I wasn't there when it happened. I was away at Muir Island doing some research with Moira. Looking back now, I wish that I had been there, after all, he is my best friend.
My name is Henry P. McCoy. Some people prefer to call me Hank, others call me Beast. One person though called me buddy and best friend. His name is Robert Drake, Bobby, and he hasn't spoken a word in three months.
I shall endeavor to begin at the beginning. I remember that night clearly. I was discussing the finer points of Legacy Virus replication (1) with Dr. McTaggart when we got a frantic call from Jean back in Westchester. Apparently, Bobby hadn't come out of his room for dinner. Bobby's never been one to miss a meal, so Jean had went to check on him. She had found him sitting in his room staring out the window. He didn't acknowledge her presence or her attempts to get him to respond. Being a telepath, Jean had tried to speak directly into his mind only to be shoved out violently by a mental block. This was highly unusual to say the least.
Jean had then called the Professor who has even greater telepathic skill. The Professor had scanned Bobby's mental block and thought that it might harm him to try and open it with force.
I caught the first flight back to New York that night.
When I got home, I carried my friend down to my lab. He had shut off all forms of communication. He didn't speak, he wouldn't eat, and he hardly even blinked. Bobby was in some sort of waking coma much like that of a schizophrenic. Since Bobby has never exhibited any other symptoms of such a disorder, I was determined to find out what disease or poison had delivered him into this stupor.
Two days later my heart wrenched when every test I had given him had come back clear. There was no outside agent that had made my friend into a statue. I had already crossed out the possibility that he had come into contact with someone through the X-Men. There was no evidence that he was being controlled in any way. My friend was lying there lifeless, staring at the ceiling and I could do nothing.
Jean, Warren, and Scott all took turns sitting with our teammate throughout this time. It was fortunate that it Jean was with him when he woke. He looked right into her eyes and she could hear his mind speak to her.
~No more words.~
That was it. No more words. At first, I was relieved when he was no longer a vegetable, but the impact of that last statement took time to sink in.
Everyone was excited because of his presence at dinner that night, and so it was easy to miss the fact that he didn't say a word. He ate like a man possessed due to his lack of food for the last three days. When the meal was finished, I followed him out into the expansive back yard. I wanted to speak with him for a while and tell him how much he meant to me, but such words are always hard in coming so we sat quietly together in the grass.
It was then that the sculpting really started I guess. Bobby stared out into the dark and slowly an icy form began to appear in front of us. It twisted and turned as it grew. The noise was deafening in the silence. The sound was like the scream of twisting metal, and I remembered thinking that it was like a billion fingernails railing against the world's largest chalkboard. I covered my sensitive ears and clenched my eyes shut in pain.
After a few moments there was silence again, and my ears rang with discomfort. I opened my eyes and gaped in wonder. Bobby had always used his mutant gifts creatively in the past, but this was unlike anything I'd seen him do before. It was the figure of a man in ice. The sculpture was oversized and sat at about six feet tall. The man was on his knees with his head thrown back in a silent scream. The figure's arms were thrown out to each side in defeat.
Bobby turned and looked into my eyes. I saw such pain in his icy pools of blue. He sighed softly and left me sitting astonished, staring at an embodiment of his soul.
Continued in Chapter 2