Part 77: Holiday Update: Let's Read: Planet X - Part 2STAR TREK The Next Generation / X-MEN: PLANET X - part 2
Last Time: The X-Men showed up on Starbase 88. Worf joined up with Picard and Company. Some random Mary Sue named Erid Sovar (AKA: Dongs) turned into a giant dick and blew his load all over a bunch of rocks in an entirely literal and not-at-all figurative fashion. Also, the Admiral in charge of Starbase 88 is on the line and wants a mulligan on his one shot at having a dramatic cliffhanger.
Picard tells a random ensign to put the Admiral on screen. The two make small talk for over a page, because the Admiral won't get to the point. He then tells Picard that Starbase 88 now has some unusual guests and, since this book wouldn't be as bad if we didn't see someone acting completely out of character this chapter, here's a quote:
Planet X posted:
"They insisted you would know them more readily by their aliases." [the Admiral] peered at a monitor alongside him. "Storm. Wolverine. Banshee. Arch-"
The captain felt a thrill of surprise shoot through him. "Archangel?" he blurted, completing the name.
The Admiral is surprised Picard knows them from the previous comic book crossover, so Picard explains that the X-Men are from another universe. The Admiral then says they insist they're here on accident, and that Wolverine is causing trouble so couldn't Picard please come and take care of the problem? Picard alters course and says he'll be there in 'a day or so', which is extremely unspecific given that the helmsman could've accurately predicted their ETA down to the minute.
The Admiral then hangs up, and Picard then contemplates the X-Men, and alludes to wanting to see one of them again, although we're not told who (it's Storm).
We then rejoin Dongs at the Verdeen
We then learned that the people of NotEarth are calling the youths who were transformed into super-powered people 'the Transformed', which is incredibly
Understanding dawned on Osan's face. Understanding… and something else as well. Something like concern, only stronger.
Erid was almost tempted to call it fear.
Dongs then demands to speak with his family, but Getskilled says they don't have enough resources for that. He promises it's a temporary situation, but gives a nonanswer when Dongs asks how temporary the situation will be. Getskilled says he won't let Dongs' parents know what happened to him.
Dongs then looks out the window at the yard where the Transformed get to take their recess twice a day. He recounts how, on his first day, he made the mistake of walking into direct sunlight and blew his load all over the place, only to be shot repeatedly by the guards until he'd had a seizure and gone unconscious.
Dongs then announces that Getskilled had no right to take him, and no right to keep him. He suggests that Getskilled will one day regret what they're doing here. Getskilled comments that he already does, and the implication is that he'd rather just kill all of the transformed and be done with it.
We then cut back to Picard. They've arrived at Starbase 88, and the book reminds us that it's both a Starbase and specifically Starbase 88.
A moment later, the speck became a full-blown Federation starbase-in this case, Starbase 88. Picard considered it for a moment, then cast a glance over his shoulder.
And looked directly at Lt. Sovar, our second Mary Sue character and Dongs' older brother. He's the person Dongs was missing, since Lt. Sovar joined Starfleet which our friend Dongs didn't approve of. Picard then hails the Admiral, and we learn nothing except that Picard will be beaming over to Starbase 88…
Hey, look, we're back with Dongs and you don't get to see any Star Trekking or X-Men again. For a book about both, we certainly are spending a lot of time with the natives of NotEarth. This is being done to establish that NotEarth has a serious problem the natives are too stupid to handle on their own. Place your bets as to which chapter they finally call Starfleet for help.
Dongs is walking around the yard, contemplating the other transformed. He's keeping to shadow to avoid getting his white stuff all over the fort again; and he's not the only one with light-activated powers; although he also comments that some powers seem to happen completely at random and when they do the guards never hesitate to shoot the hell out of whoever's using them. He then comments that even as a giant purple dickmonster he's not the most grotesque person there.
He then fails to describe anyone more hideous. Sorry Dongs, wishful thinking on your part, you really are the ugliest
Everyone also has unique powers. This is important, because it's going to lead to a particularly stupid plot hole I will point out when we reach it.
