Saturday, December 30, 2006

I sat there at my desk stunned. CBS was blocking me from doing the Amazing Mutant Race. Wolverine was not going to be taking this well. I was going to have to think of something. Maybe - I've got it! I quickly dialed my lawyer.

"Harold Pinter," came the weasely voice on the other end of the line.

"I have a plan, Pinter," I told him. "I'm going to take over the minds of the network executives and make them let me do the show."

"That won't work, Professor. They're network executives. They don't have minds."

"Well this is just ridiculous. Don't they know how many times the X-Men have saved the planet?"

"That doesn't make any difference to them. These people are vultures. All they care about is money. Art and altruism are irrelevant."

"So what are we going to do?" I asked.

"Well . . if you really want we can fight them in court. I think it's a losing battle though and I have to tell you . . it's going to be expensive. CBS has deep pockets."

"Alright. Try to get the injunction lifted. We are scheduled to start tomorrow. Keep me posted."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

As Wolverine walked past my office door I heard him make the most unpleasant sniggering sound.

"We were about to die!" I shouted at him.

"Whatever, girly-man," he shot back with a chuckle as he walked away.

"Don't think this is going to help you in the Race," I muttered under my breath.

Fine. I told Cyclops I loved him. But I didn't really mean it! The world was about to end. In fact, it did end. It was just some alternate Earth so it doesn't really count.

Speaking of the Race, I still had some phone calls to make. For those of you who don't know, that's the Amazing Mutant Race 3 that I'm talking about. It's a bit daunting how complex this thing has become. There's just so much to arrange.

I was just reaching for the phone to call Nick Fury at SHIELD when it started ringing. A bit startled, I picked it up.

"Hello," came a nasally voice I recognized immediately. It was my lawyer. Undoubtably he was calling to tell me that shrew of an ex-wife of mine wanted an upward modification of her support order. "This is Harold P. Pinter here," he continued.

"I know Harold. This isn't about Moira, is it?" I asked.

"Worse. I received an injunction today. Your Amazing Race show has been cancelled by the courts."

"What? That's preposterous!"

"No, it's quite legal."

"But they can't do that!" I protested.

"Of course they can."

"But why on Earth would they?!"

"Because the Central Broadcasting System filed to stop you from proceeding with the Race. They have also filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against you for copyright infringement, dilution and unlawful competition."

"B-but why?"

"They claim your show is a direct rip-off of their Amazing Race show."

"But that's ridiculous! Our show has mutants!"

"Yes, but they say that otherwise it is identical. I'm afraid you can't do the show."

This is a disaster!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

As Scott and I sat in our "borrowed" van, we could feel the ripples of energy swirling all around us, being sucked from the core of the planet and rushing towards Galactus and his nefarious planet-energy sucking device. Cyclops shivered next to me.

"I-is this it, P-professor?" he asked, having to shout to be heard about the roar of the wind.

Not wanting to yell, I just nodded. With the Fantastic Four and the Watcher dead, it looked like our usual stuff wasn't working. We'd have to try something else.

I knew our powers, as impressive as they are by Earth standards, would be fairly puny against Galactus, but what choice did we have? Going down swinging is in the hero's contract. In the fine print at the end. Damn those lawyers.

I had Scott drive us around the rubble towards Galactus. The wild streams of energy rushing past us almost blew our van away. We got as close as we could and then exited. Cyclops assumed an heroic pose, his feet no less than three feet apart. Very impressive. He opened his visor all the way and let out a furious optic blast at the energy converter. The shield around the device easily absorbed his blast.

Reaching out with my mind, I tried to penetrate Galactus's thoughts. First I would plead for what was left of our planet, and then if that failed, I would attack. He was prepared. A powerful psionic dampener blocked my powers.

Buildings started to collapse around us. A massive Earthquake shook the ground all around us, causing the sidewalk to rise and fall in waves like a tumultuous ocean storm.

Scott looked at me, tears streaming down his face. "P-professor," he said, "I . . I l-love you!"

Fortunately I couldn't hear him over the defeaning roar of destruction. I suppose at the end of the world this is the kind of thing one person said to another. He was obviously waiting for me to give him some kind of similar platitude. Oh why not. It's not like anyone will ever know.

"Scott," I shouted over the tumolt, "I love you too."

An unmistakable clapping could be heard from behind me. I whirled around and saw Wolverine standing tall in the midst of the chaos. Tall for him anyway.

"Very touchin', Chuck, but can we get outta here before this planet goes?"

