It was a dark and stormy night… well… actually it was dark and night, but the storm was not there. Not for a number of years yet… A well-dressed couple and their young son leave the movie theatre after having watched Batman (the Adam West / Burt Ward version). The couple enjoyed it and especially their son loved it. As they turn the corner into a dark alley, the father remarks Robin kind of got on his nerves after a while. Maybe they should leave him out if they make a sequel. A Batman movie without Robin? his son scoffs. That’ll be the day! Suddenly, a tall man with a hat and trench coat holds them up, pointing what looks like a strange gun at them. He reaches for the woman’s necklace, but the husband tries to fight him. As a result, the thief shoots him. The woman screams in panic and he shoots her as well. Blood spattered on his face, the boy stares at him. The thief announces he’s never shot a kid before. Rather not start now. The boy grabs his trench coat, vowing he will kill him. He tears part of the trench coat off and the man’s skin is revealed as greyish and changing. The gun is part of his arm and, before the boy’s eyes, turns into a normal arm. What is he? the boy exclaims. He is a mutant, comes the reply, and he doesn’t want to mess with him! The police find the boy sitting beside his parents’ corpses. Horrified, they ask for his name. Charlie Ronalds, he replies. Later, Charlie, an intense look on his face, sits outside the orphanage building. One of the other boys asks if he wants to join their basketball game. Charlie shoves the ball away. Who cares about his stupid games? he shouts. Two staff members ask how he is. He tells them to move. One of them, Clarice, tells the other woman that’s typical for him. He has so much anger in him. When his parents were killed several years ago, no relatives wanted him. Seems his folks had had some falling out with the rest of the family and Charlie wound up paying for it. Shunted around from one foster home to another. Does he have any friends? the other woman asks. Clarice recalls she’s seen him chatting with the Carosella boy. Just casual stuff, and Lord knows Guido has his own problems. Still, they might be good for each other. That moment, there is a crashing noise. Guido Carosella has been hit by a bus and, inexplicably in response, his muscles have swelled unnaturally and he is clearly in agony. One of the girls cries that he is one of those mutant guys. Hearing the word “mutant,” Charlie recalls that his parents’ murderer referred to himself as a mutant. Furious, he grabs a rock and shouts that Guido’s kind killed his parents. He is evil! He hits Guido, who lashes out and hits Charlie in the face. One of the wardens orders a boy to call 911. They are both children and they are both in pain! Charlie wakes up in a hospital bed with a broken arm and leg, and a mild concussion. The doctor predicts he might have a slight limp and might want to use a cane from time to time. The other two boys in the hospital room are trying a séance with a Ouija board. The nurse asks them to keep it down and scoffs at their endeavors of trying magic and speaking to the dead… Later, in his new foster family, his foster parents are astonished as Charlie gets rid of his rock ‘n’ roll poster and other typical teenage paraphernalia. They worry about him and find that a carving knife is missing. Charlies steals a neighbor’s cat and kills it with the knife he has built into the bottom of his cane. Later, the neighbor finds her dead cat hanging from a tree. “Open the door, you little freak!” his foster father orders and bangs against the door. His wife Donna tries to reason with the boy and her husband, Joe, shouts at her not to carp at him. The boy’s gonna get out here and tell them if he had anything to do with… At that point, the door to a spookily decorated room opens. With what? Charlie asks in the dark. Nothing, Joe mutters spooked. Good, Charlie replies and slams the door in their faces. Then don’t bother him with nothing! Nothing? Phil Donahue skeptically asks his two studio guests Lorna Dane aka Polaris and Guido Carosella aka Strong Guy years later. That’s right, nothing, Guido agrees. At that very moment, back at X-Factor’s HQ, Val