Excalibur (1st series) #73

Issue Date: 
January 1994
Story Title: 
Memories Are Made of This

Richard Ashford (Writer), Terry Shoemaker (Penciler), Randy Elliott (Inker), Chris Matthys & Garrahy (Colorists), Pat Brosseau (Letterer), Suzanne Gaffney (Editor), Bob Harras (Group Editor), Tom DeFalco (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Nightcrawler and Shadowcat evade being caught in solid rock, and they return to aiding the not-so-helpless Moira against Siena Blaze who has located the disc of Moira’s dead son’s DNA matrix. Nightcrawler and Shadowcat battle Siena, and after Rachel Summers has a strange encounter with the future in a dream, and an even stranger encounter involving reality - as the missing Captain Britain seems to attack her - she too joins the battle. They recover the disc off Siena and return it to Moira, before Siena teleports away, vowing revenge. Moira reveals to Excalibur the contents of the disc, and her despair after her son’s death, before they follow up on a psychic distress call Rachel felt, from a traveller, who happens to be Moira’s new colleague, Rory Campbell. They rescue him, and both he and Rachel instantly seem to like each other. Shadowcat also discovers Meggan is no longer catatonic, but something worse has happened - she seems to have turned savage!

Full Summary: 

Muir Island, off the coast of Scotland, one of the most advanced genetic research facilities on Earth. Now, it is the home to the diminished roster of Excalibur, Britain’s only super team. Muir Island is under attack by Siena Blaze, a mutant Upstart with a deadly mission - a mission to recover the DNA mapping of one of the most dangerous mutants who ever lived - the reality-shifting creature called Proteus. It is to stop that mission and save the Research Centre’s founder, Doctor Moira MacTaggert, that has sent Kurt Wagner and Kitty Pryde a.k.a. Shadowcat on a desperate rescue attempt - an attempt that finds them both merged into the middle of tons of granite, deep below Muir Island.

It has been less than an hour since Siena Blaze used her awesome power to destroy an oil rig in the North Sea, some ten kilometres off the coast of Muir Island. As a minor side effect to those powers, the natural balance of the surrounding area has been severely affected. The North Sea is used to raging storms and killer winds, but this night will go down in history as one of the worst. It will also be remembered by one man who clings desperately to the remains of a small boat blasted by the cruel sea - if he survives.

As the desperate swimmer heads towards Muir, ‘We’re out!’ screams Kitty with a sigh of relief as she phases herself and Nightcrawler through the solid rock and into the lab, but Kitty tells Kurt he has to help her move through the wall, they just need to rematerialize then they will be okay. Falling to the floor once they are safe, Kitty asks Kurt if he is all right, but when Excalibur’s leader offers no response, Kitty realizes that Kurt is in shock, as his teleportation has never been so off before, she wonders what happened to him as she calls to him to wake up. Suddenly, a voice beyond Kitty begins mocking her - ‘Oh brother, what a wimp!’ Kitty turns to the mysterious woman standing over Moira MacTaggert, who introduces herself as Siena, and tells Kitty that she is going to be dead.

Somewhere in orbit over Muir, the most powerful member of Excalibur, Rachel Summers, a.k.a. „Phoenix“ investigates the effects of Siena’s attack. Rachel discovers that there is a significant loss of ozone above Muir and wonders what kind of power could cause that. She thinks it is almost as if a vast hole has been punched through the atmosphere, straight up from Muir through a mile of air. The entire eco system has been wrecked, and Rachel doesn’t know if she can handle this. However, Rachel understands that the Phoenix power is a fundamental force of nature, so she should be able to unleash those primal forces to help the systems repair themselves.

But “should“ is the operative term, as it will involve repairing energy matrices on a complex level. Rachel unleashes a huge amount of energy Rachel knows that she has to rearrange the molecular structure that has been shattered - she has to restore so much and is unsure if she actually can do it. However, Rachel knows she has to try - has to succeed - to be working as part of nature, so beautiful, to see all of creation in the eye of the beholder, but is so hard.

