More history, and it won't be done till
it's done. But there's an X-Men scene here, so take heart,
all you mutant fans.
So after the week she spent in Boston with her parents, getting
back in touch with that which was Real, and after transferring
the money in her savings account to travellers' checks (without
touching the account the Avengers had set up to pay Ms. Marvel
if and when she returned...that would tip her hand), Carol
Danvers said goodbye to Joe and Marie and boarded a plane
under an assumed name. She wanted to get as far away from
the East Coast and New York and all its myriad superheroes
as she possibly could.
She went to San Francisco.
There Carol rented an apartment on one of those very hilly
streets, for which Aerobics must have certainly been invented,
plugged in her computer, and got to work. She had enough money
to live on, but she still had books she wanted to write. One
of them, Airborne Agents, drew on her CIA and NASA experience
and covered spying in the air and by satellite from World
War II to the present. She even did a phone interview with
Gary Powers, the shot-down U2 spy of the Fifties. She kept
her name out of the public view and paid her rent in cash.
When it was published, she knew that she would inevitably
get a call from the Avengers. Grimly, she readied herself
for that encounter, and what she would say to them. She didn't
intend to say it more than once.
But other people had other plans for her.
Three months after Carol's return to Earth, long before the
completion and publication of her book, and some weeks after
she had made a few brief functions as Ms. Marvel to break
up some petty crimes, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants intruded
into her life again, in the person of Rogue.
Destiny, the precognitive mutant, had sensed Carol's return,
but warned Mystique against harming her. Mystique, thinking
Rogue could not hear her, exclaimed that she would in no way
allow Carol Danvers to harm her stepdaughter Rogue, as Destiny
had earlier foreseen.
Rogue heard her.
She took matters into her own hands. She had been gifted
(or cursed) with the ability to steal abilities, powers, even
memories from anyone with whom she made flesh-to-flesh contact.
A short contact meant that the powers only stayed with Rogue
for a short time, then returned to the originator. A longer
contact could make the transfer permanent.
Thus, she was more than a match for Ms. Marvel.
Rogue made her way to San Francisco, found Carol, and fought
her. The heroine was taken by surprise, but gave a good account
of herself. So good, that Rogue's contact with her was much
longer than she'd planned. During the battle, Rogue not only
stole Carol's Ms. Marvel powers, she permanently transferred
them to herself. She also took Carol's memories in the process,
apparently mindwiping her.
Carol Danvers was unconscious when Rogue threw her off the
Golden Gate Bridge.
But San Francisco had been home to the odd super-hero since
Daredevil and the Black Widow moved there some years earlier.
Spider-Woman was on patrol and saw the incident. She was able
to save Carol's life, though it entailed a mile swim through
the chilly bay waters. Rogue was long gone by the time the
two heroines made land.
The cops ran an i.d. check on Carol, who was now, mentally,
an infant. They learned her identity and told Spider-Woman.
Spider-Woman called Professor Charles Xavier at his Westchester,
New York mansion. Xavier said he'd be over on the next flight,
and was as good as his word.
With some help from Spider-Woman, Xavier used his mutant
mental powers to probe deep within Carol's subconscious and
dredge up what remained of her memories. He restored them
to her conscious mind, bringing her back to adulthood. A few
memories remained blocked for a long time. And Xavier was
unable to make the connection, quite, between many of her
memories and her emotions.
For a long time, until her mind healed itself, Carol looked
upon her past as she would look upon a movie.
Perhaps that was a blessing.
But she still remembered what Immortus had done to her, and
about the Avengers.
Xavier learned of her past as a superheroine, security chief,
and CIA agent from his probe. He also learned that she had
worked with Logan, now Wolverine, part of his X-Men team.
Thus, he offered Carol the chance to return to New York with
him to continue her rehabilitation and to have her act as
a support operative for the team.
Carol looked mentally at what she had come through, and wondered
if there was anyplace on Earth she could go where she would
be free of super-heroes.
