Exiles (1st series) #34

Issue Date: 
November 2003
Story Title: 
A Second Farewell - part 2

Judd Winick (writer), Jim Calafiore (penciler) Mark McKenna (inker), Transparency Digital (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters), Annie Thornton (assistant editor), Mike Marts & Mike Raicht (editor), Joe Quesada (editor and chief), Bill Jemas (president).

Brief Description: 

Mariko and T.J find themselves back on the planet inhabited by the Vi-Lock, the Vi-Lock suddenly appear and attack them. Sunfire manages to get them away but she passed out midair. When Mariko awakes, she finds herself in a familiar place, she is in Dr. Pym’s lab and Mary Watson is ready to greet her. The two talk and catch up, talking about when they knew they were lesbians. After a mission, T.J talks to Mariko about getting too close to Mary and how it won’t be fair to either of them when they have to leave. Mary overhears and later confronts Mariko about if they are really getting too involved. Mariko flips out and tells Mary that she has lost a lot and is not planning to give up their relationship. After another mission, Mariko brushes her hair as Mary takes a shower, as they talk about going out for a night on the town, Mariko is blinked away. Beast informs Mary that he picked up the same energy signatures when they got there on the same day they left. Mary cries.
Beast and Nocturne talk about how hers and Mariko’s were the only energy signatures on the day they arrived. He also tells her that he’s noticed that the Exiles do not physically age, their bodies function without decay.
Dr. Pym tells the Exiles that nearly 80% of the infected populace has been inoculated from the virus.

Full Summary: 

9:47 pm, 12 miles outside of Las Vegas, Nevada

Suddenly BLOOONK! Nocturne and Sunfire get dropped onto the ground, Nocturne holds her head as Sunfire lies on the ground moaning. T.J comments on how she wants to barf after the bumpy ride, but isn’t able to because she lacks the energy and enthusiasm which are both required to ralph. She asks Mariko how she’s feeling since she was almost turned into a vampire in the last world, then concludes that Mariko isn’t firing on all six cylinders.
T.J suggest that their favorite fire cracker should go to the spa for a few days, and she volunteers to accompany her. T.J then notices that there are no other Exiles around and that they are usually within ten feet of each other. T.J yells for Mimic, Heather and Morph, Mariko asks why she’s not calling for Illyana and T.J replies that she was hoping that they had lost her. Mariko asks Nocturne how she can see since there is hardly any moonlight. Nocturne patronizingly reminds her that she can see in the dark, Mariko admits that she isn’t a Mensa member at the moment. They banter for a bit then Mariko tells T.J that her brains hurts and she needs less humor.

Suddenly they hear, “Human meat...” Mariko turns around and finds a bunch of Vi-Locks ready to attack them. She realizes that they are back on the planet with the stinking Vi-Locks; despite them helping to find a vaccine against the virus, it looks like not everyone has gotten their shots yet. Nocturne blasts a few hex bolts at the Vi-Locks and yells for Mariko to get up and get them out of there. Nocturne tells Mariko that the techno refugees from “Night of the Living Dead” are still going with all their nastiness. Mariko replies that she doesn’t want to go to a techno club. More Vi-Locks appear after Nocturne takes down a few. Sunfire manages to get up and fry a few Vi-Locks then take off with Nocturne; Nocturne calls Mariko a drama queen for leaving the getaway from being assimilated into the Borgs’ pants so close. Mariko starts to drop from midair with Nocturne, she tells her that the getaway took everything out of her. They fall.

32 Hours Later.

Mariko wakes to find herself in a lab, she is hooked up to an I.V., and finds that she still has a big migraine. Nocturne explains that the headache is her fault because she had to posses Mariko and save them from falling to their deaths; but she was worried that the possession would kill Mariko in her weakened state. Dr. Pym tells them that T.J knocked Mariko out for 32 hours instead, then he tells Mariko that it’s nice to see her again. Mariko asks Dr. Pym is they are back on the Legacy Planet again, T.J adds that Mariko catches on quick. Dr. Pym catches her up, telling her that they are doing well; and have inoculated nearly eighty percent of the infected populace, but there are a few rebel outbreaks, Vi-Lock raiding parties.

Suddenly Spider-Woman shows up running on the wall and asks if Mariko is awake since she’s supposed to be paged the minute that Mariko wakes up. Smiles appear on both their faces, Mary tells her that she thought that she was never going to see Mariko again. Mariko tells her that she wasn’t going to see her again, Mary tells her that that’s what she said, well, pretty much. Mary pulls Mariko’s head close her hers and tells her that she looks great. Mariko tells her that she was almost turned into a Vampire and has about three days worth of bed head, so, she doesn’t look great, but rather horrible. Mary tells her it suits her. Dr. Pym suggest that he and T.J should go, T.J tells him that they could start shooting off semiautomatic weapons and those two wouldn’t notice. Dr. Pym tells her that they have a range for that and T.J asks him if he isn’t big on jokes. Mary and Mariko hold each other and catch up.

