On the outside 1407 Graymalkin Lane Salem Centre seemed like any other mansion. The ground had been owned by the Xavier family for many generations but in recent years it had been turned into a school for gifted youngsters. Its current owner Professor Charles Xavier had turned it into a school since he lost the use of his legs after a trip to the Himalayas. Not many of the locals knew what happened inside the school but many of them turned a blind eye. There were several rumours circulating about this school, some say that it was a government funded school and others said that it was a school for freaks. Even the mailman was nervous whenever he stepped on the ground.
The inside of the school looked more like a home for a rich Hollywood movie star. But if you looked around you would notice classrooms, dormitories, library, indoor swimming pool and even a computer room. Since the year is 1983 the computers were not as hi-tech as they could have been. They were like large boxes with a keyboard and a mouse at the end of them. But the price of each one would cost the average man a year’s wages.
Outside the school was a tennis court, basketball court and a large patch that was used for sports like football and soccer. There was even a garden that someone had taken a lot of care in maintaining.
For all the size and majesty of the grounds there were eight people who called it home. These included Professor Charles Xavier the owner and headmaster of the school, Scott Summers, Bobby Drake, Hank McCoy and Jean Grey were amongst his first students some years ago. Logan was a student who had come when Xavier truly needed him and he decided to stay thereafter. Kitty Pryde was a young woman who had been a student since she was thirteen years old and was still the youngest student. The last was a mysterious Native American known only as Forge, he helped more the mansion’s technology than actually being a student.
However underneath the school was a different matter entirely to the upper parts. The mansion above was mainly wood but underneath it was stainless steel. This part of the mansion was kept out of view from the outside world. It was like something out of a science fiction film brought to life. There was an infirmary, a war room, a detention room and there was a hangar. Inside the hangar was a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. This jet had been specially designed and upgraded by Forge who had a talent with machinery. It was constantly being upgraded and wasn’t used as much as expected.
But possible the largest room in this sub-basement was known simple as the Danger Room. Since the students of this school were gifted students this was where they would train. These students weren’t truly human, they were known as mutants. They were feared by the very people they wanted to protect.
Mutants are thought to be the next step in human evolution but many of the human’s saw them as nature’s great mistake. Some would go to great lengths to see them eradicated off the face of the earth. But Professor Xavier had a dream of peaceful co-existence between the human and the mutants. However many saw that as an impossibility but the ones who have also believed in his dream have joined him in trying to make it a reality. Professor X called these people his X-Men.
Professor X was the most powerful telepath on the planet. Although he was a paraplegic he didn’t let this hinder him in any way. His body might not have been that strong, his mind however would more than compensate for this.
Xavier’s first student at the mansion was Scott Summers who is both gifted and cursed with optic blasts. Due to head trauma suffered as a child Scott can not switch his powers off meaning that he would blast anything he sees. Thankfully he wore ruby quartz glasses that blocked his powers. This was the only way he could look at someone without killing them with his powers. His codename with the X-Men was Cyclops and he was their leader in the field.
Bobby Drake was like the class clown. His powers allowed him to freeze moisture molecules in the air and redirect it in whatever way he sees fit. Much to the annoyance of many of his team mates Bobby uses his powers more for his own amusement rather than helping them out. But when push comes to shove Bobby would always pull through for his team. He even very fittingly called himself Ice-Man.
Xavier’s first student was a man called Hank McCoy. Even though his codename was Beast it was a gross oversimplification of the man. Hank was gifted with superhuman strength, stamina and dexterity. However his outward appearance would turn many away. Unfortunately due to his mutation he hand long blue fur all across his body and he had some other ape like features. His mind was something completely different though. He had intelligence that would rival any Government scientist and this was through his own hard work.
Jean Grey was the first woman to follow in Xavier’s dream. She was a powerful mutant with both telekinetic and telepathic abilities. Her powers made her possibly the most powerful member of the X-Men. Jean however never used her telepathic powers against anyone unless she had no choice. Her telepathy however was not as powerful as Professor X but was growing at an almost alarming rate. She was also in love with Scott Summers but their relationship had been strained of late.
