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. Taken from Internet Archives of the faux website Mutant X Lives, none of the following material is my own.
MXL Part 1: The Underground ~ MXL Part 2: Adam's Diary ~ MXL Part 3: Sanctuary ~ MXL Part 4: Adam's Serials
Mutant X Team Interviews
Interviews - Brennan #1
Brennan Mulwray is an unexpected addition. I had not planned on inviting a personality like his into the team. He brings to us a knowledge and background I have little experience in: crime, street survival and the underworld. I am not certain whether this will be entirely positive. His mastery of electricity flow, however, is the most advanced I’ve ever seen in an elemental. He will up our physical forces considerably. And Brennan seems to be a good influence on Jesse, bringing him out of his shell. He and I, as of yet, are still strangers. This is excerpted from our first session.
BRENNAN: So, it this where you shrink-wrap my head?
A: Not that bad, I hope. A New Mutant’s DNA tends to be in flux and that requires both physical and emotional check-ups.
BRENNAN: Well, I tend to be on an even keel so maybe you can spend more time with the others in this department.
A: When did you discover your powers, Brennan?
BRENNAN: Not buyin’ it, huh? Well, I took a shot. Okay, okay. I started making baby sparks around four or five.
BRENNAN: And it was great! Never felt like a freak. I felt special for once!
A: Could you elaborate?
BRENNAN: Well, it was just me and my mom back then. We didn’t have much money, you know, and things were tight.
(He stands up and begins pacing. In fact, he doesn’t sit down or stand still again for the entire session. He periodically flickers tiny tesla coils across his fingers, like coin tricks.)
BRENNAN: Any way, the electric thing showed me that I wasn’t just a snot-nosed poverty case. I was different.
A: You used your powers in public?
BRENNAN: No, no, no! (Laughs) That would have been a trip! Sparky the Kindergartener! No. My mom taught me to keep it a secret. But she let me practice with them all the time… if I was good.
A: You’re very proficient with them.
BRENNAN: Yeah. Bet I’ve used them in ways you never imagined.
A: You’d lose. What was your mother like?
BRENNAN: She loved me. I always knew that. She had ups and downs…you know, emotionally. But that didn’t make her…I mean…
A: She took care of you.
BRENNAN: Yeah. My dad…my real dad…was a POW who never got outta Nam. Never knew him. Had a stepdad for a while but he was a mean bastard. Mom caught on to him soon enough and got us outta there.
A: And after her death…?
BRENNAN: I was ten. It was foster homes after that. Then the streets. Home, sweet home!
A: You survived better than most.
BRENNAN: I had this, didn’t I?
(He flares up a tesla coil in his palm and lets it subside)
BRENNAN: With all this pop and fizz juicing through me there was a lot of potential to make a buck. Electronic locks, cars, computers. Piece of cake to crack. Made me very well liked in certain circles, if you know what I mean. ‘Course, I guess those days are behind me now.
A: About that. You realize Mutant X is not going to keep your wallet filled like your previous endeavors.
BRENNAN: No kiddin’?
A: In fact, Genomex would have offered you more.
BRENNAN: And stored me in a jar of alcohol if I screwed up! Listen. I’m here because it’s the right place to be!
A: Not just because of Emma?
BRENNAN: She was key…but not for the reasons you’re thinking. I’ve got lots of girls on the line, Adam. I’ve been lucky that way. But Emma…I don’t know…she’s different. Ever since I was a kid I’ve had this dream…
A: Go on.
BRENNAN: I have a sister in it and she has powers like me. You see, there’s this big empty hole in the back of my head usually but my dream sister makes it disappear. So I meet Emma and she’s wild and on the run like me and can do awesome mind taps on the side. She was…
BRENNAN: (Grins) Whoa. You’re good, man. Fished that right out of me.
A: It’s a gift.
BRENNAN: So do you trust me a little more now?
A: It’s easier.
BRENNAN: (Laughs) You know, some day you’re gonna eat a good plate of crow over this. I might be a hood—a good smelling hood, I might add—but I’m gonna do a solid job here.
A: It’s my greatest wish, Mr. Mulwray.
BRENNAN: So, enough for today, yes?
(As he walks out he picks up my copy of Shakespeare’s sonnets)
BRENNAN: Hey. Can I borrow this?
A: You read poetry?
BRENNAN: Yeah, believe it or not. My eighth grade English teacher, Ms. Meagher, turned me on to it before I dropped out. Whitman, Keats, Tennyson. Calms me down.
A: I’m surprised.
BRENNAN: With me, Adam, the word is always “shocked”.
:: End of Transcription ::
Brennan Interview #2
I find it ironic that Brennan has become the most stalwart member of the team. A year ago, I could not have told you where his loyalties would fall. Now, I trust him more than I do myself in matters of confidence, judgment and extreme pressure. Yet, beneath his capable surface lies a barrier of self-loathing that must be addressed if he is to grow as a hero and a man. That, and his new powers are my focus.
A: You really dislike these sessions, don’t you?
BRENNAN: No, it’s just I’d rather be doing other things. Like taking on the entire GSA with my hands tied in an inch of water.
A: Is it really that bad?
BRENNAN: No worse than going to the dentist.
A: And when was the last time you did that?
BRENNAN: Hey, how ‘bout those Mets?
A: Moving right along. We almost lost you a few weeks ago.
BRENNAN: You almost lost me! I almost lost me. That she-demon had my head so twisted I didn’t know which end the sparks were going to fly from.
A: Ms. Templeton affected your mind?
BRENNAN: Among other parts. No man was safe from her, Adam. Even you. She was like Circe from Homer’s “Odyssey”.
