Thu, 15 Jun 2000
D Benway <>


5 Inverness (1981) / Saskatoon (2000)

D Benway


She watches the program on the television. It goes on and on and on. It never seems to end, yet it says nothing. All the talking heads, so far away.

[Caption: Detective Dwight Hammer, Westchester County Police, White Plains NY]

Int: I understand that the School operated in Salem Centre for well over 20 years.

DH: That's right.

Int: We've been told that the stench from the grounds was enough to render nearby houses uninhabitable.

DH: Huh?

Int: That it really stank down there by the School.

DH: Yeah, it did.

Int: Did you ever make inquiries at the School?

DH: As in, like, going to see them?

Int: Yes.

DH: No.

Int: Why not?

DH: No idea.

[Shot of J&J Proudstar]

John: They're hopeless. Completely hopeless.

James: Got rakes that are brighter.

John: None of them were resistant, and we think Xavier skewed things so that only the most hopeless ones were posted here.

James: There were 34 murders here last year, and the only ones they solved were the 5 where the guys came in and confessed.

John: The worst thing is, even with the Kelly Amendment, no-one cares what happens here. It's just a bunch of poor, useless mutants.

Int: Do you know of any attempts to infiltrate the School, as opposed to just watching it?

John: Two.

James: There might as well have been none.

[Shot of a woman who might be 40 or 70, shuffling across the screen to an overstuffed chair. She requires assistance in sitting from a large African-American woman in a nurse's uniform who says nothing during the entire interview. The name on the nurse's nameplate says Dolores. There is a walking frame in the corner. It has dents in it.

[Caption: Major Carole Danvers, VA Hospital, Chicago IL]

CD: Yeah, we went after them. Or part of me did.

Int: What part of you was that?

CD: My power. I used to be in the Avengers. I got fucked up by the Kree, made into something like Supergirl, except for real.

Int: X-ray vision and all?

CD: No, that was Superman, not Supergirl. I never had any stuff like that. I was really strong and I could fly. I had really good reflexes too.

Int: But you gave these powers away?

CD: Yeah. Dumb move. It was such a good plan, though. Didn't see how it could go wrong, but every plan looks good before it gets executed. It's the human element that fucks everything up.

Int: Who did you give your powers to?

CD: An agent of some intelligence org I'd never heard of. Deep cover. Real deep. They said they wanted to capture a terrorist, and that he was a psi. See, when the Kree fucked me up, it made me hard to read by psis, as well as strong.

Int: So they asked you to go in?

CD: No, not me. My face was all over the TV and the newspapers. I was in the Avengers. Those were good times.

Int: They were planning to send this agent into the School?

CD: Yeah. They were going to infiltrate her into the School. They didn't tell me that back then, found out later. Told me it would be for a week. Told me it would give her an edge.

Int: How did they take the power away?

CD: That was the strange part. I kind of expected machines, like when the Kree fucked me up. Instead, this girl comes in, like 19, 20. I thought she was a tech or something until I saw her eyes. I asked her if it was going to hurt, and she says no. She had these beautiful green eyes. She didn't even ask. She just took my face in her hands and kissed me, on the lips. She kissed me and all the pain went away.

Int: Pain?

CD: When the Kree fucked me up, it hurt. Went on hurting. Nothing took the pain away, except using the power. Didn't hurt when I flew, didn't hurt when I needed my invulnerability or my strength. That would make it stop hurting. I picked up some bad habits.

Int: What happened after the kiss?

CD: I woke up. The pain was gone. I went back to the Air Force, but they threw me out.

Int: Why?

CD: They didn't like some habits I'd picked up.

Int: Hard drug habits?

CD: They never found out about those.

Int: Sex habits?

CD: Yeah.

Int: I thought that they couldn't do that any more.

CD: They couldn't. I fought my way back in, but then they kicked me out for drinking. I drifted around some, and got a job as a bouncer at a club.

Int: Did anyone ever tell you what happened?

CD: Yeah. Some blind woman came to see me. She said I should just let it lie. Go on with my life. Forget all that stuff ever happened. Put it all behind me.

Int: Did you?

CD: Does it look like it? No. It got worse. Everything got worse. Ended up in hospital a few times, to dry out. I'd have done anything to get it back. I wanted it too much. The power. I had a chance to get it back, but I wasn't good enough.

Int: This relates to the Lady of the Lake?

CD: It was her. Their agent. The girl who stole my heart. The one I'd see in every chick with a stripe dyed into her hair. They told me she was dead. I asked if I could see her. They took me to some place where the old blind woman was. She told me to turn my back and go, but I didn't listen to her. They showed me her face. It was just like it had been on the day that she kissed me. Perfect.

Int: Did they know when she had died?

CD: Told me that she'd been down there almost twenty years, but she might have been asleep, just like Sleeping Beauty. So I kissed her.

Int: Oh my.

CD: I blacked out. I came to in the base hospital, like this. I broke the spell. She liquified, the old lady said, fell apart. She gave it to me, gave me her death. I'm dying, all rotting inside now, for nothing.

[Shot of Vince and Angelica Astrovik]

VA: We had her as a trainer when we joined the Avengers. She was a real angry lady.

AA: Yeah. Still, that shouldn't have happened to anyone.

Int: Why did the Avengers not go in after the agent?

VA: She didn't tell us what had happened, and neither did the people who took her power away.

Int: Any idea who they might have been?

AA: Not a clue.

[Shot of Victor Creed]

VC: This sort of thing is common in states with bloated security apparati. The endless appetite for security drives on the formation of new agencies and working groups constantly as the old agencies become ineffectual. I doubt seriously that there is anyone in Washington who could make a complete list of all the organizations and their activities.

Int: Have you any idea of who might have placed the agent into the School?

VC: If I did, I doubt I could tell you. It was most likely an unacknowledged org, some sort of cowboy operation. The kind that would have employed Logan or Cable before they dropped out of circulation.

Int: Did they ever follow up with other agents?

VC: No idea. Xavier might have been able to get to them, send Cable in to wipe them out. Then again, they might have come to an accommodation. Declared a truce.

Int: With Xavier?

VC: Never know when you might need a favour.

Int: Why would no agency of the American security establishment ever act against the School? They had to know Cable was there, from Ramsey or the Astroviks.

VC: Again, a subject I cannot discuss in detail. I can say that Xavier and Cable had used their abilities to hobble the FBI, CIA, NSA, DSA, the Secret Service, DEA, ATF, INS, and the Postal Inspectors. Reports might have come in at the bottom, but they never went as far as the top. Lost in the bureaucracy, as it were, as long as Xavier stayed relatively quiet.

Int: Were they embarrassed by the Interpol attempt to infiltrate?

VC: Embarrassed doesn't begin to cover it. Then again, it's Interpol that truly deserves to be embarrassed about that.

[Shot of two women on a couch. The oldest one has brown hair, the younger is a redhead. She is young enough to be the daughter but clearly is not. The older woman has the traditional reserve of Highlands aristocracy, while the younger has none of it.]

[Caption: Theresa Cassidy, Moira McTaggert, Campbeltown, Scotland]

MMT: It was madness to send him on such a mission. Madness. He had reservations about it before it even began.

Int: Why did he accept the mission?

MMT: It involved children. Recruiting mutant children from the Middle East and Eastern Europe. At the time, the post-communist states were deeply impoverished. One of the few things that he told me was that he'd been asked to make contact with a man in Tangiers called the Prince of Thieves who had once been a used car dealer in New Orleans.

Int: That would have been in 1979?

TC: 1980. He would have been 39 that year.

Int: You're his daughter?

TC: Aye. Moira's my stepmother.

