|Dates run:||October 25-28, 2008|
|Read the logs:||Day Zero|
Peace. Freedom. Humanity. Nothing lasts forever.
Manhattan Island is attacked and taken over by a group of mutants who claim it as a new mutant nation. With part of their number trapped on the island, the X-Men and X-Force need to join forces to save the city before all hell breaks loose.
X-Men: Cyclops, Storm, Sunfire, Discharge, Skin, Roulette, Legion, Forge, Rufus, Siryn, Rogue, Juggernaut, Havok (Squirt), Wasp, Emplate, Nightcrawler, Cannonball, Meltdown, Cable, Phoenix, Blink, M, Dominion, Husk, Wildchild
X-Force: Emma Frost, Marie-Ange Colbert, Mark Sheppard, Pete Wisdom, Amanda Sefton, Sarah Morlocke, Jubilation Lee, Wanda Maximoff, Bishop, Betsy Braddock, Remy LeBeau, Doug Ramsey, Illyana Rasputin, Sofia Mantega-Barret
Around 6:30 a.m. on October 25th, a large detonation destroyed the arena of Madison Square Garden and the adjoining Penn Station subway in Manhattan. The damage was immediately catastrophic, with chaos and panic setting in. An evacuation began, including the New Mutants who found themselves separated from their chaperon, Jono Starsmore and Karolina, who had provided a doctor's note to be excused from the New Mutants outing, been grounded and had flown into the city for a party any way. The thick crowds made evacuation difficult, however, especially once a broadcast was made by an individual calling himself Apocalypse, claiming responsibility for the incident and that the island of Manhattan was now to be considered a mutant nation. Apocalypse gave homo sapiens one day to leave, before violence would be used. Around this time, from the ruins of the impact zone, a large black spire of concrete and steel began to rise. In the days to come, this headquarters of Apocalypse would be dubbed "The Citadel".
In the panic that ensued, few were able to actually leave the island. Angelo and Sarah managed to get away with Amanda, whose link to the city was causing her physical pain and seizures. While some members of X-Force were off the island when the attack occurred, the others began securing the Snow Valley building, while Mark organized a safe house at Silver. The first casualty came from this group, however, when the Horsemen of War and Famine downed two USAF jets close to the Citadel, one of which crashed and destroyed a building that Betsy was observing from.
Others found themselves trapped on the island, including Laurie and her father, who were attempting to evacuate via the George Washington Bridge when it was attacked by Death. They managed to escape, however, Jennie was not so lucky, choosing to distract Death so more people could escape the collapsing bridge. She, however, was not one of them, vanishing with the bridge into the Hudson River.
The mass deaths would have another horrible effect, as Charles Xavier would feel the brunt of the psychic backlash in Cerebro, the force of which would knock him into a deep coma. With the tragedy now striking home, the X-Men began to prepare for the worst.
The second day of the crisis began early, as Jean-Phillipe arrived at Silver in a panic, informing Mark that Marie-Ange had been kidnapped by a large albino mutant calling himself Caliban. Pete prepared to go make a rescue, accompanied by the young Frenchman. The ensuing fight with Caliban was quick and violent, as Pete dispatched Caliban with brutal efficiency, allowing Jean-Phillipe and Marie-Ange to escape.
Pete's ordeal would only begin, however, as he was visited by Apocalypse himself, who offered Wisdom a position at his side in the Citadel as an adviser. Seeing a way to strike from the inside, Pete accepted and began subtly working against Apocalypse, directing the Horsemen to areas where their damage would be minimized, choosing to sacrifice hundreds to save tens of thousands.
Back at the mansion, Nick Fury and Val Cooper arrived to brief the leaders of the X-Men as well as Remy on what the government knew about Apocalypse and his group. The biggest concern, however, was if Apocalypse gained access to the computers in the New York Stock Exchange, and the potential to throw the world's financial markets into ruin. Rather than risk this, the government was preparing a full airstrike into the city, and the X-Men would only have 48 hours to prevent a catastrophe.
The X-Men began planning a series of missions onto the island, with the assistance of those X-Force members who were present, as well as various mansion inhabitants not affiliated with the teams.
The New Mutants found shelter at a local firehouse, while Jean-Phillipe and Marie-Ange made it to Silver where Jean-Phillipe admitted to Mark that he had been working for Magneto over the past year. The news was not taken well. The evening ended with an incident between Laurie, her father, and a gang of looters that resulted in one death and Laurie and Zach parting ways.
The direct assault on the island begins. While Remy, Illyana, Jubilee, Emma, and Doug began working to take down Pestilence at the New York Stock Exchange, Mark and the crew at Silver began preparing for a siege. The X-Men and their teams arrived, split into six groups:
Alpha: Scott, Kyle, Suzanne and Adrienne combed the area of East Harlem, searching for the SHIELD team's bomb and their liaison, Agent Zero.
Bravo: Marie, Cain, Alex, Shiro, Terry and Crystal landed in Battery Park, making a direct assault towards the Citadel, but encountering the Horseman of Death, and being stunned to discover Death's true identity - Alison Blaire, and managed to repel her thanks to the last-minute reappearance of Jennie, thought dead in the collapse of the George Washington Bridge.
Charlie: The team of Amanda, Forge, Sarah, Jan, Julio and Callisto made their way through the sewers towards the central power station of Manhattan, although due to Post's effect on the city and Ignatova's "meatspores" pursuing them, they quickly became lost.
Delta: A combined X-Men/Red-X team consisting of Sam, Kurt, Tabitha, Marius, Jane and Dani combed the upper East Side looking for survivors of the attack and evacuating them off the island.
