First Mutant's Mutant X Warehouse (mutantxarchive) wrote,
First Mutant's Mutant X Warehouse
mutantxarchive

Mutant X Websites: The Midnight Press (Part 1)



From 2001-02, Tribune Entertainment created six Mutant X faux websites as part of the Mutant X official site, in order to supplement the information from the television series. These sites featured a great wealth of background information about the Mutant X characters and plot's storylines, but they vanished in early 2005. This site has archives of the faux website The Midnight Press before its disappearance. I'm saving this here in case this archive vanishes as well, but none of the following material is my own.

The Midnight Press Part One ~ The Midnight Press Part Two


EDITOR'S NOTES SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
We at the Midnight Press would like it known that our monthly mutant search is not a predatory one. We merely want the existence of these super-humans acknowledged. Integration with modern society would not be an unwelcome conclusion, but looked on as natural and newsworthy progress to current events. As long as the mutant population remains hidden at large and is denied to the general public, we feel it is our duty to print any suspicious incident to the foreground in these pages. Our policy is no mutant-related story is too small and each one will be investigated. To aid us on our quest, you, the reader, can be of valuable service sharing your own information by way of our hotline form.

Together we can uncover the truth.

Del Hey
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Midnight Press

HOTLINE
The truth is all around us. The bagboy at your local grocery store. The clerk at the library. Your teacher. Your Professor. Your boss. They could all be mutants. Or none of them could be mutants. You never know and must always be vigilent for that time, that place, when the inexplicible occurs. And when it does...

CONTACT US!

Use the form below to let us know about strange happenings in your area. We'll look into, and who knows, the next freak to show up on the Midnight Press, just might be yours!

Send us your tip or mutant report below: (Please limit your response to 100 words)


Fall 2001

STYLE BANDITS STRIKE!!
SPOTSDALE, NV -- Somebody call the fashion police. Bank robbers dubbed the 'Style Bandits' have struck again, this time in the posh lower west side. Officials say they made away with an undisclosed amount of cash and ladies' hearts.

With their stunning good looks and casual charm, these gentleman callers come knocking in attire suited more for the mansions of Beverly Hills than the back seat of a getaway car. Dressed in the latest leather styles of such named designers as Votucci and Benoit, the Style Bandits whisk away more than money. They steal the affections of their would be targets.

"He was just so handsome, how could I not want to open the vault doors for him?" said one teller, who asked to not be named. Another recounted, "...and that cologne and that smile and those biceps, mmm mmm."

In fact, the Style Bandits have become so adept at wooing the women, it's become the only plausible explanation for their amazing scores. Estimates put their total take to date at over $400,000 in cash drawer withdrawals alone. But recently, these modern day Butches and Sundances have become bolder, seducing vulnerable bankers into opening the vaults. Officials are still baffled as to how the robbers unlock the boxes inside, but as security cameras prove, they've so far been able to.

"It's like, total magnetism," Spotsdale native, Audrey Cromartie had to say about her run-in with the trio. "The way they danced on the counters and whirled and swayed. It was so, so, so exciting. My late husband once danced like that. Let me be robbed by such men anyday."

The Style Bandits have been described as, "lithe, muscular hunks, with fabulous hair and smiles to die for." They've been spotted driving Ferrari's, Beemers and the occassional Countach.

"You can smell them coming," said one security professional. "Dey breeze in on dese wiffs of jungle rain and sultry sahara. It's insufferable how suave and sophisticated these sultans of spoliation are."

When will their reign of thievery end?

MUTANTS IN HOLLYWOOD: WHY IS KEVIN JOHN ELLIOT SO POPULAR?
Hollywood, CA -- For three years the NBS sitcom, "Dustin" has been a top-rated staple of Thursday night TV viewing. Last year's movie box office champs included "Ahead in the Past" and "Mick McMann: Nuclear Detective". What do these projects have in common? Kevin John Elliot. Four years ago, no one had heard of this rubbery, thin, husky-voiced goldmine. Now he is forming his own production unit at Taragem Pictures for an annual eleven figures and planning such ventures as a restaurant chain, Mick McMann theme park and several spinoffs to "Dustin" for next season. Currently, he and fiancée, Cortnee Allyson Keeler (star of the WPN series "Traci the Witch Pitcher") are appearing to capacity crowds in "Troilus & Cressida A Go-Go" for NYC's Shakespeare Rocks festival. With no end to his fame in sight, Elliot seems to be the ultimate show biz success story. Yet, he has no talent to speak of. What is his dark, DNA spawned secret?

