(Embassy of Israel in London, United Kingdom)
A phone rings in the embassy and the ambassador answers it. When no one replies on the other end, Gabrielle Haller, David’s mother, says she can hear breathing.
(The Qortex Complex, Conceptual prison inside Legion’s head)
With his needles in a robotic personality, David starts to talk but then tells the personality to hang up. Before it does so, Gabrielle says it’s the third time this week and then asks how they got her number.
(Skeevy garden shed. Westchester, New York)
Sitting on a bed in the garden shed, David mutters to himself that he’s a coward as he hangs up the phone. He continues saying that he should have rehearsed. He then starts a pretend phone call and greets his mother. He says he’s the usual… he has no home, no girlfriend, no pals and he’s about to punch a hole in the fabric of space. He just thought he’d touch base to see how she is and ask where she’s been for 80% of his life. He then tells himself to man up and begins to meditate.
He says he has a plan, a plan with two parts. It’s a bloody stupid plan but that’s not the point. It’s the proactivity that counts. The doing-something-and-trusting-it’ll-work. In the mess that he calls a brain, a little bit of self belief keeps his inner David tougher than a honey badger from Hell.
Inside his mind, David still has Tyrannix strapped to his back but now he grabs two more personalities: Findle the Finder and Wormhole Wodo.
In the garden shed, David starts to glow as energy swirls around him. He says right now he is locating a bunch of disgusting monsters several thousand light-years away and he’s teleporting them fifty yards north of where he is. Which is basically impossible for anyone without 200 omega-level split personalities in his head. It’s also an inconsiderate thing to do to the people who live near here but this is only part one of the plan. Part two is all about his delightful, tentacled backpack buddy… Tyrannix the Abominoid. Thanks to him, his is the power of telepathy and he’ll be needing that. Part two is all about exploring forbidden areas to get the answers to some burning questions and that’s why he needed the flashy lightshow. David uses his telepathy to astrally project himself out of his body and towards…
(The Jean Grey School For Higher Learning, Also in Westchester, New York)
In front of the school, Kitty Pryde and Storm are watching Rockslide as he sweeps up leaves for detention. Suddenly, their attention is caught by a bright light as a portal opens up and a group of Dire Wraiths jump out of it. David says that the spandex types are a sucker for a diversion as Storm alerts everyone else to the situation. Kitty shouts to get the students to safety and Iceman spots they have a female, so they will need the psy-team. Chamber swears and says they will need everyone. Rachel Grey, Quentin Quire and the Stepford Cuckoos are mounting a psychic defense. Rachel yells for the kids to get inside but Quentin tells her no as this is way more exciting than their usual snoozefest.
David’s projection flies over the psychics as he marvels at the fact they are too busy to notice him getting into the mansion. As he makes his way to where he wants to be, his attention is caught by a picture of his father.
Inside his mind, he is sitting down and using his needles on Tyrannix. The yellow rat-like personality is watching him from the shadows and it sniggers, causing David to turn to see what made the noise.
Outside his projection flies past a statue of his father and he purposefully keeps looking ahead, saying he doesn’t have time. He needs to stay on the target. He enters the medical quarters of the school and finds Kavita Rao monitoring an unconscious Blindfold. Blindfold… she is a lass he barely knew but she wandered into his mind without so much as a by-your-leave, pacified the brawling beasties and then hit him with an unconscious snog.
David flies down to Blindfold and hovers just over her, staring at her. She said she’s meant to be his nemesis. He wishes that’s the only reason he can’t stop thinking about her. Something happened. Something inside him attacked her and left her comatose. He touches her forehead and enters her mind. The least he can do is try and help. And if he can find out more about her along the way, then that wouldn’t be bad.
Her real name is Ruth Aldine. She was born in North Carolina without eyes or sockets… mutant from birth. He dad left within a week, muttering about freaks. Her mother worked all hours to feed her children. And so Ruth was left with her brother, who was about 7 years old when she was a baby. The way her mind has it, broken and bent by trauma and twisted by misplaced loyalty, it’s her fault he hated her. Her unnerving predictions and the special attention, she’s full of unnecessary guilt about it all.
But David can see the truth. Her brother… the cruel boy… the vicious delinquent… the criminal junkie. As they grew up, her brother would often threaten her, beat her and steal money of their mother to feed his drug habit. It could have gone on like that forever, except a well meaning judge sent him off to rehab when he was in his late teens, and that’s where the trouble really began. The correctional program was run by a local church. It was dignified, conservative, respected but also bigoted. Whilst in his rehab group, the reverend would tell him it wasn’t about sickness or addiction. It was about succumbing to the evil corruptions of God’s pure creations. Promiscuity, mind-altering chemicals, homosexuality and the devils that walk amongst them… mutants!!!
