DISCLAIMER: This is an unauthorized
work of fiction and no profit is being made on it. This work
is copyright of me. Please do not archive without informing
X-Factor, X-Men and related characters (with one exception
at the end) are copyright & TM Marvel Comics. Twin Peaks
and related characters belong to David Lynch and Mark Frost.
Any resemblance to real persons and situations is purely coincidental.
This story features sexual themes [M/F,
F/F], but it's "off-screen".
By Tilman Stieve,
aka the Menshevik
Washington, DC, August 28th, 1995
We just returned from Washington State, and as this also
concerns you and the others, I thought I'd better tell you
at once. And, since all of you were out (so what else is new?),
I had to put it down in writing. Hope you appreciate the trouble
I'm taking for you, big brother. You may remember that Valerie
Cooper's brother is an FBI agent, well, for the past few months
he has been investigating a series of strange murders out
in the sticks in the Pacific Northwest. A few weeks ago he
sends Val a cryptic message that has her barreling to the
one-sawmill town he's staying. Then we don't hear anything
from them for two weeks - now while a large part of the team
welcomed the change of not having her interfere in everything,
it was a very much out of character for Ms. Cooper not to
contact X-Factor home base for so long. When she did not return
my calls, I finally decided to go after her with the team,
figuring that we could take in the Cascades or Mt.St.Helens
if it turned out a false alarm. But as soon as we arrived,
we found ourselves in the midst of a minor war.
From what we pieced together so far, this is what happened:
Amahl Farouk had somehow returned. He caused the murders by
slipping into people's subconscious. What his ultimate aim
was we're not sure, though Forge said something about ancient
Indian burial grounds, white cabins in the sky and what have
you. Anyway, G-man Cooper somehow tracks him down, has some
otherdimensional confrontation with him and ends up being
possessed himself. The Shadow King notes he is Val's brother
and figures it's a good idea to lure her out west as bait
for us in some attempt to get his own back for foiling his
plans last time. I tell you, if Forge hadn't been there, I'm
not sure if we would have come out of this in one piece! Our
new teammate Mystique also did her part, so maybe Valerie
knew what she was doing when she pressured her into joining
X-Factor, even if I'm still not entirely happy about that
since it caused Rahne to walk out on us.
Anyway, you, the Professor, Jean and Betsy definitely ought
to look into this, because our lot is somewhat lacking in
the telepathic department. We could find no trace of Farouk
afterwards, but that's the damn trouble with enemies who are
dead to begin with -- when do you know that they are going
to stay dead? At any rate, Val Cooper and her oddball brother
(I still can't believe they are related!) came through the
experience; that is he was in the local hospital last time
I saw him, while blondie flirted with the Sheriff with the
presidential name at our "victory party". And it
wasn't a total loss -- this adventure gave Lorna and me a
good excuse for an "impromptu" vacation with grandmother
and grandfather in nearby Anchorage (they send their regards).
Give my love to your better half and my regards to everyone
at the Mansion,
Washington, D.C., 29 Aug. 1995
Hope you are well on the road to recovery - at least at
my last visit, you seemed to be well enough to make goo-goo
eyes at the hotel-owner's pretty daughter in the bed across
the room, don't think I didn't notice! By the way, have they
found out yet what caused the explosion in the bank vault?
While all this was a harrowing experience, you've now seen
me in action with "my" strike force, so think of
it as educational... It certainly was for me, since your current
place of residence certainly is chock-full of ahem interesting
people (some of this stuff just makes me glad I live in the
big city). Still, it was nice to make the acquaintance of
Sheriff Harry, especially on the last evening at our farewell
party and the night after ;-). Well, greet the folks from
me when they arrive for their visit.
Wouldn't it be nice if we wouldn't have to wait until
Thanksgiving or whatever for our next proper meeting, but
in the lines of work we're in, the most we can hope for may
be a common de-briefing.
Hang in there,
Washington, D.C., 5th September, 1995
Hope you're settling in well in your new home. We miss you,
even blondie. Things with the team are pretty much as usual,
i.e. totally wierd. We just had a strange trip out West (and
I'll tell you the gory details next time we meet in person).
The crowd we had to mix with made us look "normal"!
Afterwards, we had some good fishing and blondie took a fancy
to the boy scout sherriff. But since we've returned to D.C.,
she's really in a mood. Only this morning she got a phone
call from her brother (you know, the FBI agent who landed
us in the emergency in the first place). At first she's quite
chipper, but then she sours. "What do you mean, he was
with you that evening?" she shouts. A pause. "But...
if he missed me, then who did I...?" And stone me if
she doesn't turn a deep shade of pink and hastily finishes
the call. She was so flustered she didn't react at first when
I asked her what the matter was. But she rallied "magnificently",
told me to mind my own business (charming as ever!) and stormed
out of the briefing room. Later, raised voices could be heard
from her office, but I'm damned if I know what it was all
about. At the evening meeting she had worked up quite a 'tude,
barely kept her calm and if looks could kill, we'd be at least
one team member short. Wonder what ol' Mystique did to arouse
Cooper's ire? All of us are speculating and Random is talking
of starting a betting pool. Write soon.