9 Days Later.

Beast and T.J are in his lab; he tells here there are no other energy signatures similar to the one emitted from T.J and Mariko’s teleportation. T.J, is upset that they are nowhere, but Beast assures her that he will find something to explain their anomaly since he is still reviewing the satellite images from they day they teleported in. T.J complains again but Beast assures her that they are still Exiles, since their bodies still seem to be under the physical thrall of whatever forces are driving their journey; their bodies function in every other way but without decay. Beast places he hand on her shoulder to assure T.J, then tells her to accept her presence there for a while and to make the best of the situation, which he knows someone else is doing. They smirk.

As Mary and Mariko lie in bed together holding hands, Mariko asks Mary when she knew that she was different; Mary thinks that she meant her powers so she starts to explain about how a few hour after she was bit she discovered her powers. Mariko tells her that she meant know she was gay; Mary smiles and tells her that she always knew and can’t remember a time when she wasn’t. She tells Mariko about having a massive crush on her first-grade teacher and how she told people that she was going to marry her; everyone thought it was cute because she was still young then, but it was setting of warning flares for her parents. Mariko tells her that she was thirteen when she knew, she fell in love with her best friend, Mary tells her that’s sweet. Mariko tells her that it wasn’t because she told her best friend because she thought she felt the same way but she didn’t. She goes on to say that it’s alright though because she’s over it, Mary asks is she really is and Mariko responds by telling her that it helps to say she is.

12 Days later.

Luke tells the group that they did a nice job out there, and despite the group of Vi-Locks being pretty small, the group was still pretty rowdy. Ice Girl adds that it’s great having a god tag along to take care of business with the circuit heads. Thor states that he is glad that they were able to subdue them all without anyone getting hurt. Ice Girl ask if they have to head back up for the vaccinations phase but Luke tells them they team Beta will handle security since they had a hard morning, he tells them that he will sell them at the noon briefing.
Mariko asks Mary if she wants to grab some food which Mary responds to by telling Mariko yuck, and that she is still covered in Vi-Lock gunk; and not everyone can just toast off all the unsightly messiness of battle. Mariko offers to grab some food and head back to the room, Mary agrees and tells her to not just grab all the fruit and granola crap but to get some pastries and things covered in syrup. T.J watches Mariko head toward the cafeteria.

2 Days Later.

T.J and Mariko are in the atrium, T.J is telling Mariko to be careful since it will all be a lot harder later, Mariko replies that she knows but T.J doesn’t believe her and calls her on it. Mariko tells T.J that they can’t do anything about teleporting out of there so what’s the harm. T.J assumes that Mariko is thinking that this is a fling with Mary and berates her for it since Mary is falling in love with her. Mariko is outraged that T.J would call her relationship a fling, she tells her to get lost and that she is sorry that she is so uncomfortable with her and Mary but it is really none of her business. T.J tells Mariko that she’s going to get hurt when they leave, both her and Mary will be hurt and it won’t end well, it’s only getting worse the longer it goes on. Mariko ask who says it has to end? With her head down, T.J assures her that it will and she’s hoping it doesn’t end with them being thrown back to their homes without finishing their task, which means having her grandmother still having killed her father and having Mariko still being stuck in a mutant containment center exploding with radiation. T.J then tells Mariko that it could just end with them moving on to their next mission and Mariko having to leave someone she loves behind, and she knows what that’s like more than anyone. Mary clings to a nearby tree with her head hanging down sullenly.

