THE ARCHETYPE ASSOCIATION
"He seems to use deception to gain a tactical edge,"
Henry remarked after Bobby and Rogue had briefed the other
senior team members on the events of that evening.
Rogue nodded. "I don't think there was ever anything
wrong with his leg. He used the cane to carry a weapon in
plain sight. I doubt he'll use the same trick in front of
us again, though."
"You're probably right," Logan replied. "He's
more likely to use it in public, when we have to go incognito.
For a guy with no training, he seems to know what he's doing.
What was his fighting style like?"
Bobby frowned. "Nothing definable. It was actually pretty
standard stuff - leg sweeps, blocks, stuff like that. He knew
how to use that cane, though. Reminded me of your stick fighting
Ororo shook her head. "I don't think that's possible,
Robert. I learned how to fight like that when I was a girl,
as a thief with Achmed on the streets of Cairo, and he only
taught it to his prize pupils. Archetype could not have learned
"Now that we know about his combat skills in more detail,
maybe he'll agree to a demonstration," Xavier mused.
He punched the intercom button on his desk. "Xavier to
There was a brief pause, then Archetype's voice came over
the speaker. "Yes, Xavier?"
"Would you be opposed to a demonstration of your stick
"Not at all. What sort of setting?"
"How about a one-on-one against Storm?"
Another pause. "All right. Advise her to wear some
form of protective clothing. And some headgear with a face
mask. Archetype out."
Ororo frowned. "Why would I need a face mask?"
Two minutes into the combat session, Ororo understood why.
It had started simply enough. Archetype, who had walked in
wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt, had simply deflected whatever
strikes Ororo used against him, declining obvious openings
for offensive moves. At one point, she got through his defenses,
striking with a rather nasty crack against the back of his
legs. He buckled slightly at that point, falling to his knees
without a sound.
He stayed there for a moment, eyes closed, not moving. Ororo
was afraid that she had seriously hurt him. He then opened
his eyes, looking at her.
"[Come now, little one. You can do better than that,]"
he said to her in Egyptian, his eyes glowing.
Ororo was suddenly filled with an irrational anger. She was
good enough! She could prove it! She would not
be laughed at again! She gritted her teeth and pressed her
attack, which Archetype parried easily. He then jumped out
of her range.
"[Here. I will make it easier for you,]" he continued
in a taunting tone. He drew the sweatband which he was wearing
over his eyes, effectively blindfolding himself. "[Surely
you can hit a defenseless target.]" Ororo gritted her
teeth and closed in for a strike.
Archetype moved in a flash, parrying her thrust. He followed
through on the move, reversing the position of his stick,
thrusting the opposite end of the stick directly towards her
face. Despite the fact that she was wearing a face mask, Ororo
flinched involuntarily. Archetype took advantage of her temporary
loss of bearing by leaping to his feet. As he did so, he altered
the direction of his thrust so that the first foot of the
stick whizzed right through where Ororo would have been. He
then swept her right leg with his left, while simultaneously
pushing her off balance by sweeping his stick to the right.
Ororo, who was usually as graceful as a cat, landed unceremoniously
on the floor in a sprawl.
Archetype thrusted downward with his stick at a point about
three inches away from Ororo's nose. The stick impacted with
enough force to splinter.
"Had I not altered my point of aim," he told her
matter of factly, now speaking English, "your cranium
would now be ventilated." He removed the sweatband, then
helped her to her feet. "Good match, though."
"Yes, thank you," Ororo replied absently, as she
struggled to regain her bearings.
Archetype looked up at Xavier and Henry, who were visible
from the observation window. "Any objections if I call
it a night?" he asked them.
"No," Xavier replied in a weary voice. "We'll
start you on psionic training in the morning at eight-thirty.
"All right, Storm," Scott asked her, "just
what happened down there? You never lose your temper
in the middle of a training session like that."
"I'm not entirely sure myself," she replied thoughtfully.
"With a few words, he made me feel like I was an eight-year
old again, back in Cairo, still under the training of Achmed.
