X-Force (1st series) #71

Issue Date: 
November 1997
Story Title: 
Destination Unknown

John Francis Moore (writer), Adam Pollina (penciler), Team X (inkers), Marie Javins (colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Emerson Miranda (letterers), Digital Chameleon (separations), Jason Liebig (assistant editor), Mark Powers (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

With their car broken down, Moonstar, Siryn, Warpath, Sunspot and Meltdown hitch a ride to Ohio with a groovy couple called Louise and Scooter. X-Force discuss their current situation and decide that it is best to keep a low profile now that they are out on their own and away from Cable. They are told that their car will take 24 hours to be fixed, so decide to explore the town they are in, Minerva. Moonstar is hit on by a mechanic, but she turns him down. At a diner, the team are confused when Sunspot’s credit card is declined, so Moonstar reveals that she has money left over from the MLF, and pays for the meals, while Sunspot learns from his lawyer that someone has filed a suit against his father’s estate and that he cannot access any money in his trust fund until the suit is resolved, which puts the team into another predicament - no money. The team crash at a low-budget motel for the night, in which Warpath tells his friends about his adventure rescuing the Vanisher from another dimension, and how Sledge has given him information relating to Michael Whitecloud, the man who has information about the Camp Verde massacre. The young mutant heroes soon hear a noise and investigate, discovering a young man, Richie Alegria, being kidnapped. X-Force rescue him, and he offers them a lot of money to become his bodyguards. Meanwhile, Domino meets with her ally Dr Rebecca Schuyler, who reveals that Zero Tolerance left a device at the base of her skull which is creating a synaptic static, causing her to have erratic reflexes. Rebecca reveals that to remove the device would leave Domino paralyzed. Finally, Deadpool sneaks into what was Siryn’s room at the Xavier Institute, only to find it empty.

Full Summary: 

Somewhere in Ohio, five young people are gathered on the side of the road, mingling around their car, which has broken down. Collectively, they are known as X-Force. Individually, they are better known as Theresa “Siryn” Cassidy, Danielle Moonstar, James “Warpath” Proudstar, Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta, and Tabitha “Meltdown” Smith. They are mutants, each born with a unique genetic anomaly that has simultaneously given them extraordinary abilities and made them outcasts. Together, they have battled demons, superhuman terrorists, malevolent immortals and cybernetic killing machines. Today, these young men and women face a new challenge - one that appeared far easier some twenty-four hours ago…

‘Tell me again how we got into this mess?’ Warpath asks as he gazes off to the left. ‘We told Cable to stick it’ Sunspot reminds his friend as he leans back in the car, relazing. Siryn leans against Warpath’s towering frame, and gazes to the right, before reminding James - calling him “Jimmy” as she affectionately does - that Cable wanted them to adopt new identities and go underground. Boom-Boom is busy under the hood of the car, trying to fix something, and exclaims ‘What little Miss O’Perfect is trying to say is we decided it was time we broke off on our own - live our lives the way we want to’. Tabby adds that perhaps it wasn’t the greatest idea in the world.

‘I thought ye were fixing the car!’ Siryn exclaims, to which Boom-Boom tells her not to expect miracles. Ignoring the banter of her teammates, Moonstar sits against a signpost that reads $500 Fine for Littering as she reads a book: “On The Road”. Meltdown announces that her dad used to work in a garage back in Jonestown, and that he taught her a few things about cars. ‘But I’m no Maggie the Mechanic’ she remarks, before asking Bobby to try the car again. ‘You got it, Tab!’ Sunspot replies, as he revs the car, only for black smoke to billow around Meltdown. ‘I give up!’ Meltdown exclaims furiously, suggesting they shoot the car and put it out of its misery.

Sunspot announces that he will fly to the next town and get a tow truck out here, boasting that as sunny as it is today, he is at the height of his solar power. Theresa tells Bobby to slow down, reminding him that they shouldn’t use their powers unless it is absolutely necessary. ‘Zero Tolerance seems to be over, but there is no sense calling attention to ourselves’ Siryn points out. Meltdown declares that she is sick of keeping a low profile. ‘Why do we have to hide who we are? If people can’t handle the fact that we’re mutants, that’s their problem!’ she exclaims. Sunspot begins to drop back down to the ground, and remarks that Tabitha might be right. ‘After all, we got into this situation by telling Cable we’re not going to pretend to be something we’re not. We have to show people that we won’t be intimidated by Zero Tolerance of anyone else. We have to make a stand!’ he exclaims.