Echo: Ororo, Jean, Nathan, Angelo, Clarice, Monet, and Jay comprised a command-and-communications unit in Central Park, providing communications between the separated teams. Within minutes of arriving, however, they encountered the Horseman of War as well as Apocalypse himself, but managed to avoid a violent confrontation.
Foxtrot: Garrison, Wanda, Bishop and Morgan linked up with Sofia as well as local FBI and law enforcement personnel led by Fred Duncan, and worked to quell riots and a siege on a National Guard Armory.
Laurie had a direct encounter with Apocalypse's herald, Post and would have been slain had her father not made a last-minute heroic rescue, becoming grievously wounded in the process. Meanwhile back at the mansion, Professor Farouk operated Cerebro to contact the teams individually during Charles' coma, while Xavier was ministered to by Haller and Dr. Voght.
The day ended on a somewhat bittersweet note as Karolina finally managed to make it back to the mansion, flying all the way from the shelter in the Bronx.
The fourth day of the crisis was marked by a number of heated battles and conflict. Silver withstood a direct attack by Apocalypse's followers, including an angry young radical named David Angar. Team Delta managed to hold off an attack by the Horseman of Famine, who retreated only to come across the New Mutants - who actually banded together to fight and defeat the Horseman.
At the New York Stock Exchange, a devious plan managed to defeat Pestilence. While Remy, Emma, and Jubilee engaged Ignatova's flesh golems physically, Doug sacrificed himself and allowed Ignatova to physically absorb him into her "meat computer". This allowed a psychic virus that Emma had implanted in his mind to affect Ignatova, and attacked both from within and without, the Horseman was destroyed. Thanks to a timely precognitive vision, Marie-Ange arrived to show the other members of X-Force where to find Doug's reconstituted body, alive and whole.
Gradually retaking New York from the south, Foxtrot and their team of FBI, police, National Guard and various other emergency services personnelle encountered Sebastian Madrias, a local pastor driven mad by the advent of Apocalypse and controlling a mob of mutants. He was killed by a shot from Morgan when it became clear that he would not stand down and his control of those with him was removed.
Team Alpha found a horrifying surprise when they discovered the slaughtered remains of the SHIELD team, and their liaison Agent Zero - who was in reality Sabretooth, forced to cooperate with SHIELD. Linking up with Laurie and her wounded father before being attacked by War and a mob of berserking thralls. While Scott and Laurie held back the mob, Adrienne and Suzanne disarmed the bomb while Kyle and Sabretooth fought and defeated War.
The sewers found Team Charlie on the run from Ignatova's meatspores, and half the team bought Forge and Amanda enough time to shut down and restart the entire power grid to the island, breaking Post's hold on the city and severely weakening the Citadel. During their escape, Post attacked them directly and had them on the ropes until a surprise riposte from Amanda and Sarah mortally wounded him and the city of Manhattan literally devoured its former conqueror.
Attacking the Citadel directly, Team Bravo found reinforcements in Nathan and Monet, but even with the added strength the "heavy hitters" squad was making slow progress until Marie absorbed Cain's invulnerability and unstoppability, allowing her to make a high-altitude strike directly through the Citadel, collapsing it.
At the same time, an unmasked and wounded Death captured Betsy, bringing her to the Citadel. Apocalypse ordered Pete to kill the hostage, but he and Betsy took the opportunity to break Alison's brainwashing, and the three turned on Apocalypse simultaneously as Rogue's airstrike began to bring the Citadel down. In the chaos, Alison passed out from the mental strain and the three heroes evacuated.
With the Citadel now reduced to a crater, Apocalypse tried to make one last stand against his opponents, but was brutally beaten down, and was finally defeated when a number of the heroes chose to merely turn their backs on him and deny him his vengeance. Weakened and beaten, Apocalypse was subdued and turned over into SHIELD custody.
With most of Manhattan declared as a disaster area, the displaced Snow Valley employees took up temporary lodging at the mansion. Professor Xavier awoke from his coma, Alison was quietly moved to Muir to recover from her ordeal, and the surviving Horsemen were taken into SHIELD custody. A number of the mansion's inhabitants decided to take vacations after the fracas to unwind and relax after the horrific stress.
One such vacation would prove permanent, however, as Cain Marko found himself powerless after giving his abilities up to Marie - as predicted by the otherworldly powers he encountered in Vietnam. Now having reached his true physical age in his late sixties, Cain made a quiet exit, leaving a number of letters with his nephew as a way of saying goodbye to his home and friends.
Two days after the climactic battle, a celebratory party was hosted at Harry's Hideaway, for one night allowing even the students to come and be acknowledged for their heroic actions. Ex-pat Canadian band and friends of Garrison's Johnny Devil and the Screaming Demons played the gig.
Trivia and Meta
As a result of Apocalypse's attack, David Langstrom agreed to call off the CIA's vendetta against Gambit, allowing Remy LeBeau to once more return to the United States without endangering his friends and comrades.
The aftereffects of this plot resulted in Jennie spending yet another birthday injured in the medlab.
The concept of this plot came from the canon Fall of the Mutants storyline that introduced Apocalypse. One major trope used was to have Death be revealed as a "fallen" X-Man, in this case Alison instead of Warren. Alison's use was a once-off thing with agreement from her former player.
Many plot details such as the identity of Agent Zero and the true identity of Death were kept secret from the players, so the shock exhibited by the characters would be more realistic and effective.
The attack on Manhattan still occurred in Phase 2, but specifics, such as which characters were involved, remain fuzzy for the purposes of not breaking the world. ;)