Suddenly, Rachel’s body goes limp, a cosmic puppet whose strings have been cut. No longer a flame in the heavens, out shinning the brightest of stars, no longer a celestial body, Rachel Summers is once again an Earthly body caught in the deadly grip of gravity. To fall and to flame no more - except as a plunging meteorite in the night sky. She smashes to the ground - nothing human could survive a fall like that, but then Rachel is not quite human. However, consciousness does not return, nor does movement. In the wake of Rachel Summer’s fall, there is only silence - but not peace.

Rachel has used far more of her power to repair the damage then she would have wished. For with the use of the Phoenix power, there is always a price. There is a weakening of mental barriers in flashes of painful memories, or worse yet, a precognition of what yet may be.

(In Rachel’s dream / precognition)

Rachel Summers awakes, and sees her time-lost brother, Cable, and wonders why he has such a look of pain on his face. However, Rachel and Cable barely know each other. So why does she feel such a sense of grief and loss? Scott Summers and Jean Grey - her parents - why does she feel like she will soon lose them forever? Do they need protection from those they love and who love them? ‘Rachel, looks out!’ shouts Cable.


A dark fearful figure, clad in red, white and blue, a grim portent of Rachel’s future rises like a spectre from behind - is she still dreaming? Can she run? ‘Askani-son, help me!’

Who is there to help a lone traveler? One who has found refuge and shelter on the barren rocks of Muir Island. By rights, he should be dead, however that is not in his future. He should have been overcome by the bitter cold of the North sea in a matter of minutes, that is not for this man, who would fight the devil to survive. But before he too slips into unconsciousness, he recalls in a jumble of images the fatal events that cast him here.

Ironically, Muir Island was to have been his destination, he had traveled as far as he could, hiked across the highlands of Scotland, caught the last ferry out of Ullapool, only to be stopped in the port-town of Stornoway, by the boat-owners reluctance to make the trip. In the end, he had to bribe one of the captains to let him take one of the boats out himself. The Captain told Rory Campbell that even though it is a bad night, the boat will be fine.

The old man’s words echoed coldly in Rory Campbell’s mind as the night grew old and the storm worse - for no boat, certainly not the old trawler Rory had borrowed could survive the ravages of this furious sea - and in the end, no boat did. As sleep overcomes Rory Campbell on the rocky shore of Muir Island, her can only thank whatever God there is for saving him.

Deep within Muir Island’s Research Facility, Siena grins, ‘how nice, one big happy family!’ The world renowned Moira MacTaggert warns Kitty and Kurt to take care, as Siena Blaze is the same mutant who almost killed Xavier, Storm and Cyclops a few months ago. Siena jokes that Moira has been doing her reading and asks if the headlines say she is kind to animals - because she isn’t. Siena tells Moira that she forget to tell Excalibur that she was here to kill them all.

‘I suppose talking this over is out of the question?’ asks Nightcrawler as Kitty tells Siena she will find Excalibur is not an easy target. With just a glance between them, Kitty and Kurt know what to do. After years of training in the Danger Room on similar scenarios, they don’t need to be telepathically linked to act as one. Kurt leaps to the top of a computer console: ‘Ladies and gentlemen - and in your case, Siena, I use the term loosely’ he says before beginning an act to draw Siena’s attention away from Moira.

Siena tells Nightcrawler that he looks like a reject from a “bring back the 70’s“ meeting, and boasts that he will soon be as dead as disco, reminding him that she messed with his teleportation powers before and can do it again. Kurt realizes that explains their unfortunate return to Muir, before teleporting up behind Siena and telling her that he has more than enough fingers to cover her face after she made a comment about him having only three fingers.

Kurt knocks Siena to the side, thinking that he had to risk a short teleport to get himself behind Siena, but decides that if what she says is true, then he better not risk teleporting anymore. With Siena down for a moment, Kitty rushes to Moira, and phases her through the floor. As they enter the room beneath them, Moira asks about Kurt, to which Kitty replies she will go back for him once Moira is safe. However, Moira knows what Siena is after, and knows where she has to go.

Back above, Siena screams and tells Moira that she is not getting away so easily, ‘Cause I have the power to bring the house down!’ With that, Siena unleashes a enormous burst of power, ripping through the Research Center. In such a confined space, it is not the best of powers to have - just as well for Siena that she can teleport herself away from the chaos she created, leaving Nightcrawler at the center of the explosion - one that can be felt as far away as the Mainland, where several patrons at a pub find themselves in a shaking pub.

