Subject: My first week as an Avenger
Hey there. It's Paige. Sorry for not writing earlier - things have been crazy here. My expectations of life with the Avengers simply didn't do the reality justice. You are not going to believe everything that has happened in the last week. You know that becoming an X-Men was all that I dreamed about for the years when we were in the Academy together, so I wasn't initially too crazy about leaving the team just a few months after finally joining. However joining the Avengers has been an eye-opener! Go put on your pink rabbit slippers and grab a mug of hot chocolate now, because I have a lot to tell you!
#18 - Dear Jubilee...
To say that the Avengers were a little surprised to see me would be the understatement of the century. Remember when we sat around wondering how Professor Xavier managed to achieve so much so young? Turns out it's by not taking no for an answer. When he asked me to join the Avengers, he told me I could help to raise the profile of mutants everywhere. The Avengers are the most respected hero team in the world, and up to a week ago there were no active mutant members in either team. Hence why I'm here. I'm honored that the Professor asked me, little old Paige Guthrie, to do my part for mutant kind. I know you think he was just asking me to be Uhura on the Enterprise, but I really think I can make a difference here. It's not enough for mutants to work together to help our people - we have to show non-mutants that we can all co-exist. It's important. However I think we underestimated how committed to the idea the Avengers were.
It seems that the Avengers weren't exactly expecting me. In fact, they weren't expecting me at all. When I got here they were all on an adventure to save the multiverse - think of this universe squeezed into a candy jar with dozens of other universes, Jubes. * They came back exhausted to find me sitting on their doorstep. It turns out that the Professor had a telepathic conversation with their leader, Dr. Henry Pym, the day before I arrived. He could see in Dr. Pym's thoughts that he was okay with the idea as long as the transfer from the X-Men could pull their weight on the team. However, Dr. Pym hadn't consciously thought things out that far in his own head. He had thought they were just having an initial conversation - the last thing he expected to see was a mutant with the unique ability to change the molecular structure of her dermis and then husk off the outer layer of skin like a cocoon, ready to move in to the Compound!
* As detailed in Avengers West Coast #14-16
He was perfectly nice when he realised what had happened though, and sat down with me a few hours later and agreed to let me join the team as a provisional member. He's giving me a chance to prove myself, and if I do he's prepared to then consider me for a permanent slot on the team. It's a bit weird to have to prove myself again after having spent years as a member of 'Generation X' and finally graduating into the X-Men, but us Guthries don't run away from a challenge. We run through it.
You said you wanted all of the gossip on the team so here goes. It seems I'm not the only new girl on the block. The Avengers had teamed up with a team from another reality called the Exiles on their last mission, and one them was left behind. Her codename is Chrome, but her real name is Jenny Swenson. The poor woman is basically stranded on our world now with no way to get home. I can't even imagine what that must be like. It would be unbearable for me if I couldn't go home and see Momma when I can, but to lose everyone you ever knew? It must be torture! Mind you, I can hear you saying not seeing Monet ever again wouldn't be too bad. Any how, the Avengers have taken her in and have promised to do everything they can to help her get home, but I get the impression that no one is holding out much hope so she's trying to make the best of things. A metallic substance replaced her entire skin about ten years ago on her world yet she's not bitter. Her world sounds bizarre - apparently Pittsburgh was nuked ten years ago there! She's probably the person I've got to know best so far, particularly after the Doctor Goodwrench incident.
On Tuesday, the day after I arrived, the Avengers got a call from the police saying that all the machinery at a science expo had gone crazy and had started attacking all of the staff and visitors. The police were evacuating civilians but they asked the Avengers to investigate. Dr. Pym and some of the other Avengers were running tests on someone you're not going to believe, so the Black Knight led a small team to investigate. Apparently Iron Man is normally the deputy leader when Dr. Pym is unavailable, but he was away preparing for an honest-to-God imminent alien invasion. The Black Knight offered to lead a team in his absence. He's a very sexy scientist who's also a Knight with a magical sword. He looks like an older Josh Hartnell with stubble. I think he was actually flirting with me at one point, but don't tell Jesse. You know how jealous he gets, and it's not as if I did anything wrong. The Knight is cute though. He left the Compound shortly after the mission as he was only staying there after being rescued by kidnappers, which is probably for the best!
