X-Force (1st series) #96

Issue Date: 
November 1999
Story Title: 
Family Secrets

John Francis Moore (writer), Anthony Williams (guest penciler), Mark Morales (inker), Marie Javins (colorist), Chris Eliopoulos (letterer), Lysa Kraiger (assistant editor), Jason Liebig (editor), Bob Harras (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Cannonball breaks his uncle Lucas out of prison, determined to find out more about the mysterious memory recently uncovered. Lucas convinces Cannonball to take him to a "gentlemen's club"�, and begins the story, revealing how he and a guy called Randy Lee stole a truck, to deliver its contents to Randy Lee's superior, Finn, only for Randy Lee to get shot, and turn into a strange creature as he died. Lucas looked into the truck and saw that what they were delivering was a strange golem, and how he stopped by his house, only to find someone inside it, which is why he asked his brother, Cannonball's father, for help. Ty agreed, both unaware that the young Sam hid in the truck. They met with the mysterious Finn, unaware Sam was spying into the facility and saw several children in cages and being experimented on. Finn's men found Sam and told Finn what was going on. Finn revealed that the golem is a Celestial device, and can help them create a new species who will survive the coming age of catastrophe. Lucas stole a gun from one of Finn's men, disturbing the process that they were involved in with the golem, but creating a distraction so that he, Ty and Sam could escape, only Sam was concerned for the children, so Ty went back to rescue them, while the golem followed them. The mysterious Sledge then arrived, and battled the golem, destroying it. Ty and Lucas then buried Finn and his men, who were killed by the golem, and Sledge used a memory-wiping device to erase that memory from Sam and the other children. Cannonball tells his uncle that he remembers it all now, before returning his uncle to prison, with Domino's help. Meltdown gives Bedlam some words of encouragement, unaware that she is being watched by the Triune Understanding, who believe she could serve them well. Moonstar is doing some tai chi with Jennifer Kale, and they discuss her new powers, before Moonstar suddenly sees the Demon Bear. In Brazil, Selene reveals to Sunspot that she has captured the SHIELD agent from the Reignfire debacle in Las Vegas, and he reveals that he is working for Damocles Foundation. Finally, Odysseus Indigo, Dr Joshua and Dr Chandra arrive in Brazil, with the remains of Project Nineteen - Reignfire!

Full Summary: 

Another day at Arkansas' Beaumont State Correctional Facility. Lucas Bartholomew Guthrie is serving time here for grand theft auto. He has learned the best way to survive incarceration is to avoid any kind of conflict - because inside these walls an argument can cost you your life. Outside in the courtyard, various prisoners are milling about. Lucas sits at a bench, and a rather large prisoner exclaims "I cannot believe you are talking about my woman like that, whiteboy!". With a cigarette between his fingers, Lucas replies "Hey, Ah"m not trying to start anything, Roland - Ah'm just calling it like Ah see it". He adds that Pam Grier is as fine as forty as she was at twenty, but that �Jackie Brown� was at least half an hour too long.

"Man, Ah swear, Hollywood has got no idea how to make a film out of an Elmore Leonard novel" Lucas remarks. "At least �Jackie Brown� was faithful to the book. You ever see �Stick�?" Roland asks "With Burt Reynolds taking out all the bad guys with an uzi at the end? Ugh. Talk about not getting it" Lucas complains. Roland replies that, personally, he thinks �Out of Sight� caught the flavor of the source material perfectly. "Didn"t hurt to have Jennifer Lopez, either" Lucas smirks, unaware that something - or someone - has flown at high speed over the prison walls - into the yard - and then yanks him into the air. "No, it did not. That lady has it going on and on and on!" Roland mutters. It will be another thirty seconds before he realizes that Lucas Bartholomew Guthrie has vanished.

Lucas Guthrie is not the only member of the Guthrie clan to find himself on the wrong side of the law. His nephew, Samuel is also a wanted man, unjustly accused by federal authorities of being a terrorist. That is because Sam, also known as Cannonball, is a mutant, born with a genetic anomaly that gives him explosive and propulsive energy. "Time to talk - in private!" he tells his uncle as they fly high over the ground below. "Mother of mercy!" Lucas calls out. To certain factions of the government and law enforcement community, merely being a mutant is a criminal act. If Sam has violated the law in the past, he has done so only to protect those persecuted solely on the basis of their genetic makeup.