Back on Muir, Kurt realizes that if he doesn’t use his powers to teleport out of here, then he will be killed - but if he does use them, he could end up in a wall again thanks to Siena’s disruptive field. ‘I always wanted to go out in style’ mutters Kurt before he teleports away.

Deep within the Earth, two-foot-thick steel bulkheads are blown apart as if they were made of paper - and Rachel Summers awakes in agony, as if the explosion had happened inside her head. She realizes that it is the same abuse of power, though this time the damage has been contained underground. She knows that she has to find out what is causing it, and stop it from happening again. But before Rachel can make her move, a ripple of time passes over her, and where once were her arms, the form of Excalibur’s lost member, Captain Britain, appear. Her arms return to normal within a short moment, but in the passing, Rachel can hear a cry for help. ‘No! I won’t have it!’ shouts Rachel. ‘I wont! I wont!’ In minutes, all is calm again. Getting to her feet, Rachel wonders what happened, as she cant remember - except she knows that Moira is in danger, and she hasn’t heard anything from Kitty or Kurt!

Believing Moira to be safe, Kitty has left her in a protected lab, while Kitty phases back upstairs to help Kurt in his battle with Siena. However, the Island’s uninvited guest has tracked down Moira, who is now defending the last vestige of her son to the death. Siena has been briefed by the Gamemaster, and knows exactly what she is looking for. Siena mutters that she would much rather be rummaging through the CD selection at the Mall on Rodeo Drive, so suggests to Moira that she just hands over the disc, and save her sorting through all the clutter. Siena adds that she would hate to think of what Moira’s idea of easy listening is.

Moira suddenly comes up behind Siena with a gun and tells the mutant to get her hands where she can see them, pointing out that she is armed and just about at the end of her tether. ‘Where do you learns lines like that? At the school of Cheap Threats?’ jokes Siena as she turns to face Moira, holding up a disc, which she declares feels like an ordinary disc, but that some people are so sentimental about their offspring. With the gun aimed straight at Siena, Moira tells her that if she lays so much as a finger print on it, then she will blow her finger off - along with the rest of her hand.

Suddenly, Kurt teleports into the room, right the direct line of Moira’s fire. Nightcrawler, noticing Moira taking matters into her own hands, tells her that they can handle this, and realizes that as Siena was so busy dealing with Moira, she did not notice him using his powers, which is lucky for him. Kitty phases up beneath everyone and grabs the disc from Siena and urges Moira to get behind Nightcrawler, while thinking to herself that she loves teamwork.

Nightcrawler leaps towards Siena, and punches her, knocking her to the ground. Siena calls Kurt a freak and tells him that he has signed his death warrant, as it is no way to treat a lady. Kurt tells Siena that it may not be, but by his count there are only two people deserving of the term “lady“ - Moira and Shadowcat. However, as Rachel Summers enters the room, you can make that three.

Siena’s game has just turned against her, this job was supposed to be easy pickings - get the disc with the DNA matrix of Moira’s son, and dispose of anyone who should get in her way. Now the odds are turning against her, and never one to consider the repercussions of her actions, Siena unleashes an electromagnetic blast strong enough to fry Nightcrawler to a crisp - with enough left over to sink Muir Island and half of mainland Scotland - and more than enough to knock a hole straight through what’s left of Moira’s private lab.

Rachel dives into the midst of Siena’s blast, thinking she may be able to convert Siena’s energy blast and use it to jump start the Phoenix force. Rachel knows she has to turn Siena’s power back against her. It works, Rachel sends an enormous amount of energy back at Siena, telling the Upstart to give it up, as it is likely to hurt more than Rachel. Rachel informs Siena that every time she uses her power, it scars the Earth, and she feels the pain.

Rachel boasts that she is going to put Siena in touch with just a fraction of that pain, and see how much she likes playing “Destructo Woman“. Siena screams, as Rachel realizes that using the Phoenix force to enhance her telekinetic powers should be able to connect part of her mind to the pain she causes. As Siena falls to the ground, Rachel welcomes her to her own powers and asks her how it feels.