Dani looks up from her book and tells her fellow former New Mutants Sunspot and Meltdown that she agrees with them in theory, but that this is the real world. ‘Anti-mutant hysteria’s at an all time high. People are afraid of us - sometimes with good reason. If you’re going to make a stand, make sure it’s one that counts’ Danielle adds. Sunspot defers to Dani’s comments, telling her that she is right, that it is better to be cautious for now. Siryn stands by Warpath and frowns at Moonstar, declaring ‘This is infuriating! Bobby’s perfectly willing to ignore me…but when ye say exactly the same thing, he listens to ye!’. Moonstar tells Siryn that Bobby has always been hard-headed, and that sometimes you have to say things twice for it to sink in.

Warpath tells everyone that he is a little less conspicuous than Bobby and suggests that he could race to the next town and use the trees as cover. Meltdown smiles and tells Warpath that he won’t have to play marathon man, as the approaching van is slowing down for them. ‘Get a load of that paint job’ Moonstar remarks as the purple van with green flowers all over it comes to a halt. ‘Hey! Thanks for stopping!’ Meltdown calls out, telling the two people inside that they are kinda stuck. ‘Bummer. We’ll be glad to give you a lift!’ a woman wearing a green turtleneck, with short brown hair and square-framed glasses exclaims. She introduces herself as Louise, ‘This is my old man, Scooter!’ she adds as her lanky boyfriend leans forward. ‘Hop in, brothers and sisters. Say, d’you got anything to eat?’ Scooter asks.

X-Force suddenly all look at each out of the corner of their eyes and begin speaking in hushed voices: ‘Think we can trust these guys?’ Bobby asks. ‘The seem harmless’ Tabby replies. ‘Just as long as they don’t make us listen to the Dead’ Dani declares, while Jimmy tells his teammates that he can make it to the next town faster than the van. Terry asks her teammates where their manners are, and opens the sliding door to the van, motioning for her teammates to get inside. ‘These kind folks didn’t have to stop for us. Let’s not refuse their hospitality’ Siryn exclaims, pointing out that if they turn out to be deranged psychopaths, they are not exactly helpless. ‘Do get in the bloody van, all right?’

As the van putts down the road, Louise asks ‘Hey, so you folks in school somewhere?’. Sunspot replies that you could say they finished the program they were in, and referring to Warpath, exclaims that they picked up “the big guy” in Detroit and figured they would head across country. ‘I can totally relate’ Louise replies, revealing that she and Scooter dropped out of school to follow the Giant Robots on tour. Scooter adds that they met at a Robot show during the instrumental break of “Monster Truck Love God”. ‘It was, like, beautiful!’. Suddenly, a news report comes over the radio: ‘…in national news, despite their recent shutdown by Washington, a Zero Tolerance spokesman defended that group’s paramilitary actions, saying - “humanity cannot rest until the mutant threat is contained once and for all”!’

X-Force looks shocked, while Scooter exclaims ‘That is so bogus!’. Louise turns back to X-Force, who are sitting behind her, and remarks that the way she sees it, everybody is a little freaky in their own way. It’s kinda like we’re all mutants, y’know?’ X-Force look at each other, relieved: ‘Heh - ow!’ Bobby exclaims as Tabby shoves her elbow into him. ‘You said it, Louise’ Tabby remarks. ‘Right on, sister. Right on’ Dani adds as she runs a finger through her long hair.

Later, in Minerva, Ohio, X-Force’s car has been towed to EXXEL GAS, and Meltdown asks a mechanic ‘What’s the damage?’ The mechanic stands under X-Force’s car, which is held above him, and tells Meltdown that her carburetor is shot, and that he will not be able to get a new one until tomorrow. ‘Hope you folks weren’t in a hurry’ he tells her. ‘Not anymore’ Tabby replies. Nearby, Moonstar leans against a gas pump, while a young gas attendant checks her out, and asks if she and her friends are in a band or something. ‘I mean, you could be on MTV with your looks!’ The gas attendant introduces himself as Marty, and tells Moonstar that if she is not doing anything later, he and his friends always end up at the Spigot down on Oak Street. Dani turns to look at Marty, and smiles at him. Peering at him from over her sunglasses, she thanks him, but explains that she is just passing through.

