Saturday, December 31, 2005

Following the end of the first leg of the Amazing Mutant Race 2, the remaining teams broke for lunch. Everyone went into the Alexandra Diner across the street from Doctor Strange's home. Unfortunately, lunch had to be cut short as Son Goku drank more than he could handle and made a rather inappropriate comment to Emma Frost. She turned to her organic diamond form and threw him through the window.

"If any of you pathetic worms dare to talk to me that way again," she told the entire group, "then I will kill each and everyone of you . . very, very slowly."

Gaia quickly called an end to the lunch and had the seven teams that were left assemble in front of Strange's. One by one, in the order they had reached his Sanctum Sanctorum, the teams received their next clues from the Doctor. Once again, the players stood staring at their cards in confusion.

"Your journey on the plane is watched over by the only public statue of a dog in Manhattan."

"If you have any idea what the heck this is talking about, I suggest you whisper it to me," Cable told Deadpool, who just shrugged in response.

"I swear," Jon, the Intergalactic Gladiator said to Private Hudson, "the next leg of this thing better be in Chicago."

Emma meanwhile gave a sly wink to her partner, Selene. The two slinked slowly towards their jet scooter and hopped on board.

"Captain, my data banks indicate that there was a famous memorial to a heroic Siberian Husky located in Central Park," Data said in hushed tones to Captain Picard.

"Then let us head for the Park," Picard ordered.

All heads turned as Emma and Selene whooshed into the air. Picard and Data, having already reached their scooter, followed shortly behind. Everyone else, unsure of their destination, ran to their crafts and took hurridly to the skies.

Almost as one, the swarm of ships raced towards Central Park.

"Hey Jon!" Hudson called to his partner over the roaring wind. "Can I take out that annoying little guy with the claws now?"

With a mischievous smile, Jon nodded. Hudson cocked his M41A Pulse Rifle and aimed it Wolverine's scooter. A flash of energy leapt from the barrel and blasted through the engine of his ship. Wolverine and Colossus were sent flying as the flaming debris hurtled towards the earth. Vegeta burst out laughing and gave the thumbs up to Hudson.

Twisting in mid-air, Wolverine managed to land on top of the scooter piolted by Lieutenant Commander Oneida. His hands grabbed hold of Master Yoda's robe, who in turn was holding onto to Oneida's back.

"Off my back, you must get!" Yoda yelled as Wolverine tightened his hold on him.

"Sorry Kermit, but I need a ride," Wolverine replied.

'"Hhmphh," Yoda grunted as he wrinkled up his nose. Suddenly the back of Wolverine's underwear leapt out of his pants as if yanked up by invisible hands. The blood-curdling shriek that escaped his lips sent shivers through all the players as they raced towards the park.

As Wolverine plummeted towards the ground, Yoda took pity on both he and Colossus. Using his force powers, he lowered them gently to the ground.

"Looks like we should be safe from elimination for this round at least," Oneida said to her partner.

"A lesson in manners, that one needed."

Up ahead, Data turned to Picard. "Captain, I am registering an unusual energy fluctuation coming from two miles in a Northwesterly direction."

"Then perhaps that is our destination." He could see Emma and Selene descending where Data was pointing.

The women were the first to land next to the worn metal statue of the husky, bearing the inscription "Balto." In front of the statue was a red arrow pointing towards a small land bridge nearby. An eerie glow filled the underpass.

"What do you think?" Selene asked.

Emma's only response was to rev the engine and race top speed through the small tunnel. Almost instantly upon entering the energy field, the two found themselves in the midst of a vast barren landscape - a huge reddish wasteland with rocky crags, empty sandy plains and bizarre twirling clouds. There was no apparent sun and yet the terrain was well lit.

"There," Selene said, pointing to a row of seven posts a few feet away. Small cards hung from each one. Quickly grabbing one, Emma ripped open the clue and read, "Now you must journey to the master of this plane, the Dread Dormammu, to reach the pit stop for this leg of the race."

"Dormammu?!" Selene exclaimed. "What the hell could Doctor Strange have on that demon to get him to participate in this?"

Before Emma could speculate, Deadpool and Cable materialized behind them.

"We'll find out later," Emma replied, lifting off into the alien soup that passed for air in this dimension. Far off in the distance, a dark castle could be seen on top of the lone mountain.

Each scooter quickly followed through the portal and headed off for the fortification. Eventually Wolverine and Colossus came bounding through on police horses.

"I do not veel right vith taking the horses of police, Comrade," Colossus said to his partner. "Back in Russia they vould send us to Siberia for such infraction."

"Well this ain't Russia, bub," Wolverine answered. He looked around the otherworldly landscape for a moment. "Least I don't think it is." They could see the scooters ahead of them, surprisingly not that far off. The ships were having a rough time picking up speed in the thicker air.

"Captain, this experience exceeds my programming," Data told Picard.

"Snap to it Mr. Data. You are designed to adapt to new experiences."

"Yes Captain, but within parameters consistent with the known laws of physics. My sensors are unable to determine any of the elements present in our immediate environment."

Picard did his best to ignore Data as he tried to gain on Vegeta, who was a few yards in front of him.

"For instance," Data continued, "I am unable to determine if those objects flying towards are material."

Picard glanced towards the direction Data was pointing and saw several large red, winged beasts rushing towards them with great speed. He was able to dodge the first one and zip under the second, but the third monster crashed solidly into the under carriage of the scooter. Picard and Data were sent sprawling onto the sandy surface not far below. A loud crash up ahead told him that Vegeta and Son Goku had also been knocked to the ground.

The sound of blaster fire drew his attention back to the sky. Private Hudson had taken out two of the beasts attacking his ship. As Yoda zoomed by over head, he could see the Jedi Master using his force powers to send two more of the creatures spinning off into the distance. Oneida, steering with just one hand, had her blaster out and finished off a third.

As several of the monsters swooped down towards Picard, Data came running to his side. The creatures landed in a circle around the two, saliva dripping off their long fangs.

"Are you enjoying your shore leave, Captain?" Data asked.

"Was that sarcasm, Mr. Data?" Picard replied with a smile.

A demon lunged for the Captain, but Data grabbed its outstretched arm and flung it head over heels. A second beast swiped its powerful claws at Picard but he ducked and rolled under the monster. A sharp kick to its posterior sent it sprawling. Momentarily stunned, Data gave a powerful chop to its neck, flattening the horrible thing.

Free for the moment, the two ran over the incline ahead just in time to see Vegeta cleaving one of the monsters in two. Several of the demons lay scattered across the ground. Both he and Goku were covered in the thick goo that passed for the monsters' blood.

The strangest whooping sound behind them caused all four to turn back towards where they had come from. They watched in surprise as Wolverine and Colossus bounded over the hill on horses and quickly galloped past.

"Blast it!" said Picard. The four looked at each other for the briefest moment before suddenly breaking into a mad run towards the castle. Picard did his best to keep up with the Vegeta and Son Goku, but the two warriors were simply in too good a physical condition to be beaten in a foot race. Panting and exhausted, Picard, with Data staying loyally at his side, entered the castle behind the others.

As they ran into the main hall, they saw a giant stone throne in the center. A great powerful giant with a flaming head sat there, Gaia at his side. As the two Star Fleet officers approached, Gaia, surrounded by the others, said, "Captain Picard, Lieutenant Data . . I am sorry to say you are the last team to arrive. You have been eliminated from the race." Gaia's eyes were starting to water.

Picard looked at her and smiled. "That is quite all right. I must say, this might just have been the most fun I have ever had on shore leave. Thank you for letting us play."

Gaia then turned to the others. "This is the last leg for today. We are going to spend tonight in Dormammu's castle. He will give you your next clues tomorrow. Emma and Selene, as the winners of this leg, you will get to leave first tomorrow."

Friday, December 30, 2005

The eight two-man teams rushed forward in a wave towards the clues hanging off the posts just over the wall of the school. The Amazing Mutant Race 2 was on. Wolverine was able to reach the clue first, though it didn't really do him any good as he used his claws to slice open the envelope, cutting the clue into three pieces. Cursing, he tried to fit the pieces together so that he could read the message.

I eavesdropped telepathically with some amusement on all the players as they tried to figure out what the clue meant. "Using the rocket scooters provided by the Avengers, make your way to the inner holy place of the man who founded the non-team."

"By the mighty Dragon Ball, what the heck is a non-team?" Vegeta asked to no one in particular.

"The Defenders!" Deadpool blurted. "They're talking about Doctor Strange!"

Cable shot his partner a nasty look and then jabbed him in the arm. "You couldn't keep that little factoid between us? The first useful piece of information you have ever had, and you go ahead and blurt it to everyone!"

"Oops, my bad," Deadpool replied sheepishly. The two then noticed that everyone had ran for the jet scooters. They quickly moved to catch up.

