The Mask of Ozymandias
|The Mask of Ozymandias|
|Dates run:||June 4 - 7, 2006|
|Read the logs:||The Mask of Ozymandias|
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things
--Percy Bysshe Shelley
A strange kidnapping and theft of an ancient mask from the Museum of Cairo sends Gambit, Storm and Rogue over to Africa, where they must deal with a figure from Storm’s past and the unlikely involvement of the Brotherhood.
Remy received a forward from Jake Gavin at Infonet about Magneto and the Brotherhood of Mutants being rumoured to have kidnapped a pair of professors and their research. There were two professionals abducted; an Egyptologist and a metallurgist. It didn't take long to figure out what they have in common; an ancient Egyptian deathmask, housed in the Cairo Museum . The mask was stolen a few days later, without any clues.
However, nothing is stolen in Cairo without Achmed el-Gibar knowing about it. Remy knew about him, but had never met him. However, he had read Storm's file and knew that she had an association with him as a kid. He dropped by the mansion to talk to her, and she agreed to go and check out the rumours with LeBeau. Marie argued that they'd need help and came along as backup just in case something happened while they're checking out the rumours.
Not only did el-Gibar know who stole the mask but also where it and the professors were. But, he only would give them the information if they were willing to do a little job for him. One of his rivals in Cairo, Adris Masaqaharta al-Sanussi, late of the Libyan military, recently jumped up his standing with the purchase of a 12th century Quran, and el-Giber wanted to re-cement his primacy by having it stolen.
While Storm wasn't exactly happy about the idea of returning to her roots, the fact remained that if Magneto was involved, the X-Men need to know about it. Rogue didn't have the training to pull off the heist, and Remy's injuries left him unable to do it himself. The heist went off without a hitch, Remy coordinating a diversion with Rogue so Storm could slip past the defenses and steal the Quran.
Once they get the Quran, el-Giber revealed that he was the one that stole the mask, and it was due to be delivered to a contact in Aswan that day. Based on the sudden deadline, the three headed for Aswan at all speed. They were too late to intercept the contact at the hotel, but they did manage to rescue the two professors, who revealed the reasons for the heist. The mask was a gift to Ramesses II, from one of the southern African tribes as a tribute between their cultures. The mask itself is covered in gold leaf, but the actual core metal is the extremely rare metal Vibranium. The Egyptologist had dated the artwork on the mask as derivative of the tribes in what is now Wakanda.
Vibranium is extremely rare, worth a lot of money, and through a UN agreement, can only be sold to certain governments and under extreme oversight. It has all sorts of applications, especially for military purposes, and the unique nature means that in the hands of someone like Magneto, it could open up the possibility of him making some kind of WMD at will. Which makes the thirty five pounds of Vibranium that composes the mask an important asset to any terrorist organization.
They discovered the exchange was taking place at the Aswan High Dam, just outside of the city. They reached it in time to disrupt the hand over. Magento's involvement was obvious as Sabretooth was on the scene, with a handful of flunkies. A battle ensued in which Sabretooth badly re-injured Remy’s bad leg. Just as they fight turned into a rout, with Rogue knocking Sabretooth from the top of the dam, a set of lights locked on them and armed men appeared all around.
They are quickly identified as SHIELD, come to take possession of the mask from them. While Egyptian authorities would want the mask back, because of the battle, there was no proof that the mask wasn't lost during it, and SHIELD's commander, Nick Fury, wasn't about to leave the vibranium in the hands of that government. He thanked them for their help by letting them go, and they returned back to the US .
Trivia and Meta
The damage done by Sabretooth to Remy's leg directly leads to the future deterioration of his condition that nearly leads to the amputation of his leg or death.
This marks the first time Storm is willing to use the skills of her former life.
Ozymandias was the major domo of Apocalypse in the original comics canon. The sarcophagus of Apocalypse was covered with an Egyptian deathmask that represented his visage.