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Excalibur (1st series) #101

Issue Date: September 1996

Story Title: Quiet

Staff: Warren Ellis (Writer), Casey Jones (Penciler), Tom Simmons (Inker), Ariane Lenshoek (Colorist), Richard Starkings and Comicraft (Lettering), Malibu's Hues (Separations), Suzanne Gaffney, Jaye Gardner (Editors), Bob Harras (Editor-In-Chief).

Brief Description:
Moira listens to a private message from Xavier left for her, in which he reminds her she is the last outpost of the Dream. Excalibur return, right after they saved London, and Moira gives them the shocking news about Xavier. After watching various news reports on the events in New York, they each try to come to terms with what is happening. Alistaire Stuart tells Rory Campbell that he has been assigned to be the Director of a new paranormal division, incorporating the W.H.O., Black Air and other agencies, and he would like Rory to come and work with him as mutant liaison and management. Excalibur intend to get to the States and help their friends, until Moira puts her foot down and tells them that they are the last outpost of Xavier's dream. They have a responsibility to him to stay alive.

Full Synopsis:
Muir Island Research Center, the morning of the devastating events in London. Moira MacTaggert, the Island's owner, and the worlds leading scientist on mutations sits in a crypt which lay beneath the Research Station. The crypt was put there by her dear friend, and founder of the X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier. It was his last gift to his friends, everyone who had participated in his dream of peaceful co-existence between man and mutant. It contains information.

Xavier's image appears on the screen before Moira, and in a pre-recorded message he talks to her. He tells his former lover, that he recorded these messages in the knowledge that they would only be used if he died or went mad. That in either situation, Muir Island becomes the sole repository of all the mutant-related data Xavier had gathered. And if he is gone, and the X-Men are too, the Moira Mactaggert becomes the last outpost of the dream. Moira knows this.

Her beeper goes off, and Rory Campbell, a friend and psychologist tells her that Excalibur is home. The transonic craft they are in pulls into Muir Island, their home, which they are glad to return to after they saved all of London in a heated battle against Black Air, Margali Szardos, the London Inner Circle, Scratch and Mountjoy. However they, apart from Daytripper, do not know what has happened in America over the last several hours. And Moira MacTaggert has to tell them. Every sentence she tests out in her head does not seem good enough for her friends. She wonders how they will all react? Will Rahne cry? What about Colossus, who argued with Xavier last, time they saw each other? And Kitty, she grew up with Xavier as a father...

They walk down the runway towards Moira. Brian holding onto his wound and to his beloved Meggan, Rahne supporting Douglock, Colosuss carrying the injured Wisdom, with Kitty at her boyfriend's side, and Nightcrawler, leading them. Moira yells back to Rory for him to get the Medlab up and running. She asks Meggan if she cleaned Brian's wounds - Nightcrawler tells the Doctor to calm down, the wounds are all minor. She takes her glasses off and wipes away the tears, and says one of the hardest things she may ever say: "Charles Xavier's gone insane"! She tells everyone that he has evolved into something called "Onslaught" and is attempting to kill the X-Men. Kurt and Kitty especially, two long serving X-Men, are devastated.

Moira tells everyone that it was Cyclops and Phoenix who came to Muir Island and told her, and they have found some material he left here, in such an event. Kitty is in disbelief, Kurt asks where Cyclops and Jean are, that Excalibur can leave, Colossus interrupts, saying they must leave immediately, and find out who is doing this to the Professor. Wisdom, still being held up by Colossus says he has seen this plot on Star Trek. Moira tells everyone that the American teams are all handling it the best they can, and Excalibur are all staying here, as everyone is wounded and or exhausted.

Moira's mood picks up a little when she sees Douglock, who Excalibur rescued from Black Air. She puts her lab coat over the naked lad, telling him not to be a brazen hussy! Douglock tells Moira he missed her, and Moira seems impressed at his new personality. Moira tells everyone they better see for themselves why they are not going away to the States.