Good night and luv from
Washington, 6 Sept. '95
Dear Scott and Jean,
Thank you for your fax, good to hear you enjoyed the trip
to the PNW, even if the X-Men telepaths were stumped by some
of the weird goings-on. Things are settling back to what passes
for normality with us, especially now that la Cooper is back
to her normal "sweet" self. Ever since we came back
to D.C. she had been disturbingly mellow (Lorna thinks she
had a little romance in WA, but I don't think she's the type
for short adventures), but yesterday she was short-tempered
and gave Mystique a look that would have done Bobby proud.
Lord knows why, we were just debriefing on the WA mission
and Ms. Darkholme's remarks seemed pretty innocuous to me.
Speaking of the woman, her unarmed combat lessons are turning
out a revelation for some of us. I think even Random is learning
something new about fighting dirty! There are currently some
rumblings on the Hill with regard to Forge's department and
X-Factor, well keep you posted as definite news come in.
Lorna joins me in wishing you guys all the best,
your loving brother (-in-law) Alex
Washington, D.C. 9/7/95
Thank you for writing. I guess now that for once we both
have legitimate residences, there is no reason not to stay
in closer touch. Kurt also has a mind to take advantage of
Valerie Cooper press-ganging me into X-Factor and just wrote
to announce (threaten) his arrival the weekend after next
(i.e. the 16th and 17th) "To get answers to some questions."
Not something I look forward to with relish, but unavoidable
given the hold Valerie has over me. Would you like to come
too? We could have a family picnic in Virginia (just so long
none of the Creeds join us!). I don't know if he'll be visiting
Xavier Mansion, so this may be your only chance to see him
on that trip. What I can tell you of my current life should
sound familiar to you, you went through something comparable
when you first joined the X-Men. I get the cold shoulder from
a few of my new "teammates" and there also is a
bit of an undercurrent of resentment against Valerie Cooper
for bringing me in and thereby driving Wolfsbane to leave
in a huff (not unlike a person I don't care to mention did
when you went to Westchester). At least after I proved my
usefulness on a few missions and in combat training, my popularity
may yet rise to Random's level. Unfortunately, because of
a stunt I pulled in the Jewel of the Forest Primeval, Valerie
is not on speaking terms with me at the moment. Living in
D.C. rather induces paranoia, so I'd rather have a talk with
you next time we meet.
Georgetown, 12th September, 1995
Here's some pix of my new digs, like them? We had a run-in
with those MLF blorks the day before yesterday. Random got
hurt pretty bad, but we held our own (how long the Vault will
hold our three prisoners is another question). Unfortunately,
your former teammate Moonstar got away. Well, Alex is sending
a report to Fuzzy, so you'll be able to get the tedious details
in triplicate from him. Lorna and Mysti between them managed
to keep Val out of the line of fire, barely -- that woman
may be a bit to keen to leave her desk and "lead from
the front". The girls gave her a real telling-to after
it was all over. Mystique actually sounded a little worried
for her -- and in our off-hours we like to speculate on possible
motives for her softening attitude. At any rate, she volunteered
to give Val some extra unarmed combat classes.
Pity you won't be coming over with Kurt,
PS: proper letter to follow.
Washington, 19 Sept. 1995
Dear Scott and Jean,
Our new recruit presented us with a Transatlantic visitor
in the familiar shape of Kurt Wagner last weekend, and it
certainly was good to see him again. We were a bit surprised
he wasn't paying a visit to you guys up in the Mansion, but
he said he didn't have the time (since he's the leader of
Excalibur now, we'll believe him) and that he only was here
on "family business." Could be that Rogue told you
what went on at the "reunion", Mystique sure keeps
mum. It is weird though -- an old X-Man comes on a visit and
the person among us he knows best is our newest (still somewhat
I'm enclosing a memo for you, the Professor and Ororo on
Robert Kelly's new proposals to the Senate Mutant Affairs
Committee. At the moment he's playing it close and even Forge
and Cooper don't know much more than the Post, but we'll keep
you Post-ed on new developments as they emerge. (Lorna says
she won't believe in "leaner gov't" until that committee
is abolished). At present, Kelly's crony Gyrich is sniffing
around X-Factor; we're pretty much all in agreement that he's
aiming for Valerie's job (he has been dropping hints that
what the Feds really need is a "strong counterweight"
to Forge). Of course Hank and Pietro from old Avenger days
know all about what a great gov't liaison Henry Peter Gyrich
Forge, Valerie Cooper and I will fly up to New York the weekend
after next to discuss the Sabretooth situation. I'm still
rather unsure if transferring him to X-Factor is such a good
idea -- Mystique's recruitment caused enough bad blood, I
should think. Anyway, we'll talk it over on the 28th.
Best wishes from Alex and Lorna
Valerie Cooper's Diary
9/5/95. sunny. The bitch!!! I knew Raven would
try to get back at me, but I'd never have believed she'd sink
to doing to me literally what she feels I've been doing to
her metaphorically! I might never have found out if I hadn't
written to D. to hint (brag!) about my night of passion w/
H.T. -- this a.m., D. phoned back sounding worried for my
safety and asking what the hell I had been talking about:
H had missed me b/c his visit to D. in hospital took longer
than expected and he didn't arrive at the farewell carouse
until after I had left and then got caught up in a long discussion
of Cheyenne mysticism w/ F.
R. must have noticed my interest in H. & seized the
opportunity to take his place and come on strong to me. Having
just returned from my visit to D. in the I.C.U., and probably
having shared a drink or two too many with that log person
my guard was down. What irks me most is that purely from a
physical point of view I got just what I wanted from our tryst.