I was actually slightly nervous on the quinjet. It was only a small team - the Black Knight, Firebird, Jenny, and me. It was so surreal! Me - an Avenger! Anyhow, when we got to the science expo we found an old foe of the team there. Doctor Goodwrench, a "mechanical rights activist" with a few screws of his own loose. He was the one causing every thing to go crazy. He's a mutant that can animate and manipulate machinery, as well as being able to communicate with computers through some form of telepathy or empathy. The Avengers had convinced him to get psychiatric help after he had tried to get revenge for (get this) "centuries of abuse of machines". It seems he stopped taking his meds a few months back and this was the result. He actually was giving the Avengers a good run for their money for a while. None of use could get near him because every thing in the room without a pulse was attacking us while he stood in the centre of the Expo ranting. Do you know how much machinery there is at a science expo? Answer: A lot! You are going to laugh when you hear how Jenny and I stopped him though. She already has silver metal skin, and I used my powers to turn my skin into steel, so essentially we both looked like mechanical women. We then walked up to him while he tried to figure out what we were, and starting charming him. We flirted with him so much that he listened to what we had to say, and we eventually got through to him. We convinced him to surrender peacefully to the police, who put an inhibitor collar around him to neutralise his powers and then brought him straight to a centre for super-humans with psychiatric disorders in San Francisco. It was bizarre, but at least Jenny and I were useful in our first outing as Avengers!
Most of the other Avengers are really nice. Bonita (Firebird) is so friendly. I've
never met any one before who radiated such... goodness. On Wednesday she was
talking to another woman who was a provisional Avenger and I assumed they
were close friends, but it turns out they barely know each other. Bonita
was just trying to be nice to some one that she thought needed a friend.
That's the type of woman she is. Marianne Rodgers had apparently been
struggling with a mental illness for over five years, but the same team that kidnapped the Black Knight kidnapped her as well. I'm not sure what exactly
happened during that mission but I get the impression that Marianne found
out that someone close to her had been responsible for all her mental
She was slightly scary to be honest. There was a coldness to her that
reminded me of Emma Frost before we discovered how much she cared about all
of us underneath her ice queen front. Marianne didn't seem to have any of
that hidden warmth. She was perfectly composed, but it was like something
had been switched off in her, if that makes sense? She left the team and the Compound to check herself into the same Institute that the police brought Doctor Goodwrench to. She's decided to go in for observation and tests to make sure she's no longer under anyone's influence or control. Dr. Pym told her that she was welcome to return to the Avengers whenever she's ready, but I don't think she'll be back. She struck me as someone who doesn't want other people around her for a while. She told Dr. Pym that she needed to review every decision she had made over the last
couple of years, because she could no longer be confident that it had been
her that had made them. She walked into a limo that the industrialist Tony
Stark had sent for her, and she did not look back at anyone even once. I don't care what any one else says - that woman has no intention of coming back here.
On Thursday, I was reviewing some of the Avengers logs to try to get up to speed with their foes when I heard shouting from outside the main building. Hercules - THE Hercules, not just a Kevin Sorbo wannabe! - was trying to fight some geek with super-speed. He was literally running rings around Hercules, who was getting increasingly frustrated because he couldn't lay a finger on him. Turns out the guy is called (wait for it) Oort the Living Comet. And you thought the fact that Jean used to call herself Marvel Girl was funny. He turned out not to be funny at all though. In fact, I don't think Oort was even human any more. He looked human at first glance - he wore what I could best describe as a red and yellow space suit with a silver helmet - but all you could see inside the helmet was glowing energy. I don't think it was just a visual effect - I think that it was actually him and he was just energy inside that suit.
It was so weird, Jubes. He could fire some sort of energy blasts that looked like comets and he sent a barrage at them at poor Hercules. Hercules apparently lost a lot of his powers some time ago, so he's no longer invulnerable even though he is incredibly strong and tough. Oort moved so fast that Hercules couldn't avoid him, and Oort got so many direct hits that I lost count. Finally Hercules just collapsed to the ground as if he had been frozen. He looked like a statue that had fallen over without breaking. I ripped away my surface skin and changed the skin underneath to a sheet of flames just like Professor X showed me a few months ago. I tried to help but I was pathetic. I had completed underestimate Oort. One of his energy bolts hit me, paralysing me completely. He stopped running and looked at me. He called me Paige - he knew who I was! He knew I was an Avenger, and acted like we had met before, but that's impossible. He's not exactly the type of guy I would forget. He told me that he promised me and the other Avengers that he would come back for his revenge and that there was no way we would defeat him now. Then he told me that he was going to kill me slowly until I begged him for mercy, because I was the one he hated the most after what I did to him! I tried not to show it, but he genuinely frightened me.
