Each of you has found yourself at a national convention for mutant awareness being held in Spokane on this Friday evening. Different reasons have led you here. Some of you came out of a growing curiosity, others, to get information, and yet others (referring to the Monster) are here as captives meant to be used as a demonstration of the brutality of mutants. The reasons are perhaps multilayered and complex, but the fact stand that each of you have arrived and the first speech is about to commence. Notable speakers and personalities are scheduled throughout the day and the rest of weekend to follow. There’s a high social energy in the building but you can’t tell if the energy is positive or hostile.
A tall, bald, and wiry Indian man in an outdated suit walks onto the stage and, after adjusting his tinted spectacles with little ado, begins. “Hello, I am Dr.” the microphone feedback spikes and drowns out the last name. “Superhuman traits have been known to run in families, and the mutation of one or more genes has therefore been thought to be a likely cause in some of these cases. Only recently, however, was such a causative mutation identified. This discovery has opened a fascinating new chapter in the neuro-genetics of our uniquely human form of genetic make-up. The new chapter began with an investigation of three generations of the KO family, half of whose members have a COGNATIVE DYSPRAXIA that is inherited in a pattern consistent with an autosomal dominant mutation. This cognitive dyspraxia was later shown — on the basis of micro-behavioral analysis and longitudinal repulsion — to be rooted in a reproductive disorder that is manifested most strikingly during exposure to radiation. This quantitatively based description of the phenotype enabled a genetic linkage analysis, which led later to the identification of the mutated gene, LEXR4. In parallel, the behavioral phenotype helped to uncover important regions of neuro-pathology that are caused by the mutation. Although there is still much to be learned about this neuro-pathology and its functional consequences, a good start has been made in understanding how a single gene contributes to proficient human mutation. During our 8:00 am to noon session located in meeting hall 12, we review the behavioral phenotype in the affected KO family members, the correlated structural and functional neuro-pathology, and the expression of the LEXR4 gene in normative brain tissue. These findings allow us to propose a tentative model of the portion of the neural circuitry for mutation that is partly, but critically, dependent on LEXR4. Thank you.”
Toward the end of his speech another character, a white man wearing a much more appealing suit stepped out in preparation of the microphone. “Thank you doctor,” the man said with a toothy grin. “Hello and good morning. I am Councilman Spencer Mason, and I’m here to talk about our humanity.“As we all recall with mourning hearts, twelve children and an adult died three months ago as a school bus happened upon the crossfire of a mutant conflict. Yet no charges were made to the mutant who, with all evidence supporting, creating in his rage a tectonic fault into which the school bus tragically drove. How many more innocent people need to suffer? As one of the aftermaths of the decade, many people seem to suffer from a neurotic guilt¬-complex with regard to mutants. This has led to a strident denunciation of the wrongs done by mutants, real or imaginary, under legislative rule. It is a denunciation, so shrill and emotional, that the vast debt owed by mutants to us is lost sight of. Incidentally, the mutant is encouraged to forget that debt. Confining myself to that area of` which I know at least a very little, I shall say this without fear of reasonable contradiction: we are unsafe.” At this a beastly figure is pulled unto the stage by an assortment of armed but anonymous figures. The monster’s arms and legs are shackled together.
“This brings me to the question of the future. To me there seems to be two possible lines of development: Social Segregation or Partnership. Partnership means Cooperation of the individual citizens within a single community, irrespective of superhuman powers. It demands that there shall be no discrimination whatsoever in trade and industry, in the professions and the Public Service. Therefore, whether a man is mutant or normal must according to this policy be as irrelevant as whether in San Francisco a man is Irish or Dominican. I take it that Partnership must also aim at the eventual disappearance of all social segregation based on race. This policy of Partnership admittedly does not envisage immediate adult suffrage. Obviously, however, the loading of the franchise in order to exclude the great majority of the mutant-kind could be no worse than a temporary expedient. In effect and by there will one day be mutant domination, in the sense that power will always pass on to those who are able to wield power. Need I say more to show that this policy of Partnership could, in Spokane or in the entire world, only mean the eventual suppression, subjugation, and inevitable disappearance for those who are normal humans? And will you be greatly surprised if I tell you that this nation is not prepared to commit national suicide?
“Now I think the American people deserve the right to decide if they want their children to be on the playgrounds with mutants. To be schooled by mutants! Ladies and gentlemen, the truth is that mutants are very real, and that they are among us. We must know what they are, and above all, what they can do! But what, in fact, are they: these mutants who are likely to sit before us in class, or across from us at the dinner table, or who stare at us with hostility from street corners as we pass? Beatniks or hipsters, lay-abouts and drop-outs we are likely to call them with corresponding hostility – or more elegantly, but still without sympathy, passive onlookers, abstentionists, spiritual catatonics. There resides in all of these terms an element of truth, at least about the relationship of the mutants to what we have defined, and if we turn to the books in which they see their own destiny best represented we will find nothing to contradict that truth. Nor will we find anything to expand it, since the mutants and their laureates avoid on principle the kind of definition (even of themselves) for which we necessarily seek.
“The only alternative of the impractical policy of Partnership is a policy of Social Segregation, the policy of separate development which must be initiated hereby with the Mutant Registration Act.”
By this point, the Dr. who previously spoke as returned to the stage with a look of consternation and bewilderment, as he swiftly approaches the microphone. Councilman Mason hurries in his speech. “The germ of this policy is inherent in almost all of our history, implanted there by the force of circumstances. We make no apology for possessing that very natural urge. But it is more than that. It is an attempt at self¬ preservation in a manner that will enable the mutants to develop fully as a separate people. Apartheid is a policy of mutual self-preservation.
During the speech a synergy of restlessness is felt in the air. After the use of the word apartheid, however, a couple of chairs are thrown at the stage with great force, instant protesting and cheering is heard, and the place becomes manifestly chaotic. One of the chairs hits the monster on stage square in the jaw, awakening it from its drugged stupor and rousing the beast to fury.
The chaos that followed sparked a battle for our lives. As our foes fell to our might, a mysterious Asian woman appeared. Clearly a powerful mutant, she quickly gained our attention by stopping multiple foes dead in their tracks. As she left, she handed one man a business card with a series of jumbled letters printed on it. As the heroes escaped the convention center, they gathered in a back alley. The new-found allies examined the card and realized that it was a Cryptogram.