If you can find it in you to survive – if you are worthy – then I will make you into something more than them. Something eternal
Years ago, in Oxford, Moira Kinross narrates her story to Charles Xavier:
She tells him how, when she was 13, Moira fell ill. She had an unnaturally high fever and the doctors weren’t hopeful, but the next day she was better than ever. Years later, she would marry, become a school teacher and have three children. Callum, Dean and Abigail. They would in turn have eight children of their own. Moira eventually died at the age of seventy-four, passing peacefully in her sleep. It was a good life. A human life. Not extraordinary at all.
Moira’s second life began in utero. It was the womb birth of a fully sentient being who had perfect recollection of her previous life.
Moira muses that you’d think being aware and trapped inside your mother would lead to madness, but the truth is she’s never been happier. Your mother is home. It’s the world out there that makes you lose your mind.
Shortly after she was born, Moira’s parents started to believe she was special – and she was, just not the way they thought. There was nothing special about Moira learning to walk, talk and read early. She knew how to do these things. No, she was special because she was something new and, at the time, something few in the world – including herself – had ever seen. Though she did not know it, Moira was a mutant.
In her early years, Moira had to hide what was going on in her mind that was older than those who had made her. But, try as she might, it was impossible to completely conceal how different she was. Her teachers thought her a prodigy, which began to direct her into a life of academia. A life of the mind. Moira didn’t fight those efforts. She herself wanted to know who and what she was and had exhausted all possibilities the perspective of her first life offered her.
Moira would later attend Oxford University and eventually concentrated her studies in the areas of psychology and biology. She ran controlled experiments to prove her condition was not a form of disorder or psychosis She marked the existence of personal markers form her previous life and noted two things: If she stayed passive, then events would proceed almost exactly as before. That proved her memories were real. But if she became an active participant, then she could change what had happened. And the path of her life would diverge.
Moira muses, that sounds amazing. Who wouldn’t want to fix all mistakes? That was before she knew what the observer effect was. That she was already changing everything by existing and watching. And what seemed to be a gift – something of a blessing – wasn’t a blessing at all, but a curse.
Meeting your true love and already knowing all their flaws, as well as that they won’t change, destroyed any chance of rekindling the relationship with her husband of her previous life. Familiarity breeds contempt. There would be no family for Moira in this life. And she wondered if there were others like her in this life, ruining it as she was. Then she saw a man on TV. Someone she had a faint memory of meeting at university.
On live TV, Professor Charles Xavier outed himself as a mutant. Moira realized she might be a mutant, too, and that she had to talk to him. So, she took plane to America and died when her plane crashed in the ocean.
In Moira’s third life, she aggressively dove into a life of science, focusing on anthropology and genetics. She actively sought out Xavier when they were both at Oxford. Xavier was still hiding his true nature but she was using what she learned from him to determine that she was in fact a mutant. But the combination of her distaste for her natural abilities, along with the arrogance of Xavier’s ideas and what she felt was his thinly disguised god complex, prevented her from revealing herself to him.
She decided mutation was a cancer and devoted her life to curing the world of it. And after years of research and experimentation, Moira and her team found a cure to the mutant gene. At which point, the Brotherhood of Mutants attacked her lab, killed all her colleagues and took Moira prisoner.
The blind precognitive Destiny mused that she could see the world bend around Moira but couldn’t see her, at all. There is just an absence. A mutant who is invisible to other mutants, she told Mystique. A defense mechanism, but not a very good one, if you know what you are looking for.
Destiny introduced herself to Moira and explained that she can see the future. Which is a trick with someone like Moira, whose mutant power is reincarnation.
Moira angrily spat that they killed all her friends, and challenged them to get it over with and kill her. Mystique chillingly replied that they are going to do that, but it’s not much good if they are going to have to do it all over again. She ordered her to listen to Destiny.
The precog mused that knowledge is such a gift and Moira was using it to betray her own kind. Moira spat back that mutation is a disease, but she would only give the cure to people who want it. Destiny decried her naivete and described how the humans would take her cure and come for them all. She had seen the potential of Moira’s works and did not care for them.
