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Posted on Wed Jun 2nd, 2021 @ 4:53pm by Charles Xavier & Cameron Hood

Mission: Episode 0: X Lang Syne
Location: X-Mansion
Timeline: March 23, 1990

The bus had dropped Cameron off at the busstation in North Salem. There he was, standing in suburban New York with a duffelbag, a letter,, and a couple hundred dollars US. Five days ago he was still in China, being confronted by the fact that his fellow regiment soldiers had threatened him, and his family. They had executed a man in front of him, and then told Cameron that if he talked they'd kill his family.

Cameron looked around, forcing himself out of his reverie. There was a taxi stand nearby, that seemed like the most convenient way to get to where he was supposed to go. He felt a moment of cold shock run through him as he looked at his duffel and realised his rifle wasn't there. He anxiously looked around until he realised he wasn't carrying a rifle to begin with and calmed down. He sighed, bent down and picked his duffel bag back up and talked to the cabbie to drive him to 1407 Graymalkin Lane.

The little town rolled by in the drizzling rain. Cameron's mind was both everywhere and nowhere. Fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, shame. It all rattled around as the driver tried to make small talk for a whole minute. Finally they pulled up to a large wrought iron fence. Cameron climbed out and paid the driver well for the drive. He looked up at the tall fence, and the tall fence on either side. Then he looked at the speakerbox and pressed the button.

"Welcome to Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters," said a pleasantly feminine automated voice. "If you have an appointment, please press 1. If you do not have an appointment, please press 2. If you wish to speak to reception, please press star."

The letter in his pocket said he was to meet a doctor Charles Xavier, but not a when. Cameron shrugged and pressed the star.

"You have reached reception," said the same automated voice, "but nobody is available to take your call. Please leave a message after the tone." A harsh beep followed the recorded statement.

Cameron took a small step back and looked at the gate. Then he looked left and right at the walls. They were tall, but not insurmountable. Then he looked at the speakerbox again and shrugged before pressing again. As the voice repeated its initial message he pressed a 1.

"Please state your full name in the order of surname, given name, additional name," said the recorded voice.

"Hood, Cameron, Corporal, British Army. Well, I suppose that doesn't apply any more." Cameron replied, more to himself than to the voice.

"Welcome, Cameron," the recorded voice said. "Please proceed along the path and enter through the main doors ahead."

Cameron's fingers brushed against the stone of the wall as he entered, pulling out of it a dagger that he slid in the back of his pants. The fact that his name came from the speaker made him feel uncomfortable and he'd rather be prepared. He looked up at the mansion, a country house as they might call it back home as he approached.

The large oaken doors parted seemingly all of their own, beckoning him to come hither. Sounds of children laughing echoed from somewhere, possibly inside or elsewhere on the estate grounds. No welcoming committee at the door, however.

Wary, and perhaps even nervous, Cameron gave the entire entryway a once-over. There was a majestic staircase before him, and two deep hallways both the left and right of him. "Anyone here?" He called loudly.

~Over here~ whispered a breeze.

~Who's there?~ asked the silence.

~What do you want?~ said an imitation of Cameron's own voice.

Then a compulsion flared up so strongly that it formed a single word.


Before realising what he had done, Cameron stepped into the doorway. As soon as he was past the doors his mind caught up with the fact that he had done something against his own desire.The duffel fell out of his left hand, his right hand getting the brand new stone knife he had formed from behind his back.

"Greetings, Mister Hood." This voice was clearly audible, and it came from an elevator that had just opened into the large hall, its doors situated between the dual grand stairways. "You will have no need of that here."

The speaker came forward in an advanced wheelchair. A bald man nearly twice Cameron's age, yet his weathered eyes seemed to carry the weight of lifetimes. "Nothing but welcome awaits you within these walls."

"Right..." Cameron said, studying the man in the wheelchair. He didn't let the knife go or put it back. "That's why I heard them whispering in my own voice? That's you, right?"