Rumors that the superstar is a closet mutant have been circulating in Hollywood circles for months, ever since the Taragem deal was announced. "How else could his mugging face be so popular?" ponders one highly placed anonymous studio official.

"The theory that an average-or beneath average-actor could enhance his status giving off a hypnotic, mind-controlling aura of charisma, like a skunk's scent, is definitely grounds to suspect mutated abilities," confirms Dr. Garrett Segall, Midnight Press staff specialist. "Certainly there is no artistic ability evident to explain this young man's success."

Elliot's publicists and agents deny any truth to their client's mutancy. "He is working on a feature, however, called "Mutie Boy" due out next summer," explain his ICA representatives as an obvious attempt to pass along the growing allegations. Other projects include the sequel, "Mick McMann: Blasting Another One" and a remake of the classic "Days of Wine and Roses" a rare dramatic departure. "If he can pull that one off, he must be a freak!" concludes the same unnamed, respected movie executive.

"Something must be done soon. He's even starting to melt the critics!" laments a reliable Los Angeles source. The "2 thumbs up" for "Mick McMann" only highlights the alleged truth about this Canadian native who has taken US screens by storm. As he renegotiates his "Dustin" contract for another six seasons, the industry can only see the unnatural at work. When will the world?

PRANK PROVES DEADLY FOR HIGH SCHOOL JOCKS
Hannibal, MO -- The entire metro area is still reeling from the discovery of the dead bodies of three teenage boys found in a local park. They were apparently scared to death while carrying out an innocent prank against one of their classmates. The bodies were found in early morning hours, lying near a baseball diamond with looks of sheer terror plastered on their faces.

"Their hearts had stopped beating and their pants were wet," reported a source in the Hannibal coroner's office. The three juveniles, all popular athletes at a local high school, had been missing since the previous night. "They were planning to scare a geek who was in their fourth period," recalled a tearful Didi Christine, 17, girlfriend of Osborne and past Winter Formal date of Dudley. "They were bored and he bugged them, so they were going to have a little fun."

The student in question, Donald MacGibbon, 16, has been described as an outcast. "Unusually tall and skinny," states school counselor, John Sullivan. "An exceptional academic but not very social with his peers." "MacGibbon's totally uncool," fumes Brennan Kinley, 17, basketball center and friend of the dead boys. "Always has the right answers. Never shares them. Matt, Jaime and Danny felt he had a lesson coming." "He just looks weird," adds Didi Christine, "So tall and his skin so white. No one 'in' would be seen with him." And yet, there appears to be more to Mr. MacGibbon than meets the eye.

The three victims, all members of a select school club called the "Bucks", knew MacGibbon would be walking through a neighborhood park on a certain Friday evening after finishing up a part-time job at a book store. "They were just going to pants him. Tie him to a fence…that sort of thing," claims the distraught Kinley. But the taunting trio would find the tragic joke was on them instead.

Although MacGibbon has been cleared of any wrongdoing by authorities, it is known that he passed through the park as expected and was nearly a half hour late arriving at his home that night. "He killed them!" accuses Kinley. "He's a freak!" A freak…or perhaps a mutant. No marks were found on White, Osborne or Dudley, but they were definitely scared by some unnatural phenomenon. "If the teenager possesses accelerated brain power, it would be possible he could use it to project horrific illusions or mentally stop the heartbeats of these other healthy, normal lads," verifies Midnight Press expert Dr. Garrett Segall. MacGibbon's medical records have, as yet, been denied to the MP for study.

Is young Donald MacGibbon a mutant? Was he a time bomb just waiting to go off and unleash lethal powers on his popular classmates? Reports have stated that he will not be attending his senior year at the high school, but has opted for early graduation and admission into a west coast college. Campuses beware. Three of Hannibal's finest seem to have paid an ultimate price for crossing him.

From the Lab of Dr. Garrett Segall: "BIG DEAL ABOUT BIGFOOT"
It has come to my attention that a recent wave of creature sightings from northern Minnesota up to Saskatchewan have been generating renewed interest in the figure known commonly as Bigfoot. After studying photographs that the Midnight Press provided me, I can honestly conclude that this hirsute man/woman-beast exists in large numbers and most likely is an animal strain of mutant.

