The Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix #2: Tenture

Five years have passed. Scott and Jean, under the aliases of Slym and Redd, together with Nathan (Unit Dayspring), have been travelling for three weeks to return to the Citadel of Coastcrest. For the law states that “Every ten years -- Every non-mutant unit must return to the city of their origin for a genetic scan”. In truth, they’d been “living hand to mouth, fleeing from town to town, province to province” to keep Nathan hidden from the eye of Apocalypse. Nathan complains that every time he starts “fun-bonding”, they start moving again. Redd explains that Coastcrest has been their goal, so they’ll settle there for a while. Scott muses about the past while watching Redd and Nathan bond over a “blender”.

Approaching the gates of the citadel, they encounter another traveller, who overhears them speaking in old englishe, a language no longer used. He suspects the Dayspring Unit to be the enemies of Apocalypse and alerts the guards at the gate. Meanwhile a fallen Slym is helped to his feet by Redd. Slym had shattered his left knee while rescuing Nathan from Ch’vayre. Slym tells Redd to be more careful when speaking in the presence of strangers even though they are more comfortable speaking old englishe as they are hiding out among the humans for Nathan’s safety and it could give them away. The couple cozy up to a kiss, while Nathan watches on rolling his eyes.

Three hundred miles south stands the house of Apocalypse, where most of the mutant ruling class gathers. Prelate Paladin Ch’vayre thinks back to the very day when he let Slym and Redd escape with the baby, Nathan, preventing the “total disintegration of Mother Askani’s hated fold”. At that point in time, an explosion is heard from the Master’s chamber. Stryfe, Apocalypse’s adopted son (and Nathan’s clone) has incinerated his instructor because he refuses to study. Ch’vayre reprimands the child that he should feel “blessed” to be chosen as Apocalypse’s successor, and that even “low-levs” (mutants without a full mutation) have a right to live. Apocalypse then presents himself, who casually dismisses the incident on the count that Stryfe “does not have [their] power...and therefore lacks [their] perspective” but Stryfe can “taste [their] destiny on [his] lips -- already feel the hunger welling up inside [him]”. Apocalypse dismisses Stryfe to have a word in private with Ch’vayre. Ch’vayre is concerned that by accelerating Stryfe’s mutant abilities, Apocalypse is “going against every one of the laws of natural selection [he] has lived by”. Apocalypse tells Ch’vayre his current host is running out of time. And that Stryfe has “survived the techno-organic virus which he was exposed...He is the personification of the tenet of survival of the fittest”. Ch’vayre meanwhile feels that Apocalypse is spending too much time and effort on Stryfe and slacking in the rule of his kingdom.

At the gates to Crestcoast, Redd helps alter Nathan’s physical appearance long enough to get them past the guards, using biorhythms. Slym has faith in Nathan that one day, he’ll be able to control his body by himself and “pass for normal all the time”. Redd explains that the disguise is necessary to protect Nathan from “people who fear and hate what they don’t understand”. But a time will come when he’ll be accepted and respected for who he is. The guards having been warned of the Dayspring Unit suspected to be enemies of Apocalypse, destroys their credentials and assaults Slymn. Redd holds back Nathan while Slym is being questioned. He tries to explain that their knowledge of old englishe is because Redd was “raised by the Clan Askani as a servant” but “she never believed their tenets”. Making the mistake of bring up the Clan Askani, the disbelieving guards threatens to bring the Dayspring Unit before Paladin Ch’vayre, not before having their way with Slym. Nathan jumps in Slym’s defence, biting a guard. Slym catches Nathan, who is flung off the guard.

The guards then resort to using their mutant powers, only to be stopped by Prior Turrin (a convicted anarchist), apparently highly respected by both humans and mutants. He mocks the guards for being afraid of inferior humans when they are mutants and clearly superior. Turrin comes to the rescue of the Dayspring Unit. The traveller who accused the Dayspring Unit of being traitors is upset over the guards letting them go off easily on Turrin’s part. The guards explain that Turrin has controls the city’s amenities and supplies and he “could make it a lot worse if he chose” for them. The traveller continues to argue, and is promptly killed by the guards because he knows too much and about the guards having used their powers.

Prior Turrin takes the Dayspring Unit into the depths of the city. Redd asks Turrin about their cargo they forwarded several weeks ago. Turrin tells her the package arrived safely. Turrin tells her they’re “quite efficient in all matters”. She asks if the disposal of the traveller was necessary. He replies the consequences would be dire if Nathan was turned over to Ch’vayre. The long-suffering human race had been waiting for someone to arrive “to lead [them] to a better place”.

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