New Mutants Unlimited #1

New Mutants Unlimited #1
Post by Amelia "Heaven" Chow on Sept 27, 2006, 3:44pm

Cover image: Stryker, back view, facing off against Storm, Wolverine, Cyclops, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde, and Magneto. Because I'm writing first, I get the cover, nyah.

Anthology Title.

Title (Stryker story): Original Sin

Several years ago, Muir Island…

"I don't know what to tell you. The lad's a mutant, but there's no reason that he needs to be removed from your care."

The lady is Moira Mactaggart. She seems like a pretty no nonsense nice woman, she runs the Muir Island Research Center. My aunt brought me here for some kind of testing, mostly the standard "what color/shape is on this card" sort of thing with a side of blood test. Usually I try to get a few wrong just because I don't want to be labeled as a mutie, but I figure if I made it here, the secret was pretty much out anyway.

My aunt looks worried, more worried than I've ever seen her. "I don't think you understand, Doctor. There's much more to this situation than I can explain. Gerald can't stay with me, it just isn't safe!"

Dr. Mactaggart doesn't seem as concerned. "Mutants have a bad press these days, but there's nothing outwardly identifying Gerald. I can write a recommendation for him to visit my colleague, Professor Charles Xavier, but there's no need to lock him up."

Lock him up…lock him up…Moira's son, locked up. There's something wrong with him, and she can't help. She couldn't help. Something happened, something terrible. I try to shut it out but I can't. She tried to kill him, she tried to shoot him, just like…just like…

"Aunt Robin? I don't like this place. Can we leave?" It's all I can say right now. Moira didn't want to do it, but she had to do it, before he killed…somebody. Who? Why? I don't know, and I don't want to know, but is that why…

The conscious thoughts change. It's no longer Moira I'm reading, it's my aunt. It's not Moira aiming a gun at Kevin, it's a man aiming a gun at me. Who is he? He's my father. He's alive. He's going to kill me. And I know the last thing, the one thing she had kept from me for all the years I'd stayed with her, ever since I was a kid. My father tried to kill me before, stabbed me and then lit the car on fire. He lived, and now he'll want to finish the deal. I've never been more scared in my life.

I can't keep this inside. I immediately round on my aunt, almost shaking with anger and fear. "Why didn't you tell me?"

All eyes turn to me, my aunt astonished, Moira quizzical. "Tell you what, dear?" asked my aunt, and I could sense her trying to hide the memories. She lied to me, and now she wants to hide the evidence, but I can't unsee what I've seen.

"He's alive. My father's still alive. You told me he had died with my mother back in Nevada, but he lived. And you knew it."

"Gerald…" Aunt Robin pauses, trying to collect herself. Moira busies herself with graphs and charts, trying to stay out of the family issue, but she's still thinking about her son subconsciously. "I want you to know that I thought your father was dead. I know that's hard to say, but after the accident…well, he was on a self-destructive path. He was drinking a lot, and engaging in a lot of questionable activities. When we tried to seek help for him, he refused. We lost contact with him years ago, and death was the logical assumption. We've spent the years after hoping to find a body, until…"

"Until he resurfaced as an evangelical preacher funding a massive anti-mutant religious revival."

"Yes."

"And now you want to unload me on somebody else, someone outside of our family, some mutie school, just so it isn't inconvenient for you when he finds me."

"It's not like that Gerald…it's your safety I'm worried about! I had pity on you for what happened to your mother…and your father…and I tried to raise you right. But I can't have him finding you, you really must…"

I must find him, is what I must do. I must find him and show him that he made the wrong decision. I want him to accept me, to love me. Moira's son…he went to his father too. "I understand, aunt Robin. You want me to go into hiding. I can do that. But I won't do that yet. The Stryker Crusade won't have time for us yet. Just give me six more months. Six months. I really want to make it up to you, all the pain I've put you through."

"Six months…" I'm trying as hard as I can to influence her, but I can't really control my power like that…not yet. I'll have to work on that. "I can give you six months. But if the Crusade tours near us…"

"Yes, I'll come back here then. I promise." I intend to be gone long before that.

