Inside Norman Osborn’s mind:
Osborn’s X-Men team has traveled there to free Osborn’s consciousness. What they have found instead is the Green Goblin (Osborn’s even darker side. His own song: a squeal of interference). Sitting on a throne, he asks if they came looking for Osborn. He so loves fools!
Maybe they could just – Omega begins uncertainly. Going for Mystique’s throat (while throwing Goblin bombs at the others) the Goblin finishes his sentence. “Run?” Such heroes! Blue! He hates blue. Mutant color, he tells Mystique (shapeshifter. Her own song: A doomed love song to an old lady and a species). She suggest he not take his eye off the ball. Growing a monstrous leg, she kicks him off his Goblin glider.
They’re not his enemies the Dark Beast (Mad, bad and dangerous to know. His own song: Puts his own lyrics to Streisand) tries to assure the Goblin and points to the exit.
What is he doing? asks Omega (Absorbs mutant power. His own song: ballads he shows to no one). He can work on Osborn if the Goblin takes over, McCoy explains. He’d really enjoy it. The Goblin calls them idiots. He can see now they aren’t important. He runs away. Mystique belatedly orders her surprised team to follow him.
Elsewhere in the whiteness are Nate Grey aka X-Man (near omnipotent: his own song: Several rock CDs, now available in a box set) and Norman Osborn (Neocon and on and on. His own song: he never wrote a single note) are still wrestling it out. Nate has Osborn on the ropes. He can feel it, can’t he? The Goblin’s free! Now he’ll want control over Osborn’s body. When people see him, Osborn’s reign of terror will be over!
Huh, Osborn scoffs with a slight smile. Grey really is from a more innocent era. It seems his precognition only goes so far. He thinks Nate has made one assumption too many!
Leading the pack, Mimic(copies mutant powers. His own song: some excellent piano pieces, sometimes played for friends) asks why they are chasing him. Mystique explains if the Goblin takes over Osborn’s mind, he won’t honor any deals. He might blow her up for the fun of it!
The Goblin reaches whiteness and a moment later they find themselves in “Osborn Central” as McCoy puts it. A large room, with TV screens showing Osborn’s memories. Memories of his present successes, but also of his past, showing Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy, and even more.
The Goblin stands transfixed before a screen showing a young Osborn being beaten by his father. He looks so ordinary, the Goblin muses. That’s the trouble. Mutants like them, he’s always envied them. All their difference, all their excellence, their greatness, it’s all there on the outside. He touches Mystique’s hair. To be admired or worshipped… or pitied.
He points to a screen showing teenage Norman looking into the mirror unhappily. Instead of which all he has is unfortunate hair, to hide under a cap. Sensitive skin, to hide under a mask (a screen showing teenage Norman being laughed at and bullied). A need to be wanted. Especially by those macho guys (Norman and Tony Stark getting drunk together). And a need to be above such needs. But his saving grace is a willingness to do anything – a trait he calls the Green Goblin. A trait underlying all he is. Which anyone could make use of, but so few do. He slashes Mystique’s throat and walks away, announcing now he must do more of that.
Mimic holds Mystique and shouts she can change shape around that wound. She can fix it. Even if she couldn’t, they are just mental constructs in here… so imagine she can!
Not die now, Mystique tells herself and concentrates, until she manages to do so.
Disgusted, Beast looks after the Goblin. He bet on them caring for “one of us.” As if they were human. “Yeah, and he was right to, you psychopath!” Mimic shouts while he helps Mystique up who orders they go after him.
In the whiteness, Norman Osborn explains what is inside him is very practical. He means, this part of him he sees here? This is the social him. This is him playing nice. Didn’t Nate imagine that a creature that can organize he criminal underworld will know when it’s a good idea to fight him and when they have mutual interest? He knocks Nate down.
Elsewhere, the Dark Beast walks ahead of the others. How does one kill a mental construct? Mystique asks, because she really wants to do that right now. Look, Beast points ahead, to the Goblin standing before a source of whiteness. This is what he needs, he mutters. One moment later, he notices them with surprise. “Kick his medieval green ass!” Mystique orders and the team attacks.
However, tentacles spring up from nowhere to trap McCoy and Mystique. Norman may have redecorated, the Goblin explains, but this was originally his home and now Mimic and Omega are close enough for him to do this. He takes a hose from the white well and fires it at them. Sorry he suckered them into that, he adds.
What did he just do? Mystique demands and McCoy surmises that the Goblin is a representation of Osborn’s deepest most primal willpower. Correct, the Goblin agrees. Norman is trusting him so much today! And he’s right to. Gaining access to it gives him all he needs to make the weapon he needs, meaning he forces Mimic to mimic Omega’s power. To save himself! the Goblin cries. And Norman too!
In the whiteness, Nate slams Norman back. He cannot hope to beat him! he announces. That’s what he keeps showing them, Norman replies, and they still don’t get it! There’s Nate’s sort of beat and then there’s his!
As if on cue, the Green Goblin breaks into the whiteness, with Mimic and Omega in tow. “Together: activate! he orders. As if they had a choice about this, Mimic mutters, while Omega adds they haven’t made many so far.
Together they draw the energy out of Nate. He sinks down to his knees. “Oh, you fools”, he exclaims sadly. He sinks down and Norman kicks him in the face.
Norman and the Goblin size each other up for a moment. Then the Goblin walks back into the darkness with a dismissive wave of his hand. Until next time.
Yeah, next time, Norman echoes. Everyone gets out of here. Now.
The X-Men wake up surrounded by the corpses of Jarl’s brain. They are all dead, Omega states and Mimic finds Jarl comatose. Ah, he remembers when his Tuesday nights were always like this, McCoy recalls wistfully.
Osborn’s assistant, Victoria Hand, joins them and informs them director Osborn sends his compliments and asks them to join him for some torture.
In his office, Osborn stands above the unconscious Nate.
Later, Nate sits shackled and roughed up in a chair designed to dampen his powers and is surrounded by guards. He hopes they all enjoyed watching that, Osborn tells his X-Men. Any last words before they put him in the machine and use him like coal? he asks Nate.
There’s a quote, Nate replies, looking at the X-Men- Nobody knows who said it. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Well, the four of them never even got around to deciding whether or not they were good!
If they’d come to him in friendship, if they’d had the courage to be heroes… He could have removed the bomb from Mystique’s nervous system…
(later, Mystique thinks about his words, alone in her bed)
He could have put Mimic’s premonition in context…
(later, Mimic is again depressed in a session with Dr. Sofen)
He could have told Omega exactly why he is the most important mutant alive…
(later, Omega sits drinking and insecure in a bar)
And he would have continued to judge McCoy. To say what he does to humans is wrong and that mutants should not allow it (later, McCoy happily experiments on his hapless lab assistant Bleaker). But instead all that’s left is the hope that one day –
That’s enough! Osborn interrupts. He doesn’t get to do “One day.” Tomorrow belongs to him!
Nate is put into the machine. Osborn leaves, as does McCoy. The other three X-Men look down in shame and despair at what they have done or failed to do.