|A Darker Side of Blue
Author: Rowena Zahnrei PM
In an autocratic world, humanity's last hope for freedom from the dictatorship of the High Evolutionary depends on whether the rebel leader Charles Xavier can convince Colonel Wagner to join his cause. Original AU. Please review!Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 2,659 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 1 - Published: 05-04-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2922845
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I have no claim to the X-Men in any shade, size, or flavor. Please don't sue me or steal my story.
NOTE: This story takes place in an original, non-Marvel alternate universe that was inspired by the works of George Orwell and the April "Bizarro Kurt" challenge at Nightscrawlers. I wanted to see if I could create a believable setting and character for Kurt Wagner's evil doppelganger using dialogue rather than description to drive the story. Only you can tell me if I succeeded at all, so please review!
NOTE II: Just to clear things up, the purpose of the "Bizarro Kurt" challenge was to portray a version of Nightcrawler who is the exact opposite of the fuzzy elf we all know, from his attitude to his nationality. I really don't know what nationality would be the opposite of German, so I took my cue from the world wars and that's why he's French. I considered making him Italian, but I didn't want this Kurt to seem too much like Belasco. Sorry if there was any confusion, and thank you very much for your comments!
A Darker Side of Blue
"Good morning, monsieur! I trust you slept well."
Xavier raised his head, squinting slightly against the bright light flooding in from the open doorway. He had been kept in this dark room for so long, it took his eyes a while to adjust.
"I am impressed," the Frenchman continued, still in the same bright tone. "There are very few who can pass the entrance test to see me in person. Your loyalty to the High Evolutionary must run quite deep."
"You…" Xavier coughed, choking on the dryness of his own throat. The Frenchman furrowed his brow.
"Oh, I am sorry," he said, and he sounded as if he truly was. "You must be thirsty after all they put you through. Excuse me a moment… Guard!"
The sharpness of his call was a marked contrast to his apology of a moment before. Xavier narrowed his eyes. "Some water for Monsieur Xavier. At once!"
Rather than gulping the water when it came, Xavier swallowed it slowly, in measured sips. The Frenchman's lips quirked as he watched, his cunning golden eyes burning through the light that obscured his shadowy form. Savoring his last mouthful, Xavier handed the empty cup back to the guard, who scurried from the room with his head down and his eyes lowered. Clearly, the young mutant was deeply intimidated by the dark man in the doorway.
"Thank you," Xavier said, his voice still slightly raspy. "So, you are His Excellency, The Most Honorable Director of News and Information?"
The Frenchman chuffed a slight laugh. "Please, monsieur, let us not stand on formality. You've made it this far. You may call me Colonel Wagner."
"Thank you again, Colonel."
"Now come, monsieur," the Colonel said, holding out a fuzzy, three-fingered hand to guide him to his feet. "We shall talk in my office, oui? You will find it is far more comfortable than this…" he glanced around the small, brick room, his lip curled in a foppish sneer, "…dismal chamber."
Obligingly, Xavier nodded his head to the Colonel and allowed him to lead the way.
"No, but thank you, Colonel," Xavier interrupted with quiet politeness. "I'm afraid it's still too early in the day for me."
The Colonel regarded him for a long moment, then laughed. "Quite right," he smiled smoothly, slipping the crystal cork back into the brandy bottle and striding over to his mahogany desk. "It is always best to conduct affairs of business with a clear head."
Xavier returned his smile, but with some reservation. He could see the Colonel clearly now, from his sharply pressed gray uniform and over-large boots to the tip of his long, spaded tail. His indigo face was long and lean with a sharp nose and calculating almond eyes. In keeping with military fashion, his curly hair was cropped short, revealing his pointed ears. Yet despite his high rank and impeccable appearance, the Colonel had the soft look of a man who had spent most of his life behind a desk.
The Colonel smirked. It was difficult to read his golden eyes, but Xavier could tell that he'd been sizing him up as well. He could also tell the powerful man was not at all concerned by what he saw. At least, Xavier reflected, not yet.
"So," the Frenchman said lightly, breaking the silence. "Tell me, Monsieur Xavier. What information do you have that is so important you had to come to me directly? Would it not have been easier simply to go through the usual channels?"
"I wanted to be sure the information would be relayed intact," Xavier said softly, his calm gaze never leaving the Colonel's eyes. The Colonel raised an eyebrow.
"Are you insinuating that the media would alter the facts?"