Int: Was it originally planned that he would go to America?

MMT: Not initially. He couldn't tell me a great deal, but he did suggest that he was initially working in Spain and Morocco. He called me from Spain once or twice, then from Romania, from Hungary, and from Yugoslavia. Then nothing for a month.

TC: It had been like this before. I'd be left for a month or two with my uncle.

MMT: Theresa's mother had died at childbirth.

TC: And Moira met my da after her husband died of a heart attack. They got the ashes mixed up.

MMT: They don't need to hear about that.

TC: No, no, its a great story. The hospital made a mistake and switched the two urns. Moira and my da met at the inquiry. Love at first sight.

MMT: Aye.

TC: We didn't get along very well, not then.

Int: Did any of you suspect that your father might have been turned?

MMT: In retrospect, it all seems clear. We both felt an unease that we could not account for.

TC: Da was never as happy as when he phoned from New York. He wanted me to come to the School.

Int: To Xavier's School?

TC: Aye. I'm a mutant, like my da was. We both had sonic powers, although mine had barely manifested then.

MMT: We called Sean's superiors on the spot. They said they'd look into it.

Int: Did you hear anything more from them?

MMT: No.

TC: We heard from Da, though. He said he wanted to take me to the School. He said he was coming to take me.

MMT: We phoned London, and they told us to wait and do nothing.

TC: Then he called again, that very night. I could hear the chimes from the clock tower striking eleven.

MMT: The clock tower in town. He said he was bringing friends.

TC: We put the lights out and called the police. They said they would send a car. I wanted to head into town, but Ma said that we had to wait for the police. We had a fight.

MMT: We certainly did. I cannot have imagined what would have happened if we'd stayed.

TC: If we'd driven off to town, we'd have run right into them. There's only the one road.

Int: What did you decide to do?

TC: Nothing. We were still arguing when we saw the wolf.

MMT: Near gave me a heart attack. It threw itself at the window.

TC: It was a full moon. It was huge.

MMT: We saw it was going to make it through the next time it tried.

TC: We ran.

MMT: Right out the back door onto the moors. Damn stupid thing to do.

TC: We saw a car coming up the road, about five miles away. We heard the wolf coming from the front.

MMT: We ran in a panic. Complete blind panic, right across the meadow in the darkness.

TC: There was no cover at all. If they'd been any closer, they would have seen us.

MMT: We didn't stop until we reached the edge of the trees, over by the rocks.

TC: We could see the car pull up by the house from where we were hiding.

Int: How far was the house was that?

MMT: A mile and a half. The wind blew us along. I've never run so fast in my life.

TC: Neither had I. I was eleven. Ma carried me the last half mile.

MMT: We could hear them on the wind. Sean was pleading, begging. I could hear them yelling at him.

Int: Could you tell who they were?

TC: No. One must have been Logan.

MMT: Aye. He was the one that came after us.

Int: Did you know the woods well?

MMT: I knew them fairly well. I started running up the slope towards the cliffs because it was away from the house. There was a full moon, no clouds at all.

TC: I couldn't keep up. I was so tired. I looked back and saw the wolf.

MMT: She said Ma. First time I'd ever been called that. I looked back and there it was.

TC: I was thinking that it was going to be terrible because my Ma was not a catholic and wouldn't go to Heaven when we died.

Int: Did you cry out?

MMT: Too frightened.

Int: How did you know it was a wolf?

TC: It was too big to be a dog. It was enormous. It couldn't have been more than 5 metres away.

MMT: I thought they'd sent it. Then it changed and I knew they'd sent it.

TC: It changed into a monkey-thing. I knew it was some sort of mutant.

MMT: It put its paw to its lips. All I could see were the claws on its hands. They had to be at least an inch long.

TC: It nodded like it wanted us to go up the path, to keep going.

MMT: We ran.

Int: Did it follow?

TC: No, it disappeared until we got to the river. Then we saw it on the other side. It changed to the monkey-shape again and gestured for us to follow.

MMT: It wanted us to follow it up the river. It had been a dry summer, so the level was relatively low and the current was weak. Otherwise, we would have been swept away.

TC: It was hard for me because I was small. The water was very cold.

MMT: It was hard going, and she wanted us to keep to the banks, under the shade of the trees.

TC: We must have gone another mile. I kept thinking, the policemen would go to the house and arrest the bad men, but we were going away from home into nothing. There was nothing but rocks and trees up there. No other houses for miles.

MMT: When she got out of the brook, she led us up a path that I didn't know at all, out towards the cliffs.

Int: Did you have any doubts about following the wolf?

MMT: I was too frightened. All I could think was that if I did what I was told, perhaps there would be hope.

TC: She led us up into the cliffs. I looked back and could see people at the house. I think I saw someone in the woods.

MMT: She led us to a cliff and down along this path. It was in the shadows and I could tell it was narrow, but I had no idea how narrow it was. I almost fell. The wind.

TC: It almost blew both us off. Ma held my hand so I didn't fall.

MMT: She led us into a cave among the rocks. I couldn't see a thing. It was dark as pitch. All I could hear was Theresa's teeth chattering.

TC: I've never been that cold, not even when I've been out sailing.

MMT: She only had a blouse on. Her hands were ice.

TC: I remember feeling that I wanted to get up and run around, but I was shaking so badly I could barely stand. Then I felt hands on me. My Ma's and her's. Human hands.

Int: The wolf could transform all the way to a human?

MMT: We never saw it, but I felt those hands. No claws, like it had in the monkey form. The nails were chewed off and they were callused and filthy.

Int: So Theresa had hypothermia.

TC: Aye.

MMT: Her teeth were so loud, I knew we'd be heard.

TC: They both gave me warmth.

MMT: We both curled up with her in the dark. She was the wolf again, but her fur was warm.

TC: I fell asleep.

MMT: I almost wish I had. We heard them come after us. People, outside the cave. One of them said They couldn't have come this way. The other said I had their scents, and the scent of something else. I could feel the wolf. It was ready to attack, but didn't make a sound. The first voice said Are you sure and the second one said Fuck this has he got any whisky back there? and they went away.

TC: When I woke up I could see light. Ma was there, but the wolf wasn't. I was cold, but not as cold as I had been.

MMT: When I looked out from the cave, I nearly had heart failure. It was almost a shear drop. I couldn't even see the path that we'd used the night before.

TC: The wolf came back an hour later, maybe. Ma asked it what its name was, asked it to make itself human, but it just stared at us. When Ma tried to leave, it growled and its ears perked up. It changed to its monkey-form again, then put its hand to its mouth.

MMT: We waited, and heard the footsteps outside again. They didn't say anything. They didn't come close. Then we heard one say All I can smell is a dog. Then they went away.

TC: It let us go near sunset. Ma couldn't manage it.

MMT: I was too frightened. There was a shear drop. I couldn't stop her from following the wolf. I tried to follow, but my knees were shaking so.

TC: The wolf took me back down a different way. It didn't change again. I could see the house. Something bad had happened. There were cars everywhere, and some of them looked burned. It left me at the trees and these two men appeared around the side of the house in black body armour. I fainted.

MMT: They came with a helicopter for me just after dark.

Int: Who were they?

TC: SAS and Scottish Police. They'd caught up with the people who came after us at the house, but they hadn't been able to catch them.

MMT: They wouldn't let me see the house, but I found later that ten men had died there.

TC: They took us to an army base somewhere in England.

MMT: Out on the Salisbury Plain. They kept us there for six months, then told us that Sean had disappeared, and that we should assume he was dead. They let us go home, and it was as if nothing had ever happened.