A: You realize no one is blaming you for what happened. I just want to know how you feel about being in her thrall.
(A pause. Brennan generates electric flickers among his fingers as he finds his words.)
BRENNAN: Weak. Lame. I know it sounds nuts but even when I was…you know…with Lorna I knew deep inside that I didn’t want to be. I just couldn’t help myself. She was that strong. Adam, I let all of you down…
A: You were infected by an insect Feral, Brennan. She controlled you through your libido. You overcame it.
BRENNAN: And looked like a jerk doing it! I’ve got to make it up to the team. Damn it! I finally prove I’m not some small-time Elemental hood out for a score and a great pair of legs with a scorpion stinger sandbags me! Why does the cheap stuff always trip me up?
A: Perhaps you haven’t forgiven yourself for your former way of life yet.
A: You’ve been working extremely hard on perfecting your evolved propulsion powers. Do you know you’re the only one who works out in the Dojo with mirrors? I’d say you mastered the new blasts quite a while ago and now it’s about your form and the way you look when you land…
BRENNAN: Hey, it’s my job to get it right, Adam.
A: Don’t be defensive. I was merely inferring that you not only want to hone your electric abilities to flawlessness, but also the style in which you wield them. Always cool and smooth without breaking a sweat. Carefully crafted, like your appearance.
BRENNAN: What are you getting at?
A: Your electric powers are extremely chaotic, Brennan. They cannot always be channeled through a macho composure. The same for your actions as a person. Stress you may accumulate maintaining a front worries me. And the others.
BRENNAN: You mean Shalimar?
A: I mean the others. Being vulnerable and occasionally awkward is not the same as being weak…
BRENNAN: Look, man! Just stop there! What I do and how I do it are what I need to get by. Understand? In the life I come from the way you present yourself is everything. Maybe it’s stupid, maybe it’s predictable--
A: Maybe it’s the cheap stuff that always trips you up…
BRENNAN: AWW---(Vulgarity covered-up by electric static)
A: We don’t care about your surface, Brennan. We see beyond that. Only enemies and shallow idiots dwell on “style points”. They’ll use them to bring you down. Like Lorna Templeton.
BRENNAN: Can this be over now?
A: Over…but not finished.
:: End of Transcription ::
...Interviews - Emma #1
Emma DeLauro is the youngest member I have ever recruited into MUTANT X. Her telempathy masks this fact. It gives her an edge in confrontations that would make most adults shrink, but deep down she is still a wounded girl. I can never forget that. It was the detail that almost made me lose her. The following transcript is not our initial session, but from the first one we had after she decided to join the team.
EMMA: It almost seems like you can read my mind, not the other way around.
A: No. I just make educated guesses.
EMMA: Sometimes that’s better…and truer.
A: How do you mean?
EMMA: Well, just because I tap into people’s heads doesn’t mean I can tell what’s going on with them. It’s like hearing a foreign language. If you don’t understand the basic person you’re dealing with…
A: You get lost.
EMMA: Yes. And all the images I get become so personal to me. Like nightmares. If I distance myself I could go insane. Really.
A: Is that why you denied being a New Mutant for so long?
EMMA: Partly. But it’s more to do with my parents.
A: But they aren’t—
EMMA: Mutants? No. Worse. They’re hippies. Aging, pot-drenched flakes. They wander from commune to commune and can’t commit to more than a sentence. All this big anti-establish talk and yet neither one of them could even finish a bedtime story for their little girl.
A: And the fact that you were a born empathic…?
EMMA: Made no difference. They would have been freaked out if I’d just been a kid who could play the piano well. You see what I’m saying? With that kind of childhood I could never feel normal. Mutant or not.
A: But you don’t hate your mother and father.
EMMA: No, of course not. And I know they love me. I just don’t respect them. Any way, they didn’t really raise me in the end. I got shuttled between friends, cousins and finally my grandmother until I was out of school and old enough to be on my own.
A: Old enough?
EMMA: Well, my powers helped out a lot there. You can turn a lot of “no’s” into “yes’s” when you zap a pretty picture into someone’s head. Like I told you, I made a killing in retail. (A guilty giggle).
A: So why not just continue raking it in?
EMMA: Because it’s wrong. My parents might have been flakes but they did teach me the importance of privacy. If I kept pushing things into other minds I’m no better than those goons at Genomex.
A: I’m glad you’re here with us, Emma.
EMMA: I am too. Now. I wish there was more than one psionic on board though. I don’t want to let you down.
A: One last question. You’ve seen a lot of ugly thoughts in your young life and yet, you remain quite positive. How is that?
EMMA: I can share it with you, if you don’t mind.
A: Please do.
EMMA: I don’t know if this is a memory or a dream, but it always brings me strength.
(She empaths an image into my mind. It is of a warm, glowing field. The colors are vivid and unreal. Young, loving parents embrace a child in a white shift. A tranquil hum fills the air. Tears come to my eyes as it softly fades.)
:: End of Transcription
...Interviews - Emma #2
Emma has been through an emotional wringer lately. Manipulated by enemies and former friends, her empathic abilities have had to block out as many emotions as they’ve let in. Her attitude about her new powers also concerns me. I need to explore her recent leap from shrinking violet to tiger lily.
EMMA: This is going to be about Michele, isn’t it?
A: You’re scanning me?
EMMA: I don’t have to. She was bound to come up. We haven’t talked about her since she died.
