San Francisco! Adventure Awaits!
The bay opens its arms to all, whether you come to live or come to play! A friendly city, that will enchant you!
To be here is to be with history, whether you walk the path of hippies in the Haight or stand in the cells of Alcatraz. And then – from flower powers to super-powers – perhaps you can catch a glimpse of San Francisco’s most infamous residents, from the other notorious island of San Francisco…
Utopia, home of the X-Men and vast majority of the Earth’s remaining mutants. Sadly, boat trips to see Utopia are currently suspended, by order of King Namor of Atlantis.
However, for spandex spotters there are daily bus tours of prime X-Men patrol areas!
And for fans of the uncanny, unusual and unearthly, the X-Men are far from the only attraction! Go and gaze upon the mysterious Dreaming Celestial and speculate on its true nature! Some say it’s a creature of creation! Some say it’s a creature of judgment! But all who live here know that in some way we all live in its shadow!
A tourist couple is standing in the shadow of the Dreaming Celestial. The man has just finished reading from the tourist brochure. You know what this sounds like? he scoffs. Sounds like copy writer for “we have no clue what the big golden guy is!”
“No, they probably don’t,” a man, dressed in Victorian garb agrees, as he quickly breaks the woman’s neck. Thankfully Sinister does. What it is, like anything else, is whatever Sinister wants it to be.
The man pleads for his life. He’ll do what Sinister asks. What could he possibly do for him? Sinister draws a red glowing sword from his cane. He’s sorry. It’s not his fault that he’s only human. He’s not even in the top two species on the planet. All he can do for him is this! Sinister stabs him… “Become extinct in a politely expedient fashion.”
Sinister thanks the corpse. So few manners in this blighted age. He taps against the Celestial’s leg with his cane. A glowing doorway opens. He thought so.
Outside an office room stand Scott Summers and Emma Frost. At all nervous? she teases him. He reminds her that every time he walks down the street he knows a man with a gun and a grudge could be waiting, wanting to kill him for just existing. This is a meeting of their peers. What could he be nervous about?
Pretty much everything, Emma informs him. A little nervousness only shows that despite, that lovely x-gene, he is only human and understands the dangers of the road he’s set them all upon. School’s out. Now they are something quite different. She gives him a peck on the cheek and tells him to be nervous. Regardless, he’ll be glorious. They all believe in him.
Scott thanks her. It’s worth noting, of course, she adds that she is perfect in all things and hasn’t a worry. “You absolute weakling”.
They enter the office where the others look at them expectantly. “Others” is this case meaning: Storm, King Namor and Hope Summers, Danger, Magneto and - standing a bit apart from the others - the Rasputin siblings, Colossus and Magik.
Scott begins that they are his extinction team. Take a seat and he will explain what he means. They get fancy chairs now? Hope marvels. This is a new direction. Did they steal them from someone? To sit in a seat so fine, Namor would take it from any man, Namor agrees somberly, while Danger informs Colossus that Dr. Nemesis enforced his seat in case his other self should make an appearance. It won’t, Illyana replies, assuring them her brother is in control. Da, Colossus agrees curtly.
Cyclops interrupts the chatter and explains the situation. The schism with the Westchester school has raised the stakes. It’s no longer enough to just protect Utopia. To secure the future of the mutant race, they have to make a larger statement. This team is it. Mutant prejudice hasn’t gone away. For far too long, it’s been them in the dark fighting people who only care about destroying them. Their actions haven’t changed how mutants are perceived. This is their primary aim. It’s something they’ve never tried before, never on a big enough scale. If this team saves humanity from extinction enough, people will realize how badly they need them. In short, they’ve always been Earth’s mightiest heroes. Extinction team will prove it.
The short term problem, Scott continues: they’re hated. Utopia has been accused of being a rogue state. He suspects their actions will do little to change that in the short term, could even exacerbate matters. But if they are going to be considered a rogue state… well, what’s the difference between Iraq and North Korea? Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. And every time this team goes into the field, they remind the world that they do.
Storm voices the obvious concern. He’s talking about Iraq and North Korea and calling them extinction team. Let’s play a game, she suggests. Raise your hand if you have never gone through a stage that others characterized as “mainly super villain”. Storm, Cyclops and Hope are the only ones to raise their hands. Is he absolutely sure his hand should be up, Storm asks him pointedly. Oh, he’s working on it, Emma assures her.
Scott agrees. This team could stare gods in the eye until they blink. Power corrupts. They have to prove that truism untrue. They are all relying on each other to make sure they remain the good guys. Even if they hate them. Especially if they hate them.
But in the short term, if the world hates them, they need to make sure the world is scared of them too. Because if they are not scared enough, it puts Logan’s little school and the whole mutant race in the firing line. Everyone has work to do. Do it. Until the world needs saving.
And so, in the next week, they do their usual work. Psylocke is responsible for security. Her group reports no present threats. The X-Club completes Danger’s combat / science analysis modification. Decoded from his usual hyperbole, Dr. Nemesis claims a full success.