Three months later…

I hate doing this to my aunt, the woman who raised me after my mother's death. I've drugged her…sprinkling the sleeping pills that help me keep my powers in check long enough to sleep into her food. She went to the bank today and withdrew a large amount of money because she liked to do Christmas shopping in cash. This is my early Christmas present.

I buy a ticket with some of the money, a Greyhound heading into New York. I'll be on the road for days, but I'm sure that no one will catch up to me. I can stop them. I've learned enough about how it works. I can sense them coming, tell what their patterns are…if it comes down to it. New York. Madison Square Garden. I've never been there before, but I don't care. I'm not there to see the sights. I'm there to see my father, in the biggest appearance of his life. I watched him on the TV, talking to Moira's friend Professor Xavier. He's a charismatic man, a smart man. I'm his son.

I can't sleep. There are too many people around, and I can't stop thinking their thoughts. New York…some are dreaming of the promised land, the city that never sleeps. There's a girl who wants to be a famous stage actress, coming here with nothing but a small duffel bag full of clothes. She spent her last thirty dollars on this ticket, and she's considered what she'll have to do to make ends meet, but she doesn't care as long as she gets her big break. There's a family coming to see the Stryker Crusade…they hate going to this den of iniquity, even for the best of reasons, but my father drives them here. There are too many others…I can't even keep them all straight. But that won't matter, it doesn't matter. I have something to do and I'm going to do it.

New York looks like a paradise to some when it comes into view, the sun rising dramatically behind that famous skyline as if the bus company planned it that way. It looks like another city to me. I've been to quite a few, my aunt moved around to keep from being discovered. I think she'll be relieved that I'm gone. My leave is repaying her for my stay. Don't get me wrong, New York is huge and dwarfing, but the physical structure is never what I notice. It's all the minds…too many. Was this smart? No. It was the only way.

I feel like I'm going to vomit as I get off the bus. Not only is the static heavier now, I'm also struck with a case of nerves. My father rejected me when I was born, and although it's realistic to think he'll do it again, I hold out hope that blood will keep us together. Maybe I can change him. I have to try.

My aunt's money is wearing thin, and buying a ticket to the Crusade isn't cheap. I'm surprised that I have to buy a scalped ticket to a religious event. Seriously, there seems to be something innately immoral about that. I've gotten used to the city…all the people's minds kind of cancel each other out, so I end up with static instead of snippets of random thoughts. It's somewhat relaxing. I'm getting really exhausted, the static is sort of calming. I'm pretty sure I could get away with taking a nap around here somewhere, but not positive…I can't help but remember what some of the people on the bus were thinking about this place. Something bad could happen out in the open, and I don't have the money for a hotel, not to mention the ID. Some telepath I am…can't even get a free room. I do have enough to buy some lunch, though, so I get a couple hot dogs from a street vendor.

After lunch, I walk towards Madison Square Garden. The Crusade won't start for hours, but here I am…so close to my father I can almost feel his presence. Some people have showed up to protest, but the pro-Crusade group dwarfs them. So many conflicting emotions…I've never felt anything quite like it and it makes me feel more alive. I just watch and wait, trying to stay in the group that isn't visibly on either side, just waiting to get in. I also hear that that Xavier guy who my aunt wanted me to stay with died in a car wreck the other day, right after debating my father. I don't know why I didn't hear about that, but I guess I don't pay a lot of attention to the news, except when it expressly is connected to the Crusade. I kind of ponder why I really don't care, but the truth is, I don't. The only thought I have is that I probably could have gotten here easier if I had gone with Dr. Mactaggart's suggestion, since Xavier apparently lived somewhere around here.

And then, the gates open. I've never been in a place this large before. It's dwarfing. Thousands of people, all in one large room, centered around a pulpit. I find my seat and take it, further back than I hoped, but near one of the walkways that people use to go from the dressing rooms to the stage. Then, he comes in. The Reverend William Stryker. My father passes within fifty feet of me on his way to the stage. I shout out to him, but so does everybody else. He smiles and waves, but he didn't hear me. I could have made him hear me, but I didn't think that would be appropriate, given his views.