A: Well, since you brought up the subject…
EMMA: Look. Michele was one of the few close friends I’ve ever had. Of course what happened to her is going to hurt me. You don’t need to be a telempath to figure that one out. We were two dorky girls growing up in Seattle. We made each other feel normal and it bonded us together. But obviously, we drifted apart. Look at the different choices we made.
A: Why do you think she went over to Eckhart?
EMMA: God, I wish I knew. Why didn’t I let my ethics slip just once and read her feelings before it was too late?
A: Because if you were that kind of person, you’d probably be working for Genomex as well. Try making a guess not as a Psionic but simply as Michele’s close friend.
EMMA: Then I’d have to say she was addicted to being a Telecyber. Those powers became all that mattered. (She starts to sob and takes a minute to dry her eyes and compose)
EMMA: Anything else you want me to wrench my heart over. I mean, as long as the waterworks are flowing…?
A: Caleb Mathius?
EMMA: What about him? He was a New Mutant vampire, Adam. I got caught in his team spell for a while. I broke out of it, didn’t I? God, Brennan left the team over that Insect Feral Cruella and you’ve barely said a word to him but---(A BEAT) Oh. You have. Sorry, sorry. Your thought was just too big for me to screen out.
A: It’s all right…this time. Speaking of your powers how are the new ones coming along?
EMMA: They’re so awesome! Do you know how great it feels to finally have a hard ball to pitch? I don’t have to stay in the background any more. I can fight up front with Shalimar and Brennan, pitching my psionic blasts in between their best shots!
A: Have you determined their range yet?
EMMA: Well, yesterday against those GSAgents I tried a straight emotional wash. Not only were they all in tears but Shalimar said she felt like crying…and was almost a block away!
A: Impressive. What other emotions can you spread besides the blues?
EMMA: Fear is easy. Rage, but who wants to spread that?
A: What about laughter? And joy?
EMMA: They’re a lot harder. In fact, I was going to ask you about that.
A: Maybe those feelings are more difficult to master because you aren’t as familiar with them yourself.
EMMA: Now who’s reading minds?
A: Of the four of you, Emma, your power increase has proved to be the most impressive…and dangerous.
EMMA: Do you think I can’t handle it? I told you, I’m not like Michele!
A: Why are you all so defensive these days? Is it Ashlocke? (No reply)
A: What I think is that we’ve worked long and hard on getting you to control your basic psionics. Just how was that accomplished?
EMMA: By getting me to focus on my own feelings inside of others.
A: So you do understand my concerns now that your abilities have received such a tremendous boost?
EMMA: Yes. And to tell you the truth, deep down they scare me too.
:: End of Transcription ::
...Interviews - Shalimar #1
I conduct these psych-profiles on a regular basis with all core Mutant X members. The constant use of their powers taxes not only their physical strength but their mental health as well. That, combined with the fluctuating state of their mutant DNA, makes these sessions a necessity. The following excerpt is transcribed from an early session I had with Shalimar. Her growth and focus since this time continually amazes me, making it clear my choices have not in vain.
A: You’ve calmed down considerably today.
SHALIMAR: I’m used to the scents, that’s all.
A: And me.
SHALIMAR: (laughs) Maybe. You’re still a square.
A: Awww. And I was beginning to think you liked me. I talked to your parents. They know you’re safe.
SHALIMAR: But they don’t know what’s going on here, right?
A: No. Why are you so protective of them? Do you think they’ll reject you if they learned you were a New Mutant?
SHALIMAR: No! My mom and dad are the best! But they might be hurt…or get hurt by the same goons who were tracking me. Just stop talking about them or I’m outta here! (Her eyes glow feral gold. She crouches as if to attack)
A: That’s unnecessary, Shalimar. We’ll move on to something else. (She calms)
A: When did you learn the truth about yourself?
SHALIMAR: When I was three. I outran my pet kitty in a race.
A: And you knew you were different from other children?
SHALIMAR: Enough to hide it.
A: You pretended to be normal.
SHALIMAR: ‘Til it drove me nuts. When I was ten, I found myself running through the streets one night. No clothes on. No control. I prowled like a human cat. It was like the feeling just tore out of my insides. It wasn’t ‘til I caught sight of myself in a store window that I snapped to. Was I freaked!
A: What happened?
SHALIMAR: Nothing. It was three o’clock in the morning. No one was around. But from then on I made a habit of late night prowls. I never wanted to lose control again.
A: And did you?
SHALIMAR: You tell me! I almost scratched your eyes out when you found me in that dive! No! The older I got, the harder it was to handle. And don’t get me wrong. Being a cat was easy. It was acting “normal” that screwed me up.
A: You grew up in southern California, right?
SHALIMAR: For a while. My dad’s job took us all over the southwest. Taos was the best. It’s still home to me.
A: You could be more yourself there?
(She constantly fidgets and starts to move around the room, pawing objects and stretching out with no sense of modesty)
SHALIMAR: Yeah, if you say so. I was happier in school. Had friends. Could flirt with the jocks. Have dinner with the folks. And at night there were lots of rodents to chase in the desert. Yes siree! Jus’ your average American feline-next-door!
A: Shalimar, if I told you I could help you balance your powers so you could one day control your feral impulses, what would you say?
SHALIMAR: I’d say you were full of it.
A: Yet, you’re here with me now.
SHALIMAR: It’s the cat thing, again. Gives me an edge on reading people. You’re not gonna hurt me. I know that much.
(She “springs” from her chair and lands right next to me)
SHALIMAR: In fact, that’s the last thing on your mind, isn’t it?
A: Down, girl. (We both laugh)
SHALIMAR: I won’t hurt you, either.
A: So you’re going to stay for a while?
SHALIMAR: Sure. Just give me my space to prowl.