Meltdown returns to the others and tells them that it looks like that are stuck here until the morning. ‘Great. Twenty-four hours of nothing to do’ Warpath complains. But Sunspot points out that they haven’t had this much downtime in who knows how long. ‘Let’s enjoy it while it lasts’ he suggests. Making their way down a street lined with shops, Moonstar suggests that they should rent a couple of rooms at a local motel. ‘Later. I doubt they’re gonna be full’ Siryn replies, striding ahead of Moonstar, while the other three lag behind. Theresa announces that she wants to get to the local thrift stores before they close, reminding everyone that Sebastian Shaw spoiled her last shopping trip. ‘Gee, Theresa, aren’t you gonna remind us to stay out of trouble?’ Meltdown asks.

‘Nah, ye’re all adults. Ye don’t need me to be yuir mother!’ Siryn replies. Warpath tells everyone that he was hoping they would cover another hundred miles today. ‘The sooner I reach Nebraska and find Michael Whitecloud, the better!’ he exclaims. Sunspot asks James if he really thinks Michael Whitecloud knows who is responsible for the massacre of his tribe, to which Warpath replies that he hopes so, and that Whitecloud is the only lead he has left. ‘If you need us, we’ll be there for you’ Sunspot tells Warpath, while Meltdown asks Moonstar what she thinks of the mechanic back at the station. ‘The fat one? He was kind of gross’ Dani replies. ‘No, the other one, the cute one that was talking to you!’ Tabby exclaims. ‘Not my type’ Dani replies casually, before Meltdown elbows her, ‘Hey, girlfriend, you’re allowed to flirt!’ Tabby exclaims. Dani replies that she was undercover for so long, that she stopped thinking about things like that. ‘Those days are over, Dani Moonstar. Time to have some fun in your life!’ Tabby replies.

Meanwhile, in a room at the Weller Clinic in Langley, Virginia, administrative records list the patient in this room as Hope Eldrige. It’s not her real name of course. These days, she goes by Domino more often than not. Domino is a mutant mercenary who has wreaked havoc around the globe - and as she examines the various certificates on the wall, she is not a woman accustomed to waiting. ‘Ahah!’ Domino exclaims as she opens a cabinet and finds numerous items, including some scalpels. Domino lies upside down on the examination bed and throws the scalpels against a diagram of the human body which is on a door that suddenly opens. ‘Not bad’ Domino remarks.

‘I swear, Domino, you are worse than my four-year-old. I can’t leave either one of you alone without you getting into trouble!’ Dr Rebecca Schuyler exclaims as she enters the room. ‘Well, it took you long enough’ Domino replies. A few years ago, Dr Rebecca Schuyler was kidnapped - Domino rescued her. There are very few people Domino trusts as much as this brilliant neurologist - personally and professionally. Domino sits up and asks Rebecca to give it to her straight: ‘What did that Prime Sentinel witch Gryaznova do to me?’ Domino asks, explaining that ever since Gryaznova operated on her she has felt like she has been walking around in a fog.

‘Why don’t I show you? Take a look’ Rebecca replies as she places an x-ray on a light-board, revealing a scan of Domino’s body. Rebecca informs Domino that her Zero Tolerance “friends” implanted a device unlike any she has seen at the base of her skull, and that the device has wrapped itself around the cervical vertebrae of her neck. ‘It appears to be emitting random electrical bursts…which create a short synaptical static’ Rebecca explains, telling Domino that, consequentially, her nervous system isn’t sending and receiving signals as effectively as it should, which is why her reflex and reaction times have become increasingly erratic. Domino smirks and asks when she can get it out of her head. Rebecca apologizes to Domino and explains that the device has insinuated microfiliments into her spine. ‘To remove it would leave you paralyzed!’