My colleagues would, no doubt, like to claim this theory also applies to the centuries old Yeti of the Asian Himalayas, but I would say that particular subject (popularly called the "Abominable Snowman") is an actual monster or surviving breed of Cro-Magnon man. Bigfoot, however, because he is basically rooted in Northern American locales points to a more unnatural creation, the possible result of a gene-splicing experiment gone awry.

It is well known in certain scientific circles that a number of underground laboratories existed in Canada during the 1950's stretching the limits of DNA testing, cloning and interspecies fusion. These facilities have since been destroyed but their products live on. Bigfoot is evidence of this. The breed's obvious intelligence, size and willingness to be captured on camera illustrate that they are ferals (a technical term for mutant/animal hybrid). My guess is this recent batch is a grizzly bear mix. I have been alerted to a wolf variety in the European Balkans via an enlightened website put up by an enigmatic source. (Editor's note: This site is not affiliated with our paper).

If one runs across a member of this current Bigfoot strain in the northern woods, I would encourage an attempt at communication. They may prove to be more human than their appearance would suggest.

COMING SOON: SALEM WITCHCRAFT: SPELLS OR GENETICS?
Disclaimer: as per a court order, the Midnight Press must point out that Dr. Segall holds a Divinity degree, not one in medicine or science.

ARE YOU AMONG MUTANTS?
Answer these simple questions and change the way you view your life!

1. My high school classmates were average achievers.
True
False

2. The teenagers in my neighborhood all behave normally.
True
False

3. I have never witnessed an unnatural phenomenon.
True
False

4. I understand basic genetics.
True
False

5. I do not believe in UFOs, ghosts or time travel.
True
False

6. I trust my physician(s).
True
False

7. All science discoveries are reported.
True
False

8. I have never attended a performance by a magician or clown.
True
False

9. I was born after 1955.
True
False

10. I know identical twins.
True
False

11. My friends/family members/neighbors/work associates might have been connected to:
Spontaneous fires
Psychic phenomena
Superior physical acts
Invisibility
Other unexplained events

12. I have witnessed acts that may be:
Telepathic
Telekinetic
Telempathic
Telegraphic

13. The animals in my neighborhood are:
Large
Smarter than most
Travel in packs
Nocturnal
All of the above

14. My friends/family members/neighbors/work associates are:
Charismatic
Secretive
Temperamental
Electric

Lana Monger's Corner
So many items, so little space!

Sigh.

I ran into daytime star of style, Linda Seely, at a gala fundraiser for the Singer Society last weekend. The Hostess with the Mostest is ecstatic that her new cooking segment has increased the show's already sky-high ratings another 12 points. I don't know, Linda. It all looks like plain old cheese and crackers to me. Maybe you're more of an illusionist than a home-making gourmet. Got any secret recipes?

Skipping right along to Broadway, I caught the first act of the sold-out "Troilus & Cressida A Go-Go" at the Tanner Lane. Leading lady Cortnee Allyson Keeler needed a stronger mic. I'll tell you kids, if this twenty-something star doesn't possess some mutant anti-aging she better see a good face man because in person she's pushing 40 if she's a day. Her hubby-to-be, Kevin John Elliot, is as charming as ever…and looks great in a toga! Just dye my hair blue and call me Proxy.

Did anyone catch that Kilohertz hunk pirating the evening news with his pro-mutant jive last Thursday? All Lana can say is: Kil-man honey, if you want to up your cause, show us your face! Most muties I've come across are potential cover models. Couldn't hurt your ratings, if you know what I mean.

That's all from Lana's dish this month.

Ciao!

GILLBOY FOUND IN COVES OF LAGUNA

LAGUNA BEACH, CA -- Scientists have made a startling discovery in the surf at Laguna Beach. They found the creature last week and describe it as a strange mix of man and merman. With the head and shoulders of a human and the body of a fish. The creature's most distinguishing features are open slits along its ribs, which the scientists have determined are actually gills, allowing him to breathe and live underwater!

The "gill boy" was first encountered by teens who were surfing in the area. Roland Rochs, 16, of Burbank said of the creature, "Dude! We saw this like, thing, y'know, like bobbin' in 'n' outta the water, like some kinda shark or somethin'. My bud, Josie's like, 'Dude, checkit!' We're talkin' some dope [expletive deleted], dude. That dude eats fish, like raw, man. For real 'n' all."