Apparently not, she decided.
She also thought that the X-Men, who functioned as a sort
of extended family--possibly disfunctional?--might be easier
to get along with than the Avengers. But it would put her
back in the Avengers' old stomping grounds.
She had to confront them sometime. And she could finish her
book as easily in New York as she could in San Francisco.
So she took a deep breath and told Xavier, "I'll do
She went back with him the very next day, after making contact
with her parents on the phone and assuring them, as best she
could, that she was getting better after her incident. They
had been intending to come down there, but since she was coming
back to the East Coast, she convinced them that would be counterproductive
and that she'd see them soon.
My life, she thought to herself, putting down the
phone. Even I can't really believe it.
Spider-Woman had already gone back to New York in the X-Men's
Blackbird jet to further investigate the case and fell in
with the Avengers. The latter were having a big battle with
the Brotherhood, including Rogue, and Spider-Woman helped
them triumph, though the villains escaped (except for the
Blob, whom they tried and failed to spring from prison). From
the heroes, she learned about Ms. Marvel, Marcus Immortus,
and the way in which Carol had left the team.
Storm soon headed back to California and picked up Xavier
and Carol, who was about to become a part of another team.
When she got to the big mansion in Salem Center which had
been the X-Men's home for so many years, and Xavier's home
for almost all his life, the one who opened the car door for
her wore a brown and orange costume and was on the short side
and looked somewhat familiar.
"Lookin' good, Danvers," he said. "Hand me
your bags n' tell me what you been doin' since you left
Her brain processed the memory of his voice and put it together
with other clues, and she knew the deduction took her longer
than it should have.
"Logan," she said to him. "You're Logan."
Then she said, wonderingly, "We made love together."
Wolverine looked on her, a little sadly, it seemed. He shifted
his eyes to Jessica, who was Spider-Woman, and to Xavier.
Then he looked back at Carol, held out his hand to help her
out, and said one thing.
"Glad you remembered."
The other X-Men, Jessica Drew, who was Spider-Woman, and
a blonde girl whom she learned was Ilyana Rasputin were sitting
around in the front room in civvies. Wolverine preceded them,
carrying her three suitcases with ease, and stopped long enough
to say, "Blondie here is an old friend of mine, Major
Carol Danvers. Treat er right, okay?"
A brown-haired young man was the first up, and he shook her
hand as warmly as she'd had it shaken in a long time. "Hello,
Carol," he said. "I'm Scott Summers. The Professor
tells me you're going to be staying with us for a little while."
"Yes," she said, as firmly as she could. Then she
looked around the large room at the others. A big Slavic type
in a sweatshirt and jeans, who seemed like a good but shy
farmboy. A beautiful black woman with white hair, in casual
dress and golden sandals. A fourteen-year-old brown-haired
girl, and her thirteen-year-old blonde friend. "Yes,
I am. I'm going to be doing some therapy, and, oh, helping
out as much as I possibly can..."
For all her world-weariness, Carol was shy at that moment.
She was also afraid to commit any emotion to them just then.
What if they were just like the Avengers? What if they'd do
exactly the wrong thing when she needed them most to do the
right? What if she couldn't break the ice here, or get her
memories and feelings connected, or...
She heard a small sound like a very small blown-up paper
bag being popped, and smelled a bit of sulphur.
Carol wondered, for a second, if someone had passed gas.
But at her side was a deeply-blue-furred demon in a red and
yellow outfit, complete with a long tail. He had the friendliest
grin she'd seen this side of a five-year-old kid. He also
held a handful of fresh-picked daisies in his hand, which
he extended to her.
"Guten tag, Miss Carol," said Nightcrawler. "You
like posies? I hope you do. I also hope you're a good outfielder,
cause we've got a killer softball team."
Carol was glad she had just the reaction she did at that
She broke up laughing and grabbed the daisies. "Thanks.