(Since she's a woman most of the time herself, she knows what
buttons to press and the near-total control her power gives
her over her body functions, her "performance" was
impressive and satisfying. Her particular talent certainly
widens her scope for getting her jollies, damn her!) Guido
was in the room when I took D's call, but luckily he did not
seem to have caught on what happened. I later had a word with
Mystique in my office, but her phony subdued attitude became
too much after a few minutes so I finally had no choice but
to throw her out. It took all my self-control not to slug
her at the p.m. briefing, but the others seem to sense something
wrong. I'll have to see I cool off soon!
9/9/95, rainy. Another bouquet from M. - at least it looks
like she knows she went too far, and her general behavior
puts me in a more lenient frame of mind. Unfortunately, she
is one of the best when it comes to manipulating other people,
as F. can attest. The sensible thing to do would probably
be to confide in him talk the situation over with him -- although
by past experience he can't be that good at detecting she's
pulling the wool over people's eyes...
Date: 12 Sep 1995
Subject is now with X-FACTOR for one month and has served
her duty in three emergencies, twice as part of the full team,
once acting in concert with field leader (HAVOK) and AUTHOR.
Field leader expressed satisfaction with performance of subject,
both re. individual combat and re. co-operation in action
with other team-members. Against this must be weighed the
continuing stress on personal relations with the others, especially
STRONG GUY who still resents that subject's recruitment caused
the resignation of WOLFSBANE from team. HAVOK and POLARIS
continue to keep their dealings with subject largely impersonal
while relations between subject and RANDOM is distant. Co-operation
with government liaison staff (AUTHOR and Dr.COOPER) slightly
improved though subject still not happy about being forced
into current status.
ADDITIONAL PASSWORD 1: ********
ADDITIONAL PASSWORD 2: ********
ADDITIONAL PASSWORD 3: ********
Date: 12 Sep 1995
Valerie Cooper just told me: At the conclusion of last month's
mission she took advantage of her absence from civilization
for a short fling. Only she later discovered that the object
of her affection had been away at the time and his place taken
by Raven. She already confronted Raven about this and would
prefer to work things out herself, but she may be treading
on thin ice. As much as she hates to do this, she'd rather
inform me in advance to prevent a possible blackmail and in
case her involvement clouds her judgment. Although she is
ready to take great risks to make Mystique's recruitment and
rehabilitation a success, but she does not want to jeopardize
the success of the X-Factor experiment. She wants me to be
ready to intervene before that happens and thus gave me permission
to consult Professor Xavier and/or Alex Summers at a later
date if necessary. Hence the following
MEMO: Valerie Antoinette Cooper and Raven Darkhölme's professional
and personal relationship goes back years (Raven first introduced
me to Valerie; --> NTR_FIASC file). When they first met,
Mystique had infiltrated the Pentagon, acting as head of DARPA
to cover her activities as leader of the Brotherhood of Evil
Mutants. VC was a rookie NSC special ass't keen on helping
Sen. Robert Kelly to "solve the Mutant problem"
his way. Both underwent fundamental and sometimes painful
changes since then. VC now pursues aims very different from
those of her erstwhile mentors RK and H.P.Gyrich and while
she has not won much deep affection from the Mutant operatives
who work/ed under her supervision, she has gained the respect
of many. (X-Factor did not immediately ask for her dismissal
when she brought Mystique into the team). RD saw the futility
of her terrorist struggle for Mutant supremacy and entered
government service to avoid imprisonment or worse. To do this
she approached VC, with whom she felt she could work better
than e.g. HPG. However, Dr. Cooper kept her on a tight leash,
making her personally responsible for the behavior of all
members of her team, forcing her to enroll new teammates etc.
(--> FREEFORCE files). For RD, the Freedom Force experiment
ended in catastrophe and personal tragedy, as Irene Adler's
(Destiny's) death in the fight against the Reavers on Muir
Island left her for all practical purposes a widow. Shortly
after that, the Shadow King (Amahl Farouk) gained control
of Dr. Cooper's mind and ordered her to murder Mystique. At
the moment of truth Valerie however managed to overcome this
domination and turned the gun on herself, though luckily the
wound was not fatal. With Nick Fury's aid, Mystique then imitated
Dr.Cooper (managing to fool Farouk's telepathic probes through
autohypnotic conditioning) and was able to play a crucial
part in the defeat of Farouk (--> SHADWKING file). After
spending some time with me (--> DUPED file), Mystique went
rogue to pursue her vendetta against her son Graydon Creed,
before she was finally brought to heel again by Dr.Cooper.
RD is a mistress of deception and accomplished fighter with
few compunctions of killing. Giving up her mutant supremacist
agenda (originally as a matter of self-preservation) left
the protection of her loved ones her prime motivation, although
Mystique always was at her most savage when it came to protecting
her foster daughter Rogue (--> MSMARVEL file) and in her
feud with her son Graydon Creed. Destiny was the love of her
life and her death left a void that has yet to be filled.