Back in Ohio, X-Force sit in a booth at Flo’s Diner, eating and drinking, while Sunspot tells his friends that when he first came to the US from Brazil, he couldn’t get enough of real American food - burgers, fries, the works. ‘Now I hardly have an appetite at all!’ he declares, explaining that sometimes he doesn’t think his body needs anything for sustenance beside solar energy. ‘Weird. Does that make you - what would you call it - photosynthetic?’ Meltdown asks. ‘I wish I were’ Moonstar exclaims. ‘It’d make things a lot easier. Try to be vegetarian in the middle of cattle country!’ Dani points out. ‘Are you folks finished?’ the waitress asks as she walks by. ‘Can you put it on my card, please? Thanks’ Sunspot replies as without looking at the waitress, he just hands his credit card over.

Meltdown remarks that she is glad someone around here has a decent credit rating. ‘I, for one, am flat broke’ she announces, to which Warpath tells his friends that brings up another important issue: ‘Except for Bobby, none of us is too flush. We got used to Cable or Professor X footing the bills’. The waitress returns to the table: ‘Mr DaCosta? Your credit card’s been refused and the company instructed us to cut it up’ the waitress announces, handing Bobby his now cut-up credit card to him. ‘You’re kidding, right? My credit’s good!’ Bobby exclaims. ‘Mmhhmm’ the waitress replies, unimpressed. Moonstar opens her wallet and tells Roberto not to sweat it, as it is probably a computer error. Dani offers to cover the bill and explains that she has a little cash left over from the Mutant Liberation Front. ‘Terrorist organizations can’t very well use credit cards’ Dani adds.

Later, ‘Angry? I’m not angry! I’m furious!’ Sunspot shouts down the pay phone, talking to someone. ‘How could you let this happen? That’s my money, do you understand? Mine!’ he shouts, before dropping the phone and storming over to his friends. ‘Uh…Mr DaCosta? Hello…Hello?’ the person Bobby was talking to calls out. Meltdown asks Bobby what the story is, to which Bobby replies that his lawyer said someone filed a suit against his father’s estate and he cannot get at any of the money in his trust fund until the suit is resolved. ‘Man, this stinks!’ Bobby exclaims, revealing that he was going to use that money to set them up in style, finance a new headquarters, the works. ‘X-Force would have been totally independent, it was gonna be great. Now, I’ve got nothing…’ Bobby exclaims, dropping to the ground, hand over his face.

His friends gather around him, as Danielle tells him that it is okay, while James assures Bobby that the lawyers will work everything out. Tabby assures Bobby that they still like him, even if he doesn’t have any money. A worried Siryn announces that this does bring up an interesting dilemma, and asks ‘What’re we gonna do when our meager funds run out? It’s not like we can go crawling home to the X-Men!’

Meanwhile, in Salem Center, New York, the home of the Uncanny X-Men, and until recently, X-Force. There is an unnatural calm over the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning tonight, while the enigmatic Deadpool, one of the world’s most skilled and dangerous mercenaries, not to mention one of the more mentally unbalanced, scales the mansion, where he proceeds to knock on the window of the room recently occupied by Siryn. ‘Pssst…Theresa…it’s me…Wade…sorry I haven’t called lately…you know how it is…if it’s not one psychotic episode, it’s another!’ Deadpool whispers.

Suddenly, the windows seemingly burst open, and a bizarre Siryn appears, arms outstretched, dressed in a green robe, she exclaims ‘Oh, Wade, me love! Ye’ve returned to me at last! C’mere and give yuir Irish rose a kiss, ye’ big hunk o’ man, ye!’. Deadpool shrugs off the hallucination, and tells himself that he must stop eating the whole box of pop tarts. ‘I was okay when there was only six in the box…but eight definitely plays tricks on my mind!’. Entering Siryn’s old room, Deadpool tells himself that since no one is answering perhaps he should just leave a message inside. ‘YIKES! What in Ed McMahon’s name happened to this place?’ Deadpool wonders.

Back in Ohio, at the Evangeline Motel, Siryn and Warpath walk toward the reception, while Terry remarks that she wishes they didn’t have to do this. ‘Try and act casual. We don’t want to make them suspicious’ Warpath replies. Moments later, they are filling out some forms at the reception, where a rather unamused desk clerk remarks ‘And all I need is your signature, Mrs Proudstar, and you’re set. Siryn quickly replies ‘Oh, no, James isn’t my…that is…we’re not y’know…married’. The desk clerk replies that it doesn’t make any difference to him. ‘This here’s a no-tell motel. As long as you don’t steal the towels, we respect your privacy’ he assures them, handing them a key and giving them directions to room six.