Uh, when you do that popping thing, does it always smell like--"
"Like he just cut one!" hollered Kitty. "Yep!"
Thirty seconds worth of roaring laughter from all concerned
later, Carol hugged the hell out of Kurt Wagner and was introed
to the others, making small talk, shaking hands, and even
collecting a couple of hugs.
Jessica Drew said to Scott, "Looks like you've got a
new team member, Cyke."
"I don't know about that," he said, cautiously.
"But I do think we've got a new friend."
Joe and Marie Danvers were down the next day. The group shut
off the sections of the mansion which held all the off-limits
stuff and admitted them. Kurt had used a thing called the
Image Inducer to make himself look like a normal guy. Xavier,
Scott, and Ororo met the Danverses at the front gate and escorted
them in to see Carol.
She was wearing a blue dress and, when she saw them, smiled
and took a few seconds to call up some memories of the times
she'd had with them. It took some effort. They waited, giving
her some time.
"Hello, Mom, Dad," she said at last.
They both embraced her and Xavier and company left them alone.
After some explanations were made, Carol told them she'd
been attacked by an enemy agent on the bridge and had been
thrown into the bay. The shock of the incident and of having
to swim a mile through frigid waters had left her with partial
amnesia and a bit of emotional difficulty. Professor Xavier
was doing hypnotherapy with her and she was coming along just
fine. She was also working with the group there.
"Like doing what?" asked Joe, as gently as possible.
"Can't say, Dad," said Carol. "You know how
Marie, who didn't know everything that had happened but suspected
super-villains had been involved, said, "You know, Joe.
It must be--"
"It must be the Company. And this is a Company business,
Carol didn't say anything.
"Carol, listen to me," Joe said. "I want you
out of here. I want you out of the Company. You've almost
been killed several times. They damn near got you this last
time and look at you. I mean, look at you."
Carol shook her head. "Why, Dad? Don't I look all right?"
"You look fine, dear," said Marie. "It's just..."
"It's just that some enemy agent tried to kill you and
it screwed with your brain," snapped Joe. "Now,
listen to me, Carol. I don't know who that bald-headed guy
out there is, but if he's Company, you could be in big trouble.
They could be using, I don't know, drugs on you like in that
"Dad, dad, this is not The Manchurian Candidate, and
Mr. Xavier isn't with the Company," Carol said, trying
to smile. "I haven't been with the Company in a long
time. It's just that...well...some enemy agents have long
"And what about your memory?" said Joe, holding
her. "What about the memories they took from you, dammit?"
"I'm getting them back, Dad," she said. "If
it hadn't been for Professor Xavier, I'd practically be in
a fetal state."
"A fetal state?" gasped Marie. "Carol, Carol,
my God, what happened to you?"
"Something that might have really been bad, if Professor
Xavier hadn't happened to me a little later," said Carol.
"I can't stop therapy right now. I'm not leaving, Mom.
And I hope you understand, Dad."
"Understand?" Joe was fighting back anger. "For
chri--what's to understand? One of those guys out there talks
like a Russian. Another one sounded like a refugee from Hogan's
Heroes. And I don't know where that black woman's from, but
I sure bet it ain't Harlem! If this isn't the CIA, then what
"Joe, please," said Marie.
"Is this Synanon? Is this a cult, for God's sake?"
Carol said, patiently, "This is New York. A lot of immigrants
come here. And if you really want to get ethnic, there's a
Jewish-American princess, too, and a Canuck, and a few damn
Yankees like me. And like the Professor. No, it isn't a cult.
Professor Xavier is helping me. I like it here. So whether
you like it or not, Dad...I'm staying. And that is it."
She fixed him with a solid stare.
After awhile he said, "Well, you're damn well as stubborn
as you always were. He must be getting some of your memories
Carol had gone out to dinner with her folks after that. They
spent the night in the mansion, then caught a flight back
home. For awhile, Joe considered hiring a deprogrammer to
break her out of there. But, as time passed, he realized that
she seemed to be getting better. So he crossed his fingers
and decided to let fate ride. He suspected that Marie knew
a hell of a lot more about Carol than he did, and that he
was going to have to find out about it sometime soon.
