Utopia, home of the Uncanny X-Men, and most of the rest of mutantkind. Scott “Cyclops” Summers stands with his arms behind his back and stares out a meeting room window. Professor Charles Xavier stands several feet away, also looking out the window. Towards the rear of the room are several senior X-Men including Wolverine a.k.a. Logan, Rogue, Emma Frost a.k.a. the White Queen, Warren “Angel” Worthington III, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde, Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin, Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto. Doctor Nemesis of the X-Club is also with them. No one speaks as they look over at Cyclops and Xavier.
Kitty breaks the silence when she announces ‘Maybe we were wrong. Maybe it’s not coming -’, but the White Queen interrupts, declaring that it is coming, and they will not be able to stop it. ‘There’s nothing we could have done to prevent it’ Emma adds. Doctor Nemesis tells the X-Men that they are going to have to act quickly, as even the slightest delay will put lives unnecessarily at risk. He never thought he would say this, but if this is really what they think it is, their changes of surviving an encounter rest somewhere between nil and zero. ‘We must begin an immediate evacuation’ he declares.
‘So we turn tail and run just ‘cause you’ve done a few calculations, Doc? We evacuate Utopia ‘cause you’re worried the fight might get messy?’ Logan asks. ‘Call me crazy but it seems to me we just got here. I for one ain’t gonna jump ship at the first sign of trouble. Not even for this’. Kitty points out that it doesn’t matter what they do, as long as they do something. They cannot afford to wait, they don’t have time. ‘What’s Scott doing in there?’ she asks, as Magneto walks over to Cyclops, and stands at his side.
Rogue tells everyone that this doesn’t make any sense. ‘We’re Scott’s senior advisors and if ever there was a time for consensus it’s now. God, I hope he knows what he is doing’ Rogue adds. Wolverine frowns, while Colossus asks ‘What if we don’t have to evacuate? We could make a stand here. There’s enough to us to hold back the first wave -’, but Piotr is interrupted by Rogue who asks what good that would do, as holding it back is just delaying the inevitable. The White Queen points out that nothing is inevitable, and that no one said they were delaying anything. ‘Besides, even if we could try to evacuate we’re already past that point’ she remarks, telling the X-Men that they have to give Scott time to make the best decision.
Magneto turns back to the X-Men and informs them that Scott will be with them present. ‘He asks me to apologize on his behalf, but as I’m sure you’re all aware, this is a moment of monumental gravity’. The X-Men have questions: ‘Did he say what he wants us to do?’ someone asks. ‘I don’t see how what we do is anybody’s choice anymore’ another remarks. ‘Anyone listening to me? We have to move now’ someone else declares.
Charles Xavier looks at Cyclops: ‘When I think of you now…I think of a field of barley’ he remarks telepathically.
Flashback, narrated in parts by Charles Xavier:
Years ago, Charles Xavier sits in his wheelchair, and moves through a field of barely - towards where two beams of optic energy are emanating from, bursting into the night sky. ‘The glasses were giving me a headache’ young Scott Summers, leaning back in the barley, tells Charles. Charles informs Scott that he is getting headaches because he keeps taking the glasses off. ‘I’ve told you, Scott. It’s dangerous to use your powers for prolonged periods of time’ Charles reminds the young mutant. Scott assures the Professor that he did not look at anything. ‘I promise. A plane went by and I didn’t even glance at it’.
‘Still, it’s dangerous. And you’re going to draw unwanted attention from the FAA’ Charles tells his pupil, asking him to close his eyes and when they have adjusted put the glasses back on. Scott complies, and shuts his eyes, while asking the Professor if he can ask him a question. ‘Of course’ Charles tells him. ‘Why are we here?’ Scott asks, lying back with his eyes closed. Charles replies that it is a very complicated question, one that has troubled philosophers since the beginnings of existential debate. ‘I didn’t mean that. I mean why have you brought me and the others to Westchester? Are we in trouble?’ Scott explains.
But Charles tells him that is far from it. ‘You’re here because I want you here’ he assures the young mutant. Scott asks Professor X what he is training them for, to which Charles tells him that he wants them to be able to control their powers. He points out that people will want to see that mutants are nothing to be feared, and that as mutants they are developing certain natural abilities that science is only now beginning to understand. Charles states that he believes humankind is changing, that they are going to wake into a realm of existence that was previously only dreamed of. Xavier puts his hand on Scott’s arm and tells him that they are two of the very first, and that even though they are few, he is convinced the world will be brimming with new and astounding mutations within just a few generations. ‘Which makes you a very special young man indeed’ Charles tells Scott.