Today, however, in carrying out the escape of a convicted felon, Sam has broken the law for undeniably personal reasons. He needs answers to questions raised during his recent visit to the African island of Genosha. And Sam has no patience for the administrative red tape required to speak to his uncle in a prison visitors room. "This place should do" Sam remarks, coming to a stop in a nearby forest, he lowers himself to the ground, while dropping his uncle, who screams as he falls to the ground, from not a very high height. "Look, buddy, Ah don"t know what you want - but Ah'm sure you got the wrong guy. Ah'm sure it's an honest mistake, and Ah promise Ah won't hold it against you -" Lucas exclaims, before Sam tells him to relax, and calls him uncle Luke as he assures him that nobody wants to hurt him.

"Uncle Luke?" Lucas asks, confused. "Ah know it's been a while, but don't tell me you don't recognize me" Sam remarks. "Sam? Sam!" Lucas exclaims as he hugs his nephew. "Boy, look how you've grown. You are the spitting image of your daddy, Ah tell you that!" Lucas declares. Lucas exclaims that he has no idea how Sam can fly like that, "But since you busted me outta Beaumont, Ah ain't complaining!" he declares. Sam frowns and tells his uncle not to get too used to his freedom. "Ah brought you here so that we could talk about the two men you and my father buried in a Kentucky cornfield ten years ago!" Sam exclaims. Lucas frowns: "So you found out about that, huh? Well, Ah'll explain everything, but not here. Since Ah'm now officially a fugitive, Ah suggest we get out of this backwoods state as soon as possible. There's a little place in Texas Ah know" he remarks.

A short time later, "A strip joint?" Sam asks his uncle as they enter the establishment. "Ah believe the correct term these days is gentlemen's club" Lucas replies. "You've gotta be kidding" Sam, now dressed in casual clothing, declares. Making their way to a table, Lucas tells Sam that he has been a guest of the state for three long years, and considering Sam has made it clear his time as a free man is temporary, he wants to enjoy it while it lasts. "Fine. Whatever. Let's just find a table in back where we can talk" Sam tells him. Sitting down, Lucas lights a cigarette and picks up his beer, while Sam asks his first question: "When were you in Genosha?"

Lucas replies that it was four years ago, he was travelling with a friend who said they could make a little money smuggling some software out of that hellhole, then the fool got caught by customs, leaving him stranded without a passport or a return ticket. "So that's when you met Delphi" Sam remarks. "You know about Delphi? Well, that explains some things" Lucas declares, explaining that Delphi offered to get him out of Genosha in exchange for a secret from his past. "And that's how my memory of that day with your daddy ended up in one of her boxes" he explains. "Tell me you and my father didn't murder the men you buried" Sam asks.

"Men? Ha. That's a laugh. Sam, Ah don't know if you're gonna believe what Ah'm gonna tell you - but Ah swear on my mother's grandmother's grave, that it's the honest to God truth!".

Flashback, narrated by Lucas Bartholomew Guthrie

"Ten years ago, when Ah was barely older than you are now, a good ole boy named Randy Lee Watson hired me to be the driver on a warehouse heist he had planned. Now Ah'd never worked directly with Randy Lee before, but the pay was right and Ah was too poor to be choosy - see, Ah swore Ah'd never end up working in the coal mines like my father and brothers" Lucas begins. He tells Sam that the job was supposed to be simple - they were going to steal a truck already loaded with unmarked cigarettes from a Lexington garage. "Unfortunately, the garage guard returned from his break early" Lucas reveals. The guard began shooting at Randy and Lucas who were in the truck. "You didn't say we were going to be shot at!" Lucas exclaims, but Randy told him to just shut up and drive, while he shot back at the guard.

It was not until they were out of the city that Lucas realized Randy had been hit pretty badly. "We gotta get you to a hospital" Lucas told Randy. But Randy sat there, clutching his wound, "No! No hospitals. If anything happens to me, you make sure the cargo gets to my superior!his name's Finn!address is in my coat!". Lucas suspected that the bullet must have pierced something vital, because Randy died then and there. "Ah couldn't imagine being more shocked until Ah looked over and saw his body start to change!Ah don't know what Randy Lee was, but he sure wasn't human" Lucas tells Sam while remembering Randy's body change into a orange-colored creature with large teeth.