:: End of Transcription ::
...Interviews - Shalimar #2
I grabbed this session with Shalimar just before Genomex fell. The entire team was experiencing a flux with their powers and the need to keep them online mentally was crucial. Shalimar had been through a series of emotional wringers in the previous months as well. I had to break her shell, as usual.
A: So. Are you going to talk…or just growl?
SHALIMAR: Gimme a break, Adam!
SHALIMAR: Well…I’ve got a lot to get used to!
A: Are your increased powers throwing you?
SHALIMAR: No. They seem right. It’s everything I had before, just more of it. My reflexes, my sense of smell, and my vision…It’s like someone just took my Feral side and sharpened it. Brennan and Jesse and Emma all have completely new things to deal with. But me…I just feel like I’ve grown into what I was always supposed to.
A: And that makes you feel…?
SHALIMAR: Awesome, tiger. (She laughs)
A: You said you felt like someone sharpened your skills. Who do you mean?
SHALIMAR: Well, not God if that’s what you’re getting at. And not you. Sorry.
A: Water off my back. But who then?
SHALIMAR: I guess it would have to be me. My Feral side. It’s just stepped up.
A: And taken over.
(She doesn’t answer, but her eyes glow gold)
A: Shalimar. Are you afraid of your Feral side?
SHALIMAR: No. I love it. I’m just afraid of losing my human side. That’s all. It seems during the last year, I’ve become more and more of an animal.
A: How so?
SHALIMAR: Leaning more on my instincts instead of my head. Going wild on any GSAgent I could get my claws into. The men I’ve…associated with.
A: You always had some questionable judgment there.
SHALIMAR: If you mean Zach, he was a mistake any teenager could have made, New Mutant or not! No, seeing him again after all these years just made it clear what a cheating, lowlife he is and always was.
A: What about Dr. Saunders?
SHALIMAR: Richard was a Feral, like me. We were drawn to each other, like something out of “Wild Kingdom”. I’ve never lost control with a man like that, Adam. He made me a pure cat. No thought or reason, just…
A: I get the picture.
SHALIMAR: And look what I almost gave up for him. If I’d gone through this power change when he was alive, I’d be completely lost. You’d have to leave me in the jungle somewhere.
A: Is there anyone else who brings this primal dominance out in you.
SHALIMAR: Yeah. Another hood. (Grins) As if you didn’t know who. I haven’t acted on it yet. He and I are too close. It could wreck everything if we hooked up. But playing it cool gets harder and harder. And now that my Feral side is amped, I’m losing what little good sense I’ve had.
A: Perhaps it’s time you stopped dividing your sides, Shalimar. You’re not half human, half animal. You’re…
SHALIMAR: Just one?
A: Yes. Dr. Saunders had you convinced that your Feral nature was wrong and needed to be removed. Do you see how it would have turned out if you’d let that happen?
SHALIMAR: I’d be so screwed up…
SHALIMAR: Because being Feral is what I am. And if I know that…
A: You can control it. (After a moment, Shalimar purrs)
SHALIMAR: You know, Adam, sometimes I could just eat you up. I think I should get back to dealing with Ashlocke now.
...Interviews - Shalimar #3
I had sent Shalimar and Brennan on a mission to the Dakota Black Hills. A rabid Ursine Feral named Michael Ward had gone berserk and was murdering innocent people. If I known the extent of his mutated disease, I would have sent Jesse in Shalimar’s place. As it was, she was stricken but overcame the fever only to have to deliver the deathblow to Ward by herself. While now recovered physically, it’s obvious Shalimar needs healing from within.
SHALIMAR: Why did you choose me, Adam?
A: For the mission?
SHALIMAR: No. For Mutant X. It was between Nikki and me to be your team Feral. She was faster, stronger, wilder…and yet, I’m the one who’s here.
A: How long have you had this on your mind?
SHALIMAR: On and off, for years.
A: And you’re just addressing it now. Why?
SHALIMAR: Because I’ve failed you all.
A: If you’re referring to Michael Ward and the situation in the woods, you did anything but. Your actions prevented untold further tragedies.
SHALIMAR: But if I’d had more control over my instincts, Clay Preston and Grady Colt would be alive. And Brennan wouldn’t have been hurt. Instead, I tried to protect Michael. The animal in me refused to see how hopeless he was.
A: You were sick with fever.
SHALIMAR: All the more reason for me to step down. But did I? No. I charged ahead. I ditched Brennan, my own teammate, and took off into the woods to prove…I don’t know.
A: Don’t you?
SHALIMAR: Damn your insights. Yes. I do. I was trying to prove Michael’s humanity…and my own.
A: Shalimar. What happened to Ward was an atrocity. He was an evil experiment gone astray. There was no way to reverse the effects. He knew that and it drove him insane. You saw the bodies he mutilated. There wasn’t enough man left in him. He would have gone on killing.
SHALIMAR: And if I still had the fever would that be my story too? Would you and the others have had to hunt me down?
A: You tell me.
SHALIMAR: I had so little control and so much rage. Everything I saw was red.
A: A side effect of the disease. But you still haven’t answered my question. Even at your worst, could you have slaughtered people like Ward did?
SHALIMAR: No. Yet, I killed him.
A: He asked you to with his last shred humanity. An out-of-control Feral could not have done that, Shalimar. It was a rational young woman who did. One who took responsibility to end senseless suffering.
SHALIMAR: I see that…but I can’t forgive myself.
A: No one is saying it will happen overnight. Living with your actions is the worst part of this job. Just remember as you sort things out, you didn’t use your powers to stop Ward. You used Colt’s weapon.