Zoologist Steve Dylan was the first to respond to the duo's reports. "I hardly know what to say," said Dylan. "It appears what we have is a new species of life, or perhaps a very, very old one, just now being uncovered. His eye and face look like a human's, but his teeth are definitely configured like a fish's and it's undeniable he has gills. His diet, we've determined, is primarily seafood, shrimp, herring, that sort of thing. And he like kelp salad and tofu. We have been trying to communicate with the lad, but he only speaks in 'pock-pock' noises and dolphinese. When we can get him out of his tank, that is."

"One has to wonder how many of these creatures there are," Dylan posed. "This one has most certainly strayed from a school of such creatures and found his way to our shores. It is a most wondrous thing, indeed."

Dylan's colleagues agree. Said another researcher, stationed at marine facilities in San Diego, "It is quite fascinating. When we, erm, accidentally removed its tail, it grew back within weeks. As for its scales, we can't keep them out of our hair, as you can see."

Observers say the gill boy is an excellent swimmer, and a playful one. One source told the Midnight Press, "Oi, yeah, that one is a handful, always squirmin' about, he is, argh."

Scientists are still trying to unravel the mysteries of the gill boy, where he comes from and what exactly he is. But until they do, he's being kept at a comfortable, natural habitat in an undisclosed location between Los Angeles and San Diego.

"We're just holding him for his own good," said one anonymous custodian. "We had to move 'im at least once or twice, 'cause he kept wanting to cavort with the orca. And you know them orca. They don't like cavorting with weirdoes like this freak."

But rest assured, the research team is making gill boy feel right at home.

"He's up to his webbed fingers in sushi and cocktail sauce," Dylan assured this reporter. "He's an asset to the zoological community. It certainly makes you stop to think before you dump leftover chemicals into the ocean, I'll tell you that."

Sound fishy to you, dear reader? Fear not! The Midnight Press will keep on top of this developing story as it unfolds.


Winter 2001

FELINE BABE, BULLETPROOF MAN MAKE HARBOR RUCKUS
Boston, MA -- Historic Boston Harbor is about to add another chapter to textbooks after a heated battle of suspected mutants took place on its docks over Memorial Day weekend. Dozens of witnesses have come forward with accounts of a spectacular clash of freaks that happened just before sundown. "We were just unfurling the awnings to block the glare when the explosions started," reported a wharf vendor, who preferred to remain anonymous. "I think it had something to do with one of the punk hoodlums who hangs around here."

Various bystanders have agreed that a local juvenile delinquent was being pursued by two plain-clothes detectives through a crowd of tourists when a pair of suspected mutants leapt to his defense and the splinters began to fly. "The woman was a real looker," claims the unidentified vendor, " And she fought the feds like a wildcat. Her partner was younger, a frat boy type. He seemed to be putting himself into the line of fire, but I don't think he was ever hit."

Bernece VanDorne, 89, a vacationer from Sioux Falls, SD, verifies that her life was saved by the quick actions of the mutant male. "He stepped between me and a bullet. He must have been wearing one of those lead-lined vests." Other witnesses have recounted that no actual guns were fired, but weapons with an electrical discharge were used by the men-in-black officials and caused most of the damage to the harbor. "That cat-girl really let the scratches fly!" added Richie Assad, 41, a wrestling promoter who was on the scene. "I wish I had her under contract."

"They were a true danger! A threat to us all!" testified Dennis Saran, 38, unemployed. While Mr. Saran was not actually at the harbor during the skirmish, he heard the devastating noise from his nearby apartment and voices the wave of mutant awareness and mistrust that is growing among our readers nationwide. The death-defying action on the docks is said to have lasted between 3 and 25 minutes, ending when the two alleged mutants fled "like cowards" with the pursued youth in tow. No major injuries occurred. "But the cops didn't look too good afterward," added Mr. Saran, from a second hand account.

The youth in question had apparently been a cause of trouble to the harbor merchants for several weeks prior to the incident. "A thief," states the un-named vendor, "Real sly, though. Like he had another hand under his jacket." When asked if the boy himself could have been a mutant that the other two were protecting, the reliable vendor responds with a definite "Maybe."