Lucas pulled over to the side of the road, clearly everything he had been told was a lie. He was also beginning to suspect that the truck was not carrying cigarettes. And when he entered the back of the truck, the only thing inside it was a giant crate addressed to a Professor Damian at Empire State University in New York. "Maybe Ah'd have been better running as far from that crate as Ah could, but my curiosity got the better of me" Lucas tells Sam. "Now Ah've always been partial to carnival sideshows, and road show attractions, but nothing Ah'd ever seen prepared me for what was inside that crate. It was enormous, and Ah'm sure this sounds crazy, but Ah got this feeling that it wasn't of this world" Lucas explains as he remembers opening the crate, and seeing the large red humanoid figure with markings over its body.

With the job completely out of hand, Lucas called the number in Randy Lee's coat. A man named Finn promised him he would get his money once he delivered the creature. And after burying Randy Lee's body in a gravel pit, knowing that he couldn't keep him in the truck, Lucas stopped by his house - but someone was already inside, waiting for him!.


Meanwhile, across the country, on a warehouse rooftop in the China Basin neighborhood of San Francisco - an explosive demonstration is underway courtesy of Tabitha �Meltdown� Smith, who has thrown several plasma time-bombs into the air. "Sure it looks easy, but when I first discovered I could create these plasma energy bombs, it took all of my concentration to generate just one of these bad boys" Tabitha tells Jesse �Bedlam� Aaronson, who stands nearby. Tabitha declares that after a few years of training and a lot of combat experience, she can now pump out as many of these as she needs. "Giving you more bang for your buck" she jokes, as the myriad time bombs explode above her.

Bedlam claps his hands and tells Meltdown "That was great, Tab. You are!pardon the expression!Da Bomb. I wish my abilities were that impressive". Meltdown grabs a towel and rubs the perspiration from her face as she reminds Bedlam that he shut down power across the entire island of Genosha. "That qualifies as impressive in my book" she tells him. "Yeah, well, you and the rest of the team seem to take this action-packed lifestyle for granted. It's still new to me" Jesse reminds Tabitha.

However, the two are unaware that they are being watched through a lens. "What about your time working for the mutant underground?" Tabitha asks. "That was nothing compared to taking on Magneto on his home turf" Bedlam replies. "You survived - plus you got those cool kung fu moves thanks to Delphi. You're on a roll" Tabitha smiles. "I don't know how you guys remain so notmal in the face of all this weirdness" Bedlam exclaims. "Normal? I don't know the meaning of the word" Tab replies, while the man with a triangle cufflink taking snapshots of Tabitha thinks to himself "So, our information was correct. The girl is a mutant. Good. Once she has been enlightened, she will serve the Understanding well"

Back in Texas, Lucas tells Sam that it seemed obvious to him that whoever was ransacking his apartment was there because of the thing in the truck. "Ah assumed Ah was in the middle of some sort of government / extra-terrestrial cover-up!and if Ah was gonna get out of it intact, Ah'd need someone watching my back". "That's when you went to my father" Sam declares.

Flashback continues, narrated by Lucas Bartholomew Guthrie:

Lucas arrived at Ty's place. They didn't always see eye to eye. "We were opposites in a lot of ways - but when it came down to it, we were blood. And Ah knew he couldn't turn me down" Lucas tells Sam. "Lucas. Do you have any idea what time it is?" Ty asked his brother. Lucas apologized for calling so late, before revealing to his brother that he is in a jam. "What a surprise. What is it this time?" Ty asked. The two men went outside, and Lucas told his brother everything that he knew, for sure. "Ah'm gonna get rid of this thing. All Ah need is for you to go with me and watch my back" Lucas told his frowning brother. "I wish I never promised Mama that I'd look after you, Luke. You are nothing but trouble" Ty replied.

"Then you'll do it?" Lucas asked. "Against my better judgment" As Lucas tells Sam, neither he nor Ty were aware that Sam was watching them from his bedroom window - and that he decided to sneak out of the house and go with them. "If your father had known you were hiding in the back of that truck, Ah guarantee you wouldn't have been able to sit down for a year".


"You two boys look awful serious over here. Maybe I can do something to lighten the mood" the scantily clad waitress remarks as she puts more drinks down on the table. "Another boilermaker. My nephew'll be picking up the tab. Seeing as how I don't carry much cash these days" Lucas exclaims as he looks at the woman. "And what about you, cutie? You want something stronger than that cola you've been nursing?" the barmaid asks. "No thank you, Ma'am" Sam replies as he hands the woman some money. "Let me know if you change your mind, sweetie. My name's Cheri" the woman exclaims. Lucas watches Cheri as she walks away. "Aw, I think she likes you, Sammy" he tells his nephew.