Logan was a very mysterious man, unlike many of the other X-Men he could only remember the last ten years of his life. Not even Professor X had been able to recover his memories. It seemed that they had been artificially wiped much like a computer hard drive. Logan was gifted with healing powers that meant he could heal from almost any injury, his skeleton was also laced with a metal alloy called Adamantium the strongest metal known to man. He also had six adamantium claws that would pop out of his knuckles. His senses were also superhuman, he could hear a pin falling from miles away, he could smell someone no matter how much they washed themselves. Logan was given the codename Wolverine by the Canadian government.
Kitty Pryde was youngest member of the X-Men. When her powers first activated she found herself uncontrollable phasing through solid objects as if she was a ghost. Since then she has learned to use her powers to great effect to both help her team and use against her opponents. Her powers also short circuit any electrical any electrical devises making her extremely valuable against enemies like the Sentinels. She was no longer the weak defenceless girl she had been once. Her codename was Shadowcat.
Forge was the technology expert of the team. Having lost his right leg during a tour of duty in Vietnam he used his powers to create a new one. His powers made him able to create any type of machine. This made making a robotic leg almost child’s play. Although his powers didn’t help him in combat his creations did however. His creations would also vastly help the X-Men in both offensive and defensive ways. This made him one of the most valuable members of the X-Men.
Inside the Danger Room Cyclops was leading Wolverine and Ice-Man in another of their training exercises. For now the room seemed to be completely empty but looks can be deceiving. There was a reason why this was called the Danger Room. They just didn’t know when the danger was coming. Forge had recently upgraded the Danger Room so they didn’t know when the danger would come.
“Stay sharp,” said Cyclops. “Anything can happen.”
“Oh come on Scott,” replied Ice-Man. “We’ve been in this room God knows how many times. There’s nothing that we haven’t fought against before. Let Forge throw his best at us we can take it.”
Just then part of the Danger Room wall opened and a very large shadowy figure walked out. At first it was hard to make out what it was but when it stepped into the light they soon realised who it was. It was a being of immense size and strength. His skin was light green and had a temper that was beyond measure. He was known to many as the Incredible Hulk, the strongest there is, was and ever will be.
“You were saying?” asked Cyclops.
“HULK SMASH PUNY HUMANS!” shouted the Hulk.
Ice-Man tried to freeze the Hulk in place but he easily broke out of his icy prison. Cyclops tried one of his optic blasts but it did little to slow the monster down. It walked towards them at a relatively slow pace.
“This isn’t working,” said Ice-Man. “How the hell did Forge get the Hulk here. Last I heard he was somewhere in Arizona.”
“Try attack move delta,” commanded Cyclops.
Ice-Man then froze the head of Hulk and Cyclops took off his visor and released the full energy of his optic blasts. It would be enough to stop anyone, but the Hulk wasn’t just anyone. He still walked towards and he clapped his hands sending a shockwave that took down the three X-Men. Only Wolverine could get back to his feet. Until now he had been silent and observant. But now it was his time to strike.
“I’m ending this now bub!” shouted Wolverine.
With almost lightning fast speed he ran up to the Hulk and jumped up into the air just in front of the monster. The Hulk went to punch him out of the air but Wolverine popped his adamantium claws and sliced the Hulk’s head. He dropped down onto knees and fell down onto the ground. But instead of blood coming out of their wound it was oil and electrical sparks. This hadn’t been the true Hulk, it had only been a robot designed to be exactly like the creature.
“Too easy,” said Wolverine. “The real Hulk wouldn’t have gone down that easily. Tell Forge to call me when he actually makes something realistic. I’m going for a brewski. Close program.”
As the other X-Men got their bearings back they saw Wolverine leave the Danger Room and they looked down at the Hulk robot. They were amazed that Wolverine could take it down as easily as he did when they had such a difficult time. But since he had fought the original Hulk on more than one occasion he knew how to take him down. All that was left to do now clear up the mess.
Meanwhile almost thirty feet above them inside a small room overlooking the Danger Room Forge and Beasts were at the controls. The control board had dozens of different buttons, dials, switches, levers which each had their own individual purpose and function. For any normal person the controls would have been far too complicated for them to comprehend. But Forge and Beast weren’t any normal people, they were the ones who had designed practically everything in the Danger Room. Even the texture of the tiles had been specially designed by the pair.