But with his ruby-quartz glasses on, Scott gazes away, the stars burning in the sky above him. ‘I don’t want to be special. I want to be ordinary’ he replies. Standing up, Scott tells Professor X that he doesn’t want to be like this. ‘Who wants to shoot laser beams out of their eyes?’ he asks. ‘They’re not laser beams -’ the Professor begins, but Scott declares that it doesn’t matter what they are, as all people see is a freak - an outsider. Charles and Scott move on to a path as Charles tells Scott that he understands how he must feel, and assures him he is not a freak. ‘I think it’s time you understood that not everyone sees you that way’ Charles remarks, adding that it is important that Scott spends time among them so they can see how normal he is. Charles suggests he may take Scott and the other boys into town tomorrow afternoon.
‘That won’t make me normal’ Scott replies, and points out that in town they will have to run into normal people, and that normal people are always afraid of him. ‘And sooner or later it just comes out. People talk behind my back. Sometimes to my face’ Scott declares, before remarking that it is not fair, and that it makes him angry. He tells the Professor that he feels like punching out the next moron who calls him a freak. ‘What if I took off my glasses and just blasted someone -’ Scott begins, but Charles interrupts, and reminds Scott that he possess quite a mind, that he can even read the minds of others - but he cannot predict the future. ‘Even so, I’m going to predict yours’ the Professor tells his pupil.
Charles tells Scott that one day he is going to run into someone a lot weaker than he who is going to try and push him down. ‘Why?’ Scott asks. ‘Because you’re stronger, and weak people fear you. And what will you do when that day comes?’ Charles replies. ‘Push back’ Scott declares. ‘No. You will simply do nothing’ Charles tells him, explaining that real strength comes from keeping his glasses on until the time is right to take them off. ‘A truly powerful man doesn’t need strength. He needs control’ the Professor points out. Scott looks up to the sky and replies that he does not understand. ‘I know. But you will’ Charles tells him, before asking him to come over, just a for a moment. ‘I know this has been so hard on you and the other boys’ Charles tells Scott as he gives him a hug and tells him that he is going to be a fine young man.
Scott gazes out the window still. ‘You wanted to speak with me, Scott?’ Professor X asks as he approaches Scott, who replies that he we would welcome the Professor’s advice. ‘Can you join me for a moment, please?’ Scott asks. The Professor looks away, and replies ‘I can only tell you what I know. It’s not going to be easy’.
Flashback images, narrated by Professor X:
‘Nothing worthwhile is ever easy’ Charles remarks as he recalls Jean Grey’s introduction to the X-Men. He reminds himself that those first few weeks at the school were always full of surprises, and he is not sure he knew what to expect once he had brought Jean into the mix. ‘But I suppose she always had a better idea of it than I’ Charles admits, recalling how Jean was always so sure, while Scott was the exact opposite. Charles remembers the early days of training as if they were yesterday. ‘You and Hank blasting away any obstacle I could throw at you, Warren swooping by…everyone slipping on Bobby’s ubiquitous slides…those were truly the best times’.
Charles remembers how badly the other boys always wanted to impress Jean, and he can remember one day realizing that they were never going to hit their mark. Charles recalls the boys fooling about, and Jean and Scott’s coy glances. As he remembers the X-Men’s first battle against Magneto, he declares ‘I sent you into battle as children’. But the X-Men emerged into the world as a benign force, set against the forces of evil. ‘It was all so simply back then. All so black and white’.
‘You and Jean were going to be heroes in a world where everyone loved you. Perhaps as much as you loved each other’. But things changed.
Charles Xavier wheels himself towards Cyclops who is slumped over a desk, head in his hands. ‘I don’t need to read your mind to know what you’re thinking. It’s about Jean, isn’t it?’ Charles asks. Scott looks up and tells the Professor that he just wants to look at her with his eyes - just one time, he wants to have it the way other people have it. Scott assures the Professor that he does not mean to complain, as he knows some people are disabled or blind or something. ‘But if they get to dream about being better, why can’t I?’ Scott remarks, tears streaming out from under his ruby-quartz glasses.
Cyclops wipes his face as the Professor tells him that he is not sick. ‘You’re a mutant. And this just happens to be a side effect of your power’ he explains. ‘It’s not fair’ Scott replies. ‘If life were fair, I’d get out of this chair’ Charles remarks, before telling Scott that it is his sad duty to report that this is not an academy lesson, but a life lesson - everybody gets them, which makes Scott just as normal and ordinary as can be. ‘I wish I could walk - I wish I could fly, even. I wish the world were a better place and I understood all of its mysteries’. Charles adds that he wishes that in his lifetime that all mutants could come together on common ground, united under one flag and for one cause. ‘But I’m not going to get my wish, am I?’
‘I was wrong. Not about me. About you’ Charles tells Scott telepathically. ‘You’ve done what I could never do: You’ve united mutantkind and provided us a safe haven and a common purpose. You made it happen’ Charles declares, before pointing out that suddenly it is not so safe. That they have only just come into being, and yet it may be all gone by this time tomorrow. ‘Unless you make your first big decision as our leader a good one’ Charles tells Scott.
‘All of those sacrifices. Were they worth it?’ Charles asks Scott, while he recalls the original Phoenix incident. ‘Jean - wait! You’re not giving us any choice!’ Cyclops said to her, but it was useless, as she sacrificed herself.