TC: If you looked really hard, you could see where they'd plastered over the bulletholes.

Int: Did you tell them about the wolf?

MMT: Not at first.

TC: They were good at getting people to talk. I don't think they ever found her.

MMT: We saw no sign of it until we had been back a month.

Int: Did you feel safe?

MMT: Oddly, yes. We had received assurances that those responsible had been punished. Then, one morning on the way into the village I came upon a car by the road. It had been, I believe, shredded is the word that fits. There was blood all over it. I raced into the town and contacted the police and they took us to Salisbury again for a week. At the end of it, they took us back to the house.

Int: You must have been terrified.

TC: There was a policeman outside, but we didn't really feel safe until we saw the wolf.

MMT: It had been hurt, I could tell. I only saw it once or twice, but it had been hurt. I took to leaving meat for it.

TC: It always kept its distance. As it got better, it would come a bit closer each day. Never close like that night, but close enough.

MMT: It was clear that it was watching out for us. I tried to talk to it, but it never responded, only watched.

TC: It would follow us on walks.

MMT: We asked around, and heard of a child, a baby in fact, who had been abandoned in the next valley. It was thought to be a changeling, as it had been covered in red fur.

Int: Is it still around?

MMT: Haven't seen it in years.

TC: No, haven't seen it in years.

Int: When did you learn of Inspector Cassidy's fate?

MMT: Just after they went into the School.

TC: They found my Da in the lake. They'd cut parts from him.

MMT: Aye. They told me he'd been dead since around the time of the first attack on our house.

[Shot of Victor Creed]

VC: Poor man must have been dead from the moment he infiltrated their ring. They should have had some idea that they might have been dealing with a psi, and they should never have sent in a non-resistant agent. Damn it all, if you think about what happened to that poor American girl, they could even get into resistants.

Int: Was Logan involved in the attack on the farmhouse?

VC: I can tell you that he was seen during the attack on the house, and his blood was in the wrecked car that Ms. McTaggert found. No-one ever saw him go enter or leave the country. The Russian was also seen at the house.

Int: Why do you think they didn't try a third time?

VC: No idea. Divine intervention is one of the better explanations I can come up with.

Int: Do you think that any move would have been made had Senator Kelly not been assassinated?

VC: Probably not. One would like to think so, but then, it's hardly the best of all possible worlds down there, is it?

[Shot of an immense man in a reasonably good suit. He looks like someone who is not to be messed with. He wears a look of deep concentration as he speaks, as if using every word for the first time and not being certain that he makes any sense.]

[Caption: John Q Renfrew, Secret Service, Washington DC]

JQR: On July 1, 2000, I was on duty guarding Senator Kelly from attack and assassination. The senator had chosen to have lunch at the Lapin Infidele, a restaurant favoured by legislators on the Anacostia waterfront. He was having lunch with a member of the National Science Foundation and they were discussing defence research policy. In order to remain awake, I was keeping an eye on a busboy who was folding napkins in a suspiciously non-masculine manner. A few moments after the steaks arrived, the guest left for the bathroom. I caught sight of a man standing by the door who was staring at the senator. I unholstered my service revolver as the man started to approach us. The man then transformed, turning into a metal-coated giant. I ordered him to halt. I fired at him, but the bullet ricocheted off and damaged a large cast stone reproduction of Michaelangelo's David. The assassin threw a imitation Tuscan buffet hutch at me. I made my way out from under the large piece of semi-rusticated furniture just in time to see the assassin drop what remained of the senator and to see Dr Banner return from the bathroom. When I regained consciousness, I was informed that the assassin was dead and that the restaurant was suing me for damages to the statue. I arrived at an out of court settlement with the restaurant, in which I agreed to pay for the installation of an ornamental copper fig leaf which covered the damaged region.

[Shot of Nicholas Dio Cassius]

NDC: The effect of the assassination was profound. Without it, the 44th Amendment might never have passed.

Int: The mutant rights amendment?

NDC: That's the one. It looked as if it was going down to defeat when Kelly got his head torn off in that restaurant.

Int: How did that happen? His killer was a mutant.

NDC: That detail was not released in the first reports. That very afternoon was the last day that the amendment could be ratified. The West Virginia and Texas legislatures ratified it that afternoon in very close votes. It wasn't until dinnertime that the first reports of the killer being a mutant came out, but by then it was too late for the reactionaries to pull back. The anti-mutant press went berserk when the full story came out. They're still litigating the damages that resulted from the riots that followed. Bloody ironic.

Int: How so?

NDC: Kelly's death did more for American mutants than anything else he did in life.

Int: But Kelly was the leading advocate of mutant issues in Congress.

NDC: He was the loudest advocate of mutant issues in Congress. It's not the same thing. He did mutants more harm than good over the years.

Int: He put the last of the Freedom Amendments into place.

NDC: Yes. The last of them. Why didn't it pass with the other eight during the King Administration? Why didn't the Kennedys or Rodham pass it?

Int: That's what we're asking you.

NDC: Quite. Kelly was a politician first and a mutant advocate second. Although the forces of decency were empowered by the fall of the McCarthy administration, it still remains that a core group of voters remained wedded to the hateful, fear-driven policies of that disgusting man. The Republican Party still garners more votes in every election than any other and, if it were not for the Grand Coalition of the Democratic, Liberal and Progressive parties, they might actually have been elected. After King, they damn nearly were. If that second rate actor had been elected, he might have even repealed the Guaranteed Annual Income program.

Int: He would have gone that far?

NDC: The evidence suggests it. Had King not put LaRouche in charge of the Fed, there might have been a second King administration and the MRA might have been passed then, but I doubt that it would have been.

Int: Why not?

NDC: Because of that core group of Republican voters who would support policies that stated that corporations had free speech rights and other rubbish like that. One of the great achievements of the latter half of the 20th century was the beating back of the concept that property rights were more important than basic human rights. To do that, they passed the Freedom Amendments that allowed many Americans for the first time to believe that they could be heroes in their own lives. To pass those, they needed the consent of two thirds of the states, and many of those states had Republican state governments. They had to give them something, and what they gave them was mutants. Billions were invested in containment facilities in states with Republican governors, billions were thrown away on special Army, Air Force and Navy units that were intended to arrest dangerous mutants instead of spending the money on social programs that might have been of some use.

Int: I understand that the definition of `dangerous' was rather loose.

NDC: Indeed it was. Mutants were essentially considered dangerous until proven not so. The registration acts passed under King, for heavens sake, and even though he personally opposed them, he didn't veto them. If he had, the Freedom Amendments never would have passed. Most non-obvious mutants did not register after they saw how many were locked up and how hard it was to get out of the containment facilities. Of the obvious ones, at least 60% did time in containment, generally during their adolescence. The unemployment rate among those branded dangerous ranged from 40 to 60%, even with almost 40 years of economic recovery.

Int: Why was it so hard to pass an amendment for mutants?

NDC: Essentially, they had no time to invent an identity for themselves. They couldn't be shoehorned into a homogeneous stereotype as the Blacks and Hispanics and Native Americans and gays had been. Like Black American youth before the 70s, they were seen mostly as a threat. The few grassroots movements faltered whenever a genuinely dangerous mutant did something destructive. It always looked like special pleading for individuals as opposed to a plea for relief from oppression by members of a disadvantaged group. That, and their supposed primary point man on the hill sold them out every time the Grand Coalition had to throw something to the Right.

Int: How did he hold onto his position?

NDC: Because every time he could pass something he did. It was an unpopular cause, and to some degree still is. The MRA would never pass today, not after the revelations about the School. Hell, the assassination of Kelly would have derailed it had the government not kept the details to itself until that evening.