We learn that Dongs doesn't talk with anyone, and mostly keeps to himself, yet somehow knows the powers and abilities of nearly everyone he sees; because he's spoken to them. Even though he keeps to himself and never really speaks with any of them.
Dongs then contemplates one of the newest arrivals, a man named Rahatan, an important sub-character. He doesn't know what Rahatan's power is, but he's sure it's something formidable. This is foreshadowing, in case it wasn't blatant enough for you.
We're also introduced to another important sub-character, and also the single most annoying person in the entire book. Her name is Corba. She is a super-speedster. Instead of simply describing her as speaking so quickly she's difficult to understand, the Author went one step further. Everysinglelineofdialogueshehaslookslikethiswithnospacesofanykind.It'sreallygoddamnedirritating.
A random guy who's so unimportant that Dongs doesn't bother to remember his name asks her to slow down, but she can't, you see, it's so
Fortunately, she doesn't get too many lines.
Rahatan then goes all Magneto on us, claiming that the guards must all be terrified of the Transformed and that they all come with weapons built in to them so a few stun guns really aren't all that threatening. Which is stupid, because they barely know how to use their powers while the guards are both trigger-happy and fairly accurate. For stormtroopers.
Rahatan looked at her. "All I'm saying-for now-is that they need to treat us better. And if I have anything to say about it, they will."
Erid was impressed with the newcomer's bravado… even if he didn't think anything would come of it. Still, he resolved to keep an eye on the transformed called Rahatan.
We then cut back to Picard. He's on Starbase 88, and brought Counselor Troi and Data with him to pick up the X-Men. The Admiral is glad he's here, because the X-Men have spent the entire time they've been waiting being colossal dicks to everyone. As if to illustrate the point, Archangel flies past at this exact moment, buzzing everyone at such a high speed that if he miscalculated a turn and hit a wall he'd give himself brain damage.
Needless to say, this startles everyone except Data. Nightcrawler then pops in and startles everyone even more. Archangel apparently told him where to find Picard, and this is immediately followed up by Shadowcat walking through the wall (no doubt destroying more computers in the process, since I've yet to see a Starfleet ship or starbase that wasn't lined floor to ceiling with the things). Picard admonishes her, but she ignores it because she's an X-Man and he's just a normal human.
She then tells everyone that the X-Men are upset, because the Admiral had Wolverine thrown into the brig for taking it upon himself to vivisect a bulkhead.
We are then treated to some comedy as Shadowcat asks why it's taking everyone so long to get to Storm; when the X-Men keep impeding their progress by showing off how astonishing they are. After failing to be funny, Picard then meets up with the rest of the X-Men.
Planet X posted:
"There has been a problem with Wolverine," Colossus noted, not one to beat around the bush.
"Aye," said Banshee, "Or rather, there was a problem. But it's over now, so there's nae reason for him t' be sittin' in that silly wee brig."
Picard then negotiates Wolverine's freedom, and sends Troi along to let him out.
Planet X posted:
Picard turned to Storm again. "Don't worry. The counselor will make sure everything goes smoothly."
"I'm sure she will," said Storm.
But, judging by the glances the X-Men were exchanging, not all of them were quite so confident.
And the Chapter (like almost every other chapter in the book) ends on a stupid and pointless cliffhanger.
We join Counselor Troi as the chapter starts. She's doing her Betazoid thing on Wolverine (which is to say, she's reading his emotions. He's angry at being locked up and frustrated that he can't break anything). Security Chief Let Picard Handle It tells Troi how much damage Wolverine caused trying to escape being in this book, but it's pretty pointless because she's not the one who has to sweep it up.
Wolverine greets Troi, then has an emotional change which makes her blush, because being a woman, she's very susceptible to that sort of thing. Wolverine comes along quietly, despite the X-Men's fear that he'd go on a murderous rampage. Why is he on the team again?
Oh yeah, his murderous rampages are generally useful.