Cooper is taking potshots at the rest of the team, who protest what kind of crazy Danger Room this is. Madrox announces he loves it. No hologram, no obstacles, just Val shooting at them. The door knob coming off was dumb enough, but this! She’s no more thrilled about budget cuts than they are, Val replies. Now keep moving! Quicksilver takes away her weapon, before she hurts herself, he announces. She’s got plenty more, she replies, taking a rifle. Luckily, at that moment, her assistant informs her that the show is on. As they watch Donahue, Havok protests that Lorna said she was going to wear her tweed outfit. What’s that tight thing? he asks, referring to the red and black skimpy outfit Lorna’s wearing. He got her to reconsider, Madrox explains. In the studio, Donahue asks if there’s nothing they’d change about their lives. Even if it meant they could be normal. What’s that? Guido asks. Good question, Lorna agrees. Being a GeeCee is normal for them. He wouldn’t say to her: “You’re a woman. Wouldn’t you rather be a man?” Or to someone else: “You’re black. Wouldn’t you rather be white?” A studio guests complains they might asks someone who’s blind if they’d rather be able to see. Guido retorts she might be surprised at the answer she’d get. And second, it’s just that kind of attitude… viewing mutations as a handicap or impediment… that’s fosters prejudices and misconceptions! Very eloquent, Phil agrees. They’ll be back with Polaris ad Strong Guy of X-Force after-- X-Factor, you blork! Guido protests. Somewhere with a bolt of magical energy a now grown up Charlie destroys the TV set. “Strong Guy”, eh? Did Carosella seriously think he wouldn’t recognize him? Or that he would forget what he did to him? What his kind did to his family? Holding his cane, decorated with a strange-looking skull, he walks to the roof and waits for the sun to set, then begins his magical ritual. Some instinct had forced him to wait until he received a sign. That sign came to him as it does to many on television. In the form of a wisecracking presence from the past. Charlie creates a blazing pentagram around himself and cries out words that existed before there were words, summoning evil that existed before mankind evolved to exploit it. A giant red demon surrounded by flames arises. The newest of the presumptuous fellows who have sought to summon Cloot, the demon leers. Not only sought, but succeeded! Charlie boasts and insists he is protected by the pentagram. Cloot simply lifts him up, suggesting he not believe everything he reads. Charlie tries to strike him with demonfire. Thanks, he already ate, Cloot replies unimpressed, but then again, Charlie would be no more than a light snack. Fine, kill him, if that’s what he’s going to do! Charlie cries, but at least take all those cursed mutants with him! Make them fry! Burn! Everyone in X-Factor! At the name of the group, Cloot becomes interested. He’s acquired a number of recently deceased who complained bitterly about X-Factor. He personally has no love for them, particularly since they were associates of the Hulk, whose transgressions against Cloot have not been forgotten. He offers Charlie a deal: GeeCees are quite powerful and he would like to acquire some for himself. There is a war shaping up between different aspects of the nether realms. Its rulers are trying to position themselves to the best advantage and acquire powerful warriors. He will empower Charlie and give him access to his realm and the souls therein. Charlie will destroy the GeeCees… after he’s broken them. Made them beg for release… beg to be made part of Cloot’s realm. Even he calls them GeeCees? Charlie scoffs. Who does he think invented political correctness? Do they have a deal? Charlie agrees enthusiastically. He is thrown into the air and altered as Cloot shouts he will serve as his ferryman. His Charon, bringing him doomed souls across the river in his great boat. All this and more he shall be. So don’t screw it up! Charlie lands hard. No sign of the demon. God help him, he mutters then realizes that’s not very likely. He is burned, more skeleton-like than normal. Back in X-Factor’s HQ, most of the group are playing cards, with the exception of Wolfsbane, who is laughing about