X-Men (5th series) #6

Issue Date: 
April 2020
Story Title: 
The Oracle

Jonathan Hickman (writer), Matteo Buffagni (artist), Sunny Gho (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Lenil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho (cover artists), Philip Tan & Dave McCaig; Mark Brooks (variant cover artists), Nick Russell (production), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Years ago, Destiny gave Mystique some cryptic, prophetic advice. More recently, Mystique met with Xavier and Magneto about them resurrecting Destiny. But Xavier and Magneto want something from Mystique, and give her a special assignment, to deliver a Krakoan plant to the Orchis space station that a strike team is going to board. When the mission is underway, Mystique does her part, planting the Krakoan flower, before she and the rest of the strike team are killed. Before she dies, Mystique is sucked into space, and her last thoughts are of Destiny. When she is resurrected, Xavier tells Mystique that her sacrifice was not in vain. Mystique realizes that Xavier wants more, and Magneto tells her that they believe she planted the flower, but that they need to know she did. Mystique steps through a portal, and finds herself on the Orchis space station. Disguising herself as a courier, she delivers a package between Director Devo's workshop and Dr Gregor's laboratory, and returns to Krakoa, informing Magneto and Xavier that Dr Gregor appears to be developing a Nimrod aboard the Orchis space station. Certain that she has done her part, Mystique asks for Destiny to be resurrected, but Xavier reminds Mystique that she has never exactly been faithful to the mutant cause, and that they will only bring Destiny back when she has earned it. Mystique promises to go back to the space station to find more information about the Nimrod, before telling Xavier that she hates him – that she has always hated him. Mystique remembers more of her time with Destiny and her prophetic words – that the time will come, and that she must return – but if she is unable to, then Mystique must burn this place to the ground.

Full Summary: 

'I wish you could see this, Irene' Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique utters as she sits on a cliff overlooking an ocean as the sun begins to set. Irene Adler a.k.a. Destiny tells Raven that she has seen more sunsets than she can imagine – the collapse of all things, and the end of days. 'I have seen enough' Irene adds. 'Then why are we -' Raven begins, to which Irene interrupts her, telling Raven that she wants her to listen carefully, and that what she is about to tell here isn't going to sound believable, but it is all true – every word of it.

Aboard an Orchis facility, a woman with short hair fold her arms and looks up at a screen as she declares 'Let's go all the way around, Mister Sand. I want to hear the choir sing'. 'Yes, ma'am' a man standing behind her with a remote control pad responds. He reports that they have a good ping from the entire network of defense platforms arrayed along Mercury's orbit, and they also have a strong signal from the watchtower on Venus. He informs the woman that Sentinel City continues to grow, and that the mining of heavy metals is unabated, and construction has begun on a subterranean habitat – an Orchis bunker, of sorts. Mister Sands concludes by stating that all the military uplifts to this station have been completed, and their weapons systems are online. 'Good. And repairs to the station itself?' the woman asks. 'The Forge is lit, Captain Craine' Mister Sands responds. 'We are healthy and whole – as fit as any motherless orphan can be'.

'They say that perfection comes from repetition and repetition only. That perfection is all craft and no passion... well, I for one have no interest in being perfect, my dear Omega. For I am an artist' Director Devo remarks to Karima Shapandar, known as Omega Sentinel. He tinkers away in a lab, sitting at a station with various pieces of equipment around him, and announces  that with this last stroke, his work is complete. 'What do you think?' Director Devo asks, turning to Omega Sentinel, who stares back at him and claims that she thinks it looks perfect. 'Excuse me, Director' an Orchis staff member calls out as he enters the lab. 'You called for a courier?' Director Devo turns to the man and tells him that he did, before asking the man if he knows where Alia Gregor's lab is located. The man confirms that  he does, and Omega Sentinel hands him a piece of equipment, instructing him to take it to Doctor Gregor immediately, as she is waiting on it. 'Special project' Omega Sentinel claims. Director Devo asks Omega Sentinel if she is developing a devilish sense of humor. 'The time will come, Director Devo, when it might become necessary to engage others on a truly emotional level. This isn't it' Omega Sentinel replies. 'My goodness, look at you... self-aware, evolving... a work of art' Director Devo utters.