Int: Do you think the government deliberately failed to leak the information to ensure the ratification of the amendment?

NDC: I think it's distinctly possible.

Int: Given that they struck the School almost immediately after, do you think that they might have been holding off on closing it down until after ratification?

NDC: That might be going a bit far, but only a bit.

[Shot of Victor Creed]

VC: Kelly's death was a step over a line. They couldn't ignore an assassination. I mean, this wasn't killing impoverished mutants in some suburban ghetto, this was twisting the head off of a senator in the middle of an exclusive Washington restaurant.

Int: I understand that there was a Canadian contribution to the effort.

VC: I can't really say anything about that.

[Shot of a wiry, small, bespectacled man with very loud tie. He looks very bright, and looks like he enjoys that everyone else knows that he is.]

[Caption: Dr. Bruce Banner, National Science Foundation, Washington DC]

BB: I'm sure that you would much rather interview my alter ego.

Int: The insurance company wouldn't let us.

BB: I'm not surprised. He's not very even tempered. Rather prone to psychotic rages, in fact.

Int: I understood your, um, alter ego, was intact enough to be sent to arrest Cable.

BB: He does have some control, and I wasn't going in alone, after all.

Int: You were accompanied by Thor and Simon Williams.

BB: That, the entire main force of the Avengers and three regiments of marines in heavy psi-armour.

Int: Would that have been enough?

BB: We can only hope it would have been. I understand that a small thermonuclear missile was also targeted on the building.

Int: Would it have been used?

BB: They would not have targeted it, had they not intended to use it.

Int: Why did you wait two months after the Senator's death to attack?

BB: Our agents in town told us to wait until an optimal time to attack.

Int: When was that?

BB: On July 4. Our informants told us that there was generally a large celebration attended by those in the town who were connected with the School. We were told that it was quite a party, and always was followed by dead silence for a day or two. On July 5, when it was quiet, we went in with the containment devices.

Int: Provided by the Canadians?

BB: I would assume so. After all, the cage frames had been painted white and had little red Canadian flags on them.

Int: What was the nature of the device?

BB: It was a metal cage that was intended to envelop the head. Its structure was solid adamantium, and attached to it was a titanium psi-insulator net attached to a barrier generator of previously unknown design. There were six such units, anticipating that they might have two more psis than our intelligence suggested.

Int: How many did they have?

BB: In the end, only one that presented any threat.

Int: What did you see upon entering the house?

BB: It was certainly not quite what we'd expected. If it hadn't been for the stink, it would have looked just like the reception area of an exclusive private school. We found a private office, which had obviously been in recent use. When we opened the other office door, that's when it all went mad.

Int: What did you find?

BB: Nothing. They had completely gutted the entire interior of the building, down to the brick. All of the floors and interior rooms were gone. The three wings were vast empty voids.

Int: Did you see anyone?

BB: In the first wing we looked into, there was no one. Just all these old boxes and suitcases and a huge heap of garbage.

Int: The midden?

BB: Yes, where they found all those body parts. We went to the East Wing, but all we saw there were children, sleeping on the floor. All of them were out cold when we looked. We found Cable and Xavier in the West Wing.

Int: That was where the throne was?

BB: That's where I found it. The room had the only electric lights in the place, all focused on this huge golden throne, with two smaller thrones on either side. There were children sitting on those thrones, and they looked at us but didn't say anything. Xavier was on the middle throne, or what my alter ego presumed was Xavier. He had obviously been dead for years and had been inexpertly mummified. The only other person in that void was Cable, lying on the ground before them. We could hear the snoring from where we stood, 20 metres away.

Int: Cable was asleep?

BB: He was. I took one of the frames and crept up as silently as I could to where he was laying. He woke up, but was clearly too hung over to understand what was going on.

Int: He was unable to stop you?

BB: My alter-ego defines psi-resistance.

Int: How did Cable die?

BB: It seemed that my later ego had chosen one of the smaller frames by mistake, one intended for any psi-active children we might find. Cable's head was very small, but not that small. There was no time to lose, and so my alter ego made it fit. It seems that Cable died a few minutes later from the resulting injuries.

Her hands are clamped across her mouth, unable to hide her enormous grin. She's rocking from side to side again, but now she's happy. Very, very happy.

Int: Did the children on the thrones react?

BB: No, not at all. They stared at us as if nothing had happened. Even my alter ego found it quite un-nerving. I believe that they were later found to be severely autistic.

Int: Did you encounter any other resistance from psis?

BB: No. Cable had screamed loudly enough to wake the others, but only Logan made any attempt to attack. He was easily subdued. Summers then arrived and begged us not to attack, and told us that he was going to surrender the house.

Int: Did you believe him? I understood that he could fire force beams from his eyes.

BB: He had been blinded rather crudely. His eyes appeared to have been burned out. We asked him about the other psis and he told us they were helpless without Cable. He led me back into the East Wing with Williams and Thor in behind me, but there was no trap. Even my alter ego was affected by the sight.

Int: How so?

BB: There were twelve children and eight adults, but the adults were, as Summers put it, cored. They had no personalities. They walked like the dead.

Int: Were the other psis there?

BB: They were. Grey, Braddock, and an Arab woman who I believe has never been identified. There were five others, two men and three women. All of the women were in the second or third trimesters of pregnancy.

[Shot of Vance and Angelica Astrovik]

VA: We knew it was bad when we heard Thor weeping over the com.

AA: I've seen lots of bad sh-, er, stuff, but nothing like that. Not so close to home.

VA: It smelled like it did after that big landslide in Columbia where all those people got buried in the mud.

AA: Like dead people. I hate that smell.

Int: What did you find inside?

VA: Kids. Lots of kids.

AA: Kids and those women.

VA: And Summers. Summers was the only one who was coherent.

AA: You hit him.

VA: Yeah.

Int: Did he attack you?

VA: No. I just hit him. Got in trouble for it, too.

AA: I had to talk him out of quitting over it.

VA: I hit him for no reason.

AA: Only because I didn't hit him first.

VA: Sure.

AA: Let's not go through this again.

Int: Did you see the room with the thrones?

VA: Yeah.

AA: That was almost as bad. Those kids.

VA: They were wearing crowns. Golden crowns. Sitting on golden thrones. All that garbage around, all that stink and those thrones.

AA: Solid gold. Solid gold over concrete blocks.

VA: Iron Man said that much gold couldn't have supported itself.

AA: And Xavier. They'd stuffed him.

VA: He was crawling with insects.

Int: Was he wearing a crown, too?

AA: Yeah. Worst thing was the kids were more still than the corpse.

VA: They didn't respond at all. They just stared at us. Stared and stared.

AA: We had to leave. We went to the middle room and Vance broke down. I don't think I was even there, by then. I had the weirdest feeling that I was ten and I was in the basement of my grandma's house, after she died. There were all these boxes in her basement, just like there were boxes in that room. When Vance collected himself, I went and looked in one of the boxes. It was full of money.

VA: They were starving, some of those kids. There were over 4000 cardboard boxes down there, all filled with money.

AA: I heard that they found over a billion dollars down there.

VA: No-one ever figured out where it came from.

[Shot: Nicholas Dio Cassius]

NDC: Some of it was identified as having been marked by the FBI, so it was money used in criminal enterprises. Some of it had been intended for use in drug stings, some of it came from illegal weapons sales.

Int: Was that where most of it all came from?

NDC: We're not sure, but we think that most of it might have been donations. That's one theory, and one of the better ones. Xavier encouraged rumours about his school, how it was the centre of the mutant haven community in Salem Centre. The grapevine of the mutant underground was full of rumours about the School, and after that came the church.

