A Test of Power
"It is our nature to fear a
in that which we do not understand, but
true evil may lie more in ignorance than in suspicion.
The tesseract doorway opened, and Mr. Sinister stepped from
the pocket dimension into the familiarity of his innermost
sanctum -- his personal laboratory. He had spent the greater
portion of the last fifty years sequestered in this cold and
sterile place. If he were to call anyplace home, he presumed
that it would be the here.
This facility, was one of three such facilities built by
the United States Government during the Cold War to house
Department of Defense scientists in case of a nuclear exchange
with a hostile nation. The complex was large enough to accommodate
a hundred scientists whose specialized talents warranted that
their lives be spared the fate of the rest of humanity. Located
in a remote region of the Appalachian Mountain range and under
four hundred feet of solid rock, the facility was built to
withstand anything but a direct hit from a nuclear warhead.
With the modifications that Sinister had incorporated, even
that could not penetrate his defenses. His laboratory fortress
Sinister had annexed the nuclear shelter for his own
use just after its completion. Careful planning went into
surreptitiously expunging all financial and physical evidence
of its existence. Even greater exactitude was required to
telepathically erase any memory of shelter's existence from
all of the people involved in its fabrication. A tedious and
time consuming task yet compared to the building of a facility
of similar proportions, hardly any trouble at all. While money
and technology presented no impediment to a person with his
resources, a construction project of this scale would certainly
attract some attention. Sinister had long ago settled on this
method to acquire both military and commercial bases
to spread and secure his various operations around the globe.
Information had always been the cornerstone to Sinister's
power base. He owed the efficacy of his data gathering in
no small measure to Apocalypse. It was at Apocalypse's behest
almost a century ago that he developed the techno-organic
virus. The foundation of practically all of his devices and
tools was based on organic technology and stemmed from his
creation of the virus. When computer science was in its infancy,
Sinister's pathogen was placed at the first production facilities,
infecting the actual hardware. With the advent of an interconnected
global network, Sinister's virulence spread like histories
worst plagues, except the host never exhibited any symptoms
to betray the viruses' existence. The virus was built to replicate
and evolve, much like its naturally occurring template. It
could mimic its environment, whether they were mechanical
constructs or living beings because the virus was a congruous
amalgam of both. Sinister's eyes and ears were everywhere;
no secrets could be kept from him. No matter how brilliant
individual, corporate, or military safeguards were devised
to be, it was of little consequence. Sinister's virulence
was already insidiously entrenched for decades, its capricious
nature remodeling itself to match its surroundings. His pet
microbes reported back to its creator with complete anonymity
and were behind much his seemingly miraculous knowledge of
people and their supposed secrets.
Sinister sat down in his control chair, which immediately
activated a probe that burrowed into his hand establishing
a direct neuro-link, and imparted a wealth of select information
into his mind. He noted with mild amusement that McCoy and
Drake had been busy during his time away, exploring every
accessible inch of his home. A small smile formed on his face.
He would quickly review the rest of the data and then join
"You almost sound like you admire the guy, Hank."
"I admire what he has accomplished Bobby but certainly do
not condone his methods. Look around you," Hank said with
the wonder of a small child. "The technology before you is
extraordinary. Organic based technology that is centuries
ahead of anything we've seen."
"I don't get it. I don't see you making such a big deal about
the fancy Shi'ar tech. we have. Why the big deal about all
this freaky looking stuff?" Bobby asked.
"Not to demean the accomplishments of our Shi'ar friends,
but what you see here before you are the achievements of a
single man, not the attainments of an entire race ... a race
much older than mankind. What Sinister created here, is the
culmination of his own solitary genius."
"You will embarrass me with any further accolades," Sinister's
deep voice echoed in the large room.
Both Bobby and Hank jumped. "You might try clearing your
throat or something before you walk in a room -- especially
looking like you do," Bobby added.
"I'll consider it Drake," Sinister said tersely. "I trust
your accommodations are to your liking. I am not used to getting
"I wonder why," Bobby muttered.
"Your laboratory facilities are nothing short of astounding,"
Henry interjected. "I could lose myself for years just studying
some of the technology you've been gracious enough to allow
us access to."
"You are free to indulge your curiosity for as long as you
wish. I would welcome the company of such an accomplished
researcher," Sinister said.
Henry raised a cynical eyebrow. "Please forgive my temerity,
but I am a bit skeptical at your sudden desire for companionship.