Moira challenged her to stop her. Destiny pointed out she was much older than Moira. Her power would manifest full of the knowledge of what they had done, if Moira were to try this again. She would know and come for her. They are joined together now. And Moira has a choice. Change or die. Help her people or Destiny will eliminate her in all her lives to come.
Moira glared and Mystique mused she still needed a bit of encouragement.
Destiny offered some. Moira is an intelligent woman who is at the beginning of understanding her power. She believes she is trapped in an endless loop. That her power gives her some version of immortality. It does not, Destiny states emphatically. She sees ten lives. Maybe eleven, if Mora makes the right choice at the end, but that is all.
Shocked, Moira gasps, asking how that is possible. Destiny explains that should Moira die as a child before her mutant power manifests, then she would be dead for good. She would simply end like everyone else.
And what if she doesn’t believe her? Moira spits, or that she doesn’t believe Destiny is right? Destiny retorts, she is a scientist. How would one go about proving something like that? She tests it. Experiences it for herself. In her next life, Moira admits sullenly. The question is, will she? Destiny challenges her. Will she help her people instead of hurting them? Moira admits she doesn’t know. Let’s find out, Destiny decides.
Moira admits she doesn’t want to die like this. Dying like this is what a life poorly lived gives her, Destiny retorts and orders Pyro to burn Moira slowly, so she doesn’t forget what dying like this feels.
Moira’s fourth life began with urgency. She threw herself completely into fully understanding the human-mutant dilemma. When two aggressive species share the same environment, evolution demands adaptation or dominance. Moira began to look at the problem beyond her own limited experience and consider the benefits of homo superior.
At university, Moira gave Charles Xavier a second look. She saw beyond the arrogance, to what was hidden underneath. A mutant who was determined to make sure his people had a place in the world. He was a mutant with a dream. And over time, it made her love him. So much so that she stood by his side for the rest of their days, as they founded the X-Men. The team went through changes to the very end, when as Destiny had promised the humans and their extinction machines, the Sentinels, came for them and all their children.
In Moira’s fifth life, she decided aggression was the right response to man’s violent tendencies. She ran away at thirteen and sought out Xavier a full decade before they were supposed to meet. She opened her mind to him for the first time and he saw what she had experienced in her previous lives. He saw how his dream had failed and the experience radicalized him. Instead of a school for mutants, he gathered a legion and built a city for them. And the walls held back the outside world of man until Trask’s Sentinels came for them once again.
Moira spent the entirety of her seventh life eradicating the Trask bloodline: Bolivar, Donald, Gwyneth, Simon. Without mercy, without pity, she came for all their children.
Then she learned the darkest truth of all her lives. Artificial intelligence is like fire. It is a discovery not an invention. All she did was stop Trask from being the first human to discover it. Like mutants, the machines simply emerge at a certain point of societal and environmental evolution.
And with that discovery any hope Moira had of stopping them died as her seventh life ended at the hands of one of them… and the experience radicalized her.
In Moira’s eight’s life, she sought out Magneto and told him of the future awaiting mutantkind. Magneto raged, attacked humanity and fell to the combined might of Earth’s human heroes and the mutants. Betrayed by his own kind, fools who believe in a greater human good.
And with what she feared was little time left, Moira embraced the idea of evolutionary dominance in her ninth life. Survival of the fittest. Apocalypse was the one solution she had not tried. Moira awakened him and became his mate. Apocalypse and his troops fought the war against man and his machines.
And eventually, Moira died again. And realized all the old ways of thinking had led to nightmares. In her tenth life, Moira decided she and Charles Xavier would break all the rules…
Later in Oxford:
And she wondered, why under the parting sky and the brilliant sun was this strong man smiling so. He was, wasn’t he? Charles smiles. Does she want to know why? he asks. Very much so, she assures him. He was smiling because recently he had the most wonderful dream of a better world and his place in it. Addressing him by his name, she replies it’s not a dream, if it’s real.
Taken aback, he asks if they know each other. With a slight smile, she replies they go back quite a ways. Who is she? She suggests he read her mind. And he does.
“I am here. I have always been here.”
- Moira X