My responses were the same as they were back then. For that
matter," she grimaced, "so was the end result. Achmed
used to beat me just as easily as Archetype just did. By the
way, Bobby was right. His technique is very similar to my
own, although there were a few moves I was unfamiliar with.
His fighting style seems to be a synthesis of many differing
"He also seems to be very skilled at using psychological
techniques to gain an edge in combat," Henry remarked.
"That's hardly surprising, given the fact that he holds
an associates degree in counseling psychology," Xavier
replied. "One of my sources informed me this afternoon."
"Does he have a specialty?" Hank asked.
"His background seems to be a bit eclectic. He took
the classes here and there over a period of years. His background
is Jungian, but he seems to be very well informed about his
own condition - attention deficit disorder. He attends most
of the lectures on the subject in this country."
"Is he licensed?"
"Not in New York."
"Chef, counselor... he seems to have had a lot of schooling,"
"He's a dabbler," Scott grunted. "Doesn't
follow through on anything."
"Do you have any evidence to support that conclusion,
Scott?" Xavier asked him evenly.
"No," Scott replied glumly. "Look, Charles,
I'll be honest with you. I don't like him... and I can't tell
you why. He hasn't said or done anything which should make
me suspicious - but I still am. His attitude just grates on
"Because it's so different from your own?" Hank
Scott frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Archetype is very casual about the use of his abilities.
He's used them to acquire wealth and power, but as far as
we've been able to find, he doesn't throw his weight around.
He just coasts along, allowing events to happen around him.
He hasn't taken a direct role in the affairs of anything until
"That's exactly it," Scott said. "Why hasn't
he done anything with his power and wealth to help mutants?"
"Because he's not a mutant, Scott."
Scott was taken aback by that. "Then where do his abilities
Hank shrugged. "I don't know yet. I asked him to give
me a cell sample this morning so I could study his genetic
structure. He's not a mutant - not in our sense of the term,
anyway. His A.D.D. is due to a mutation, but it's not on the
X-factor gene. That gene isn't active in his system. His abilities
could be magical in nature, but I need more time to
determine if that's true or not."
"If he's not a mutant, then why does he want to join
"Why don't we just take what he said to us at face value,
Scott?" Ororo asked him. "He wants to make a difference,
and he thinks that he'd be most effective with us."
"Whatever his motives are," Xavier said, "We
really don't have any choice but to keep him around. If the
psychic energy that I felt during his Danger Room session
was any indicator of his ability, then he's far too dangerous
an individual to be going around untrained. Valerie was right.
He's a powerful weapon, and we have to make sure that he's
The next morning, Archetype entered Xavier's study at precisely
eight-thirty. "How do you want to do this?" he asked
"Just sit down and relax," he was advised. "We
aren't going to start out with anything too taxing. The purpose
of the initial tests is to determine the limits of your natural
mental abilities. They will also get you used to the sensations
of mental probing and telepathic communication."
"Fair enough," Archetype replied as he sat down
across from Xavier and Jean, looking around the room as he
did so. "No electronic monitoring?"
Xavier shook his head. "It won't tell us anything that
we can't learn on our own. I doubt it would do any good in
your case, anyway. When I reviewed your session from earlier,
I noticed that when your mental powers were active, there
was a bit of static on the monitors."
Archetype frowned. "Psychic interference?"
Jean nodded. "It's not uncommon among psis. Some psychic
functions operate at electromagnetic wavelengths that are
close to those used by electronic equipment, so their use
interferes with more delicate components."
Archetype nodded absently. "That might explain my effect
on electronics. Rogue told you about the streetlight last
"Yes," Xavier replied. "I think the reason
why that sort of thing happens to you frequently is that your
powers aren't fully under your control. If you can learn to
restrict them to a narrower space, then that sort of thing
should happen less frequently."
"Sounds reasonable," Archetype replied, closing
"You're ready?" Xavier asked him.
"Shall we fire at Will?" Jean asked in a teasing
"I'm going to ignore that."
"All right, seriously now, let's begin."