It may be in part because of this that she recently revealed
to Nightcrawler that he is her son. At present he and Rogue
seem to be the only persons whose opinions of her hold some
significance to RD. Mystique's wish to avenge her leman's
death is doomed to frustration, as the man responsible, Amahl
Farouk is a disembodied presence that by past experience cannot
be destroyed for good. (Luckily for me, RD does not seem to
be interested any longer in avenging Destiny on me or indeed
on Farouk's unwitting pawn, David Charles Haller). Dr. Cooper
after her talk with her is of the opinion that one reason
that Mystique sought solace in sex with her was her frustration
because in all probability the Shadow King "got away
again". Since Destiny's death she sought emotional release
in a few transient affairs, notably with Wolverine and myself.
(In my case she utilized it to extract an advantage).
VC is determined to reform RD and feels she should make an
effort to become friends with her, a) by default, since she
is the closest to her of those who come into daily contact
with her (after my relationship with RD went sour) and b)
to help her be more comfortable and tolerant with "normal"
Homo sapiens. Two factors VC did not mention may also come
into the equation: c) she took Quicksilver's accusations of
being prejudiced against Mutants rather hard, so I wonder
if she wants to prove something (if only to herself) by taking
this personal interest; d) the two are kindred spirits in
many respects, both experiencing the lonelyness of command,
both able to be quite ruthless if the situation demands (RD
obviously to a larger extent, but VC too has sent people to
their death without letting her effectiveness be impaired
by excessive self-recrimination afterwards), both are very
good at manipulation and deception (--> HAVEN file), both
are currently emotionally unattached though in the past they
have sought a lasting relationship (with differing degrees
of success, note: VC's divorce). (Mystique occasionally flaunts
her extensive sexual history to shock people; VC is much more
discreet). When pressed, Dr. Cooper said she had come to care
for Mystique beyond her professional interest at least since
her bereavement. She also admitted re. her own attitude that
purely on a sensual level she would be tempted to further
experiment with Mystique (as I can shamefacedly attest, Mystique
does not short-change her sexual partners), not least because
her metamorphic powers would enable her to fulfill some of
her fantasies. She had never considered a relationship with
another woman, but that aspect did not bother her so much
as Mystique's deceit and the possible dangers to her position
if she should become to deeply involved with a subordinate,
and a paroled killer at that.
Valerie Cooper's Diary (2)
9/14/95, rainy, clearing up p.m. Morning as usual. Random
released from hosp. 9:30. 10 a.m. A. complained he (team leader)
wasn't being consulted by F. & me re. M. -- is afraid
of being bulldozed over by gov't. Told him the matter was
largely personal w/o going into details, asked him to trust
me on this. At the moment team's effectiveness not impaired,
when that question comes up, the ultimate decision of course
will be his. A. refrained from asking questions, which I appreciate
(told him so). 11 a.m. A., L., F. & me conferred w/ Senator
K., HPG and a few NSC types. Kelly seems to be determined
to test soon if the new majority suits his agenda & has
his C. on Mut.Aff. frame a new set of proposals. X-Factor
may be one of his new targets. Heart-to-heart w/ M. 3:30-4:30
p.m. Détente is slowly progressing, we are again in a state
of suspicious respect between antagonists. Beginning to accept
that her stunt in WA was something she did on the spur of
the moment (she certainly did not really cover her tracks)
partly because she felt down because Farouk is still beyond
our reach. It is almost as if she had wanted to be found out.
M. says she did not intend to hurt me and that I must have
got much of not all of what I wanted out of that evening.
I jokingly suggested that next time she'd better proposition
to me undisguised (or could it be I was only half-joking and
really want her to approach me later? If only I could be sure
when & when not to trust her. TGZWCNNA, VJG GPEQWPVGT
Y/ O. YCU VJG OQUV CTQWUKPI K ECP TGOGODGT (no surprise in
view of her extremely useful powers and experience in this
field). Finished off by telling her that I'd love to help
her fit in better with the team and make life easier for her,
but she'd have to work to earn my trust. 7 p.m. surprise visit
from Quicksilver who wanted to see how we're doing but behaved
surprisingly civil. Over dinner we also briefed him on the
a.m. meeting. In view of Sen. K's new plans it's a good job
teams like the Avengers still contain a few mutant members.
As Kurt Wagner's plane disappeared below the nocturnal horizon,
Rogue turned to Mystique: "Okay, momma, ya didn't want
t'mention it in front o' Kurt, so I didn't bring it up. So
what happened 'tween you an' Val Cooper?"
Mystique told her.
"Whoo-eeh that's some mess you landed yourself in. But
why Val of all people? Surely even in a small town like that
there should've been other prospects. Not that ah could tell
you anythin' on these matters..."
Rogue's smile proved infectious for her foster mother: "No.
On the other hand Kurt..."
"...enjoys his life to the full, just like his sexy
"That's right." They headed for the exit.
"Anyway, child, my relations with Valerie are less tense
than when I wrote."
"Yeah, ah wondered about that cos you'd never brought
up the topic of your love-life t'me before. Not even your
li'l escapade with Wolvie."
"How did you know about-oh I guess Jubilee blabbed."
"Got it in one. The chile had one or two glasses of
champagne too many at Scott 'n' Jean's weddin'. That gal had
a serious crush on Logan. Still has, far as ah know. But this
thing with Miz Cooper seemingly spooked you a bit an' far
as ah can tell it's not just cos it puts you in a more shaky
position in X-Factor. You reckon you care for her a little
maybe? Fly you home?"
