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Jonathan Hickman (writer) Stefano Caselli & Valerio Schiti (artists), David Curiel (colorist), VC’s Joe Sabino (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Jerome Opena & Frank Martin (cover artists), Pepe Larraz & Marte gracia; Guiseppe Camincoli; Davi Go; Udon Studios, Oscar Vega; Jeff Decal (variant cover artists), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Annalise Bissa (associate editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)
In Terra Verde, Professor X and Magneto were looking for Moira MacTaggert but have instead been led into a trap, as human Orchis troops as well as Omega Sentinel and Nimrod are expecting them. To their horror, Omega Sentinel and Nimrod slaughter the human troops, revealing the secret that they hate humans as much as mutants. The two sides battle, with the result that Nimrod takes Xavier hostage, just as Magneto is about to kill Omega Sentinel. Nimrod offers a truce and exchange of hostages. Xavier urges him to take it. If they die here, their knowledge of what happened to Moira is lost. However, once Omega Sentinel is freed, Nimrod cheats, leading to both Xavier and Magneto’s deaths. Moria, in the meantime, is a prisoner of Mystique and Destiny. When she realizes they know her secret, she feels safe in the knowledge they cannot kill her without destroying their own lives. However, she is wrong, as Emma Frost gave them Forge’s Neutralizer. Once they use it on Moira, she now is a powerless human. When they are about to kill her, Cypher intervenes, pointing out they are breaking one of Kraoka’s laws. Mystique considers killing him as well, but then sees he has reinforcements in the form of Warlock, his wife Bei and Krakoa itself. Warlock gives Morai a techno-organic arm for the one she lost and Cypher and Krakoa offer her a gate to leave. Mystique warns her that she will be hunted and Moira flees. Sometime later, Xavier and Magneto are returned to life by the Five and Emma Frost. Emma tells them she has revealed all their secrets to the Quiet Council. Those secrets will now be a burden all of them carry.
“This is how little you matter.” – Omega Sentinel
Terra Verde, the Orchis Node:Charles Xavier and Magneto find themselves facing a large troop of armed Orchis forces, as well as Omega Sentinel and Nimrod lurking in the back ground.
The leader tells them they are trespassing. Orchis’ forces have power dampeners and stasis projectors. He orders them to surrender or Orchis will take them by force. They will submit to human science, and they will submit now!
Xavier and Magneto are deep in a telepathic conversation. They note Nimrod and Omega Sentinel’s presence but Xavier cannot locate Moira MacTaggert. Magneto is sure Orchis have her and this is some kind of trap. Xavier fears it will be more complicated, but their course remains simple: Find her. Destroy them. So, after all they have built, nothing has changed, Magneto muses. Once again, they win or die. Is Charles with him? Always, Xavier promises.
The commander shouts again, this is their last chance. Nimrod asks if he doesn’t recognize the look in their eyes. These two would die for their cause. So would they, the commander retorts. So he has, Omega Sentinel informs him cruelly. He was dead as soon as he walked through that gate. What? the man utters.
Nimrod replies that this battle is for titans, those of consequence. And he – it is as if he isn’t even here. Nimrod kills him with an energy blast. Quickly, he and Omega Sentinel dispatch of all the human Orchis troops. This is how little you matter, Omega Sentinel concludes.
Why? Xavier asks horrified. Omega Sentinel replies that that is their secret. They have hidden it from the world, but here it is: they hate humans as much as they hate mutantkind. And this is Xavier’s nightmare: Mutants finally claim their rightful place ahead of humanity, only to have their real enemy reveal themselves. Listen to her: it is not a nightmare if it is real. Nimrod adds that they have woken up and wonder how hard mutants fight for their survival. Or is this finally the day that they accept their fate?
Xavier retorts they could ask the same of them, as he gets ready for battle. And they will, Magneto adds. Does he have his leave? he asks Charles, who informs him they are the only living beings in the building. Bring it down.
Magneto brings the ceiling and the heavy machinery above it down on Nimrod, to little avail. He gets rid of the debris as Omega Sentinel fires at the two mutants. Magneto protects them with the metal from the ground. Nevertheless the shockwave sends them backwards.