While I admit to knowing very little of substance about you,
your insular nature is common knowledge."
"Perhaps it is time for some change," Sinister said sounding
"You expect me to believe that you've had a sudden crisis
of conscience," Henry said incredulously. "Dangling all this
wondrous technology in front of me, even with my gluttonous
appetite, does not sufficiently cloud my reasoning skills.
Isn't this just another perfunctory fallacious statement that
is part of another guileful plan?"
"Skepticism, 'the mark and even the pose of an educated mind',"
"John Dewey," Henry quickly supplied.
Sinister nodded in acknowledgement. "But I detect the animosity
that underscores your tenor. Please enlighten me on its source."
Henry's lips curled with disgust. "Is this some elaborate
game to you?" Is this how immortals amuse themselves to circumvent
boredom?" he continued, angrily. I have been known for my
naiveté, but I refuse to believe that a sane mind capable
of such accomplishment, -- the study and devotion necessary
to attain all of this," Henry gestured around him, suddenly
at a loss for words.
"I assure you, this is no game," Sinister said seriously.
"Then what is all this?!" Henry gesticulated furiously. "The
technology I see before me could benefit mankind in an infinite
number of ways. The cloning tanks Bobby and I observed --
an inexhaustible supply of organs -- the donor and recipient
are one and the same -- zero probability of rejection. Paraplegics
instantly cured with either replacement limbs or depending
on the nature of the injury, regeneration of existing nerve
"The number of diseases that can be attributed to a genetic
antecedent is staggering," Henry continued with a level stare.
"I am certain that you've mapped the entire human genome years
ago and can easily identify and eliminate any defective gene
in an unborn fetus. Think of the unnecessary pain and suffering
you could eliminate for both parents and children alike. Instead
you waste your time on replicating homicidal maniacs like
Detroit turns out automobile. The common man, myself included,
would consider what you could do here as miraculous. Is my
assessment of your abilities accurate?"
"Actually a bit understated. All of the things you've mentioned
are well within my purview," Sinister said without the hint
of arrogance in his voice.
"Then why not share your genius with humanity? You were a
medical doctor at one time, and acquainted with certain precepts
-- above all else 'do no harm'. Even as long lived as you
are, you couldn't have forgotten the Hippocratic Oath," Henry
said, his voice laced with a bitter sarcasm.
"I have never forgotten a single thing." Sinister made a
sound that almost resembled an honest laugh. "Would it surprise
you to know that I helped Thomas Percival establish the first
code of ethics in 1846? I was also present when the Nuremberg
Code for research ethics on human subjects that was established
during the war crime trials at the close of World War II."
"You, want to speak to me about medical ethics?" Henry
said disbelievingly. "I most certainly understand the
importance and practicality of obtaining consent from research
subjects or surrogates if the subjects could not provide consent
for themselves. I strongly doubt that you do. I also do not
need a history lesson," Henry said, glowering.
"That is precisely what you need," Sinister admonished. "Perhaps
you could answer a question for me. Why do you not use the
Shi'ar technology you have in your possession for the betterment
"That is a different matter entirely," Henry said defensively,
knowing where Sinister was leading.
"In what manner?" Sinister asked, clearly irritated. "You
X-Men are so sanctimonious. If the Shi'ar technology that
you utilize in your med lab was made available to the medical
community, do you deny that countless lives would be saved
that can not be saved now?"
"No I do not," Henry admitted somewhat sadly. "But less scrupulous
people could and would apply that technology in ways that
could prove quite hazardous to mutants and humans. What mutants
lack in numbers is partially offset by the superior technology
that we -- the X-Men possess. We are not willing and can not
afford to give up that advantage, and would most certainly
risk exposure and draw unwanted attention to ourselves with
the release of this technology."
"And I suppose none of your diatribe could be applied to
me," Sinister said, his expression arrogantly impassive.
Henry was unrepentant. "You've had over a hundred years to
figure out a way and seem to have squandered that time on
nothing but Machiavellian machinations."
"Indeed," Sinister's eyes narrowed slightly with contempt.
"Let me commence with succinct history lesson and a modest
dissertation of my contributions to science over the
last one-hundred and forty years."
Sinister began in a level tone, a faraway look in his eyes.