Xavier and Jean extended the telepathic 'feelers' which they
constantly had active from long training, and reached out
towards Archetype's mind.
Do you sense anything unusual, Jean? Xavier
asked her as they approached.
Not yet, she replied, but we're not there
yet, either. Here we go...
Are you making any sense out of this? Xavier
No, it's the same as before. His thoughts are going
all over the place. Can you get any deeper?
No. I can't find any pathways. Let's break contact.
They both withdrew from their telepathic probes and relaxed.
"We're done," Xavier said.
Archetype opened his eyes. "You two must be very subtle.
I didn't feel a thing."
"That's because we never entered you're mind,"
Xavier said with some asperity. "We weren't able to penetrate
"What defenses? I wasn't resisting you at all."
"Maybe not," Jean said a bit more calmly than Xavier,
"but we weren't able to get past your surface thoughts.
You see," she explained, "a telepath looks for what
Charles and I call 'pathways' in order to enter the mind of
another. It's sort of like finding a door to enter an unfamiliar
building. Your thoughts were shifting so quickly, we couldn't
find any pathways which could lead us deeper into your mind."
Archetype brooded for a minute. "Would you two be open
to a suggestion?"
"We always listen to suggestions," Xavier replied.
"We may not do anything with them, but we will
listen to them."
"I think that what you just encountered is a result
of my A.D.D.. You might have better results if I'm wear myself
"You just lost me," Jean told him.
"You probably picked the worst time possible to try
this. It takes me a good two hours after getting up to focus
my mind to any appreciable extent. Some of the chemicals which
the human body produces during exercise allow people with
A.D.D. to regain some sense of focus. I've noticed that my
mind tends to be slightly clearer after I exercise, so why
don't we try again after my weight session with Wolverine?
About half an hour afterward should do it."
Xavier nodded. "All right. See you then. By the way,"
he added as Archetype started to get up. "Have you decided
on a uniform?"
Archetype looked puzzled. "Uniform? I thought I was
"It may be necessary for you to go out with the X-Men
on a mission if we're short on people. You should have a uniform
in case of that possibility. Ask Rogue or Bobby to show you
our CAD/CAM equipment."
"Right. See you at lunch."
After he had closed the door behind him, Xavier turned to
Jean. "He had the most stringent defenses I've ever encountered
in a psi-blind person, except for Magnus, of course."
"Are you sure he's psi-blind, Charles? We never really
attacked him, just scanned him."
Xavier blinked. "Good point. We'll try a mild attack
Two hours later, Archetype found Rogue and Bobby in the sitting
room. "Xavier said I should go about making myself a
team uniform. Could you show me where this tailor from hell
"No problem," Rogue said with a smile. "Follow
us." She led the way to the elevator, and they made their
way down to the sub-levels.
"This may be a silly question," Archetype said
as they exited, "but what do you guys do if the power
goes out? Never mind, I just figured it out. Your power is
on an independent grid, right?"
"Right," Bobby said. "We have a geothermal
power tap that goes down a few miles."
"Who did you guys get your technology from? Mister Wizard?"
"It's a long story," Rogue told him. "We'll
explain later. We're here."
"Here" was the Shiar molecular transformation chamber
where the X-Men produced most of their high-technology equipment.
"How does this thing work?" Archetype asked.
"Just open the door and walk in," Bobby instructed
him. "Empty your pockets and take off your shoes, so
the computer gets an accurate measurement of your height."
"What are you wearing under the turtleneck?" Rogue
She grimaced. "You'll have to take that off, too. The
neck of that thing'll interfere with the measurements."
Archetype shrugged. "All right." He removed the
shirt, again showing the scars on his back.
Bobby, who was seeing them for the first time, winced. "That
must have hurt."
"Oh." He shrugged again. "They're the only
part of me that hasn't healed completely from my accident.
I think it's because I can't see the injured area very well.
If I can see where I've been injured, and examine the extent
of the wound, I usually heal cleaner and faster. What do I
do once I get in this thing?"
"Just stand on the crosshairs and close your eyes while
the lasers measure you," Rogue told him. "It should
only take about a minute." Archetype nodded and entered,
closing the door behind him.
