|Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #386|| || |
Issue Date: November 2000
Story Title: For Those in Peril
Staff: Chris Claremont and Thomas Derenick (Script), Norm Rapmund (Inks), Richard Isanove (Colors), Richard Starkings and COMICRAFT’s Saida T! (Letters), Mark Powers (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)
Gambit takes Rogue and his team of X-Men down to New Orleans for some rest after their ordeals during the last few days. Cable has a hard time fitting in with the team and relaxing, even though Rogue tries to help him. Gambit and Rogue discuss how weird Cable has been acting lately and wonder what is wrong with him. Jean follows Cable to the docks, but their conversation about Cyclops is interrupted when Jean picks up a mayday call from Lee Forrester, whose ship is trapped in Hurricane Sam. Storm, Cable and Rogue fly out to the Arcadia, Lee’s ship, and try to help, but Storm is knocked out when pieces of the plane Hercules fall on her. Cable and Rogue try to help Lee and her crew, but to no avail. Lee decides to try to help the crew of the Hercules. Rogue and Cable succeed in saving the airmen. Storm wakes up and rallies the team together to make a run for the eye of the hurricane. Rogue pushes the ship from behind, Storm bends the wind and Cable cuts down the waves. When they reach the eye, Rogue is swept away in the undertow, but follows a vision of Cyclops back to the Arcadia. Cable also has a vision of Cyclops, which leads him to Rogue. As Rogue wonders what this revelation means, Storm comes out and says that they still have a long way to go before they are safe.
Down in New Orleans, there are better places to go to in the Vieux Carre, the “Big Easy’s” French Quarter. Some others are more popular with the tourists, but the locals all know where to come for the best jazz. The X-Men, along with Rogue, have come down to Gambit’s hometown for some rest and relaxation. The jazz club that Gambit brought them to has no name on the door, only the sweet sounds of music and the hot dancing this side of heaven. Gambit told them he practically grew up here but, tonight, the woman named Rogue is who the locals will all remember.
Gambit, Rogue and Jean dance in the middle of the club. Rogue wears a green dress, which covers her entire body, except her face, while Jean wears a skirt and a shirt that resembles her latest uniform as Phoenix of the X-Men. “Let the good times roll!” Gambit calls out in French. Rogue smiles and asks that, when a zydeco band this good plays, how can a girl refuse?
Cable watches from the side of the dance floor. He knows that he should join the others, because they certainly have deserved the break. However, Cable thinks to himself how much Jean and the others have tried hard to make him feel comfortable, but he still does not feel like he belongs with the X-Men. Rogue comes up to Cable and puts her hand on his shoulder. She asks him if he is going to party or waste the night away on the side. Cable backs away from her and tells her that he does not dance, because it reminds him of someone he lost. Also, he continues, it is not wise for the likes of them to be in public, which is like asking for trouble.
Rogue stops him and asks if he is talking about them as X-Men or them as in “stinkin’ muties.” Cable tells her that most people won’t see a difference. Rogue puts her arm on the shoulder of a man checking her out and tells him that she is a mutant. The man tells her that that is great and asks where he can join up. Trying to make a point, Cable tells Rogue to give the man a kiss and then see how he feels about her. The man says it works for him, but Rogue, with a smile, pushes him away and reminds him not to be fresh.
Gambit watches Rogue and Cable as Rogue tells the older man that he wasn’t funny. Cable apologizes and tells her that, if they use their powers, they will create a panic. He goes on and tells Rogue that, no matter what good the X-Men do, humanity at large will always fear them. More serious, Rogue tells Cable that the first time that she held him in her arms, he was not even a week old. The future was bright and he represented everything the X-Men hoped for. Rogue tells him that it breaks her heart to know that he has seen the worst of humanity in the future. Cable tells her that life does not turn out the way you expect it to be.
Rogue tells him to face things with a smile and that maybe what happens next will surprise him. Rogue leaves Cable and walks into Gambit, who holds her. When he asks what the conversation with Cable was about, she tells him that Cable was just being Cable. Gambit smiles and asks if he has anything to be jealous about. “Absolutely,” jokes Rogue.