"In 1866, Austrian botanist and monk Gregor Mendel proposed
the basic laws of heredity based on crossbreeding experiments
with pea plants. His findings were published in a local natural-history
journal, and were largely ignored for over thirty years until
I reintroduced them rekindling genetic research by
the scientific community."
Sinister continued, quickly listing past events and names
that Henry was intimately familiar with. "In 1882, while examining
salamander larvae under a microscope, German embryologist
Walther Flemming -- quite honestly his assistant, spots
tiny threads within the cells' nuclei that appear to be dividing.
The threads would later turn out to be chromosomes."
"In 1910, U.S. biologist Thomas Hunt Morgan's experiments
with fruit flies reveal that some genetically determined traits
are sex linked. His work also confirms that genes determining
these traits reside on chromosomes. In 1926, U.S. biologist
Hermann Muller discovers that X-rays can cause genetic mutations
in fruit flies. Both scientists attribute much of their findings
to correspondence with an unknown European doctor."
"In 1944, working with pneumococcus bacteria, Oswald Avery,
Colin Macleod and Maclyn McCarty Milbury prove that
DNA, not protein, is the hereditary material in most living
"Need I go on about my work with British physician Douglas
Bevis using amniocentesis to test fetuses for Rh-factor incompatibility,
which would lead to screening for genetic disorders? Or my
help to American biochemist James Watson and British biophysicist
Francois Crick for their discovery of the double helix
structure of DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic code."
"There is more -- much more, but I see no reason to continue.
Since I have no peers, recognition has never been of any concern,"
Sinister said somewhat haughtily. "My point being is that
over the years, I have fastidiously nurtured mankind's fledgling
study of genetics, prudently considering the wisdom of revealing
too much too soon -- helping, guiding whenever and wherever
I could. My intention, completely altruistic..."
"Altruistic!" Henry's eyes blazed. "You have the audacity
to proclaim to possess that quality when you had men, women
and children murdered. Did you hear me?!" Henry spat out the
words contemptuously, Sinister's stony expression enraging
him more. "You had children -- children hunted down
like poor wretched animals -- whose last sight was their parents
being butchered by a group of psychotic killers. The survivors,
God help them, live in constant fear and are unable to lead
any kind of normal existence -- normal for Morlocks, because
of the psychological damage they suffered." Henry felt his
heart hammering in his chest and was almost gasping for air
as if he was in the midst of some great and prolonged exertion.
All of this emotion had suddenly come to the surface, a catharsis
that surprised Henry himself.
For so very long, he had wanted to confront Sinister about
the Morlock Massacre. Bobby was right, God help him, he did
respect Sinister in a fashion. The scientist in him could
not help but admire Sinister's great genius. But it was difficult
to reconcile how he could admire a man capable of such a heinous
atrocity? But he had uncovered some undeniable facts about
the man before Sinister -- before Apocalypse's transformation.
Who was Nathaniel Essex? The individual before him now who
is considered the epitome of evil...was once incredibly a
husband, a father, a man devoted to the pursuit of knowledge
much like himself -- a scientist with such promise.
Henry recognized the kindred spirit in Sinister. Like him,
Sinister did not see the human and mutant genome as just a
complex code to be unraveled or broken. It was more like a
beautiful mosaic to be admired and appreciated -- an autobiographical
record of all the vicissitudes and inventions that have characterized
the history of our species and its ancestors since the dawn
He also realized that Sinister was blessed with one of those
truly rare and gifted minds, and was peerless at deducing
nature's secrets. He had bravely flaunted the strict conventions
of his era, risking his reputation and position, solely to
uncover the truth. What could possibly drive anyone, especially
this man to accept an offer from a monster like Apocalypse?
When Scott and Jean had been time displaced and returned
from the past and gave an account of what they had learned
of Sinister's origins, Henry had been temporarily consumed
by the information they had related. He had always had a personal
fascination with Sinister and devoted a great deal of time
searching for any signs of his deeds throughout the last two
centuries. There were clearly indications of sudden inexplicable
leaps of discovery in the field of genetics. A man gifted
with immortality and Sinister's genius would certainly explain
these leaps. Could Sinister's claims of providing beneficial
guidance to mankind be true?
Henry had personally seen the signs of a human being in Sinister.
Faye Livingstone -- a woman, as improbable as it might seem,
Sinister romanced in the 1930's was proof of that.(1)
She clearly loved him despite being held prisoner and learning
that she was nothing more than a test subject -- a genetic
guinea pig in some macabre experiment. Sinister eventually
released her well before his experiments ever reached fruition.