Then the show starts. He's speaking about mutants and quoting the Bible, but all of a sudden all I can feel is intense crippling pain. I'm not sure why. I feel like I'm going to pass out. I taste blood. Dear Lord, I'm dying…God has forsaken me just like my father says! He is meting his wrath upon me! The ceiling opens up, as if God is about to visit his Sodom and Gomorrah fury on us, but it isn't God who comes through…it's the devil.

"STRYKER!" yells Magneto, the mutant terrorist. He lands near me, profaning the ground my father once stood on. I can barely keep consciousness. I don't know what Magneto's saying, but I can tell he's under the same level of pain as I am. I just hope no one notices. I slump down in my seat, and they thankfully focus on Magneto, throwing things at him, yelling at him, seeking to kill the killer, the man that is almost the poster child for why people would hate mutants. My father throws a mutant off the stage, I'm not sure who or how, I can barely keep myself conscious…I feel someone die. I look…it's not Magneto, not yet. The police are protecting him, protecting this man that they have every right to execute.

And then, suddenly, the pain goes away. Magneto seems to still be feeling under the weather, he hasn't brought himself up off his knees. He still seems almost…regal, though. It's surprising to see that level of dignity still intact, despite all that's going on. My father has a gun out, he's pointing it at a teenaged girl on stage, she's wearing some crazy green and yellow jump suit and the worst make-up ever. There's some blue skinned demon thing up there too. They're debating points of ethics…my father is questioning the "humanity" of the demon. I think he's going to kill that girl. I don't know if I want him to or not, but I have to make my way forward, so I do. As I'm pushing through the crowd, I hear a gunshot. But I know immediately that it wasn't him shooting her. Someone has shot my father. I got this close, almost finally met him, only to have him taken from me. I feel his mind link up with mine…destroy the mutants, kill them. I'm feet away from Magneto as I push my way through. Kill them, then myself. It's my father's dying wish, and Magneto's still vulnerable.

I'm not sure where the gun came from. A security guard, or police officer, or something. I just felt it in my hand, strangely familiar, as if I'd been trained to use it. My father was a military man once, long ago. This must be him. I point it at Magneto, I see him look up at me, and he seems to be daring me to pull the trigger. I need to make this shot count, and my finger starts to squeeze the trigger when suddenly, something smells like sulfur, but worse…and I feel something constrict on my arm, ruining my aim. It's blue, relatively thin, and stronger than my arm.

"Apologies, but we can't allow Herr Magneto to die on…ZUM TEUFEL!" Instictively, I attack the demon's mind. His gruesome appendage goes slack, and he releases me but I've lost my shot on Magneto, he's managed to shield himself now, I can see the faint shimmer of energy. I turn to the demon, gun raised.

"You were not my first choice of target, demon. But you will pay for denying me Magneto." He's in a lot of pain, too much to get away. Or so I thought. Right before I pull the trigger, he passes through the floor like a phantom. It surprises him as much as it does me. Killing them is much harder than it looks. I see another one coming through the crowd, dressed in some yellow and brown spandex, razor sharp claws extending from his hands. He thinks he has enough cover that I won't take a shot. He's wrong. I hit him three times…between the ribs, in the lower abdomen, and in his right leg. He falls to the ground, but he isn't dead. I move to shoot him again when I hear a female voice behind me.

"Wolverine will get better, but he's not going to like you very much afterwards." I turn to see the girl from the stage. She took too long talking, I'm able to fire, but it passes right through her and stops at a massive man made of metal right behind her. "I don't know who you are or what you're doing, but you're going to be sorry you messed with the X-Men!"

She grabs my gun hand quickly and flips me over her back, right into the man of metal. "Pete! I've got the gun! Take care of the rest," she says.