Gambit tells Rogue that he hears the laugh, but something is different with her. Rogue says that she is just thinking about Cable. Lately, he is acting like he does not feel comfortable and is always guarded. He would never tell the others if anything was bothering him. Gambit says that he has been wondering about Cable since the incident in Moscow. Rogue remembers that is where Jean and Wolverine were ambushed in the Astral Plane.
Rogue says she did not know Cable was involved. Gambit says, as far as he knows, Cable was not. However, that is the point where things with Cable are shifted out of sync. Rogue asks Gambit if he thinks anything serious is going on. Gambit says that his instincts are telling him that something is brewing with Cable.
Cable goes out to the pier and stands on the dock. Jean comes up to him and reminds him that the X-Men came to New Orleans to relax. Cable tells her that he is having a wonderful time. Suddenly, Jean tells Cable that he would be proud of him. Quietly, Cable says he knows his father would be. He asks Jean if she misses Cyclops. Jean says she misses him everyday, but also remembers that they are still alive. Cable asks her if it ever bothered her that they never found Cyclops’ body. Jean reminds him that they have scoured the entire globe, but neither Cyclops nor Apocalypse has turned up. She continues on and says that of course it bothers her and asks if he thinks it has been easy on her.
Cable apologizes for being so rude when suddenly Jean gasps. She begins to talk to herself and says that it is impossible. She runs off back to the club, as Cable asks her what is wrong. “Trouble!” screams Jean.
On the roof of the club are Storm and Beast. Storm is in civilian clothes while Beast is in uniform, minus the cowl. Beast asks “Stormy” if she can do anything about the hurricane they are expected to get. Storm sighs and asks Beast not to call her “Stormy” as it is bad enough the Gambit insists on calling her that. Answering his question, she tells him that even she must work within the boundaries of the world. Storm goes on and says that she cannot impose her will on nature without suffering the consequences. Beast says it is funny for people like them to have limits. Beast sees Jean burst onto the roof and asks what is wrong.
Wasting no time, Jean says that she has picked up a mayday call from someone trapped in the hurricane. It is someone they know. Storm wonders how Jean’s telepathy was able to tell her that. The redhead says the connection is horribly weak, but strong emotions are coming through to her. The woman who is in trouble is tough, but figures she is pretty much dead. Jean projects an image of the woman, whom Storm immediately recognizes as Lee Forrester!
Jean recognizes the name and asks if that was someone Cyclops knew. She also wonders what connection Lee can possible have with her. Storm says that when they find Lee they will ask. Storm thinks to herself that it is best not to tell Jean that Scott had a brief relationship with Lee when he thought Jean was dead.
Gambit, Rogue and Cable reach the top of the club in uniform. Rogue asks what is happening, since Cable said that there was trouble. Beast tells her that the problem is something they are currently trying to figure out. Storm asks Cable if he can patch into the Coast Guard datanets and see if there has been any mention of the fishing vessel Arcadia.
Cable takes out a handheld device and goes to work. Gambit admires the device and asks Cable if he has found the ship yet. Cable says that, according to the data, the Arcadia is caught in the middle of a hurricane. Air Force Search and Rescue is trying to find the ship, but the storm is too fierce. The forecast predicts more bad weather to come. Storm calls down lighting, which destroys her civilian clothes to reveal her uniform underneath. She tells her companions that Lee’s safety is in their hands.
Rogue tells Storm that she will need some muscle if she needs to evacuate the Arcadia’s crew. Cable says he is familiar with Lee’s mental signature. He can guide the woman to the vessel and help Rogue with his telekinesis. Rogue asks if he knows Lee and is told that she could say that he does. Rogue says she can’t wait to hear how, but Cable tells her not to hold her breath.
A concerned Gambit turns to Rogue and calls her name to get her attention. Rogue turns to Gambit, but suddenly he puts on a smile and tells her to take care as he waves to her. Rogue tells him the same as she picks up Cable and flies off with Storm. She wonders what is wrong with Gambit. One moment his meaning is clear, but the next he makes no sense. Rogue wonders why Gambit cannot speak his mind to her. It is a moment like this that she either wants to scream at him or give him a big hug.
