Saturday, 4 January 2014
NMU #27: "Into The Abyss"
I am David Haller. I am not a puzzle to be solved. I am imperfect, of course. Who among us can claim otherwise? Perhaps my imperfections are greater than others. Perhaps they can be more easily addressed and worked upon. But I am a person to be understood, not a box to be opened.
Did my mother ever truly realise this, I wonder? Yes, she waited until I was a danger to others before she chose to have my mind invaded and reshaped. But was that out of love for me? Or for hatred of him?
I am a trap for telepaths and their friends. I swallow Xavier and Dani, Tom and Sharon, Moira and Rahne, Gabriel and Douglas. Why? To become what? Supplicants? Playthings? Friends? An escape route? An impenetrable ebony dome lies in the centre of my mindscape, and it keeps its secrets. Outside, my tanks and helicopters prowl, ready to destroy the very psyches I have brought to this place. I am not a riddle to be solved? Please. I am a riddle who must be solved, as an alternative to the deaths of eight people.
I am an Arab face, screaming in a language no-one ever bothered to learn. They call me a terrorist, trapped in the mind of my final victim. It is an easy thing to believe, I imagine. Xavier brings along his cliched experiences like a tattered coat. The gleeful malice of Amahl Farouk. The naive loyalty of Jetstream. To these mutants, Arabs are villains and fools. Why should I be any different? I yell for them to listen to my warnings, but there is no-one to understand. My only hope: a white boy gifted with the ability to translate any tongue without having to expend effort to consider what that tongue means. The white boy can understand us perfectly without ever having met us? I'm sure he believes that.
I am Cyndi. I set fire to rooms, and occasionally people. It is simple blind luck I am not a murderer already. But then luck is central to my existence. What else can it be that has made me a pretty and feisty girl? Would my crimes be so forgiven by the interlopers in my mind were I otherwise?
I am Jack Wayne. I am a telekinetic and a charmer. You should never trust a man who can pull off a moustache so well as I can. A few hours ago I was throwing metal shards at exposed skin, but such things are easy to forget when you are the only voice offering explanation. I want to bring everything crashing down in this war-torn stretch of a boy's imagination. Paris should not be adjacent to Beirut, and neither should be burning. It's time for a change, and the more violent that change the better.
But why do it myself, when I can hand the knife to another? Killing a child is one thing. Persuading his father he has no option but to do the deed himself is so much more interesting.
I am Charles Xavier's son. It is not clear I will ever be allowed to be anything else. Even after his death - not the one I caused, the one that stuck - my existence will revolve around the ways in which I resemble him, and the ways in which I do not. It will be difficult to the point of impossibility to persuade anyone I should be doing anything but making those similarities as complete as possible.
All that is years away, though. Today, I am a comatose question mark for my parents to fight over. A blank slate onto which they can push their disagreements. A MacGuffin via which the people you know better than you know me can be seen to agonise.
I am David Haller, and I would like to be free.
This story picks up more or less immediately after NMU #26, and takes place on the same day.
Sunday 23rd December, 1984
The Christmas Massacre takes place in Italy, as 17 people are killed and almost 300 wounded when a train is bombed by the Mafia, hoping to distract attention from government investigations into their organisation.
"Have you noticed, Professor, you and the geek look a lot alike."
Dani vs subtlety: subtlety loses!