Thursday, 18 June 2015

UXM #203: "Crossroads"

(Mass Effect 3 can piss off as well.)


"Good morning, Ms... Summers, is it?"
"I prefer Phoenix."
"The... I'm sorry. The Phoenix that took over your mother, murdered billions, and came within inches of obliterating the entirety of existence?"
"The very same."
"I see. Well, welcome to the First Bank of M'Kraan, Ms Phoenix. I hope your journey wasn't too arduous?"
 "It was fine. I stole the life-force of several of my friends to power me, so it wasn't too long a slog in the end."
"That's... good. Onto business, anyway. As I'm sure you can understand, there are a number of stages to an application like this, all sorts of dots and crosses we need to push through. But let's start with the biggest question: how much do you intend to borrow?"
"Everything. Everything you have. Everything the universe has. The whole nine billion trillion square yards. I'd like to take every life, every planet, every molecule in the universe. Right now. Please."
"Ms Phoenix, that's... well, that's certainly a refreshingly original request. Just so as we can understand your application fully, when exactly were you planning on paying this back? Because I'm not entirely sure how I can start calculating compound interest on literally everything. It'd be a philosophical and mathematical nightmare, I would've thought."
"I wasn't exactly planning on paying anything back. There won't actually be anything left five minutes after you approve the loan. Not so much as two molecules to rub together."
"Hmm. This is not exactly what banks like to hear, Ms Phoenix. One of our central operating principles is that, on balance, we be repaid through cash or electronic transfers that actually exist."
"I thought you'd say that. But there is a deal that I can offer you. Once I've obliterated all that exists, I'm quite sure a new universe will be created in the resulting vacuum.  You can consider that yours."
"So to summarise, Ms Phoenix - and our apologies if we appear dense, but I'm sure you can understand that it is rather new territory to discuss the destruction of all territory of any kind - you are proposing that you borrow the sum total of corporeal existence, and utterly obliterate it?"
"That's right. I want it utterly absent. I want to finish what my mother started.  And don't worry; I know what you're thinking."
"There are very few thoughts to choose from regarding a proposal such as this."
"Also I'm a telepath. I know it sounds insane, even inhuman-"
"We are inhuman, Ms Phoenix. Do not attempt to... tar us with your brush, is it?"
"-But it's the only way. The only way to stop the Beyonder's horrific plan."
"Which is?"
"To destroy the universe! To obliterate all that lives!"
"I thought that was your plan?"
"That's different. I don't actually want to have to do this. but it's the only way to kill the Beyonder!"
"And you're sure he wants to annihilate existence?"
"Absolutely. I read his mind just a few weeks ago."
"A few weeks? People can change their minds, Ms Phoenix. I came in to work this morning thinking I would enjoy this meeting, for instance. I ask again: are you sure this is what he wants?"
"OK, maybe not totally sure. But how can we afford to take that risk?"
"I am - look, there's so much here it would take six weeks and a qualified psychotherapist to wade through it. We might have to dissect your brain. But again, start with the biggest question. Why would the Beyonder want to destroy reality? Won't he end up just as dead?"
"No. He's not like us. Not tied to one reality. He can side-step into his own dimension once the fuse is lit."
"So, if I may summarise: you are so terrified an entity of terrifying cosmic power might destroy the entire universe, a process only he can survive, that you want to use your status as an entity of terrifying cosmic power to actually destroy the entire universe, so as to kill the only person who can survive the process?"
"He won't escape if he doesn't see it coming!"
"So as long as the being who can see atoms doesn't see the universe collapsing, we'll be OK? Well, except all the people who will die. Which is everyone."
"Stop twisting things! It's not the same! At least my way will result in the birth of a new universe!"
"Are you really going to sit there and tell me you have sufficient background in theoretical physics to guarantee this is a restart and not a shutdown? Weren't you just moments ago arguing the stakes are too high for us to take risks?"
"I know that framed like that it sounds foolish-"
"No. It does not sound foolish. It sounds monstrous. It sounds like a madman with his finger on the button, convinced that if destruction might be coming anyway all that matters is that he fired first.  It sounds ike a lunatic convinced that their foe outstrips them so totally in every way that mutually assured destruction is the only way to destroy him, as though it were impossible this utterly superior enemy might not have prepared for such a scenario.  You should never run a battle plan that relies on the enemy being stupid, Ms Phoenix. Especially when the enemy is a god and the battle plan is "set fire to all that lives". You come to our bank shouting "Nothing lasts forever, so why not destroy it now?" and expect applause for the sacrifice you demand everyone else must make. You're a nihilist who wants to be seen as a humanitarian, a murderer who wants credit for not stretching out her kills. You'll forgive us if we don't find you sympathetic. You'll understand if we look at you and struggle to keep our breakfast down. You stole your friends' lives to betray their life's work, and you did it because you thought your banal desperation someone made you better than them. You've taken the genocidal heritage of the Phoenix Force and somehow made it worse. We are the oldest banking institution in the cosmos, but even we aren't going to touch something this fucking evil."
"So... I don't get the loan then?"
"You don't get the loan. Good day Ms Phoenix. Do please take a complimentary pen."

It's apparently been a few weeks since the events of New Mutants #36, which puts this issue towards the end of March/start of April. Since this issue has to take place after NMU #37, I'll start this on the following day. The issue itself starts in late evening and continues to sunrise of the following day.


Sunday 14th to Monday 15th April, 1985.


X+7Y+44 to X+7Y+45.

Compression Constant

1 Marvel year = 3.17 standard years

(Beast is 33 years old)

Contemporary Events

South Africa ends its ban on interracial marriages.

Standout Line

"I'm not an executioner, Ray. We do that... we play the Beyonder's game -- provin' ourselves no better than him." - Logan.

The one and only time this argument will ever be acceptable, folks. You saw it here first. Or, you know, back in 1986. Or any time between then and now.

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