Emma and Selene were the first two in the air. As Emma steered the craft Selene, seated behind, wrapped her arms around Emma's waist and leaned forward to ask, "Do you have any idea where Doctor Strange's 'inner holy place' might be? I hope we don't need Vasaline to get there."

"Of course not, my dear. Didn't you ever review any of the Hellfire Club's archives? They have dirt on just about everyone. 'Inner holy place' in Latin is Sanctum Sanctorum. Strange's place is in the Village."

Soon all the scooters were in the air. Only Emma, Wolverine and Deadpool knew the location of Doctor Strange's abode though, so the other teams followed them. As the ships dove between the canyons of Manhattan's skyscapers, the pack broke up into three separate groups.

"Dive in closer," Vegeta told Son Goku. "I'm taking that fool Wolverine out of this race right now."

Son Goku opened the throttle on the Avenger's scooter and charged straight for Wolverine and Colossus. Logan's keen hearing picked up the whine of their engine over the roar of rushing air and he turned just in time to see the other scooter slamming right into the side of his. Colossus lost all control and crashed his ship into an insurance office on the 20th floor of a mid-town high rise.

Vegeta was about to leap from his ship and charge at Wolverine when Lieutenant Commander Oneida brought her craft along side his. Master Yoda, hugging her back, called out to Vegeta.

"Stop, you must! Follow the crazed one with the forks on his hands, we two teams have. Of us, our destination only he knows. Let him fly, we must."

Vegeta looked at Yoda for a long moment before speaking. "What the hell did you just say?"

Oneida breathed an exasperated sigh. "Wolverine is the only one who knows where we are suppose to go! We'll all lose the race unless we let him lead us to wherever the heck this temple is!"

The strange contortions Vegeta's face underwent showed just how torn he was. "Fine," he finally said with obvious disappointment. "Another time."

Meanwhile, Wolverine and Colossus had gotten back on their ship and zoomed into the air. "I'm gonna enjoy carvin' that freaky little dude up," Wolverine muttered.

By the time the three teams got into the more open air below midtown, the other groups were already ahead of them.

Jon, the Intergalactic Gladiator flew his craft closely on the heals of the leaders Deadpool and Cable. "Hey, man, I can take those losers out with my M41A Pulse Rifle," Hudson said into his ear.

"Oh yeah, and then what do we do?" Jon asked.

"What do you mean man? We win the friggin' race!"

"Really? And where are we flying to right now?"

"Um . . wherever those guys are going." Hudson pointed to Deadpool and Cable with his rifle.

"And do you know where they are going?"

"No. That's why we're followin' 'em."

"And if you blow them up, how are we going to follow them, Hudson?"

"Well . . maybe I should blow them up after we get to where ever we are going."

"Good plan. And by the way, get your hands off my waist."

"I'm just holdin' on, man."

"If you weren't wearing that ridiculous outfit, I wouldn't mind so much," Jon told him.

"Hey man, I told you. These are my PTs! They let me be mobile. They let me be dangerous!"

Jon just rolled his eyes and concentrated on following Deadpool. About half a mile behind, he could see Emma and Selene, with the Carboard Knight and Superhero Bob and Captain Picard and Data close on their heels.

"I don't see Wolverine and the others anywhere," Selene said into Emma's ear.

"It's possible they already arrived," Emma replied. "I think that little green gremlin has some very powerful abilities."

"We had best take out one of the teams behind us then, just to make sure we don't come in last," the Black Queen suggested.

"Well then, get to it my dear."

Selene turned back and saw Captain Picard closing in on her. The look on his face as he piloted the rocket scooter could only be described as giddy joy.

"Captain, I am not aware that you have ever flown a craft of this type before," stated Data.

"No Data, this is my first time."

"Then do you not think you are flying a bit fast?" The concern in the android's voice was obvious.

"But this is a race Data! You want to win, don't you? We have to go fast!"

"I am not even sure why we are here, Captain. I would think that your duties on board the Enterprise would preclude the involvement in such mundane activities."

"How I choose to spend my shore leave is my own affair. Now let me focus on driving."

"But Captain, to breach Star Fleet protocol by creating a time warp for purely -"

Data's admonishment was cut off by a hail of steel girders flying straight towards them. Out of the corner of his eye, Data could see Selene gesturing with her hand while laughing maniacally. Picard, with reflexes honed through years of training and experience, was able to pull the scooter up just in time and narrowly avoid being impaled. The Cardboard Knight, flying close behind him, was not so lucky.

One girder smashed straight through the engine of his ship. He and Superhero Bob were thrown off their scooter into the sky with nothing but hundreds of feet of empty air between them and the pavement. Using her amazing strength and agility, Bob wrapped her arms under the Knight's shoulders and pushed off against the hurtling debris of their former ship.

"Hang on!" she yelled, as their two bodies spun through the air towards the nearest building. With incredible finesse, Bob was able to use the Knight's body to provide air resistance, slowing their descent somewhat. Keeping one arm locked under his shoulders, she reached out and grabbed the traffic signal bar hurtling by with her free hand and spun around it several times. The pain was excrutiating but she managed to hold it together and get them both safely to the ground. Bob collapsed in exhaustion.

"You saved my life!" gushed the Cardboard Knight. "That was incredible! I really thought that was going to be it!"

"Me too," Bob answered. "Hey, grab that cab."

As the two quickly piled into the yellow taxi, the Knight asked, "But we don't know where the heck they're going."

"We don't, but they do!" Bob replied, pointing to the sky. "Follow those ships!" she ordered the driver, indicating Wolverine and the others following him.

The cab raced off at top speed. For his part, the driver did an amazing job, dodging between cars, buses and bicyclists, running red lights and even driving on the sidewalk at one point. As the car came to a screeching halt in front of Doctor Strange's though, it was clear to see that all the other teams were already there, standing next to Gaia and her talking fox, Fred. Still, Bob and the Knight ran up to her.

Gaia had a rather sad look in her eye as she turned to them. "Superhero Bob . . Cardboard Knight . . you are the last team to arrive. I am sorry to tell you, you have both been eliminated."
Somberly, the two nodded. "I just want to say," started Bob, "this has been a great opportunity and I really appreciate it."

"Yeah," agreed the Knight. "I'm just glad we made it this far."

"But they got eliminated first," snickered Wolverine.

"Their dignity, let them keep," chided Master Yoda.

Gaia then turned to the rest of the group. "The rest of you have completed the first leg of the race. We are going to take a lunch break and then Doctor Strange will be giving you your next clues, in the order of your arrival."

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Somehow, Wolverine has talked me into hosting another Amazing Mutant Race. Looking back I realize that I had given in too easily. Ah well. At least this should keep him out of my hair for a bit. So to speak.

This afternoon, after having several stiff belts of my favorite brand of cognac, I waited on the front lawn of the school for the last of the teams to arrive. Most of the players in our little contest had already arrived. Vegeta and his hetero life-mate, Son Goku were standing next to Wolverine and Colossus. "I am going to get you back for that 'rube' crack, Wolverine," Vegeta told him. "Just thought you'd like to know."

"Yeah? Bring it on, bub. By the way, nice hair." You didn't need to be a mind-reader to see Vegeta bristle.

Just as he started to move towards Wolverine though, a loud howling sound suddenly roared through the air. Everyone turned to see Private Hudson flat on his back, rubbing his jaw. Emma Frost stood over him, shaking her fist in his face. "If you ever touch me again, worm, you won't be getting up."

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator was standing a few feet away from his sprawled partner, stifling his laugh. Deadpool, who was leaning on Jon's shoulder, was doubled over. His teammate, Cable just shook his head.

"I could have told you that you were wasting your time with her," Deadpool told Hudson. "She's what we call finicky."

Emma turned to her companion, Selene, and the two ladies walked away. "Those two are old friend's from the Hellfire Club," Deadpool told Jon. "Well, maybe friends is the wrong word."

"What do you think, do I have a shot with a babe like that?" the Cardboard Knight asked Superhero Bob, his assigned partner.

"Kid," she replied, "while I must say that paper armor of yours is mighty impressive, I really don't think it's going to do much for a high rent woman like that."

The Knight looked disappointed, but then after a moment he brightened up. "Well, what about you? Do you dig guys with big swords?"

Superhero Bob looked at him for a long moment before she replied. "Kid, I think we should focus on the race."

Just then, two bright columns of twinkling lights started to appear in our midst. All eyes turned to watch as shapes began to form in the columns. Soon two people were standing in front of us. It was Captain Picard and his Lieutenant Data.

"Greetings Jean Luc. Very nice to see you again."

"Thank you, Charles. You are looking well."

"I see you decided not to go with the marching band uniform today."