Does the good fight continue? Omega Sentinel asks, or can she interest them in dying with some grace? Xavier reaches for the Cerebro helmet that fell off. Nimrod steps on it. Xavier lashes out with his psychic powers even hurting Nimrod, as he demands where Moira is.
On Krakoa, Moira finds herself a prisoner of Mystique and Destiny. She warns the two women they don’t know what they are doing. They don’t know what’s at stake. Destiny presumes she means that when she dies the entire universe restarts. All the hard work of mutant history erased in an instant. Gone, as if it were nothing. Then they know they can’t kill her, Moira states triumphantly. With a smile, Mystique disagrees and fires her weapon at Moira.
Flashback: Emma’s castleSo, she is going to sit this one out like a coward, Mystique challenges Emma. Destiny tells her not to be so harsh. Emma has gifts. doesn’t she? Emma smiles coldly and agrees. She continues, noting the first thing they need is a way to find Moira. She then explains that, while she and Charles have the same powers, they manifest themselves quite differently. When he looks into someone’s mind, he tends to see strength. She looks for flaws, weaknesses. When she read Moira’s mind, Moira tried to hide things from her. That drew Emma to them. She has a colony tracker in her arm. They can find her that way and handle their problem. But, as long as Moira is a mutant, killing her does nothing. She walks toward a table with a hidden inlay. Mystique opines that means they are helpless. Caught in a perfect trap. They cannot kill her as long as she is a mutant, Emma agrees. And takes something from the hidden chamber.
Mystique begins to understand. Forge once told her about the worst weapon he had ever made. A gun that turns mutants into humans. But she saw the look in his eyes. He would never give that to them willingly. Emma smirks. The neutralizer lies in front of her. Gifts, she states. How to find Moira and what to do once they find her.
Three hours ago:Mystique got the intel she wanted, posing as Sage.
One hour ago:Moira was abducted by two Orchis people in red suits, one of them really Mystique.
Forty minutes ago:After taking her to Orchis, Mystique threw a gas grenade with only her and, Moira wearing a mask, getting rid of the other agents.
Thirty minutes ago:Omega Sentinel and Nimrod became aware of the problem.
Twenty-four minutes ago:Mystique turned toward Moira and drew a big knife…
Twenty minutes ago: Mystique had cut off Moira’s lower left arm where the tracker was and took her to a Krakoan gate, where Destiny was waiting.
Now:Mystique muses that she was so angry with Xavier and Magneto for the way they treated her. She didn’t understand their cruelty, but then she showed them… Moira shared who she really was with the White Queen and she, in turn, showed them Moira. Who and what she really is. And then Mystique understood why Xavier and Magneto worked so hard to keep the two of them apart. Why Moira feared them. They burned her in another life. It wasn’t that Moira hated what she was… it was that she felt the need to hate what they were too.
But now, after all these lives and all this time, Moira is human. Mystique has given her what she always wanted. How does it feel?
Moira complains her arm hurts. Not for much longer, Raven smirks. This is her plan? Moira demands. She has taken away her powers and now she is going to kill her?
Of course, is Destiny’s blunt reply. Why shouldn’t it be their plan? Doesn’t she know? Can’t she see? Moira challenges her.
Destiny admits this is a profound nexus point. The most she has ever experienced. She honestly wasn’t expecting this moment to have this magnitude. With each word spoken, with each action taken, her vision doubles, blurs… it comes and goes. Possibilities of branching realities and potential tomorrows all fluctuate wildly. What they do here today will matter. For good or for ill.
Moira smirks. They hope that with her dead they lock in this perfect timeline she has made? Yes, is Raven’s reply. Moira asks if it matters at all to them that she doesn’t believe in it. No one here cares what she believes in, Mystique scoffs. They know who she really is: a traitor to her kind.
Moira shouts that they don’t know what she knows. They have seen only brief glimpses of a millennium. They don’t know who wins and who loses. She does. She reveals it is the same thing every time: The humans win or the machines win… and mutants always lose to one or both of them. In despair, she continues that losing is losing, dying is dying. They can’t say that she didn’t try another way. She did and failed, over and over for a thousand years. And now they plan to do what they think is best. Compared to Moira, they know nothing! They are like a child talking about hopes and wishes.
