X-Force (4th series) #5

Issue Date: 
June 2014
Story Title: 
Floating Stock

Simon Spurrier (writer), Jorge Molina (artist), VC’s Joe Sabino (letterer), Jorge Molina (cover artist), Xander Jarowey (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Mike Marts (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (Exec. Publisher)

Brief Description: 

From the brain of dead Antonio Aggasiz, X-Force has learned that he stole technology from other dimensions for Volga, most importantly a process that can give people superhuman powers before eventually killing them. In addition, they learned Volga’s location, a floating yacht in the desert. X-Force attack from several directions. Marrow dimly recalls being there before but actually has no bad memories, though she wonders who her imaginary friend “baby” is. Aboard the yacht, they are expected by super-powered guards and Volga himself, who makes a cryptic comment about Marrow losing weight. Hearing this, she finally recalls she was pregnant and lost her baby. However when Volga tells her the whole truth, that she knew about the risk to her pregnancy and went ahead with the process anyway, Marrow turns catatonic. Her teammates are easily beaten, MeMe is trapped in the computer system and Volga is surprised about Cable still being alive, as he was infected with a version of the process in Alexandria that should have killed him after one day. Still, he doesn’t care and uses a preprogrammed sequence of notes to detonate Cable.

Full Summary: 

Somewhere in the desert:
Marrow suns herself in a bikini while once again addressing her thoughts to the person she calls baby. So yesterday they accessed the memories in a dead guy’s brain. No big deal. You’d think it’d be easier to get at hers, right? Wrong, baby. Someone put her %$&)# head through a shredder.

Like, she thinks she remembers being a kid underground but it’s kinda a blur. A haze of beautiful uglies and impossible places. Hatred and isolation. But she guesses the world took that away too. She doesn’t even remember a quarter of what came after. But she’s sure had a lot of faces (sweet, savage, pretty, ugly… who the hell is she supposed to be now?)

Anyway, it’s all a mess up until the lab. She guesses they used mindwipe tech to cover their tracks. Blitzed the whole thing in the process. The bigbad Volga and his people, right? Protecting the secret of whatever they did to repower her. Kinda makes her wonder why not just kill her instead.

Marrow swears. What if they did? What if she’s dead and al this is just her personal heaven? Nah, she’s getting muddled again. Happens easily these days. Mind can’t hold things… Like, sorry, she can’t actually remember who “Baby” is, whoever she’s been talking to all this time. What sorta dummy forgets her own imaginary friend? # %&/ you, baby, whoever you are.

What the *&$% is wrong with her? she groans. Blissful again a moment later, she continues she was gonna tell about the dead guy, right? The one whose barbecued brain they read yesterday?

Antonio Aggasiz conjured from behind the veil. He told them Volga took him captive. Set a real special mission for his powers. Antonio could hop dimensions. Volga saw an opportunity to get his hands on all the science tech lying about on other worlds. He took Antonio’s family as hostages. X-Force asked him where Volga hid.

Why is she seeing a floating luxury yacht in the desert? Marrow asks. Cable tells her via comm Volga is a billionaire. What does she expect him to use as a HQ? God, she missed all the superhero &*%$, she decides.

Psylocke and Fantomex are clandestinely climbing the yacht. Cable tells them Marrow is incoming. Psylocke informs him Marrow is barely listening. She can hear her bloody inner monologuing again. The baby-baby thing? he asks. As always. Even her subconscious is irritating. She believes Marrow is actually getting crazier. Doesn’t matter for now, he decides. She’ll do her part. Are they set?

In position, she replies. And the great white git hasn’t dropped a single unconvincing Frenchism all afternoon, so on the whole she’s got a good feeling about this.

He just wants to get it done, okay? Fantomex snaps sullenly. He’s got a headache.

All right, Cable announces, they’ve got their point girl, the flankers and MeMe is set to kill the system the moment they get in. And what is his role? Betsy asks. Carrying a rocket launcher, he grins. Heavy support.

He fires a missile at the yacht. Marrow jumps at the yacht from her motor bike and she climbs upward the hull.

As she attacks the red-masked guards, she sees containment cells, restraints, torture gear. Shouldn’t this feel familiar? If they were holding her here like Antonio, shouldn’t she remember this place? Instead, all she gets are blood samples and warm food. Like they were kinda being nice to her.

A nurse or doctor remarks that the subject’s secondary metabolism is responding very well. Perfect substrate left unoccupied, another doctor muses, when the X-allele was removed. If they can simply replicate the chromosomal structure, they could—

It’s senseless, Marrow decides, and a muddle. Like everything. Like whoever Baby is, whoever she is, whyever the hell she keeps talking to Baby. She wonders where Antonio was at the same time. Another part of the yacht, another cozy prison room. When he wasn’t off doing his job…

He told them what he found for Volga: On Earth 74, he picked up a musical virus from a race of sentient melodies.

On Earth-2349, he stole a fleshprinter from the palace of the Libervores.

Om Earth-34TAU, he bought a stick of gum packed with anti-rejection picotech.

But none of it meant squat till he hit Earth-1287. It’d been through some sorta alien invasion. Dystopian hell, mankind’s last stand etc. Local scientists developed a treatment to turn soldiers into supers. It world like a charm except for one side effect.

Antonio brought the treatment to Volga, explaining it kills them. They burn out. Their whole culture’s built around the nobility of self-sacrifice and… Da, da, very interesting, Volga cut him off. Does he know what Voga thinks when he hears product has short lifespan? He thinks “repeat customer.