Siena thinks to herself that she has to change game plan, that she cannot use her powers, but it doesn’t mean she can’t street-fight it with the best of them. Siena waits for Rachel to get close enough, and reaches up at her, scratching her face with her long fingernails. Rachel retaliates, by punching Siena in the face, although she comments that she doesn’t usually like using physical violence, but admits that letting loose with that punch felt great.

Suddenly, Rachel is overcome by a cry for help in her mind, someone in a lot of pain who was hurt, as the storm overpowered him. Siena uses Rachel’s moment of weakness to blast her, telling her to pay attention while she is around, before admitting to Rachel that she and her „little friends“ put up more of a fight than she would have given them credit for, but nevertheless believes she is better. Siena tells Rachel that she will take a raincheck on rearranging her face, and that next time she will not be so nice.

Rachel thinks to herself that she should have known better than to let her guard down, even for a second, as Siena could have killed her while she was trying to concentrate. Suddenly, Siena begins to teleport and Rachel realizes that she has to contain the energy release, as there will be a powerful teleportational backlash. With Siena gone, Rachel decides that there will be time to go after Siena later, wherever she has gone, as right now she has to send a message to Kitty about the survivor.

Kurt suddenly teleports a mile above Muir Island, mumbling that this is what he calls over-achieving, but realizes that he is still a little shaken from his rendezvous with the wall a little while ago. Kurt makes a few carefully placed bamfs and Nightcrawler is back on top of the world. Kitty phases Moira up through the helipad and points out that Kurt’s power must be working fine. Moira tells Kitty that she doesn’t know what she would have done if she hadn’t been there, as she has gotten so used to taking care of herself, but…Moira’s voice trails off, as Kitty tells her that everyone needs friends sometime. Handing Moira that disc, Kitty adds that she is glad they were here to help.

Nightcrawler asks Moira what this has all been about, as he is certain it didn’t come out of nothing. Kitty asks Moira what is on the disc that could have made Siena want it so much. Moira explains that she doesn’t know Siena’s motives, adding that they may never know what her motives were, but thinks that it is fair that Kitty and Kurt know what is on the disc, and why she believes she would have killed Siena if she damaged it.

As tears fall from Moira’s eyes, she informs Excalibur that shortly after the death of her son, Kevin, and Joseph his father, she felt so helpless, all she could do was mourn, rant and rave over the injustices that had befallen her dead son. ‘The graves were empty - as empty as m heart’. However, Moira reveals that as a scientist, she thought she should have been able to do more - and so she tried.

Moira reveals that Kevin’s body was kept in a special chamber, the threat of Proteus re-emerging was too great to take any chances, even dead, he had to be monitored every moment. Moira explains that she took a cell sample from Kevin’s body, as analysis showed that theoretically the mutagenic ability to warp reality still existed in his genetic structure. By first cloning the cell to give him a living host would be able to recreate himself. She was prepared to do anything to have her son back.

Moira declares that thankfully, Sean Cassidy, a man who loved her enough to understand what she was trying to do, talked her out of her madness. She stumbled and dropped the container - to this day, Moira doesn’t know if it was on purpose or an accident. Moira knows that she spared Kevin from a mother’s ambition - to protect her son - to give him life again, and did not condemn him to a second lifetime of misery. However, Moira explains that she could still not let Kevin go entirely, and so recorded his genetic matrix on this disc, never thinking that someone would come after it.

Kitty apologizes to Moira for interrupting her, but that she has received a telepathic flash from Rachel, that Siena has teleported away, but there is another crisis - a survivor on the shore who is alive, but hurt badly. Suddenly a small vehicle emerges from a garage nearby. Kitty asks Moira what it is, and Moira informs her that it is the remote rescue vehicle that Forge designed for the island, and tells Kitty that she will guide her and Kurt via the compass communicator.

The noise of the approaching vehicle revives the fallen traveler and he rises, painfully making sure his rescuers can find him. Kurt teleports amongst the rocks, and points Dr. Campbell out to Kitty. Rory holds his damaged body and mumbles that he must be hallucinating, as he swears he is seeing a blue St. Bernard dog. Rory mutters that he hopes he remembered the whisky as he feels so light headed.

