Whoo! There you have it folks: the Nasty Boyz! A story eight months in the making, and 200k in the reading. Quite a ride, eh?
To be perfectly honest, I'm kinda surprised about the reaction to this piece. After all, the Evolution section is filled with happy fluff, mushy romances and the ever-present 'new mutant sagas.' Who would have thought there were people in this fandom who actually want to read a fight story? Especially one of this magnitude...
In any case, due to the strong response to the story, and because just I'm a raging egomaniac with an overblown sense of self-importance (hey--its not like you guys said anything to dissuade me from that notion) I've decided to add on this little segment. This, in case you haven't read the title, is the author's notes. In it, I'll talk about the story's origins, aspects of writing it, and anything else that comes to mind. Additionally, just like a Special Edition DVD, this section will include some original notes, and a scene left on the cutting room floor!
Let me get this out of the way first. There will be no sequels to Nasty Boyz. While I have toyed with the idea of writing one (two actually) and even came up with a cast and general outline, they are simply not going to get written.
First off, I just don't have the time. You wouldn't believe the amount of time it took me to churn those oh-so-crucial fight scenes. (Then again, some of you long-time readers probably would.)
Second, the Evolution fandom is not the same as it was when I first started writing. A crucial part of writing something in a fandom is reading other stories in the fandom. You read other stories to get inspiration for your own story. I...just...don't read Evolution stories anymore. I just don't enjoy them. When I browse through the Evolution section, I inevitably leave disappointed or pissed off...
In essence, I've moved on. Nasty Boyz was originally conceived as a stand-alone story, and thus it will end up remaining one. Any further repercussions of the story will be confined to my imagination.
...And yours. If that sounds like a challenge, it just might be...
"The name is Sinister. Mister Sinister."
Some of you already know this, but there are probably some out there who don't. There are no original characters in Nasty Boyz. The X-Men, of course, are all cannon Evolution characters. But even the others--Essex, Alec, Vertigo, etc--are based on pre-existing Marvel characters.
Lets start with the big one: Dr. Nathaniel Essex. Dr. Essex began his life as a 19th century geneticist. He was also one of the first mutants. He experimented on himself, increasing his longevity and radifing his own mutation. Over time, Essex's interest in genetics turned into an obsession. The result of this obsession was that Essex became determined to control mutant evolution. Nathan began seeking out mutants, and studying them. He intended to find the most powerful mutants around, and then selectively breed them--creating even more powerful mutants. For a long time, Essex worked in secret. When he did finally show himself, he had taken on a new name. One that suited him better than his given name. He simply called himself Mister Sinister.
Which is where Cyclops comes in. If you read comics, you already know the story behind this. But for those of you who don't, here's a brief explanation. ...Its pretty much the same as what I said in the story. Scott Summers is one of--if not the--most import mutants in history. When his genes are combined with those of Jean Grey, they produce the most powerful psis in the Marvel Universe. (Psis--those with psionic power. Telepathy. Telekinesis. And general Psychokinetic abilities.)
This has made Scott a target for many a megamaniacal mutant. Sinister included. Sinister was one of the first to take an interest in Scott. He really did run the orphanage where Scott spent much of his young life. And he has hounded Scott ever since. Sinister even went so far as to clone Jean so that Scott would create a son. That would be Cable, for those who care. And in an alternate universe, Sinister even tampered with Summers DNA directly, creating a test-tube baby named Nate Grey. You might know him as the 'X-Man.'
"I've heard the name. Frankly, I'm not impressed."
So that explains Essex, but what about the Boyz? Alec, Erin and the like... Well, here I took a few creative liberties. You could look, but I'm pretty sure you won't find the name 'Alec Cranston' in the official Marvel Universe. Indeed, I'm not entirely sure that Ruckus exists in the official Marvel U.
Instead, the Nasty Boyz have a much different origin. They were taken directly from X-Men, the animated series. The Fox animated series. I'm sure a few of you remember that one. In that series, they served as Sinister's henchmen. They debuted in season two, and continued to show up throughout the rest of the series. The were the most effective super-team the X-Men went against, and with the exception of Sentinels, probably the most formidable foes on the show.
The team consisted of Ruckus, George, and two grunts--whom I dubbed Bas and 'Lith. (Bas as in Basilisk and 'Lith as in Monolith.) Beginning in season three, Vertigo joined the team. Previous, Vertigo had been an agent of Sinister in the Savage Land. Anthro was based on anther operative from the Savage Land. He, however, did not appear in later episodes, and was added to my cast mainly to serve as a plot device. I tried to keep the powers and attitudes of the Boyz similar to those shown in the series, but did take several liberties. Additionally, their civilian names are purely subjective.