The three mutants have not been sighted again in the area since the dock fight. Numerous calls to police the same evening reported a UFO in the neighborhood skies, which could provide a reasonable explanation of how they escaped. Local law enforcement and the federal government have denied any knowledge of the plain-clothes officials involved (who also made themselves scarce after the melee) but "they definitely identified themselves as such," concurs the group interviewed for this exclusive Midnight Press expose.

GLOUCEST GRANNY'S GARDEN GROWS GARGANTUAN GOBBLING GARDENIAS
They may look harmless, but forage in these flora and you could find yourself feeding the flowers!
Gloucester, England -- Only the works of H.G. Wells could have described the ghastly situation that occurred near this noted British city last month. Mrs. Dora Lunn, 76, a prominent gardener and member of the community was apparently eaten alive by plants hiding in her own backyard. "One minute she was weeding, the next they was feeding," states Tim Redhead, 32, a postal worker who witnessed the grisly event. Seemingly, a strain of uncategorized flesh-eating flowers had grown in the unsuspecting grandmother's flowerbeds. "They was real pretty things," Redhead elaborated, "Except for their fangs, o'course."

Local authorities have blocked off Mrs. Lunn's home and reportedly confiscated the carnivorous posies for study. No official comments have been made available to the Midnight Press as to the exact nature of the flowers. The only thing that is certain is that Mrs. Lunn fertilized them for the last time.

"She couldn't have grown them herself. It wasn't like her," bemoans Mrs. Mary Stuart, 74, neighbor and gardening rival. "Roses and irises were her specialty, not man-eaters." Other locals have a theory. "It was the Tri-Corp people," heralds Peter Waller, 54, pub owner. "Ever since their greenhouse burned down, we've had bad doings in these parts." "Spores in the wind, it was," agrees patron Ian Burbage, 48. "That place was pure danger standing and even worse in ashes."

Following up on this lead, the Midnight Press learned that the American company Tricorp Botanical did indeed have a small branch in Gloucester, which utilized local British flora in undisclosed experiments until it burned down last spring. The facility was never rebuilt and soon after all it's UK installations were closed(including ones in Scotland, Cornwall, Bath, Yorkshire and Wales). As of yet, Tricorp Botanical attorneys have declined to make a statement in regards to Mrs. Lunn's treacherous garden.

"It is possible that a genus of mutant plant could have traveled to the unfortunate woman's yard via airborne seedlings," informs Midnight Press expert, Dr. Garrett Segall. "I have heard through the grapevine, pardon the botanical pun, that experimenting with DNA and plant life is common in genetic engineering circles."
Common or not, none of this will bring back Mrs. Lunn. Her prize-winning garden has bloomed a final time as the uncharted field of mutant occurrences grows and grows.

BOY WITH TWO LIVES RAISES MUTANT AWARENESS IN SUNNY SUBURBIA
Fourteen or eleven - how old does he look to you? Survey says: the boy's a clone!
MIAMI, FL -- Fourteen-year-old Justin Colburn has been amazing his teachers for years. Now local authorities are intrigued by him as well. It seems the boy died eleven years ago. If so, he's doing remarkably well in school.

Russell Colburn (an investment banker) and his wife, Jana, (interior designer) have denied that there is anything unusual about their son and his history, but medical records secured by a close Midnight Press source indicate a different story. It appears that two-year-old Justin David died of chronic respiratory failure at a Miami private hospital over a decade ago. If so, who is the wonder child matching theory with the nation's top mathematicians from his junior high school room? "Check the boy's fingerprints," insists the Colburns' attorney, A.J. Becker. "They'll prove Justin is Justin." Or perhaps, they'll prove Justin is Justin's clone.

"It is probable," asserts Midnight Press expert Dr. Garrett Segall, "That the DNA from a dead child could be used to create an exact duplicate without the health problems that plagued the original." When pressed further to speculate whether the clone's genetics could be altered to increase his brain capacity, Dr. Segall responds, "Artificial evolution is the next progression in modern medicine."

"This is all a smear job to discredit Justin's gift," defends attorney Becker. "He is simply a smart kid." Or a test tube mutant. The facts remain: 1) At 14, Justin appears several years younger, as a clone born three years after the original would be. 2) The boy's academic performance is freakishly overachieving. 3) No one can account for what happened in the Florida hospital when the infant Justin supposedly died.

Ivy League Universities are already scouting the prodigy for early admission. "We're keeping an eye on this boy." The Midnight Press feels we all should.