We then jump to Riker, who is chatting with Lt. Bit Character. I mean, Robinson. Lt. Robinson asks if the X-Men really are super-powerful, then expresses disbelief when Riker confirms that they are. So Riker compares the X-Men to Q.
He also compares them to: The Founders, the Traveler, and Data, which is a pretty hilarious power differential. Lt. Robinson says she was comparing them to humans, and Riker asks why she thinks they're human.
… Because that's the premise of their comic book. The X-Men, theoretically, want the same rights as any other human.
Nightcrawler, Troi, Wolverine, Colossus, Data, and Banshee then beam over. Nightcrawler, Wolverine, and Banshee all get lines. Colossus doesn't. Picard, Storm, and Shadowcat then beam over. Picard has Riker find quarters for everyone, then gets creepy on us.
Planet X posted:
"In the meantime," Picard told him, "I'd like to have a word with Storm." He turned to the silver-haired leader of the mutants. "If that's all right with you."
Storm nodded. "It's not as if I have urgent business elsewhere."
The captain smiled. "I suppose that's true."
Riker looked at his commanding officer. He hadn't seen that kind of expression on Picard's face in years. He was pleased and more than a little intrigued to see it now.
Chapter 6 continues right where Chapter 5's retarded cliffhanger left off. Picard gets Storm some tea, then Storm asks if there's a problem. The X-Men used a device called a 'timehook' taken from Kang the Conquerer (an X-Men villain) to try to get home, but it malfunctioned which is why the X-Men are here. Starfleet also has a timehook from Picard's adventure into comic book land, but Starfleet has lost it; and tracking it down will happen off-screen and won't be finished until after the Crisis on Not-Earth is resolved.
Picard and Storm then have a painfully awkward, mutually out-of-character highschool moment together.
Planet X posted:
"I was [surprised to see you again," the captain agreed. "Though to be honest, I often found myself thinking about you."
He realized how that must have sounded and felt his cheeks flush. It was not a pleasant sensation.
"That is," he added quickly, "about your group. To be honest, I had never encountered anyone quite like you."
The mutant took a sip of her tea, her blue eyes gleaming with reflected light. "As much as a man like you must have encountered, I imagine that is saying a lot."
Her blue what?!
Picard then exposits that this takes place roughly one year after First Contact, and that he sorta got lost on the way back to the 24th century and found himself in the X-Men's universe fighting Kang the Conquerer with them; which is a brief summary of the story from the crossover comic which came before this book.
Picard then asks for the X-Men's cooperation in helping to get them home. Storm tells Picard to call her Ororo, but Picard 'resists the urge to invite her to call him Jean Luc'. Because that would be undignified, I guess. He asks her to submit the X-Men to Dr. Crusher's medical scans, which Storm doesn't like but can't see any reasonable way to get out of, and therefore agrees to participate in. Storm then asks if Picard is on a mission, he tells her they're on their way to a peace conference with the Klingons.
For a second or so, neither of them spoke. But it wasn't an uncomfortable silence by any means. Strange as it seemed, Picard felt as if he had known the woman all his life.
Storm then tells Picard she's lonely, and that being away from the Earth's biosphere is difficult for her. Picard tells her she'd have liked his brother (unlikely), and that Robert Picard died in a fire so they'll never know. Storm talks about the death of her parents, and the two bond over mutual suffering, I guess. It's a pretty ridiculous scene.
Planet X posted:
The captain was surprised to see how vulnerable Storm could allow herself to be. To this point, he had seen her only as a warrior and a leader. Now he saw the lonely child in her as well, and he felt privileged to have the opportunity to do so.
… Really? That's what you're going with, novel? Really?!
The two then chat about how leaders seldom enjoy stable relationships, Storm then apologizes for prying into Picard's personal life and thanks him for everything he hasn't actually accomplished yet while I set the Sexual Tension Meter to 'we're just friendly co-workers, really' and the chapter ends without a cliffhanger for once.
Next time: the natives are restless, Worf and Wolverine make friends, Dr. Crusher and Geordi technobabble for an entire chapter.