I looked at him for a moment, my vision obscured by all the clouds of dust and smoke, wondering if this was some kind of hallucination. Then I saw figures standing next to him. Colossus. Beast. And Blink.

Blink! As the city collapsed beneath us, Blink teleported us all through the dimensional veil back to the school in Westchester on our own Earth.

Storm walked up to us, a superior smile on her full lips. "When we received Captain Picard's message about the transporter mishap, I sent a rescue team." Her arms were crossed and she had a rather smug look on her face.

"Well . . thank you Storm," I answered.

"And that's why I should be the leader of the X-Men," she finished.

I could only smile. "Well after Scott's falling to pieces, I think he's going to need another round of Fade's man-camp. Perhaps Deadpool can help. He seemed to work wonders for Wolverine."

Logan just snorted at that.

"But enough of this. We have a Christmas party to get to. Merry X-Mas everyone!"

Monday, December 25, 2006

"Oh man, why did it have to be Galactus?!" Scott wailed as he drove us towards the Baxter Building with all the speed and direction of a boulder falling off the side of cliff. Reed Richards was probably already most of the way through with his plan on how to get rid of Galactus again.

Of course, I have been wrong before. Did I ever tell you about my ex-wife?

Drat! Looks like Galactus isn't taking any chance this time.

"Holy crap! He destroyed the whole building! He killed the Fantastic Four! What are we going to do now?! We're doomed!!"

All I could do was shake my head in pity as I watched all of Fade's training evaporate in Scott's girlish display. Oh well. There was still the Watcher. I turned my gaze towards the moon, planning to establish telepathic contact with Uatu. That crafty bugger usually has something up his sleeves.




That's just great. He destroyed the moon. That means the Inhumans are out, too.

"Oh man!" Scott cried. "Doesn't he know it's Christmas?!"

That's what we need. A Christmas miracle.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

At the sight of Galactus, Scott screamed like a girl. His high-pitched wail was incredibly irritating. It felt likes nails were being driven into parts of my body they weren't suppose to be driven into. I finally had to slap him across the face.

Unfortunately that just seemed to highten his fear. I would have put him to sleep telepathically but I needed him sane. So instead I placed into his conscious mind a picture of Emma Frost in her sluttiest White Queen garb. He immediately started to relax. A little too much in fact. He started to take off his pants.

"Scott!" I yelled, removing Emma's image from his thoughts.

"Oh, uh, sorry, Professor."

"Now look, I need you to stay focused. We have a bit of a crisis here and I don't want you to panic."

"Crisis?" he asked in that simplistic, confused voice of his.

"Yes. Galactus. Remeber?"

I could see the raw panic start to creep across his face again.

"Scott! Stay with me, damnit! I need you to drive this van."

"W-what? But why?? What's the point?? There's no where we can go! No way to escape! He's going to destroy the whole planet! We're doomed! There's no where we can run!"

"We aren't running, Scott. We have to get to the Baxter building. Reed Richards practically beats Galactus every morning before breakfast. I'm sure he has a plan. Get us there now!"

"B-baxter building?"

"Drive damnit!"

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Through all the chaos and panic I couldn't make out the nature of the threat against New York City, but I knew it was serious. I tried to telepathically contact my students at the school but everything was silent. I looked around the mall parking lot for a way to get into the city and I found it. A converted Ford Econoline parked in a handicap spot.

"But Professor, we can't just take a handicapped persons car," Cyclops whined.

"Now Scott, how many times do I have to give you the means/ends/justification lecture? Besides, the van's owner's handicap is probably just partial deafness in one ear. It's horrible what people get away with these days."

"But then why does he have a retractable wheelchair ramp installed?" Scott asked, peering in the window.

"Just being precautious, I'd imagine. Now stop asking so many questions and get that door open."

With a shrug, Scott fired a thin, short optic burst at the lock of the door and opened it. Once I was onboard, he required the ignition and we headed into the city.

We made excellent time as there was literally no other cars going to the city. There was quite a long backlog leaving though. The columns of smoke got thicker as we approached Manhattan. The minds of the people running and screaming on the street were actually harder to read, so paralyzed with fear were they.

When we finally rounded the corner into Times Square, we learned why.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Christmas party onboard the Enterprise was without a doubt a tremendous success. As with all things though, there came a time to say goodbye.

With no small trepitdation I rolled onto the transporter pad, awaiting beam out. After last year's malfunction, I was more than a bit apprehensive about using this unlikely future technology again. However, Captain Picard assured me that the problem had been fixed and the trip home would be smooth this time around. That did comfort me somewhat. There's just something about that man's face that I trust.