"That thing scans right through any non-living material
on default settings," Bobby said to Rogue in a quiet
voice. "He didn't have to take off his shirt."
"I knew that," she said with a small smile, "but
he didn't. It gave me an excuse to see his bod. If
you hadn't opened your big mouth, I would have gotten a good
look at his butt, too."
"You're a very naughty girl," Bobby told
her, also smiling.
"We all have our faults," she shrugged. When the
scanner finished its cycle, she opened the door. "Come
"What's the next step?" Archetype asked as he slipped
back into his shoes.
"That's up to you," Rogue replied. She frowned
a moment, then touched the communication board. "Rogue
"Xavier here," the intercom answered.
"We need two senior team members to give Archetype access
to the computer system."
"Jean and I can do it from here. Archetype, stand
by the intercom, would you?"
"All right, I'm here."
"Computer, Priority Access modification, voice code
Xavier One-Alpha. Acknowledge."
"Acknowledged," The computer replied.
"Computer," Jean's voice said, "Priority
Access modification, voice code Phoenix Blue-One. Acknowledge."
"Create new file, name Archetype, for tertiary access.
Pause. What we want you to do now, Archetype, is to speak
constantly for about one minute, so the computer can get a
record of your voice pattern."
"Should I say anything in particular?"
"You don't have to. Just say anything that comes
into your head. Try quoting from a story that you know."
Archetype furrowed his brow for a moment. "All right.
"Computer," Jean's voice said, "Execute."
There was a short beep, similar to the tone of an answering
"True," Archetype exclaimed, "nervous... very,
very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will
you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses
- not destroyed - not dulled them. Above all was the sense
of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in
the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad?
Hearken! and observe how healthily - how calmly I can tell
you the whole story.
"It is impossible to say how first the idea entered
my brain, but once conceived, it haunted me day and night.
Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the
old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult.
For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes,
it was this! He had the eye of a vulture - a pale blue eye,
with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran
cold; and so by degrees - very gradually - I made up my mind
to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the
eye forever." He paused. "How's that?"
"Uh... fine," Jean said. "Computer,
Commit pattern to memory. Execute. Confirm pattern."
"Confirmed," the computer replied. "New
file Archetype recognized and committed to memory."
"All right, you're set," Jean told him.
"By the way, what was that quote you used from?"
"The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe."
"I thought I recognized it. Bobby, can you two handle
it from here?"
"No problem, Jean. Bobby out." The intercom
clicked off. "Can we leave you alone now?"
"I guess so," Archetype said dubiously. "How
do I work this thing?"
"Just describe what you want to the computer. Computer,
create holographic wire frame model of dimensions corresponding
to pattern Archetype." A hologram appeared in front of
them, which looked like a dark grey grid mannequin. "Just
tell the computer what you want on this model, then tell it
to make you a uniform corresponding to the pattern, with whatever
colors you want."
"All right. See you two later."
After they left, Archetype told the computer, "All right,
computer. Open primary file Uniform under account Archetype.
Open secondary file...Personal Weaponry."
Later, at lunch, everyone started to sit down. "Where's
Archetype?" asked Henry. "I haven't seen him since
Rogue and Bobby looked at each other. "He couldn't still
be down there, could he?" she asked.
"He's not," a voice said behind her. They all turned
around as Archetype entered the room.
"Well?" He asked. "What do you think?"
He was wearing grey pants with black boots. His shirt - or
was it a jacket? - was charcoal grey, and fit tightly on his
frame. The collar was high, cut close to the neck, and two
small 'X' - shaped pins, similar in design to U.S. Army insignia,
were attached to it. Over it, he wore a grey coat that reached
the tops of the boots. His black leather gloves were held
in his hands. The ensemble was topped off by a black fedora,
perched slightly off-kilter on his head.
"You look like a cybertech Mountie," Logan told
him. "Why a hat?"
"I just feel more comfortable wearing a coat and hat.