Gambit calls out to her and tells her to come home safe. Jean asks Gambit if it is the feeling he is ashamed of or showing them in public. Gambit snaps at Jean and tells her that his feelings are his as well as his life. It is his choice as to what he does with them. Gambit thinks to himself and says he should not have snapped at Jean, but he likes to keep his thought private. Gambit hopes he is wrong with Cable, because Storm and Rogue’s lives are in his hands.
As soon as the three clear the city, Storm moves a minute portion of the continental jet stream so that within minutes the three are moving at such speeds that only jets can match them. These are the moments that Storm loves the most, when she and the primal elements and the forces of nature are one. She lets out laughter of pure joy, but it is short lived. In a couple of miles the three reach the leading edges of Hurricane Sam, a monster that is covering most of the western Caribbean.
The hurricane is not only putting those foolish enough to go into the sea in danger, but also those in the air. Point in case is a C-130 Hercules transport, which is part of the 106th Rescue Wing of the New York Air National Guard. The crew had come to cover the launch of a NASA space shuttle, so they were in the ideal position to answer the Arcadia’s distress call. However, neither pilot nor mariner has faced a hurricane like this before. All are experienced professionals, but now they doubt that their skills can save them.
In the wheelhouse of the Arcadia are Lee Forrester and her shipmate, Paolo. A telepathic image of Cable appears before them and Lee asks Paolo if she is seeing things, as she does not recognize that the man before her is Cable. Paolo says that they are not alone in the wheelhouse anymore. Cable calms Lee down and tells her that he is Cable and that the X-Men are on their way. Paolo tells Cable not to take offense, but he and the X-Men better hurry with the winds and the sea they are facing.
In the air, Cable tells the women that the crew is coping, but is scared. Rogue asks Storm if she can do anything, but Storm says that she can only help with the weather at the proper time. At the moment, they must endure whatever the hurricane throws at them. Almost as if on cue, a bolt of lightning hits the Hercules above them. The crew loses engine number four, but fortunately the wing is still intact and there is no fire. The skipper orders the man next to him, Billy, to send out a mayday.
Below, Storm is suddenly hit by a piece of debris, which Rogue recognizes as airplane parts. More pieces shower them as the unconscious Storm plummets to the ocean. Cable and Rogue are separated as Rogue realizes that the two of them are no longer protected by the hurricane.
The wind blows Cable and Rogue apart. Rogue calls out and tells him to use his telekinesis to get him to the ship. Also, she tells him to use his telepathy to give her a lock on Storm and to lead the two of them to the Arcadia. Rogue flies down to the ocean and catches Storm before she hits the water. She finds it difficult to maneuver in between the waves and finds herself swept under them.
The undertow pulls Storm and Rogue farther down. Rogue pulls off her right glove and thinks to herself how she hates to take Storm’s powers, but she has no other choice. Rogue reaches to Storm’s face, telling herself that she cannot hold on too long or else the absorption will be permanent. As she is about to touch Storm she pulls back and realizes that the weather goddess was right. Storm does need all her strength to fight the hurricane and for her to take Storm’s powers would pretty much doom everyone. Rogue and Storm escape the waters and finds themselves in front of the Arcadia.
Rogue brings Storm under deck and tells Paolo that the Arcadia found the two of them at the right time. Paolo says that Cable told them that, even when Storm is unconscious, she shines like a beacon. He leads Rogue into Lee’s bedroom where Rogue lays Storm onto a bed. Rogue tells Paolo that the storm came so fast that the only way to go through now is to go through the heart of it. Rogue sees that Storm’s is bleeding from the scalp wound she has received. She asks Paolo to get her a first aid kit.
Paolo leaves as Rogue thinks to herself how the cut she can suture, but worries if Storm has a concussion. She looks to the wall and sees a picture hanging of Lee Forrester and Scott Summers. Rogue thinks to herself that the two obviously cared for one another, but wonders how Cable fits into it all.