Int: The church of the mutant messiahs?

NDC: That's the one. It was underground, deep underground. Its followers said very little about it until after the raid on the School. A core following of perhaps a thousand still retain the faith.

Int: I understood that there were suicides after the revelations.

NDC: Twenty or thirty, yes, but the main body of worshippers, perhaps a hundred thousand of them, drifted off into other faiths, generally of the conservative evangelical protestant fundamentalist variety.

Int: Why did it not survive?

NDC: After it became clear what they had been doing in that house, only the most fanatical could retain the faith.

[Shot of Vance and Angelica Astrovik]

Int: What happened after you found the money?

VA: We went with Cap to see the laboratory.

AA: It was in the central wing, under the office.

Int: It was intact?

AA: Yeah. It was like stepping back into the real world again.

VA: Until we found out what was in there. Those chairs.

AA: Dr Banner told us what they were for.

[Shot of Bruce Banner]

BB: The laboratory was a bit of a shock. I explored it in my current form.

Int: What type of laboratory was it?

BB: An advanced biochemical laboratory. It had state of the art separation and analytical equipment, as well as clone lines.

Int: What was it used for?

BB: Growing human pituitary hormones from cloned cell lines. They were extracting adrenochrome.

Int: Adrenochrome?

BB: A very powerful drug. The ultimate high for psis.

Int: I understand that the technology for cloning those cell lines was only recently developed.

BB: Yes. Dr McCoy developed it, presumably under the influence of Cable & Xavier. Before that, they used the traditional extraction process.

Int: Which was?

BB: Extraction from the pineal gland of living human. The process generally killed the donor within a day or two.

Int: The restraining chairs were related to this?

BB: Yes.

Int: Where did they get the technology?

BB: Henry McCoy presumably. He had no knowledge of the laboratory, although it was similar to his own.

[Shot of Henry McCoy]

HM: They manipulated me into building the laboratory. That much was obvious. I would never have engaged in such a barbarous act of my own will.

Int: Why did you develop the cloned cell lines?

HM: I developed them as part of my research program in to mutant biochemistry of the brain.

Int: But why would they use it? I understand the cloned adrenochrome was much less effective than the extracted variant?

HM: I have no idea. Perhaps it was one of Charles' last gestures of mercy before Cable killed him.

Int: Cable killed Charles Xavier?

HM: He must have. It was obvious that Cable was controlling him.

[Shot of Bernard Quatermass]

BQ: I have another theory. He saw it coming apart and he decided to set up the cell lines to save himself from getting dragged down with the rest of them.

Int: Was he tested for resistance? He claims to have been controlled.

BQ: He would, wouldn't he? He testified for the prosecution in the trials as the star witness, he conquered GRID, and if he keeps being as successful, he might develop anti-aging drugs. He's got rats living normal lives that are four times as long as would be expected. It's in no-one's interest to tar and feather him.

Int: You don't seem to be having too much trouble.

BQ: I just say what everyone's thinking.

Int: I understand that you yourself had almost developed a cure for GRID.

BQ: Yes, but I had to move more slowly on account of that ancient impediment to research known as the Hippocratic Oath.

[Shot of Bruce Banner]

Int: Do you believe that Henry McCoy was actively involved in organ harvesting from living human beings?

BB: I would imagine that you've been talking to Quatermass, haven't you?

Int: He believes that McCoy harvested organ samples since the School opened.

BB: Sour grapes. Scientists can be jealous, just like anyone else.

Int: To what degree have American pharmaceutical manufacturers benefited from his research?

BB: Not at all. The GRID drug was developed by a British firm, I believe. Or was it Swedish? McCoy donated his royalties to providing the drug to Africans.

Int: So he's a saint?

BB: I wouldn't say that. If you consider what he had to do to survive in that school, it's a miracle that he even survived at all, let alone developed into such a brilliant researcher.

Int: So he's a real American success story?

BB: I believe that is closer to the truth.

[Shot of Vance and Angela Astrovik]

Int: What did you do after you saw the laboratory?

VA: We went for a walk.

AA: Around the lake. It was pretty. It made me think of Walden if it hadn't been for the smell.

Int: This was the lake where they found the bodies.

VA: Yes.

AA: We weren't thinking. We didn't even tell anyone where we going. They sent Simon after us, because they didn't know where we were.

VA: He asked us why we left and we said we'd been here before.

AA: It's where we met.

VA: He gave us a celphone and left us alone.

AA: In case of trouble.

VA: We called Doug and said it was over.

AA: Then we cried.

VA: All three of us. Maybe for an hour.

AA: We were wrong. It's never over.

[Shot of a man in a white lab coat. He has a brushcut. He lectures to a point on the ceiling, away from the camera and the interviewer.]

[Caption: Dr. Sydney Crippen, Coroner, White Plains NY]

SC: It was a challenge, even with the FBI helping out.

Int: How many bodies were found?

SC: We're not entirely certain.

Int: Why not?

SC: Well, we retrieved six from the lake, of which we identified two.

Int: Drake and Cassidy?

SC: Those two. The other famous one from the lake was the one the tabloids called the Lady of the Lake. Weird as hell, that one was. She went straight off to Quantico. Not a mark on her. Never found out who she was.

Int: How did you know she was dead?

SC: No brain activity, cold as ice water, no heartbeat, blood congealed in the veins. That's dead by my definition.

Int: But her body had not rotted?

SC: Not at all. Heard she was some kind of alien. She was also the only one who was intact.

Int: Intact?

SC: Not missing organs. Brains, livers, lungs. Still, those bodies were still recognizable as human.

Int: Where were the others found?

SC: In the midden.

Int: The midden?

SC: The giant pile of garbage in the centre room. There was one head, identified as belonging to Nathaniel Essex. Everything else was fragmentary. We think that the remains came from between 40 and 170 different individuals. All of the rest of the remains were bones that had been boiled. There was no DNA for testing. We had to make guesses. At least four of the bodies were of infants, and seventeen others were small children.

Int: Were they the brothers and sisters of the other children found there?

SC: We presume so, but it is impossible to tell.

Int: Did you also establish the paternity of the children?

SC: We undertook this.

Int: And what did you find?

SC: I cannot discuss that.

[Shot of Sarah Grey]

SG: They told us that the father of most of the children was Cable, but that two had Logan as their father. Those were by the Vietnamese woman.

Int: But only two were related to you.

SG: Yes. The twins were Jean's son and daughter. The awful part was, we were told that she had had at least three other pregnancies on the basis of her Caesarian scars.

Int: How did you learn their names?

SG: Not from Jean. That Munroe woman told us they were called Nathan and Rachel.

Int: The Princess?

SG: That one. She told us that they were very important, that they served a greater purpose.

Int: Did she tell you what that purpose was?

SG: No, but she suggested that she would be willing to adopt them.

Int: How did you respond?

SG: We went to the Proudstars and asked them what was up. Then we got a court order to keep her away.

Int: Where are they now?

SG: Safe.

[Shot: J&J Proudstar]

John: Those kids are totally autistic.

James: We thought it might have been because of growing up in that place, but some of the other kids were able to tell us that they were always that way.

Int: We were told that Jean Grey had at least three other pregnancies.

John: Yeah, well.

James: They were probably killed.

Int: Why?

John: That fucking church.

James: They were awaiting a mutant messiah.

Int: I thought that Cable was supposed to be the messiah.

John: He wasn't supposed to be, but we think the church was his idea.

James: He had some weird idea about Summers and Grey being his parents. I mean, he was in his 50s. It was ridiculous.

Int: How did he explain it?