She never married or had any children and spent her final
years alone in the Carlysle Nursing Home, unable to walk or
communicate with anyone. Unbeknownst to Charles, Henry had
conducted his own investigation and had learned from one the
of staff, an attending nurse named Doris, that a gentleman
by the name of Nathan Essex had visited Faye every
year without fail for many years. She also informed him that
this man had seen to it that she received the best of care,
had paid all the nursing home bills and was genuinely concerned
about her welfare. Were these the traits one would ascribe
to a villain? Was this Mr. Sinister?
Henry had thought long and hard about that incident. Was
it regret over the way Sinister had treated her that kept
him involved in her life? Did he experience guilt because
he felt responsible at the way her life had turned out? Henry
wasn't entirely sure but he was present when she died -- in
Sinister's arms, and witnessed a brief but unmistakable emotion
cross that cold glacial whiteness -- anguish.
After their trip into the past, Scott and Jean had described
Nathaniel Essex as driven scientist but more so, a loving
husband and a father who lost everything he cared about. Even
after knowing what they would suffer at Sinister's hands in
the future, they had pitied him. Could the magnitude of the
personal tragedy he suffered be the real reason behind his
transformation? How could one quantify what the loss of a
young child, a wife, and an unborn child would do to a person's
soul? What could possibly be more damaging? Additionally,
Scott and Jean had said without Sinister's intervention and
risk of his own life, the world would have most certainly
fallen to Apocalypse especially since there was no one to
oppose him then. Henry's gut instinct told him that somehow
what Sinister had revealed about his contributions to humanity
were true...but what could possibly explain the Massacre?
Sinister recognized that Henry was wrestling with unanswered
questions and spoke with grave deliberation. "Do you recall
the incident with Threnody? I told you then that sacrifices
have to be made in order for a greater good to be achieved.
By your own admission, you told Robert Drake that I could
do more for her -- more to fight the virus--than you could...because
I was willing to damn parts of my soul to the task while you
were not.(2) "
"I remember," Henry answered slowly. "But what does that...?"
"The origins of the virus Henry, do you recall that I said
I had access to the original host?"
"Why yes, but Stryfe ... the Morlocks -- the Morlocks?! Henry
Sinister nodded. "Years ago, I had detected a sudden and
surprising concentration of mutant bio-signatures residing
in underground tunnels. Curious, I investigated and discovered
a hidden community of mutants -- mutants whose existence I
had no record of. It seems that these mutants were artificially
bred -- primarily laboratory generated mutants. A difficult
and significant accomplishment in itself, but a more ominous
reason was behind this experiment. What I discovered was that
this isolation was fostered to incubate a disease of incredible
"The Legacy Virus," Henry spouted.
"Yes, but an unmutated version of the virus that you are
familiar with today," Sinister supplied -- "the virus that
Stryfe was kind enough to supply me with."
"Your brilliant but amoral counterpart the Dark Beast, had
succeeded in creating a brand new mutant gene pool -- the
Henry's heart skipped a beat and felt his stomach knot as
he realized what Sinister was about to reveal. His doppelganger,
an alternate Henry McCoy from a universe that should never
have existed, a rabid animal that even had kidnapped and imprisoned
him to take his place on the X-Men(3)--
the creature that wore his face and for all intents and purposes
was him, the one individual Henry could say that he loathed,
not loathed, that he truly hated ... the Dark Beast was responsible
for the Legacy Virus? "My God no," Henry whispered.
"Unfortunately yes," Sinister said dispassionately. "He was
also conducting, what I believed was some very unrefined experimentation
with mutating protein structures and using the Morlocks as
his test subjects. Initially, I had thought the disease was
an accidental result of your counterpart's undisciplined experimentation.
But I soon came to the realization that the virus was no accident.
It was far too complex, brilliantly and specifically engineered.
It was also well beyond the Dark Beast's capabilities to create.
Furthermore I began to suspect that the Dark Beast was nothing
more than a deadly, yet unknowing pawn in a much larger game."
"Whose pawn and for what purpose?" Henry asked, transfixed.
"I believe that the virus is a biological weapon, alien in
origin. Its purpose -- the complete eradication of both mutant
and mankind. The individual or individuals behind the disease
-- I do not know," Sinister said, a look of disturbed concentration
across his face.