"I did not say that, Colonel."
"But that is what you are implying, no?"
Xavier just looked at him, his expression unreadable. The Colonel's eyebrow raised a notch higher.
"You are a curious fellow, I must say," the Colonel said, leaning back in his chair. "You endure weeks of questioning just to talk to me, yet now you are here you evade the simplest queries. I wonder…is it fear that keeps you so tight lipped—or is it some strange brand of misplaced confidence?"
Xavier's lips twitched upwards in a small, humorless smile, his gaze never wavering. "You are a curious fellow yourself, Colonel," he said, still in that same soft, polite tone.
"Oh? And how is that?"
"You sit here sheltered in this plush office day after day, deciding what the public gets to hear and see. Yet, the significance of the information you receive seems to elude you."
The Colonel frowned, his golden eyes narrowing sharply. "You are treading dangerous ground, monsieur," he said coldly, his spaded tail lashing behind him. "Say what you have come to say or say nothing at all. The High Evolutionary does not believe in wasting time."
"And what do you believe?"
"What is your opinion of this world we live in, Colonel? What runs through your mind when you read through the uncensored events of the day?"
"Monsieur Xavier," the Frenchman's eyes took on a dangerous glint, "I must warn you—"
"The High Evolutionary rules through fear," Xavier stated bluntly, focusing his mind on the Colonel's rising emotions. "But that can only take him so far. His regime of enforced peace between humans and mutants has stifled the very spirit of humanity. His troops march through the streets at night—not to protect but to terrify. He plots each child's life out from birth, making no allowances for an individual's aptitudes or personal desires. He claims such control is needed to ensure we do not destroy ourselves through hatred, but is he not destroying us just the same?"
"What is this," the Colonel demanded, raising an unsteady hand to his temple. "What are you doing? I can feel your words in my mind… I-I see…such images—!" He gasped, clutching at his head with both hands, his breath coming in short, quick gasps. Xavier smiled.
"What do you believe, Colonel?" he repeated, using the power of his mind to inundate the trembling officer with memories—memories of individuals he had encountered during his own time as a prisoner of the High Evolutionary. "These atrocities you are seeing—mutants given forced injections to purge them of their powers… Intellectuals and deposed officials being tortured because of their knowledge of the past… Young children being conditioned to obey without thinking… A generation of humanity growing up without the capacity to discover, to learn, to create! Answer me, Colonel, is this the freedom the High Evolutionary promised? Is this the peace we had envisioned?"
"Please…" the Colonel gasped, his eyes wide and desperate. "Please, stop this! I-I can't…"
"It is painful to witness, isn't it Colonel," Xavier said quietly, making the images come faster, with more vibrant force. The Colonel actually whimpered against the onslaught. "Yet it is even more painful to endure first hand. You grew up in a world of privilege and wealth. You don't know what it is to live in constant fear of losing your family, your livelihood, your very identity! Crossing out a few words here or there cannot make these horrors go away. Burning disks and manipulating video broadcasts will not heal the minds of those children. Only the truth can do that. The truth that you have suppressed."
"No…" the Colonel sobbed, his shoulders trembling. "No, I am not responsible for any of this! I do only as the High Evolutionary orders. I am loyal only to him!"
"What about loyalty to yourself?" Xavier pressed, leaning in close to the shaking Frenchman. "To your own identity as a mutant? You were a teleporter once. Don't you want to have that power back?"
"Took—took too much energy," the Colonel panted, his accent thickening in his distress. "The Hi—High Evolutionary said…bet-better off this way—"
"Listen to yourself, Colonel!" Xavier exclaimed. "These are not your words, but his. Tell me what you believe."
"I believe only in the High Evolutionary!" the Frenchman cried defiantly, squeezing his short curls painfully between his fingers. "His wishes are my sole responsibility!"
"What about your responsibility to the billions of people you have lied to and manipulated?" Xavier retorted.
"Worthless," the Colonel gasped, his golden eyes blazing with fury and pain as he fought against Xavier's tightening grip. "Mindless sheep…accepting what I feed them…"
Xavier frowned. He hadn't expected the Colonel would be able to keep up the struggle for so long. Confronted with the onslaught of so many horrible memories at once, the Colonel should have cracked already. It seemed the Evolutionary's control over him was far stronger than Xavier had initially thought. It was time to take a different tack, before the Frenchman became so acclimated to the images he'd be able to summon his guards.