John: Time travel.

Int: Time travel?

James. That's what I said, but then his father would have to be able to shoot something besides blanks.

Int: Summers was impotent?

John: That was the rumour.

James: That and that it was because of something that he did to himself. Like with the eyes.

John: That's the only way it would have made sense. That kid from Alaska turned out to be his.

James: So Cable stood in for the holy spirit and Summers got to play Joseph.

John: That's fucking crude.

James: Hey, I'm only repeating what you said you heard.

John: Yeah, but that was from a crazy person.

James: Weren't they all?

Int: Why was it so important to have children?

John: They needed disciples. Twelve mutant children, worshipping a pair of holy twins. These twelve would conquer Apocalypse and initiate the world into a new Garden of Eden.

Int: Apocalypse being the Secretary-General?

John: That's right.

James: Thing was, they weren't necessarily supposed to be twins. They were supposed to be psis, though.

John: That's where the problem lay, we think. The first kids weren't psis, and they were killed.

Int: But psychic abilities have never been observed before the fourth birthday, and then there's late onset.

John: We checked up on that. Seems that psis can sense others like themselves at a very early stage by means of kind of a psychic radar.

James: They kind of send a beam in and if they get a response, the kid's a psi.

John: Thing is, it only works a third of the time because the two psis are usually too far out of synch.

James: So we think it was something else.

John: Psychic mirroring. Happens with the severely autistic, even in infancy. We think Cable mistook it for the signal and pronounced them messiahs.

James: Then he got into real shit.

John: They were totally helpless. They never learned to speak, never learned to make even the most basic human responses.

Int: Did he kill any children after that?

John: We heard there were pregnancies, but fewer kids seen than expected. Those women were always supposed to have been pregnant.

Int: When were they, how did they put it, cored?

James: After the escape, they all stopped talking. All the women.

John: They cut the minds right out of them. They're almost as helpless as the twins.

Int: Why were Psyche and Ariel not pregnant?

John: They had some ideas about who the messiah's mother should be.

James: They had a ranking system, based on some book written by some Canadian guy. Herrman?

John: Ruston. Something like that. Asians and whites were the master races, everyone else was fit only for slavery. Jews and Native Americans ended up at the bottom, somehow.

James: Ariel and Psyche were fixed, like dogs.

Int: The other children?

John: They're a mess. Really fucked up.

James: But they're safe. Hidden from that church.

[Shot of Ororo Munroe]

OM: Even with the amendment, we face a wall of prejudice. We have title to the house, but no court is willing to recognize it. We have the Professor's will, and in the event of catastrophe I was to be the guardian of those children.

Int: All twenty of them? Your highness?

OM: I would of course be prepared to delegate my responsibilities to other members of the centre. We have many families here who would be willing to take in the children.

Int: Why do you think you've been unsuccessful? Your highness?

OM: Anti-mutant prejudice. They are aware that we are mutants, and cannot see that we could be parents, too.

Int: This has nothing to do with the church?

OM: Why must you be so stupid? I have told you there is no church. It's a lie, spread by the families who discarded their mutant children so long ago.

Int: None of the grandparents now believes that their children went voluntarily. Your highness.

OM: This is a lie. Madeline Drake has indicated that Robert went happily. No, these families are in denial. They believe that the children are not mutants, and they wish to bring them up as humans, denying the birthright of their own children. We would be following the wishes of the Professor.

Int: Professor Xavier? Your highness.

OM: Yes. He was a good man. A brilliant man. An example to us all.

Int: Then how do you explain what was found? Your highness.

OM: Exaggerations. Cable was responsible for much that was evil, but much of what happened in the School was exaggerated. He was certainly not the real evil.

Int: Then who was? Your highness?

OM: Apocalypse.

[Shot of a small dark man wearing very expensive Swiss glasses. He is dressed in a very elegant silk suit, and has an impish personality in spite of his advanced years.]

[Caption: En Sabah Nur, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Paris, France]

ESN: I did indeed receive many letters from this so-called School, over the years. Rather, my staff did.

Int: When did you become aware of them?

ESN: I suppose it was at the time that the School was raided. One of my security people came and told me of it.

Int: Were they taking it seriously?

ESN: Of course not. We were getting letters of those sort by the truckload at the time. There was an election going on in the US at that time, and the invective was really flowing.

Int: That was just before you resigned?

ESN: Just before the Americans had me fired, yes. It seems that they disliked my criticism of their unilateral intervention in Cuba.

Int: What was the content of these letters?

ESN: In general, they were the ravings of madmen and religious maniacs. I was fond of having a selection delivered to me once a month. Many of them were quite amusing. It seems that few of the writers could understand that any helicopter with a non-reflective surface looks black when seen from the ground against a backdrop of a bright, wide sky.

Int: Were the ones from the School any different?

ESN: In content, though not in theme. I was still the demonic figure of the foreigner, out to take what was rightfully theirs. Remarkable history to that, goes right back to the beginning of their history. It's been an important part of their politics. If you read Hofstadter's Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, it gives a most marvelous outline of the tendency. They prize ignorance and individual uncertainty in place of respect for tradition and accumulated wisdom. Given how tradition caused so much hardship in my own country, I must admit that I briefly thought that this might be a good idea, when I was young.

Int: How was the content of the letters different?

ESN: Ah, the letters. Well, there was a mythology attached to them, quite Christian in nature, in that terribly odd form of Christianity that they practice in America. It seems so alien, even though we all seek salvation from the same source.

Int: As a Muslim?

ESN: No, no, as a Christian. My family has belonged to what you refer to as the Coptic Church for centuries, although I was educated in a Jesuit school myself. It is a quite different approach to religion that they have in America, similar to what we sometimes see in the villages out in the dust when a man becomes mad and thinks that God speaks to him, as one man would to another

Int: Did Xavier claim to be God?

ESN: To the extent that I can extract anything coherent from the letters, I cannot say. It is certain that they believed me to be the devil, though.

Int: Why?

ESN: I have no idea. It wasn't for the usual reasons. They had no complaints against our opposition to the so-called greatest country in the world doing whatever it bloody well wanted outside its own borders, or about SHIELD. For the love of God, everyone knows that Washington gets any orders we send to SHIELD within moments. They make use of SHIELD constantly without even asking the Security Council for permission. The only reason we're allowed to even have it is if we stack its command with Americans.

Int: What were their reasons?

ESN: I suppose they're afraid we would use SHIELD against them.

Int: The reasons that Xavier thought you were the devil.

ESN: Ah. My association with Erich Lehnsherr, and I suspect my own support for mutant rights throughout the world. I myself possess mutant abilities.

Int: I understand that you have the ability to change your bodily form?

ESN: Indeed I do.

Int: Have you ever made aggressive use of this ability?

ESN: Good lord, what do you take me for? Was I to leap upon a charger and single-handedly go off to rout the Israelis from the Suez Canal back in '56? What good would that have done, except to prolong the conflict? I always thought Erich had the right idea, making their weapons systems fail and forcing them to fight with guns and knives or find a diplomatic solution. I've always preferred diplomatic solutions, myself.

Int: Did the letters make any specific charges?

ESN: They made a great fuss over my support for the Global Testing Initiative.

Int: That was the program to make cheap tests for mutant abilities in children available worldwide?

ESN: Eventually, yes. The goal would be to have a reliable test by 2005, and a pilot test program up and running by 2010.

Int: I understand that there is a great deal of resistance to this.