"Yes. That was actually my dress uniform which I wear on special occasions, such as hosting foreign dignitaries at the annual Enterprise Christmas party. This is my day to day suit."

"You know I had a bit of trouble getting home after that X-Mas party. Apparently your transporter had some kind of malfunction."

"I had heard. Sorry about -"

"Hey!" interrupted Wolverine. "Can we get on with this already?"

"We are still waiting for one last group," I told him.

As if on cue, a small spacecraft suddenly zipped into view over our heads. The ship, a kind of box with long wings sticking out of the sides, rapidly descended to the ground before quickly breaking. As it hovered a few feet above the earth, landing gear retracted and then a door in the side slide open. Out hobbled a short green . . person. At his side was a rather tall beautiful young woman.

"Master Yoda, I am," the green creature said, his very long, wrinkly ears quivering slightly. "And Lieutenant Commander Oneida, this is." As Yoda gestured to the woman next to him, she took a quick bow.

"I am really looking forward to this, Professor," Oneida said. "Thanks so much for letting us play."

"I hope your journey wasn't too arduous."

"Actually no. There is a rather convenient worm hole in your sector we were able to warp to."

"Oh man," Wolverine said as he walked over to us. "I bet this little green guy is the first one out!"

"Call me 'little' do you? Size matters not. Kick your ass, we will."

"Um, yes," I quickly said, wheeling between them. "And now that we are all here, the race is ready to begin. Please everyone, take your places on the starter line."

I watched as each of the two man teams lined up in a row between the flags that had been put into place. Gaia, my right hand man in setting up this entire event, lifted an air horn high above her head and tapped it once. A loud blast ripped through the air and everyone charged forward as one, rushing to clues hanging off the posts a few dozen yards away.

The race was on!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

"What's up, Chuck?" Wolverine asked as he charged into my office. Then he started that inane snickering he always does.

"Wolverine . . "


". . . nothing."

"So, we doin' the race or what?" The eagerness in his voice seemed almost out of character.

"Surprisingly enough there has been some interest," I told him. "Several friends plan to take part. Some come from another galaxy, some from another time."

"Hey, that's great!"

"They don't all have powers though."

"Then they'll just be that easier to beat. Heh heh. But, uh, we can still call it the Amazin' Mutant Race, right?"

"Yes, of course. Get yourself and Colossus ready. The race starts tomorrow."

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

As I sat back in my chair listening to my new Ipod and wondering whether or not to swap music files with Selene, the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club, an organization bent on world domination, I marveled at how I was finally getting a moment's peace. That was, of course, an illusion quickly shattered.

The outer door to my office banged open and in flew Wolverine, followed closely behind by Colossus.

"What's up, Chuck?" Logan asked, quickly breaking into giggles at his own wit. He turned to Colossus, who merely shrugged in response. After a few hundred times, even the best of jokes gets stale. And that line hardly qualifies as "the best of jokes."

"What is it Logan?" I asked, removing my ear phones.

"Did you see that crappy finale of the Amazing Race a couple a weeks ago? It sucked! Family edition! What the hell were they thinkin'!"

"I have no idea. I also don't care. Now if there's nothing else, I have some very important work to get back to."

"No, no. I ain't even told you my idea yet."

I looked at Wolverine a good long time. He was obviously waiting for me to ask what his idea was. I could, of course, have just read the thought in his mind telepathically, but that would have taken an exertion, no matter how small, that I simply did not want to spend on this nonsense.

"And what is your idea, Logan?" I asked finally. He breathed a visible sigh of relief.

"Well I was thinkin', we had such an ass kickin' time with the last Amazing Mutant Race, we ought a do it again. But this time - bigger! Not just here at the school. And we could use people other than just X-Men. I was thinkin' maybe get a couple of the Brotherhood. Maybe that rube Vegeta and his side-kick Goku. Maybe Jon and his pal, Hudson. What do you think? We could do it all over the city. No wait - all over the country. No, no! All over the world!!"

"For this you disturbed me? Another Amazing Mutant Race? Didn't you get that out of your system last time?"

"Come on, Chuck! You got to hook me up! Me and Petey can do our Fast-Ball Special!"

I could see he wasn't going to leave until I agreed to his demands. One problem with Wolverine is that his Weapon X training gives him some immunity to my telepathy. Ah well. I wonder if anyone would actually want to participate in this contest? I suppose there's no reason for it to be limited to mutants. Maybe if no one enters, Wolverine will leave me alone about it.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Well it turns out my students were not quite as thoughtless as they had at first seemed. I realize it may be shallow of me, but the Old Navy sweater they had gotten me, which didn't even fit by the way, was a little disappointing. Waiting on my pillow though, when I got upstairs, was a brand new 60 gigabyte Apple Ipod. The one that plays videos. I was rather pleasantly surprised.

Of course this meant that I had to spend most of my day organizing the .mp3 files on my computer. They were quite a mess. The hardest part, I found, was trying to figure out what categories the artists are suppose to belong to. I know that Rick James is the Godfather of Soul but Superfreak sounds more like Funk to me.

Is there a difference between Soul and R&B? Are the Temptations included in one of those categories or some place else?

And where do you put Blondie? She's sort of Punk/Pop/Disco/New Wave. In the end, I settled on New Wave. I think of Punk as being just a little edgier.

Ah well. At least it's easier than battling Magneto.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

After my rather unsatisfying meeting with the producer of the upcoming X-Men 3 movie, I decided to try and get back home in time for Christmas, or as we mutants call it, X-Mas.

My first task then was to regroup with the party that I had come from New York with. Jean Grey, it turns out, had already made it back to New York and was staying at the Hellfire Club. She was fully immersed in her Black Queen persona. A rather disturbing prospect, given her recent struggles with the Phoenix entity. Fortunately, perhaps, Emma Frost has gone after her, hopefully to keep an eye on Jean. The bad news is, she had also resumed her role as the White Queen. While as a man I do appreciate the Hell Club's fashion choices, for the women at least, their underlying ambitions cause me no end of headaches.

Next I scanned for Gaia. She had managed to land a guest spot on the Oprah Winfrey show. Gaia told me that she wanted to remain out on the West Coast for a few days to do some exploring and that she would return under her own steam to the mansion when she was ready.

Then I used my telepathic powers to seek out Storm, the pilot of the X-Jet. I found her at the Beverly Hills Hilton in the Honeymoon suite. To my shock, she and the Black Panther were in the midst of a rather intimate moment. I almost fell out of my chair.

It's possible that part of my reaction might have been jealousy. You see, Storm and I had shared a rather intimate moment of our own a few weeks ago. At the time Storm was possessed by my mortal enemy, the Shadow King. Hmm. I hope that doesn't mean that the Shadow King and I shared . . . . I'm going to leave that thought there and never revisit it.

Either way, Storm told me that she and T'Challa were planning to remain in LA for a while and that I should go ahead without her. That left only Cyclops.

I found him sleeping in dumpster behind a Wendy's on Sunset Boulevard. He had lost his wig and was searching for it. A couple of days before we left for Deadpool's premiere, Son Goku, who was at the mansion to assist with the Watcher crisis, had shaved off all of Scott's hair. He has been wearing a wig ever since. Jean and Emma, irritated at Scott for some reason or other, kicked him around for awhile. Then Jean dumped him at Wendy's.

I took a taxi to pick up Scott and then we drove to the X-Jet. Cyclops, looking quite the worse for wear, flew us back to the mansion in Westchester in time for the X-Mas festivities. The party consists mostly of a large high-carb meal and the unavoidable exchanging of presents.

I got a sweater. One sweater. A school full of people. I, their faithful leader. One sweater. Ah well.

In the end, I suppose that's not really what X-Mas is all about. We are here to celebrate peace and brotherhood, etcetera. To that end I say - Merry X-Mas everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The reason why I have been incommunicado for the last couple of days following Deadpool's premier is that I have been on a top secret, James Bond-type mission involving the fate of the free world. Okay, that isn't entirely true. In fact that's not true at all. I have spent the last two days trying to get in to see Kevin Feige, the Executive Producer of the upcoming X-Men 3 movie. Trying to get past his assistant has been the most difficult battle of my life.

When I entered Feige's outer office, I saw a rather scrawny, fey looking blond young man seated behind a small wooden desk in front of the inner door. I rolled over to him and introduced myself.

"Hello, I'm Charles Xavier."

"Oh, yes, I know," he said in a high-pitched mousy voice.

"I would like to see Mr. Feige, please."

"I don't what you are thinking."

I was rather startled by that response. "Excuse me?"

"I think he's the biggest fathead in the world."

" . . what did you just say?" I couldn't believe what I had just heard.

"One of these days someone is just going to take a gun and do us all a favor. Okay, then. Buh-bye." And with that the assistant turned to face me. He looked me up and down for a moment, removed his headset and asked, "Can I help you?"