the book she is currently reading, “Howling Mad.” Val asks the others if they don’t have anything better to do than sit around playing cards? He’d rather be patrolling the city right now, Multiple Man replies, if his Multimobile weren’t in the shop. But if the commissioner shines an X on a passing cloud, let them know, Lorna adds. Guido asks the others how they think he and Lorna did on “Donahue.” Pietro pronounces he should use more make-up next time. The studio lights were shining off his head. It was blinding. Val accuses them all of being lazy. Jamie resents her saying that. He thinks she is wrong? she asks. No, he just resents her saying that. Val urges they gotta stay sharp and on their toes. Pietro suddenly hears something. Down, everybody! he shouts and drags Val aside, moments before a firebomb lands where she stood. Jeez alright already, she’s made her point! Jamie shouts at Val. A little less emphasis next time! In the night sky above them is a flying, burning, demonic-kind of ferry. Charon shouts at them that it is time for them to die. And they will do so at the hands of their greatest enemies. Those who died with their thoughts upon killing their most hated foes! He, Charon, has summoned them from the pit! They scream for revenge and at last their screams will be answered. “X-Factor, face your greatest and deadliest enemies: Professor Vic Chalker! Carnivore! And Number One Fan!” Who?! the X-Factor members predictably ask. Strong Guy sighs that only they could have a bunch of greatest enemies they’ve never heard of. Is Charon sure he has the right mutant team? Wolfsbane asks politely. Positive, Charon replies. Shouldn’t their greatest enemies be someone they have at least a passing familiarity with? she presses. Maybe they’ve confused them with X-Force, Guido suggests. Everybody else does. Here’s how to remember: They are the one team that doesn’t have any action figures. Not that they are bitter, mind you… Shut up! Charon shouts and hits him with demon fire. Be that way, Havok sighs and orders his team to take them. Charon laughs at his blast. Polaris stops Professor Chalker in his power suit, assuring him she doesn’t want to hurt him. Being dead has to hurt enough. He snarls at her not to pity him. If he insists, she replies and magnetically hits him. Wolfsbane attacks Carnivore. Quicksilver hits Number One Fan while dodging his blows at superspeed and congratulates him. Since he came along, he can no longer honestly say: “Strong Guy is the most stupid name I’ve ever heard. Havok’s blasts do no good against Charon, who mocks that, sooner or later, he will run out of strength, whereas Charon will never run out of hatred. Guido pushes Alex down before he is hurt. Guido grabs Charon and orders him to bring the good ship Lollipop down to Earth. Charon scoffs at the idea that he should take orders from Strong Guy. When Havok grabs the ferry, Guido shouts at him to stop. He can handle this blork! He would be amazed as to what he cannot handle, Charon snarls. Carnivore throws off Wolfsbane. Number One Fan threatens her with his fans, ordering Quicksilver to stand still or she’ll have a mincing walk. Does he think he’s bluffing? Number One Fan demands as Quicksilver doesn’t let up. As he grabs Wolfsbane away Pietro informs him he thinks he’s an imbecile! His actions are faster than Number One Fan’s thoughts! he boasts. Then again, a jogging sumo wrestler would be faster than his thoughts… Vic Chalker in his power suit fires at Polaris, boasting that her magnetic prowess won’t do any good against his onboard laser cannon. He has a real short memory, she comments and shoves his suit away into Number One Fan, whose propellers automatically cut the suit (and Vic) into two halves. Vic calls him an idiot. He could have handled them himself, but no, he had to get in on the act. He always was that way. Always horning in. And now look at him! Angrily, he uses his laser to cut Number One Fan into two halves. He lasered him in half! That’s terrible! Wolfsbane exclaims. Pietro agrees, for that amount of stupidity nothing less than drawing and quartering should have sufficed. Havok climbs up the barge. The two combatants don’t even hear him. Guido hits the barge’s floor and Havok