Computer screens now show news coverage and live footage of the events in the States. One reporter talks about how an electromagnetic pulse has exploded over Manhattan, plunging New York into darkness, while immediately previous to the pulse, the X-Men's Blackbird returned to New York. A scientist explains that EM pulses normally result from nuclear detonation and the range of this pulse is phenomenal, with effects being felt in neighboring states. Footage shows Captain America, and the other Avengers going into battle against an unknown threat in Midtown. Another newsreader comments on how the threat bought the Avenges, Fantastic Four and X-Men together. Finally, another newsreader says that the mutant Magneto could be suspected for creating the pulse, but he appears to be missing still. In her opinion, the perpetrator is a new mutant or superhuman of terrifying potential.

Excalibur watch in horror the images they see before them, and the words of the newsreaders chill them. Brian Braddock mentions that with the EM pulse, there can be no planes in the air, and Xavier would detect Excalibur's entry in an instant, though with the blackout they wouldn't know what they are flying into anyway. He suggests they could take the Moonlight Flit though, the medical vessel he designed, to provide assistance on the outskirts, and it is fast enough to get them there while they can still be useful. Shadowcat stares in disbelief still, did the Professor really do all this? Nightcrawler admits that the Moonlight Flit actually took a bit of damage while he was in London...

Shadowcat tells Meggan that she is going to put some coffee on, Meggan says she better stay, as Brian is about to use his big "Captain Britain voice". Brian asks Nightcrawler if he let his brand new aircraft get shot? Kurt says it wasn't quite like that, but it kind of got shot... the phone rings... Kurt continues, explaining the Flit has got one engine down, and wouldn't have the speed to get them to New York in time. Kurt suggests what if they transfer the medical gear into the Midnight Runner? Brian tells him there wouldn't be enough room to fit all the necessary equipment though.

Nightcrawler picks up the phone. Meggan tells Brian that he better get to the Medlab, as she wants Moira to look at his bullet wounds. Brian protests, but Meggan tells him that if she has to put him over her shoulder and carry him there, she will.

In the Medlab, Wisdom is talking to Excalibur's long time ally Alistaire Stuart. Wisdom tells him that the Intelligence Community used the data Kitty sent them to shut down Black Air permanently. And Excalibur managed to shut down all the stuff that Black Air gathered from Britain's paranormal investigation department before it did too much harm. Moira pulls a cigarette out of Wisdom's mouth. He tells her to get away from it. Moira reminds him that she has told him many times, no smoking in her lab. Wisdom mumbles that he is going to rebuild Hadrian's Wall tomorrow. He tells Alistaire that he is now safe from Black Air and it's death threats against him. And the principal members are going into prison until sometime after they die of old age.

Nightcrawler suddenly teleports into the room, handing the phone over to Alistaire he tells him it is from London with the Prime Minister's compliments. Alistaire asks Kurt if he thinks he will get an apology for how the government allowed the treasonous scum at Black Air to usurp the Weird Happening Organization? Kurt tells Alistaire he doubts it, but to have fun anyway!

In the kitchen Colossus tells a very solemn Kitty Pryde that the worst part of it is that the last words he spoke to Xavier were harsh ones, and now he is lost. Kitty tells her former boyfriend, that now he knows how she felt when he went over the edge. Piotr muses he never thought of it like that. Kitty asks him if he is happy here. Colossus tells her that they all achieved something this morning in London, and achievement feels good, especially when he has his oldest friends with him. And even more so when one of those friends seems so happy with her life. He tells Kitty that he has heard her and Wisdom laughing at nighttime. She looks up from her drink, but Colossus tells her it's not like that. It pleases him, as it is the laughter of adults, which they never were. Times change, occasionally for the better. He tells Kitty that he promises never to beat up any of her boyfriends again. Sarcastically she tells him that he is too kind.

Outside, Wolfsbane and Douglock are walking along the beach. Rahne comments on Douglock wearing Wisdom's clothes. Douglock tells her that Wisdom claims to have fifteen sets of clothing exactly the same. He also offered to teach Douglock how to smoke, drink and say disgusting things. Rahne tells Douglock that Wisdom is a very generous man then. Douglock tells her not to worry, he doesn't intend to take Wisdom up on his offer, except for the language lesson maybe. He still has some Shakespearean insults in his data banks though, and asks Rahne if she wants to hear some.