LANA MONGER'S CORNER:
A sexy hello, gossip lovers. Some tasty tidbits for you from Lana's dish.
My friendly rival Proxy Blue is certainly getting a lot of play these days. For an animated femme fatale she scores high in every demographic of viewer. Of course, the hot question is who's pulling her strings? Well, Lana has several candidates for the 'Enery 'Iggins of this azure Eliza. While I won't be so tacky as to name them, let's just say there's more show here than biz. Muties can let off a sigh of relief. Proxy's all talk when it comes to outing you.

Speaking of outing, a prominent, snake-strangling host on a highly rated nature program (yes, he has a down-under accent) has a lot to explain to his viewing public. It seems all those slimy, poisonous critters he wrestles with on a weekly basis are on his payroll. Could it be you're on a first name basis with reptiles, Huey? (as if you readers didn't know who it was!) Good ol' Dr. Garrett assures me that there's a whole mutie contingent that speaks fluent lizard. So quit using that forked tongue and come clean. There are lots of legitimate animal trainers out there who don't have DNAdvantage.

Last, and certainly least, is starlet Cortnee Allyson Keeler's tell-all book, "Zipping My Genes", of which yours truly received an advanced copy. To call it dirt would be an insult to cockroaches everywhere. Anyone who's anyone knows this inflatable diva built her career playing Princess & the Pea (adding countless mattresses to her nocturnal activities for you illiterates) but the graphic descriptions she provides of Tinseltown's royal (shall we say) scepters…is scandalous even by my standards. I wonder if Doc G. has a mutant category to cover this? Or maybe…uncover.

Hey, Kilohertz! Give me a jingle. The rest of you, wait 'til next time.

From the Lab of Dr. Garrett Segall: "SAINTS OR MUTANTS"
I am constantly asked if I believe in miracles. My answer is a steady "perhaps". In regards to reports on spiritual healers, angelic sightings and divine intervention I must shake my head with well informed doubt. Now ask me about advances in modern science, particularly genetic engineering, and I'll praise the stars. Why the difference? Because I know better.

After devoting many hours to the subject of heavenly phenomena, I can conclude one fact: Angels are mutants. Their shimmering halos are merely excess elemental energy. Their wings are the product of bird (in Latin, Aves) and human fusion. Their words of precise comfort come from simple telepathy. In other words, this is an advanced breed of laboratory spawned DNA super-beings. They should not be worshipped, but dissected.

I realized many would argue with me that saints and angels have been chronicled for centuries. My retort: time travel. Mutants from the future are traveling to the past to re-shape history. This would account for the highly questionable miracles of St. Patrick (a reptilian feral), Joan of Arc (a psionic or mind-reader) or Moses (a water elemental) among others. Many in the science community believe we are at the crest of breaking the time wave continuum (synthetically exceeding the speed of light and sound, thus surpassing the limited frame of existence and pinpointing an exact period of history to land in). Put this ability in the hands of bird-like mutant ferals, add the music of a harp and there you have man's sacred heritage.

Once again, common deduction and hard science provide the answers…this time to prayers.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Legal consul for the Midnight Press has advised us to state that our publication is not connected or responsible for Dr. Segall's actions outside of writing this column, particularly the current slate of morals charges filed against him in several courts.


Spring 2002

COUPLE MISSING AS HEALTH OFFICALS DENY OUTBREAK OF FATAL MUTANT VIRUS
Victims of a deadly virus or new mutants on the run? The Surgeon General has denied any such virus exists.
Washington, DC -- The Surgeon General and spokespeople from the National Institute of Health held a brief press conference last week to officially put an end to a circuit of rumors that alleged a deadly strain of virus, lethal only to genetically engineered human beings, was ravishing the country. "We have enough medical issues to focus on without creating hype that perpetuates this mutant nonsense," S.G. Hudson charged. "Spreading word of any type of virus is dangerous enough. It could create a nationwide panic. To let this happen over pure comic book fancy is appalling to me."

"It borders on irresponsibility even to acknowledge these fairy tales," added NIH head, Dr. Gerald Drake. "But things have gotten too out of hand for us not to make a statement."

Despite the official denouncement, many still believe that the disease felled their mutant friends and neighbors. Sandra Green-Ives of Providence, RI informed the Midnight Press of one such case. "The Wileys down the street from us just disappeared when this virus talk started. No one has seen them in weeks."