'Doctor Gregor?' the Orchis staff member calls out as he enters Dr Alia Gregor's laboratory. 'Yes? What is it? I'm busy' Dr Gregor snaps, not looking up from her work station. The Orchis staff member places the piece of equipment down on a table and informs Dr Gregor that Director Devo asked him to deliver it to her. 'And so you have. Just set it on the table and leave. Thank you' Dr Gregor replies. The Orchis staff member leaves Dr Gregor's lab, as Dr Gregor places the piece of equipment up into some other pieces that are strung up nearby. 'A little closer, my love... a little closer' Dr Gregor utters.

Then. Plans:
'I have demands' Mystique announces. 'Do you?' Charles Xavier asks, his face obscured by the helmet that he wears. 'Is helping your fellow mutant not reward enough for Raven Darkholme?' Charles enquires. 'No. it isn't' Mystique responds, adding that she needs more. Charles taps his helmet and tells Mystique that he sees that, and that is fair, he supposes. 'But we have further demands as well' he informs Mystique. 'Really?' Mystique replies. 'I'm afraid so' Charles tell her. 'Is helping your fellow mutant not reward enough for the great Charles Xavier?' Mystique mocks. Charles frowns as he reminds Mystique that they are building a better mutant world. 'And everyone who would live in it owes something' Charles adds as he holds up a USB stick, while Magneto stands near Mystique and tells her 'Including you'. He then informs her that they are going to be sending a team to the Mother Mold orbiting the sun, and that she is to go with them, run the mission – and do something else for them. 'What's that?' Mystique asks. 'Plant a seed... for a winter harvest' Charles explains to her, holding up a Krakoan flower.

Then. The Mission:
Mystique is teleported by Nightcrawler to another part of the Orchis Mother Mold space station. Mystique uses her shapeshifting powers to disguise herself as an Orchis soldier in a red armor. Mystique proceeds to plant the Krakoan flower, then drops her disguise as she heads back out of the garden-like area of the space station, as she hears Cyclops speaking to her via a telepathic link-up, asking her if she is there. 'Stop screaming in my head, Summers. I hear you...' Mystique replies, before announcing that she got turned around, but that she is here now. 'Hold on something's...' Raven begins, '... not right' she utters as Dr Gregor and Omega Sentinel appear before her. 'Hey there. Got some bad news for you' Dr Gregor tells Mystique, who goes wide-eyed as she sees Dr  Gregor put her hand towards a large red button – and press it, which opens an airlock behind Mystique – who looks shocked as she is sucked out of the space station.

The sun shines down across Mystique as her body floats outside the space station, as she remembers Charles telling her that she is to plant the seed on the Orchis station, 'We get what we want – and then you get what you want' Charles told her. She remembers him telling her that they both know what that is. 'Yes – Irene' Mystique thinks to herself as she dies.

Then. Resurrection:
Mystique looks in agony as she is reborn, emerging from the strange pod, her body covered in gunk as she wriggles free. 'There you are...' Charles smiles. 'Even knowing I could bring you back... a part of me dies when any of you do... so let's not do that again, shall we?' he suggests. Cyclops is reborn nearby and asks if it worked. The Professor confirms that it did, that they succeeded, and their sacrifice was not in vain – it was a gift, and in the giving, they saved everyone.

'You saved us all... and for that we are grateful' Charles tells Mystique, who sits nearby with Magneto standing behind her. 'But you need more' Mystique remarks, adjusting one of her gloves. Magneto informs her that they all died beyond the reach of Cerebro, meaning they were restored to their last backup before they left. 'The Mother Mold is gone, yes, but as to the other... we believe you  succeeded. But we need to know that you did' Magneto explains. 'And how would you  know if I planted the flower or not?' Mystique asks, adjusting her other glove. 'We wouldn't' Charles replies. Magneto tells her that they believe she did – but they need to know she did. 

Mystique stands before one of the Krakoan teleportation gates and asks what happens if she walks through the gate and she didn't grow a gate on the other side. Magneto tells her that she won't walk anywhere – she'd just walk straight through, as the gateway flowers are grown in tandem, and the other side has to be active for it to work. 'The problem is if they've found it and you're walking into a trap...  or worse' Magneto remarks, adding that they have to know – so off Mystique has to go. Mystique then steps through the portal, and when she emerges on the other side, disguises herself as an Orchis space station worker.

Mystique moves through the space station with ease, passing two Orchis workers at their posts. She walks down a corridor and into another lab – where she takes a strange object from Director Devo and Omega Sentinel, and delivers it to Dr Alia Gregor.

