Mojoworld: A technological nightmare located in another dimension
Together, Cable and Shatterstar had recently set out to discover the truth about Shatterstar’s identity which has lately come into question. This isn’t what they had in mind, though.
Cable is hanging upside down, all four of his limbs placed in manacles, a helmet connected to numerous wires placed on his head. Struggling to resist to the mindwipe process he undergoes, Cable keeps mumbling these words, against his own will: “Whatever Mojo wants. Mojo gets. Whatever… nnngggn… Mojo wants… Mojo… gets!” “Nooooo!” a similarly apprehended Shatterstar screams upon hearing this, fearing that Nathan may have started to give in the brainwash process.
Watching Cable from the control panel, Gog’n’Magog is genuinely astonished. His father, Magog, agrees: he’s never seen anyone hold out this long – none like Cable. They are both suddenly distracted by a voice behind them: “Well, boys, how’s it going?” Although both Gog and Magog are seasoned in bloodied battle, they fear nothing except the being who just asked this question: Mojo. Magog nervously stammers that they weren’t expecting… that is, they’ right on schedule…
Mojo gleefully notices that Cable and Shatterstar are fighting his precious mindwipe. “Then turn up the volume! Turn it up until it comes out of their ears”! Mojo orders his underlings with sinister pleasure.
“I will kill you!” Shatterstar defiantly states, despite the condition he is in. However, he is immediately punished for what he said, as electricity surges through his body, causing him exquisite pain. “In your dreams” Mojo responds to Shatterstar’s threat. “Dreams that now belong to me!” he adds.
New York City
X-Force and Longshot are about to invade a rather odd-looking home in the Greenwich Village district of Manhattan – an abode that houses far more than the typical urban dweller, as signified by a cryptic symbol adorning the outside window.
After she climbs all the way up to the roof together with the rest of X-Force, Domino leans against the occult-shaped window grate and tries to sneak a peek inside, while confessing to Longshot that, even thought she’s been to this neighborhood lots of times, she doesn’t think she’s ever noticed this house. Longshot retorts that sometimes you just need to be lucky – after all, he knows a great deal about luck. Ever since arriving here from the universe Mojo seeks to rule, he has had the ability to beat the most impossible odds.
Suddenly, the strange grate moves, akin to a living creature of multiple tentacles, and Longshot and X-Force are swallowed in the interior of the house! “Good evening,” Dr. Strange, the master of the house, greets them. Enraged, Rictor informs Dr. Strange that he’s got less than three seconds to set them loose before he shakes this casa to the ground! Dr. Strange asks the team to forgive the abrupt way in which he brought them into him home. However, he stresses the fact that, with the state their world is in, one must proceed with great care.
All of a sudden, the room is bathed in a blinding light, as hundreds of candles are lit, courtesy of Dr. Strange’s mystic arts. Noticing Longshot, Strange admits that he thought he sensed an old friend. However, in the light, Strange can see that Longshot has changed and wonders what manner of darkness could dim his bright spirit. “War, good Doctor. War.” Longshot emphatically stresses. Longshot fears that the Hundred Year War which history tells them will destroy his homeworld has begun; that’s why Longshot needs Strange’s magics to get him back there.
Completely out of sync, the always childlike Caliban sees a strange tripod nearby and finds it pretty. As Caliban approaches it, Sunspot orders him not to touch anything. Even though Caliban retorts that Sunspot knows he will be good, he instantly lays his hand on the tripod, only to discover in shock that the tripod is protected by some sort of green, magical fire.
Meanwhile, Rictor breaks into the conversation between Longshot and Dr. Strange and reminds to them that, while the two of them are getting reacquainted, Cable and Shatterstar have gone missing. All Rictor wants to know is if this Dr. Strange is going to help them or what! “Ah, the arrogance of youth,” Dr. Strange coolly remarks.
Irked by Rictor’s reaction, Domino grabs his arm and admits that she might have forgotten what it was like having someone as pleasant as Rictor on the team. However, she also assumes that Julio hasn’t rocked that brain of his to the point where he’s missed that Dr. Strange – as strange as he may seem – is someone with tremendous power and deserves their respect. “In my book, that’s only if he can help us find Shatterstar” Julio insists.