It’s difficult to say if it really poisoned his mind as it was already toxic, but it helped give him focus. The priests never condoned violence; they were too upright for that. But you can bet they were on the sidelines egging it on. After rehab her brother took to drinking and he would physically assault mutants in the street. It was only a matter of time before he fell off the wagon and got himself proper crazy. He turned back to drugs only this time he started injecting himself. Not that Ruth understood why back then, she only knew her mother had more bruises… the cops paid more visits… and her brother watched her even closer. Until the day Luca went quiet as sin and slipped out to the woodshed to fetch a chainsaw. Calling Ruth an abomination, he started up the chainsaw. Their mother must have been asleep upstairs and had come running down to see what the commotion was. She surprised him at just the wrong time. The way Ruth remembers it, the whole thing is a nut-shell version of what it’s like to be a mutant. The story of collateral damage.
As Ruth’s mother begged for Luca to stop, he simply yelled for her to stop her interfering. Her mother protected Ruth as her brother attacked her with a chainsaw and she paid for it with her life. After he realized he had killed his mother, Luca was distraught but he still blamed Ruth, claiming she had forced him to do it.
There’s a blur after that which is only to be expected. A neighbor had heard the screams and called 911. Luca fled but he was caught and the trial lasted about half an hour, at which point he sat on death row for six years. It isn’t saying much but those were the happiest years of Ruth’s life. She went to live with her aunt in Prospect Plains and continued learning her gifts of sorting through futures, seeing beyond the world, moving matter and reading minds. And where absolutely necessary… changing them.
When Luca was due to be executed, she used her telepathy to make a guard think she had the right to be there to witness it. Even in her own brain, it’s hard to figure out why she felt she needed to be there. Something about family that transcended all the awfulness he had put her through. Something to do with solidarity.
It’s quite a thing to watch someone die. It’s another thing to find them watching you back. As Luca was strapped onto the table, he was given a lethal injection. As he died, his astral form left his body, much to Ruth’s surprise. It rushed towards her and grabbed hold of her. Maybe there was something special about him from the start or maybe all the Bible talk beefed up his ghost. Or maybe there was so much hate inside his brain it outlasted him. Whatever it was, it tore apart his sister’s psyche, ripped out half of the powers she had learnt and stole them away. Left her incomplete. Broken. Not all there. After Luca had gone Ruth was left lying on the floor muttering “sorry,” “yes,” “pardon” and “thank you.”
Things became fractured after that, like her mind won’t gel. She remembers the funeral director telling her that the mortician told him that Luca’s eyeballs were missing. She remembers her aunt telling her there was a school for people like her and asking if she wanted to go. She remembers Beast inviting her along to find out what caused Legion’s psychic episode.
David knows she’s hiding there in the gaps of her own self. He tries reaching out to her but he can’t quite touch her. Another presence screams at him to get out and he starts getting dragged out of her memories. He tries to resist but he astral for is expelled from her and is being sucked back into his own body. As he leaves the medical quarters, he sees Sojobo enter the room to be told by Dr. Rao that he shouldn’t be there, as there’s an emergency going on. Sojobo takes out a crowbar and hits her over the head, knocking her out. David is powerless to help as he is forced back into his own body.
When he comes to, he finds that Karasu is in front of him with a knife to his throat. A little stunned, he tells her she knows him, he’s her friend. With tears in her eyes, she angrily tells David that Sojobo has changed since he came. He speaks differently and he frightens her but he’s still her brother; he’s still family. As she pushes the knife tighter against him, she tells him that her brother told her to come here and bring David something. She hands David a letter and then asks what it says.
Something’s coming pal. Real soon. Something big + terrible to wipe out all you godless mutants forever. I seen it. And I’m just fine with that.
Thing is, my sister – my real 1 and not the freak – my sisters the only 1 got means to stop it.
(best part is I only know this cos of the powers I stole from her. You gotta laugh)
Anyways I ain’t about to let her stand in the way of you genescum going the way of the dodo. Sure you understand. So thanks for everything, you’ve been a real help. Just you sit tight huh.
David says Luca’s name in amazement and then the penny drops like a great bomb. The coincidental meeting with the eyeball monster in China. The lies in the mind of the monster, calculated to send him chasing off to rescue the twins. The hints, the nudges and the patterns within the chaos. All of it precise, deliberate cunning, all of it calculated to let a fiend get close to an angel.
David suddenly realizes that Karasu’s brother is dead. Just as he is reaching that conclusion, Sojobo is sitting on top of an unconscious Blindfold with a knife held above her. His eyeballs are now outside of his body and are glowing blue.