"Oh, sorry. I didn't realize you were on the phone."

"I forgive you. What do you want?"

"To see Kevin Feige."

"And you are?"

"Oh, um, I'm Charles Xavier."


"Leader of the X-Men."

"Never heard of them."

"Really? Your employer has made two rather successful blockbusters about us and are currently working on a third."

"I don't really see those kinds of movies. I prefer the foreign classics."

"That is wonderful. I would like to see Kevin Feige, please."

"Do you have an appointment?"

"No, I just happened to find myself in town and wanted to . . "

"Mr. Feige is a very busy man. He doesn't see anyone without an appointment."

"Yes, well, I would appreciate it if you would let him know I'm here. I think he will see me."

The little troll stared at me with as much loathing in his eyes as I have ever seen. Finally and he told me to go wait in the sitting area. I sat patiently for the first half hour. The second half hour I was starting to grow rather impatient. By the third half hour I was, quite frankly, ready to explode.

Normally I do not use my telepathic powers to meddle with people's minds except, of course, for special emergency situations. Ethical considerations and all that. This little maggot though was about to cause me to have an embolism. That certainly falls into my definition of "emergency."

After taking control of the assistant's mind, I was shown into Mr. Feige's office.

"Hey, Chaz! Good to see you big guy! You are looking fabulous!" It just turns my stomach how phony all these Hollywood types are.

"It's good to see you to Kevin," I answered.

"You are just going to love this new movie! It's got tons of action, tons of mutants - and lots of Wolverine!"

"I'm sure it does. What I wanted to talk to you about though was my character."

"You are just going to be thrilled when you see all the cool things we have Xavier doing. He's much more active in this baby!"

"That's great. What I want to talk about though is his accent."

That gave Feige a pause. "What do you mean?"

"I mean he talks with an English accent. I was born in Alamogordo, New Mexico. I am not English. I have never spoken in an English accent. The actor playing me should have an American accent."

"Look, Chaz baby. Patrick Stewart is an awesome actor. He's English. He's got an accent."

"Well if he's such a good actor, why can't he do an American accent?"

"But it's like this. English accents are movie shorthand for intelligence. Your character is suppose like really, really smart. Right?"

"Of course."

"Well the way we tell audiences that a character is really smart is to give them an English accent. 'Cause English people are smart, you know."

"I'm sure they all are. But I'm an American so the actor playing me should have an American accent."

"That's how it is, Chaz. Sorry. Nothing I can do about it. Thanks for coming by. I'll be sure to send you some tickets for the premiere. See ya."

And with that I found myself pushed back out into the outer office. What a colossal waste of time. I hope Gaia has had better luck on Oprah. As soon as she's done, I plan to take the X-Jet back to New York.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Things got a little crazy at the premier of Deadpool's new television show last night. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. There is always going to be an air of chaos surrounding everything that Wade does. There's no reason why a Hollywood premier should be any different. Before the show had even started, Emma and Jean had teamed up to beat on poor Scott. I don't know how that boy thinks he can be a player, keeping two alpha females like that satisfied. It's no surprise he got his rump handed to him.

Deadpool's show is called "Deadpool The Ever-loving Speedo Wearing Mercenary who at times is a little loose with Language." Personally, that seems a little long for the title of a television show, but then again I don't have any broadcasting experience, so what do I know.

The show itself was actually quite funny. In one sketch, Betty White, the co-star of the show, agrees to babysit her neighbor's child, and it turns out to be Deadpool wearing only a diaper. At first his charred skin was a little disturbing but pretty soon you don't even notice it. Deadpool, playing an infant, gets into all sorts of high jinx. He knocks over a plant, making a mess on the carpet, inadvertently locks the cat in the dishwasher and gets the cookie jar down from the top shelf with a .44 Magnum. Who knew he had such comedic talent?

The part of the evening I couldn't stand was all of the locals. You might be surprised to hear this but Hollywood types can be rather phony. And they were everywhere. Each more vapid than the next. It took Gaia and I forever just to get into the theater because the blond bimbo with inflatable breasts in front of us insisted on stopping and twirling for each and every camera.

And the worst part was that my wheelchair got caught on a giant wad of still juicy gum on the theater floor. Some people are just so inconsiderate. What sort of Neanderthal would spit his gum in the middle of an aisle like that? Fortunately Gaia was able to dissolve the chewy wad with her powers. She is quite resourceful. During the show she told me how she came by her stunning dress. You can read about it here.

After the show I went over to congratulate Deadpool but oddly enough he was having some rather harsh words with the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I think Arnold, after playing a mercenary in all those movies, may have been jealous upon meeting the real thing.

I had been planning to return to Westchester right away, but I realized that while I was on the West Coast, there was some personal business I wanted to resolve.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Storm and her date, the Black Panther, flew Gaia and I, as well as several other X-Men, out to California for the world premiere of Deadpool's new television show on Bravo. You can read about his pilot here on his blog. Gaia gave me a bit of the cold shoulder on our flight out. Apparently she found out that I had been intending to ask Emma Frost to attend the premiere with me rather than her. Gaia therefore thinks she's a second fiddle, as it were, and she quite naturally was put out.

The idea had briefly flitted through my head that if I was next to Emma, I would be more likely to get some positive press exposure, which would be rather welcome after the recent debacles involving Jesse Jackson demonstrating outside the mansion as well as my getting scolded on national television by Judge Judy.

My thinking had been that Emma tends to dress . . well . . in eye-catching attire. This would guarantee interest by the press and her picture in the papers. Since I would be next to her, that means I would be in, too. Emma claims that her dress has gotten more conservative since coming to the school, and I must agree that is true. But in this case, conservative is a relative term. I mean let's be honest, she's not Tammy Faye Baker.

My point is, and I suspect that I'm really only making things worse for myself here, that Gaia was not my second choice for an escort. She did look quite stunning in the outfit she selected, and the paparazzi were quite interested in her.

In addition to getting the cold shoulder from Gaia, Emma was also along for the outing. Naturally she was feeling rather ill disposed towards me as she thinks I had passed her up. She chose instead to make it a threesome with Scott and Jean. It's always risky putting Jean into a crowd but I really wasn't in a position to argue. As it was, I had managed to offend most of the party.

I plan to keep my head down for the rest of the evening. I'll let you know how it turns out when I get back to Westchester.

Monday, December 19, 2005

One of the problems with living with a large group of people, or working with a large group for that matter, is that there is always someone with a birthday or anniversary or graduation or something equally personal and irrelevant to everyone else, coming up. This means that there are those do-gooders out there who insist on commemorating these events, primarily by taking up a collection for the purposes of buying a "group" gift.

Why these people insist on taking up these unwanted and irritating causes I have no clue. Actually, I think I know exactly why they do it. This way they get to pick out the gift, present it to whoever and get the lionshare of the credit. Today I got hit up for no less than three different "voluntary" contributions: a get well card for Scott (he had his head shaved by Son Goku), a cake for Iceman (it was his anniversary for joining the X-Men) and a one month supply of Slim Fast for Beast (who is marking one month sugar free).

The parade of people marching into my office with their hands out-stretched seemed unending. I want to tell them where they can go put that hand, but then I'm the bad guy. Sigh. There's no winning.

And to make things worse I was running late for a rather important engagement. Tonight is the world premiere of Deadpool's new television show. He promises for it to be quite the show. I had been thinking about asking Emma Frost to go, since being next to her would insure me a picture in the paper. But instead I decided to ask Gaia. With her reality warping powers, I figured she could always get us out of there in case things get boring. Or crazy. Yes, more likely crazy.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Well it certainly felt good to finally be back in my own home, in my own reality. As soon as Gaia brought us back from the moon, I went straight to bed. I was exhausted.

Actually, I did make one stop. Vegeta and Kakarot, two adept warriors, had stopped by the mansion to offer assistance with that whole end of existence thing. There is always the concern that such cataclysmic events can only be resolved with some serious combat. In such cases, you want to have all the melee talent you can get. Fortunately, we were able to talk the Watcher out of doing the wrong thing. The downside to that is that he is still up there on the moon, watching us. Very creepy.

To thank Vegeta and his partner for their offer of assistance, I offered them a tour of the Danger Room. They had been getting a little out of hand with some of the X-Men, so I thought that might distract them. Sure enough, they spent several hours battling holographic images of some of our more dangerous foes.

I am very pleased to report that my sleep was long, uninterrupted and very peaceful. I did have a rather strange dream though. I think I was Alice, from Alice in Wonderland. I was on the moon having a tea party with Raggedy Ann and a giant Paul Schaffer. And I was eating strudel. Weird.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I glanced at my wristwatch. It had been 22 hours since Beast announced that all of reality was going to be destroyed in 24 hours. Unfortunately, he had revised that estimate downwards to 22 1/2 hours. That means the mutli-verse only had another half hour left.