In the wheelhouse, Lee quotes a classic line from musicals saying, “We really must stop meeting like this!” Lee points out that last time they met she was in mortal danger and Cable had to rush out to save her in the middle of a hurricane. Cable points out that it only happened once before. Lee asks him what happened to his “I’m not an X-Man” shtick. Cable tells her that something happened that made him change his mind. He then tells her that she never mentioned that she knew Cyclops.
Lee smiles and says that the subject never came up, but now that it has she points out that, from the jaw and how he handles himself, Cable reminds Lee a lot about Cyclops. Hesitantly, Cable tells Lee that he and Cyclops are family. Paolo comes in and tells Lee that Storm is not in good shape. Lee says that none of them are, but he has to do what he can for her.
Back on the rooftop of the club Phoenix, Gambit, and Beast watch a telepathic projection of what Cable is seeing. The three witness the conversation about Storm between Paolo and Lee. Gambit asks Beast if there is anything he can do for her. Beast says that if Jean could link with Cable and he examines Storm, or if Cable linked with anyone else, precluding Rogue, then he has a shot. Jean tells Gambit that some aspect of Rogue’s power, or possibly the makeup of her psyche, makes her impossible to scan. She is not sure if Professor Xavier can “read” her, because she surely cannot.
Suddenly, a wave hits the Arcadia and destroys the starboard side windows. The glass was made of quarter inch Lexan, which is impervious to gunshots, but obviously futile against hurricane waves. The water pours in and down the hatch to the crew and engine below. Cable realizes that if they lose the engine they are doomed. He uses his telekinesis to plug the hole that used to be the window. However, the strain is too much for Cable and he is forced to break his connection with Jean.
Gambit orders Jean to get Cable back, as he is worried about Storm and Rogue’s safety. Phoenix tells him that, under the circumstances, it would not be wise. She tells him that as far as she can tell they are all alive, though she worries that Storm is very weak. Jean goes on and says that they have to leave the initiative to Cable. He will re-establish the mindlink when he can. Until then, they can only pray.
Another wave strikes the Arcadia, which causes the mast to break. Rogue goes out because, if they lose the mast, they lose their only line of communication. That will leave the boat deaf, dumb and blind. Rogue uses her strength to keep the mast up while another crewmember, tethered to the ship, rushes out. He tells Rogue that the wind is blowing better than a hundred knots. Rogue says she can handle it and asks him if he can weld the mast back in place. The man tells her that is why he is outside. While he works, he asks what the point is of welding the mast, since the storm gets worse with every hour.
Another wave rocks the ship. The man’s lifeline snaps, but Rogue catches him. She tosses him back inside the ship and goes down herself. She slams to door behind her and uses her strength to keep it shut as water tries to rush in. The crew watches in awe and one person asks Rogue what kind of woman is she. Rogue says that she is a mutant but, most importantly, she is an X-Man and when the X-Men are on the job no one dies.
In the air, the crew of the Hercules continues to give out their mayday call. On board, Billy tells the skipper that their chances of survival are close to nothing. The skipper reminds Billy that they are the best at what they do and, no matter what, they won’t give up.
In the wheelhouse, Cable finishes putting up plywood over where the window once was. Lee thanks him and tells him that they can now take a shot at the crippled plane. Surprised at what Lee said, Cable tells her that the Arcadia is barely floating at the moment and is in no shape to attempt a rescue mission.
Cable begins to volunteer himself for something, but Lee cuts him off. She tells him that he is a mutant, not god. The airplane crew would try to save them in a heartbeat without a moment’s hesitation. The crew of the Hercules and Arcadia can do together what they can’t do alone. She tells Nathan that Scott Summers taught her that actions like that were what the X-Men are all about and then asks if what the X-Men are all about has changed.
Cable smiles and then telepathically contacts the crew of the Hercules. He appears before the skipper and Billy and introduces himself and explains that they are seeing a psychic projection. The skipper is surprised and Billy stutters that Cable is a “mutie.” Slightly annoyed, Cable says that he is offering his assistance. If they follow his lead they will make it to the trawler Arcadia. Cable then tells Lee to send a message to Rogue: “We need Storm!”