But both were very disappointed with how the training session had gone. Although Cyclops and Ice-Man had struggled, the fact that Wolverine took the robot down so easily. It meant that they had a lot of work to do to make the Danger Room more challenging.
“I thought I had it that time,” said Forge. “But you won’t believe how difficult it is to replicate something like the Hulk.”
“Creating the robots is your department my friends,” replied Beast. “Designing the programs are mine. I’m sure you’ll be able to do it eventually. It’s just that Wolverine at times can be a little unpredictable.”
“Unpredictable is one thing but sometimes he’s downright unorthodox. We’ll have to create something to keep him on his toes.”
“I’m afraid that’s easier said than done.”
“How are things going with the Downtown program?”
“It’s nearly complete but there are still a few bugs in the program. For some reason it looks more like Middle Earth rather New York City.”
“That’s what you get programming it while reading The Two Towers.”
Both X-Men chuckled as they left the Danger and walked towards another large room that was filled mostly with what most people would call junk. On one side of the room were chemistry sets and a blackboard with scientific formulas and mathematical equations. On the other was bits of machinery and another blackboard. However on this one were plans for different kind of devices. Some were weapons but others were things that only Forge actually knew what they were.
This room was the shared lab of the two X-Men. One side was primarily for Beast and the other was for Forge. At times they might have gotten in each other way but most of the time they minded each other’s space. They would also work on some projects together normally with fantastic results. However some projects didn’t quite work out as well as they had expected. Once they had tried to create a teleporting device but instead they created the world’s most expensive juicer.
Although that device had been a failure Forge’s latest creation was more of a success. It wasn’t finished yet but it would revolutionise mutant lives forever. But it was something that if it were in the wrong hands could do more damage than good. He only created it so that it could benefit the X-Men in some way. It would only be used in emergencies and would be locked up the vast majority of the time.
Directly above the lab was the mansion’s vast library. There were many fictional and non-fictional books in this library. Some years ago it had been organised thoroughly but in recent years the books had become disorganised. The L’s were mixed up with the B’s and for some reason Charles Dickens was next to H.G. Wells.
The task of re-arranging the books came down on the two women of the team Jean Grey and Kitty Pryde. But with hundreds maybe even thousands of books to sort out it was a daunting task for both women.
“This is going to take forever,” said Kitty. “Couldn’t Forge just create some kind of device that let you read whatever book you wanted?”
“I think he’s doing more important things,” replied Jean. “Besides we can make this job fun.”
“Well we could…” Jean began to think but her mind was drawing a blank. She eventually had to concede defeat. “I’ve got nothing.”
“We better get started anyway before the Professor thinks we’re being lazy.” She then sighed. “Are we sorting them in title or author?”
“I think author would be easier for everyone.”
“Besides Bobby I don’t think he even knows who wrote The Jungle Book. To him it would probably be Walt Disney.”
Jean used her telekinetic powers to remove all the books off the shelves. Many of the books were dusty and this caused Kitty to sneeze a couple of times. But the first job of the task was to divide the books from fiction to non-fiction. Each category was sent on one particular side of the library. Kitty wished that she had superhuman speed just so she could make the task got a lot faster.
There was only one mutant that the X-Men knew about who had superhuman speed. His name was Pietro Maximoff better known as Quicksilver. He was a member of a group known as the Brotherhood of Mutants. Where the X-Men pursued peace between humans and mutants the Brotherhood’s goal was destroy this peace. Unlike the X-Men they saw mutants as being superior to humans in every way. They wanted to replace the humans as the dominant species of the planet. Their members included Mortimer Toynbee also known as Toad. He was a mutant with frog like abilities and many of their mannerisms. He often used his extraordinarily long tongue to catch flies and eat them in one gulp. Unfortunately he also neglected to shower which meant anyone could smell him from a mile away.
Other members included Fred Dukes also known as the Immovable Blob. His size and sheer weight made him one of the most formidable members of the Brotherhood. If things had gone differently in his early years he might have become an X-Man. But due to childhood ridicule Blob sees no good in humanity.
Wanda Maximoff was the sister of Quicksilver. Her codename the Scarlet Witch was very fitting for this very powerful mutant. Her abilities to manipulate probability made her the most unpredictable member of the Brotherhood. Although she didn’t believe in the beliefs of the group as much as the others she doesn’t want to see her twin brother get hurt.