What had I been doing all this time, I asked myself? Not enough obviously. Fred (the talking fox) was still convinced that the erosion of the dimensional barrier was being done intentional. Beast agreed with him. They both cited some rather made-up sounding scientific jargon to prove their assertion.

I briefly wondered if I should have alerted all the other geeky brainiacs that I know. Reed Richards, Tony Stark, those kinds of people. No point in causing a panic, I had thought. Oh well, too late know.

As I sat alone in my office with the lights out, my mind wondering which Hollywood starlet I would most want to spend my last moments of life with, when Gaia came bursting in.

"Professor!" she shouted.

"Hmm, what?" I answered, recovering myself.

"I think I figured out who is creating all these dimensional rips!"

"Really? That's wonderful! Who?"

"It's Galactus!"

"Galactus? I doubt it."

"But . . but why not? He's really powerful and he wants to destroy the Earth!"

"That's true, but he doesn't just want to destroy it, he wants to eat it. And we haven't seen any heralds and Reed Richards has some kind of Galactus detector. Plus Jean kicked his ass so I doubt he's planning on coming back here anytime soon. He's all about survival. This is all about total destruction."

"Well, the other guy I was thinking of was the Watcher."

"The who?"

"The Watcher. You know."

"No, never heard of him," I told her.

"Sure you have. He's a big bald guy. Lives on the moon. Watches people all day."

"I'd think I'd remember if I'd ever heard of someone like that."

"Well, he's met the Fantastic Four a couple of times. He tries to keep a low profile. Anyway, he's part of a whole race of guys that just watch planets."

"That sounds . . perverted. What could their justification for such bizarre behavior possibly be?"

"I'm not really sure why they do it, but they exist across all the dimensions and they watch each either other, too. Since they keep themselves isolated from others, they're kind of lonely."

"And how do you know all this, Gaia?"

"Well I have been around for thousands of years, Professor. And I do have experience with dimensional hopping myself."

"Assuming your tale of an entire species of peeping-toms is true, the thing that I don't quite get is, why would he want to destroy all of reality?"

"I don't know, but Beast was able to pinpoint the origin of the cosmic disruption, and it's the moon!"

"Why didn't you say that in the first place!? We have to get a spaceship and -"

With a Bewitched twink of her nose, Gaia and I were suddenly under a giant glass dome. Clearly visible through the glass was the Earth, looking rather blue and lovely in the distance. All around was the lunar landscape. Inside the dome, looming next to some giant computer banks, was a rather strange looking robed man with a giant bald head. He reminded me of a Hari Krishna, though I didn't say anything. I find people can be touchy about religion.

"Excuse me," I said,"are you the, um, Watcher?"

The oversized man slowly turned his massive head towards me. He looked briefly startled to see people, but then his expression quickly returned to the same doleful look on his face. Misery just radiated from him.

"Please don't take this the wrong way," I continued, "but are you in any way responsible for the imminent destruction of all of reality?"

As I spoke the air around us began to vibrate slightly. Glancing to the Earth, I could see a strange light start to envelope it. Clearly the last moments were upon us.

"You see, I was hoping that if you were the cause, I might be able to talk you out of it."

For the longest moment the Watcher said nothing. Finally he spoke in a soft, gloomy voice. "It is too late to stop the process. In just a few more minutes, I will finally be free."

Refusing to give up so easily, I asked, "Free from what?"

I could see he was debating internally about whether to waste his breath answering me, but thankfully he did. "Free from my slavery. I am practically an immortal, you see. And I am doomed for to watch the pathetic struggles of the people on your world. All the people. All the time. For my enitre, very long, life."

"Hmm, yes. I can see how that might get to one after -"

"Murray Abraham of Yonkers New York, for instance," he continued, ignoring me. "Did you know that he had a slight case of indigestion after eating his wife, Estelle's, strudel last night? It kept him up for about half an hour. Consequently he was a bit drowsy when he awoke. After he got out of bed though, he felt much better and went to work."

"Yes, that certainly does sound boring. Hardly a reason to destroy all-"

"But that's not the worst bit," he went on. "You see, my duties require me to be aware of everyone on Earth's life across all the alternate universes. On the 219 Earth, for instance, Murray's drowsiness caused him to sleep through his morning alarm clock. Consequently he was late for work, again, and his boss reprimanded him. Murray was feeling a bit grumpy due to his lack of adequate rest and he snapped back. His boss, who had lost quite a bundle on poker the night before, lost his self-control and fired Murray. Miserable and dejected, Murray drove home without paying close attention to the road. He wound up getting into a fatal car accident. Estelle collected $500,000 dollars on his life insurance policy and moved to Florida where she met Ethan Tannenbaum, a retired butcher, and lived happily ever after."

"Yes, that is a very nice story," I said, trying to hide my growing concern. Everything around us was starting to dissolve into a dull grayness and I could feel increasing pressure in the air. "But you see, if you destroy everything, then poor Estelle doesn't get to live happily every after. That wouldn't be fair to her would it? Murray's sacrifice would have been for nothing."

"All these lives are insignificant. By merging all realities into one, then there will be only one Murray Abraham and I will no longer have to concern myself with What Ifs."

"I can certainly see the benefit of that, however the thing you don't seem to have realized is, the basic substructure of all the multi-verse is a dimension of incredible force. Like one giant black hole, the source of all matter and energy. If you merge all the dimensions, then that base layer will destroy everything."

I could see the Watcher stare into space for a moment. He looked to be concentrating. Then he started nodding. The pressure around us was increasing dramatically. My ears were pounding and everything looked red. This was it.

Through the haze I could see the Watcher reach out and flip a switch on one of his machines. Suddenly the pressure stopped and everything was back to normal.

"That's it?" I said after a moment. "All you had to do was flick that little switch?"

"What were expecting?" he asked. "A big explosion? Dancing girls?"

"No, that was just fine. So . . you won't be doing that again, right?"

The Watcher let out a long sigh. "No, I won't do that again. And I'll be sure to let all my counterparts know about the futility of trying to free ourselves from out lot. Thanks, I guess."

And with that he waved his hand and Gaia and I were back in my office.

Friday, December 16, 2005

"24 hours?" I asked in disbelief. "That's a rather convenient figure, isn't it?"

"Convenient?" replied Beast. "How do you mean?

"Well, exactly one day? That just seems like a rather nice round number."

"It's really kind of a guess-timate, Professor. Now that I'm thinking about it, 22 and a half hours might be a little more accurate."

"That does sound like a more likely kind of number, Henry." Pleased with himself, Beast smiled in satisfaction. I hated to sour his mood but there was business to be taken care of. "Now then, about this destruction of the multiverse - any ideas on how to stop it?"

"Oh, right," Beast mumbled. "Well, we could . . no, no . . perhaps . . hmm, I guess not . . maybe . ."

"I got an idea!" shouted Wolverine suddenly. "There's holes, right? We could get some of the spackle in the basement and start fillin' 'em in!"

Why I let him talk, I just don't know. "Logan, why don't you go see if someone needs some cans opened in the kitchen, alright?" The poor boy looked rather dejected as he sulked out of the office. Not to worry, his rapid healing powers should fix his mood.

"Actually Professor, I have an idea."

All eyes in the room turned to Fred, the talking fox. The red haired animal stared back at me and then let out a tremendous belch. "Excuse me," he quickly said. Clearly the fox had been drinking heavily but we were all too polite to mention it.

"I have been thinking about the frequency signatures emanating from the rips in space/time and I've come to the conclusion that the rips are not the result of all the dimensional barrier hopping that has been going on recently."

"Really? So what is the cause then?"

"Based upon the distribution of variance patterns and the consistency of the force waves, I believe that the rips are being intentionally caused."

"Of course!" exclaimed Beast, snapping his claws. "That makes perfect sense. And it explains the focal symmetry in the gravity fluctuations."

"That' s all well and good," said Emma. "But who on earth would want to cause the destruction of all of reality? No one could benefit and so there is no one with a motive."

We all sat there for a long moment, racking our brains to come up with some idea of who would want to destroy all of reality. No one would come to mind. Could our furry scientists be right? Could someone intentional be causing the destruction of everything?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

As you may have noticed, there has been quite a lot of interdimensional traveling going on recently. I am sure Jon and Vegeta will back me up, sometimes hopping across the mutli-verse is simply unavoidable. The problem with piercing dimensional barriers though, is that this apparently weakens the fabric of reality. Imagine that!

As Emma, Mystique, Wolverine, Cyclops and I were were doing our best to determine whether Jean had returned us to our correct universe, Gaia burst into my office. Under her arms was a drunken talking fox named Fred. Such is my life.

"Oh, isn't Beast here?" Gaia asked, as the Scarlet Witch entered after her.