"Only if you promise not to buzz any Air Force planes
on the way. It's a bit complicated, I guess. Sometimes when
I look at her, I see myself as I might have been -- if I had
pursued a less violent course, had tried more to work through
the system than against it. Maybe I could have worked more
towards positive change if I had concentrated on being a member
of the government hierarchy rather than embarking on a war
that just could not be won, as it turned out. Valerie achieved
power through her work..."
"...not t'mention her sneakiness."
"True, the way she commandeered Forge's neutralizer
still rankles. But that is an aspects where she resembles
me. And she's comfortable with being in charge and cares for
her people, even if it means confronting a superior or putting
herself at risk."
"Like she did when she rather shot herself than kill
"I'm not sure she did that for me so much as to defy
the Shadow King. Let's say she earned my respect as an adversary
and as a person. Of course I resented how she put me over
a barrel to make me join X-Factor and become young Summers'
underling. Yet you can't help being touched by the hopes she
has for me."
The two had now reached an out-of-the-way nook where Mystique
could metamorph into her true blue form and Rogue could take
off without nosy observers.
"She looks on me as her special project, thinks it's
her mission in life to turn me into a useful member of society.
And of course she believes failure only happens to other people.
Hey! What are you doing?" Rogue was doing a smart to
the left and up, towards an aircraft slowly approaching the
Mall. "You promised not to..." "Ya didn't say
nothin' about helicopters, momma," the enthusiastic youngster
shouted above the slipstream and blew kisses at the pilots
and the passenger, "hi, Hillary!"
"Chairwoman of the President's Special Task Force on
the Genetically Challenged," grumbled Mystique, "and
what a washout that's turning out to be with the new majority."
Rogue's joyflight had taken her off the route to X-Factor's
base and extended their journey by a few minutes.
"From what you told me so far, ah'd say Val's providin'
the right amount of annoyance t'keep you youthful. Ah sure
can't remember you talkin' like that or so much about any
other 'normal' human."
"Well, she certainly stopped me from moping and waiting
for Graydon's next attack. With Irene ... gone, I had arrived
at a bit of a dead point, mostly just reacting instead of
getting on with my life. I've fought for a lot less noble
causes in my day and now we're all, as it were, on the same
side, it's easier to spend some quality time with you and
Kurt. And getting to know Valerie more intimately proved an
experience in itself. To think I once filed her under 'most
likely to be mistaken for a lead character from a Doris Day
movie'! I discovered a whole new side to her in that hotel..."
Mystique paused in reverie.
"That good, huh?"
"Never you mind, child. Anyway, now that we're patching
things up between us, some barriers are coming down, if you'll
pardon the mixed metaphor. So, how are things between you
and young LeBeau?"
"Okay, ah guess," Rogue added, with little conviction.
"Only lately ah've been gettin' these strange dreams
about Magneto in which he 'n' ah raise a fam'ly an' he leads
the X-Men an'..."
"That's strange, he and Kurt have started showing up
in my dreams a lot since I moved back to Washington. Hmm,
Magneto. I suppose it was hard for you to get over him."
"Yeah, an' at least with him you knew where he stood.
Leastways ah never caught him hidin' his past from me, unlike
Remy." She paused.
"Well, here we are."
They had indeed arrived at the building that housed X-Factor.
The three former X-Men-Alex Summers, Lorna Dane and Forge-had
invited Rogue for dinner before her return to Westchester
and were already waiting in the lounge. Valerie Cooper was
also there. When the two Darkholmes entered there was a little
exchange of small talk and then the X-Men reunion adjourned
to Hamish McNasty's Kosher Tandoori Steak House while the
other two left for the gym to start on Valerie's first special
hand-to-hand combat class.
"Whew, that was some workout!"
Perspiration was dripping off Valerie Cooper's face, down
her body where it was soaked up by her sweatshirt. Ruefully
the one many team members called "Ms. Government"
behind her back felt for bruises. "Oooh, I'll look terrible
"No sprain, no gain," replied Mystique. "If
you can't get it out of your pretty blonde head to keep 'leading
from the front'... Of course the way to really safeguard you
would be ask SHIELD if they haven't got any spare battlesuits.
They can be quite useful. I know." She smiled. During
her criminal career, she had had occasion to test quite a
few of them, both by infiltrating SHIELD bases and in her
capacity as head of the Defense Advanced Research Planning
Agency. "Think you'll be up to another session tomorrow?"
"Don't see why not. 'Tis nothing but a flesh wound."
"Well, let's hit the showers!"
The younger woman was clearly embarrassed. "Um, Raven,
not that I'm squeamish or a prude or anything, but in the
view of, ahem, recent events, would you mind if we showered
"Arm-wrestle you for first go?" Mystique smiled
broadly. "No, it's no problem, just go ahead. You worked
up more sweat."
They continued their conversation through the locker room
door, shouting above the din as Val Cooper turned on the heat
and pressure. Actually, she did most of the talking: "I
know it is rather silly, not just because of last month. It's
not as if you'd see something you didn't know. For Pete's
sake, you've been me for several weeks down to retina patterns
and every tiny mole when you went into deep cover after the
shooting, you must know my bodily details better than I do
"Of course the bruises would be new. Only they won't
really show until a little later. I suppose that's not so
much of a problem for you, what with you power and so on,
not that you could really compare it to a healing factor like
"I don't know, we both seem to manage to delay the effects
of old age..."