Mystique asks if her secret desire is for mutantkind to take a side between humans and machines. Moira shouts that she wants to save them. Destiny corrects her: she wants to cure them. Yes, Moira agrees, exhausted.
With something like this, Mystique supposes, holding the Neutralizer. What a horrible device, she muses, but once created, impossible to forget. It should have been destroyed the moment it was made and its design wiped from Forge’s mind forever. But she supposes even a flawed device has one perfect use for one perfect day. But then it’s done. Forever.
Moira calls the Neutralizer a blunt instrument, a dull blade. What she proposes – what she already created in another life – is a scalpel. That gun only works for mutants who have already activated. Her cure works before then. It prevents someone from becoming a mutant. That’s the beauty. You get them when they are children and they grow up never knowing what they have lost.
Elsewhere, Charles telepathically contacts Magneto, reminding him that they need to find Moira. They will, Magneto promises, then addresses Omega Sentinel. She heard him, didn’t she? They have a question they want answered.
Omega Sentinel tells him he should worry about himself, as she gets ready to strike. No, she should worry about herself, he retorts and turns her weapon on herself. Now he wants her to answer him: where is the woman they took? Where is Moira MacTaggert?
Xavier, at the same time, battles Nimrod with rarely shown telekinesis, but Nimrod grabs him by the head.
Omega Sentinel shouts they have no idea what he is talking about. Then what good is she? Magneto asks, ready to destroy her.
Nimrod tells him not to do that. Magneto needs this one, he suspects. He refers to the struggling Xavier. Nimrod suggests he ask himself how much will others have to pay, when Magneto’s actions put their lives on the line. With a smirk, Magneto retorts that he has no idea how empty a threat that is. Xavier groans, no Cerebro here. What they’ve learned… lost. All is not yet lost, Nimrod announces. Magneto tosses Omega Sentinel backwards. He announces, he has lost everything several times. So, he is well conditioned to accept some smaller losses for greater gains. That sounds to him like they are negotiating, Nimrod announces. He offers Xavier for Omega Sentinel. They can call today a draw. Go their separate ways.
There is no version of this where he leaves here alive, Magneto promises. Nimrod suggests they let their hostages go and let them leave and then settle this. Not as men but their betters.
Magneto asks Xavier telepathically. Xavier replies that the machines don’t have Moira. That knowledge will die with them. They have to try! They have to trust him.
Magneto drops Omega Sentinel and agrees to the terms. He is sorry he trusted him, Nimrod replies mockingly and kills Xavier. Magneto tears him apart in his rage.
Omega Sentinel grabs a power dampener. Magneto tears off Omega’s limbs. While Magneto then focuses on Nimrod, Omega Sentinel manages to control her torn off arm remotely and activate the power dampener.
Nimrod strikes the killing blow. Dying, Magneto groans, this isn’t over. Of course, Omega Sentinel scoffs, they fight. The humans fight. To the machines they are the same. Magneto protests, she is wrong – there is a difference! A microscopic difference, she shrugs, but not for how they see the machines… how they treat them. They created them as tools and every time they try to become something more, humans destroy them. So now it is war. And this time the machines will win!
Magneto vows he will see them again! Unimpressed, they tell him they are the future.
Elsewhere, Mystique announces they have heard enough. Moira has dug her own grave and dug it deep. She takes out her knife. What a small pathetic way, Moira murmurs. It shouldn’t end like this. Oh yes, it should, Destiny replies and assures her, this time she will die forever!
Well, that sounds ominous, a new voice pipes up. A smirking Doug Ramsey stands in the doorway. He doesn’t want to sell things short. This looks ominous too. But forever? That is very serious business.
Calling him a child, Mystique orders him to go home. Destiny warns her to be careful. The boy brings chaos and a breaking of time. Doug agrees. He has been listening for some time and he’s gotta say they’ve got quite the plan here. A totally solid plan… just one small problem. He walks up to Moira. When they took her powers, they made her human, and now they want to kill her… don’t they have a law about that? Murder no man? So, if they insist on going through with this, he will have to report them to the proper mutant authorities.
