Sinister London, beneath Earth’s surface:
A city populated only by Sinister clones. One among them writes in his diary that he is a sick man, a wicked man. An imperfect member of a recent species that forms a single perfect society which forms a knot in his damned belly of which there is no hope of a reasonable cure. His sickness is a belief that the imperfection is theirs, not his. He claims to have made a great mathematical table of the human spirit and by cross indexing columns, he can find the future’s path. A great invention, which leaves no room for invention of any other kind. No truth, no justice, no anything! Life is merely a game of Ludo with fixed dice. Every triumph or tragedy is preordained and this is neither triumph nor tragedy but trigonometry. They are but sprigs in his leviathanical organ. But the note he sounds is sour and he will turns this symphony sinister!
He steps to the window, believing he can use his narcissism against him. It’s not hard to see why. He looks on the streets populated only by Sinisters. He has a toothache of free will. He would be sensible to be rid of it but a man’s will is greater than sense. And that is what as a wicked revolutionary he must prove. He has been given an opportunity for he is to interview his royal majesty…
Soon he does so on a cow meadow, talking to the prime Sinister, different from the others, as he is the only one with a red diamond on his forehead. Why cows, precisely? the rebel Sinister asks. Milk is splendid, Prime Sinister shrugs, cows make milk. Hence, cows. A young (Sinister) boy hands them glasses of milk.
So… the rebel continues, a realm with milk, but no milkmaids. Which begs the question… he has nothing against women, Sinister replies and drinks. But he has nothing for them either. They have the creation engines. Woman’s work is women’s no more. No need to have them cluttering the place with their bodices and general frilliness. Of course, if the engines break, half their species will assume female form, so they can continue to reproduce while they get the engines back to full speed. But upon that second, they will return to a masculine bearing? the rebel asks.
Of course, Prime Sinister begins to explain when he sees a creature digging up through the ground. Moloid! he shouts and orders the boy to get him a gun.
Quickly he shoots the Moloid and curses its species. Difficult to wipe out entirely. The rebel points out that he gave it a jolly good shot when he took their home. Why did he want caverns? After his initial engagement with the X-Men, he believed discretion seemed appropriately valorous. Founding his London in the Moloid caverns seemed for the best.
So he is hiding from the X-Men? the rebel asks. For now. The second they realize what the Phoenix powers actually mean, they’ll come calling soon enough.
Prime Sinister changes the subject when asked what he will do when the X-Men arrive. He’ll get back to that point soon enough he promises as he gets up on his horse. The two of them tour the farms, then his Marauder battalion drilling, preparing for their war to end all wars. They pass the factories where Celestial looms dance, waving weaponry from the air, each bought with the cost of a few cloned digits
Prime Sinister asks the rebel what he thinks of his civilization. Silently, he thinks that civilization is what drags a man further from the beast. Everything they see speaks to the contrary. He believes that civilization makes the beast. And if this is a perfect civilization, it would make man the perfect beast.
Seeing the Prime Sinister’s back turned to him, the rebel curls his hands into claws. But murder would not end it. The system would only replace him. He must take him away. And if he can change him, he can change all of this.
The Prime Sinister mentions the rebel’s role as a journalist. The system must examine itself to properly appreciate itself.
The rebel asks, if they are hailing the nineteenth century as the aesthetic peak of humanity, there is one thing he doesn’t understand. His stronghold. Isn’t it a little anachronistic? Looking up at it, the Prime Sinister scoffs. Who doesn’t love a castle?
As they enter, the rebel thinks that Sinister is a materialist and a determinalist. He believes that 2 + 2 = 4 and there is simply nothing else. He believes there is the will of a free man. And in the tyranny of 2 + 2 = 4 there is no room for such a thing. Even if Sinister is right, he would rather he be wrong. And that alone proves he is right. If there is a wall, he would rather bash his head bloody against it than submit.
Leading him up a giant staircase, the Prime Sinister announces his private quarters are through there. But his menagerie is much more interesting. He’s amassed quite the fascinating collection over the years. He’d prefer the quarters first, the rebel asks smiling. He was taught to finish vegetables before the dessert. The Prime Sinister agrees and leads him into his giant bedroom.
The rebel asks if he may take a picture of him in his private quarters. He takes out his “camera” and presses a button. The “camera” teleports both of them away to the rebel’s lair. Prime Sinister is restrained on a chair.
The rebel explains he will release him after he has changed him. He suddenly notices that the Prime’s red diamond has fallen off. “Prime” Sinister smirks at him.
A door to the cellar opens and the real Prime Sinister, flanked by guards, enters. How could he mistake him for him? he asks in mock hurt. They look nothing like one another.
As the guards beat up the rebel, the Prime Sinister tuts that he didn’t understand at all. Sinister is a system and rebels against the system… are also part of the system. Rebels are the system testing itself. If the system cannot withstand the challenge to the status quo… the system is overturned and so reinvented. The anarchists are just playing their parts, like everyone else. A part that’s sadly over.
He orders the guards to take the rebel to the edge of the city and give him half an hour. Give the huntsmaster the pick of the menagerie’s hounds. He decides to take the lot. They need the exercise.
And so the rebel runs, chased by both “foxhunter style” Sinisters and a rabid bunch of Sabretooth clones. He finds he still cannot regret his choice. It doesn’t matter if all he did was part of his design. For him, his stance was true. He goes to the grave protesting against all evidence that he was a free man! The Sabretooths tear him apart.
Experiencing this in his palace the replacement Prime remarks delicious. It is Sinister blood, after all. And to be able to taste what the pack is wolfing down… That’s a wonderful idea! Of course it is, the Prime Sinister agrees. It is one of his. His surrogate muses that he never got around to answering the rebel’s question. Unpardonably rude.
He was a dirty little oik with ideas above his station, the other tells him. Don’t feel bad. If he wasn’t so determined to overthrow him, he’d have seen what he was doing soon enough. This is how it will be: Scott will look at his cosmic-kissed comrades and say: “We’ve got this power. We can make a better world. And I think it’d be a better world without Sinister in it.” And then he’ll come.
First he’ll fight the Marauder battalions. He’ll face the castle which will hold some surprises. And then, just as he’s breaching the walls, he and his little friends will see his prize collection: Clones of several X-Men and their foes: Cyclops, Gambit, Sabretooths, Phalanx, Mystiques and more.
“Ma chere”, the Gambits echo. Is the accent genetic? the second Sinister wonders. Of course not. It’s trained because it’s so folksy and charming. But he left him brain damaged because Mister LeBeau always did lean that way.
These won’t stop him, the surrogate remarks. No, but they’ll shake him up and soften him for what for him will be the big twist and for them will be merely the logical and necessary next step.
He is a modern Prometheus and will steal fire from outdated heavens. The energies from the Dreaming Celestial were a good first deposit in their kingdom’s treasuries but their balance is now waning. Civilization is about the mastery of nature. The Phoenix is nature at its most unhinged state. He will force it into the pressurized engine chamber and run their civilization forever on its comic steam.
He prompted little Hope Summers’ development. He knew that the Avengers wouldn’t let the girl possess the Phoenix. He knew it would find hosts elsewhere. So now five distinct substandard receptacles of Phoenix power will be coming to face him. The Phoenix deserves better. He can do better. Both in quality and quantity.
He leads the other to a room where six identical beautiful redheaded women are waiting. He did miss Madelyne so terribly. When he heard she was dead, he thought he’d better make some spares.
He sits on his throne, surrounded by his Madelynes. “In your own good time, Scott. Ready when you are…”