Shortly, Mystique looks at the strange humanoid figure being created in Alia Gregor's lab. She then stands over the sleeping Dr Gregor, while holding a glowing blade. Still disguised, Mystique then leaves.

Back on Krakoa: 'We took our shot... and we missed' Mystique reports. Xavier asks her what happened, to which Mystique admits that most of it is beyond her understanding, but that it looks to her that their belief that Nimrod comes from the Mother Mold might be wrong. A hologram of the Nimrod sentinel appears, as Mystique informs Xavier and Magneto that there is a scientist aboard the station, Alia Gregor, who is building something that looks just like a Nimrod. Magneto asks Mystique why she didn't just take care of it, to which Mystique replies 'Haven't you heard? We have laws'. 'Not for that. Not for them. And let's be honest, not for you... if you thought it needed doing. So why didn't you?' Magneto exclaims.

'Because you needed to know. And now you know' Mystique replies. Charles taps his helmet and tells Mystique that it is more than that. 'Out with it, Raven' he demands. Mystique narrows her eyes as she tells Charles and Magneto that she has been helpful, cooperative, and as much as it is not in her nature, she has done her part. 'But I'm not doing one more thing until you give her to me' Raven snaps. 'That wasn't the deal' Magneto replies, looking up at the hologram of the Nimrod. 'I don't care. Bring her back' Mystique snarls through gritted teeth. 'Raven... after all this time – after all the years of you stabbing your own kind in the back just to get what you want – after all that, do you really think we can trust you?' Charles asks.

'I WANT MY WIFE BACK!' Mystique screams. 'And she will return... when you have earned it' Xavier assures Mystique. Magneto glances over his shoulder at Mystique and tells her that they need her to do this – that it must be done. Mystique clenches her fists, before she runs a hand through her hair and reports that they have some time, that Alia Gregor is not that far along. Mystique then offers to go back tomorrow. 'Good. Thank you' Charles replies. Mystique hangs her head, before looking up at Charles and telling him that she hates him – that she has always hated him. 'Hated and feared. I fear I'm growing numb to it' Charles responds. 'Not because it doesn't bother me, but because all of this is... bigger than how we feel... it's bigger than me' Charles tells Mystique, who turns and walks away as Charles tells her that it is certainly bigger than her.

Mystique enters the area of Krakoa known as the Oracle, makes her way down a long set of stairs and enters a room where she pours herself a drink.

'What I'm about to tell you isn't going to sound believable, but I promise it's all true. I want you to listen carefully. Every word of it' Destiny utters as she and Mystique continue to look out to the setting sun. 'I don't know why you're talking to me like this, Irene. Yes, I'm a skeptic, but I always believed everything you have told me' Raven remarks. Irene suggests they put that to the test, and informs Raven that years from now, long  after she is done, long after she has left her broken and this broken world behind – something is going to happen that will sound too good to be true to Raven's cynical ears. 'Gone? If you can see your death, then -' Mystique begins, putting a hand on Irene's hand, to which Irene interrupts her, and tells her that she is focusing on the wrong part. 'Listen. Hear the words of an oracle: There will be an island – not the first, but the last. This place will seem to be hope for our kind. They will invite you in, lift you up and then deny you the one thing you want' Irene tells Raven.

Irene continues, informing Raven that they will promise it to her, but they will do everything they can not to honor their word because they are afraid. 'They want us blind for some reason. But you and I, my dear, were born to see'. Raven admits that she doesn't understand any of this, to which Raven tells her that she knows, and that when it is time, she will. 'And when those days come,  remember these words: BRING ME BACK'.

Raven sits in a shadowy room and stares ahead at Destiny's golden mask that hovers above a rock formation, glowing. Raven raises her glass as she remembers more of what Irene said to her: 'And if you cannot... if they will not... then burn that place to the ground'.

Characters Involved: 

Cyclops, Magneto, Mystique, Professor X

Captain Craine, Doctor Gregor, Director Devo, Mister Sands, Omega Sentinel (all Orchis)
Orchis staff

in flashback:
Destiny & Mystique

Story Notes: 

Destiny was slain by Legion in the classic Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #255.

The flashback scene “Then. Plans” and “Then. The Mission” take place around or during House of X #4.

Destiny refers to an island, not the first, but the last, probably referencing other islands that was home to much of mutantkind, Genosha andUtopia.


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