Sam tells Lucas to get back to his story. "And until Delphi gave me the box imprinted with your memory of these events, I didn't remember any of this. How is that possible?" Sam asks. Lucas tells Sam that he is going to have to wait for the answer to that. "Let me tell you what happened after your Dad agreed to come with me".

Flashback continues, Lucas Bartholomew Guthrie:

Sitting inside the truck, Ty and Lucas watch the address where the mysterious Mr Finn had asked them to meet him - a roadhouse off Interstate 283, a place called Big Susie's. "You got a gun, Luke?" Ty asked his brother. "No, I got rid of Randy Lee's when I dumped his body" Lucas replied. "Good. Guns make people do stupid things in tense situations, and we aren't gonna do anything stupid, right, Luke?" Ty asked his brother. Inside, they met Mr Finn and his partner - a tight lipped little guy called Weller. "We are saddened to hear of our associate Mr Watson's untimely passing. We hope you have kept this evening's events confidential" Finn told Lucas. "As long as Ah get paid, Ah'm like the kid in that song - deaf, dumb and blind" Lucas replied.

"Now Sam, I don't mean to cast blame on you for what happened next - because none of this would have gone down if Ah was an upstanding law-abiding citizen" Lucas tells his nephew, who, at that time years ago, left the truck, and climbed onto a dumpster, where he looked through a small window in the side of the building. "Still, your Daddy and me might have walked away without a fuss if your naturally curious nature hadn't gotten the best of you" Lucas tells his nephew. "As it turns out, Big Susie's was not exactly abandoned". It had been converted into some kind of medical laboratory where a bunch of creep doctors were experimenting on kids - runaways, mostly. The kind of boys and girls you see on the side of milk cartons. "And like Ah said, we would've remained blissfully ignorant of these goings on - if you hadn't been caught by one of the other suits".

Looking through the window, the young Sam saw children kept in a cage, while doctors experimented on children laid on out tables. All sorts of strange machinery in the room. "Hey!" he called out as suddenly he was pulled from the dumpster. Inside, Finn was about to hand Lucas his money: "Once again, I must emphasize how important it is to all of us that you speak to no one about any of this" he told him. "Buddy, Ah've already forgotten!" Lucas replied, about to receive the money, when suddenly, the other man entered the room, carrying Sam in his arms. "It appears these two gentlemen did not arrive alone" he declares. "Dad!" Sam called out as he struggled. "Sam? What on Earth are you doing here?" Ty asked, surprised.

"Dad, they've got a bunch of kids in cages back there, and there's a bunch of doctors doing stuff to 'em. Ah'm not making this up. Ah swear!" Sam exclaimed urgently. Ty looked shocked, while Finn declared that this is an unfortunate turn of events. "I'm afraid my associates and I can no longer allow you to leave" Finn declared, before asking the large man, Stone, to take care of the Guthries.


"And what happened then?" Sam asks his uncle. Several men have gathered nearby, and Lucas has his head cocked to one side: "Hold your horses, boy. Ah wanna watch this fine young lady finish her dance!Lord have mercy!I am in love" Lucas exclaims.

On a more spiritual note, back in San Francisco, every evening at twilight, a group of dedicated people assemble on a scenic bluff in San Francisco's Presidio to practice Tai Chi. Among them today is the mystic adept Jennifer Kale, and X-Force member Danielle Moonstar. Jennifer tells Danielle that she tries to come here as often as possible, explaining that Tai Chi helps her deal with the day-to-day stress in her life. "After all you've been through recently, I hope it might prove equally beneficial to you" Jennifer tells Dani, who replies that, personally, she would be happy to forget everything that has happened to her lately.

Jennifer smiles and remarks that Dani has become attuned to the field of quantum energy that binds and connects all matter in the universe. "The physical and perceptual changes you're experiencing are understandably intense" Jennifer assures her. "They're beyond intense, Jen. They're frustrating" Dani exclaims as she moves about with the Tai Chi. "In Genosha, I completely lost control of my power during my fight with Magneto - and the power almost consumed me. If I hadn't fought to keep myself together, I'd be nothing but subatomic particles floating in space right now" Danielle declares.