It was nearly audible, yet the bald man's mouth had not moved. "My name is Professor Charles Xavier, and this is my home. I have taken great lengths, having pulled no small number of strings that were tied to personal favors, to bring you here."

~What do you want?~

Again, the questions were projected in Cameron's voice even if they weren't his personal thoughts.

"You might be asking why anyone would do such a thing. The answer to that question is quite simple." Smiling again before turning around back to the elevator, Charles said, "We are more alike than you might know. Would you accompany me?"

"So you're a mutant too?" Cameron asked as he warily walked to the elevator and stood before the sliding doors. "Now I'm worried about having my arse kicked in an elevator by a bloke in a wheelchair, but can I get you to stop poking around in my head?"

"Surface thoughts are as unavoidable to my awareness as your physical appearance, I'm afraid," Charles said, "but your private thoughts are your own. Reflecting your thoughts back to your mind is one method I can use to ensure I do not inadvertently discover something I should not. As you might have realized, that is a measure I've been using ever since you came to my door." Smiling to keep things pleasant, Charles continued. "I am indeed a fellow mutant, but you have arrived at a place where that does not matter. Within these walls is a school for the gifted where humans and mutants live and learn side by side with one another. You will be safe here from prying eyes, even the Guó'ānbù."

"I appreciate you vouching for the safety, but I'm not exactly a kid looking for a school." He stepped into the elevator while slipping the knife back where he had kept it. "Miss MacTaggert wrote that you could help me keep my family safe from my squad, and maybe get them before a court martial for what they did."

Charles smiled broader. "Indeed, it is not a school which I am offering you." As if on cue, the elevator doors parted to reveal the second subbasement. "Overhead you'll find standard training equipment, but here is the heart of my operations." Pressing onward, Xavier indicated various computer systems and displays. "From this War Room, we are able to monitor events across the world, supplemented by my own search methods that identify mutant powers." Turning around to face Cameron from the center of the open concept layout, Xavier said, "My hope is that you will find more than refuge here, Cameron, but renewed purpose. It is from here that my X-Men lead the struggle to foster peace between humans and mutants. You can have a place here if you so choose."

Cameron took it all in. The computer screens, the live feeds, the big conference table. His eyes then settled on Charles. Cameron was still holding his duffel bag, had his coat zipped up, and his neutral expression turned into a scowl. "I thought..." he started. "I had hoped you would help me bring my squad to justice, so that I can get on with my job. But you're looking for a soldier, but I'm not for hire."

"I am not a general and I do not train soldiers," the professor said. "I am foremost an academic. My X-Men are crisis intervention specialists who show the world that mutant powers need not be feared. We are the proof that power need not corrupt." Moving his wheelchair toward a computer, Xavier began pulling up files. "I am a man of my word," he said, "but what happens when your squad is brought to justice? Do you want to go back to the SAS? Or will you, knowing of a greater struggle for an even greater dream, choose another path?"

Images flashed across the primary War Room computer display. Dossiers from Cameron's old squad were shuffled through in short order. "Your testimony has been sent through the proper channels with a bit of added emphasis from some of my personal contacts in the FBI and INTERPOL. It will take time, Cameron, but we will see justice done. The questions before you now are... what will you do in the meantime, and where will you end up when all is said and done?"

"That is a big ask, Mister Xavier." Cameron said, considering. "I have a commitment to the Army, and the Regiment in particular. One that I can't simply put aside. But I can't do anything until those arseholes are nicked. Can I consider it for a while? I spent almost a month on a cargo ship, I need to check in with my mum and dad."

"Professor," Xavier amiably corrected. "Or Charles, if you prefer. You will find that your commission to the British Army is suspended pending an investigation with the classified Section 13 branch of British Intelligence. Forces greater than ourselves are now in play. If you wish to check in with your family, then you are free to use my secure communications center here, but for now it would be prudent for you to lay low for awhile."

"I'll keep it sweet and short," Cameron agreed.

"You are welcome to stay for as long as you wish," Xavier said, "and my amenities are available to you as well. Let me know just as soon as you arrive at any decisions."


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