Scott and I watched as the engineer's hand pulled the slide down. Strange glowing lights danced all around us. My body felt lighter and lighter, rather similar to when I detach my consciousness and travel the astral plane.

The interior of the transporter room became lost in the twinkling lights. For a brief moment, there was just a bright nothingness around us. Then the teleportation chamber of the Federation Time Portal shimmered into view, only to start fading again as then sent our atoms back to our own time.

We finally materialized outside the designated arrival spot in the parking lot of the Galleria Shopping Mall. Unfortunately the X-Van wasn't where we had left it.

"There's no way anybody could have stolen it!" Cyclops cried. "Hank put in a fool proof lock!"

"That's the least of our problems," I answered cooly, pointing towards New York City. Great pillars of smoke were rising up from the distant sky scrapers. "I'm sensing wide spread panic. Their thoughts are too jumbled though. I can't make out what's causing it."

"I'm not getting a thing on the X-Communicator!" Scott wailed, as he frantically pushed the buttons on his cel phone.

"We're going to have to go in to the city somehow and find out what's going on."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

With my gift firmly in hand, I had Scott drive us to the location Captain Picard had designated. As he had told us would happen, a Federation Time Portal opened and we were whisked to the 24th Century. From there a teleportation beam transported us up to the Enterprise. Upon arriving we joined the line of party guests being greeted by the command crew of the ship. They were decked out in their formal uniforms and their faces were full of smiles.


That is, everyone was smiling except for the Klingon, of course. From the look on his face, I would have thought he had just lost his life savings on a hand of poker or something, except that he wore the exact same scowl at last year's Christmas party.

“Professor Xavier, I am so glad you decided to come,” Captain Picard said, holding out his hand.

“I wouldn’t have missed it, Captain.”

“I was sorry to hear about your difficulties in getting home from the party last year.”

“To be honest, after being with the X-Men for so long, I would have worried if something unusual hadn’t happened. And here’s a little something for the ship.”

I waved a finger at Scott and he handed over the gift-wrapped bundle containing the Arrested Development DVD collection.

After we had gotten through the reception line, we headed to the party in the open lounge area. 10 Forward, I think it was called. I saw a lot of familiar faces there – Jon and Hudson, Oneida and Typho, Spider-Man and Vegeta . . the place was actually rather crowded. Scott headed over to say hello to Hudson while I went over to the bar to see what new and interesting drinks had been invented by the 24th Century.

The friendly looking woman with the rather large and dangerous looking cranial accessory, I think she would probably call it a hat, was named Guinan.

“Nice to see you again, Charles,” she said with a broad smile. The murky green liquid in the glass she slid me was bubbling slightly. I looked dubiously at it. “Trust me,” she said.

I raised the glass in a toast to her. “Merry X-Mas,” I offered as I tossed the drink back. Wow! “Well if that doesn’t put hair on my head, nothing will,” I said with a wink. “And suddenly I have the strongest urge to find a restroom.”

“Down the hall, third door on the right.”

I nodded my thanks and left 10 Forward. Whatever that green concoction was that Guinan had given me, I was definitely having trouble navigating a straight line. It didn’t take long before I had lost count of the doors. As the corridor was deserted, I figured my best bet at this point was to just start opening doors.

I rolled up to one promising panel and it obligingly slid open. The interior was dark but I entered anyway. As the door behind me slid silently shut, the lights came on. The rather large room was mostly empty except for 10 rather large menacing looking cyborgs.

“We are the Borg,” the one nearest me said in a cold voice. “Resistance is futile.”

“Actually,” I replied, “I was just looking for the restroom. If one of you would be so kind as to point . .”

The closest one raised its clenched fist towards me. He looked like he was about to shoot me with some kind of wrist device.

“Come now,” I continued, “it is Christmas, you know. In the spirit of friendship and brotherhood, let’s just . .”

Two small darts flew from the end of his fist and struck my neck. I could feel small nanites enter into my blood stream and begin to replicate. Amazingly, they seemed to be connected to, and were receiving commands from, a central intelligence. The nanites were attacking my DNA, attempting to transform my body into something else, presumably more of these cyborgs.

Fortunately it was a rather simply matter for me to use my psionic powers to break the nanites connection and render them inert. The Borg had turned away from me, assuming me neutralized, and were conversing.

“The crew of this ship is distracted by their party,” a part Klingon cyborg said. “They shall offer us no resistance as we assimilate them.”