Todd and Jeridanne "Jerri" Wiley, a young, middle class couple who leased a condominium on the Ives' suburban cul-de-sac have not been in contact with any of the associates or co-workers they use to see on a daily basis. A trace on them, initiated by the Midnight Press, has come up blank. Although Wiley, a cars salesman, and his wife, a paralegal, have not been officially reported missing, few in their community doubt that they were mutants.

"He was just too fast, always running, and she seemed to be constantly ogling my husband as if his Brooks Brothers suit was see-thru," describes Mrs. Green-Ives. "I've no doubt they were weirdoes and am glad they're gone…but I hope they didn't die a horrible death," she quickly adds.

Local authorities have stated that the Wileys are off on an extended second honeymoon and have not been the victims of any plague "mutant or otherwise". The neighbors feel differently. "They were headed for a divorce, if anything," Mrs. Green-Ives insists, "I'm certain the mutie pox did them in and their bodies were hauled off to a quarantine in the night."

The mystery of the Wileys is among dozens where suspicious types have vanished from every day life. "A mutant plague is not an unreasonable conclusion," declares specialist Dr. Garrett Segall, "The government would elect to keep it under wraps as they do the fact of mutant kind in our general population." Dr. Segall also notes that such an illness would have no effect on normal DNA. "We're safe," he assures. But if mutants walk among us, are we really?

*Our editors ask your help in verifying the existence of mutants and any illness they might suffer from or spread.

GHOSTS OF DARK STAR COMBAT UNIT ATTACK BOTANICAL PLANT
Charleston, West Virginia -- Two months ago the tragedy of the Dark Star combat unit filled the airwaves. It appears to be doing so again…from beyond the grave. Security photos, obtained exclusively by the Midnight Press, depicting events of an attempted raid on a local bio-agricultural company clearly show the aggressors dressed in uniforms of the ill-fated elite force. It also shows them to be mutants.

Not much is known of Dark Star. They were an international anti-terrorist unit fielded by Interpol. Made up of twelve specially trained soldiers, these men and women were considered one of the most capable security corps ever formed. "The SAS, Navy Seals, Green Berets, even the old KGB would have had trouble keeping pace with them," confides an anonymous military source. Working in arenas of intense guerilla warfare, Dark Star operations were justifiably kept under a cloak of secrecy.

Last autumn, just before the holidays, the world learned of Dark Star for a first, and ironically, final time. The Pentagon announced on the 26th of November that the entire troop had been killed after a failed attempt to stifle a drug war in South America.

Although the identities of the dozen combatants were kept confidential, their insignia, a red disk with a black five-pointed star, was displayed in their honor against the nation's flag. "Some soldiers must do their jobs out of the public eye," eulogized the President, "That in no way makes them less heroic."

This image contrasts sharply with the recent scene at the grounds of TriCorp Botanical. A military style break-in was launched at the multimillion-dollar biotech company's main plant. "Only hard core pros could have done it that way," insists the Midnight Press source. TriCorp's security cameras caught images of three assailants, two male and a female, executing the attempted sabotage. Despite animal-like characteristics and abilities marking them as mutants, each of the trio was marked with the exclusive Dark Star wrist tattoo. This leads to two possible conclusions: 1) The Dark Stars were recruited mutants who survived their publicized fate or 2) A new group of mutant terrorists have emerged and taken on the Dark Star mantle. In either scenario there is little doubt about the super-soldiers' DNA. "The pictures distinctly reveal ferals," assures Midnight Press expert Dr. Garrett Segall, "Genetic hybrids of man and beast. The female and one of the males appear to be of a feline, or cat, strain. The other male's towering musculature indicates him to be an ursine, or bear, variety."

TriCorp officials, while tripling on-site security, have kept guarded about the incident. "Since the attack was thwarted by a fourth (undisclosed) party, we see no reason to sensationalize it," stated company spokesman Dr. Kenneth Harrison at a brief press conference yesterday morning, "However, TriCorp wants it made clear no just cause to blacken the reputation of fallen heroes because a handful of misshapen fanatics have besmirched their symbol."

Independent fanatics or sanctioned freaks, the new Dark Stars activities remain a mystery to the public at large with no new skirmishes, as yet, reported. The answers may lie within the walls of TriCorp Botanical, recently acquired as a branch of Genomex, but seem unlikely to be released any time in the near future. As a side note, Interpol has dismissed the allegations of mutant agents in the military by refusing comment.

