“And Now We Build”
- Professor X
X0: The X-Men Year One
A funfair, in Oxford, United Kingdom:
A young Charles Xavier, still a student, sits down on a bench, enjoying himself. A young auburn-haired woman, Moira Kinross, wishes him a good afternoon. Politely, he begins some small talk and asks if she is enjoying the fair. She gibes some thought to his question. It seems like the kind of thing she should enjoy, and yet…She looks around at those people and knows it’s just a show for those who need one. A distraction from what’s really going on, if you will.
She sits down and returns the question. He is, Xavier replies. It seems like the kind of thing he shouldn’t enjoy, and yet… a little parting of the clouds, a little shining of the sun and all seems right in the world.
Having a good day then? she asks. Is it that obvious? he grins. You’d have to be blind not to notice… Moira muses, she was just walking though the fair, walking past the caged beasts and the games of chance, past the fortuneteller selling his wares:
“See the Magician, the meal metamorph, the great sword and the girl with a foot in two worlds.
See thee Tower. The axis, the pillar of collapse and rebirth, the monolith of ascension.
See the Devil: the red god and the lost cardinal of the last religion…”
Then, at the far end of the fair, she saw him sitting there and she thought to herself: there he is, what she’s been looking for. The strong man. Xavier begins to demur but she interrupts him. And she wondered why under the parting sky and the brilliant sun was this strong man smiling so. He was, wasn’t he? Does she want to know why? He asks. Very much so, she assures him. He was smiling because recently he had the most wonderful dream of a better world and his place in it. Addressing him by his name, she replies it’s not a dream, if it’s real.
Taken aback, he asks if they know each other. With a slight smile, she replies they go back quite a ways. Who is she? She suggests he read her mind. He does and what he sees leaves him speechless.
X3 year 1000: The Preserve
A locked garden atmosphere which includes extinguished species. The Librarian enters, walks a bit then sighs as one of the prisoners jump at him. The Librarian holds him off with a forcefield and informs him this aggression is pointless. His augmented brain is faster. By the time the other’s brain has told him to move, his brain has already devised countermeasures. Do they have any idea how much faster they would have to be to actually touch him? he asks. Chastened, they leave except for some still hidden.
The Librarian turns to them and assures them he means no harm. The person he addresses replies that he understands it though. They just want to be free, not locked up in this zoo. The Librarian scoffs they don’t know what ‘free’ is. He thinks this is simply their nature.
Nah, they want to be free, Logan insists. They know what it is. He makes sure to fill their heads each day with stories of revolution. Of them rising up to throw down their masters. They’ll see. Give it time.
But he has no more time, Logan Howlett James, the Librarian addresses him, suddenly using the old English language. Logan is impressed. He’s the Librarian the other man replies. Dead languages fascinate him. He downloaded it in the hope that they might one day have an honest conversation. Logan asks him what he is waiting for. He is waiting for her, the Librarian replies referring to Moira Kinross, who joins them also surprised at his ability to speak English.
That’s a problem she decides. It means he’s likely been listening to them for quite some time. Eavesdropping. Observation is one of the primary functions of habitats such as these. Preservation is of course the reason they hid behind. After all, they wouldn’t want the last group of mutants on this planet go extinct. But if he’s being truthful, the real get for him was them reacting to several stimuli he introduced over time. What’s the ancient phrase: he wanted to see what makes them tick.
And how’s that working out for him? Logan demands. Conclusions have yet to be drawn, the Librarian admits, but they are nearing them – one way or another. They’ve done well, surviving... Fortunately, they have the same blood type, but still – the idea of it. A millennium of depending on another to survive… it’s impressive. Unfortunately, it’s likely all surviving is about to come to an end. Tomorrow is Ascension.
He describes how the Phalanx will descend and absorb all of their post-human society. They will become one with the Collective and exist as self-aware intelligences in the great hive of the Phalanx. Then the Phalanx will begin their journey to the next black hole where the collective intelligence will merge with a god intellect – a Dominion. One that lives outside of space and time, and what was once their post-human society will exist forever inside that godhead.
Moira and Logan are shocked. The world will end tomorrow? The Librarian concurs than adds that possibly they will not die. He has arranged to send them off-planet. Why? Moira demands. He replies he thinks they know. If she should die, before their Phalanx makes it to the nearest black hole, then all that he knows will not become part of the Dominion. And when Moira has annihilated this timeline or reality she will be back right to where she started, knowing what she does without his people knowing anything. But if Moira lives past his becoming a god then - existing beyond time and space – the Dominion will know her forever. And he thinks it very likely they would not tolerate something like her having power over something like them…
Logan is about to attack and replies it doesn’t make sense his telling them that. Moira holds him back. She wants to hear the rest.
The Librarian admits Logan’s question is fair. Why would he be conflicted. He admits he questions the wisdom of this. Becoming something that’s really just an idea of existence. Something immaterial. Never touch anything again. So he is faced with a question: Does he let Moira die and perhaps in her next life she can prevent them becoming part of the universal machine state… something he suspects to be a fake existence. Or does he send her away and find out for himself?
Does he want her to convince him? Moira asks disbelievingly. Yes, he replies. With all that she has learned in her many lives, how would she stop them from losing their post-humanity and surrender to the machines?
Wolverine shouts he can answer that. Maybe they start the revolution a little sooner. Stop post-humanity at the humanity part.