Dr. Strange is sorry to admit that the power he once held is no longer his. In the past, he could and actually had returned Longshot home, but he’s not sure such a thing is now possible; much less possible to return all of them. “You just point us in the right direction and let me take it from here” Longshot allays Strange’s fears. “Swell” Domino remarks.
Interlude – South Beach, Florida
The mysterious woman known as Risque enters a house by the beach, realizing that she can’t wait any longer; she’s pretty sure they haven’t been watching this place. After all, just like she tells James, “what’s life without a little risqué?”
Risque turns on the switch on the wall… and then realizes the power’s out. She wonders: didn’t she pay the bill or…? She realizes she can’t worry about that now; she has to get back to her friends; get back to Warpath and try to explain…
“Try to explain what, Gloria?” a voice suddenly replies inside her head, chilling her very marrow. In an instant, Risque is telekinetically slammed against the wall with such a force that parts of the wall are torn apart. As she tries to get back to her feet, the voice goes on to remind her that they pulled her out of Xavier’s before Sinister could get his hands on her… and this is how she repays that debt? “By running away from us?” the mutant known as Mimic adds, not telepathically anymore but in his own voice, as he appears in front of Risque, in the company of Blob.
Mimic believes that’s Risque’s running away is kind of rude. Blob is confident that Mimic hit the nail on the head. “Chicks. Can’t live with ‘em. And ya can’t live with ‘em,” Blob cackles. Seeing the two dangerous mutants she feared she would encounter, Risque admits that she made a mistake. She appreciates all the man has done for her – for them. However, she also insists she made a mistake and she’s going back to James. “But, sweet Risque… that wasn’t our deal…” another man, hidden in the shadows behind Risque, suddenly remarks, sporting a devilish grin…
“Shatterstar. Shatterstar. Shatterstar.” Mojo mumbles while watching Shatterstar on a screen, the latter brandishing his swords and fighting scores of armored soldiers. Mojo admits that if he heard Shatterstar’s name once more, it would drive him insane. Considering what he just said, Mojo mumbles in a lower voice “Mmm… I wonder if that’s what did it?”
Mojo gets back on topic and informs his audience – Cable and Shatterstar, both strapped to a chair, both of them goggling, bearing almost comically shocked expressions – that what they’ve got here, watching, is the life and times of their boy Shatterstar. He explains that what they’re looking at happens 100 years from today. He then urges his two guests to watch the next part carefully.
The screen shows Shatterstar, 100 years in the future, just before he delivers the coup de grace to the tyrant of Mojoworld… Mojo! Mojo freeze-frames the film at that point and asks both men to study what is going to happen. Now raging mad, Mojo snarls that, after 100 years of putting the best show in this – or any other galaxy – Shatterstar kills Mojo! “Kills me!” Mojo repeats, unable to believe the blasphemy.
Shatterstar, visibly perplexed, exclaims that he doesn’t understand any of this. He’s just a kid from Boston; his name is Benjamin Russell! Mojo remarks it’s too funny: Shatterstar doesn’t even begin to understand what they did to him!
Cable suddenly decides that the show’s over and breaks free from his straps. Frightened, Mojo urges him to wait; it’s not time for a commercial yet! Cable, however, grabs the entranced Shatterstar and coerces him to snap out of it.
Suddenly, Cable turns around only to see the villainess known as Spiral. Nathan pronounces her name with disgust. Spiral orders him to sit back down. The show hasn’t even begun…
Meanwhile, Longshot and X-Force pass through a magical, light portal – courtesy of Strange – and end up freefalling headlong to the ground. As they fall, Longshot mumbles “See? It worked!” Domino remarks that’s one way of looking at it. She then pleads the two flyers on the team, Sunspot and Siryn, to grab anybody they can. As they all land safely on the ground, Longshot urges them all to be on the lookout; he doesn’t know if they’re behind enemy lines.
Before he even finishes his phrase, though, the gang find themselves targeted by guns from all directions. “Who was it that said he was born lucky?” Domino quips, meaning Longshot.