Rogue gets the message, but tells Cable that Storm is still unconscious. They are on their own. Rogue leans over Storm, whose cut has been sutured, and tells the woman that none of them are having the best days of their lives. However, Rogue says she loves the danger just as much as she loves Gambit. She continues her monologue and points out that Jean and Scott made love seem so easy. The sun came up every morning. The two were in love and were a pair of natural laws. However, Cyclops died. It was like someone cut out Jean’s heart. Rogue did not think the redhead would survive, but she did. What made the pain vulnerable to Jean was that she had a purpose in life.
Rogue smiles and says that Jean is Phoenix of the X-Men, caretaker to Xavier’s dream. It took a long time for Rogue to figure out what that meant. Rogue makes her way to the doorway and looks at Storm again. She tells the unconscious woman that, while she was with Mystique, there was always someone to fight against. However, with Xavier there was a dream worth fighting for. Mystique was defined by despair and Xavier by hope. That makes all the difference to Rogue.
Rogue says that is why show won’t give up on Gambit or herself or Storm. The X-Men are a family in a way she never knew before. Rogue says that she will never let anything take that away, not even death. Rogue suddenly realizes that she has been talking away for a while and tells Storm it was a good thing she was sleeping, because then she would not have dared to say a word. Rogue leaves and tells Storm to rest easy since they may be able to manage without her. Storm opens her eyes slightly as Rogue leaves. “The Devil you say!” says Storm weakly.
Rogue flies up into the air and quickly spots the plane. She realizes that she only has one chance to save the crew, but miracles are the X-Men’s trade in stock. Cable goes on deck and creates a telekinetic tube from the hatch of the plane to the deck of the ship. Rogue flies beneath the plane and uses her strength to stop it since it cannot hover above the Arcadia.
On board, Billy is in shock over what the “muties” want them to do. The skipper tells his crew that they must ride the funnel like an escape chute. Matheson refuses to do so, saying it is suicide. The plane begins to tear apart above them and the skipper tells them that they have no time to argue.
Below, Rogue tells them to stop arguing and to jump since they have run out of all other options. Billy says that, if the skipper wants them to jump, then he will. Billy quickly prays and then jumps down the shoot. The other crewmembers quickly follow, though the skipper has to yell at Matheson before the young man agrees to go down.
When everyone is off, the skipper goes down and tells Cable that he was the last one. Rogue flies away from the plane. The skipper looks up as the Hercules begins to spin in circles. Cable tells the skipper that they are far from safe haven as the Hercules explodes in the air. In the light of the explosion, the skipper sees a gigantic wave heading towards the Arcadia. Cable orders the Hercules crew below deck.
The crew does so, but the skipper asks what anyone can do against a powerful hurricane. Storm runs past him and tells him that the X-Men have power of their own. Rogue, Cable, Lee and Storm meet in the wheelhouse. Storm tells Lee that the Arcadia cannot stand more punishment and that Lee cannot fight the hurricane. Storm tells Lee that their only way to live is to travel to the eye of the hurricane, where there is clear air and smooth seas. Lee points out that to reach the eye they must pass the worst of the weather, including the monstrous waves. Rogue steps in and says that is where the X-Men come in. Rogue volunteers to push the boat as hard as the Arcadia will take. Storm will bend the wind around them while Cable will cut a path through the waves with his telekinesis.
Rogue dives beneath the water, while Cable stands at the bow of the ship. In the wheelhouse, Lee tells Storm that Rogue makes the plan sound so simple. Storm says that, in a way, it is. The X-Men can escape. The crew of the Arcadia and Hercules cannot. Therefore, the X-Men choose to stand by their side and bind their fates together. That is the essence of Xavier’s dream. Regardless of appearance or genetics, everyone is one family; the human family. Everyone looks out for one another, because that is what families do.
A giant wave approaches the Arcadia, which is ninety feet long. The wave tops the length of the Arcadia by half. It is the same as rushing at a vertical twelve-story building. Cable amplifies his power through his Psimitar and sends out a wave of telekinetic energy, which splits the water wave.