"With pleasure, Katya." I feel his grip surround me, very strong…I'm about to pass out. "Be thankful it was not comrade Wolverine who caught you." Then everything goes black.

I wake up in a mansion, alone in my head again. Magneto is there, and Charles Xavier (I thought he was dead?). And everyone else…the metal man, the girl, the demon, even the guy with claws. And a few others. Magneto is offering them to join him in ushering in some kind of promised land. He turns to me.

"Mr. Stryker, I understand from Charles that you were not in control of your capacities when you attacked us. Therefore, I forgive you. And I will make the offer to you: come with me, and secure mutantkind's destiny." He extends his hand regally…not for a handshake, but for some kind of supplication. I can't deny the sheer charisma behind him. It's hard to believe that I was seconds away from killing this man not long before, and here he offers me a place by his side.

"Uh. I'm sorry, Mr. Magneto, but I don't deserve that. In fact, I don't deserve to live."

"Nonsense, boy, that's what your father fed you. Come with me, and I will show you what you can do with your life. Quite a bit, actually, and with the proper training, you will be able to carry my dream to the next generation." Magneto certainly makes it all sound good, but I can't possibly go with him.

"Erik, I think it's best if Gerald stays with us." Charles Xavier, mutant rights advocate. Still not sure how he's alive. "After all, I can help him with the mental issues he is experiencing far better than you ever could."

"You may be right Charles, but I will not have you deny the boy his choice. Mr. Stryker, the choice is yours. After what you have seen, after what your father has done, can you in good conscience allow yourself to attempt to fit in with homo sapiens society? Rise above it, with me. It will be for the betterment of all."

I don't know what to say. The demon and the guy with claws seem to be staring at me with hatred. The girl is looking away, as if she can't even be bothered to pay attention. But I think Charles is right…I think I need help, help Magneto couldn't give.

"I'm sorry but…if I can…I think I should stay here."

"Of course you can, Gerald." Professor Xavier seems genuinely happy about this, but I see some of the other people leave the room. "We would be happy to have you."

"Know this, Gerald Stryker. I have offered salvation to all of Xavier's students multiple times, and they have always spurned me. One day, you will realize what I represent, and I feel that on that day you will join me. Although many of Xavier's students are dead to me, I am very interested in your…development." Magneto simply floats on the air away from the school. I'm still not sure I made the right choice, but what choice did I have?


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #1
Post by Amelia "Heaven" Chow on Oct 30, 2006, 10:55am

Finally finished. Sigh.


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #1
Post by Roxanne "Madrock" Madison on Oct 30, 2006, 11:23pm

LastHero gives this two-thumbs up! Three if he had three.

Good work, and a nice fill-in for Gerald's past.


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #1
Post by Marisol Morales on Oct 31, 2006, 6:58am

*gasp*

By posting here, you completely ruined the synergy of the the board! The issues are no longer in order! NOOOOO!


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #1
Post by Amelia "Heaven" Chow on Oct 31, 2006, 9:48am

Thanks, lasty! Sorry this took so long…I kind of started it to spark more stories coming up, and then got busy with other things, and finally finished.

As for chronology…if you really cared, you could just phantom bump things back into order.


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #1
Post by K'lar on Oct 31, 2006, 12:07pm

I'll take care of fixing the order of the issues. I can use admin tools for that.

Great story! Nice retcon that was a really good read. 15 EXP for Stryker


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #1
Post by Amelia "Heaven" Chow on Oct 31, 2006, 1:40pm

Glad you liked it. Hope the Magneto parts didn't screw with anything.

And I'll admit: Gerald shoots Wolverine just so that we can have that as our unofficial hazing ritual. You're not really a New Mutant until you shoot Wolverine.

If anyone has characterization issues, please let me know. Let's just say that there are reasons why everyone but Xavier and Magneto basically only get 1-2 lines.


Re: New Mutants Unlimited #1
Post by Curt "Reflex" Camden on Nov 3, 2006, 2:44pm

Very good Hav! Sorry it took me so long to read the finished version.

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