"You know there are many religions and philosophies about losing one's sense of self, and becoming part of a greater whole is the ultimate spiritual goal" Jennifer tells Dani, when, suddenly, a bear with large claws appears by a tree: "I can tell you all about losing control, Dani!" the bear exclaims. "Huh? It can't be!" Dani exclaims as she rushes over to the tree. Jennifer calls out to her, but by the time Danielle reaches the tree, the bear is gone. Jennifer asks Dani what is wrong, to which Dani replies "Do you believe in ghosts?"

Meanwhile, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in a hotel suite belonging to Selene, a centuries old sorceress who owes her long life to dark magic. Selene lounges over a bed, while Bobby �Sunspot� DaCosta stands nearby. In previous eras, Selene has been called demon hunter, witch and empress. Today she is the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club's Inner Circle. Her reasons for coming to Brazil are as yet unknown, but she has enlisted the aid of the former X-Force member, recently deported from the States. Bobby, rightfully so, does not trust Selene.

"Okay, Selene, I saved you from those two demonic goons who tried to assault you the other day. That doesn't mean I have any interest in helping you further. You've caused nothing but grief for the X-Men and the New Mutants" Sunspot declares. The scantily clad Selene tells Sunspot that perhaps he will change his mind when he sees what she has in the other room. Sunspot opens the door, and sees a man hanging from the ceiling. "Good Lord. I know that man. His name's!um!Holiday!he's a SHIELD Agent. He was in charge of the team that cleaned up after the Reignfire mess in Las Vegas" Sunspot exclaims.

"Keep her away from me" Agent Holiday pleads. "Oh, despite his credentials, Agent Holiday's loyalties are not to SHIELD" Selene exclaims, suggesting to Agent Holiday that he tell Roberto who he really works for. "Do it for me" Selene tells him as she crouches down beside him. It is no a request, but a command. Involuntarily, the word rises from the back of his throat: "Damocles!".

Back in Texas. "Beer, women and rock 'n' roll all in one place. It don't get much better than this" Lucas smiles. "Ah know you're trying to milk as much time here as possible, but would you please get back to your story" Sam tells his uncle. "All right, all right. So like Ah was saying, things looked grim for the three Guthrie men!".

Flashback continues, narrated by Lucas Bartholomew Guthrie:

Standing in the laboratory, scientists examine the large red being, while one of the men in suits watches over the Guthries. "You are some twisted piece of work, Mister" Ty exclaims, while holding onto his son. "Mister Guthrie, you and your brother cannot possibly fathom the scope of the project we are undertaking. The creature you brought to us is a Celestial golem, a biological construct created by the Celestials, the alien race who jump-started sentient evolution on this planet" he explained. "Imprinted in his artificial brain are the processes by which meddling pantheon elevated humanity from its simian ancestry".

"These people are talking crazy, Lucas" Ty whispered to his brother. "After all Ah've seen today. Ah could believe almost anything" Ty replied, while little Sam asked "What are they doing with those kids?". Finn replied that they wish to improve upon the Celestials' handiwork: "Combining the best of our race and yours" Finn explained. "Are you saying you're not human?" Lucas asked him, to which Finn declared that humanity has deluded itself into believing that it is the only sentient species on this planet. "Our people built empires while yours were still crawling around in the mud - but sadly, we lack the genetic adaptability that has let your species thrive. The golem will enable us to rectify that error, and create a new species who will survive the coming age of catastrophe!"

There was not much Lucas could say in response to that. And he, Ty and Sam could only watch the Finn and his associates plugged the golem into some kind of generator and turned the power on. "This is bad, little brother" Ty whispered to Lucas, who replied that he knows and that he is sorry for getting Ty and Sam involved in this. Life, or some semblance of it, slowly returned to the golem, and everyone was transfixed. That was when Lucas figured he had to do something. "Looking back, Ah have to say it was one of the stupidest things Ah've ever done in my life" he tells Sam, but nevertheless, he figures he could wrestle the gun out of Stone's hand - but his plan did not exactly work out how he hoped, as the gun went off, and the bullet hit the generator. The resulting explosion knocked Lucas and Stone across the room.