"So, Sinister, you like playing God with other people's lives?!"
'Course, if you've seen the Fox series, then you knew about all that. And you probably also thought that this whole story seemed a bit familiar. In fact, I'll bet you can identify at least one bit of dialog that I took directly from the original show...
The truth is, this story developed after I re-watched what I consider to be the high-point of the Fox Series. The second season. Specifically, the big second season finale. Man, that had everything. They built up to it the whole season, then when the end finally came, it came with a bang. A huge fight scene involving Xavier, Sinister, Magneto, the X-Men, Nasty Boys Dinosaurs... It even had the minor leaguers like Ka-Zar and Sauron. And MORPH! Morph! Man I miss that guy...
Well, you can see why it gripped my imagination.
My mind mulled it over for about a week, I drew up an outline, started typing, and the rest, as they say, is history.
"You really expect us to believe all that?"
Some of you may notice some other familiar aspects of my fic. Namely, it seems to follow the same path as Turn of the Rogue--Scott and Rogue-separated from others-some desperate circumstances-Scott almost getting killed--you get the idea. Same formula, just on a larger scale.
Believe it or not, The story was conceived--and the first part written--well before Turn of the Rogue first aired. The original outline--shown later--was written way back in December of 2000. Speed and Spyke had just aired. We finally had the full cast, but people (Rogue) weren't quite where they would eventually end up.
Still, I went ahead with the fic, and just gave my best guess as to what would happen. In my own mind, the story was set as the opener of Season Two. 'Course the rest of the season eventually unfolded and I modified my story and added things as I went along. In particular, the events from Turn of the Rogue got integrated into the ending.
I suppose you could also argue that the Kitty--Wolverine interactions were inspired by the events of Grim Reminder, but that's only partially true. Most of those events were planned--more or less--when the story was first conceived. Shadowcat and Wolverine have a big history together in the comics. Grim Reminder just made me refocus on them.
"My Virus... My beautiful virus..."
In the beginning of chapter 8, Xavier mentions that 'There are only three mutants in the world' who will trigger Cerebro's Priority On Alert. Just so you know, the three mutants are Erik Magnus Leshnir (Magneto), Dr. Nathaniel Essex (Sinister) and En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse).
Its also interesting to note that all three of these mutants have a special place in their heart for Scotty Summers. Sinister's interests have already been explained. Magneto has often paid particular preference to Cyclops, best illustrated in The Cauldron and the first story arc of Ultimate X-Men. However, this is because of Cyclops' fighting and leadership capabilities, and because Scott is Xavier's surrogate son. Apocalypse has also haunted Cyclops, for similar reasons as Sinister. On multiple occasions, Apocalypse has attempted to claim one of Scott's children as a new 'host body.' Of course, Cyclops himself would do in a pinch...
"Seems like every mutant in the world is in on ths..."
And now the part you've been waiting for: The bonus features! First, the original cast and outline for the fic. Remember, this was drafted way back in December--a good eight months before the story was finished. Take a look through. And judge for yourself how much how much I stuck to the plan, and how much I made up as I went...
A. Ruckus 15 Alec Cranston
----Wild, flamboyant, controlling
B. Vertigo 17 Erin Valchek
----Disorientation--blanket or blasts from hands
----Confident, sassy, hits on Ruckus
C. George 16 George Dawson
----Quiet, withdrawn, the brains
D. Basilisk 16 Bas Hill
----Overly aggressive, wild, impetuous, stupid
E. 'Lith 16 Jason Thompson
----Strength & invulnerability (unbreakable skin)
----Bully, quiet, disciplined
F. Ferris 14
----No outside life
I. On the Road to New Jersey
--Scott and Rogue in convertible
II. At the school--end of class
--Rogue seeks out Erin
*Scott hangs back
*Rogue told to buzz off. Harshly
--Scott and Bas do some verbal posturing
--Rogue (stubbornly) tries again
*Boyz get aggressive
*Scott steps up
IV. At Scott's car
*Admits failure, but says Scott got through
*Xavier talks to Scott
*Sets up plans
V. Ruckus' place
~Keep it cryptic
*Ruckus receives instructions.
VI. Hotel room
--Settle in for night
*Bickering, general conversation
~Keep it brief
VIII. At the school cafeteria
--Lunch --Scott, Rogue, Alec, Erin & George
*Erin agrees to after-school pitch
*Alec hints at counter-pitch
IX. Erin's house
--Counter-pitch to Scott
*Erin questions Scott's situation
*Alec explains his (situation)
--Rogue hangs back
*Argues with Bas
*Ferris shows up
*Rogue gets pounded
*Scott creates escape route--Rogue escapes
*Scott takes a pounding and runs
X. Scott's Car
XI. Erin's place
*Nate says X-Men are coming
*Call back trackers--Ruckus trashes hydrant
*Rendezvous at abandoned lot
*Scott gets Ferris' communicator
*Lurches to rendezvous point.