The Borg headed toward the door. While my powers have limited effect on robotic forms of life, these cyborgs had vital organic components, leaving them easy prey for my talents. I put them all to sleep and then headed back to the party.

Cyclops and Hudson were busy chatting up a couple of half-naked green ladies. Maybe “ladies” is the wrong term. Regardless, I headed over to Worf, the Security Officer, and let him know about his guests and their attempted invasion plan. He actually seemed rather relieved to be able to leave the party.

The rest of the night was fortunately free of any further life threatening incidents. I danced, I sang and I had a wonderful time. Merry Christmas, Jean-Luc!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cyclops pulled the X-Van into the handicap spot in front of the Wal-Mart on 275 Main St. I pressed the button and the rear door slid up and the long black ramp extended out. I rolled down it and headed in to the store to find an appropriate gift for Captain Picard. In case you don't know, he's a starship captain in the 24th century who throws the most amazing Christmas parties.

The very first section of the store was men's ties.

"Perfect!" I told Scott. "What gentleman wouldn't like a sharp tie?"

"Er, I don't thing they wear ties in the future, Professor. Remember those, uh, jumpsuits they wore? No place for a tie."

"Right, right. Okay then, how about those over there?"

I rolled up to the cooking appliances. "The George Foreman Grill. A perfect present for any man."

"Yeah, but don't they have those food replicator things? I don't think they cook anymore in the future."

"Sounds like a Zager and Evans song."

We continued on throughout the store and Scott poo-pooed most of my suggestions. He said they had no room on the Enterprise for a wading pool or trampoline. No need for a set of decorative hand towels or recliner chairs. No interest in any one of a dozen other things I mentioned.

Finally in utter exasperation I came to a complete stop. "This is madness!" I yelled at Scott. "It's just a Christmas present! It doesn't really matter what I get him. There's no such thing as a perfect gift. I might as well just get him anything! Even this," I said as I reached out and grabbed the thing nearest me. I turned the box slowly around in my hand.

"Arrested Development?" Scott asked. "But they might not have DVD players in the -"

"I don't care!" I shouted. "He's getting this! Let's go!"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Modern social conventions, which presumably are still in full force in the 23rd century, require that a guest attending a Christmas party give their host a gift. Picking the right gift for someone is of course an art form.

If the gift is not expensive enough, then you are seen as a cheap-skate or perhaps as being rude. If the gift is too expensive though, you can create an awkward moment where the recipient feels inadequate for not giving something equivalent or as now being beholden to the gifter.

Then of course there is the question of the gift itself. If it's something the recipient has no interest in, then he or she will perceive you as being thoughtless or inconsiderate. If it's something they already have, then all you will get back is that awkward smile of feigned gratitude.

The principle question then before me was therefore what would Captain Jean-Luc Picard want for a Christmas gift?

There is only one solution. To Wal-Mart!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"What is with that large smile on your face, Scott?"

"Carol is going to be my partner on the Amazing Mutant Race, Professor. I think we're going to have a good time, if you know what I mean."

I could only roll my eyes at that. "Well just try and contain your enthusiasm for Captain Picard's Christmas party abord the Enterprise. Remember, you're an X-Men."

Cyclops's smile dropped. "What is it?" I asked.

"Well . . getting home last year was just such life or death thing, you know? Do you think they've fixed their transporters?"

"The Captain assures me everything is working perfectly. I'm sure we will have a wonderful time and absolutely no problems what-so-ever in getting home. After all, what could possibly go wrong?"

Monday, December 04, 2006

The door to my office slammed open with a loud bang.

"What the hell is this crap!?" Wolverine roared.

"I have no idea what you are talking about," I responded cooly.

"Don't give me that crap! You stuck me with vegitable head?!"

"First of all, I didn't stick you with anyone. Second-"

"And what the hell are all these non-mutants doin' in the race?! It's the Mutant Race, damn it!"

"Now Logan, you know the race is open to anyone who wants to play. We had this same discussion last year."

"But it's the Mutant Race! Like it's not bad enough you got humans playin', you got robots and aliens too!"

"Look here Logan, you're the one making me do this whole thing. It's open to anyone who wants to play. Just like last year."

"But it's the Mutant Race!!"

"I know. And this year I've made sure there is a mutant on every team. Each player is paired with a mutant. That's why you are teamed with Vegeta."

At that Wolverine just did that gutteral growl thing he does when he's really mad. I looked at him warily, wondering if I would have to make him think he was a little girl again, when he abruptly turned on his heel and left. He was muttering 'salad head' as he walked away.
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