The moment the generator was destroyed, Finn and Weller vanished - replaced by their true forms. "Ah have seen road kill prettier than those two" Lucas tells Sam. The transformed Finn declared that he had hoped to spare their redneck white-trash lives until they could run a DNA scan on the three Guthries. "But you've caused too much damage to let you live any longer" he exclaimed, ordering Weller to kill them. But at that moment, the golem broke free of its restraints - lucky for the Guthries, Weller and Finn were between them and the Golem, who attacked them, giving the Guthries time to escape. "C'mon, Ty! Grab Sam and let's get out of here!" Lucas exclaimed. "Wait! We can't leave those other kids!" Sam called out in his fathers arms. Ty agreed, and announced that they have to rescue the kids.

Ty handed Sam over to Lucas, and went back into the lab to free the kids. A genuinely heroic act, but one that cost them whatever chance they had of getting to the truck and getting to safety. And then, to make matters worse, the white Cadillac that Lucas had seen earlier in front of his house pulled up. Out of the car stepped an odd looking man, wearing the most obnoxious leather fringe outfit that Lucas had seen this side of Branson, Missouri. "Step aside, gentlemen. I'll handle this" the strange man boasted. "Mister, you gotta be outta freaking mind. That' thing'll rip you apart!" Ty exclaimed as he gathered Sam and the other children together. The large man thanked Ty for his concern, before telling him to take the children and get as far away as possible.

The strange man had some kind of high-tech harness the projected a force field around his body - making him an even match for the out of control golem, smacking the golem backwards. When the two clashed, it sounded like thunder. In the meantime, Lucas was trying to get as much distance between those two and the half dozen kids he found himself babysitting. "Don't look back! Run!" he told the kids. But of course Sam ignored his uncle, and looked back.

Soon, from the safety of the cornfield across the highway, they watched the fight conclude with an explosion that left Big Susie's in rubble. When it was all over, the strange man was the only one walking away out of the smoke and debris. "Ah guess we owe you our thanks, Mister" Ty said to the man. "Call me Sledge. And you're welcome. Couldn't let Indigo get his hands on a golem. A shame I had to destroy it" Sledge replied cryptically. Ty asked Sledge if he could explain what all this was about. "Who - what - were those people?" he added. Sledge looked at the bodies of Finn and Weller, since turned back to their human guises, lying in the rubble. Sledge declared that they are Deviants, members of a dying race that long ago moved underground to avoid human detection.

"They renounced their loyalty to the Deviant king to join an organization trying to establish a new global power" he explained. Ty remarked that his head is spinning, and asked what they do now. "Leave them. Their allegiance to this shadow cabinet means their remains can no longer be interred in the great hall" Sledge replied. Ty declared that it would not be right to leave them for the coyotes to pick at, and suggested somebody should bury them. "Oh no!don't tell me you're volunteering" Lucas muttered. "We both are, little brother" Ty replied.

Lucas tried to argue, but Ty explained that their only other option was calling the State Police, which would have involved explaining to them Lucas' part in the armed robbery, which is how they came to be burying bodies in the cornfield. With the bodies buried, Ty declared that they had to get the children to a hospital, as there is no telling what those monsters did to them. "Poor little guys. They didn't deserve any of this" he added, pointing out that no one is going to believe them when they explain what happened. "There is a way to make them forget" Sledge announced as he pulled a small glowing blue orb from his hat - and when the kids looked at it, their eyes went blank, and they fell to the ground, unconscious.

"When they awake, they will remember nothing of this" Sledge declared. "What about me, Dad. Do I have to forget, too?" Sam asked. "I think it's better this way, Sam. I'm sorry!" Ty told his son, before Sledge held the glowing blue orb in front of him.


Lucas tells Sam that it was a difficult decision for his father to make, but that he decided as if the onset of adolescence wasn't enough for an eleven year old to deal with, he would be better off ignorant of the fact that monsters walked among them. Lucas explains that Ty called a friend at the highway patrol who came and got the children. "The papers gave the troopers all the credit. Your Dad and I never talked about that night up until about a month before he died. It was Thanksgiving and we were sitting on your front porch and he said he was gonna tell you when you were older" Lucas reveals.

Sam pulls out some money and exclaims that he remembers it all now. "It's like waking up from a dream" he declares, before revealing that he has had a few run-ins with the Deviants himself. "Ah could tell some stories" he exclaims. "Ah'm sure you could" Lucas declares as they walk back through the bar. Lucas remarks that Sam was always such a well-behaved kid, especially after his Dad passed on. "It's nice to know you've got a reckless side as well. Ah cannot get over the fact that you broke me outta jail" Lucas declares. Sam admits that perhaps he should not have acted that impulsively. "I probably screwed up your parole" he remarks.