I'm not sure what would have happened if the others hadn't shown up. Miguel Santos, the Living Lightning, showed up and started blasting Oort with lightning. You would be so attracted to Miguel, Jubes - he's Latin American, really good looking although he's not my type, and only a year or two older than us. He's a student at UCLA and had just returned to the team that morning. Oort avoided most of Miguel's lightning, but seemed to absorb the bolts that made contact. I was beginning to think that we were in serious trouble, and then he showed up.
I just looked up and he was floating in the sky in front of me. I thought I must have been hallucinating! I still remember you and me locking ourselves in your room and watching his movies over and over when they announced he had died saving the Earth, but it was him! Close enough that I could almost touch him, if Oort hadn't paralysed me! He looked exactly like he did in the movies - not like the fake energy ball that was hanging around the East Coast Avengers a few months back. The sun was behind him so it hurt my eyes to look up at him, but he was as handsome as he was in 'Multiple Enemies' when he played Jake Bank, CIA agent and alien refugee. It was amazing. And then he spoke.
"Leave my team-mates alone."
I never felt so safe in my entire life, Jubes.
Oort was no match for him. Simon shrugged off every thing Oort could throw at him. No matter what Oort did, Simon had a counter move. It was over in minutes. I later found out that whatever energy Oort controlled only worked on humans or mutants, something Simon hadn't been in a long time. The energy just bounced off Simon's ionic body and one blast hit Oort himself. It ripped through his costume and he simply shimmered and disappeared. If I hadn't still been paralysed, it would be as if he had never been there. Dr. Pym later told me that the team had once fought someone claiming to a dead version of him, but who they now believe to have been something called a Space Phantom. He made reference to fighting the Avengers in the fiftieth century even though none of the Avengers there had ever heard of him before. Dr. Pym hypothesised that Oort was some type of time traveller (as if it was an every day occurrence, which I guess it is for the Avengers). Hercules and I weren't technically paralysed - our bodies were somehow frozen in time, as if the energy Oort controlled was a kind of chronal energy. It wore off, but the fact that he knew us suggests that we're going to meet him again, only it will be his first time meeting us and something will happen to make him hate all of us, and me in particular. Nice to have something to look forward to, isn't it?
While whatever Oort did to Hercules and I wore off, Tigra explained how Simon was back. She's a type of werewolf I guess. It was the first time I ever really spoke to her, as she and Dr. Pym had locked themselves away in the lab with Simon since the first day I arrived. You know the way you meet some girls and you know they are not the type to form close friendships with other women? That was the feeling I got from Tigra. She was perfectly nice, but she's someone whose best friends will always be guys. God, that sounds terribly bitchy. She was friendly and even funny at times, but I think she's someone that it would take a long time to get to know beyond a superficial level. I also got the impression there's something going on between her and Dr. Pym, which is none of my business but you said you wanted all the gossip. Tigra told me that the Gatherers (the team they had just fought) consisted of evil Avengers from other realities. They had just recruited a Gatherer called Imperion from a reality that no longer exists, and yes, I do know how bizarre this sounds, Jubes. Imperion was suffering from amnesia, and the Avengers only discovered he was Simon Williams when the leader of the Gatherers manipulated him into attacking them. Tigra and Greer were close friends though, and Imperion started remembering things - things that only the Simon of our world would know. Dr. Pym hasn't been able to confirm if our Simon Williams is back from the dead, but Tigra is convinced of it, particularly as he is remembering more and more. All I can say for sure is that a Simon Williams saved my life, Jubes. The fourteen year old inside me still can't believe it.
On Friday, Dr. Pym and Tigra decided to go to Las Vegas for the week, or Tigra decided they were going to be more precise. There was nothing else he could do for Simon until he got the results of further tests, so Tigra decided to surprise him. Hercules decided to take Simon to see some of the places where they used to hang out a few years ago. Mockingbird, who I haven't met yet, is on medical leaving after being badly injured. The Black Knight and Marianne Rodgers had both already left the team, and Iron Man was still busy doing whatever he was doing. That left a pretty empty Compound come five o'clock, although most of the team were available in the event of an emergency. There was just Jenny, Miguel, and I left behind, with Bonita in charge if we were needed. The four of us just hung around and watched videos on Friday, which was actually a lot of fun. Bonita made us get an old movie from the fifties called 'Roman Holiday', because her mother used to watch old movies when she was growing up and she used to have a huge crush on Burt Lancaster. She did it so sweetly and in such a way that it was only afterwards that I realised getting the movie had been her actual decision. I must remember how she did that the next time Jesse tries to make me watch a Jackie Chan movie.