The final member of the Brotherhood was an Australian man named John Allerdyce also known as Pyro. His abilities to manipulate fire in any way he saw fit made him a very dangerous mutant. The only thing more dangerous than his powers was his mind. There was nothing he loved more than setting something on fire and watching it burn.
The actions of the Brotherhood was constantly on the mind of the X-Men’s leader Professor Charles Xavier. But it wasn’t them that he was most worried about it was who was commanding them. Xavier’s former friend Magneto was leading them towards war with the humans. Since Magneto had lost his family due to the horror of the Holocaust he saw that mutants would suffer the same fate if he stood by and did nothing. At one time he and Xavier had been the best of friends. But their ideologies were too different to see eye to eye. Though they still respected each other they were far from friends. Magneto’s ability to control electromagnetic fields made him one of the most powerful mutants on the face of the earth. But it also made him extremely dangerous.
For now all Xavier could do nothing but watch the morning news. He didn’t care much for the celebrity and sport sections, it was the political part that most interested him. There were some politicians who wanted to enforces laws that could start a war between humans and mutants. The most direct and popular politician went by the name of Senator Robert Kelly. Xavier knew that he would cause the mutant a lot of problems in the near future and would be a likely assassination target. He listened to the Senator on the news, he was voicing the need for a Mutant Registration Act. If the act was voted in it would mean every mutant in the country would have to register and be known to the general public. This would cause more problems than they would solved.
“Mutants are a danger to us all,” said Senator Kelly in front of a press conference. “Only the MRA will protect our families from the mutant menace. When this act is voted in we will know who are mutants and most importantly what they can do. We can know if our children are being taught by mutants who can potentially take the very life that God gave us. Mutants like the X-Men and this so called Brotherhood are nothing but terrorists intending to destroy us all. Ladies and Gentlemen I Senator Robert Edward Kelly will not let this happen while I still breathe.”
The crowd around him began to cheer for the senator while the report switched back to the news reporter. The reporter was an African American woman with large glasses and wearing a pearl necklace along with a red dress.
“The support for Kelly’s Mutant Registration Act seems to be growing everyday with citizens around the country, said the Newsreader. “But there are many people view this as being identical to World War II Germany. Outspoken opposition such as Lorna Dane have condemned Kelly’s actions. Miss Dane had this to say to Channel 4 news.”
The report then moved to a woman with long dark hair and wearing a dark blue suit. Similar to Senator Kelly she had a crowd around her but this time they were supporters of mutants rather than anti-mutant protestors.
“May I stress to everyone that most mutants did not choose to be mutants,” said Lorna. “They don’t have a chose what powers they have or how it reacts with their everyday lives. Mutants are not some kind of monster from a fairy tale, they are people. I admit there are some who use their powers to benefit only themselves. But most mutants are tax paying, law obeying citizens. It’s the same in any society, look at our prisons there are many humans who are serving time there because they chose to break the law to benefit themselves. If the Mutant Registration Act comes into power the Government going down a path that will lead to events that horrify the world. There was once a group of people who had citizens that they disliked and eventually eliminated simple because they were different. That group of people were called Nazis. If this anti-mutant legislations do not stop we will become as bad if not worse than the Nazis. As a citizen of this United States of America I will not stand by and watch this nation go back to the days of Segregation.”
Xavier was happy that there were still some people who believed in a world like he did. But many humans were starting to support Kelly’s Mutant Registration Act. Xavier dreaded to think about what would happen if it was voted in. He would have anti-mutant protestors outside the school every day and night. But he knew that it would be worse for mutants who didn’t have the school for protection. This was something that he thought was extremely important to talk about to the other X-Men.
“X-Men come to the War Room immediately,” said Xavier through telepathy. “Suiting up is not required.”
A matter of minutes later the X-Men had formed in the War Room in the sub-basement of the mansion. Logan, Scott and Bobby were still suited up from their training in the Danger Room. The others were still in their civilian clothes. Since they hadn’t had to suit up the X-Men knew that it wasn’t a mission that they were talking about. It was the fact that Xavier had something on his mind that he wanted to discuss with the X-Men.