It might be because hats only went out of style about forty
years ago. Or, maybe I'm just a retro kind of guy. The coat
conceals whatever weapons I might carry - and one other item
"Two questions," Xavier said. "What weapons,
and what item?"
"Well, the weapons will probably change, depending on
who we're going up against, but for now..." He opened
the coat, pulling out a broadsword, a Glock-7, and five daggers.
He then reached down towards his boots, and pulled out two
"What about the other two in your boots?" Bishop
"Nonremovable. I'll use them for climbing, or as a last-ditch
"Those daggers are British paratrooper design, aren't
they?" Logan asked.
Archetype nodded. "In my experience, they're the best
design around. They're efficient, sleek, and balanced for
"But you're very vulnerable to a magnetic attack,"
Henry pointed out.
"Not all of these blades are metal. Some are made from
composites, others are resin, and two are carbon fiber."
"What about the gun?" Xavier asked.
"To be used only in emergencies. I have three clips
of standard rounds, and four of tranquilizer-loaded plastic
He removed the coat. His shirt was crossed with a series
of metallic 'ribs' that moved along with him.
"What the hell are those?" Bobby asked him.
"They serve a few purposes. The first one is damage
control. These will help hold my body together long enough
for me to heal, if I ever suffer major injury. There's also
a simple wire and cable system which slightly magnifies my
strength. And lastly," he continued, "is weapons
storage." He flicked his left wrist slightly. There was
a slight click!, and a dagger flew into his hand.
"Very impressive, Archetype," Xavier said, "if
a bit overly dependent on weaponry."
"I started from the assumption that my powers wouldn't
be working, and worked up from there."
"Probably not a bad idea. No electronics, I noticed."
"Given my scrambling effect, I figured it would be an
exercise in futility. The only electronic item I plan to carry
is a communicator."
"Reasonable," Xavier agreed.
"The effect is a bit... dark, though, isn't it?"
Rogue asked him.
"I tend, Rogue," Archetype said seriously, "to
be a very dark man."
"You'll have a chance to test out the equipment this
afternoon," Xavier said. "You're scheduled for a
group session at four. Why don't you get changed before you
"All right," Archetype said, and disappeared.
"Now that," Warren said, "was the most
extreme costume I've seen around here in a while."
"Not really," Logan disagreed. "He took a
lot of elements from various military uniforms. The boots
were a lot like jump boots, and the trench coat was Russian."
"The exoskeleton was an ingenious idea, I have to admit,"
Henry said. "He solved the problem of strength enhancement
without using anything that could be turned against him. I
think I'm safe in guessing that he used composites for that
as well. The only weakness I can see is the lack of protection
for his head."
"Most of us run the same risk, Hank," Bobby pointed
out. "By the way, how did his physical turn out?"
"I'd rather not talk about it," Henry said glumly.
"Oh come on, it didn't go that badly, did it?"
Henry looked at Rogue. "When Archetype did his run yesterday,
how winded did he seem at the end to you?"
Rogue thought about it for a moment. "Not very. He recovered
"That's an understatement if I ever heard one."
He looked at Xavier. "I asked him to do a brief run so
I see how his body reacted to stress. In the middle of his
run, while he was doing about seventy-five kilometers an hour,
Xavier, who was drinking his water at the moment, choked
slightly. "He what!?"
"His heart rate and breathing stopped... cold. They
just quit. Most of his neurological functions remained the
same, except for his EEG. That became even more complex than
it was before. He entered the deepest theta state that I've
ever seen in a person who wasn't drugged. His body just kept
on running. When he was done running, he slowed down and took
a deep breath, his vitals started up again, and his brainwaves
returned to normal." Hank snorted. "Whatever that
means in a case like him."
Just as Hank finished talking, Archetype walked into the
room, dressed in the clothing he had worn earlier in the day.
"Normal is boring, Hank. I prefer to be unpredictable."
"Being legally dead is about as unpredictable as you
can get," Xavier agreed. "How did you do it?"