She tells him not at the moment, and asks him if she should still call him "Dougie"? After all, he seems to have found his own personality now, one outside of the Phalanx, and Doug Ramsey's memories. Douglock tells Rahne that Doug Ramsey was a great friend of hers wasn't he? So Douglock has considered changing his appearance so that he doesn't look like Cypher, as not to bother Rahne anymore. Wolfsbane tells Douglock there is no need to change his appearance. She knows that Douglock is not Doug, and that she got over that a long time ago. Rahne tells him that his appearance is a nice reminder of her deceased friend though, but Douglock is Douglock. Rahne says she is looking forward to watching 'Lock become his own man and her new friend. Douglock spouts off some Shakespeare, "Thou droning hedge-born, fly-bitten bladder"!

Rory Campbell is in his office. He came to work, as a psychologist with Moira because he thought it would be a challenge. Soon after arriving on Muir he got that challenge. A glimpse of a possible future, in which he becomes a man, called Ahab, who uses his skills to torture mutants. The challenges kept coming when trying to face the fear he will become a mutant-hater, he lost one of his legs, while dealing with the mutant Spoor. The idea that something will happen to make him hate mutants freezes his heart, as do the clippings and Internet messages about New York. He wonders, could this be where the hate starts?

Alistaire Stuart knocks on the door. He tells Rory that he knows they haven't spoken much, but he has something to ask. Rory tells him to come in. Alistaire tells Rory that he has just received a call from the government, and they want to take the old W.H.O., Black Air and any other related paranormal organizations and combine them into one single department. Alistaire has been offered directorship. Alistaire tells Rory he wants to offer him an important post within the department: "Mutant Liaison and Management". What it means is that it keeps Rory in contact with Moira and Excalibur, and also begins a program of discovering and offering aid to British mutants. Rory thinks it is a completely benign job, helping mutants, never hating them. He asks Alistaire what about Moira? After all, he works here. Alistaire tells Rory he has spoken to Moira and she wants Rory to go, with her blessing. Rory asks Alistaire when do they leave?

Within her Medlab, Moira smiles on the inside. She is surrounded by her research data on the Legacy Virus. Moira has the Legacy Virus, and her research has uncovered some interesting points. But she prefers to go up this avenue alone.

In his quarters, Nightcrawler and Daytripper grab a few moments to themselves. After shutting down the London horror together, they have never felt closer. Nightcrawler wants to know why Amanda never told him that their mother Margali had the Soulsword, and was up to no good. Amanda tells her foster brother that it was her mistake in giving it to her, so it was her problem. Amanda says she wanted to cope with it herself, and tells Kurt he has enough to cope with. She looks to the floor, and Kurt sits down with her, telling Amanda she coped excellently, and to never forget that it was she who saved his life, the lives of Excalibur and everyone else in London. They embrace and tell each other "I love you," while Kurt silently wonders what happened to Margali.

In the Medlab, Meggan tells Wisdom that after Brian's fall through the Timestream, he had flashforwards. Brian tells Wisdom they are memories of the future that would hit him at random. He asks Wisdom, who is smoking again, if he has a deep dislike for oxygen. Wisdom just says that air is overrated, and asks what these flashforwards have to do with him. Brian explains that the last one he had was fifteen years from now. In that future Wisdom was crippled and many members of Excalibur were dead. The remainders attacked the Black Air HQ then, not now, and all died. Brian believes the thing that changed the future was Wisdom, who allowed himself to become part of a team. So they beat Black Air now, and they all lived. Wisdom looks up at Brian wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Brian continues, saying he hasn'?t had a flashforward since, as if the future he saw has been wiped away because it never happened. The way Meggan and he see it, is that Wisdom has to do something the future Wisdom never did... he has to admit to Kitty he loves her.