"Not to worry, Ah got a crackerjack lawyer. "Course, now that I'm on the outside, Ah don't have a great desire to return to a life of confinement" Lucas declares. Sam tells his uncle that if he doesn't go back then he will have the law looking for him for the rest of his life. "So I guess the question is - do you want to live the rest of your life as a free man or as a fugitive?". "Hmmm!that's a tough one" Lucas replies.

Three hours later, in Cell Block B, "All right, boys, lights out in five!" a guard calls out as he walks down the corridor. Lucas Guthrie is in his cell, lying across his bed, he is smoking and reading Crime and Punishment. "Aw. That's too bad, Garrison, I just reached the part where Raskolnikov murders the pawn-broker. Man, that Russian can write!" Lucas exclaims. The guard is surprised to see Lucas, and exclaims "What the - how? You were reported missing this afternoon. We figured you escaped!". "Ah have no idea why anyone would think such a thing. As you can see Ah am still a guest of this fine prison facility" Lucas replies.

Nearby, Cannonball approaches Domino and thanks her for the help. "I'd hate to ruin my uncle's chances of going straight. He shouldn't have to pay for my impatience" Sam exclaims. "Piece of cake. No one really expects anyone to break into prison" Domino replies, adding that she also replaced the surveillance tape that showed Lucas missing from his cell. "No one will ever be able to prove he spent the day in a Texas strip club with a wanted terrorist" Domino jokes, before telling Sam that lawbreaking must run in the family. "Yeah, Ah guess it does" Sam replies. Domino asks "What now? Got any more relatives you need busted out of the slammer?", but Sam announces that he thinks it is time he spoke to Sledge.

Meanwhile, deep in the heart of the Brazilian rainforest, Doctor Chandra and Doctor Joshua carry equipment from a plane. "Could we be any more removed from civilization, Doctor? And this heat - could it be any more unbearable?" Doctor Joshua complains. "For you, perhaps, Doctor. But I was raised in the Indian tropics" Doctor Chandra replies. Standing nearby is Odysseus Indigo, a large snake wound over his shoulders, he greets his staff, telling them that he is so glad they could make it, and that he hopes their journey was pleasant. "Pleasant?" Dr Joshua begins, but Dr Chandra tells him to be quiet.

Doctor Joshua places a square container on a table and opens the lid. Indigo asks him if he had any trouble with customs, but Dr Joshua replies that customs were paid well, and never even looked at the cargo. "And is the creature intact?" Indigo asks. Doctor Joshua holds up a capsule from the container, containing something inside the capsule. "Entirely" Dr Joshua smiles. "May I present what's left of Project Nineteen - otherwise known as! Reignfire!"!.

Characters Involved: 

Bedlam II, Cannonball, Domino, Meltdown, Moonstar (all X-Force)

Sunspot (former member of X-Force)

Jennifer Kale


Demon Bear

Lucas Guthrie

Odysseus Indigo

Doctor Chandra

Doctor Joshua

Reignfire / Project Nineteen

Agent Jordan Holiday

Triune Understanding member

Roland and other Prisoners



Tai Chi class attendees

Prisoner guards

In Flashback:

Sam Guthrie

Lucas Guthrie

Thomas "Ty"� Guthrie


Randy Lee Watson








Story Notes: 

X-Force visited Genosha in X-Force (1st series) #94-95, which is where questions were raised about a memory from Cannonball's past.

Delphi is a psychic seen on Genosha in X-Force (1st series) #94.

The Triune Understanding is interested in Meltdown as her father and step-mother were revealed to now be members in X-Force (1st series) #87.

Bedlam shut down the power across Genosha in X-Force (1st series) #95.

Moonstar lost control of her power while battling Magneto in X-Force (1st series) #95.

The Demon Bear is an enemy of Moonstar's first seen in New Mutants (1st series) #18-20.

Sunspot rescued Selene in X-Force (1st series) #94.

X-Force encountered Agent Jordan Holiday in X-Force (1st series) #80.

Cannonball's father died in Marvel Graphic Novel #4.

Doctor Joshua last appeared in X-Force (1st series) #80. While Doctor Chandra last appeared in X-Force (1st series) #84.

Lucas refers to his brother, Cannonball's father, as Ty throughout the issue, and Tyler on occassion. Of course years before this flashback, Cannonball's father was known as Thomas.

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