An hour later, in the medlab, Kitty is standing at Rory’s bedside and informs Moira that he is coming round. Rory begins to ask where he is, but Kitty tells him to relax, informing him that they found him by the beach, and that Moira knows who he is. Moira introduces Rory Campbell to Kitty Pryde, informing her that Rory will be joining the research team, as he is a research Fellow from Strathclyde University. Rory remarks that the storm came out of nowhere, that his boat didn’t stand a chance.

Shadowcat informs Rory that they were out in the storm too and is amazed he made it out at all. She tells him that he must be determined. Rory asks Moira if all these tests are necessary, for apart from bruised ribs a sore head and a twisted ankle he feels fine. He exclaims that he is not used to being on this side of the table, if she knows what he means, and states that he wants to get up.

Moira tells Rory that he will stay as long as she says he will, otherwise she will twist the other ankle. Rory declares that that is what he calls bedside manner and asks if the weather around here is always so “agreeable“. Moira informs Rory that the storm was caused by a mutant named Siena Blaze, and that his boat got caught up in her “diversion“, it was just a side effect of her electromagnetic release.

Rory asks how they found him as he was thrown overboard before he could send an SOS on the radar unit. Kitty jokes that they have their own special “radar“ here, named Phoenix. Rory asks when he gets to meet this “Phoenix“ to thank him in person. Rachel walks over to Rory and declares that it is a “her“ not a “him“ and that he is welcome. Wearing only his boxers, Rory declares that he feels underdressed with such a colorful crowd. Nightcrawler jokes that one is never underdressed in a blue fur coat.

Rory reveals that he specializes in the psychology of control, but that he is considered a bit of a maverick by his peers. Nightcrawler exclaims that he imagines their peers feel the same way, as all the X-Men believe in homo sapiens and homo superior living in harmony, and that some days, like today, it feels like they will never achieve their goal, as self-serving mutants like Siena push them all back further each day.

Kitty mentions that speaking of X-Men, she is going to the communications room to fill the X-Men in on Sienna’s little “visit“ to them, adding that who knows where she teleported to, or what she is up to next. The handsome Rory Campbell is smiling at Rachel, who blushes, thinking to herself that a guy like Rory could really make a girl forget all the fighting and all the pain. She wonders what he thinks of her and decides to attend to his recovery personally.

In the communications bay, Kitty sends details to the X-Men, and decides to check in at Braddock Manor and see how Meggan’s recovery is going. As the coordinates for Braddock Manor’s communication room are keyed in a holographic image of that room appears, astounding Kitty with its realism. High-tech screens engulf the walls, projecting three dimensional images that reach as far into this room as the programmer wishes. Holographic displays are linked across vast distances and make it seem you can reach out and touch each other…of course, sometimes its not so nice when you feel they can reach back…, for as Kitty smiles upon seeing the empathic Meggan up and about, and asks her if she is back to normal. Kitty asks Meggan if she has heard from Brian, but when the beautiful and serene Meggan turns to face Kitty, all she sees is a flash of red eyes, before a distorted and angry Meggan lashes out.

Characters Involved: 

Meggan, Nightcrawler, Phoenix III, Shadowcat (all Excalibur)

Captain Britain (former member of Excalibur)

Dr. Moira MacTaggert

Dr. Rory Campbell

Siena Blaze (member of the Upstarts)

Boat Captain

Bar patrons

In Flashback

Moira MacTaggert

Body of Proteus

In Rachel’s Dream

Cyclops, Jean Grey (both X-Men)



Story Notes: 

Siena Blaze caused great destruction by disrupting Earth’s EM field, destroying a oil rig and causing the storm in Excalibur (1st series) #72.

Doctor Rory Campbell’s trek, at least part of it, to Muir Island, was shown in Excalibur (1st series) #72.

Siena Blaze tried to kill Xavier, Storm and Cyclops in X-Men Unlimited (1st series) #1.

The grossly over-powered Siena Blaze later ends up as one of the prisoners of Neverland who is gassed. [Weapon X (2nd series) #5]

Moira’s son, Proteus, was killed in Uncanny X-Men #128.

Sean Cassidy is Moira MacTaggert’s long term lover, a.k.a. the X-Man known as Banshee.
Moira attempted to clone and revive Proteus in Classic X-Men #36.
Meggan went catatonic following Captain Britain’s disappearance into the Time Stream. [Off panel between Excalibur (1st series) #67 & 68]

Issue Information: 
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