Professor Xavier: The professor made a gaffe earlier in his lecture! He said “mutate” when he actually meant to say “mutant!” Should I say something?
Just smelled the caterer driving up the highway. Still about a kilometer away. Unless my olfactory neurons deceive me, tonight we have a choice of peppercorn-crusted tenderloin or salmon marinated in mint and… basil! I’m famished.
Cyclops: Summers and I found a case of clay pigeons yesterday and had a grand old time engaging in some skeet-shooting.
Taking a cue from none less than Cerebro, I’ve been speaking to my colleagues in an unvarnished manner, as they prefer. Thank my stars and garters I can be less abridged when writing.
Angel: LATEST IRONY: I was very ready to reprimand Warren for his exorbitant spending on trifles last week when UPS arrived. The package (to me) was comprised of one custom-hewn pair of size 15 leather shoes, courtesy of our auto-aviator. Now I’m going to wait until Xavier’s mutant ethics class to decide whether to say anything.
Iceman: A most embarrassing episode: Drake lost his Frisbee on the mansion roof and asked me to retrieve it. Not thinking about which hall we were by as I scaled the wall, I came by the window of Jean – as she was readying for a bath. I barely opened my mouth to explain when I found myself propelled across the courtyard and into the fountain. As I shook off the water, I saw our Iceman pick up his Frisbee from behind a bush, laughing at me. Warning, young man: retribution is a hard comeuppance!
The X-Men are out for another night at the Café-A-Gogo and raring to go. They’ve got girls dancing on the table now, Warren announces after one look inside and Jean automatically holds her hand in front of Bobby’s eyes. Unfortunately, it’s only Zelda, the barista, changing a lightbulb.
Bobby spies two hot ladies who’ve been coming here more often recently. He instructs Jean to make a big deal over him, so the girls will wonder. And Warren should accidentally drop a few hundred bucks on the floor. How shallow does he think girls are? Jean asks annoyed. Before Bobby can give a detailed reply, Hank holds his mouth shut. Why doesn’t he just sit and let their fascinating repartee draw the girls in? he suggests. A moment later, a disappointed Bobby sees that the girls have three male companions who join them.
It’s Scott’s turn and Zelda asks him what it’ll be. While Scott is still considering his choices somebody from behind announces “a large latte.” Sounds good, Scott agrees before wondering. It’s one of the five youngsters who continue that the redhead would like a medium latte, half-decaf; the young loud one wants an iced mocha; surfer guy is going to ask for a triple Americano and the big man will talk about the caffeine in espresso vs. drip, then end up ordering a hot tea.
And now he feels good and predictable, Hank replies annoyed. Thanks. One of the girls asks them not to get mad. They listen to everyone’s order because they don’t have lives. Oh, he isn’t mad, Warren immediately flirts.
Annoyed, Jean orders a medium latte with all the caffeine. Zelda asks her if they’ve been watching the news. Those X-heads they are always talking about are on. The news repeats it non-stop.
The reporter describes how this rural area was shaken when gigantic creatures were released by criminal scientist Harvey Elder yesterday. They were subdued by the Fantastic Four, who then had to pursue “Mole Man” Elder to an remote island. The national guard has taken on the task of holding the beasts until the heroes return to transport them back, but that was when the costumed people attacked.
Cyclops carried by Angel destroyed the prison van, freeing the creatures, shouting that he will destroy the cage lock with his death eyes.
Oh man, Scott, why’d you free that thing? Bobby sighs. What? Shut up, Drake! comes the reply, he doesn’t say Death eyes.
The National Guard shoots at the monster that grabs one of their men. Marvel Girl incapacitates the guns and shouts at “Iceboy” to incapacitate them!
Iceboy? The other X-Men laugh at Bobby.
Iceboy orders “Bestial” to attack and he does so shouting “platitudinous! Indubitably! Ontogeny! Verbosity!
That’s so Hank, Bobby states. Oh, please, Hank sighs insulted.
The other container is destroyed and a huge crab-like beings comes from it. The X-Men leave, shouting at the monster to destroy the humans and teach them who their new masters are. The next step in evolution – Homo superior!
The real X-Men are more than disturbed. Bobby suggests they get in touch with the Professor. He’s dealing with personal stuff, Jean protests. They can’t drag him home every time anything comes up. Scott agrees. Warren was saying only yesterday they had to function without him.
He looks to Warren for agreement, but Warren is off trying to charm one of the girls with his car. The others call him back. Sorry a group of impostors wreaking havoc in their name doesn’t hold hid attention, Hank remarks sarcastically. Aw, this has Magneto and the Brotherhood written all over it, he shrugs. They’ll just go, kick ’em, zap ‘em, freeze ‘em and that will be the end of it. Jean disagrees. Unless Magnus has found a mutant who takes on someone’s appearance. Five of them.
As they leave, the five young people they talked to earlier look after them.
Minutes later, the five transfers contact heir leader, their high commander, a Skrull, as are they. He commends them for their move and thinks it was clever to move them from surveillance to active espionage. The Krellek council will no doubt promote all of them after they have eliminated this group of mutants.
