X-23 (2nd series) #7

Issue Date: 
May 2011
Story Title: 
Songs of the Orphan Child – part 4

Marjorie Liu (writer), Sana Takeda (artist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), Kalman Andrasofszky (cover art), Jared K. Fletcher (designer), Jody Leheup (assistant editor), Jeanine Schaefer (editor), Nick Lowe (group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

In order to get into Madripoor in their quest to track down Malcolm Colcord, X-23 and Gambit need to do a favor for an old friend of Gambit’s in Singapore. Amar, who works for the police special division, is worried that an informant of his among the pirates has disappeared. Laura and Gambit sneak upon the pirates’ island and witness the man being tortured. When X-23 instinctively attacks, Gambit is forced to follow. She manages to take out the pirate leader but Gambit is tossed into the shark infested waters. X-23 follows, killing the sharks that threaten them and saving Gambit’s life. When they get out, the fight has left the pirates. Nevertheless, they are too late, as their informant has died of his injuries.

Full Summary: 

X-23 is underwater, surrounded by sharks. It was bad planning. Or perhaps it never occurred to them, she muses. She was disposable despite the resources put into her creation. Did they ever wonder what would happen to her in water? She never asked Logan what it was like for him to swim with so much metal wrapped around his skeleton. If he could swim at all. Even with adamantium only in her hands and feet, she cannot swim easily. But she can sink fast. And she needs to be fast. She is swimming toward the sinking form of Gambit, when a shark bites her from behind.

(Now. Singapore.)
Laura looks at the ocean and tells Gambit “no.” She hasn’t heard his idea yet, he protests and jokes that he’s offended. She asks if he has hired a boat yet. They could be in Madripoor by evening if they leave now. Every second they waste is a second they give to Colcord. He knows a man who can take them there, Gambit replies, but he has a problem. Pirates. Local fishermen with guns and bad attitudes .They get roped in by larger criminal organizations that target shipping liners or pleasure cruisers… anyone who looks a little shiny. Or who rubs them the wrong way. Like their man with the boat who did Gambit a favor once. What was the favor? she asks Not killing him, he replies. He has a daughter he adds. X-23 doesn’t get what that has to do with not killing him. Never mind, he says, changing the subject.

And so, a little later, they are on Amar’s boat. Amar jokes he’d have expected Remy to be dead by now. Wishful thinking? Remy asks. He is a practical man, comes the reply. Gambit likes to stick his nose in dangerous business. He sounds like an old man, Remy jokes. Different priorities, comes the reply. That’s why he works for the police now. Special division.

Remy asks him about the target. A man named Indi, he learns. Two weeks ago he agreed to become an informant for a new task force on maritime crime. He didn’t check in last night, which means he is probably already dead. If he’s not, Amar needs Gambit to get him out. After that, he’ll clear the way to get them to Madripoor? Remy asks. That’s the deal.

Amar asks about the girl. Remy still hasn’t told him about her. A friend, is the reply. That’s what he said about his daughter, Amar points out. Not like that. Not even a little, Remy promises. That girl and he, they both got wounds to heal. He thought he was the one helping her. He thought he was over his problems, but it was the other way round. She makes him remember everything. That can’t be pleasant, Amar remarks. Remy agrees, But it’s good for him. He has to forgive himself to be the kind of friend who can teach her to love herself.

At nighttime, they arrive. Amar explains they are safe in this island labyrinth. The authorities get lost, which is why pirates come here to hide, but even they don’t stray from their usual shipping lanes. They don’t expect anyone to come to them, especially at night. Most will be gone by now, hunting. Gambit should be able to slip in and out without being seen He’ll take care of the girl while Gambit is gone. If there’s trouble…

He wants her with him, Remy finishes. Amar doesn’t believe he’s serious. Gambit throws Laura his fighting staff and she quickly demonstrates some moves to show she is far more than a child. Still, Amar protests. Laura unsheathes her claws, informing him that, where Gambit goes, she goes. Amar recognizes the claws and now that he thinks about it, her face. Remy assures him he doesn’t want to know the truth.

Remy and Laura sneak onto the island. They see the complex surrounded by tents. No guards. Remy remarks the place is a dump (and to prove it he steps on toilet paper). The place is a former marine research center. Gambit explains that some of these places were set up by an environmental group. But the funding ran out.

That moment, they hear a scream. A tied-up, kneeling man, Indi, is being tortured by some pirates. Their leader tells him to shut up and asks him to remember what he did to the Somalian. And all he did, was steal a gun. Indi went to the police and told them about him. What he’ll do to him tonight will be nothing compared to what he does to his wife and son! He knows where they live in Singapore. By tomorrow, he’ll have them chained to beds in the worst brothel in Thailand and it will be Indi’s fault!

Moments later, the screaming begins again. Gambit fears they are cutting him again. They are doing something worse, Laura decides. The sounds of his screams are different.

The pirate leader tells Indi that, when you betray man who is supposed to be your friend, you steal his faith. You take his trust and break it. You break a part of the man himself, make him less of a man. And that’s what he’s going to do to him!

That moment, X-23 attacks and Gambit is forced to follow. Laura rushes the leader and sends them both into the shark-infested water, while Gambit is left to fend for himself. A pirate throws a chain around Gambit’s throat from behind, at which point Gambit charges the chain with his kinetic energy.

X-23 and the pirate leader sink. She kills him and swims upwards again.

Surrounded by pirates, Gambit warns them not to risk their lives for their crazy boss. Because he promises them he’s dead. The first one is about to attack him when Laura comes to the surface. Gambit is briefly distracted, allowing the pirates to strike. He falls into the water and Laura swims after him using claws to keep away the sharks from him. Despite her own injuries she swims towards Gambit, grabs him, and hooks her claw into an attacking shark, which drags both of them upwards towards the surface.

Above water, they both gasp for air. The fight has left the pirates who are still standing, but the man they were trying to save, Indi, is dead, bled out. For nothing, Laura states grimly. A pirate behind her tries to stab her but she kills him with one move. Not for nothing, Gambit corrects her. He was the only one who tried to do something.

Back on the boat, Laura states they failed. Indi wanted to do the right thing and was killed for it. His family might have been killed. Anyone on that rock who stood up for him would have been killed. He had no chance, so why did he bother? Why did she? Remy asks. Because she had to, she admits. Not because she was told? No. Because she had to do something. Because something was wrong and it needed to be fixed and she thought she could fix it.

Gambit asks why she didn’t use her claws at the beginning of the fight. She held back. She explains that those men smelled like urine, like beaten dogs, like so much fear she could taste it. They were cowards and weak. So weak, it would have been unfair to kill them.

Gambit turns off the boat’s engine. It’s too loud, he explains. This is a night that deserves a hush. He suggests they drift a while and see where the waves take them. Tell him that feels right. It does, she agrees smiling. For now.

Characters Involved: 





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