Moments later, as Siryn opens the door to their motel room, Warpath remarks that Siryn certainly made a point of telling the desk clerk that they weren’t married. ‘Maybe I should be offended’ James adds, to which Siryn asks him not to give her a hard time. Siryn explains that she didn’t want the desk clerk to think they were shackin’ up. Siryn adds that she has never been a very good liar, before remarking that she hopes the place is clean. Entering, Siryn remarks that it will do, before Warpath calls out to the others and tells them that the coast is clear.

From where they are hiding in some bushes, Sunspot mutters that this is his fault. ‘If it weren’t for my financial mix-up, we wouldn’t have to sneak into some cheap motel room to save money!’. Danielle tells Bobby to give himself a break, and adds that nobody expected him to pick up their tab. ‘If you two want to spend all night debating the issue, fine. Me, I intend to sleep in a nice, warm bed tonight -’ and rushes to the motel room, shoving aside Siryn and Warpath - ‘and let no man stand in my way!’ Tabby exclaims as she lands on one of the two beds. ‘Ahhh, so soft! So comfortable!’ she exclaims.

Sunspot and Dani enter the room, while Siryn stands with her arms folded and declares that, considering there are two beds and five of them, they should probably draw straws. Warpath shrugs his shoulders and tells everyone to fight it out among themselves, as both the beds are too small for him. ‘How ‘bout we do paper, scissors, rock?’ Tabby suggests. Dani begins to get undressed as she heads towards the bathroom, announcing that she doesn’t care. ‘My first priority is a long, hot bath. I’ll be out in a couple of days’.

Later, Meltdown is spread out in her bed, while Dani is curled up in the fetal position in hers. Warpath sits against the wall next to Dani’s bed, while Siryn is on the floor at the foot of Dani’s bed, and Bobby on the floor at the foot of Meltdown’s. ‘Am I the only one who wishes this place had cable? I haven’t seen “Talk Soup” in weeks!’ Meltdown exclaims. Moonstar tells Tabby that she could try a book. ‘I’ve got a couple in my backpack you’re welcome to borrow’ she adds, before asking James what it is he is reading. James replies that he is reading “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, and remarks ‘Man, this guy is insane!’. Siryn suggests that it sounds like Tabitha needs a bedtime story, while Bobby remarks that James should give them the low-down on his time in Detroit. ‘He’s been awfully quiet about it since we picked him up two days ago’.

Meltdown asks James what it was like in the Twilight Zone, to which Bobby exclaims ‘C’mon, James, tell us. American want’s to know!’ James replies that he hasn’t said much about his experience because he is still trying to make sense of it all himself. ‘It’s not everyday I cross inter-dimensional boundaries…’ he begins, before telling his friends that they all know that everyone on the reservation he grew up on was brutally and senselessly murdered, and that since then he thought he was alone - the last surviving member of his family, but that he recently learned one other Apache escaped the massacre, a man named Michael Whitecloud. Warpath tells the others that Whitecloud’s present whereabouts were offered to him by the strange Detroit troll named Sledge, provided he retrieve the teleporter named the Vanisher from the parallel dimension in which he was trapped.

Shown with flashback illustrations, narrated by Warpath, with comments by the rest of X-Force

‘The Vanisher? Ugh! I hate that creep!’ Meltdown exclaims, telling her friends that before she hooked up with the X-crowd, the lowlife Vanisher had trained her as his little thief. ‘What was he doing?’ she asks James. Warpath replies that it is hard to describe, and remarks that it was like something out of a fever dream. ‘The Vanisher was surrounded by thousands of these bizarre little creatures…according to the Vanisher, he was their captive…and they forced him to tell them story after story!’

Siryn asks why anyone - or anything - would want to listen to the Vanisher, to which Warpath replies that he doesn’t know, but suggests they may have been feeding on his ego, or perhaps they were creations of the Vanisher’s subconscious. ‘In this dimension, anything was possible’ Warpath explains, adding that, after all, he had been led to the Vanisher by a shale changer who had taken the form of his childhood pet, Coyote. ‘This is so unreal. When did you finally reach the Emerald City and meet the Wizard?’ Bobby asks sarcastically.

