New York City
Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Originally Posted by Byrd Man
Jean found Charles in the common room on the second floor. He was sitting with Hank and Jefferson, watching the news. The reporter talked over footage of a man in a courtroom.
"And the verdict has come in. Doctor James Bradley, guilty on the twenty-four counts of illegal human experimentation. Bradley was arrested last year for tampering with as many as twenty-four unborn fetuses. He injected stem cells into the unborn children, risking birth defects and causing at least three miscarriages."
"Guilty, just as you expected he would be."
"Yes... but something about this doesn't seem right to me. Why was Bradley experimenting on the fetuses? I can't place it, but his process seems vaguely familiar."
"The Nazis," Jefferson said. "Didn't that old Nazi and his buddies do something like that?"
"You're absolutely right. But, Adler and Schultz were injecting mutant blood into unborn fetuses."
"But it's the same methodology. Stem cells being injected into the fetuses could cause birth defects... but what, after all is mutation, if not birth defects?"
"Of course. So, this man has been attempting to do what? Make new mutants?"
"It seems that way..."
They watched as an armored car carrying Bradley rolled out of the courthouse parking lot. Protestors were gathered around the car, yelling and chanting.
"We spoke to the man leading the protests here today, Graydon Creed."
The TV cut to a man standing with the protestors. He was now clean-shaven and in a suit, but it was the same man that had tried to slaughter mutants in the Kentucky backwoods months ago.
"What has happened here today is the first step on the road to retribution. This Bradley man is the epitome of science run amok. He has experimented on the most innocent of innocents. If he isn't put to death for his crimes, then I and my followers will consider it an absolute miscarriage of justice. If no one will speak for the innocents, then the Friends of Humanity will."
"I think we need to go to Michigan," Charles said, leaning back in his seat. "I have a feeling that Doctor Bradley may not be long for this world."
"What do we want?!" Graydon Creed's southern drawl boomed through a bullhorn.
"Justice!" The crowd in front of him yelled back.
Creed stood on the steps of the Michigan state courthouse. A hundred or so followers were gathered at the foot of the steps, many of them holding signs that condemned baby killing, abortion, and mutants.
"This man," Creed continued, "He tampered with at least two dozen unborn babies. Why? Because he could. He killed two babies in the name of science. And make no mistake about it, friends, he did in fact kill those children. They were unborn, but they were alive. And our government isn't charging him with murder. They're charging him with lesser charges. Does that sound right to you?"
"No," the crowd roared in unison.
"If this man has been out there for God knows how long, poisoning our youth, how many others have their been? How many more murders is it gonna take before our government realizes what's going on? That the truth is, this doctor is the first wave on an oncoming invasion. A mutant invasion! Make no mistake, my friends, their a full-scale invasion going on throughout this country. Mutants threaten our very way of life, and this doctor represents their beliefs and their values. If he doesn't die, then the mutants will have won. It'll be the first step in an age old process. A process called extinction. Human extinction. Is that what you want?!"
"Then stand with me, friends. Stand here on these steps day and night and show the government. Show them that we will not back down, we will not be moved, and we will stand together. We may be the Friends of Humanity, but we are also its defenders. Will you stand with me?!"
Creed threw his hands up in celebration while the crowd roared their approval. While his supporters cheered, a group of on-lookers watched from across the street.
"This is the same guy we fought back in Mutant Town?"
Metamorpho asked with an arched eyebrow.
The X-Men and Xavier were inside a minivan parked across the street from the courthouse. They watched as Creed took a bow and proceeded to walk down the courthouse steps.
"What gives? A few months ago, this guy was like the guys in Deliverance. 'I don't reckon I like them thar mutants! Now, who wants to watch me play mah banjo?!'"
"Perhaps it was a speech pre-written by another person and he just memorized."
"Or he could have taken a public speaking course. The Y offers them for very reasonable rates."
"It's not either,"
Xavier said from the driver's seat of the van. "During the speech, I reached out to his mind. There's something in his mind. A block, a barrier. Something."
"A block means that he's been in contact with a psychic."
"You can't tear through it just like you did with the government agents and Adler?"
"I'm afraid not. This block is stronger, stronger than the one that was in Adler's mind, and much stronger than the one the government had in its operatives. If I try to break through, the psychic backlash could cause brain damage to Creed, or even myself."
"Look at that,"
Jefferson said, pointing towards the crowd. Creed had emerged through the throng of people and approached a beautiful blonde woman who was standing at the edges of the group.
"Wow. Maybe there are perks to this whole being a mutant hating bigot thing. Is it too late to change sides?"
"I think now would be an excellent time to try out your telepathy abilities, Jean. If we can't read Creed's mind, we can try to read his friend's. Try it."
Jean looked at her teacher and then over to the boys, who were all looking at her. She let out a breath, licked her lips, and then closed her eyes. Jean felt her consciousness floating out of her body and drifting towards the courthouse. Her abilities zeroed in on the blonde woman and her mind. Jean began to probe the woman's mind when she recoiled back in pain. The only thing she could see was diamonds. A wall of diamonds.
a condescending voice said in her head.
Jean shouted in alarm. "That woman is the telepath."
The group turned back towards the courthouse. Creed and the blonde woman were hurrying down the street away from the courthouse. Creed was shouting, pointing towards the van. His followers turned from the courthouse and began walking towards the van.
"Oh, my stars and garters..."
"If, umm, if anybody happens to have the mutant ability to kick a hundred people's asses all at once, now would be a good time to use it!"
Muttering to himself, Charles started the van and pulled away from the parking spot in a hurry, a few of Creed's followers attempted to give chase, but they were unable to keep up with the speeding minivan.
As the van sped away, a young woman in the crowd watched the car disappearing from sight. She began to walk away from the group, pulling her red hoodie up around her face. Putting her hands into her pockets, Wanda Maximoff disappeared down a side alley.