--Full team disembarks
*Follow Rogue to Erin's house
*Wolverine tracks Boyz to abandoned lot
--X-Men show up, take a pounding
*Spyke, Storm, & 'Crawler taken out
*'Lith breaks Wolvie's neck
*Scott open a can...
*Wolverine goes berserk
*Various X-Men recover
*Only Ruckus remains
--Xavier monitors fight
*Cerebro detects Sinister
*Xavier orders retreat
*Sinister mocks Xavier
*Scott mentions 'Nate Essex'
--Scott and Rogue talk
*Scott is very disturbed.
"Hang on Everyone. We're going in!"
Last section, folks. The cut scene... Actually, its not really a 'cut scene.' Its just the first draft of a scene that got rewritten...
The scene comes from way back in chapter 4. The Flashpoint. The scene that changes the story from a 'recruiting' story so a 'fight' story. Its the scene where Scott and Alec spend three pages speaking in hushed tones about the future of mutants. I'm sure you remember it...
The scene touches on a lot of themes that run throughout the story. In fact, it was intended to be the pinnacle scene of the fic. However, after I had written it, I ultimately decided it veered too far off Evolution cannon. And Scott started veering off character, as well. Still, it does cover a bunch of themes that didn't quite surface in the rewrite, or in anything written afterwards, so I think it still adds something to the story.
"I heard everything Marie said about the Institute and all that, but..." Alec broke off. "What's it really like living there? Is it pretty care free, or are you burdened down with responsibilities and all that?"
Scott considered his words carefully before responding in the same hushed tone. "Kinda. There is a lot of responsibility involved. But some kids do have it harder than others." Scott saw Alec's confused look and tapped his glasses. "For some of us, just controlling our powers is a big responsibility."
"But there are some more important responsibilities," continued Scott, eager to have something to take his mind off his paranoia. "Part of the reason why the Institute teaches mutants to control their powers is so their powers don't go off in public. If the presence of mutants becomes common knowledge, bad things will happen. People will panic. Panic would soon give way to hysteria, violence, riots... All because of some imagined threat posed my mutants in communities."
"But mate, the threat isn't imagined." Alec's tone became even more hushed, adding to its gravity. "Mutants can be a threat to normal people. Look at what Erin did to you and your friend. If you didn't have that little blast of yours, there's no tellin' what she could'a done to you..."
"That's true," conceded Scott. "But the Institute does have a way with dealing with that sort of thing. There is a... Well... Militant aspect to the Institute. If a mutant is creating trouble by using their powers recklessly, some of the Institute's senior members are sent out to deal with the mutant."
Alec regarded Scott for a moment. "So, if a mutant doesn't join you, you take 'em down..."
"No, its not like that," Scott quickly corrected. "If a mutant doesn't want to come to the Institute, that's fine. If they want to live a quiet life without using their powers, we let them. But when they start using their powers publicly, or start using their powers violently, then they become a threat to themselves, and the entire mutant community. That's the only case where we use force."
"So basically, the Institute is trying to control mutant activity."
"'Control' is a bad word for it," said Scott. "It's more like guiding mutant activity. Keeping mutants out of trouble."
"That's not much of a difference, mate," Alec interjected, bluntly.
"I think it is."
Alec shrugged, dropping the subject. "But what about the future? Eventually, people will find out about mutants. All the Institutes in the world can't prevent that. What will the Institute do then? I've heard rumors..." Alec broke off, leaning in a bit closer. "I've heard there are groups out there who think mutants are destined to rule the world..."
Scott's brow furrowed, all his earlier paranoia returning with a vengeance. "There are people that believe that... But not us. The Institute believes that Humans and Mutants can, and will, live peacefully together. As equals." Scott put lots of emphasis on this last word.
Alec leaned in closer. "You said 'the Institute believes,' Scott. What do you believe?"
Ordinarily, Scott would have agreed with the Institute's position instantly. But today, his paranoia made him pause. Thoughts he usually ignored began surfacing. As he sorted these thoughts, he stared past Alec, his sunglasses hiding any emotion his eyes would have shown. "I believe," he said at length, "that we will eventually coexist. Peacefully."
"So do I," agreed Alec. "But that won't be for a while. And before we do, things are gunna get bad." Scott continued staring past Alec. "You know that as well as I do. So what will the Institute do when everything hits the fan?"
Scott grimaced. "I don't know."
