Operation: Cruel Country
|Operation: Cruel Country|
|Dates run:||April 10-13, 2007|
|Read the logs:||Operation: Cruel Country|
"Dis is Gambit. We've just been made. I think dat they might be using psionicists to tag and track us. Dat means escape B through D are no longer options. Hear me? No longer options. Pair up and get out any way dat you can."
A bad situation gets even worse, as the 'favour' X-Force does for the Russians becomes a fight for survival.
Alexei Vazhin, Colonel Cedric Walkerton-Smythe
As part of the deal for Illyana's life, X-Force breached a British laboratory in Uganda, looking for data relating to cybernetics research. The mission was doomed from the start, however, due to the unknown presence of several psis, who alerted security and psionically 'tagged' the trespassers. In the research lab, Amanda and Wanda held off security whilst Illyana was directed to teleport herself and the files away; due to an unforeseen change in her powers after the loss of Limbo, Illyana found herself arriving at the Snow Valley offices seven hours later and with no idea of what had happened to the team who had risked their lives for her. With increasing remorse for her actions and concern for the strangers who had no reason to help her, but had, she took on the communications watch under Pete's direction.
In Uganda, the team split into pairs. Amanda and Wanda managed to get clear and Wanda contacted her old mentor Agatha Harkness in order to arrange transportation out. She was able to pass on a name and a location to Amanda before further discovery caused them to split up. Marie-Ange and Doug, needing cash, duped a would-be mugger, using Marie-Ange as bait. Sofia was injured during the escape, and Mark barely managed to get the pair of them out of the compound, eventually finding refuge with a Christian aid mission with a story of being missionaries who had been attacked by rebels. Remy and Sarah went north, causing as much damage as possible in an effort to draw the pursuit away from their teammates. It was an uneasy alliance, and Sarah finally got her chance to have her revenge on Gambit for the deaths of the Morlocks when he was shot. Choosing not to kill him, she instead left him to die slowly of blood loss and septicemia.
Amanda caught up with Wanda at a small local airfield, run by a friend of Agatha's called Colonel Cedric Walkerton-Smythe, or "the Colonel". The arrival of their pursuers resulted in an escape by air, but their luck continued to fail them when the plane crashed just short of their destination of Ethiopia. Bruised, battered (and sunburned, in Amanda's case), they eventually managed to return to New York, shortly followed by Doug and Marie-Ange.
Resigned to dying in the desert, Remy was startled to discover Sarah had returned, and not to kill him. Instead, she got them both to Aswan, Egypt, where she contacted Snow Valley. Amanda arranged for Ororo to pick them up, given the X-Man's contacts in the area and her relationship with Remy. Remy was taken to the medical clinic owned by Frost Enterprises for treatment. Mark and Sofia were the last to return, several days after Remy and Sarah.
Remy used his recuperation time to research further into the EOE, given his suspicions as to their involvement in the operation. Pete offered Illyana a job with Snow Valley, in an effort to try and teach her the sense to avoid such situations in the future, and the skills to get out of them if she could not.
Trivia and Meta
Both Mark and Marie-Ange sought powers-improvements; Mark going to Scott Summers for powers training and Marie-Ange finally following through on her idea to have useful images tattooed on herself so there was no chance of having them lost or taken.
The 'working title' for this plot was 'Untitled African Clusterfuck' and this very nearly became the actual plot name.