants was needed to make choices for the rest if the population. With that, the Quiet Council was formed, and twelve influential mutants were chosen to cast their votes for all important decisions. Whilst he didn’t take an official seat on the council, Doug became the unofficial thirteenth member, acting as the voice of Krakoa. Since the island they were inhabiting was a living sentient being, Doug ensured that its voice was heard and taken into account. Doug had quickly become one of the most important mutants on the island, having had a hand in creating it as well as its day to day running. This became a slight problem when he went on a trip with the New Mutants into Shi’ar space, leaving the rest of the mutants without a way of communicating with Krakoa. [House of X #1, 6, New Mutants (4th series) #1-2, 4-6, X-Men (5th series) #1-3]

Doug’s off-island excursions were limited when he got back from space, but he did get to revisit the old X-mansion when his sensors picked up strange readings coming from it. Taking Nightcrawler and a small team with him, he discovered the Sidri, a bug-like alien race, had created a nest in the abandoned building. Doug was crucial in speaking to the Sidri and calming the situation but, during the mission, he had to let Warlock operate as a separate entity. Magik caught the two and demanded to know why Doug was keeping his friend’s true nature a secret. Cypher managed to swear her to secrecy, wanting to keep his and Warlock’s co-operation a secret for as long as he could. [Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1]

Cypher continued to expand Krakoa’s capabilities, this time interlinking technology with the teleportation gates to keep a track of the comings and goings on the island. [New Mutants (4th series) #9]

When Storm was infected with a deadly strain of a techno-organic virus, Cypher was a natural choice to help rid her of it. Storm took Cypher and a small team into the strange, temporal environment known as the World, to access a device that could purge the TO virus from her system. Cypher was critical in helping operate the technology in the World, helping save Storm’s life and earning her gratitude. [Giant-Size X-Men: Storm #1]

Being the voice of Krakoa meant that Doug was able to stay out of many of the physical dramas to which the mutant race was subjected. However, his link to the island and Warlock would place him front and center of the action, with very surprising consequences. It was revealed that Krakoa was actually one half of a landmass called Orakka, with the other half, Arakko, being trapped in another dimension millennia before. The inhabitants of Arakko were headed to Earth to wage war on the mutants but, to do so, they had to travel through the mystical realm of Otherworld, ruled over by Saturnyne. When the mutants and Arakkoans began to fight in her realm, she stepped in and turned their war into a competition. Both sides were given a series of cryptic clues which pointed to ten separate swords, to be wielded by a set of champions.  As Doug deciphered the clues, he was shocked to realize that Warlock was identified as one of the swords, meaning that he himself would be the champion to wield it.

Doug was the first one to admit he was no fighter, so the thought of having to use a sword in a one-on-one battle terrified him. In spite of the mutant race having effectively conquered death, it became apparent that anyone who died on Otherworld would be resurrected differently, adding an extra level of worry for Doug. Warlock did his best to reassure his friend but more help was needed and, fortunately, Magik had realized the same thing. Being a proficient swordswoman herself, Magik gave Doug a crash-course in how to handle a sword, but even she admitted she couldn’t do enough to truly help him. Even though the odds were stacked against him, Doug was adamant that he would be the one to fight, as he did not want anyone taking his place and dying instead. Surprisingly, Krakoa was also concerned for Doug’s fate, as the two had formed a very close bond and the island did not want to lose its only way of communicating with the rest of the mutants. The powerful Exodus also believed that Doug would likely lose his battle and attempted to kill Doug in the hopes he would be stuck in the resurrection queue long enough for himself to take Doug’s place. Warlock and Krakoa managed to save Doug, but the young man told them all that it was his duty to defend Krakoa by taking up the sword.  

The time came to travel to Otherworld, and both sets of champions met for a cordial party before the battle begun. During the celebrations Doug was poisoned by one of the other participants, but his life was saved by an Arakkoan, who wanted to keep the fight fair. It was obvious to all that Doug was out of his league, even Mad Jim Jaspers gave him 5000-1 odds of surviving, the worst out of all the participants.

It was soon time to fight, other contenders took up their swords, with Betsy Braddock losing her life in the process. It was soon Doug’s turn, and he was taken to meet his opponent, Bei the Blood Moon. When she spoke, Doug was taken aback as he simply could not understand a word she said. No matter what words she spoke, Doug’s linguistic abilities could not decipher her and, instead of being afraid, he was captivated. He was whisked away to prepare for his battle… only his contest wasn’t to fight Bei, it was to marry her. Relieved that he wasn’t going to die, Doug went along with the ceremony, even though he couldn’t understand anything his bride said. The two exchanged their vows and were married, each earning a point for their sides of the competition.

Saturnyne continued with the contest, some contestants fighting brutal battles and losing their lives, whilst others being subjected to inane games they had no hope of winning. Eventually the mutants and Arakkoans resumed their battle, with Doug and Bei finding themselves on opposing sides. Love won out, though, as Bei turned on her own forces and even helped save Brian Braddock’s life. When Apocalypse was about to strike her down, Doug leapt in the way and declared his love for her. Even though they had only been married for the contest, Doug offered for Bei to return to Krakoa with him and live their lives as a married couple. Eventually, the war between the two forces was over, and Arakko returned to Earth to be reunited with Krakoa. [X of Swords crossover]

Even though Doug and Bei were wildly different people, they remained committed to each other and the vows they took, with love soon blossoming. He found himself keeping busy, trying to act as a translator between the living islands of Krakoa and Arakko, who had been apart for so long that they didn’t speak the same language anymore. After days of trying to act as a mediator, Doug solemnly reported to the Quiet Council that the two islands did not want to reform. [X-Men (5th series) #16]