is thrown off, literally hanging only by a nail which has caught his jacket. Please don’t let Scott see him like this! he prays. Guido grabs Charon’s stick that turns alive in his hands. Charon hits him with demonfire, boasting that the eldritch power is within him. The demon staff simply focuses it. He vows Carosella is not going to die that easily. He wants him to beg for death. Beg for release from the pain of living! Don’t talk to him about pain, Guido scoffs. He wrote the book on pain. He also wrote the book of love… case he was wonderin’ who did. Multiple Man and his dupes try to hold down Carnivore who mocks that instead of being one weakling he can be a dozen weaklings. But to him he is lunch! He bites down on one dupe’s lower arm. Lorna and Rahne wonder if one of him loses an arm, do they all? Before they can help, the trapped Jamie stomps on the ground and Carnivore splits apart. Madrox created another dupe inside him that blew him apart. Quicksilver congratulates him. He hates to admit it but that was brilliant! Jamie thanks him before throwing up on Pietro’s new boots. On the barge, Guido asks how come Charon knows his last name. That doesn’t matter, his foe boasts. All that matters is that he beg for death! Go to hell! he is told. He’s been there for years already! Charon shouts. Back ever since Guido’s kind killed his parents. He’s evil! That sounds familiar to Guido. Taking a good look at Charon, he asks if it’s Charlie. It’s not! Chaon denies, and he’s going to kill him! That moment, Havok has finally made his way up the barge and blasts him. Charon falls and a fiery pit opens beneath him. Guido holds down a hand to save him, telling him he didn’t mean to hurt him that time! The demon grabs Charon. Just “going to kill him?” he throws Charon’s words back at him. They had a deal, he reminds him. Promises of souls first… then death, remember? Perhaps tossing him in the same pit of magma with his parents for a while will keep his memory fresh… His Parents? He’s lying! Charon blusters. The demon tosses him into his mouth where Charlie’s parents are waiting. He explains the reason why his relatives all distanced themselves. Charlie’s mother was a high-priced hussy and his father was her manager. But they can explain themselves. With a booming noise, he disappears. The barge with Guido and Havok goes down. Guido rambles that he tried to find Charlie weeks after to apologize. But he‘d been moved to other foster parents. This is all very interesting, Havok replies, but he’s busy praying Lorna stops them from crashing. Which she does. Who was that creep anyway? Lorna asks Guido who stands behind her examining Charon’s cane. He thought he knew, he tells her, but you can’t always judge by appearances. Suddenly noticing a button, Guido presses it, releasing the staff’s blade. Half a moment later, Lorna, who was standing right in front of him, yelps as the blade in the cane cuts her at in an inopportune place. 2nd story:
Annoyed Lorna Dane smashes a computer with her magnetic powers. Last week it lost all her files. Yesterday the hard drive crashed. Today she gets “access denied” – enough is enough! And they think he is the unstable one, Quicksilver mutters. Val Cooper joins them, demanding to know what’s going on. A little computer problem, Lorna informs her. A little attitude problem is more like it, Pietro criticizes. When Val turns to Alex, he remarks, Lorna had a slight problem, is more like it. Val reprimands Lorna for destroying a few thousand dollars of equipment. Lorna shouts back it wouldn’t happen if things ever worked around here! Val explains she can’t get into the network because the House Committee that funds this department is going through their mission logs and training reports to evaluate their progress. Alex doesn’t like this and asks if it’s necessary. Val calm him, it’s routine. She’s got a meeting, she tells them and leaves briskly, slamming the door. Guido, who’s been fiddling around with another computer, remarks that there was another file being accessed that Val didn’t mention, their personal history files. But he wouldn’t worry about it. After all, what have they got to hide? The others aren’t so sure… Someone accesses the file of Quicksilver.