Val Cooper was finished and came into the locker room wrapped
in her towel. Mystique, who had exchanged her costume for
a short bathrobe, got up from her bench. She quickly shed
it and walked into the shower room, smiling mischievously.
Valerie could not take her eyes off her. "I hope, dear
Valerie, you don't think I'm trying to get you to make statements
that would sound resentful of some people's genetic good fortune
and might be seen as ideologically incorrect in this building."
"Ha!" A twinkle appeared in her eye. "After
weeks of verbal sparring with Quicksilver, you'd have to do
better than that! I'll just learn to live with not looking
as youthful as you when I reach your age, old girl."
"How about we go for a short dinner somewhere and maybe
take in a movie?"
"Can't - well, maybe a quick snack, but I have a lot
of paperwork to catch up on."
"Rather you than me, Val."
Valerie Cooper's Diary (3)
9/16/95. sunny. Today is the anniversary of Destiny's
death. Rogue and KW phoned their mother, F & I kept a
low profile as far as M. was concerned (we had been in charge
of that tragic operation). Actually M. was quite good about
it & invited me for a commemorative toast in her apartment
when we happened onto each other in the corridor. She had
remarkable poise, but you could tell that (especially w/ her
foster daughter unable to make it today of all days) she felt
down. We spent a long time talking w/ pregnant pauses in between,
remembering her companion & the days of the Freedom Force
experiment. Oddly cathartic, although M. being who she is
showed flashes of resentment against F. & at one point
she almost shouted she wished she could find a way to make
sure Amahl Farouk stayed dead. "Me too," I could
say to that in all honesty. The memory of Farouk's mind-control
over me is one that still at times haunts me in my sleep.
But the evening ended on a quiet note (acceptance of Irene
Adler's sacrifice does not come easy to M.). When I finally
left, she suddenly kissed me on the gunshot scar on my head.
"Thanks for being here for me. You know that Chinese
tradition that if you save someone's life you become responsible
for them? You take that very serious w/ me, don't you, Valerie?"
This whole emotional display, so unlike our usual mode of
dialogue, left me a bit flustered on my way home. Where I
found a message from N.F. waiting for me (not using official
channels - rep.mem).
9/17/95. sunny. Woke up after a vivid & disturbing
dream about M. (rep.mem.) which makes me want to reassess
my attitude and interest in her. Never felt like that about
any other woman, but then there is no other woman like her.
9:30 a.m. conference w/ A. & F. re. current political
climate. Besides Kelly we now have the budget-trimmers to
worry about, some of whom want to put us before the alternative
of greater co-operation w/ the military & the CIA or become
part of the cuts. Maybe Fury's call was a godsend, X-Factor
& SHIELD together may have a better chance of maintaining
our autonomy. Mentioned this to N.F. when we met in the p.m.
at the usual place. But the reason for his call was a more
immediate concern - - - - - - - Got home late for dinner &
a good read.
10/6/95. overcast. Home, sweet home. We returned from
our "week's excursion" to ND 9 a.m., all. Guido,
who loudly complained of a C&W overdose especially glad
to be back. By coincidence Raven also arrived today (12:30),
fresh from the debriefing after her hush-hush op. for Fury
(rep.mem.). After the team debriefing Alex gave everyone the
rest of the day off and as usual everyone hurried off in different
directions to catch up with their lives &/or the scene
in D.C. M. & I were held up a little longer to talk the
SHIELD job over, so we decided to have a training session
& then have a night in the clubs together. As the evening
progressed, M. playfully made a pass at me, I "coyly"
responded & to cut the long story short - she spent the
night with me. CHVGT OCMKPI NQXG CU OCP CPF YQOCP YG FKF KV
CU VYQ YQOGP -- VJG HKTUV VKOG HQT OG, YJKEJ VWTPGF QWV RNGCUWTCDNG
DWV QFF, GURGEKCNNA CU TCXGP VTKGF VQ QXGTEQOG OA CYMYCFPGUU
DA VCMKPI QP OA UJCRG! DWV KV YCU GPQWIJ VQ EQPXKPEG
OG KV KU C IQQF VJKPI HQTIG CPF K FGEKFGF CICKPUV VJCV DTCKP
My name is Dr. Valerie Cooper, I'm Deputy Head of the Department
of Mutagenic Affairs, today is December the 5th, 1995. I am
recording this on tape for later transcription because the
events yesterday rendered me unable to write. As far as I
remember, this is what happened:
Yesterday, December the 4th, Victor Creed a.k.a. Sabretooth
was transported from an undisclosed location to X-Factor base.
It had come to my knowledge that the non-government crimefighting
team, the X-Men, had found it increasingly difficult to enforce
his discipline. In spite of objections of the field leader,
agent Havok, I had offered to accept him into X-Factor, mainly
on the insistence of the intelligence services who increasingly
call on our department for super-powered secret agents. Like
X-Factor agent Mystique, Sabretooth had many years of experience
in this field.
