X-Force (6th series) #20

Issue Date: 
August 2021
Story Title: 
The Secret Garden

Benjamin Percy (writer), Joshua Cassara (artist), Guru eFX (color), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Joshua Cssara & Dean White (cover artists), Joshua Cassara (X-Force DesignVariant), Russell Dautermann (Emma Design Variant), Dautermann & Wilson (connecting variant) Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

The Hellfire Gala is under way and X-Force is responsible for security. At the entrance, Kid Omega gets unto an argument with Iron Man, who refuses to use any Krakoan tech, like the Gates. On the shoreside, Wolverine gets into a no holds fight with Deadpool, who plans to crash the party. The Terra Verde ambassadors who are under Beast’s control via telefloronics act strangely, causing Xavier to be worried. Emma Frost gets a whiff of his conversation with Beast and ferrets out what X-Force did in Terra Verde. She confronts Sage with her knowledge and warns that this might destroy Krakoa if it comes out. She orders Sage to decommission the telefloronics network. Sage finds out the telefloronics have been hacked by someone. In the meantime, the Terra Verdeans are quietly infecting others and, in a washroom, one of them turns into a telefloronic monster.

Full Summary: 

7:40 PM
Guests are arriving at the Hellfire Gala and X-Force is in charge of security. Kid Omega is the guard outside. When Sage asks him via comm to report, he informs her he’s getting some hot, delicious, juicy gossip. Sage reminds him they assured their guests that psychic scans would be used sparingly. She warns him not to risk the very purpose of the Hellfire Gala, to engender trust and broker peace and agreements between Krakoa and other nations.

He pouts she is no fun but, a moment later he shouts, “not another step” and telekinetically prepares to stop Iron Man, who is flying in under his own power instead of using a Krakoan gate. Nor does he wear a Krakoan flower, Quentin protests, noting that the flower has a unique I.D. Stark interrupts that he knows what it does and that’s why he is not wearing it. He opens his faceplate and tells Quentin to get a good look. It’s the outside of this beautiful head that he’ll be staring at tonight. He knows what he is thinking: “Where did Iron Manan get those psi-dampeners?” Quentin icily insists on a full mental pat-down. Glaring at him over his sunglasses, Stark replies he knows Quentin fancies himself some kind of genius. But, compared to Stark, he hasn’t made it out of elementary school. So don’t think for a second, he is taking orders from him.

Quentin checks and announces the telepathic dampeners built into his sunglasses are a cut above what he used against Red Skull. Good to see he is learning. Now if he will kindly remove them, Tony? That’s Mr. Stark to him, Iron Man shoots back. And only he knows what’s inside this brain: A Fort Knox worth of intel that Quentin is not going to get his sticky fingers on. Doesn’t he have other guests to worry about? Three dozen people walked past in the time he has been obsessing over him. He’s only occupying one percent of his mind, Quentin scoffs.

Sage orders him to let Stark go. They are both the same kind of difficult. Beast joins her at her station and asks who is being difficult. Who does he think? Say no more, Beast chuckles. How are they doing otherwise? Working her screens, she replies, “so far so good.”

She contacts Wolverine to request an update from the shoreside perimeter. He is there with some Shi’ar who have brought a batch of logic diamonds Emma asked for. Her brother Christian is delivering them to the cradles on Krakoa by way of the Marauder.

Sage asks him to remain a presence shoreside. That’s their greatest vulnerability. He’s happy to stay away from the fake smiles and perfume bombs, but he sure misses the open bar. Domino joins the conversation and suggests they all hoist a few at the Green Lagoon when they wrap.

She addresses Sage: She has a contingent of ambassadors on the main level. She has questioned them because they were acting funny.

The ambassadors she is referring to are from Terra Verde. They grin empty-eyed, not doing anything. Beast interrupts the communication and tells Domino not to worry about them. They are standing by. Awaiting instructions. Given what happened there, Terra Verde hardly seems like a diplomatic model, Domino protests. Beast reminds her bluntly that she is a field agent. He’ll take care of intelligence. Trust him, he knows exactly what he is doing.

Domino steps away and sarcastically thanks him for the reminder of her place in the X-Force hierarchy. She reminds him in turn he should not forget they are lucky to have her or he might get hurt.