Mutant ability: able to run at speeds of up to 190 miles per hour. He became indebted to Magneto when he saved Pietro’s sister Wanda from an angry mob. Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch joined Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and often fought the X-Men. Wanda and Pietro finally left the Brotherhood when Magneto was kidnapped by the alien Stranger. They soon joined Captain America’s new Avengers team. But after the Witch was seriously injured by a human, Quicksilver found himself growing more and more bitter and resentful towards humanity. He was tricked into rejoining Magneto, only to learn that Magneto was to blame for Wanda’s injury. This led to an intense hatred of Magneto. When Quicksilver saved his sister from the Sentinels, he was seriously injured and left for dead. He was nursed back to health by the Inhuman elemental called Crystal. The two fell in love and married. Eventually, they got a daughter Luna. But their happiness was short lived, as serious problems arose in the marriage. Coupled with the realization that Magneto was in fact his father, this led to a period of elemental instability for Quicksilver. Since that time, it has been an emotional roller coaster for Maximoff. Attempts at rejoining the Avengers have proved unsatisfactory. His one emotional support as of now seems to be the X-Factor team. end of file
The file is copied. Polaris’ file:
Mutant ability: control over the forces of magnetism. Dane first came into contact with the X-Men as the girlfriend of Iceman. Mistakenly thought to be the daughter of Magneto, Dane was kidnapped by Mesmero, who was intent on awakening her latent magnetic powers. Instead of becoming his “queen of the mutants,” she helped the X-Men defeat Mesmero and soon joined them. Her brief career with the X-Men was cut short when the original X-Men were captured by Krakoa the living island. The old team was rescued by a new group of X-Men and Dane and her lover Alex Summers aka Havok took a welcome leave from adventuring. They studied geology as graduate students at the University of New Mexico. Soon, they were dragged back into the struggles of the X-Men when Dane became possessed by the Marauder know as Malice. But even after Malice’s influence was finally removed, Dane’s troubles continued, as her magnetic powers were stolen by the Savage Land priestess Zaladane. Altered from the attack, Dane found she now had enhanced size, strength and invulnerability. She joined Moira MacTaggert’s team of X-Men. Soon her mind was taken over by the Shadow King, who was defeated by the combined might of the X-Men and X-Factor. This inspired Lorna to join the new X-Factor at Charles Xavier’s bequest.
end of file. The file is copied. Lorna asks Pietro what he is doing. He is building card houses and explains he is practicing being slow. The exercise was recommended to him by Dr. Samson. It is designed to help him deal with the world at its own speed. Does it work? Alex asks. It works at annoying him to no end, he mutters. Guido still insists they needn’t worry if anyone looks into their personal histories. They are talking origin stories, right? They are mutants. They were born with their powers, they don’t need no stinking origin stories! Strong Guy’s file:
Mutant ability: super-human strength, the ability to absorb kinetic energy to further augment strength. Carosella’s ability was discovered in a tragic childhood accident. Because he did not expend this excess energy, his body became permanently and painfully disfigured. Carosella first came into contact with Xavier’s New Mutants while he was the bodyguard of singer Lila Cheney. He was also a victim of the Shadow King and was intrigued by Xavier’s creation of a new X-Factor. Because of his disfigurement Carosella is in constant pain which he tries to hide behind a façade of jokes.
end of file. The file is copied. Havok feels bothered by the investigation and doesn’t even know why. They all knew their secrets would become US property. Is it the fact that somewhere, some faceless bureaucrat is going through the stories of their lives like yesterday’s paper? Or is it the way Val lied to them. Maybe she misled them, so they wouldn’t worry. He watches Rahne and multiple Jamies in the Danger Room. Havok’s file:
Mutant ability: power to absorb and release cosmic energy. Alex and his elder brother Scott saw their parents killed in a tragic airplane accident. They escaped using a single parachute. Orphaned, the boys were soon separated. Cyclops joined the X-Men. Alex was spared their life until years later when he was kidnapped by the mutant know as the Living Pharaoh. Havok’s latent mutant powers triggered the Pharaoh’s transformation into the Living Monolith, who was defeated by the X-Men. His powers now unleashed, Havok was dragged into his brother’s world of constant strife. His life as an X-Men was interrupted by the battle with Krakoa and the arrival of a new team of X-Men. After that Havok and Polaris led a life of their own. Havok rejoined the X-Men after his love Polaris was taken over by the mutant Malice. Havok was with the team when they apparently gave up their lives in Dallas to save the world from the Adversary. Details are unavailable for the next several months, but Havok somehow reemerged but this time he had become an enforcer for the mutant enslaving country Genosha, with no memory of his past. Finally broken from his Genoshan conditioning, Havok first fought alongside the X-Men, the first X-Factor team and the New Mutants to defeat Cameron Hodge and upset the ruling regime of Genosha. Following this battle, Havok was recruited to the new X-Factor.