And Marie just wondered how many times Carol could dance
with Death before dying.
The Avengers found out about Carol's presence at the X-Mansion
soon enough, and put through a call asking to talk to her
and then see her. Ororo told them that Carol wasn't well enough
to take calls yet, but thanked them, and told them when she
felt like having visitors, she'd let them know.
After Ororo told her about the call, she talked with Xavier
about it in her next therapy session. "You can't avoid
them for long, you know," he said. "Part of recovering
is facing the factor that hurt you before, and dealing with
Carol, in slacks and a shirt, sighed. "I know, Charles.
I'm not afraid of them. I'm afraid of what I'm going to say
to them. I'd like to tear into them like a house afire for
what was done to me. But at the same time, I know--or I think
I know--that they weren't trying to hurt me. They were just
being damned ignorant."
"And?" said Charles.
"And I still like most of them, in a way," she
said. "God, even though it's hard to connect all the
feelings with the memories...it's kind of like trying to play
connect-the-dots while you're holding a pencil in boxing gloves...I
think there aren't too many bad vibes before...that."
"So you're conflicted," said Charles. "Part
of you still wants them for friends, but part of you wants
to settle this thing with them. And?"
Carol laced her fingers together and dropped her hands in
her lap. "And. You want me to say that I've got to face
them to do that."
After a pause, Xavier said, "Jessica has to go back
within the week, Carol."
She said, "Call them and tell them they can come over.
They said they could make it in three days, and Ororo told
them that would be all right.
So, in four days, the Avengers Quinjet touched down on the
grounds of the mansion, with the X-Men, Jessica, and Carol
sitting around the pool.
Carol stood there in a one-piece violet bathing suit and
watched the craft land, and, if her hand trembled, she held
it against her thigh so that no one could tell one way or
Ororo, gorgeous in a scanty white bikini and wearing a flower
in her hair, was beside her. "We will stay if you wish,
Carol," she said, quietly.
"Thanks, Ororo," said Carol. "But--no."
Jessica, in a black bathing suit with a purple lightning
slash, padded up to her barefoot and grasped her hand. "Are
you sure you'll be all right?"
Carol grasped Jessica's hand firmly in friendship, but she
did not look at her. "I'm not sure of anything, Jess.
Except that this is something I feel I have to do."
Jessica told her she understood, and that if she needed a
friend, to call and she would hear and come to her. Then,
squeezing Carol's hand one last time, she let go and retreated
with the others into the mansion.
The door of the Quinjet popped open and the stairway dropped
down. Emerging from it were seven familiar figures. Iron Man,
Captain America, Wonder Man, Hawkeye, the Beast, the Scarlet
Witch, the Vision, and Thor.
"Hey, guys," called the Beast to the X-Men, who
were almost all through the door by that time. "What's
the matter? No kind words for the old alum here?"
Scott looked back once, and all he said was, "Later,
Hank." Then he stepped through the door and closed it.
The mutants and Spider-Woman stood inside and waited.
The seven heroes had expected a warmer reception than this.
They stood before the beautiful blonde woman in the bathing
suit and took note of her tired stare and wondered what the
hell had happened to her in Limbo, and what had happened to
her in the battle with Rogue, and what they should say to
her, and who would say it first.
So Hank McCoy, the Beast, said, "Hi, Carol. How are
She looked at him and took a deep breath.
"Better than expected, Hank," she said. "I'll
never regain all my memories, but Professor Xavier has helped
me remember who I am, who and what I was. I remember my family--I've
met with my parents, now. I remember the Avengers--and how
I came to leave them. Bits and pieces, mostly. I've a ways
to go yet.
"But I'm forgetting my manners. Please sit down. Would
anyone like some iced tea? I'm afraid Wolverine took all the
beer with him."