4 Days Later.

Mary and Mariko are at the IMAX theater, Mariko wonders why Mary’s favorite spot in the whole world is this theater, Mary corrects her and says that she never said in the whole world, just in the city. Mariko reminds Mary that they have access to all sorts of videos, DVDs and such back at headquarters. Mary asks her where the fun in that would be, she starts to explain to Mariko that this is a movie theater, they come in and sit in your seats, Mariko adds that they also get that ungodly muck on their shoes. Mary, slightly annoyed, tells Mariko that she was trying to have a moment. Mariko apologizes them snuggles up to Mary, Mary continues her description, saying that the lights go down, then the music starts, Mariko adds that they also watch twenty minutes of trailers and commercials.
Mary, more annoyed, tells Mariko that she is ruining the mood. Mariko agrees to shut up, and Mary tells her that she knows it’s corny but she likes going to the movies because her dad used to take her and it’s comforting, and she missed it so she had Doc Ock fix this place up. She holds up a bucket of popcorn and tells Mariko that even the popcorn machine works and she know she’s a dork. Maroki tells her that she isn’t, and that she is beautiful, Mary is annoyed, Mariko asks her what’s wrong and Mary tells her that she heard what T.J and her were talking about last week, and she’s not sure if T.J is wrong and that they should really try to be realistic. Mariko is pissed and asks Mary how she wants to do that, if she wants to take separate rooms and ask Dr. Pym to put them on different squads, and if they should stop talking to each other. Mariko tells her that she is not giving this up, Mary tries to reason with her but Mariko tells her that she can’t make her do it. She asks Mary if in anything that she told her about her parents and her life, if any of it seemed like she was happy. She tells her that she was never happy, not just because of being gay or being a mutant, or being disowned or never finding a place in the world, it was all of it. The happiest that she has ever been is when she’s with her. Mariko reaches out to cradle Mary’s face. She tells Mary that she doesn’t care if it lasts fifty years of ten more minutes, she’s not giving it up and tells Mary that if she loves her at all, she won’t make her give it up. Mary tells her that she won’t, and Mariko tells her that’s good because she is a lot stronger than her and it would have been messy. Mary tells her to shut up but Mariko tells her no because she just tried to break up with her, Mary say okay and they hold each other.

13 Days, 4 Hours and 33 Minutes later.

Mary barges into her room with Mariko behind her, she complains about Captain America acting like a jackass. Mariko assures her that Cap just still isn’t himself yet and is still adjusting after being a Vi-Lock for over a year. Mary tells Mariko that he shouldn’t be on the squad of he isn’t in top form, especially not leading a squad. Mariko tells her that even Mr. Cranky Pants Cap is just about better than anyone else. Mary tells her that she knows but he’s a jerk, Mariko adds that he’s a star spangled jerk. Mary tells her to stop trying to cheer her up, Mariko tells her that she isn’t because she cute when she’s angry. Mary decides to blow off the debrief and take a bath, to which Mariko responds by telling her Cap will be so annoyed, and Mary says she hopes so. She then asks Mariko if she should use the jasmine or the lavender, Mariko tells her that she used up all the lavender. Mary complains that it was the last of the lavender she had and that she was going to have to raid the Bellaggio Hotel to get some more. Mariko is combing her hair. Mary tells her that there are still a lot of stores that she hasn’t looted yet, she and Ice Girl cleaned out most of the hipper stores they never touched the formal stuff, and that maybe her and Mariko could go out and grad some slinkier numbers.
Mariko gets a blank looking stare on her face, she holds up her hand to her chest. Mary continues telling Mariko that Doc Pym is loosening on his idea about them having an actual party. A pink glow surrounds Mariko, she opens her mouth to speak. Mary goes on telling Mariko that she doesn’t remember that last time she was out dancing in a real club where you have to yell to be heard. Mariko is blinked out, the comb she was holding hits the ground with a clump. Mary call out to Mariko since she didn’t respond to anything she said, she comes out of the bathroom and sees her brush on the ground.
Later Beast tells a dejected Mary that energy signature he picked up is the same he detected on the day they teleported in and he is sure that they leaped to their next destination and whatever caused them to leap here has righted itself and put them back on course. Mary asks Beast if he’s sure that they are not hurt. Beast tells her that all he knows for certain is what he just told her, they are gone, he asks if Mary is alright. Mary replies sure. Beast questions her and Mary responds like Mariko did, “No. But it helps to say that I am.”

Characters Involved: 

Nocturne, Sunfire (both Exiles)

Alternate reality the Exiles visit in #20-22, 34:

Beast, Cage, Dr. Pym, Havok, Ice Girl, Juggernaut, Mary Watson /Spider-Woman, Rhino, Thor

Story Notes: 

Mensa International is an international high-IQ society that welcomes people from every walk of life whose IQ is in the top 2% of the population.
In the last timeline the Exiles were on together, they defeated Kenneth Crichton, the Vampire king, while they were teleporting away, he recited an incantation which disrupted their teleporting, most of the Exiles were separated.
The Exiles helped save Mary’s reality (with the help of the Asgardians) from the threat of the Phalanx in Exiles #20-22.
According to the Timebroker the Exiles are all victims of altered timelines which is the main incentive for them to complete their missions, as eventually that will also mean their timelines will be corrected.
Nocturne had to leave behind her comatose lover Thunderbird in Exiles #10.

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