SHALIMAR: I know! My first kill and I pulled a trigger.
SHALIMAR: Just shocked. Taking a life has been a nightmare ever since I can remember. But I always pictured it would happen when the animal half in me lost it. Not the decent one.
A: “Decent”. We talked a while back about how your two “sides” are one in the same. Don’t you see that now? Didn’t this mission make that clear?
SHALIMAR: Painfully. And Adam…I also see how all the countless hours of training and focus here at Sanctuary kept me whole. Even when seeing red.
A: That’s why it was you over Nikki.
A: Within you I saw a girl with love and spirit inside to keep her strong and disciplined, Feral or not. Nikki never had that.
SHALIMAR: Strong and disciplined, huh? Then why can’t I forget Michael Ward’s eyes?
A: If you could, Shalimar, we wouldn’t be here together.
...Interviews - Jesse #1
Jesse still represents one of my greatest challenges. He is a very complex young man whose personality mirrors his powers: at times elated and ethereal, at others rigid and isolated. Of my core team, he is the most unpredictable. Being a Molecular, I have to keep an even closer watch on his condition. The instability factor of his body can easily have an effect on his mind as well. The following dialogue is from my fourth session with him, after he had been with MUTANT X for just under two months. He was quite forthcoming that day.
JESSE: Is there something wrong with me?
A: Why do you ask that?
JESSE: It’s just we have all these talks and they always seem to be about the same things.
A: Well, you have a lot of issues for someone your age.
JESSE: Because I’m a mutant?
A: You tell me, Jesse. Are you happy here?
JESSE: You kidding? It’s been the best time of my life! With you and Shalimar. Vince and Allison too when they’re around. Helping build up Stormking Mountain and the Underground. Using my powers whenever I want. Have you seen me lately in workouts? The timing on my phasing these days…I’ve never had so much control.
(Excited, he makes himself intangible and passes his arm through the flower vase two or three times with obvious elation before turning solid again)
JESSE: Awesome, huh?!!
A: Yes. You’ve made remarkable progress there.
JESSE: You’re not thinking of sending me away are you?
A: No. This is your home for as long as you need it.
JESSE: It is home. (He is instantly silent. A minute passes.)
A: I notice you’ve made no attempt to contact your father or mother.
JESSE: That’s nothing new. Even when I lived with them there was no contact.
A: You had a substantially different upbringing from most New Mutants, Jesse.
JESSE: You mean money? Privilege? That’s a loaded word. Don’t think for a second it gave me security. Or confidence. It’s a joke that my power wasn’t invisibility, because as far as my parents were concerned, that’s what I was. Their wealth just made it easier to ignore me.
A: Ignore your powers?
JESSE: No. Ignore me. Their made-to-order baby boy with blonde hair, blue eyes and magic DNA! My powers didn’t matter. I think it was the one thing about me that interested my father. And my mother…she was around for photo ops and holiday dinners. Not much else. Once they were certain I could hide my abilities they either shipped me off to boarding school or kept me tucked away in the east wing of the house. (He starts to mass ouy in frustration, then stops himself)
A: You were lonely?
A: Big fantasy life?
JESSE: Yeah. Lord of the Rings, Wizard of Oz, Robin Hood…I lived for stuff like that. Still do.
A: All tales of camaraderie.
JESSE: Adventures with real friends who were just as out of place as me.
A: Sort of like here at Mutant X.
JESSE: It is. (He smiles).
A: So perhaps your issues are not so much due to being a molecular mutant…
JESSE: They’re due to my being Jesse Kilmartin.
...Interviews - Jesse #2
Jesse’s reaction to his evolved powers has not been positive. I needed this session to help shake out his fears and move him forward. It would be tragic if I had to replace him with another Molecular.
JESSE: I keep thinking about my dad.
A: What about him?
JESSE: How he had everything and it still wasn’t enough. Money, family, looks, health. I know now the only reason he got in touch with me was to use my powers. He used me to save his own selfish hide. I might be his only son, but I’m just a freak possession to him. He doesn’t care who I am as a person, just that I can walk through walls…or become one.
A: Why do you think he behaves that way?
JESSE: I used to think he was just addicted to thrills. Why else would he turn his back on my grandfather’s business and lead the life that he does?
A: What do you think now?
JESSE: I’m pretty sure it’s insecurity. He must hate himself. Dad was never strong enough for the Kilmartin standard. The things he accomplished were never good enough for them…at least in his own mind. That’s why he became a soldier-of-fortune. Why he was never faithful to my mother. Why he always lies.
A: He’s deceived himself into feeling like a man.
JESSE: Yeah! And he’s anything but!
A: Jesse. I’ve noticed how you’ve been spending less and less time working out your new abilities in the Dojo each day and more time hiding behind the computer screens.
JESSE: It’s just a better place for me, Adam. You know how long it took me to get use to my original Molecular powers. It was ages before you even let me out in the field. And now, with all this new stuff…I mean, check it out.
(He aims his powers on an empty chair. Instantly, it becomes transparent. As he tries to return it to a solid, his focus falters and the chair reintegrates in splinters.)
JESSE: See? Can you imagine if I messed up like this on a mission? Well, it’s not going to happen. Innocent people could get hurt. Or worse, Shalimar and Emma.
A: Or Brennan.
JESSE: Nothing throws him. He’s Mr. Perfect. And that’s what I’ve got to be, Adam. I’m no good to anyone unless I’m perfect.
A: Like your father?
JESSE: Like my…? Oh God.
A: Confidence and ego are two very different things, young man. The first you need to survive. The other you need to get past.