Dazzler’s street patrol team leads recruits on patrols, allowing them to gain experience. Arrest rate increase by 15 percent. No significant injuries to recruits.
The recruits continue their syllabus.
Hope’s mutant emergence rescue team reports no new X-gene activation.
Dani Moonstar’s clean up team is deployed on a search and rescue mission for the missing mutant Blink. No reports back yet.
No suitable engagements for the extinction team.
That changes as SWORD’s headquarters, the orbital platform called the Peak, calls with an emergency. Problems in orbit? Scott asks Agent Brand who defensively demands what he is suggesting. He was just experimenting with politeness, Emma explains. He forgot that he was speaking to the intergalactic Miss Paranoia Pagant for five years running.
Brand explains that SWORD is keeping an eye on the Dreaming Celestial and his energy signature has gone crazy. They are the local specialists. She’s contacting the Avengers next, but… He wouldn’t bother, Cyclops announces as he gets up. If the X-Men cannot handle it, what chance do they have?
Soon, Magik teleports her brother, Cyclops, Emma, Danger and Hope to the Golden Gate Park, where the Celestial is standing. Danger scans for energies and is informed by Dr. Nemesis that someone turned the cosmic energy dial to 11. Finding inconclusive, she translates for the team.
Suddenly, the Celestial’s head detaches and floats upwards, reshaping itself until it looks like a replica of Mr. Sinister’s head, giving the heroes a clue who may be behind this.
Cyclops asks Emma to patch him through to Sinister. He doesn’t know how or why he is alive, Cyclops begins, but this is… “Necessary!” Sinister, who is sitting on a throne inside the head, replies and adds Cyclops should be grateful. He wants to be the big man, all-American superhero. Then he should be happy, Sinister is playing along.
How does he know? Scott wonders confused. Emma reminds him he’s been an irritating question mark for as long as he’s been tormenting Scott. As in forever. Just for once he’d like to know what his lunacy is about, Cyclops sighs.
Sinister promises him this is the day he has longed for. But first the bloody struggle for existence! The Celestial head emits highly destructive energy rays. Emma is hit. She is unimpressed as she switched to her indestructible diamond form.
Telepathically, she reaches Namor in Atlantis, telling him to engage. So, is she saying he is wanted? he smirks. Yes, Emma deadpans, by Scott! Not quite as appealing, Namor admits as he flies upwards and towards the floating head. He hits it with all his might and it falls.
In Utopia, Dr. Nemesis shouts the dial has gone past 11. They need a new dial! Danger translates that the problem has escalated. The avalanche of battle bots was a giveaway, Scott remarks. He orders Namor to keep Sinister immobilized while Colossus is to engage the flying bots. Colossus is blasted by some of them and even hurled backwards. Emma too is blasted. She tells Scott not to worry, but as the smoke settles, both of them see that her left arm has broken off thanks to the force of the blast.
Cyclops orders everyone on the Celestial. Sinister is secondary! He tells Hope to mimic Emma’s telepathy and communicate a message, then switch to helping evacuate citizens. Sure thing, she agrees, but insists she keep shooing too all the same.
Cyclops telepathically orders Magik to check on her brother and Danger to give the X-lab all help they need and the reserve to engage and contain. Keep this out of the city!
Up in the sky, Storm and Magneto have got the message. Them together, she cannot say this doesn’t appeal, Magneto suggests. The terrorist and the goddess. Storm remarks he thinks too highly of himself. They are no gods or devils. She thinks even repentant he is too enamored with what they are doing. Lightning crackles as the bolts hit the robots. Storm criticizes that Magneto forgets that this is all regrettable. She doesn’t believe in violence.
Magik has teleported herself and her brother away. He needs to be the Juggernaut, he decides and summons the power. She warns him this is a matter of the soul. He is mortgaged to hell. This power has a cost, he must be its master, not it his. He must remember, no matter what, he is not this. He is whatever is needed, he shouts, to save them. To stop it… to destroy everything, he whispers and orders her to give him a portal before he snaps her… A portal please, he amends. She teleports him back to the battlefield where he helps Magneto and Namor.
Dr. Nemesis calls Danger and tells her to modulate her scan on the infra-frequencies, and make it snappy. She tells him to modulate his tone. She is not a microscope. Or if she is one, they are all under it. Nemesis announces the Celestial is disintegrating into micro-celestials because it lacks an electromagnetic structure. For the simpletons, think “skeleton” or “exo-skeleton” for bonus scifi points.
Magneto rises into the air and begins to rebuild the Celestial. He explains that he is acting as surrogate nervous system for a cosmic deity and suggests they resolve the situation with haste o they can expect his brain to leak from his eyesockets.
Cyclops orders Danger to tap satellites and look for Sinister. No need for satellites, she informs him. He is heading for the Palace of Fine Arts across town. Correction: he’s landing.
Energy is released, reconstructing the area. A Victorian style landscape has been built and is populated by all kinds of Sinisters. See the brave new future of their world! the main Sinister shouts. Come see that everything is Sinister!