"No, I haven't seen him," I told her. "But we've only been back a few minutes."

"Well, we had something really important to tell you. He raced out of the lab ahead of me and I thought he was coming here."

"Why don't you just tell me what the problem is."

"Okay. It's like this. There are all these, um, rips in space and - "

Just then Beast came crashing through the door, tumbling into the center of the room. He had a large hoagie in his hand and a rather sheepish look on his face.

"Sorry I'm late. I just stopped for a quick dose of nourishment." Beast lifted his sandwich as if to confirm that he did indeed make a deter to the kitchen.

"That's fine, Hank," I told him. "Now what's this about rips in space?"

Beast took in a deep breath and squared his shoulders. "I don't want to sound melodramatic, Professor, but we may very well be facing the most serious and dangerous threat to all life in the universe that we have ever known."

"Okay, got it. This is important. Get to it already."

"Yes, Professor. Gaia and Wanda have detected disruptions within the dimensional barriers that separate our universe from other planes of existence. These rips are creating a fundamental disruption in the space/time continuum. But that's not the worst part."

"Really? So what is the worst part?" I asked.

"These rips seem to be opening holes to the basic underlayer of reality. This is the plane that links to all others. Reed Richards has hypothesized that this is the source of the matter and energy of the big bang. Each big bang from each universe. This is a realm of such incredible power and destructive force that nothing could escape from it or survive it. Basically, when the rips touch on the fundamental realm, the effect is the same as that of a localized black hole. Each rip then has the potential of destroying our entire solar system, and they are opening up all across the planet. According to the laws of quantum mechanics, analogous holes are going to be opening up all throughout the galaxy. This inherent instability will inevitably lead to the total annihilation of all of reality, across the entire multi-verse."

"Hmmm. Well, as far as your original concern goes, I don't think you were being melodramatic. This doesn't sound very good at all. What do we do about it?"

"That part I'm still working on," Beast replied.

"How long have we got?" Logan asked.

"Based on my rudimentary calculations . . less that 24 hours."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It certainly felt good to be back in my own universe and in my own time period after all the wild antics of the last few days. I was just exhausted and was looking forward to sleeping for a week! Before I could go up to my bedroom though, my first stop was going to have to be the restroom. Those Starbuck Frapaccinos go right through me.

When I opened the door to the private bathroom in my office, who did I see standing there, completely naked, in front of the toilet, apparently taking care of business before getting into the shower, which is a classy thing to do, I must say. It was me, of course. Exactly what I told Jean I didn't want to happen. And now she's gone back to her white hot room. Sigh.

I, by which I mean the other me, who was actually standing on his two feet, let out a startled gasp when he saw me, by which I mean me, sitting in the doorway in my wheelchair.

"Who on earth are you?" he demanded indignantly as he reached for a towel.

"Sorry for the intrusion. I realize this might be a little hard to believe but I am actually Charles Xavier, too. However, I seem to be in the wrong alternate reality. Just a funny little mix-up, really."

I felt him reaching out with his mind to scan my thoughts. Hoping to diffuse this awkward moment, I opened myself up to him.

"Well, you do seem to be telling the truth," he said at last. "So how do we get you back where you belong?"

"Do you have a Gaia or Jean Grey here? Perhaps they can -"

Just then my, or that is, "his" office door flew open. In rushed Emma, Mystique, Wolverine and Scott.

"Professor, this isn't our reality," Emma said breathlessly. "That stupid cow brought us to the wrong place!"

"I know, Emma. It will be alright. I was just explaining this to my other self and-"

"Wolverine?!" the other me spat in disgust. "Is this some kind of trap?! Who are you-"

Before he got any further, he doubled up in agony. He started to make the most terrible groans as strange bulges started to emerge all across his body. The rest of of us could only stare in wonderment as his skin tone began to get more ashen. He was getting bigger. And greener.

After a few moments, the Hulk was standing in front of us. More like looming over us, really.

"Um, I think we should be going now," I told the others.

"It's alright, Chuck," said Wolverine. "I've tangled with this guy before."

"Yeah," chipped in Mystique, "and the last time he ripped you in half, right?"

The former me, now a giant jade monster, started howling in rage. His huge muscular arms lashed out, smashing the walls of the bathroom he was in. An alarm started going off and I could sense the other residents of the school rushing towards us.

"Hulk hate puny Xavier!" the behemoth roared as he drew an arm back. His mighty fist came hurtling straight for my head. Less than a second before impact, Wolverine smashed into the side of my chair, sending me flying. I banged my head on the corner of my oak desk. While it did hurt quite a bit, I recognized that the alternative would have been much worse.

"Since when did you become the Hulk?" Emma asked, as she helped me back up.

"Well, I did have a "lost weekend" in Las Vegas a few years ago," I offered. "Just give me a moment."

Using my telepathic powers, I entered the Hulk's mind. His thoughts were a confused jumble of rage but I was able to sort through it and take control of him. I had the Hulk lie down in the corner and focus on his breathing. He was asleep in no time.

Several of the the residents of the school, mostly familiar X-Men, had entered the office. Emma explained to them what was going on. I could sense that they weren't sure what to about us and were thinking about attacking. Before they could decide though, a shimmering portal appeared in the middle of the room. Jean Grey emerged through it.

"Sorry, Professor. My bad. I was watching your ordeal on one of the TV's in that Starbucks. I figured out what happened though and can take you home now."

I stared at her for a long moment before nodding. We all went through the portal and after passing into another TV set, were back in what appeared to be my office. We looked around at each other uncertainly. Then my office door opened and Gaia came rushing in. She had a talking fox under her arm.

"Oh great!" exclaimed Wolverine. "We're in some kind of alternate funny animal reality!"

"No," I assured him. "Fred is from our world. We are finally back home."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I watched the images of the evil mirror universe that we had just left on the television screen. The underground hanger erupted in a giant fiery ball of destruction. It looked like Jean Grey pulled us out of there without a moment to spare.

As I looked around our new surroundings, I realized that we were actually in a Starbucks. Was there a corner of reality this place hadn't reached? I had pretty much managed to ignore their inhumanly fast virus-like growth rate up until the point that one opened up in the main hall of my school. Could Starbucks actually be some kind of mutant entity? I will have to explore that.

"Professor," said Emma Frost, walking up to me, "what is with all these Phoenixes?"

The Starbucks was located in the midst of some kind of giant white room. Also present in this room were dozens of people of indeterminate origin. They all had one thing in common - the Phoenix symbol on their chests. Two of them, a man and a woman, walked past us.

"So you really destroyed everyone?" the woman asked her companion.

"Oh yeah," he answered.

"Why did you do it?" she asked.

"I'm don't know. Because they were there, I guess."

Mystique leaned close to me and whispered, "I wish I had my guns."

Scary. Jean came back over to our little group. Somehow her body had changed to look like the organic steel body of Colossus. This whole situation was very confusing.

"Jean," I started, "what is this place? Who are all these people? Where are we? How do we get home? Please start with that last one first."

"Getting home should be easy enough. Apparently I can use those TV sets to tune into alternate realities and then I can enter them. That's how I found you in the mirror universe. As far as where we are and who those other Phoenixes are, I just don't know."

I asked Jean to get us out of here. She walked over to the televisions and began changing the channels. I saw all sorts of strange images. In one, Captain America appeared to be president. In another, Spider-Man had joined the Fantastic Four. There was even one where it looked like Magneto was ruling the USA. Now that was scary.

Finally the TV tuned into what looked like my very own school for gifted students. The familiar mansion looked very calm and peaceful. But as I well know, looks can be deceiving.

"That's our universe," Jean announced.

"Are you sure?" I asked.


"I mean, are you sure your sure?"

"I'm telling you, that's our universe."

"I'm only asking because I'd really hate to walk in on myself in the bathroom, you know?"

"Professor, don't worry. I promise you, that's our universe."

Still not fully convinced, I none the less nodded and Jean approached the TV. Reaching out to the set, she was somehow able to pull us all through the screen and in an instant we were back in my office. I looked around uncertainly, but it did indeed seem to be my own office. Everything seemed to be in its place. Jean moved back towards the shimmering screen.

"You're going back?" I asked.

"Yes," she answered. "I'm curious what that white room is. But don't worry, I'll be back." Jean blew a kiss to Scott while winking at Logan and then disappeared.

As the others left me, I let out a long sigh of relief. I felt a bit like Odysseus returning from his incredibly long journey home. I plan to take a long, long nap.

Monday, December 12, 2005

As the ground of the underground hanger in this strange, evil mirror universe shook beneath me and the ceiling started to cave, I once again rued the day that I was confined to this wheel chair. People were running around me in panic but there was really nothing I could do but try and keep my chair upright. I suppose that's why I was the first to see the one-man hovercraft fighters streaming in through the new holes in the ceiling, guns blazing wildly. To my surprise, the lead fighter seemed to be commanded by Captain America.