The Avengers seemed a bit more at ease, then. After all,
Ororo had told them that Carol was having trouble connecting
with her emotional memories.
"You're lookin' real good, Carol," said Hawkeye,
who had given her the up-and-down with his eyes. "What
happened to Marcus? After you left with him, we didn't expect
to see you two lovebirds again."
She turned her back to them, pouring some tea from the pitcher.
"I'm sure you didn't, Hawkeye. Marcus is dead."
"What?" asked Captain America.
Iron Man offered, "We're very sorry, Carol. You two
made a wonderful couple. We hoped you'd be happy together."
He paused. "Is there anything we can do to help ease
Her hand trembled. Then she lost control of it, and the plastic
glasses full of ice and the big cooler jug with the iced tea
in it all went off the metal tabletop and onto the concrete
surrounding the pool and spilled brown liquid all over it.
She cried out, "Didn't you do enough to cause it?"
Oh, hell, thought the Beast. He and Thor were closest to
her, and they went to her side. "Carol, what's wrong?"
asked Hank, not sure he wanted to hear the answer.
"I'm sorry, Hank," Carol gasped, one hand covering
Thor laid a surprisingly gentle hand on her bare shoulder,
his palm callused from the use of his hammer. "Be not
ashamed of thy womanly tears,Carol," he said. "Thou
hast lost the one thou didst love."
"NO!" she shouted, and whirled and slapped the
god of thunder on his cheek. He gaped, uncomprehending.
She turned to face them, and didn't even try to stop the
tears from running down her face.
"I didn't love Marcus. I never loved Marcus. Don't any
of you realize what happened, months ago? What Marcus did
Wonder Man shifted on his booted feet. "Guys, maybe
our visit was a mistake," he said, uneasily.
Hawkeye cut in, raising his palm. "Hold it. I was there,
lady. You told us you cared for Marcus. You left with him
of your own free will."
How could these beings, some of them literally having the
powers of gods, be so infernally dumb?
"I left because I had no choice," she said.
And she told the Avengers what had really happened to her,
leaving out only the elder Immortus's part in bringing her
back to Earth.
About that incident, she was having less and less problems
connecting it to what she felt.
"I never wanted to see you--any of you--again,"
said Carol. "I hated you. Because when I needed you most,
you betrayed me."
She told them of what she had felt when they made their jokes.
She told them of what she had felt, or hadn't felt, when they
didn't question a thing that Marcus had told them, just letting
her go with a smile and a wave.
"That was your mistake," she said. "For which
I paid the price. My mistake was trusting you."
She chose her next words as precisely as she could, and then
"After a trauma like mine, it's easy to wallow in bitterness
and self-pity. But both grief and guilt have to be faced,
dealt with, exorcised. There's more--there has to be more--to
being heroes than simply defeating villains. You have a role,
a purpose, far greater than yourselves. You have to set examples,
lead the way. You represent what we should be, what we dream
of becoming, not what we are."
She glanced up at the mansion, saw Jessica and Xavier watching
from an upper window, and knew the Spider-Woman's hearing
could pick up every word she said, clearly.
"If you do that, even a little, then perhaps what I
went through will have a positive meaning. It's your choice."
She stooped to pick up the tea pitcher and glasses. The Beast
squatted on his haunches.
"Carol," he said, "what about you? What will
"Pick up the pieces of my life," she said, setting
the items back on the tabletop. "Start again. Survive.
I'm good at that."
She was glad that Wanda was the one who spoke next.
"Carol, I would give anything for this never to have
happened," said the Scarlet Witch. "I--we are so
She favored the mutant woman with a smile.
"I know, Wanda. Don't worry, I'll be all right."
A few minutes later, the Avengers were gone.
Hank didn't even try to talk to his old teammates.
Carol went back inside the mansion and got a big hug from
Neither one of them said anything, or broke the hug, for
a good many minutes.
Continued in Chapter
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