The youngsters are surprised. The girl Warren flirted with remarks that it’s a waste of resources. The mutants are quite young after all. Not much younger than they, the commander replies, which is why they were chosen. They know the Skrull projections for the mutant population within the next two generations. Earth is a key station on the eventual Skrull conquest of this arm of the galaxy. A significant number of powered Terrans would make this colonization problematic. They have their orders. He asks them to drop their disgusting visages and they change to their Skrull shapes. Just one of them as if in rebellion keeps his human goatee.
The X-Men move towards the released monster with Angel flying ahead, trying to kept he monster from eating the panicked lifestock of a farm. Warren leads the monster to a barn where Jean punches the creature with a block of wood and Cyclops blasts him. Iceman finally freezes the creature and Beast makes an anonymous call to the National Guard. If they are all fighting among themselves, “git out,” the farmer threatens. He’s welcome, comes the reply.
The next day, the tired X-Men are in early at the coffee bar. They don’t know how the coffeemaker at school works. Bobby tells Zelda. Hank pipes up that he actually wants coffee today, as strong as possible.
They sink tired into their chairs, as they spent last night looking for that other monster – though in vain. Hank was trying to figure out its trail by studying topographic maps, but it defies all animal behavior, Hank remarks apologetically. It’s not a typical animal, Scott point out. Yeah, Hank yaws but a behemoth like that shouldn’t be so clever.
Again they are watched by the five Skrulls.
The girl Warren flirted with addresses them, having heard they were actually out looking for the monster. They were hoping to take some photos, Hank quickly explains. Aren’t they worried about the X-Men attacking them, the girl goads. No, Warren shouts. They’ve done a lot of research on them and there’s no way the X-Men freed those things.
Finally something’s more important to Warren than scoring, Scott whispers to Hank. They kill themselves trying to help people and show them mutants are cool, just for some losers to pull a stunt like that and undo all that work, Warren continues. Building up trust is hard, tearing it down is nothing. The Skrulls look embarrassed. He’s got to them. Warren apologizes to the girl, getting back into flirt mode.
Suddenly, somebody shouts at them to get to the basement. An old man enters the café in a panic, shouting that one of them big mutants is coming their way.
The X-Men run outside, while the disguised Skrulls are puzzled. None of them summoned the threat – the second monster, a giant praying mantis terrorizing main street. The X-Men immediately try to help evacuating people without showing their powers. Jean asks the Skrull kids to get back into the coffee shop.
They watch as the X-Men selflessly act. The five of them draw the creature away from the public into the shrubbery. Suddenly, lightning from its antennae hits them and they sink down unconscious.
Before it can harm them any further, it is hit by an optic blast courtesy of Skrull Cyclops. Skrull Beast orders him to attack again but he can’t. His visor is depleted. Both of them are taken out by electricity and revert to their true shapes. Skrull Angel diverts the monster. Skrull Marvel Girl, referring to him as Krillik, levitates the X-Men out of the way while Bellok – Skrull Iceman – tries to freeze the monster, only to find it harder than the real Iceman makes it look like.
The creature electrocutes Skrull Angel and swats the other two with his tail. All of them fall. A voice from the shadow remarks this is what happens when younglings are sent to do a warrior’s task. The Skrull girl tries to awaken Krillik.
Foolish children, the man (another patron of the Café a Go-go) mutters as he checks one of them for lifesigns. The girl finders herself face to face with the monster and is helpless. Whelps, the man mutters as he takes the fallen Skrull’s weapon and incinerates the monster.
Young crews simply aren’t suited for deep cover work, he announces. Too impressionable. They became sympathetic to their enemies, he accuses them in Skrull language. The council had a spy following them, the girl realizes. Yes, he agrees as he changes to his true form. It’s why they live now.
He uncovers his hidden spacecraft and informs them their mission here is terminated. They leave for debriefing on World 6. One of the youngsters apologizes. The humans tried to protect them. They couldn’t just let them die, another adds. Of course they could, he scoffs. That’s what being a Skrull is. He orders them to board. Sadly, they look backwards. Jean awakes, barely seeing the spacecraft leave.
What will become of them? Will they be eliminated? the young Skrull asks. No, they will probably be assigned to city planning or maybe work with the gladiator games on Kral. They can forget interstellar work.
Later at the Café a Go-go, the X-Men try to figure out what happened. If Jean says she saw a flying saucer that’s good enough for him, Hank states. Jean points out her head was still full of voltage at the time. Aliens wanting to discredit them, Scott muses. Lucifer maybe.
At the counter, Bobby inquires about the other group of youngsters that always hung around there. Zelda replies the monsters must have scared them off. They weren’t here at the usual time today.
Warren sulks. He wasn’t interested in the girls, was he? Jean teases him. He was going to ask that one out when the guys weren’t looking, he admits. Aww, now he’s just left with good looks, money and flying power, she “pities” him.
It would have been nice to make some new friends, Hank admits, Xavier’s school keeps them quite cut off from their own demographic. He bets they’d feel the same even at a regular school, Scott replies. Who’s going to ever know what it’s like to be them?
In the space ship, the five Skrulls who might know are busy playing tricks on each other.