"Kill all the mutie bastards!" he screamed. Zooming in behind him were Iron Man, Hawkeye, Wonder Man, She-Hulk and many others.

"It's the Avengers!" I yelled in disbelief.

"No!" Apocalypse yelled back. "It's the Ultimates!"

Somehow Cyclops gathered his wits and blasted Captain America's hovercraft with his optic beam. With a blood curdling cry, the Captain leapt off the flaming wreckage of his flying machine. He charged straight toward us. He pulled back his shield and razor sharp spikes popped out from the outer edge. He jumped right in front of me and swung his shield straight at my head.

In mid-motion, Apocalypse dove in front of me and knocked Captain America's shield aside. Then a rather strange look crossed the Captain's face. He stood there motionless for a moment. We stared at him in confusion and then a trickle of blood started to leak from the corner of his mouth. As he collapsed to the ground in a heap, Wolverine was revealed standing behind him, blood on his claws.

"What the hell is going here, Chuck?" he asked. All I could do was shake my head. I tried to reach out with my mind to probe our attackers, perhaps take control of them, but for some reason, I wasn't able to connect with them at all. It's like they were shielded somehow from telepaths.

Then a huge deafening explosion erupted next to us, sending everyone sprawling to the floor. Groaning, I pulled myself up onto my chair. I looked over to the others and saw Apocalypse cry out in anguish. His howling got louder and he threw his arms into the air. An ephemeral head started to emerge from his chest. As it took shape, I realized it was the Vision. He materialized inside Apocalypse, splitting him in two.

"Professor, over here!" called Emma. She was leaning out of the jet-copter that we had flown in from my former school. Mystique and Toad were with her. Cyclops, Wolverine and I started to make our way through the rubble, trying to avoid falling rocks and flying missiles. When we were almost at the ship, wild tendrils of lighting ripped down from the exposed sky and blew the ship to pieces. Thor, laughing like a maniac, threw his hammer and it tore through Toad's chest.

Thor landed on the ruined platform next to us. She-Hulk, Iron Man and the other Avengers fell into place next to him. I tried again to reach them with my mind, but to no avail.

"Time to die," said Captain America with a sneer. Thor raised his hammer to call down more lighting as Iron Man raised his repulsor blasters at us.

I watched as if in slow motion the lighting bolts crackling towards us. The repulsor beams streaked out from Iron Man's gauntlets, headed straight at my head. Just before the impact though, an eerie orange fire bathed our team. The other-worldly flames absorbed both the lighting and energy beams. The flames then spread out to engulf the Avengers. They were all sent flying.

As the flames moved away from us, I could see that they were in the shape of a giant fiery bird. More specifically, a Phoenix. Reaching out with my mind, I felt Jean. Our Jean.

"Hello, Professor," Jean said as she floated down next to us. At least, I think it was Jean. She had an organic steel body like Colossus, though with the Phoenix symbol on her chest. It was definitely her mind, though. "Shall we get out of here?" she asked.

"You can tell me later how you found us and where you got that body from," I answered. "If you have a way out of this nightmare, then get to it!"

And with that, Jean reached out into mid-air and I had the strangest sensation of being pulled through some kind of glass barrier. We entered some kind of giant pristine white room. Turning back, it appeared that we had just entered this room through a television set. The images on the set showed a world erupting in fiery destruction. Looking back to the white room, I realized that there were dozens of other people here. All of strange looking crew had one thing in common - Phoenix symbols on their chests.

If I don't accept Picard's invitation to the Enterprise Christmas party next year, I think he'll understand.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Emma, Wolverine, Mystique, Cyclops and myself all stood frozen in place as the giant form of Apocalypse strode up to us. His massive form was brimming with muscles and energy cackled around his body. I knew we were seriously outnumbered. We braced ourselves for his vicious onslaught.

When he started talking, his deep booming voice filled the underground hanger we were in. "Charles Xavier, this is quite the surprise. I had heard you were dead."

I merely shrugged in response. My throat grew dry as he moved closer to me. "Come here you!" he said as he scooped me up in his huge arms. "It's so good to see you! When Cerebro started signaling that it was detecting your unique brain pattern, I feared that maybe the Dark Mistress was trying to clone you. That would be a disaster!"

As I looked up at the rather imposing form of Apocalypse, I asked, "So . . you're glad to see me?"
"Ha ha ha! Of course, my dear friend. I'm just so thrilled you're alive!"

"Could you put me down now please?" I asked. Is this the same man that tried to enslave the Earth, I wondered. After he had returned me to my chair, I asked another question. "Who is the Dark Mistress?"

"Why Kitty Pryde, of course. After she killed you . . or whatever it was she did to you, and took control of the X-Men, she declared herself the Head Mistress of the Xavier Institute. The name just sort of morphed over time to the Dark Mistress. It seems pretty fitting anyway."

At that Apocalypse looked around at the other gathered mutants and chuckled. Many joined in with polite laughter. Several of the faces were familiar. Cortez, Delgado, Exodus, Rem-Ram, Stinger and many more. Basically all evil cut-throat killers and yet all smiling warmly to see us. This mirror universe Picard sent us to is definitely an odd place that I hope to leave as quickly as possible.

"Say, A-poc, where's Colossus?" asked Wolverine with a hesitant voice.

"Oh, didn't you see him when you left the mansion?" responded Apocalypse. "Mistress Kitty had his metallic head mounted on a pick at the front gate."

I heard Wolverine start to sniffle behind me. Now no one loves Colossus more than I, but really. Ever since Wolverine started watching Oprah again, he's been slipping back into his girlie ways. That woman is poison.

"Now Charles," started Apocalypse. "We must catch up. I can't wait to hear about -"

Suddenly a loud blaring siren ripped through the still air of the underground hanger. "We're under attack!" someone screamed. "They must have followed us!" yelled Toad. Deafening explosions thundered all around us and the floor shook as if we were caught in an earthquake. Everyone started to run in the chaos of panic. Another huge explosion started the ceiling collapsing on top of us.

This doesn't look good at all.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Emma Frost and Mystique ran ahead across the courtyard towards what looked like a jet-copter as Wolverine carried my chair over the rubble surrounding what should have been my school. Rather than the the stately bucolic mansion that I was use to though, the school was instead an imposing metal fortress, lined with barbed wire and static concrete barriers. Somehow the Enterprise transporter had sent Cyclops and I to an alternate reality where the people that we knew so well all had all changed. It was like some kind of evil mirror universe where Kitty Pryde claimed to have killed me and taken over the X-Men.

Energy beams erupted from the school at as we fled. Cyclops, who was running behind us, turned and fired his optic blasts back into the school causing booming explosions. The shooting died down long enough for all of us to climb into the awaitng vehicle. To my surprise, Toad was at the controls. He quickly got us airborne.

I couldn't believe the sight outside my window. The ruined landscape looked nothing like the Westchester where I live. Buildings were smashed, smoldering fires were burning everywhere - the whole city seemed to be in chaos.

"What the hell is going on here?" I asked.

"Oh Professor, it's just horrible!" whined Wolverine. "I'm so glad your back! It's just been a constant struggle since you've been gone! I don't think my poor nerves could take anymore!" And then he broke down sobbing. It was really kind of embarrassing.

Fortunately, Emma provided a distraction from the awkward moment. "Professor, I'm really not sure what is going on. Logan was outside your office a few mintues ago and saw you and Scotty fading in and out of exsistence. I happened to be nearby talking to Mystique who had returned to the school looking for Magneto. We responded to Wolverine's girlish cries and rushed to investigate. Somehow we got sucked along with you to this nightmarish world." Then she glanced at Wolverine with an almost apologetic look on her face. "If I had known what we would face, I would have brought more . . stable assistance."

"Yes, I understand," I replied, casting a sideways glance at Cyclops, who also seemed like he was about to lose it, too. "So Toad, where are you taking us?"

His only answer was to take the ship into a sharp dive. I was rather alarmed to see that we were headed straight for a giant steel wall with huge spikes jutting out in all directions. As we rapidly approached our apparent doom, my hands tightly gripped the arms of my wheelchair. The ship dove straight through the wall without any impact. Apparently it was an illusion.

The jet-copter landed underground and we disembarked. Loud footsteps echoed throught the concrete hanger. Emma had a very nervous look on her face and was about to say something to me. Before she could though, Apocalypse strode up to us.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Scott and I certainly went to one hell of a Christmas party yesterday. I just wish I could remember more of it. Captain Picard was serving something called Romulan Ale. My question is, who the heck are the Romulans and how did they get their booze blue?