“Thank you X-Men for coming on such short notice,” said Xavier. “Times are becoming dire, the Mutant Registration Act might come into force very soon. It could be the end of our goal of peaceful co-existence between humans and mutants.”
“Is there anything we can do to stop it?” replied Scott.
“For now I’m afraid not. There is a slight glimmer of hope that wisdom will rise above the madness. I’m afraid that Magneto and the Brotherhood might push the Government too far. I believe it’s only a matter of time.”
“Magneto has been quiet for the past couple of months,” answered Hank. “He might be planning something.”
“I hope beyond hope that you’re wrong Hank. But I’m afraid you could be right. Magneto wouldn’t let something like this happen to mutants.”
“What do you think he’ll do Professor?” asked Jean.
“I’m afraid I don’t know. All we can do is hope that he doesn’t do anything that could jeopardise mutant relations.”
“Is like in Nam,” replied Forge. “We always knew that the VC were up to something but we would never know until it was too late. By then the damage had already been done.”
“Is there absolutely nothing we could do?” asked Kitty. “I feel so powerless just standing here and doing nothing.”
“If there was anything that could be done I would have you do it,” replied Xavier. “But unfortunately events are beyond our control.”
“Maybe it’ll work out for the best,” said Bobby.
“What do you mean by that?”
“If the act does go through maybe it won’t be so bad. Sure things might be worse at first but then things might turn around. Maybe the Government will see their mistake and recall the act.”
“Yeah that’ll happen,” replied Logan. “Right around the time we take our daily trip to fantasy land.” He then lit a cigar and put it in his mouth. “Things will only go downhill if the act goes into force. If you things are bad now just imagine what’ll happen when everyone knows who you are and what you can do. You’ll be lynched before you realise that you’ve had an accident.”
“Ok I get it.”
The next morning at a Pre School in Steele North Dakota Katie Lane had been running late for work. The rush hour traffic had made her late again and since she would lose money every time she was late she was greatly annoyed. She had only been working at the school for six months and she was already on a warning for being late. It seemed that no matter how early she would start out she always seemed to be late.
Katie practically ran into the school, she didn’t want to think about what would happen if the Head of the school found out she was late again. But when she went into reception of the school she saw that it was a different woman sitting at the desk. Instead of the normal receptionist a woman with long brown hair was there instead. Katie was confused to why this woman would be here instead of the normal receptionist.
“Where’s Heather today?” asked Katie.
“Heather’s sick today I’m filling in for her,” replied the Woman.
“Do me a favour and don’t tell Christine I was late again.”
“My lips are sealed.”
As Katie went into the nearby classroom Wanda took a small device out of her pocket and pressed the button. She then stood up and her clothes transformed from a long dress to a red and pink costume. It had a cape and a M shaped headdress, this woman was no ordinary woman it was the Scarlet Witch of the Brotherhood.
Inside the classroom there were close to two dozen children aged around four years old. Most of them were playing with toys and the others were playing with each other. There were three adult women inside supervising the children. To them it was just another normal day at Strawberry Poppets Pre School. But in a matter of moments their lives would forever be changed.
Just then three men walked into the classroom. This surprised the teachers since no had expected any visitors. The men were wearing overcoats with the collars up. It was hard to tell who they were. Everyone in the classroom stared at them and it took a couple of seconds for one of the teachers to start asking questions.
“Can we help you?” she asked.
“Yes you can,” replied the Man in the middle. The men then took off their coats revealing their true identity. One had white hair and was wearing a green costume with a white streak going through it. The man to his left had green skin and warts over his face. His costume was more like a runner’s suit but it was completely black. The final man had red hair and his costume was also red. There was much orange in there as well but he had a device that was on his back that connected to the palms of his hands. The women had seen these men on the news before. “If everyone does exactly as I say no one will get hurt.”
One of the teachers tried to make a break for the fire exit but in a split second Quicksilver was in front of it. The woman took a step back in amazement and sheer terror. He then began to shake his right index finger.
“What did I just say?” he asked. “Very naughty.”
“Y-you can’t keep us here,” replied the Woman.
“You’re so naïve. It would be funny if it wasn’t so annoying.” He then looked over to Toad. “Toad get the camera.”
More coming very soon