A: I think that’s all for today, Jesse. And I want you to know that I’m banning you from the computer bays for two weeks, unless Ashlocke strikes. You’re to spend at least four hours a day in the Dojo alone and another two with your teammates. When the time is up, we’ll see where you are…both inside and out…and then we’ll talk again.
JESSE: You know, a year ago, I’d say you were treating me like a child.
A: And now?
JESSE: I think I’ve been treating myself like one.
:: End of Transcription ::
...Group Interviews - Internal Damage Pt. 1
I have titled this file “Internal Damage”. It may prove to be the most valuable in these studies. Mutant X had just suffered one of its worst defeats. A local safe house was smoked out and raided by the GSA. Jesse, Brennan, Emma and Shalimar arrived in time to rescue members of the Underground who had been captured but something went wrong. Eckhart’s troops seemed on top of their every move. The GSA not only countered effectively but also made off with every hostage. Mutant X was left in the ruins of the building, stunned and beaten. The team’s physical injuries were minor, but the damage to their morale threatened to break them apart. Shelving my own anger, I brought them together for a session.
A: Who wants to start?
BRENNAN: I just want to get out of here.
A: Well, that’s not going to happen. Anyone else?
JESSE: What’s the point, Adam? We were completely annihilated. The GSA acted like we weren’t even there.
SHALIMAR: Speak for yourself.
JESSE: I didn’t see you save anyone, Shalimar.
SHALIMAR: (Her eyes go feral) What did you just say?
JESSE: You were out of control!
BRENNAN: Here we go again.
SHALIMAR: At least I didn’t hold back!
JESSE: Hold back?!! Don’t even---
EMMA: STOP IT. (Whatever she projects into their minds stops them cold).
JESSE: Unhh. Okay, okay…I’m over it.
SHALIMAR: Go in my head again, Psi-girl, and I’ll take yours off.
A: Shalimar. I believe we should focus on you first.
SHALIMAR: Why? Are you saying this disaster was all my fault?!!
A: I’m saying you appear the most volatile at this point.
SHALIMAR: (Backing down) Adam, I…I just feel so helpless. Whatever move I made, a GSAgent was there blocking it. There was a girl in the safe house named Tara, a feral like me. I put her there myself. She called out to me as they pushed her into the van…but I couldn’t get to her. S-s-she called out to me…
(A LONG MOMENT WHERE NOTHING IS SAID.)
BRENNAN: We need to face it, Adam. The GSA knows us too well. They got our moves down, know our powers, our weaknesses. We’re a joke to them now. And Eckhart’s latest Number Two must be made of rubber. I had three clear shots and they just bounced off him!
JESSE: Maybe if you just threw your tesla coils instead of being Grand Master of “lightning fu”---
BRENNAN: What’s with you, jerk?!! Taking it out on Shalimar wasn’t enough?
A: You do seem unusually defensive, Jesse.
JESSE: Why shouldn’t I be, Adam? I fell apart out there. With my powers either I can’t grab anything or I can’t move. I was a total cripple.
A: You’ve always made good use of your abilities before.
JESSE: I thought so. I’ve made a habit of sizing up any place quickly. That way I know its nooks and crannies to phase through walls, make shortcuts, beat the GSA goons to the punch, you know. But this time…one of our own safe houses and I got lost. You guys needed me and I couldn’t keep up…
BRENNAN: Jess, we were all out of it.
SHALIMAR: None of us could keep up.
JESSE: (Trembling) God, Shalimar…what I said to you…
SHALIMAR: What’s happening to us, Adam?
A: More than I reasoned before. What about you, Emma? You’ve barely said a word.
EMMA: I don’t dare to. Every other thought I get is either hatred or self-pity. I think you all are going to make my head explode!
A: Try the blocking techniques we’ve worked on in the Dojo.
EMMA: That’s just it, Adam! Nothing I’ve trained for is of any use. The group’s emotions are drowning me now. But at the safe house it was as if Eckhart’s men could deflect my powers. It couldn’t read them. They must have some new kind of mental defense in their arsenal. It not only cut me off from them but the Underground members as well.
A: How many GSAgents were there?
SHALIMAR: You guys blind?!! There were at least twelve!
BRENNAN: There, you see?!! It’s like we weren’t in the same place! A team of losers! I’m outta here! (BRENNAN STORMS OUT)
A: Shalimar. Bring him back.
A: Because…I…asked…you…to. (A BEAT AND SHE GOES OUT AFTER BRENNAN)
A: Jesse, go pull me the names and powers of every New Mutant taken this morning. NOW. (JESSE PHASES THROUGH THE WALLS TO GET TO THE DATA BASE).
A: Emma, set the Dojo to simulate the safe house. Then get quick bio-scans on each of you.
EMMA: Adam, I don’t think we can relive it again.
A: Try a first time. GO.
:: End of Part One ::
...Group Interviews - Internal Damage Pt. 2
Following a span of about seven minute Shalimar returned with Brennan, Emma and Jesse had the information I asked for and, after running quick bioscans, we reconvened the Group Session at the Dojo.
A: All back with adjusted attitudes, I trust.
BRENNAN: If you say so.
EMMA: The Dojo’s set, Adam.
A: Flip it on and let’s take a tour.
(The Dojo phases into an exact replica of the raided safe house)
A: Who was first in?
SHALIMAR: I was. As usual.
JESSE: I was sneak attack.
BRENNAN: I held strong at the entrance.
EMMA: And I went for the hostages.
A: Take me through it, Shalimar.