Warpath explains that firstly he had to get out from under the sea of fur and claws, and that once he started his own story, the creatures who had attached him became docile and attentive. James tells his friend that he started telling the creatures one of his tales about Coyote that his mother used to tell him when he was little. ‘Okay. You told them about Coyote, your old cat?’ Meltdown asks, unimpressed. Warpath explains that in Apache legend, Coyote is the trickster spirit who is always causing trouble for man and the gods. ‘I told them how Coyote made the fireflies dance and then stole their fire to give to the Apache’.

Moonstar exclaims that she loves that story, but the way she heard it, Coyote gave the fire to the Cheyenne. Warpath remarks that, either way, it worked like a charm, but unfortunately, he was trapped in the same bind as the Vanisher. ‘These creatures would never let me go!’ he exclaims, adding that he would spend the rest of his life trapped like the Vanisher - retelling the same stories, wallowing in the past, only to realize that he has been doing that ever since his brother, John died. Siryn tells James that he is being too hard on himself, to which James exclaims that it is true. ‘I’ve been weighted down by the tragedy in my life…that I haven’t been able to get on with my life!’.

Warpath tells his teammates that it was then that he grabbed the Vanisher and activated the propulsion unit in his backpack. ‘That’s what I need - a jet pack!’ Tabby exclaims. Warpath remarks that perhaps he has been stuck in an emotional limbo, but he was determined not to be trapped in a real one, and flew towards the dimensional portal - swearing he would never end up like the Vanisher. James explains that he delivered the Vanisher to Sledge, who made good on his end of the bargain. ‘And now I know where Michael Whitecloud is…I hope I’ll finally find the truth about my tribe’s murder…and then I’ll be free to move on with my life’.


‘And that’s it?’ Sunspot asks. ‘What about that talking cat?’ Siryn adds. ‘Why did Sledge to so much trouble to rescue the Vanisher?’ Moonstar enquires. James replies that he didn’t have time to find out, as Sledged handed him Whitecloud’s address in Nebraska, and then X-Force showed up telling him Cable had walked away from X-Force. ‘Talk about dropping a bombshell’ James tells his friends, to which Dani tells him that it was time they made their own future, instead of following Cable or Professor X’s lead. ‘I think it’s time we made some money’ Sunspot exclaims.

Siryn replies that they just need to be there for each other. ‘We can’t let anyone come between us the way Risque -’ she begins, to which Warpath remarks ‘Thanks for reminding me how easily I was used, Terry. Now can we not mention that name again?’, before dropping his head away from the others. ‘Sorry, Jimmy’ Theresa whispers, when suddenly, the team hears some loud noises in the room next door. ‘I don’t like the sound of that…’ Danielle remarks, while Meltdown exclaims that it is true what they say about motel walls. ‘Keep it down in there!’ she shouts. James tells Meltdown that she has it all wrong. ‘Someone’s in trouble next door’ he declares.

Outside, two thugs are loading a man with a gag around his mouth into the trunk of a car. ‘In ya go, Richie, just like a nice little boy’ one of the thugs tells his captive. ‘Don’t worry, pal, ya got plenty of air back there. Wouldn’t want you to expire on us before we got you home’ the other thug remarks, while Richie struggles to say anything. Suddenly, ‘Excuse me…what’s going on?’ Warpath asks as he, Sunspot and Siryn, wearing their night gear, stride towards the thugs. ‘Definitely wise guys’ Sunspot remarks quietly, while Siryn warns the thugs to let the “little fella” go.

‘Go back to yer slumber party, Red. This doesn’t concern you or your friends’ one of the thugs remarks, cigarette hanging out of his mouth. ‘Oh God…help me…please…they’re gonna kill me…’ Richie pleads when he manages to pull his gag down. One of the thugs tells Richie that all they asked is for him to come quietly and not to disturb anyone. ‘Now I’m gonna have to slap you around’. Siryn tells the “gentlemen” that they may not have heard her before: ‘Let him go’ she states again. Holding a briefcase, one of the thugs calls his associate Oliver, and remarks that Red is a nice girl, but that it is too bad she doesn’t know her place. Oliver addresses the other thug as Stan and suggests they show them their credentials as they pull out their guns.