"And your actions ... an attempt to stop the spread
of the disease?" Henry asked.
Bobby thought that Henry's face almost looked hopeful.
Sinister simply nodded.
"Why not ask for help, we...?"
"Your type was not even willing to sully its hands
with the simple matter concerning Threnody," Sinister interrupted
Henry, his tone supercilious. "To stop the spread of this
virus required swift and brutal action. Much like a gangrenous
appendage, it was necessary to cut off the arm in order to
save the body. Why involve anyone else? My soul is already
damned, why taint the purity of any of Xavier's saints?" Sinister
said with a humorless smile.
Henry shook his head, a confused expression on his face.
"But why a team of killers? Why not just use a form of incendiary
device to insure that no one escapes and no traces of the
disease remained?" Henry trailed off softly, not believing
what he just said.
"Incendiary explosive devices specially designed by my own
hand were placed in the tunnels," Sinister answered.
"I also physically sealed the tunnels and took precautions
to prevent anyone from teleporting in or out."
"You planned on killing everyone in the tunnels," Bobby suddenly
interjected. "Both the Morlocks and your Marauders. And you
probably selected a team of murderers, assassins, and sociopaths
-- the real scum of the earth...because they deserved to die.
Maybe that's your warped version of a conscience -- or as
close as it gets. But what about Gambit?"
Although Sinister did not respond to Bobby's statements directly,
Henry observed that Sinister was regarding Bobby as if --
as if for just a brief moment, he was somewhat surprised about
Bobby's insight -- and its accuracy.
"I selected the members of the team due to specific talents
and attributes," Sinister answered tersely looking at Henry.
"It was of paramount importance that none of the infected
parties escape. While my bio-signature recognition devices
are virtually infallible, I always build in multiple
redundancies into all of my plans and endeavors. For instance,
Sabertooth's acute sense of smell and ability to distinguish
different scents coupled with Gambit's spatial awareness was
another way to account for all the Morlocks -- and to insure
that none would escape."
"I am also first and foremost a scientist, and needless to
say, not without what you moralists would call sin. I used
this opportunity to conduct a field experiment of sorts. I
was curious how Victor's unique immune system would deal with
this new virus. I also wanted to have a normal mutant
subject infected with the virus as well."
"Gambit," Bobby said disgustedly.
"Having sole access to this virus might also be quite useful,"
Henry said, his voice thick with insinuation. "I imagine quite
a bit could be learned from this alien generated virus. In
the right hands, or should I say competent hands, the
virus would make for a very powerful weapon."
"There is that," Sinister said blandly.
"The disease did not spread," Henry said with a sudden realization.
"You were successful, stopping the initial form of the virus.
"No I was not successful," Sinister said his lips pursed
with suppressed fury. "Both of my explosive devices disappeared.
Your teammates were also able to teleport into the tunnels,
Sinister said shaking his head.(4)
"To this day I am at a loss to explain who or what was able
to thwart me."
"Apocalypse?" Bobby suggested.
"No. I am uniquely familiar with the Celestial transport
technology that Apocalypse employs and its distinct energy
signature. This was something else entirely. Somebody -- the
manipulator behind the Dark Beast, somehow discovered my plans
to eliminate the disease and successfully foiled my attempt.
I was forced to resort to a back-up plan and ordered my Marauders
to begin eliminating all of the Morlocks."
"There must have been another way," Henry said his voice
thick with emotion.
"There was not," Sinister said with a withering glare. "You
do not understand. The present version of the Legacy Virus
pales in comparison with what the Morlocks were infected with.
I estimated that in fourteen days after I had ordered the
Marauders to eliminate the Morlocks, the virus would have
been fully developed and reached its highest level of communicability.
Once the Morlocks left the tunnels, I projected that in two
months, approximately three quarters of the world's population
would have contracted the virus with a one hundred percent
mortality rate. In three months, there would be no one left
to compile any statistics on the disease."
"That's impossible. No virus spreads or acts that quickly,"
"I assure you, I have not hyperbolized the malignancy of
the virus -- and my computations are quite accurate."
"But the disease did not spread," Henry repeated. "None of
the X-Men who entered the tunnels contracted the virus --
and all the Morlocks were not killed to contain the spread
of the disease."
"I believe that Apocalypse was responsible for stopping the
virus," Sinister said a curious expression on his face.