Clear! Marrow shouts as she kills the last guards. Cable wonders about the weak resistance. MeMe sees a system port and announce she’s going in. However, she wonders why Volga would be so careless to leave a system open for her. The system is completely unguarded. Cable gets suspicious and tells her not to go in there. But too late. Her flying units explode.

Ah, old guy still alive, Volga greets Cable. Impressive. And beautiful Sarah. Dobro Pozhalovat. Tell him, she’s lost weight, nyet? Marrow is puzzled.

Taking his cell phone, Volga walks past his red-masked superguards who chant their motto: “Now it comes our time to die”--. Da da, sing your death song like heroes going home, Volga continues bored. And please to keep stupidfight to maximum quiet, da? Trying to do business call here.

Marrow is the first to attack, still puzzled by the weight comment. The memories get even patchier after the lab. Did she escape? Antonio said it turned out in the end the bastard had his family killed anyway. Used them as guinea pigs. Antonio went to ground. For all the good it did him. Whereas she lost weight? What does that mean? Baby! she realizes. As someone hits her she recalls there was an explosion. Did they dump her there? She thinks she was meant to die and instead… she was saved.

Alexandria 30 seconds after the incident:
A one-armed Cable carrying an unconscious Hope found a shell-shocked Marrow, who announced they killed her baby…

Marrow bundles on herself She was pr—

Cable asks what she is doing. Psylocke tells him a penny dropped within the little mental’s head. She strongly suggests he get down.

“Youuu killed my Babyyy! “ Marrow screams as her bonegrowths go wild. Psylocke tries to remind her that she knew this already and buried the memory. The bonespikes destroy the glass door and Volga interrupts his call.

Cable calls Dr. Nemesis, explaining the suppressors don’t work anymore. What should they do? Nemesis, who is working on the unresponsive Hope, remarks by the pasting they were taking Marrow is probably saving their lives, so they should cut her some slack and enjoy it instead of moaning.

Marrow’s spikes impale the guards. Volga asks her if there isn’t something she is forgetting. Oh no, Betsy mutters. She doesn’t remember that part. She pleads with Cable to not let him tell her.

Volga bluntly tells Marrow he could give crap about kid. But she knew risks. They told her research program maybe is unsafe for unborn baby. Big price to pay for having back the super-powers, da? She volunteered anyway.

Marrow breaks down, pleading she didn’t mean

Volga calls more super-powered guards and they quickly take the rest of X-Force out. Get them secured in lab, he orders. Suppressors, psi-shield, the usual.

Cable groans. Volga grabs Cable by the front of his shirt. He is very busy man with businessthings and sexytimes. Also, he dislikes his Americafood stinkybreath. So please to shush! He drags the helpless Cable along. Now he wants what? Super villain monologue? Dastardly plan to rule the world? He could give damn about ruling world. There are two names for people want ruling world and they both mean the same thing: First name, “idiot” – second name, “customer.” He makes weapon, he sells weapon- Does he know best and oldest kind? Peopleweapons. These times he is weapon also, sexytimes bonus for Volga – all cheer!

Calling him a bastard, Cable weakly asks how to cure his daughter. Volga blinds him with a laserbeam from his finger. Shush please! VIP talking. Eh, comedy Russian badguy in fact genuine sadist. Surprise! Now: new improced bioprocess –very good. Research from diemensionhop man, research from bony Sarah. Supersoldiers based on mutant bio-signature in no time flat! Send it to war. Kaboom bang, war win, easy.

He drags him on the yacht’s deck where beautiful bikiniclad women ignore them. Better yet, Volga continues: all temporary. Each soldier, he lives maybe one year, then pop! Honorable sacrifice! Heroic warrior! Nationalistic pride on rampant escalation. And what say grateful warmonger slimeheads of the world? “Same again please, Mr Volga. With extra zero on end and adjust for inflation.”

He breaks Cable’s arm. But earliest prototype? Much shorter lifespan. One day at most. And that is what they injected Cable with in Alexandria. Glowing with green energy, Volga tears off Cable’s bionic arm. So, he doesn’t know how he survived this long.

He dangles Cable over the desert ground. And nyet, he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about him or stupid mutants or stupid factions or stupid war. Cares only for product. Cable is walking, talking proof of product defection. So he must kill. Boo-hoo.

He attaches a small device to Cable’s chest. Failsafe genetic code trigger to set off genetic meltdown early. Specific sequence of notes. This is how he made go kaboom poor lady in Alexandria. All blamed on mutants. Win-win. Dasvidanya, old guy Cable.

He drops him to the ground. The device whistles a sequence of notes. Cable screams and explodes.

Volga calls his customer, the general, to inform him the interruption is over. Nothing important. New acquisition, dreary haggling with previous owner. Product all his now…

Characters Involved: 

Cable, Dr. Nemesis, Fantomex, Marrow, MeMe, Psylocke (X-Force)

Volga’s guards

In memories / images
Marrow (at different stages of her life)

Scarlet Witch

Mikhail Rasputin



Story Notes: 

The dimension where Aggasiz got the process to create superhumans is clearly the world of “Strikeforce Morituri.” It is even given the same dimension number – 1287 – it received in the Marvel handbook. However the quote, “We who are about to die salute you,” has been replaced with the Tecumseh quote. It is unclear whether this has anything to do with the legal troubles Marvel and Strikeforce Morituri creator Peter B. Gillis had over the rights of the series.

Dobro Pozhalovatis Russian for “welcome.”

“Dasvidanya” is Russian for “goodbye.”


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