Dazzler, the mutant who gave up a promising singing career to join the X-Men, where she met and fell in love with Longshot, appears before them, accompanied by the various rebels she now fights alongside for the freedom of Mojoworld. Alison jokes that Longshot said he was going to be home in time for dinner and here he is with a house full of guests! “Miss me?” a smiling Longshot asks her. “More than you know, lover,” Dazzler assures him.
Domino admits that she has been in enough scrapes to know… Dazzler and everyone else are armed to the teeth. She asks Dazzler how bad things are here. Ali explains they are bad as bad can get. After a long time of relative peace, Mojo has changed the rules. Without a world that was dominated by his television programming, he has moved into a new era, one were real war – real violence – is the norm. In other words, Mojo has now developed a tasted for blood. “And that’s who’s got Cable and Shatterstar? Lovely” Domino remarks.
Longshot explains that Mojo has a time-traveler at his disposal and that gives him access to future holovids; it’s like having tomorrow’s newspaper today. As near as Longshot himself can piece it together, they are now on the verge of the Hundred Year War – a war that will end not only with Mojo’s death but also with the martyrdom of Shatterstar. “Martyrdom?! You mean my best friend is going to die?” an upset Rictor exclaims upon hearing this. Longshot believes that with a little luck… maybe not.
Soon, outside Mojo’s fortress
Magog and Gog’n’Magog guard the entrance to the palace – a gate with Mojo’s grotesque face chiseled on it. Magog asks his son if he can smell the Earthers. “Earthers?! Here?!” Gog’n’Magog exclaims in surprise.
“Here. There. And everywhere,” Rictor confirms Magog’s senses and unleashes his seismic waves on the ground, wanting to see how these two beings hold up to a 9.8 earthquake! As the earth tremors under Magog and his son, a blurry figure, running at an exponential speed, moves past the two being and seizes their weapons.
“Tell me that blur was you, Jimmy” Tabitha tells Warpath as he approaches, thoroughly amazed by the stunt he just pulled. James simply replies that they needed to take their weapons, so he took them. “At 100 mph. Too cool,” Tabitha remarks. “My turn,” she adds and harnesses her energy into explosive spheres of devastating force which she releases on the gate, causing it to explode.
X-Force and the army of rebels storm into Mojo’s palace. Flying on the air with Siryn, Sunspot wants to know if she’s thinking what he’s thinking. Theresa replies that if he means that this is going too smooth, they should not look a gift horse in the mouth. However, on the ground, seeing that the fortress is thoroughly empty, Dazzler confirms Sunspot’s suspicions: Mojo would never leave his palace unguarded… unless he’s moved on. Domino retorts that they could stand here and debate strategy until tomorrow. However, if her friends are in there, she’s going in. Now.
As they all advance in Mojo’s palace, they find out it’s cold and empty and discover no objects inside save for a television set. “Everything a man could want,” Domino ironically remarks. Still, she approaches the TV set, only to discover there’s no place to plug it in. Caliban suggests she just turns it on. “Caliban…!” Bobby is about to reprimand him. “Actually, Bobby, what do we have to lose?” Domino retorts, while realizing how scary it is that twice in one day she’s agreed with Caliban!
Domino indeed clicks the “turn-on” button on the remote control… and they are all shocked to see it works… and more shocked to see Cable and Shatterstar on TV, with a banner on the lower right of the screen “Stay tuned for another exciting episode of THE CABLE AND SHATTERSTAR SHOW!” Enraptured, Caliban remarks that if he knew that Cable was going to be on television, he would’ve gone with him! Longshot, however, warns them that Cable and Shatterstar are not on television as they know it: they’ve been digitalized and Mojo has trapped them inside his televised product! And in that form, they can’t survive!
Rutland, Vermont, Earth
An average American family is watching TV. The voice warns them not to touch that dial: another action-packed adventure of Cable and Shatterstar is coming right up!
The family dad asks his kids if they want to watch something else. “No,” they all respond in unison, as all four members of the family – mom, son, daughter and even the father himself – have already succumbed to Mojo’s ‘spell’, their eyes empty and robotic, all of them entranced by the “Cable and Shatterstar” show. “He said not to… touch the dial,” the family son mumbles.
“Perfectamundo,” Mojo remarks at that very moment. X-Force is stranded back on Mojoworld while he’s here on Earth with a hit television show and soon all the audience he’ll ever need!