"That's the kicker, ain't it mate?" Alec sighed, and, and began looking past Scott. "Everything about our lives are determined by the decisions somebody else makes. But we don't know what they'll do. Nor why. We're just pawns in the games of those in power..."
Scott looked up at this comment. "We're not pawns, Alec. We can make our own decisions."
"True," conceded Alec. "We can make our own decisions. But those decisions only have so much effect on our lives. The decisions of the bosses are what really drive our lives. What the Institute thinks has more effect on your life than what you think." Alec paused for emphasis. "Other people will always make decisions for you. But... You can choose who makes those decisions."
Keeping his expression passive, Scott gave Alec a sideways glance. 'Okay... This is getting weird,' he thought. 'Just what is Alec getting at?'
"Scott, you don't trust the Institute." With this blunt statement, Alec stared into Scott's glasses. "If you did, we wouldn't be talking like this."
"I trust them," Scott replied, almost defiantly.
"Implicitly? Do you trust them with your life? Or your friends'? Do you think the Institute will protect you all when everything hits the fan?" Scott's gaze fell slightly. This prompted Alec to continue in an even more earnest tone. "Mate, if you don't trust them, you shouldn't let them run your life."
"And what would you suggest doing?"
Alec's face hardened. "Scott, Erin's mom isn't coming here. Erin doesn't live with her mom. She lives alone."
"What?" Scott wasn't expecting that, and his expression showed it.
Alec spoke slowly, considering each word carefully. "A few years ago, a man named Nathan Essex found Erin. He made her an offer. She accepted."
"What kind of offer?" Scott prompted. "And why?"
"Why? Because she's a mutant," Alec replied bluntly. "Nate has plan, Scott. He knows that Humans and Mutants are headed for a conflict. He also knows that one way or another, that fight will be resolved. But when the fighting is over, we're all going to live together."
"We've already talked about that," interrupted Scott. "Where does Erin fit into this?"
"When the fighting starts, people are going to die. Mutants will die. And all their potential will die with them. Nathan's plan is to find the mutants with the most potential, and protect them. He'll keep them safe so that after the fighting is over, so they'll still be around to do some good."
The cynic in Scott took over. "So Mr. Essex found Erin, now she's living under his protection... What's the catch?"
"What makes you think there's a catch?"
"There's always a catch," retorted Scott. "Even with the Institute."
"Touché," said Alec, with a smirk. "The catch is that, for now, Erin has to keep a low profile. Finish school, maybe get a job, all that. She just has to act normal. When the fighting starts, Nate will protect 'er, in whatever ways he sees fit. After that, she works for him. Just like you work for the Institute."
"What kind of work?" Demanded Scott.
Alec leaned back into his chair. "The Institute thinks that Humans and Mutants will live as equals. Nate doesn't. Mutants are just too powerful to be treated normally. Nate wants everyone to have the same rights and all that, but Mutants will have a special part to play in society."
"Rulers?" Interjected Scott.
"Not quite," corrected Alec. "They'll be given positions where their powers can be used productively. Entertainment. Special Construction. Enforcement. Exploration. Thing that are too dangerous or inefficient for normal Humans."
"The mutant elite..."
Alec nodded. "Pretty much, mate. After the fighting, Nate will be in a position to make all that happen. And the mutants he collects now will be the first ones he helps. They'll become his agents. His poster-boys. Icons for other people to look up to, and emulate."
Alec and Scott locked gazes. "Scott, Nate wants you for his team. Of all the mutants he's seen, he sees the most potential in you. You could be his ultimate icon..."
"I don't think so..."
"Scott, consider this for a moment. Right now, you're tied to the Institute. You're just a pawn, subject to every whim and decision they make. With Nate, you'll have control. Once everything's in place, you'll be in a position of power! You'll have the power to help shape the world in any way you want!"
Scott's expression hardened. "I don't think so."
"Scott, think about what you're doing..." Alec's seemed haughty now. "You're turning down a chance for everything... Just to be a pawn for some old guys in an Institute..."
"No, Alec." Scott sat forward in his chair, staring defiantly at Alec. "I'm not a pawn of the Institute. I am the Institute!"
"You're deluded," scoffed Alec.
"No, Alec. I am the senior student at the Institute. I've watched every kid there since the moment they stepped through the doors. I know each student just as well as anyone else in the Institute. They are my family. My friends. My team. My team." Scott paused, his scowl deepening. "And when everything hits the fan, if the Institute can't protect them, I will."
Alec regarded Scott with stunned expression on his face. "You... You really believe that, don't you..."
Abruptly, Scott got up. "Rogue. We're leaving."
And that, my friends, is that. I hope this story has been worth your time.