"Have you guessed who I am yet, Colonel?" Xavier whispered in the man's pointed ear. The Colonel snarled, clenching his pointed teeth.
"You are a rebel," he hissed, forcing the words out with great difficulty. "One of those un-underground t-troublemakers who befoul our cities with your s-slanderous propaganda."
"I am not just a 'rebel', as you put it," Xavier smiled. "I am the elected leader of a vast network of mutants and humans. We have members in every world sector, and our ranks are growing larger each day. That is the information I came to give you, Colonel Wagner. It is a warning, but it is also an invitation. You can help us restore dignity and compassion to the human race. You alone have the power to put an end to the High Evolutionary's tyranny. All you need do is broadcast the truth. Every channel, every monitor screen, every printed page. Broadcast the truth and the people will rise!"
"I-I see now," the Colonel ground out. "I know how you are doing this—how you got through my-my security. You are a telepath! I shall ha-have you des-troyed!"
Xavier sighed. "I was hoping I wouldn't have to do this," he said sadly. "But you leave me little choice."
"Wha—Get your filthy hands away from me!"
"This will only hurt more if you fight me," Xavier told him, placing his fingers against the indigo man's temples. The Colonel struggled to break away, but Xavier locked him in a tight mental hold.
"Hypocrite!" the Frenchman snarled, his eyelids drooping against his will. "You dare condemn me while you commit this…this violation!"
"Sleep now, Kurt Wagner," the telepath soothed, guiding the Colonel's head to rest gently on the desk. "Just listen to my voice. You will feel differently when you awaken."
The Evolutionary responded without turning to look at his aide. "Ah," he said. "So he's arrived at last. You may show him in."
The aide nodded once without speaking, then hurried from the room. A few moments later, the distinctive clack of military boots came echoing down the hall. Only then did the Evolutionary turn.
"So, my friend," he said. "What have you to report on this uprising?"
"Sir, you will be pleased to know the rebellion has been put down," the soldier replied in satisfaction. "As expected, once I had gained the trust of the rebels, it was a simple matter for our people to infiltrate their organization. Just as we'd anticipated, the call to arms was largely ignored by our workers. Those that did rise were turned in by their co-workers and are now in custody awaiting their re-conditioning treatments. These are scheduled to begin promptly following the world broadcast of the execution of the rebel leaders. All except Xavier, of course. He was too dangerous to be kept alive."
"How did the telepath die?" the Evolutionary questioned.
"I killed him personally, sir," the officer said. "Two shots to the head. Thanks to the electromagnetic scramblers you had us carry, the fool never expected a thing. In fact, when he saw the gun in my hand he actually began praying." The soldier gave a derisive snort. "Said he forgave me."
"The gall of that man," the Evolutionary frowned. "He stirs up violence against my peace, then pretends piety?"
"Well, as you said, sir, religion is poison," the soldier said. "It preaches peace yet inspires war. I couldn't allow Xavier to corrupt our people any more than he already has."
The Evolutionary nodded. "Quite right," he said. "You have done excellent work, my friend. Hold the executions in the western courtyard. I wish to watch from here. And put Xavier's body on public display as well. We don't want any rumors circulating that he got away."
"It will be done, just as you ask."
"Oh, and Kurt—"
The indigo mutant tilted his head, his gold eyes sharp. "Yes, Your Excellency?"
"I have been wondering… That day in your office—how did you resist that telepath's mind control? I was given to understand that he was the most powerful of his kind."
"Perhaps he was," the Colonel said. "But he had no understanding of human nature."
Colonel Wagner smirked, his cold eyes glittering. "He believed so strongly in his cause he was blind to reality. He thought that feeding me images of the sufferings of traitors would move me to take up arms against you. All those months I worked with him, broadcasting that rebel propaganda he called 'truth,'he actually believed I bought into his rhetoric about 'human rights and freedoms'."
"Xavier was an idealist," the Evolutionary commented. "The last of his kind."
"Indeed," the Colonel agreed. "Humanity is a violent, petty race—mutants and non-mutants alike. Left to their own devices, they would have destroyed this world long ago. That is why we are so grateful to have you to lead us, Your Excellency."
The High Evolutionary nodded slightly. "But, what of Xavier's rhetoric," he pressed curiously. "Liberty, freedom of speech and worship, the right to vote…does none of it hold any appeal for you?"
The Colonel just smiled. "Frankly sir," he said, "I honestly couldn't care."