ESN: I have often been of two minds about it. In my country, they claim that it will have the villagers stoning mutant children to death. If we test everyone, they will find, I am certain, that 1/3 of villagers will have non-expressive mutant genes just as we find in the United States and Japan. They will find that their wives and brothers and sisters and fathers will have the genes, and some will become murderous, but most will accept. I am sure that more lives will be saved than lost. If we can identify those which when activated produce psi abilities, then we can attempt to prevent the circumstances that may have produced monsters like Xavier.

Int: Do you think the testing program is why Xavier identified Dr Voght as one of his four horsemen of the apocalypse?

ESN: His four horsemen of the apocalypse were always a laugh. How ignorant it is, to take such things literally. Even in their time, in the original Greek, they were metaphors, yet the tone of the letters ascribes these attributes to four completely human public servants.

[Shot of a woman of middle age and distinctly singular appearance. She would be a good stand-in for Margaret Hamilton in a remake of the Wizard of Oz, but she wouldn't have to wear make-up.]

[Caption: Angela Baez, Death Penalty Activist, Swarthmore PA]

AB: I put up the best defence of Scott Summers that I could manage, but with a crime like that he barely had a chance.

Int: What was he charged with?

AB: Every damn thing they could think of. The feds nailed him under FART-P and didn't have to tell me what half the charges were.

Int: FART-P?

AB: Federal Anti-Racketeering & Terrorism Prevention Act. Under that, they didn't have to reveal any charges that would have revealed informers or compromised national security. It's essentially a death sentence if there's murder involved, and there was. The state also had him for over a hundred counts of murder and reckless child endangerment and child abuse.

Int: How could they charge him with child abuse if he was, um, incapable?

AB: Blanket indictment. Any adult who might have prevented the acts can be charged.

Int: Did the federal courts have to try him first?

AB: Yeah. Those bastards moved the trial to Texas, too, just to make things harder.

Int: Why Texas?

AB: The official reason was that the local media would have saturated the New York State jury pools, but there was so much coverage that they would have had to go a thousand miles up the Amazon to find 12 people who hadn't heard of the case. Hell, they probably would have had to go further than that. But that wasn't the real reason. The real reason was the Texas Justice For Victims Act.

Int: T-JVA.

AB: We like to call it the lynch law. If some poor bastard happens to kill your mother and gets convicted of a capital crime then they'll make it all right by executing the felon within thirty minutes of passing sentence.

Int: Oh. That one. What about cruel and unusual punishment?

AB: The family of the deceased can appeal posthumously at their own expense. If there was a miscarriage of justice, they get a settlement of $10,000, less court costs.

Int: But if he was tried in federal court, wouldn't the federal justice system have to carry out the sentence?

AB: Senator Kelly got a law passed saying that Texas can execute federal sentences if they are handed down in the state. Seems he needed it to bring them into line on the Mutant Rights Amendment. Since then, all Federal trials involving the death penalty are persecuted in Texas.

Int: Did he have a chance at all?

AB: Yes, but only because of the Kelly Amendment. We could have a psi in to determine if he was psi-resistant, and if he wasn't then they couldn't prosecute if he could convince the jury that he was being controlled.

Int: Sounds like a long-shot.

AB: It was, but it was far from a hopeless situation. I took the case on principle but, with all the time I spent with Scott, I became convinced that he was telling the truth. I had the feeling that there was still something noble in him, that he wasn't nearly as damaged as the other two witnesses the prosecution had, in spite of all the scars.

Int: Did he insist that he was being controlled?

AB: He did. He said he hardly remembered a thing since he had arrived at the School thirty years before. Our psis testified that it was plausible.

Int: Could they state it with certainty?

AB: If either Xavier or Cable had been alive, they could have established it definitively, but the best that they could say was that he did not seem to be resistant to them. Then again, he only had not to resist. The prosecution made that very clear, but our witnesses were good and I thought we almost had it in the bag when that Pryor showed up.

[Caption: Madeline Pryor]

MP: I thought I was doing the right thing. Really, I did. They were telling the jury about how he was a decent man at heart, and all they had was his own testimony to go on.

Int: So you went down there?

MP: Not right away. I kind of went a little bit crazy when it all came out and had to go into hospital for a while. Guess I realized that maybe even Alaska might not have been far enough.

Int: Did you approach the defense?

MP: Yes. They told me to be quiet, brushed me off. I could tell his lawyer didn't really want to save him, or so I thought.

Int: So you went to the press?

MP: They found me. Someone from her office leaked the story to them. So I told them all about his helping me to escape.

Int: And then what?

MP: The government subpoenaed me. They made me tell the whole story in court. I watched the jury turn into a bunch of killers as I spoke. The government lawyer spun it to make it seem like he was resistant.

Int: Because you weren't pursued?

MP: Yes.

[Shot of Angela Baez]

AB: I'm sure she meant well, and I certainly didn't try to brush her off. I only asked her to lie low. I'm sure she didn't mention it, but she had a second breakdown during the trial.

Int: Were you able to cast doubt on their theory?

AB: After a story like that? He has no resistance, but gives his mistress a half million dollars to sneak away with, and then she doesn't get caught? I tried half a dozen things, and I could see that he was a dead man almost immediately.

Int: So he was convicted.

AB: Murder of a police officer. Inspector Cassidy. Technically, the conviction was invalid since Cassidy was officially absent-without-leave when he was killed. Thanks to that fucking law they took him out of the courtroom and shot him in the alley behind the courthouse.

Int: Did you defend Logan?

AB: No. He killed his first lawyer during an interview and that was enough to put him in a coffin.

[Shot of a tall man with a hard weathered face, the sort that an Irishman would think was typical of Texas.]

[Caption: George Washington Gein, Texas Ranger, Nacogdoches, TX]

Int: I understand that you were in charge of the execution of Scott Summers and the man known only as Logan.

GWG: Yep.

Int: Can you tell us in your own words what happened?

GWG: Sentence was passed down on the prisoners at noon. We took them down to the firing range behind the courthouse.

Int: How were you able to handle Logan?

GWG: I understood that the prisoner had been given large does of morphine. The prisoner was also chained into a frame made of adamantium. The frame was lowered to the firing range from the courtroom by means of a rented crane.

Int: How was the sentence carried out?

GWG: The prisoners were lined up against the wall of the firing range. At my order, five rangers executed the first prisoner with rifle shots. I dispatched the prisoner with a shot through the head.

Int: I understood that the spectators cheered at this point.

GWG: That was their right. They'd paid to be there.

Int: That was Scott Summers.

GWG: Yes it was.

Int: How did the execution of Logan proceed?

GWG: We tried the same procedure but it failed.

Int: Including the bullet through the head?

GWG: Yes.

Int: He was still alive?

GWG: Yes. We tried a second volley, but the men were disturbed. One of them missed the prisoner and hit the frame. The ricochet injured a mother of eight. I proceeded to empty my pistol into his head, but this also failed to terminate the prisoner.

Int: Because of Logan's healing ability.

GWG: That seemed to be the problem.

Int: Had you not anticipated this?

GWG: We had. That's why we'd been using hollow points.

Int: I understand that at this point the crowd became unruly.

GWG: They did. They wanted to see it over with. We were stuck. We figured if we took him out of the frame, we could shoot him enough to keep him dead, but there was a chance that he'd get loose and take some of us with him.

Int: Was it you idea to use the crane?

GWG: It was.

Int: What did you do?

GWG: The crane was one of them big German ones that reach up about 15 stories, so we hauled him up in the frame and dropped it a few times out in the parking lot.

Int: Why out there?

GWG: There wasn't enough room in the firing range. Couldn't get up high enough.

Int: Did it work?

GWG: Not completely. After three drops the crane operator ran away and none of us could figure out how to work it. The prisoner'd been kinda bashed up by it and he wasn't moving around too much, so we took the frame off him and drove the truck over him a few times.