End of file. The file is copied. Alex wonders if they are checking up on him. He hates taking everything so seriously. Jamie, who is trying to make Rahne laugh, is completely different. Multiple Man’s File:
Power: to self-duplicate when struck or hit. Exactly how Jamie’s power surfaced is unclear, yet he himself claims that he’s been splitting into dupes ever since the doctor slapped him right after birth. The first real account of Madrox’ powers was when he inadvertently found himself alone against the Fantastic Four. They introduced him to Charles Xavier and, in turn, Jamie found a home at MacTaggert’s research center on Muir Island. While working as a research assistant, one of Madrox’s dupes was killed by Proteus, an experience that traumatized him. He sent one of his dupes away from Muir Isle to help locate the runaway New Mutants Sunspot and Warlock. This adventure resulted in Madrox’s membership in the Fallen Angels. In time, he returned to Muir Isle, where he too fell victim to the Shadow King. He decided to join X-Factor after the Shadow King’s defeat to give his life order.
end of file. The file is copied. Wolfsbane’s file:
Power: to transform into a wolf-like lupine form. Sinclair was sent to Xavier for her own safety where she became a charter member of the New Mutants. Her life was a tragic one. She witnessed the death of her friend Doug Ramsey who gave his life to save her. She also witnessed the death of Warlock at the hand of Cameron Hodge, who had her further mutated into her present state. What these changes mean for her both physically and emotionally is still unclear.
end of file. The file is copied. Val Cooper has finished reading the files. Such an interesting little band of mutants. Those six have been heroes, villains, outlaws and victims. Two have even died. None of them have chosen this fight, yet here they are together, as much for each other as for Xavier’s cause. Each incredibly powerful. Yet each one incredibly vulnerable in some way. She’s sure this information can be put to very good use… 3rd story:
Strong Guy makes his way through a subway tunnel after an accident. He is literally wading through corpses, trying to find if someone is still alive in the train wreck. He is shocked by the sight of so many dead. Suddenly, he smells something. The gas lines got damaged in the crash. He shuts the line, figuring at last he can make it safe for the rescue team by turning off the gas main. Not that this will do these people any good. He looks up to see the ceiling cracking. He takes some steel girders to support the ceiling. He muses that some would call this disaster a small part of a grand scheme. Or the promise that some good can come even from tragedies like this. But standing right here, he can’t see any grand scheme or bright side. Just dozens of lives shattered for no good reason at all. Still, he isn’t willing to give up, still looking for survivors. He gets to the head of the train. Rumor had it the driver had been drinking. Too bad the passengers didn’t have any say in the matter. He muses about the randomness of accidents like this. Something even a superhero can’t help with. Guido admits to himself that he fells helpless. He hears a scratching noise and follows it, only to find a puppy. All these people dead and the one thing that survives is a stupid dog. That makes sense! Then he apologizes to the dog and gently lifts him. Don’t look back, he tells the dog and himself and walks out. A crowd has gathered outside wondering what about the people. Well, Tough Guy, how did it go? a firefighter asks him. Strong Guy, Guido corrects him. He got the gas main shut off and managed to add a little support to part of the ceiling so it’s safe to go back down. But they’re going to need a spatula more than they are going to need a stretcher down there. What kind of crack is that? the firefighter angrily asks. Guess they should expect that from a mutie. They don’t care about people— Angrily, Guido interrupts him. What he saw down there, he wouldn’t wish on his worst enemy. The people ask what’s going on? What about their loved ones. Guido admits he doesn’t know and asks if the dog belongs to anyone. Angrily, the people berate him for saving a dog instead of helping the people. Guido shouts at them he did everything he could. Every single person down there is dead! The people call him a monster. An injured man, calling him Giant Man, begs him to go back and save his little girl. He’ll pay him anything! She was on the train with him but they got separated. Guido apologizes but he didn’t see anyone alive down there. There’s nothing he can do. Angrily, the crowd shouts at him. He’s so sorry, Guido mutters as he walks away with the dog. He’s a real piece of work, he realizes. A bunch of people are having the worst day of their lives and he cracks jokes about it and yells at them. Now he’s retreating into the shadows like Quasimodo from the movie. Depressed, he wonders what he talks to the dog for. Does he think they’ll ever forgive him? In response, the dog licks his face and Guido begins to cry.