"Apocalypse?" Henry exclaimed. "I would think with his insane
philosophy, he would have welcomed the disease."
"Indeed," Sinister nodded in agreement. "But there is much
of Apocalypse's philosophy and Apocalypse himself that bears
investigating. All I can say is that Apocalypse appeared in
the tunnels on that particular day to gather the mutant
called Plague who would eventually become the Horseman known
as Pestilence.(5) That type of
serendipity or happenstance stretches one's credulity. After
that point, I could find absolutely no trace of the virus.
I examined each and every one of the Morlocks as well as everyone
who had ventured into the tunnels that day. The virus was
Henry's mind reeled with what he had just heard. Sinister
ordered the extermination of all of the Morlocks to stop the
spread of an even more deadly version of the Legacy Virus.
To avert a worldwide catastrophe that would eliminate every
living mutant and human being on the planet, Sinister had
taken steps -- drastic steps. The good of the many...,
Henry thought soberly. Faced with the same choices, what would
Charles or the X-Men have done? What would he have done? He
could never believe that Charles would capable of murder no
matter what the circumstances. But would that indecision have
sealed the world's fate?
Sinister was right and his arguments were cogent,
Henry thought. The X-Men were limited in many ways by their
code of ethics. Sinister was free to act, with Threnody --
and with the Morlocks. Henry knew that evil and good were
not as easily discernable as the colors ascribed to each --
black and white. There were innumerable gray areas that even
the X-Men had been forced to deal with. But did the X-Men,
or the world itself owe an incredible debt of gratitude to
Sinister, or God help them, Apocalypse, for possibly saving
all of civilization? Henry was deeply troubled and ashamed
by his thoughts -- not only because of what Sinister had done,
but a small and selfish part of him was grateful that it was
Sinister who had known about the threat the Morlocks presented
-- and had taken action.
"Why tell us this now?" Henry asked quietly. "Why allow people
"That I had the Morlocks killed in a fit of pique -- because
they are an affront to my future vision for mutants," Sinister
said sounding grandiloquent. "Suffice to say that that belief
serves a purpose, as does everything I do."
"You were correct Henry, immortality can lead to boredom,
and quite possibly a temporary loss of morality. One
goes through various stages of behavior when the specter of
death no longer looms so large, but it also offers a unique
perspective. Accept that for the moment that it does, and
do not dismiss what I am about to say as the ravings of another
Sinister steepled his hands almost as if he was preparing
to deliver a sermon. "You and the rest of the scientific community
believe that evolution consists of a sort of generation-by-generation
fine-tuning in each population, all under the benign guidance
of natural selection -- the name we give to any and all factors
that promote or inhibit successful reproduction by members
of those populations. This process of gradual change inexorably
leads to improvement in the species and ultimately to new
species as those improvements accumulate."
"Superficially persuasive as this view is, it ignores certain
basic realities. It assumes, for instance, that organisms
are little more than agglomerations of special-purpose mechanisms,
each of which can be tracked independently of the packages
of which they form a part. We speak of the evolution of upright
walking or the evolution of the hand, often without realizing
that legs and hands can only be part of the story."
"The reality is that natural selection can vote up or down
only on entire organisms, defects and all. Individual organisms
are mind-boggingly complex and integrated mechanisms, they
often succeed or fail, economically and reproductively, as
the sum of their parts."
"It is the same with populations and species. Species exist
and compete with others in the real world of finite resources.
They cannot survive as disembodied attributes. What's more,
the ecologies of which they form a part have an alarming tendency
to change abruptly. If an ice sheet covers your habitat, it's
entirely irrelevant how well you are adapted to the meadows
and forests now buried beneath the ice."
"Finally, please bear in mind how distinctive new species
originate. Even I do not comprehend everything about how this
transpires, but I do know that in large interbreeding populations,
it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for new genetic
variants to become established. If any meaningful innovations
are to become established as a new species, it is essential
that the population be small. Large populations simply have
too much genetic inertia."
Bobby noticed that Hank was completely engrossed, hanging
on Sinister's every word.