That is Rogue’s cue to push the ship, which she does. The Arcadia moves as if it were launched by a catapult. Lee is caught off balance at the sudden acceleration. It is a great start, but the next wave is much bigger. Storm finds that, as they near the eye, the winds get stronger, as well as the waves. Her head begins to pound and she finds it hard to keep concentration. Suddenly, Storm finds that she has no strength and that the elements will no longer obey her.
She collapses to the ground and Lee kneels down by her to comfort her. Lee tells Storm that she did her best. Storm says that it is cold comfort if the storm claims their lives. Suddenly, the remaining windows shatter and the wind throws glass everywhere. Lee screams as she realizes that the next wave will flood the Arcadia.
Storm gets up and screams, “NO!” She tells the skies that she is the mistress of the winds and that the forces of nature are hers to command. On cue, the winds stop. Lee says that the air is dead calm. Storm says that they have a momentary bubble of tranquility and that they must make use of it.
More waves rise, but Cable cuts them down. The hurricane seems to take the assault personally. Below, Rogue is caught in another undertow. She is yanked from the Arcadia. Unfortunately, she is disoriented and does not know which way is up or down. Rogue finds that she has more water in her than air. Rogue reminds herself that while she is invulnerable, she can still drown.
Rogue gathers enough strength and begins to fly through the water, but realizes she does not know which way is to the surface. She sees a light and thinks it is Cable. As she goes towards him, she wonders why he is not helping her. As she asks Gambit to forgive the things she never said, she discovers that the man she is going to is not Cable. It is Cyclops! Rogue thinks that she is either crazy or more dead than alive. Rogue clasps his hand and finds it fitting that no one is better to come to the rescue than the X-Man who never gave up. The face of the man changes and Rogue finds herself with Cable.
Rogue flies out of the water and sees Cable on the Arcadia. Above them are blue skies, though around them are dark clouds. They are in the eye of the storm. Rogue tells Cable that she owes him one. Cable says that is was a miracle he telepathically found her, considering her mind is always in a chaotic state.
As Rogue lands on the deck, Cable says that it was like he was led to her by a guardian angel. Rogue asks if it was anyone they know, but Cable says that she would not believe him if he told her. Rogue thinks to herself that Cable saw Cyclops and wonders if the man is still alive.
Rogue thinks some more and wonders if they only saw what they wanted to see. Storm comes up deck and tells them to rest, because there is still much to do. Cable asks her if she means how they are going to airlift the Arcadia and all on board up and over the hurricane and then fifteen miles one way and three hundred another ways to a safe freefall at shore.
“Something like that,” says Storm as Cable puts out his hand. Rogue puts hers on top of his and Storm puts her hand on Rogue’s hand. Rogue says that they are as good as home. Storm then asks them what they are waiting for. “Let us fly!”
Beast, Cable, Gambit, Phoenix IV, Rogue, and Storm (all X-Men)
Paolo and various crewmembers of the Arcadia
Billy, Matheson, the skipper, and various crew members of the Hercules
Jazz club attendees
Man Rogue meets at jazz club
Zydeco is a blues-based variant of Cajun music.
Gambit is worried about Cable, because he is probably recalling vague memories from when Cable was possessed and struck him and Storm down in Uncanny X-Men #384. However, the person mind controlling Cable stated that Gambit and Storm would not remember what happened, which contradicts what occurs in this issue. No matter what, though, this subplot is dropped after this issue and is never brought back up again. This is the same issue where Phoenix and Wolverine were ambushed in the Astral Plane.
Jean’s husband and Cable’s father, Cyclops, was presumed dead after merging with Apocalypse in X-Men (2nd Series) #97 during the Twelve crisis.
Gambit has called Storm “Stormy” since they first met in Uncanny X-Men #266.
After believing Jean died in Uncanny X-Men #137, Cyclops took a leave of absence from the X-Men. He met Lee Forrester while looking for the captain of Arcadia in Uncanny X-Men #144.
The incident Lee is referring to in which she first met Cable was in Cable (2nd Series) #12-14.
Issue Summary written by: Redguard (Mandeep Jangi)