"When I'm at an accelerated time rate for long periods
of time, I stop using chemical energy. I seem to get my strength
from... somewhere else. Don't ask me where, because I have
no more idea than you do. As for the EEG... well, my mind
sort of... 'retreats', I guess. I sort of lose myself within
the collective consciousness, letting my thoughts drift within
it. When I come back from wherever it is that I go, my body
goes back to a more normal state. That's why I don't usually
use my heightened reflexes on short notice. It takes me a
moment to adjust my thinking and perceptions. If I don't get
that prep time, it's a much greater strain on my systems -
both physical and mental."
"What happens if you overtax yourself?" Warren
Archetype shrugged. "I age."
"That's it? You age? Everybody ages."
Archetype shook his head. "You don't understand. Do
you know what the term tanstaafl means?"
"I do," Bobby said. "It's from Heinlein, isn't
"Yes. It's short for 'There ain't no such thing as a
free lunch'. It's essentially an idiot version of the Law
of Conservation of Energy. What it means is that you can't
get something without giving something in return. If I exert
myself too much, I pay for it by losing a bit of my own life
energy, and I age as a result. My abilities, however, eventually
restore my youth."
"Wait a minute," Rogue said. "Are you trying
to tell us that you actually get younger?"
"That's right. It's a long process, and not very pleasant
for me, but it does happen." His eyes became distant
for a moment. "You'll see it happen soon enough. Shall
we eat now?"
Two hours later, in the Danger Room, Archetype found himself
surrounded by Rogue, Archangel, Wolverine, and Psylocke. "What's
the purpose of this scenario again?" he asked.
"We want to see how you do against a superior force
in purely physical combat," Xavier told him. "Psylocke
won't be using her mental powers for this exercise. Your goal
is to take down at least one of your opponents."
"Define 'take down'."
"Immobilize, knock out, or otherwise disable them."
"All right. Let's get at it."
"You sure you're ready, rookie?" Logan asked. "Immortal
or not, I still plan to take a piece of you."
"You're certainly welcome to try." Archetype replied.
"This shouldn't take long," Warren said. "It's
just a simple cat-and-mouse game."
Then Archetype smiled. "Well, let's make things interesting
then... and make all the cats grey."
Then he pulled out his gun.
He aimed at the lights in the ceiling and shot them, shattering
the glass and plunging the room in blackness. The sound of
one of the light racks falling was deafening.
The others milled about in confusion for a moment.
"What the hell..."
"Where is he..."
"Shut up and listen... ow, what was that..."
"What was it, Betsy, what hit ow!..."
"He's moving around the room hey he just went
"Stay frosty people, he's tagging us somehow oof..."
Then Archetype's voice, seemingly everywhere in the blackness
"The hunt is on."
"Watch it, people," Wolverine said, "he's
planning somesquarrrkkk..." Wolverine's voice
died out in a strangle of static.
"He got Logan!" Archangel shouted. "Look out,
he's moving asquarrkk..." Archangel was silenced
in an instant.
"Warren!" Psylocke screamed. "You son
of a bitch, if you've hurt him, I'll screech..."
"Betsy!" Rogue exclaimed. "Professor, help
me out here, where the hell is Arkkkkkkk..." Rogue's
voice was reduced to a dry rasping.
Silence. No movement. No life.
"What the hell just happened in there?" Scott gaped.
"I don't know, Scott," Xavier replied in a dazed
Then they heard Archetype's voice over the intercom.
"Shall we end this charade?"
"Computer," Xavier ordered, "restore lighting."
The light returned. What they saw was horrifying.
Archangel was trapped waist-deep within one of the walls,
one wing pinned in the wall, the other flailing uselessly.
Wolverine was sprawled on his back, his hands, claws extended,
impaling his bodiless head. Psylocke was staring stupidly
at her lower torso, which was jerking spasmodically five feet
in front of her. And Rogue had been fused with the fallen
lighting fixture. Her groping hand was pulling her forward,
with the fixture, passing right through the back of her head
and out her mouth, being dragged along for the ride.
"I would say," Archetype said casually as he leaned
against a wall, "that the battle is over."
Continued in Chapter
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