At 4:30 p.m., Sabretooth was brought into the conference
room for his introductory briefing. With me present were my
immediate superior, Agent Forge, and X-Factor agents Havok,
Mystique and Polaris. We put to him the alternative of co-operating
with us -- which involved affixing to his body a remote-control
restraining device constructed by Forge -- or of having his
powers neutralized and being handed over to the judiciary
(he is wanted for murder in many states, including several
that have the death penalty). The threat actually might have
been hard to make good since Forge refuses to re-construct
the lost prototype of his powers-neutralizing gun, but Agent
Havok put it over convincingly. After the opening statements
I was called outside to answer a phone call. Soon after I
left the room, I heard a loud explosion and rushed back to
investigate. The room was devastated and the Forge and the
X-Factor agents were lying all over the place, stunned or
unconscious. From what I saw, I conclude that Sabretooth (who
had not known about the restraining device beforehand) seized
what he saw as his last chance for escape and rushed Agent
Havok. His furious attack injured and knocked out Havok who
in self-defense had shot off a big uncontrolled force-blast
with the results described. Sabretooth by virtue of his self-healing
power recovered first and thanks to the blast was also freed
of his hand-shackles. As I entered the room he was standing
over Mystique (against whom he harbored an especially deep
hate), ready to kill her...
"Back off, Creed, I'm warning you!"
Something in the voice made Sabretooth spin around. A small-caliber
automatic looked him straight in the face. Valerie Cooper
was breathing slowly and regularly to force her body to be
calm. At least at this moment, the gunbarrel and the two hands
behind it did not shake. Sabretooth could smell her fear.
And something else, a smell he recognized from Berlin. So,
his soon-to-be deceased ex-wife was literally sleeping
with the government...
"That little toy gun ain't gonna stop me from ripping
out your bedmate's heart, frail." he sneered. He raised
his clawed hand in an almost theatrical arc. "And then
I'll have yours for dess--"
His left eye disappeared in a red splatter. Alex was shocked
to full consciousness by the loudness of the explosion form
the "lady-like" pistol. Christ, she just went and
shot him, no second thought! But Havok's shock was as nothing
compared to that of Sabretooth, whose features slipped into
a stunned surprise that Raven Darkhölme's whore actually had
managed to hurt him, before they recomposed themselves into
a grimace of hate.
"Step back w--"
With an animal roar Sabretooth pounced at her, but not before
Valerie had let off a hasty shot. The bullet merely glanced
off his skull, not even slowing him down. All it did was make
him lurch sideways a little-or was that a kick from prone
Mystique?-and that and his loss of spatial vision through
having an eye put out made him jump short. The sweep of his
slashing claws failed to connect with her throat. Valerie
had brought up her left arm for protection and felt the pain
shoot through her as her ulna snapped. In desperation because
she would not get another chance, she jabbed up her right,
ramming the muzzle of the gun under his chin. She got off
two more shots in quick succession before her forearm was
reflexively mauled by Sabretooth's claws. A last explosion
sounded as a painful muscular spasm pulled the trigger, but
that shot went through his neck.
The pistol dropped from Valerie's useless hand and Sabretooth
moved forward for the kill, but the without a noticeable break
his lunge became a collapse and his inarticulate growl a death-rattle.
His body had finally registered that nature of its injuries.
Valerie, her right arm still in his unyielding grip, was pulled
down with him and ended up pinned under him.
Time had slowed down for Alex who after what seemed to him
like an age came up to the two of them. He pulled Sabretooth
off Valerie Cooper. He put his powered up palm to his temple,
but there was no reaction from him. A quick examination revealed
no sign of a pulse or of breath. He really was dead. Alex
remembered reading that a small bullet actually can do more
damage than a big one, because the bigger one would just pass
through in a straight line, while a smaller one would ricochet
inside the body. He could see no exit wounds on Sabretooth's
head-fired at point-blank through the bottom of his mouth
and palate, the bullets must have zigzagged through his super-hard
cranium like pinballs and done more damage to his brain tissue
than any healing factor could catch up with. Or maybe Val
had been lucky with her last shot, which probably was lodged
in his spine.
Forge and Havok now could shift their attention to Valerie
who was relieved to have survived and now was graying out
from the loss of blood or because her adrenaline kick wore
off. They finally had to use a knife to free her arm from
Sabretooth's death-grip, while Mystique hurriedly began to
make a tourniquet.
"Come on, Val, don't pass out on us."
Polaris, who had been closest to the blast but had managed
to deflect much of it, gingerly rose to her feet.
"We got to get Val to sick bay quick!" Alex shouted.
Lorna didn't hesitate and whipped up a stretcher by magnetically
transforming three chairs. As they lifted Valerie onto it,
something caught Forge's eye. "Oh no, Mystique, your
whole upper right thigh's ripped open! Alex help me carry
her! Lorna can carry Val by herself."
From Minutes Recorded at X-Factor Briefing on Tuesday,
19 December 1995
[...] DR. COOPER. - It's good to be back. Again thanks
everyone for your visits to the invalids. It really helped.
Anyway, I have an announcement... Most of you don't know yet,
but during my treatment it came out I'm pregnant. I knew I
was very late indeed, but I had refused to consider the possibility,
because the only person I had sex with in the preceding months
- a silence.
- There follows a lively discussion as all present speak
at once; a special analysis of the tape would be necessary.
MR. RANDOM. - What's this, Val baby, trying to tie
Misty down by forcing her to make an honest woman of you-if
that's possible? (guffaw).
- a silence. MS.DARKHÖLME makes a rude gesture to Mr. Random.
MR. SUMMERS. - Now people, people, settle down! Thank
DR. COOPER. - Well, if you have sex with another woman,
contraception is not something that seems relevant, even if
she occasionally 'morphs into the shape of a man --
MS. DANE (interrupting). - Anyone in particular? Erroll
DR. COOPER. - Never you mind (but definitely not Fabio).