The Librarian remarks the scientific term is Homo Novissima, the end of the evolutionary line… the last man that will ever be. The mutants never saw it coming. The idea was that mutants were what was next. Evolutionarily inevitable. They were, Moira shoots back. They are, Logan adds.
The Librarian tells them to look around and see the cage. That’s what’s inevitable. Not them being outside it. Mutants are an evolutionary response to the environment. They are naturally occurring. But what happens when humanity stops being beholden to its environment? When man controls the building blocks of biology and technology? Evolution is no match for genetic engineering. What good was one mutant adapting to its environment when humans could make ten supermen? Mutants thought it was the machines that would defeat them, but humanity just used them to buy itself time. Sentinels bought them years. Nimrods bought them decades.
She never saw! Moira mumbles horrified. And he guesses, now she never will, the Librarian muses, losing interest in her. After all, if she isn’t capable of recognizing the enemy she faces, how will she ever defeat them? Maybe this is just how it ends for them. And if they have no alternative to offer, this is his fate as well, to become a small part of God.
Faster than the eye can follow, Logan stabs him through the head, killing him instantly. Dear Lord in robot heaven, was that fast enough for him? he asks. All this time they wanted to find out, Moira babbles. And now they know, he cuts her off. So, she gonna do something about it? Yes, Moira replies forcefully and orders him to send her on her way. He tells her to close her eyes. Her eyes are open and they are going to remain that way, Moira replies. Just make it quick.
Logan kills Moira.
And so ended the sixth life of Moira X.
Years ago, Oxford:
Xavier reads Moira’s mind then begins to scream before he tumbles to the ground. What was…? How? He splutters. Moira muses, it’s a bit much, she agrees. That it cuts at everything he believes even more so. Still, hard truths are what’s called for when dealing with radical realignments to old ways of thinking.
They… they lose? Xavier asks simply. It’s much worse than that, Moira replies, eyes downcast. They always lose.
Perhaps… perhaps if he were more selective with his future students, Charles ventures. Or if he makes a broader appeal to their human allies… Surely there is some way to… Irritated, he asks why Moira is smiling at him like that.
Moira kisses him gently. She explains she opened her mind to him so he knows that she knows him. She has loved him, she has hated him and all the emotional complexities in between. Not once in all her lives has he changed. Charles thanks her. Moira tells him it was not a compliment. He is a good man who believes in the goodness of others… and it breaks her heart that she has to break that part of him. But she will break it because that’s what has to happen now. She knows he will fight her… just as his shade Erik will fight her. But this time, she means for all of them to be together. She offers her hand. All of them, she stresses. He’s been dreaming the wrong dream and it’s long past time he wake up.
Yesterday, Krakoa, Moira’s No-Space:
Xavier and Magneto enter offering tea. Unimpressed, Moira reminds them that one of the two ways to her home leads to one of mankind’s greatest culinary cities. So, she really doesn’t need them to bring her tea. She has other means and they have greater concerns. Only cynics refuse the common kindness of others, Magneto gently chides her. They say it comes from assuming there is always another shoe to drop. So, it’s tea and other things, Moira smirks. Can she assume they now have a government?
Charles agrees. The first meeting of the Quiet Council will be the next day. They have eleven of the twelve seats filed. Why not all of them? Moira demands. Xavier replies, Emma Frost still has to choose a Red King.
Moira fears she’s up to something, to which Magneto replies they are all up to something while pouring tea. But she understands the scale of all this, so she won’t be a deterrent to their broader plans. Xavier names all the members of the council. Magneto states they seated all the problem mutants – save for himself – at the Winter Table. Xavier explains they put Sinister there because they can’t do without him but they cannot trust him, so keep him close. Exodus has an unyielding code and they all know all too well the trouble an unflinching ideology brings.
And Mystique would not agree without certain guarantees. They promised to bring Destiny back. Moira stresses they cannot do that. There can be no precogs on Krakoa. They cannot tolerate mutants who see the future. Xavier agrees. Moira insists that they don’t understand, Destiny can see her… see that she is a weakness. That with her death all this ends. Xavier again agrees. Moira challenges, what happens if they bring Destiny back and she tells everyone the truth?
Charles again stresses that they know and they will put her off as long as they can. Tomorrow, tomorrow, not today, all the mutant leaders say, Magneto sing-songs mockingly.
Xavier continues, they will continue to put them off, but one day they all deserve to know the truth. Just like Charles and he did, Magneto agrees. They really want them to know that mutantkind always loses? Moira states sharply. Chares replies that until now they’ve always lost, but this time is going to be different. Because they are different, Magneto adds. And that is all because of her. There is no denying what she has done. She shaped them into this. They are the perfect tools for an imperfect age. She should celebrate what she has done, for she has done it well. But now it is time for her to step aside and let them do the good work for which they were created.
The two leave Moira’s home and join the ongoing celebration on Krakoa. Just look at what they have made, Magneto marvels. And yet the thought lingers, is it enough? This is only the start, Xavier replies, but they have to hope so. And if it is not? Magneto asks. Then they do… more, Charles decides. Whatever the cost. This is all there is. They live and die with this. Then he will die for it, Magneto states, and if he falls, then Charles will raise him up. He will show the world what a real mutant is.
Keep talking like that and he is sure to elicit a response, Charles smiles. He is not ashamed of what he is, Magneto insists. “Let them try to stop us this time.” Yes, Charles agrees, let them try.
“I am not ashamed of what I am”