Int: Did that do it?

GWG: Almost. He was still twitching, and the doc got cut when tried to get close.

Int: What did you do then?

GWG: We decided to try to finish it quick cause people were puking all over. They were laying new asphalt in the parking lot, so we got one of them big rollers to finish the job.

Int: And it did?

GWG: Sure did.

Int: Doesn't this bother you?

GWG: Why should it? Justice was done.

[Caption Gabrielle Lehnsherr]

Int: Do you believe that justice was done?

GL: It is a stupid question. Do you mean, is there a nicely wrapped up ending to this entire story? Do you mean, is America now the best of all possible worlds? Do you mean in the sense that now time will unravel itself and my stepson and countless others will still be alive? No, to all three.

Int: Er, why not?

GL: I have no idea if that will come across in your program. There are so many ways that you could play it. A medieval morality play with sleeping dead women in lakes. A film noir with a pregnant woman rushed out of town with a suitcase full of cash. A gothic horror with murderers chasing defenseless women across the moors. Children who can fly escaping from it all like Peter Pan flying to Never-Never Land. Justice from the hands of a simple giant? Plucky survivors moving on to start new lives? Even though I and so many others have survived this, we have not done so unscathed. None of the children from that house will ever be normal, nor will anyone be who ever escaped it.

Int: Do you think it will happen again?

GL: Not exactly like this, no. But something like this will happen again, and no number of constitutional amendments or flying children will prevent it. There will always be some who want to remake the world as if they were God, and thousands who will help them do it. There were 50,000 people living within two miles of that school. There were a thousand cars a day driving past its gates on the Sabbath. There were over 50 government bodies and agencies that could have acted against the School, and nothing happened for over 30 years. What I could do was limited, because thinking about it too much, thinking about it upsets me. It took me two years to come back from that. I can't even talk about it to Erich. In the end, it's not so important.

Int: Why not?

GL: Because it's nothing compared to what will happen when Erich dies. We're old now, in our 70s. Erich has perhaps another ten years, and then he's not going to be able to pitch radwaste into solar orbit anymore. No-one has stepped forward who can replace him and, without him, we will choke on that waste, billions of tonnes of it from the fission and fusion plants across the world. If they try to burn oil and coal, we'll even see more global warming and we only have ten years of reserves anyhow. If they go to coal gasification using present technologies, they'll produce as much lethal waste as fusion does. America fights everything we do on these issues. They insist that the magic of unfettered business enterprise or crashing to their knees before Jesus will produce a miracle that will get us out of this. These aren't even political issues in that country.

Int: They've been lucky so far.

GL: So have we all. But how long can it last?

The credits roll. An impressive number of people are listed, as well as a huge list of donors. She watches the screen blankly. The screen brightens and someone loudly offers her the chance to buy a used car at what looks like a very low price, but is actually an obscene installment plan that will almost double the apparent cost of the vehicle. She switches off the television and begins to clean up.

There's a great deal of garbage to get rid of. All of the empty cookie and chip bags go into a fresh garbage bag. She scoops up the upended container of chip dip and uses paper towels to mop up as much of the dip as she can. She gets out an aerosol can and sprays foam onto the mess. She works it in with a brush and leaves it for the dust buster.

She phases through the wall and air-walks the garbage down to the can outside. She only unphases for a moment. It's dangerous in the alley at night. This is the cheap part of town, where the drunken non-status Indians and the really deformed mutants live. She'd be a target, even in her current state. She phases it into the can and airwalks back to her room.

In the bathroom, she cleans herself. Her belly still bulges with over five pounds of refined sugar, bleached flour and unsaturated fats. In the absence of the stimulation of Emma Frost's narrative, she rams her hand into her mouth until she gags. Up it comes. It's messy.

Now clean inside, she decides to clean that which was left behind in the bathroom. She gets out a bucket and a large bottle of pine oil cleaner. She runs the water in the tub, very hot. She starts with the ceiling, tottering uncertainly on a small ladder as she sponges every inch of it down, including the inside of the light fixture. She then starts on the walls and the tile. She takes an old toothbrush and goes along the grouting, then around the edges of the fixtures and the moulding on the floor. She washes the walls again, to flush any residues from her detail work away. She cleans the bathtub, the sink, and the sides of cabinet. She cleans the floor. Three hours later, she is finished. She vacuums up the dried detergent at the place where the dip had spilled on her way to bed. It's four AM, but it's winter out there, and so the sun won't be up for another five hours. She climbs into bed in her clothes and closes her eyes.

What a blessed relief. All that time watching. I suppose I spent part of the day asleep, if indeed that's what I do. I really can't do more than doze or watch, because if I did she might gather that I was in her, living in one of those holes in her mind created by my training. The irony is, she's still resistant, so she doesn't sense me at all. On the other hand, I can't get access to her thoughts, so I really have to wonder if she doesn't suspect.

I wonder, for instance, why she doesn't tell anyone about those results that she keeps in a folder under her bed. If I understand them correctly, she might have found a way to create small warps into the vacuum of space. If she could make a device to do it, Gabrielle wouldn't have to worry about where the radwaste would have to go. She would have created the ultimate garbage dump. The ideas behind it would make the local physics faculty treat her as if she was the second coming of Christ, or perhaps Einstein would be a better revenant. At least she'd get more money and better care for that damned eating disorder. Right now, she gets paid less than that drunken whore downstairs who collects disability. I suppose that she's following my advice about hiding in plain sight, but hiding from what? If she lived somewhere larger, I'd be much better off. I could find a young psi, healthy, perhaps between 16 and 20, then make the jump out of her head into his. Or hers. That might be fun. I wonder if she lives here to prevent that from happening? She'd know that psi's are rare, and this place is very small. Then again if she really suspected, she'd phase into a wall and unphase. Finis. The end of her, the end of me. She's still noble enough to do that. Stupid bitch.

Still, I'm safer here than anywhere else. They all think I'm dead. Who wouldn't? Primitives. It's easier to believe that I'm dead. That program has me worried, though. Am I all of me, or just a copy, weaker than the original? I'm not really sure how I got here, and I know that I'm paranoid enough to have made a back-up hiding place. When I get out of here, I'm going to have to go and have a chat with Danielle.

On the whole, the program was more or less what I expected. It's disturbed her enough that I can wear down her resistance a little more. The recurrence of the bingeing and purging should help, as long as she doesn't take it too far and kill herself. If I get some control, what then? Move her to Vancouver, or Toronto perhaps. Vancouver sounds better. Less snow.

My mind is wandering. She doesn't have enough water in her body. She damn near passed out three times while cleaning the bathroom. Oh well. The program. I think I agree with Gabrielle. Too many little tales of derring-do. All the noble heroes, mutant and human alike, make me sick. We're animals, nothing better. I know. I've been in so many heads. In all honesty, being here gives me a better perspective on it all. The silence is quite refreshing. Even so, the program gave me a wonderful new list of things to do when I get out of here. We nailed Kelly, but there's always Emma and En and Eric and Doug and Vance and sweet little Angelica to play to with. Oh, what fun I will have. What fun.

I won't have fun with her, though. She's my best pupil. She's a survivior. After what I put her through, she'll survive anything. She'll have to. There will be a war between human and mutant, I am certain of it. It is as natural as the conflict between man and woman, between man and nigger. It will be best to get it over with, so that the strong survive and can start to build paradise. I will smite the children of Canaan and raise the world into a paradise not like any that have ever been seen before. I shall leap from mind to mind and live on forever. This is my destiny.

There will no end to this.