Moira, Kurt, Amanda, Meggan, Brian, Piotr, Kitty, Wisdom and Lockheed are all in the lounge watching news coverage of their recent battle in London. One newsreader says the death toll is at half-a-million, but would have been far worse without the intervention of Excalibur. Big Ben is scorched, but intact, as it watches over London. While in London there will be months of mourning, and years of rebuilding. The government acknowledges a debt of thanks to the supergroup Excalibur.

The news switches to the main news story of the day - the New York situation. As New York remains in a blackout, only strange lights can be seen in Manhattan. Nightcrawler says he doesn't believe it, they are stuck here while their friends are... no one wants to say "dying". He says they have to do something, Kitty agrees, as does Wisdom. Brian says they could take the Midnight Runner, though it would provide no medical assistance, Excalibur could at least provide some muscle.

Slapping her fist into the palm of her hand, Moira tells everyone that that is enough. Kurt argues that their friends are in trouble, maybe even fatal, that Excalibur will just go to Manhattan... Moira interrupts - and probably get killed - she says. And then what happens to the rest of the world? Mutants don't only exist in New York. What happens when Excalibur is needed in Paris or London again, or a tiny village somewhere? They are no use to anyone because they are all dead, and mutants have no one to look for help. What happens to Charles' dream of peace when there is no one left to defend the dream? Moira tells everyone that Charles' dream is here, because if things go wrong in Manhattan, Muir Island, Moira and Excalibur are it. The real Charles Xavier, the one they knew and loved needs them to be here, this is where the dream is, and Excalibur has a responsibility to him to stay alive. With Moira's powerful words, the world goes quiet, and the night gets darker.

Characters:
Captain Britain, Colossus, Daytripper, Douglock, Meggan, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Pete Wisdom, Wolfsbane (All Excalibur)
Dr. Moira MacTaggert
Dr. Rory Campbell
Alistaire Stuart
Lockheed

On Television:
Captain America
Various news presenters and reporters.

On a Computer Screen:
Professor Charles Xavier

Notes:
This issue is part of "Onslaught: Impact Two", every title of the time had some ramifications of the Onslaught X-Over running through them.

Amanda knows about Onslaught before the rest of Excalibur because she was with Moira when the X-Men arrived and told Moira that Xavier had gone insane. [Excalibur #100]. Presumably she is not with Excalibur when they walk over to Moira because as she already knew, it didn't fit into the scene, so it would be safe to say she teleported inside already.

The Moonlight Flit was damaged by Black Air operatives when Nightcrawler and Meggan returned from the States after picking up Alistaire Stuart [Excalibur #96, #97].

Hadrian's Wall, an originally 73 miles long wall between the Solway Firth in the west and the river Tyne in the east was orderered to be built by Emperor Hadrian in 122 AD to separate that part of Britain that was part of the Roman Empire from the "Barbarians".

Cypher was killed while protecting Wolfsbane against the Right, in the tragic "Fall of the Mutants" [New Mutants #60].

Colossus left the X-Men after to join Magneto's cause after he felt Xavier's dream had failed his family in Uncanny X-Men # 304 and argued with Xavier in Excalibur #71

Apparently Douglock isn't quoting from one certain Shakespeare play, but combining several Elizabethan-style insults.

Brian was lost in the Timestream after "Days of Futures yet to Come" between Excalibur #67 and #68. He was pulled back to the present by the combined efforts of Amanda, Meggan and Rachel, though Rachel got lost in the Timestream in the process [Excalibur #75].

In the Timestream Rory Campbell and Daytripper both saw Ahab, the mutant-hunter who Rory may become [Excalibur #75]. From Excalibur #76 onwards he tried to think of ways so that he would never become that man. Rory lost his leg while psychoanalyzing the mutant Spoor [Excalibur #90].

Brian's flashforward occurred in Excalibur #94, "Days of Future Tense" in which the Excalibur team of the time, including Psylocke and Tangerine (from "Days of Futures yet to Come") went up against Black Air, in the horrific 2013A.D.

This Issue has been reprinted in:
Excalibur Visionaries: Warren Ellis Vol. 3 (Trade Paperback)

Issue Summary written by: Daytripper (Steven Bishop)


Next Issue - Excalibur (1st series) #102

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