"You can hypothesize where this argument is heading. During
the Ice Ages, when our own species emerged, human populations
were small and scattered and were continuously disrupted by
climactic fluctuations. Conditions were ideal for genetic
innovations. Today, however, the human population is 6 billion
and mushrooming and increasingly densely distributed. At the
same time, individual humans are incomparably mobile than
"The upshot is that after a period of diversification, Homo
Sapiens is in a mode of reintegration, as witness the fact
that the boundaries between geographical variants of our species
are becoming increasingly blurred. If present trends continue,
those boundaries will become blurrier still. Amid all this,
the conditions for incorporating meaningful new innovations
into human populations have all but disappeared - and with
them the prospects for significant evolutionary change."
Sinister smiled. "Of course such predictions are based on
the assumption that current conditions will prevail into the
foreseeable future, and it is quite possible that this assumption
is wrong. Anything that would serve to fragment the current
huge human population might help re-establish the conditions
necessary for future human change. Unfortunately, we would
undoubtedly perceive such an event as a terrible disaster,
since it would necessarily entail the disappearance of billions
of human beings.(6) But Apocalypse
"Left to its own devices, the mutant race will most certainly
die out. This brief spurt in evolution is nothing but an aberration.
For the most part, the majority of mutants are more susceptible
to disease and are sterile. Should they reproduce, their offspring
are highly unstable, their physiology unable to handle the
great energies they possess."
"Strangely enough, your leader's dream is necessary
for the mutant race to survive but not for the philosophical
reasons he espouses. Humanity and mutants must coexist and
interbreed. Humanity possesses the resistance to disease as
well as the viability to multiply and stability to insure
that mutants survive. Their numbers will remain small, extremely
small, but with my attention and special cultivation, they
will become firmly established."
"Unfortunately, Apocalypse believes that humanity will weaken
and dilute the mutant gene pool. He intends to eradicate any
and all humans and by doing so doom mutantkind to extinction.
I can not allow Apocalypse to complete his plans."
"I'm not swayed by all your fancy gizmos and words," Bobby
suddenly said. "So now we're to believe that you murdered
all the Morlocks for a good reason? You also think
that mutants and humans should do the nasty as often as possible
-- and you and the Professor are on the same side when it
comes to mutants and humans? You must be nothing but a misunderstood
bad guy," Bobby said mockingly.
"You have a surprisingly keen insight Drake but a distinct
lack of social graces. I would expect something more from
the son of two such fine parents," Sinister said with a piercing
glare. "William and Madeline isn't it? Port Jefferson is such
a lovely coastal community."
Bobby was speechless, a pale look on his face.
"Come now Drake. You really don't believe that I am ignorant
about your lineage? Someone who has devoted multiple lifetimes
to the study of human and mutant genetics, wouldn't know who
your parents are -- or about any siblings, nieces, nephews,
or cousins? Do you believe that I wouldn't have complete knowledge
about any blood relative of any of the X-Men? I would most
certainly know where they lived -- if perchance I needed to
locate them to test or confirm a theory of mine," Sinister
said, his expression changing to match the underlying threat
behind his words.
"Hasn't it ever occurred to any of you X-Men how vulnerable
you are to someone with my abilities? I could kill any number
of you at any time easily and without your knowledge. I could
expose your entire team, terrorize or blackmail you with a
simple threat to any of your loved ones. Do you think for
a minute that you would refuse to do my bidding should I decide
to entertain either of your parents in my home?"
"But there is no cause for alarm," Sinister's expression
changed and the terrifying threat that his eyes exuded a moment
before was gone. "I only said the things I did to illustrate
how easy it is for me to obtain your cooperation through less
than pleasant means if I wished. I only want you to see that
to question my sincerity is foolish and illogical. I am neither
good nor evil -- neither petty nor malicious. But I will not
shrink from difficult choices, nor will I hesitate to make
sacrifices if I believe the greater good is involved. To further
illustrate my goodwill, I can inform you that I did
not leave your teammate to die in the bitter cold of the polar
wastelands. Quite the contrary -- I saved his life."
Both Bobby and Hank exchanged glances. "You ... you know
where Gambit is?" Bobby said tremulously.
"Of course." Sinister pointed towards a darkened corner of
the large room. Another room was revealed, with four transparent
walls. The interior was illuminated by Sinister's gesture
and further revealed an advanced medical infirmary not unlike
the X-Men's own. In the center of the room on rather simple
bed was none other than Remy Lebeau -- or what remained of
him. His head and torso appeared perfectly normal -- except
for the fact that there wasn't any trace of either his arms
Continued in Chapter
X-Men Unlimited #10
Uncanny X-Men #211
Ian Tattersal MNH
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