‘Do ye think a couple of guns are gonna scare us?’ Siryn asks as she unleashes her sonic scream. ‘Hah! We eat punks like you for breakfast!’ Meltdown exclaims as she readies a time-bomb, while Sunspot exclaims that he loves it when Tabitha gets all hard-boiled and tough, while using his powers to disintegrate one of the guns. ‘I’ll take that!’ Warpath exclaims as he takes the gun from the other thug. ‘Hey, my gun! How can you move that fast?’ Stan asks. ‘Don’t ya get it, they’re mutants!’ Oliver exclaims, just as a pleased Tabitha watches her explosive plasma time bombs detonate around the thugs, who are not so impressed as they are struck by the plasma and run away, dropping the briefcase.

‘What on Earth is making all this noise?’ asks the desk clerk as he approaches X-Force, carrying a broom. ‘Why I oughta call the police -’ he begins, while Moonstar helps untie Richie, and Theresa remarks ‘So much for keeping a low profile’. Moonstar asks Richie if he is okay, and Richie smiles, exclaiming ‘After the way you guys made those two turn tail, I’m ecstatic’. He tells X-Force that they are amazing, and remarks that he heard people could do stuff like that, but to see it in person. ‘Wow - what a thrill!’ he exclaims, putting his hands on Warpath’s chest.

James looks a bit perplexed, and remarks that they are going to have to get out of here before the cops arrive. ‘Don’t worry about that, big guy. I can take care of things!’ Richie exclaims, pulling a wad of money from his pocket, he hands it to the desk clerk: ‘Listen up, Orville, you didn’t see anything, right?’ Richie asks casually. ‘Nope, not a thing!’ the desk clerk replies, taking the money and covering his eyes with a hand.

Sunspot points out that not a lot of people are willing to cover for a band of mutants, while Dani asks Richie if he hasn’t heard: ‘We’re a threat to the whole human race’. Richie picks up his briefcase and declares that he has no beef with mutants. ‘You got me out of a jam, so I owe you one’ he adds, introducing himself as Richie Alegria, and asks X-Force how they would like to come work for him. ‘I think it would prove mutually beneficial’ he tells them. James asks Richie what makes him think they need a job, while Tabby asks ‘What makes you think you could afford us?’. Opening the briefcase - which happens to be full of money, Richie tells them that they haven’t heard his offer yet….

Characters Involved: 

Meltdown, Moonstar, Siryn, Sunspot, Warpath (all X-Force)

Domino (former member of X-Force)


Richie Alegria

Dr Rebecca Schuyler

Louise & Scooter


Marty the gas attendant

Motel desk clerk


Oliver & Stan, thugs

In Domino’s Memory:


Ekatarina Gryaznova


In Warpath’s Flashback:


The Vanisher


“Coyote, Warpath‘s Cat”

Extra-Dimensional Prairie Dogs

Story Notes: 

Siryn, Moonstar, Warpath, Sunspot and Meltdown broke away from Cable in X-Force (1st series) #70.

Louise and Scooter resemble the characters Velma and Shaggy from the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? cartoon, while the van also parodies the Mystery Machine.
On the Road is a semi-autobiographic cult novel by Jack Kerouac, often considered a defining work of the post-war Beat generation.

Maggie the Mechanic is a character from Gilbert Hernandez’ celebrated independent comic Love & Rockets.
When dani mentions the Dead, she most likely means the band the Grateful Dead.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a semi-autobiographic cult novel by Hunter S. Thompson. It’s also about a road trip of sorts. Notice a trend here?

Sebastian Shaw spoiled Siryn’s last shopping trip in X-Force (1st series) #49.

X-Force collected Warpath off-panel between X-Force (1st series) #70 and #71.

Warpath’s story refers to events that took place in X-Force (1st series) #68-70.

Meltdown’s dealings with the Vanisher can be seen in the Fallen Angels limited series.

Warpath’s brother, Thunderbird, died in Uncanny X-Men #95, on his second mission with the X-Men.

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