As Beast leaves, Sage informs Domino that, when her voice dropped several octaves, she switched her to a private channel. He has left, so she may continue insulting him. Domino asks how she is doing. Sage replies, all dressed up and no place to go. Any chance she can sneak away? Dom suggests. Maybe for the fireworks? It’s fine, Sage replies. This is what she does. She sits. She sits for a living. She’s not missing anything, Domino blatantly lies as she looks down at the hosts and guests mingling and enjoying themselves.

Later, 8:35 pm:
Beast mingles and smoothly introduces the Terra Verdans to the Saudi delegation to convince them of the benefits of entering a treaty with Krakoa. From across the room, Xavier telepathically asks him what he is doing. Beast reminds him he didn’t want to know and he hasn’t let him down yet, has he? Not yet, Xavier admits. Emma Frost has also become curious.

Beast admits to himself that he made a mistake with Terra Verde, but the mistake was corrected. When Jean, Black Tom and Sage combined their powers, they wrested control of the telefloronics that had taken over the Terra Verde population. Terra Verde is now flourishing. There is no crime, poverty or hunger. Krakoa takes care of them. Some may call it a banana republic. He calls it a docile garden… and they are doing some serious landscaping.

He is unaware that the Terra Verde ambassadors infect others they touch with telefloronics.

While mingling at the party, Beast asks Sage via comm how they are doing. He is unaware that Emma Frost is nearby. Sage replies that the garden is growing, but she thought the plan was to only bug nations that border Terra Verde. That was the plan, yes, Beast agrees, but they are not doing anything wrong; their actions are ultimately altruistic.

Emma, who was clearly eavesdropping, walks off in a huff.

Beast figures if his actions were done by God instead of a mutant, everybody would be grateful.

9:31 pm:
Outside, on the beach:
Wolverine smells something and sees movement in the water. He waits, claws unsheathed. Sage asks if she should send Domino as back-up.

You gotta be kidding him! Wolverine swears when he sees the intruder is Deadpool, equipped with a life ring, swimmies and a harpoon. He greets Logan with “hi, sweetie.” He heard they made the mistake of not inviting him. Logan shouts he can’t be here and tries to attack, but Deadpool shoots him with a web gun while announcing that hurts his feelings. Is he really this stupid? Wolverine wonders. Deadpool points out he is a mutant. He is no mutant! Logan shoots back. An honorary mutant then, Deadpool insists. Which means, he is allowed to get *&%§faced at mutant parties. He makes for the party.

Logan frees himself and runs after him. This is a diplomatic summit not a party! he shouts and tackles him, which Deadpool consider erotic. He starts beating Wolverine, while continuing the sexual innuendo.

When Sage fails to raise Wolverine over comm, she sends Domino to him. That moment, Emma appears behind Sage, asking her if something is wrong.

En route, Domino suggests that Sage get Kid Omega on stand-by.

Wolverine hits Deadpool while warning him off. Does he know what’s awesome about two guys with healing factor fighting? Deadpool asks… as he draws his weapon and shoots Wolverine in the face. No holds barred.

Deadpool wants to run toward the party but Domino lands on him. She fires at him with her organic glove and warns him not to &%$§ with X-Force then turns to Logan and asks if he is okay. Ain’t he always? he replies.

Elsewhere, Sage is taken aback at Emma’s presence. Emma felt it was unfair she was missing on all the fun and hands her a glass of champagne. They toast. To her, Emma announces, and cheers to their colonial rule on Terra Verde. Sage spits out her champagne. Emma tells her it is not her fault, but she really should know better. This jeopardizes more than one night - it puts their entire nation at risk. If anybody learns what they’ve done, they’d be done. She orders for Sage to arrange to have the ambassadors escorted off the island immediately and without incident. And decommission her fungal spy network.

Sage gets to work but warns Emma this is impossible. Is she trying to negotiate? Emma asks. It’s Beast who will answer to the Quiet Council. Sage replies her floronic coding has been corrupted. They’ve been hacked.

In a washroom, one ambassador washes his hands, then turns into a telefloronic monster.

Characters Involved: 

Beast, Domino, Kid Omega, Sage, Wolverine (all X-Force)
Professor X
Emma Frost

Iron Man
Terra Verdeans ambassadors

Story Notes: 

Text pages:

Beast’s argument for why he feels in the right

Further notes:

Part of the Hellfire Gala crossover.

Emma is mistakenly shown to use her telepathy in her diamond form several times.

Written By: