Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters
Scott Summers, age 22, sporting jeans, a blue t-shirt and a pair of ruby quartz glasses, can only stare in awe at the machinery in front of him. “Scott? Are you listening to me?” the wheelchair bound Xavier asks his prize student. The elaborate setup is called Cerebro, the Professor explains, and it’s designed to detect and locate mutants. It’s for you, Charles continues, telling Scott he will soon replace him as the leader of the X-Men.
This catches the venerable field leader off guard. Scott can only stand in shock at what he just heard. “Replace you..?” he replies. Charles wheels himself over to the Cerebro monitor and tells him it’s only temporary, explaining he has to leave on urgent business and while he’s gone he wants Scott in charge.
Scott holds up his hands in protest and tells Xavier he can’t accept the position. He admits he’s been thinking about leaving the X-Men and mentions some consultations he’s had with some doctors about curing his eye-beam problem.
The monitor in front of the Professor zooms in on the continent of Africa. Although he seems to not be paying attention he tells Scott he’s also talked to Doctor Stathis and they both agree a ”cure” is highly unlikely. Scott is confused as to how the Professor knows Doctor Stathis. Xavier tells him Stathis is also a mutant, one he found using Cerebro.
After Cerebro locks in the exact location of the mutagenic signature Charles turns to look at Scott, “I need you to listen now…” He wheels himself around telling Scott it’s not his mutant power that he was born with, but his ability to lead, to inspire others, which led to his decision. Xavier tells Scott he has a responsibility to all of humanity, mutants and humans alike.
Xavier points to the bright, red light glowing over a section of northeastern South Africa, just outside of Pretoria. At that spot on the map there are three tiny red blips in close proximity to each other. Xavier explains it’s a group of three mutants, just coming into their powers, maybe triplets or a coincidental grouping of teenagers. The Professor tells Scott those three need him, as does he.
Charles also cautions Scott of the gravity of the situation, that if he does accept the position he must do it with eyes wide open, fully aware of the risks, the responsibilities, and the losses he may incur along the way. Scott grimaces, his face shifting toward the floor. “Your eyes, Scott. Are they open?” Charles asks.
de Havilland Mosquito
What was at one point a fun family trip aboard Christopher Summers’ vintage WWII bomber divulges into a nightmare for the entire Summers clan. A Shi’Ar scout ship flying above strafes the Mosquito with plasma fire. Katherine urges her husband to do something, but there’s only so much one can do against an alien race with superior technology.
The plane takes a hit halfway between the cockpit and tail. Chris tells his wife to get the boys strapped into the ‘chute. Both Alex and his older brother, the ten-year-old Scott are panic-stricken, eyes wide in fear.
Katherine fastens the pack to Scott, while Alex wraps his arms around his brother. Scott protests what she’s doing not wanting to leave his parents behind. Stuttering in a frenzied panic Katherine lies to her son that they’ll be following right after. Scott refuses to leave, saying he won’t go without them.
“Scott!” Christopher yells, his voice nearly drowned out through the noise and Alex’s crying. Scott turns to look toward his father and is told Alex is now his responsibility. Despite his reservations Scott knows what he needs to do.
Katherine rushes them over to the open door telling them over and over how much she loves them. She instructs Scott to hold onto Alex tightly and to never let him go, no matter what. Then out the door they go, plummeting toward the Earth.
Alex screams as they fall and Scott does his best to comfort him. When the parachute releases, Scott almost loses his grip on his brother. He manages to keep a grip on the back of his jacket. “I--got you--,” Scott assures him.
The Shi’Ar aren’t about to let them go either. As the alien ship continues its assault on the Summers’ plane it tears a hole through the ‘chute. It catches fire, much to Scott’s despair. When Alex asks what’s going on, Scott tells him it’s nothing. He then reminds Alex of the song dad used to sing to them and tells him to keep thinking about that. “Th-the one about the plane?” he asks. “Yeah! That one!” he replies with forced enthusiasm all the while watching as his parents’ plane goes up in flames.
Alex starts singing and continues to do so as they slowly make their way to the ground. Just as they begin to near the tops of trees Scott presses the release button on the parachute. The two boys fall to the soft earth just as their parents’ plane explodes into the mountainside. Scott hits the ground first, landing on his back, with Alex still pressed up against him. The Shi’Ar jet alters course and heads toward space. On the ground below Scott rubs the back of his head while Alex cries into his hands.
As evening falls the boys have already set up camp. Sitting on a log in a small clearing, huddled in front of a campfire, Scott holds his hands up to either side of his head and rocks forward. A concerned Alex asks if he’s ok. “I must have hit my head in the fall”, Scott replies, telling his little brother not to worry. He then suggests they sing another song.
The traumatized Alex remembers Scott had a headache yesterday and the day before. In a panicked voice he asks Scott if he has a brain tumor, if he’s going to die. Scott plays it off like it’s nothing, guessing it may be a concussion, and starts toward the little lean-to they’ve set up amongst the trees. When Scott says they should try and get some sleep Alex runs over to him and tells him if he goes to sleep he’s going to die.
Bending down to his eye level, placing his hands on Alex’s shoulders, Scott looks him square in the eye and tells Alex he’s right, that he’s had these headaches before, but they always go away. He then reminds Alex of the long walk ahead of them and emphasizes their need to get some sleep. Scott recalls that their parents were planning on refueling at Glacier Bay, just south of there, and guesses somebody had to have seen the crash.
Scott also emphasizes the dangers out there, poachers and other riff-raff they don’t want to run into. He uses this as the reason they need to get going at first light. He then reminds Alex of the promise he made mom and dad, the one where he would take care of him. “I’m good at taking care of things”, he assures Alex.
“Scott?” Alex asks softly, averting his eyes from his big brother. “I don’t miss ‘em yet. Is that wrong?” Scott tells him he’s just in shock, as is he, and promises he’ll miss them soon enough.
A spotlight suddenly appears on the outskirts of their camp and is quickly shining down on their faces. A U.S. military chopper hovers overhead. A voice on a bullhorn orders them to stay where they are upon threat of shooting. The voice orders them to place their hands in the air. When neither child complies the voice becomes agitated and yells at them to do it.
Alex looks over at his big brother and asks what to do. Scott rubs his head with another headache coming on, a faint whisp of red energy leaking out from his clenched left eye. It goes away quickly and he tells Alex to run, though he stays standing as the chopper slowly makes its descent.
Several men wearing winter-camouflage uniforms carrying M-16s scout the immediate area. A soldier wearing a brown knit cap reports back to the officer in charge that there’s no sign of poachers or Russkies, just the kid.
One of the men approaches Scott and asks what he’s doing out there, questioning if he was on that plane that went down. Scott tells him he was and points to the woods saying he and his brother were the only survivors. He tells Alex to come out and the scared boy eventually does. The soldiers load them onto the helicopter with Scott once again promising to take care of him.
State Home for Foundlings
It’s nighttime in Omaha, which means bedtime at the orphanage. The seventeen-year-old Scott has the bottom bunk in his room and once again he’s holding his hands to his head, writhing in pain from another intense headache. His top bunkmate, Nate, looks down at him and whispers for him to go to sleep. Scott complains about his head and then bolts upright.
“No!” he yells, opening his eyes wide. He’s unprepared for what happens next as his eyes let loose with an immensely powerful red energy blast that blows a hole clean through his room to the outside of the house. Scott closes his eyes, not meaning to have done that. He carefully finds his way to the crater in the wall and leaps out to the ground below. He runs over to the wall surrounding the place and climbs over top. The headmaster, Milbury, rushes out just in time to see Scott escape.
Later, Scott finds himself in an alley somewhere in the city. He sits down in his stocking feet on a slab of concrete. His hands still covering his eyes he screams out loud, “What’s happening to me?” A figure in a wheelchair makes its way toward him explaining it’s nothing unnatural. When he reaches Scott he hands him a yellow visor with a ruby quartz lens and tells him to put it on.
Scott does as told and can feel the quartz keeping his power in check. Xavier explains ruby quartz is designed to stop many wavelengths of light and energy. Now Scott’s a little bit suspicious and asks why the man is giving this to him and what he wants in return. Xavier folds his hands together and tells Scott he doesn’t have to do anything, but would appreciate it if he would at least hear him out.
All hell’s broke loose at Cape Citadel where an evil mutant has taken over. Bullet casings litter the pavement where Cyclops stands firing his optic blasts at a powerful force field centered around the control room.
“Professor? I’m listening-- are you with me?” the 22-year-old Cyclops relates to Xavier via telepathy. Xavier responds, filling Scott in as to the whereabouts of the rest of the team. He tells Cyclops he’s alone on this one; the first attack falls on him. Cyke wants to know what this “evil mutant” wants. There’s no time for psychoanalysis, the Professor tells him, and orders Scott to concentrate on tactics.
From his home at the School for Gifted Youngsters Charles tells Cyclops to link his mind with his so he can see what he sees on the mansion’s computer screen. After doing so he asks Scott if he can now see the direction of the magnetic current of the force field. The mental image of red lines relayed from Charles is clear as day. The Professor then tells him to fire a beam directly parallel to the force lines.
Cyclops lets loose with a thin, well-aimed beam along the current line. Xavier then instructs him to create a wider spread blast running perpendicular to it. Feeling coddled the field leader of the X-Men cuts him off and tells Xavier to let him work. As you wish, Scott… Xavier replies mentally. “…lesson over,” he states to himself.
The force field shatters in front of Cyclops. He hurries his way inside only to be met by dozens of metallic objects flying through the air at him. A man in a red and purple outfit, wearing a helmet and cape levitates in the air in the center of the room. The attack knocks Scott down and makes him a bit groggy. As he struggles to his feet he tries contacting the Professor to no avail.
“He appears to have abandoned you…,” Magneto proclaims, “…another father gone away.” Maybe Xavier’s power isn’t as strong as he claims, Magneto suggests. After all, he continues, Cyclops was able to penetrate his force field, but he was not. Magneto tells Scott he’s outgrown Xavier.
This doesn’t sit well with Cyclops. With a grim look of determination he gets back to his feet and fires an optic blast directed at Magneto’s head. The Master of Magnetism blocks it with ease telling Cyclops he’ll never beat him with the same trick twice. He then slams Cyclops into the wall using his own magnetic prowess.
Magneto tells Cyclops he heard his voice traveling through the magnetic waves and heard him questioning what an evil mutant is, and what Magneto wanted. He holds out his hand to Scott and tells him to ask away.
The first question Scott has is how Magneto knows his name. He tells Cyclops he’s been monitoring Xavier’s “Institute” and the poison he’s been using to infect their minds, his fairy tales of good and evil. Magneto proclaims to have seen evil and says what he’s doing is mere practicality than anything. He rambles on about the natural order and claims Xavier denies these teachings with his preaching of cooperation and communication with the baseline humans. “A quick study of history shows: he has already lost,” Magneto declares.
The lecture continues as Magneto asks if Xavier ever explained the motives, the goals, the demons, the passions that drive him, if he trusted Scott to weigh the options and choose a side. “Or did he simply cry: ’Evil Mutant’?” Magneto ends with a flourish.
Scott seems to be at a crossroads, unsure of how to respond to his questions. His teammates don’t give him any time to think either as Magneto spies them on his monitor approaching the force field. He tells Cyclops his friends are coming, but first he wants to plant a tiny seed.
With a wave of magnetic energy he rips off Scott’s mask. Scott tells him to stop, but Magneto only tells him to close his eyes and promises not to take advantage of his condition, he only wants him to listen, for one day they will face each other on the battlefield where Magneto will show what he’s truly capable of.
Magneto levitates as he explains that one day mutants will rule the Earth. He claims his actions only hasten the day. Scott doesn’t buy it pointing out that Magneto has murdered innocents, hijacked missiles and threatened millions with destruction. It’s a fine line between revolutionary and terrorist, Magneto retorts. Doesn’t it just all depend on which side wins, he asks Scott. Cyclops, crawling on the floor in search of his mask, tells him it doesn’t.
As his fingers grasp his hooded garb Scott places it back on his head and tells Magneto he’s wrong. He does admit Xavier’s teachings might be too simplistic and concedes humans might always live in fear of mutants, but that doesn’t mean they have to wipe each other out. They can’t become terrorists because neither side will win, Cyke continues. He implores Magneto they need to be better than that.
“We can be more. We can be a brotherhood--,” Cyclops states before his teammates finally break through into the room. Magneto decides there’s no time like the present to make good his escape. Before flying off he tells Scott he has an interesting theory, one that may be put to the test after his “father” is dead and gone.
Cyclops orders the team to stop him, but they’re waylaid by a bunch of metal objects flying through the air. As the team recovers, pushing chairs and the like off of themselves, Marvel Girl asks what Magneto wanted. Scott only tells her he’s an evil mutant, one who would have probably killed him in another minute. He then thanks them for their backup. Warren places a reassuring hand on his shoulder and reminds him they’re the X-Men and they’ll always back him up.
Having relived some of the defining moments in his life Scott Summers has an answer for the Professor, but first he has to make sure Charles understands something. If he is going to lead he will make decisions based on his own judgment, decisions Xavier might not like. He asks the Professor if his eyes are open. Yes, Charles replies after a moment’s hesitation.
“Then I’ll do it. I accept. I’ll lead the X-Men,” Scott states. “I’ll lead them all,” he adds, looking at the Cerebro monitor where more red blips have started to appear.