As I sat in the doorway of my office amidst the seemingly infinite empty void beyond, I couldn't help but look over at Scott as he slowly staggered to his feet. The blue lipstick smeared on his face looked kind of like clown makeup. I was about to make some disparaging remark to him when I noticed that the void started to give way to solid objects.

Slowly the familiar setting of my school's main hall started to materialize. Things weren't quite right, though. Rather than the welcoming wood paneling I was use to, the walls seemed to be constructed of a cold metallic substance. Instead of the warm well lit environment I had carefully designed, the hall had harsh bare light and eerie dark shadows. Then I started to hear an odd clomping sound, getting louder and louder.

I could make out the shape of three figures, all becoming more solid along with the school. In front was Kitty Pryde. She had her pet dragon, Lockheed, with her. Behind her were Bobby "Iceman" Drake and Warren "Angel" Worthington. All three of them had dark leather outfits and tall knee-high boots. Angel even had his wings dyed black.

They looked like evil mirror universe versions of themselves. Could there have been some kind of malfunction with the Enterprise's transporter, perhaps coupled with Dr. Doom's time travel platform?

"I don't know how you came back from the dead, Xavier," Kitty said with a sinister tone. "And I don't really care." And with that the three X-Men all raised rather powerful looking rifles at me. "When I kill someone, I mean for them to stay dead. I'm in charge of the X-Men now and no one, not even you, will take that from me."

I was stunned. My three students cocked their rifles and aimed them at my head.

Just then, the front wall exploded inwards. Kitty and the others were knocked to the ground. Emma Frost, Wolverine and Mystique came charging through the large smoking hole in the wall. Wolverine collapsed on top of me, wrapping his arms tightly around my neck.

"Oh golly, Professor!" he wailed tearfully. "I'm so glad to see you alive! We had thought the worse!"

"There will be time for tears of joy later, Logan," said Emma. "We must get the Professor out of here! Mystique, can you help?"

"Of course, my dear friend," Mystique said to Emma as she proceeded to wheel me towards the newly created entrance. Scott stumbled after us in confusion.

Just then Kitty recovered herself and grabbed her rifle. Before I could react she started firing. Fortunately Emma was able to turn to her diamond form in time. The energy blasts ricocheted off her reflective body and by an amazing coincidence, slammed into Iceman. He vaporized in a puff of smoke. Wolverine let out a terrific squeal of horror, distracting Kitty as the rest of us made or escape.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Oh my poor head. Last night feels like a dream. I can barely remember what happened. Fortunately, perhaps, as I was perusing the internet, I found this entry on Captain Picard's journal describing the events which remain a blur to me.

Apparently Cyclops and I went to part aboard his starship, somewhere in the 24th Century. Apparently there was a lot of alcohol involved. That would account for the heavy metal band playing Gotterdamerung in my head right now. And I see Scott passed out my leather coach. His shirt's on backwards and he has blue lipstick on his face. I better get him cleaned up before Jean sees him. That's just the kind of thing to make her get all Dark Phoenixy again.

The funny thing is, I'm not really sure how I got back to the mansion. I woke up just a few minutes ago here in my office. As I'm scanning the school telepathically, I'm not finding anyone else's presence. It must be the hangover. I'll just go out into the hall and have a look.

Hmm, that's unusual. When I opened the door, rather than the main hall of the mansion that I normally see, there's a strange reddish void. My office appears to be floating in a weird empty space, devoid of planets or stars or anything else. Wherever we are is even more empty than the Astral Plane. And I can sense no other minds anywhere, unless of course you count Scott.

That must have been one hell of a party.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Yesterday I received a rather unusual invitation to party. A small electronic picture-phone type thing arrived via USPS and conveyed the message from a Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Curious as to the true intent and origin behind this potentially sinister device, I sought out the assistance of Beast, the X-Men's residence scientist.

"Hmm, the ensyctograph is registering a rather high level of photonic energy," Hank said as he gazed into a viewer on one of his machines. "It is my considered opinion that the origins of this gizmo lie forward along the timeline."

"You mean . . . it's from the future?" I asked.

"Indeed. Unfortunately my experience with time travel is exceedingly limited. I would suggest seeking further information from Reed Richards."

Following Hank's advice, I returned to my office and rang up Mr. Fantastic.

"Hello Professor Xavier, it's nice to hear from you. How are things with the X-Men?" he asked.

"Just fine thanks. And the Fantastic Four?"

"Oh, same-old same-old. What can I do for you today?"

"I have received a rather strange party invitation. I was wondering if you might be able to tell me anything about its origins."

"Well, I would need to see the item," he replied. And at that I opened a telepathic conduit between our minds. It took Reed a moment to adjust but then he was able to see and feel everything that I could. After peering closely at the cel phone thingy for a few moments he stopped.

"Yes, I know exactly what this is," he announced. "There is an alternate future time line where the Earth has assumed leadership of the galaxy through a "Federation of Planets." Earth has mighty warships to enforce its will on the other worlds. This Captain Picard is in command of Earth's flagship, the Enterprise, in the 24th Century."

"I see," I replied. "So this Federation is an evil-empire?"

"I don't know if I'd quite go that far. Perhaps more of a benevolent dictatorship. Of course, my knowledge of the era is limited. It's possible that I could be mis-reading the data. If you are interested in going to the party and seeing for yourself, I do have Dr. Doom's time machine in my possession."

"Really?" I said, intrigued. "I think I might just take you up on that."

While I may not get around as much as I use to, in my youth I was quite the adventuring explorer. A Christmas party in the future might just be a very exciting experience.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Work crews were still in the mansion today repairing the damage Jean did when she went all Dark Phoenix on us a couple of days ago. Since Leech is still out and about most of the time, I'm trying to make sure the human carpenters and masons don't see anything they aren't suppose to. Normally, I'd just manipulate their minds telepathically.

Jean had actually locked Leech in a closet, if you can believe that. A poor little mute orphan boy and what does she do? Lock him in a closet. And I'd just like to say that is totally different than when I have Beast lock him into the power nullification chamber. Because then I'm not doing it myself, Beast is doing it. Completely different.

After I had checked on the worker's progress this afternoon I headed for the library. To my surprise, Storm was there, standing behind the wet bar. We hadn't really had a talk since the X-Men and I eliminated the Shadow King who had been dominating her mind. While she was under his influence, Storm and I had, well, that is we . . well, you know.

Anyway, we hadn't really talked about that. I didn't particularly want to talk about it, mind you, but she was there and I supposed it would just be easier to get it over with.

"Can I get you something to drink, Professor?" she asked in a perfectly friendly voice.

"Oh, thank you, yes. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot."

As she got to fixing a pot of tea, I wondered to myself why I had asked for that. I don't drink tea. I'm a coffee man. An Irish Coffee man.

"Professor, there was a rather unusual item for you in the mail today," she said as she set the water to boiling. Storm walked over and handed me an envelope.

I looked at the back and saw the letter's U.F.P. under a blue snow globe with two blue holly leafs around it. The envelope had a shiny coloring, like someone had sprinkled glitter on it. I opened it and pulled out a little metal rectangle with a clear plastic square set in it. There were two buttons. One red, one green. I pressed the green one.

An image appeared in the plastic square. It was a devilishly handsome bald man with some kind of weird red shirt on. He spoke with an English accent. "Greetings. I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise. I would like to cordially invite you to the annual Christmas party being held aboard our ship this coming Monday, Stardate 52157.3. I hope to see you there!" And then the screen was filled with that same blue snow globe with the surrounding leafs.

"What do you make of that, Professor?" Storm asked.

"I'm not quite sure. What could that Stardate possibly mean?"

"Perhaps Hank will have an idea," she suggested as she handed me my tea.

"Excellent idea, Ororo. I will check with him." I took a sip and was rather pleasantly surprised. "So that's Earl Grey, eh? I think I could get use to that."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Jean Grey has been safely chained to her bed since yesterday's Dark Phoenix hijinx. I've also placed Leech in the room next to hers, which will hopefully keep her powers safely neutralized. I'm thinking of having her start counseling with Dr. Leonard Samson, the semi-official psychiatrist to the super-hero set.

We still have a rather large hole in the roof from Jean's antics. Gaia kindly offered to warp reality around the opening to re-create the roof, but I don't want to risk removing Leech until Jean is stable. He's pretty much the only thing standing between life and death for us right now.

The question is, once Jean is stable, what to do with Leech. It's rather hard to be an effective super-hero team with a walking power-nullifier walking around. The problem is, he's just a child. I can't just put him out on the street, no one with powers will take him, and no plain everyday humans will be interested in having a little green boy with a freakish large head.

Beast has built a special isolation chamber which neutralizes his power, allowing the rest of us to use ours. I can't just lock the child up in a closet all day, though. For some reason it just strikes me as wrong.

Perhaps I'll send him to visit "Uncle" Cable.
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