On Saturday, Bonita had a charity work commitment, so Miguel volunteered to give Jenny and I a tour of LA, which is where I bumped into an old friend of ours... I had never been to LA before, and apparently the LA in Jenny's world is a bit of a no-go area since the movie business relocated to Europe. We explored Beverly Hills and tried to explain the cultural heritage that is 'Beverly Hills 90210' to Jenny until it was time to get some dinner. We took a taxi to the Farmers Market and found a quiet restaurant, as Jenny was still getting used to looking 'normal' for the first time in a decade thanks to the image inducer Professor Xavier couriered out to me. I was looking through the menu, trying to decide between a quattro formagi pizza or the vegetarian lasagne when I glanced at the waitress - a girl my age with red hair in pig tails, bubble gum, and roller skates. Sound familiar? It was Spoilsport. Remember her? She was the really annoying member of the Rising Sons we ran into in Madripoor a while back. The only problem was that she recognised me too. She threw the table at me and skated out into the street while Miguel and Jenny tried to figure out what was going on. Those damned skates. They let her stick to any surface, like Tonya Harding and Spider Man's love child. She had skated onto the side of a bus and was waving to us as it drove off. She didn't figure on Miguel though. Even if Sandra Bullock had been driving that bus, it would have been no match for the speed of Miguel's literal living lightning. He gave her a mild shock to make her fall off the bus, and Jenny's steel grip made sure she was going nowhere when we caught up with her.
Mind you, maybe we would have been better off letting her go. We gave her to the cops because she was lying low, waiting for them to stop looking for her so she could slip out of the country. Apparently the cops couldn't get the skates off her, so she was in her prison cell literally skating on the ceiling when the cop on duty took a toilet break. When he got, she was dead. She had been shot in the head but her body was still hanging from the ceiling where she had been skating when she was murdered. The cops have launched a full murder investigation. They think an ex-employer must have ordered her death in case she gave evidence against them. The Avengers offered to help with the investigation, but the police said we would only get in the way of their official investigation. The weird part is that there were two pennies on the ground, which the cop on duty swears must have been left by the killer ...
Any way, on that morbid note I'm going to sign off. Dr. Pym and Tigra are back from their weekend and they are calling the team together for an announcement. I hope every thing is great there. I miss every body so much, even Monet to a certain extent. Go figure. Tell me all your news, and give Jesse a huge hug for me. I've spoken to him every day since I got here, but its not the same. Make sure he doesn't get into trouble.
Actually, don't worry about it. I forgot who I was talking to. ''.
All my love,
Paige pressed 'send' and rushed into the main conference room where the other Avengers were all waiting for her with the exceptions of Mockingbird and Iron Man. She looked at the assembled heroes - Hank Pym... Tigra... Hercules... Simon Williams... Chrome... Living Lightning... Firebird... And now her. It was still so strange for her to think of herself of an Avenger, but she knew she had made the right decision in joining. She was in the company of heroes. Being an X-Man was amazing, but she could do more here.
Hank cleared his throat and began. "First of all, I want to tell every one how proud I am of you all. The Avengers have been through so much lately, from the destruction of Hydrobase to our recent battle with the Gatherers. We have lost much, but we have done the Avengers tradition proud. Thank you all, very much. I know I speak for all of us when I welcome Miguel and... Simon back to the team, and when I offer a warm welcome to Jenny and Paige."
"Zeus himself could not say it better," Hercules cheered, as every one laughed.
"Quite," Hank smiled. "That is not the only good news I have to share. As some of you might have guessed, Greer and I have grown... closer over recent weeks. Well, we have an announcement to make. We - "
Before Hank could finish, the emergency communication clarion started loudly buzzing, as a holographic image of Beth Cabe appeared in the centre of the conference room.
"The Stark. They're here."
Next: The Stark Invasion. 'Nuff Said.
Doctor Goodwrench appeared in Avengers West Coast Annual #5. http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/drgoodwr.htm
Oort appeared as a member of the Legion of the Unliving in AWC #61, but this is the first time the team met the actual character. Check out http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/lunlv3.htm#Oort for more info. Let me know if you want to see him again.
Spoilsport is an old Generation X foe: http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/risingsn.htm#Spoilsport