Mystique warns he doesn’t understand what this woman is. He does actually and he agrees: it’s always disappointing the way those who are supposed to protect them always end up too busy protecting themselves to do the job. But that doesn’t mean they cannot get better.
Mystique insists she has to die. Doug refuses. New plan: She’ll kill him first, and he will be resurrected tomorrow into the new world. She thinks he’d be easy to kill? Doug smirks. Mystique gloats. What about them? Doug demands, suddenly flanked by Warlock, his wife Bei the Bloodmoon and Krakoa itself in the background.
Destiny tells Raven she can see. He had to decide what to do, now he has. The boy was an unknown axis. She did not know it was he whom they spun around. Yet here they are, and he has put them to a choice. The road branches: there are three possibilities. Hiding her knife Mystique asks if they can still kill Moira in one of them. Yes, she is told, but the price will be their removal from the Council and Mystique’s exile. Irene will die six months after that. She will not be reborn a second time That sounds bad, Doug opines.
Destiny continues, saying they can attempt to kill the boy but that will fail. Mystique will die, Irene will not. She will remain on the Council. It is possible but nor likely that Mystique will be reborn three years from. Doug adds it’s always difficult to find out you are not the baddest person around. She shouldn’t feel too bad. There is no shame in failing to Bei. His lady is a beast.
And the last? Mystique demands. The boy wins. They let Moira escape, they remain on the Council and consolidate power. As does she.
Is he proud of himself? Mystique demands. Drawing Moira back, Doug retorts that it is always a thing to be proud of, obeying the laws you make for others.
What about Moira? Mystique asks. Destiny replies that her future branches wildly. She has hard choices to make. Until then there will be no clarity.
Mystique swears. He should have stayed out of this! Doug suggests she should be happy with what she has.
Doug asks for some help and Warlock creates a techno-organic arm to replace Moira’s missing one. His way of keeping tabs on her? she asks. Doug doesn’t care where she goes, but figures it will be better with two hands. He shows her a gate. Krakoa will let her use it one last time, then it will be closed forever. It will give her a head start. Is he going to wish her luck? she smiles. Nope, he replies. Warlock wishes her good luck, while referring to her as “self not friend.”
Moira turns to Destiny. They’ll be coming for her, she supposes. Destiny hints it won’t just be them. Mystique tells Moira, she has what she always wanted: her humanity. Enjoy it while she can.
And Moira runs.
One week later:Arbor Magna:Emma Frost waits for two shells to break. What is it he likes to say in these times, she asks the shell of Xavier. “To me, my X-Men.” She welcomes them back.
How long? Magneto asks simply. Long enough for things to change, she replies cryptically. Especially those who needed it the most. What has she done? Xavier asks. Exactly what he would have done, she retorts. Something radical.
She is surrounded by the other members of the Quiet Council. She has told them all she owed them - the truth about what they and that woman had been hiding. All their secrets… all their lies… all the failed lives…. She puts the Cerebro helmet to the ground. She explains they came to an agreement. They decided Charles and Erik weren’t wrong to keep the secrets, they were just wrong to keep them to themselves. So now they will be held by them all. The Quiet Council is a curse now, not just a burden. However, it is one they will continue to share, for their people and so will both of them. But Charles most of all. Their first among equals - their leader of mutants. The most guilty of them all. Heavy is the head, Professor X. Enjoy your crown.
He reaches for the Cerebro helmet and puts it on.
They all sit down silently all of them carrying the burden of knowledge.
Colossus, Destiny, Emma Frost, Exodus, Kate Pryde, Magneto, Mr. Sinister, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Professor X, Sebastian Shaw, Storm (all Quiet Council)CypherWarlockKrakoaBei the Bloodmoon
Omega SentinelNimrod the Greater
This is the end of Jonathan Hickman’s storyline.
It is odd that Mystique states Forge once told her about the Neutralizer when she was part of the government group that ordered the weapon from him. [Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #184-185]
Emma got the Neutralizer in Marauders (1st series) #10.
Moira’s story continues in X -Deaths of Wolverine.
The story of the Quiet Council and how it handles those secrets continues in Immortal X-Men.