ASTRONAUT'S SON KIDNAPPED AND RETURNED; MUTANT COVER-UP CITED
New mutant or normal boy? Questions still surround his kidnapping and his astronaut father's involvement in a cover-up.
Washington DC -- Few personalities have received the positive accolades of Major Corbin Valentine, hero of the space shuttle Evolution crisis that occurred almost a decade ago. However, the averted tragedy that nearly befell the all American idol last month seems to have cast a shadow on his previously glowing reputation.

Major Valentine and his wife, Lisa, experienced a parent's worst nightmare when their ten-year-old son, Joshua, was kidnapped from their well appointed home in the middle of the night. FBI agents responded quickly and the boy was returned unharmed without a ransom being paid. The body of his alleged kidnapper, identified as career-criminal Edward Burke, was later found crushed to death in a collapsed building. Authorities describe the inopportune death as "an unrelated coincidence" that occurred before Burke could be apprehended and interrogated.

What remains in question is the exact reason young Joshua was abducted. Major Valentine is said to have been a contender for the upcoming senate race but had as of yet to throw his hat into the ring. Without political pull and the obvious financial motives passed over, one can only look at the actual child himself and ask: what was unique enough to take him away from his family?

"Josh is a show-off," discloses an anonymous classmate at the exclusive Seton Academy where the Valentines send their son to school. "He's always playing pranks, giving kids hot-foots and stuff like that." To this, the Midnight Press feels obliged to solicit was the boy giving hotfoots or creating them? Is Joshua Valentine a mutant? If so, did that make him a target for gene-splicing kidnappers?

Sources report that Major Valentine has taken his son to a series of doctors, psychiatrists and the occasional spiritual healer over the last year and a half although nothing appears to be physically wrong with the boy. At least, nothing natural. Abbie Blossom, former cleaning lady to the Valentines, has described to the Midnight Press exclusively a harrowing incident where Joshua started a fire in his bedroom. "He was having an argument with his mother when, all of a sudden, his bedspread went up in flames!" After witnessing the incident, Mrs. Blossom was let go as an employee with three months severance pay.

The FBI has made no comment on the matter since Joshua Valentine was reunited. Curiously enough, the lead investigator used on the case, Wendy Stone, was a regular bureau agent but an "attaché specializing in unique circumstances". Speculating what these circumstances could be also points to a genetic scandal.

Although none of the mutant suspicions have been substantiated, the following events have transpired since the fateful abduction: Major Valentine has announced he will not seek political office any time soon; the Valentines have separated and sought counseling; Joshua has been removed from Seton and said to be attending a "special school" while he deals with his trauma. A golden family tarnished by the legacy of tainted DNA.

LANA MONGER'S CORNER:
Hello with a hiss to all my faithful dishers. Lana's got some Grade A with rich sauce for you. To begin with, let's take a swim at the Olympics. Yes darlings, I'm talking about four-time gold medallist Luke Weitz! It seems there's a certain doctor willing to show X-rays of the wet hunk that reveal him to have mutated fish lungs. Talk about an advantage under water. Of course there's scuttle about Luke giving his medals back if any of this is legit. Lana says, "Pass on it, guys!" Any one who fills out his Speedos as well as Mr. Weitz does deserves the benefit of the doubt. Leave wet enough alone.

On the subject of whales has anyone ever been seated at the same table as opera diva Greta Velvet Tyler? Lana has at a recent gala reception and I needed an oilcloth to fend off the splatter. Entire roasts disappeared, not to mention three tiers of the dessert cart. If I had leaned on my bread plate, my arm would have been devoured. Where do you put it all, Greta? You're svelte for a Wagner girl. Makes one wonder about some peoples' metabolism…or DNA.

Handsome astronaut Corbin Valentine has hit the headlines again. This time he's had to save his political rump instead of a space shuttle. I'm glad your little boy is safe, Major, but are you sure we're safe from him? From what I hear the kid sets more fires than Mt. Etna. I'm sure he didn't get it from you, Corbin. Have you checked out your wife's family tree, lately?

Burning with concern, I close this edition with a promise that smoke won't get in my eyes. Or ears. No gossip too dry or trash can too deep for lil' ol' me. Lana says be good (or very, very bad).

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