SHALIMAR: Well, I’d scaled the roof and dropped in through the skylight. Here. (She springs into action). There were four GSAgents on the floor. (Dojo creates four large GSAgents)
BRENNAN: By my count there was one, Adam.
SHALIMAR: No way! I was outnumbered three to one. They were all ferals. Big ones. Probably bears.
BRENNAN: There was one guy. He had super-speed. He moved circles around you and I couldn’t get a clear shot.
(Dojo adjusts, replacing the four agents with one speedster. Brennan aims a few electric bolts at him.)
SHALIMAR: That’s wrong! Stop trying to cover your shabby moves, Mulwray!
BRENNAN: I’m not going there with you, Shalimar!
EMMA: Please! Your anger is splitting my head open!
A: SO…Shalimar saw four ursine ferals and Brennan saw a propulsion molecular in the same spot. Jesse, where were you?
JESSE: Trying to phases through the walls to surprise the agents.
A: Show me.
(Jesse phases through a series of walls and bulkheads until he emerges in perfect position to strike the phantom GSAgents)
JESSE: It worked that time! But in the actual raid it seemed like I was lost in a maze. I couldn’t get out onto the main floor.
BRENNAN: You didn’t prep, Jess.
JESSE: I was all over the building’s schematics when we were flying in the Double Helix!
EMMA: He was. I saw him.
BRENNAN: Then you got the wrong plans, dude.
JESSE: I couldn’t have! I was so careful.
A: Okay. On to Emma.
EMMA: Well, using Brennan to cover me, I ran to the GSA van. I almost got hit…
(Emma moves toward the simulated van. Brennan’s tesla coil nearly misses her)
BRENNAN: That was the rubber GSAgent I was telling you about. My bolts just bounced off him and he kept on coming.
(The Dojo creates another GSAgent, this one a male Molecular with rubber skin who deflects Brennan’s voltage)
EMMA: It was a woman. And her skin was normal. I’d guess she was Psionic.
(Dojo switches the GSAgent’s gender and power)
BRENNAN: What did you guys smoke?!!
A: Continue, Emma.
EMMA: Like I said, I couldn’t read her. She was a complete blank. Then the van pulled away. The safe house hostages calling out for help…
BRENNAN: I started hand-to-hand with him. Then two more attacked.
SHALIMAR: I dealt with more too, Adam. A whole task force.
JESSE: But there weren’t…
A: Keep calm and listen to me. Did you smell anything unusual?
EMMA: Yes! From the moment we bust in. It was sweet.
JESSE: Flowers. Or air freshener.
BRENNAN: Like a girls’ dorm room.
SHALIMAR: (Smirks at Brennan’s remark) It was lavender, Adam. That much I know.
(Dojo fades out image of safe house)
A: It was actually a nerve gas that promotes paranoia. (I check the bioscans) Yes. There are still traces of it in each of your systems.
JESSE: Is that why we’ve been so quick to blame each other.
A: In part. You see, the safe house was never attacked by the GSA. You four were, however. Jesse, let me see that list of the Underground residents.
JESSE: There weren’t many. It hadn’t been operational long. Allison set it up and then handed the reins to a psionic named Ron Harwood.
A: Project his file.
(Jesse uses the computer to put out a holographic file on Ron Harwood )
EMMA: Wait. I know Ron. He’s an empath, like me. That looks like him, but it’s not.
A: It’s his brother, Davis. He must have passed himself off as Ronnie. They’re a family of Psionics, actually. All five children. Until now, I thought they were Mutant X allies, but Davis must have gone over to Eckhart’s side.
BRENNAN: What’s his power?
EMMA: Let me guess. Illusionist?
BRENNAN: Are you tellin’ me we were just fighting one agent?!!
A: You were fighting whatever he wanted you to see. Your worst fears as relayed to him by Mason Eckhart. There were never hostages, at least the ones you saw.
SHALIMAR: But Adam, I saw Tara.
A: Whom I suspect was a plant on Genomex’s payroll. Your senses would have been the hardest to trick, Shalimar. But add an emotional distraction and he had you as well.
SHALIMAR: Why that little…!!
A: Mason must have been planning this for months. A move to set the four of you against each other and break down your trust.
JESSE: He knew all our worst fears, Adam. He’s been studying us.
A: Correct. Then he had Davis Harwood, his current Number Two I’ll wager, use them against you.
BRENNAN: So we’re sitting ducks to him now?
A: Hardly. Tell them why, Emma.
EMMA: Because our individual fears don’t stop us. If you’re going to destroy Mutant X it has to be as team. That’s our greatest power.
A: So, what do the four of you say to getting the toxins purged from your body and then going for a little payback?
SHALIMAR: Oh yeah!
BRENNAN: Just give me a clear shot, guys.
JESSE: Will do.
EMMA: And I’ll help keep our four heads together.
A: Fire put out, damage cleared, lesson learned.
:: End of Session::
...Group Interviews - Into the Fire Pt. 1
All the changes over the past few months demand a dreaded group session to put us back on the same page. Why would I rather face a tax audit or root canal than getting these four to open up as one?
A: Does anyone want to begin? (Silence)
A: I guess that doesn’t surprise me. So, let me throw out the first ball: Genomex.
SHALIMAR: What about them? They’re history.
BRENNAN: Toast, man.
EMMA: Yet, it doesn’t feel that way.
A: Go on, Emma.
EMMA: Well, I search my own feelings and pick up on you others. Our heads know that Genomex is gone, but the tension they created is still there. They were our enemies for so long…
SHALIMAR: And now their doors are shut! Don’t over-think things, Emma. We won!
JESSE: But we didn’t really.
