|Dates run:||June 30- July 8, 2008|
|Read the logs:||Bhagavad Gita|
"No death. No. But you will tell my friends everything. EVERYTHING!"
When a nuclear explosion devastates an Indian city, a small team of Xavier's residents and Snow Valley employees assist with the investigation in a race to prevent a war.
Part 4 of the Kingmaker Arc.
Part 1 of the Imperium Stratagem.
In a stunning development, the city of Srinagar in Northern India is wiped out in a nuclear explosion. The area, long contested by India, Pakistan and local separatist forces, has been turned into a wasteland, with at least 300,000 dead in the city, and double that number dying over the next few days.
India claimed the weapon was Pakistani and began to mobilize on the borders. Pakistan, in the midst of a transition from the Musharraf government, denies any involvement, and the world situation is looking at a potential nuclear reprisal. Within a few hours of the news, it is confirmed that the explosion couldn't have been the result of a missile delivery. Footage was leaked from a news camera that had been broadcasting directly over satellite link at the time of the explosion, during a festival. In the midst, a young man is seen to make a muttered prayer, and his hands glow. Seconds later, the explosion guts the city. It is very quickly determined that he did not have a device on him.
A group calling themselves the Sons of Bakr, a radical Pakistani offshoot of the Taliban, claimed responsibility for the act, and declared that the explosion was 'the will of Allah, manifest through one of his gifted servants', all but confirming it was a mutant that caused the explosion. The Pakistani government still denies all involvement, but now rival political forces begin fighting for power, and the country teeters on the brink of total chaos in the face of a likely invasion by India.
Still reeling, the US swings into action, calling for no further escalation on the borders and the use of UN weapon inspectors to help determine exactly what happened and how. Oddly enough, China and Russia back calls for a temporary hold of the status quo, knowing that a move into Pakistan will destabilize the entire region, and not to their advantage. With the inspectors, the US decides to send an FBI group to assist in the investigation, calling on Fred Duncan for his mutant specialists. Duncan turns to Garrison Kane for assistance, as the group supposedly responsible has ties with the madrasah they encountered in Afghanistan during Zan Zar Zameen. After the next few hours, Garrison assembled a mix of X-Men, X-Force and mansion staff to assist in the investigation.
The team develops several elements of information, including not only confirming the fact that it was a mutant, but that the mutant would have had to be weaponized to make it work. The man made mutant bomb had to have been trained in a facility supported by either the resources of a government program or a major corporation.
Meanwhile, India's current government falls, as the existing coalition fragments and one of the highest caste families, and one who gambled their political power on such an event seized power. D. Kenneth Neramani takes over the PM job, although legally and without scandal. He demanded security on the border or India must intervene. In response, the UN opened debates on mobilizing a peacekeeping force backed by additional US forces to help stabilize Pakistan.
The current ambassador to the UN, Lt. Gen William Bastion made a dramatic and fiery speech which goes way past what he approved with the administration. His speech denounces the lack of preparation for mutant terrorism by the agencies of the world, the lack of security and response forces from allies and the UN, and called for an international effort to begin such programs. A very red-faced administration forced his resignation, but Bastion's words have not only seeded the debate, but his own power in DC increased, especially within the military and diplomatic community.
Information begins to develop in India. The man is identified as being part of a secret Pakistani program called 'Deathbird', run outside of the scrutiny of the government by a small cabal of colonels. A few days prior to the explosion, their testing centre was attacked and the subject freed. Once the explosion went off, they'd been doing their best to bury any trace.
This information breaks the back of the government, and any semblance of order is lost as the country drops into civil war. UN and American troops rush in, seizing Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and putting them square in the midst of pro-Indian, Afghani and Iranian forces who are fighting for interim control. One of the strongest figures emerging is oddly enough, D. Kenneth's sister, Calsyee Neramani who was married to a recently deceased Pakistani General Khan who held extremely high level and popular support.
As the team finishes they investigation, they discovered that all of the Sons of Bakr have been killed. All save one, a former Pakistani intelligence officer, who eventually comes via Farouk's contacts. He reveals that the Sons of Bakr were dupes, information about the mutant and the facility secretly leaked to them about 'Deathbird'. The only other person tied to it was found dead, poisoned. The Pakistani officer worked directly for the General, and is willing to trade information directly linking Calsyee to the Sons of Bakr. Unfortunately, on their way to meet him, they are ambushed by mercenaries who have killed the man. However, they are able to recover a great deal of documentation that ties the Sons of Bakr to General Khan, and his illegal weaponization experiments to the group currently attempting to seize power in Pakistan.
Once her husband's connection with the Deathbird project comes out, Calysee's ambitions are destroyed and D. Kenneth is 'forced' to withdraw his support of his sister. With every major leader compromised, the UN was faced with the balkanization of the country to its neighbours, a situation which India has said very clearly it will not tolerate as a security risk.
The only solution was the extremely long process of identifying and bringing representatives from Pakistan's diverse populations to the table to organize a new series of elections, guaranteed under UN power. The troops in Pakistan are the targets in the internecine warfare going on from all factions, as each tries to carve out a larger share, and each woes foreign help. While new elections will help stabilize the government and the heavily lashed military, it will be 18 months to two years before UN and American troops can consider redeployment.
SHIELD took the rebuke for the extreme failure in intelligence, and the areas were they had the operational oversight have been returned to the CIA for the first time in a decade. Meanwhile, the CIA has shown new success in getting relevant information to the government.
Taking down the now disgraced Calysee, she trades information with Farouk, Emma Frost and Leonard Samson for her own protection in the future, revealing that it was someone called 'The Kingmaker' that approached her, asking what she wanted. She made a quiet agreement with her brother for his support if she was ever in the position to achieve the head of state from Pakistan. But by betraying her, he puts it in his sphere and control. Emma Frost had her issue a statement outlining her political retirement, and then locked her inside her own mind with the repeating horrors witnessed in the blast area.
Impressed that Kane's information helped stop a potential nuclear escalation, Duncan suggests that the unofficial assistance to the FBI might be an ongoing thing, and asked Garrison if he'd help find a group of volunteers who are willing to consult with the Bureau on crimes and situations which need a mutant specialist's opinion.
Trivia and Meta
The bulk of the political developments in this plot was told through a series of media articles, rather than the usual logs. These articles represent the various bias and focus on various media outlets and formats, which would be the method in which modern media would respond.
The events of this plot still occurred in Phase 2, but specifics, such as which characters were involved, remain fuzzy for the purposes of not breaking the world. ;)