Charles telepathically tells Scott that it was a hard road that brought them here - possibly too hard. He points out that a straight ad featureless road never possessed beauty, nor presented a worthwhile challenge. ‘You’ve brought us all the way to its end. Thanks to you, we’ve arrived here together as one people’ Charles tells Cyclops.
Flashback images, narrated by Professor X:
‘But all of us have suffered’ Charles remarks, recalls when his legs were crushed. ‘I too was once broken’ Scott tells Cyclops, reminding him that when he was a young man, his legs were crushed beyond repair, and as he lay in a hospital in India, he fell into a great depression. Charles reveals that one day soon after his injury, a very wise old Indian doctor came to visit him, and offered to show him a way past all of his pain. The pain, so the doctor said, was no longer physical, it was mental, and he would only overcome it if he could heal his mind.
Charles tells Scott that the doctor led him to a dark, empty room, not much more than a box, and told him not to come out until he was had accepted his far - that he was never going to walk again. ‘And the truth was self-evident’ Charles adds, before revealing that he sat in the dark room, and mourned for what he had lost, until he was ready to come out of the room. When the old doctor returned, the pain was still there. “I didn’t tell you it would go away” the doctor told Charles. “I told you I would show you a way past it” he reminded him.
‘I have seen you go into that box many times’ Charles tells Scott as they both continue to stare out the window.
Flashback images, narrated by Professor X:
Charles reminds Scott that after Jean’s death, he put his heart and soul inside a very dark place. The X-Men moved forward and Cyclops moved on, and Charles never saw or felt any sign that Scott would lose control. But Charles tells Scott that he knows the pain never left - that it hung around him like a cloud, and Charles could never tell if Scott had emerged from the box, or if he was simply surrounded by it. ‘But you never seemed to lose control’, which is when Charles realized how badly he had failed Scott. That this is when Scott should have cried.
‘I have seen you reject your former life and head off for parts unknown’ Charles tells Scott, referring to when he left the X-Men and joined the crew of the Arcadia. ‘But you did it on your own terms and at your own pace’. Charles reminds Scott that they have disagreed, as any father and son might, and they have sometimes taken different paths to reach the same conclusion. ‘We have witnessed on M-Day what we imagined to be the end of our entire species’ Charles reminds Scott, and points out that they have seen half of creation together, that Scot has visited other dimension and other times. ‘You have looked down the barrel of a gun held to your face by your own son, and never once did it seem as though you were going to lose control’. Xavier reminds Cyclops that they have listened to the shouts and cries of those who fear mutants - because they are weaker. ‘And we have simply walked away’ Charles declares, adding that they have demonstrated true power by the way in which they are restrained. ‘All of this under your steady guidance and leadership’.
‘And now we are here’ Charles announces. ‘I beg your pardon, Professor?’ Scott asks. “And now we are here”, Charles repeats himself. ‘As opposed to where?’ Cyclops asks. Charles explains that it is a little mantra he likes to repeat to himself in situations like this, as it reminds him to deal with the moment and not to distract himself worrying about the past or the future. Cyclops points out that is very profound, and tells the Professor that he cannot remember him ever telling him that before. ‘I’m full of surprises’ Charles remarks. Scott replies that he likes it, but adds that he would have to say he is not sure either of them has ever been in a position like this.
There is silence between the two men, before Cyclops asks the Professor if he thinks they should evacuate. ‘I’m not thinking of giving up, if that’s the question’ Charles replies. ‘Then we stay and fight. It has to be all of us. Every single mutant on Utopia’ Cyclops declares. The Professor remarks that he has sent children into battle before, when he was in Scott’s position. ‘When you and the others didn’t return from Krakoa, I sent mere children after you. And as it turned out, I sent them to their deaths’ Charles reminds Scott, adding that of all the decisions he has ever made, it remains the one he regrets the most.
‘If we take a stand, it has to be all of us. We won’t make it unless it’s everyone’s power combined. Not against this’ Cyclops announces. Charles tells him that he has to be sure what he is doing is correct. ‘If I could predict the future, I would. But I can’t’ Scott replies. ‘Then I suppose you’d better make the right decision’ Charles tells Cyclops. There is silence again, before Scott turns to the Professor and thanks him, before asking him to tell the others that he will be with them momentarily.
‘I think of you as a father thinks of his son. I want so much to tell you how proud I am of the man you have become’ Charles thinks to himself as he turns and approaches the others. But he realizes that it is no longer his place to tell Scott anything. ‘You have become a greater man than I’ Charles concedes to himself. He knows that the fate of all mutantkind rests heavy upon Cyclops’s shoulders. ‘And should we survive the night it will rest on your shoulders again tomorrow’ Charles thinks to himself. ‘But if you ever collapse under the weight I will be there to share the burden, my boy. I will always be there’ Xavier thinks to himself, while Cyclops glances back at him.