JESSE: Gabriel Ashlocke and the Strand closed down Genomex. We should have been the ones to do it. For years we risked our lives fighting their agents. We hid from them, rescued mutants in their clutches, dealt with all the temptations and manipulating… Yet, someone else delivered the deathblow.
BRENNAN: Who cares?!!
JESSE: You should, Brennan. If we’d done our jobs not only would Genomex be gone but the world would be accepting New Mutants as human beings. Now it’s just chaos. We don’t know who’s going to attack us next.
BRENNAN: That is pure crap!
EMMA: No. Jesse’s right. There’s such an incomplete feeling. It doesn’t feel like it’s over. Now instead of Mason Eckhart, we have to fight Ashlocke, which is almost worse because he’s one of us!
BRENNAN: What are you talking about? Ashlocke is out of the picture too!
EMMA: Really? Better ask Shalimar.
SHALIMAR: Emma, I swear, if you don’t stop tapping into my head I’m not going to be responsible for what’ll happen to yours!
EMMA: I can’t screen it out! He’s so much a part of you it’s like you’re wearing a tattoo!
SHALIMAR: HE IS NOT!!!
(Shalimar growls and takes a swipe at a lamp, busting it into pieces.)
BRENNAN: Whoa! Talk about denial!
A: Shalimar. Just breathe and ease out of your feral state.
JESSE: Shal, please. We’re here for you.
SHALIMAR: It’s so humiliating. Like I’ve been…been…
EMMA: I know. Shalimar…you’re my closest friend. Ashlocke’s infected you like some kind of virus. I’ll use my powers and help work him out of your system. You just have to admit he’s still in it.
SHALIMAR: I feel so weak and pathetic. God, I wish I could have torn him up myself but he was too strong.
A: Gabriel was the most powerful New Mutant ever. No one being could have handled him And he haunts me as well, for the record.
BRENNAN: Since when has anyone here been a solo act, any way?
JESSE: That’s right. We win as a team…
BRENNAN: And we lose as a team.
A: So you are admitting that Mutant X did lose, Brennan?
BRENNAN: No way!. We kick ass and hundreds are safe because of us. But maybe, in the case of Genomex, if we’d been the heroes like Jesse said…we’d have a better sense of what the hell to do with ourselves today.
EMMA: That’s right, Adam. Where exactly do we fit in a post- Genomex era?
A: I was hoping someone would ask that. Sit back, all of you. I’ve got an interesting proposition.
...Group Interviews - Into the Fire Pt. 2
Navigating the rocky waters of this group session, I throw out a line that may be attached to either a lifesaver…or a lead anchor.
A: Genomex might be neutralized, but defeating them was never our mission.
BRENNAN: It wasn’t?
A: No. They were the primary obstacle we had to face. The blockade that kept New Mutants apart from humanity.
EMMA: Yet, with them removed, we still are, aren’t we?
SHALIMAR: Yep. We’re the same freaks we always were. Only difference is tax dollars aren’t paying to having us rounded up and put on ice any more.
A: Well, we have an opportunity now to show others that your unique powers can be beneficial to mankind.
JESSE: Not without being seen as a threat.
A: That’s not true, Jesse.
JESSE: Adam, you’re talking to a guy who can walk through walls! My own family doesn’t feel safe or private around me.
SHALIMAR: Once folks see we can run faster, lift more or read minds the only door they want to hold open for us is a cage.
EMMA: As I said, Genomex may be a thing of the past, but the damage they caused is still out there.
BRENNAN: Thanks to Eckhart’s propaganda machines, Joe-in-the-street gets one view of me flicking a spark and he thinks I’m out to rule the world.
A: Are you?
BRENNAN: Hell no.
EMMA: We all just want to survive. Fit in.
A: Then how would you suggest you convey that message to the genetically average men and women who fear you?
JESSE: By…serving them?
SHALIMAR: I don’t know where this is going but I’m telling you right now I’m not going to lick anyone’s feet just so they can treat me like a good house pet.
A: I’m not suggesting that. Neither is the Special Forces Bureau.
BRENNAN: Whoa there! Who’ve you been talking to?
A: An old acquaintance I have in a highly placed position. She wants to work with us.
A: Yes. She. I’m not saying I don’t have reservations, but this person could have given Eckhart a lot of help during his regime. Instead she remained neutral and even held him in check on a few occasions when it looked like he was gathering too much influence on Capitol Hill.
BRENNAN: How noble of her. Meanwhile, New Mutants were getting power-sucking bolts of plastic in their necks and stamped USDA choice while she looked the other way.
A: I know this might not appear to be the ideal ally, but her offer cannot be ignored.
EMMA: Being what?
A: Mutant X would serve as covert operatives under her administration on missions where normal human resources—
BRENNAN: Navy, air force, marines…
A: ---would not be affective. Gradually, the public would learn of these missions. From Proxy Blue at first, then the mainstream press. The overall perception of New Mutants would certainly change in this light from fear to relief.
SHALIMAR: Kind of a big leap of faith you’re gambling on, isn’t it, Adam?
A: I admit there’s a risk, but that’s always been a part of the Mutant X equation.
JESSE: Wait. Let me get this clear. What you’re suggesting is that since the government no longer has Genomex to harness New Mutants, we take their place?
A: In essence. But on our own terms.
JESSE: We’d be the new GSAgents?
A: In white hats. Without the subdermal governors and stasis chambers, of course.
JESSE: So, you’d have us join the very side that hunted us like dogs less than two months ago?
A: To skirt a further argument: Yes.
JESSE: Are you insane?!!
A: Quite possibly. Any takers?
Return to The Mutant X Warehouse