I naturally assumed that Raven could not become a fertile
man, but judging by the evidence and after we had some tests
made... the bottom line is, there was something like a chance
in a million for us to conceive a child.
MR. CAROSELLA. - And million-to-one chances crop up
nine times out of ten?
DR. COOPER. - More or less. Raven said she had not
set out to become a fertile male, but apparently she did (Doctor
Fitzpatrick theorized about ova being divided into scads of
spermatozoa, but that only makes for a fairly low sperm count).
MS. DANE. - So the child would almost certainly be
DR. COOPER. - And a mutant, in all likelihood. The
last time Mystique successfully mated with a "flatscan",
Nightcrawler was the result. If that's anything to go by,
we probably wouldn't have to bother with DNA tests etc. to
make 100 percent sure.
MR. FORGE. - Will you have the child, Valerie? Even
if it looks like any other baby, we probably won't be able
to hide its paternity for long, considering the scope of intelligence
scrutiny we are under.
DR. COOPER. - Yes. It will probably hurt my career
something terrible, especially coming on top of the fiasco
two weeks ago, but an abortion would be like chickening out
for me. I'll try to think of it as a wonderful adventure.
MS. DARKHÖLME. - I hadn't counted on ever having another
child, and certainly not like this.
MS. DANE. - Cheer up, maybe you'll be more of a father
to the child than you were a mother to your sons.
MR. SUMMERS. - I appreciate your candor with us, Valerie,
but you really put yourself in a terrible dilemma. If you
have the child and your relationship with Mystique becomes
known, Kelly and his cohorts will be after your skin, but
now if you decided not to have it... No matter what we'd say,
you'd always suspect that deep down at least some of us would
suspect your motive for not having the child was an unacknowledged
fear of mutants.
DR. COOPER. - I knew that before I made that announcement;
I had made up my mind. I suspect even having a mutant child
and sexual relations with a mutant would not be enough to
convince Pietro, but I'm really committed. (laughter)
MR. FORGE. - I don't mean to pry, but how is Mystique
DR. COOPER. - We are working on it. You'll be the
first to know.
MR. SUMMERS. - Okay, it's none of our damn business.
In the meantime, maybe you should have a close look at the
terms of your contract in case Kelly tries to get you fired
for "fraternizing with the enemy".
MR. FORGE. - Gyrich is heavily embroiled in the Creed
mess, so at least he won't be able to take a shot at Val's
desk just now.
- The meeting is adjourned.
IX Sept mois après
Washington, July 16, 1996
Hope you've returned safely from your mission by now and
will soon have the time to pop over here. As Charles Xavier
must have told you by now, Valerie had a smooth delivery the
night before last. Your "stepsister" came into the
world at 7 lbs., 2 oz. and 19.5 inches. Her skin is somewhat
lighter than mine, but darker than Warren's, and her hair
seems to be strawberry blond. She also inherited Val's eyes.
Forge, Polaris and my "brother-in-law's" bride agreed
to be the godparents. In spite of my protests (and Kurt's
suggestion of Elizabeth), Val insisted on naming her Irene.
She has brass, it is almost like daring people to compare
my relationship to Irene Adler to my new one to her. In her
melancholy moments, when she talked of the time when she would
not be there anymore, Irene sometimes liked to quote to me:
"The dead they cannot rise, an' you'd
better dry your eyes,
An' you'd best go look for a new love."
I just never thought that Valerie Cooper of all people
might turn out to be the one she talked of, and not just because
of our antagonistic history. After all, Irene indicated that
Forge was fated to be my partner. But since then not only
has a lot of water flown down the Potomac, but as you and
I well know, the fabric of time and causality has been torn
and patched up a few times and we must have ended up in another
timeline. He is again involved with Storm, and whatever interest
he may have had for me is long gone. Although we moved together
last Easter and are in fact giving bisexual monogamy a shot,
we still shrink from openly admitting our mutual commitment
to each other. So it looks as if you and Kurt don't yet have
to rack your brain what to call Valerie in relation to yourself
(not that the English language has really provided adequate
labels for our family even before that...)!
Val is continuing to defend her position but just in case
we have taken steps to make her the team's private counselor
and lobbyist if she does get fired. Warren has offered to
provide necessary funds, and since we leaked out news of that,
a lot of people's enthusiasm to get rid of her has cooled
down -- figuring she might cause them more trouble out of
her current position than in it. (A lot of them had pushed
for the recruitment of Sabretooth with too much enthusiasm,
and between us, we know where a lot of the skeletons are buried).
Still, the fight is not over by a long shot.
I reached Kurt on the phone yesterday, he said he'd be
coming over for the christening at the latest. Obviously we
won't be inviting Graydon, especially because he apparently
was behind that "Mutant Mom Fathers Freak Fille"
feature in the "National Investigator" last month.
Regards from Val (did I ever mention she says she likes
your costume because it's in her varsity colors?).
Hope to see you soon,
We are happy to announce
the birth of our daughter
Irene Lorna Audrey Cooper
Washington, D.C., 14th July,
V. A. Cooper *** R. Darkholme
Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction /
Fan Artwork / History Books /
Photo Album / Songbank /
Miscellania / Links /
Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof
are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an
unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by