|Dates run:||November 12-28, 2006|
|Read the logs:||Wendy|
Part 2 of The Prince of Thieves arc.
"Remy, this is madness! You are not that man anymore, and you do not want to kill this man! You have saved lives these last few weeks, do not undo that with this wanton violence."
The past comes back to haunt them in the shape of Arcade, and Remy and Ororo find themselves racing time - and a number of other teams willing to kill - in order to secure the safety of those they hold dear.
Arcade is not a man you cross lightly. After the heist at his casino two years ago, Arcade grew obsessed with finding out who really broke into his vault. The Brotherhood story was too simple, too pat for him, so he started digging. Lowenstein ended up paying for a small team of media researchers to pour over the security tapes of those days and look for possible connections between them and known mutants. His team poured endlessly over the tapes and the guest list, matching up faces to guests one by one, and tagging the endless lists of those they couldn't. Eventually, while making up the list of the big winners from that week, one of his men recognized Doug Ramsey from the footage during his shooting at the blood drive years before. A quick reference to his personal information showed him as a former student of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. Examination into the staff and students of Xavier’s brought up new matches from the week before the heist, such as Wanda Maximoff, Theresa Cassidy, Nathan Dayspring, and Jubilation Lee.
All of that together still didn’t provide the whole picture, until the word of his willingness to pay for information about the school reached Belladonna LeBeau. For a cost, Remy LeBeau's ex-wife provided key information, including a positive identification of Remy’s disguise from the security tapes. Belladonna also provided him with the details she’d dug up on Remy’s past, including the Lost Boys program.
Arcade tracked down Remy in New York City, and dropped in on a lunch between Remy and Ororo Munroe. During that lunch, Arcade laid out what he had collected. With all of this information, hecould launch a solid series of charges against the various staff and students of the mansion and of Snow Valley Memorial Center for Mutant Affairs. While Xavier’s itself would be safe, the people caught on tape would have difficulty avoiding charges, and the negative publicity Arcade’s money could guarantee would be very damaging to the reputation of the school. Arcade has proof of numerous federal crimes being committed, the most minor of those being conspiracy to defraud a casino.
Instead, Arcade came up with a little game for Remy, and the unfortunate Ororo, who had been lumped in with him. His contacts had identified three of the surviving members of the Lost Boys program on the street. All three of them still suffered from the effects of the psychic lobotomy, and were invisible to mutant detection. If Remy and Ororo could get to each of them first, they could get them to treatment.
However, Arcade had found several groups that were interested in a middling powerful mutant to retrain, so they were racing against them. The teams were: the Reavers (Williams and Frank, field contact is Kip ‘PrettyBoy’ Marshall), the Hand (two generic ninja assassins, ties to the Yakuza street gangs), the Egyptians, sent by Achmed el-Gibar (two mercenaries with links to terrorist groups. One with enhanced senses); the Assassins Guild (two assassins, both with minor mutant powers); and the Friends of Humanity (two ex-SEALs, with advanced weapons and armor).
The second condition was that they both need to wear a bracelet that Arcade’s people devised. It included a GPS to track them, and a mutant power suppressor. Arcade had people set up to follow them in secret to make sure they couldn’t ask for help without risking the lives of the victims and the charges.
The prize of the game was that if they succeeded in getting to all targets first, Arcade agreed not only turn over all of the evidence he had compiled, but also was willing to have his own memories of the events psychically removed, voluntarily, so that unless a new effort is made against him by the X-Men, he has absolutely nothing to bring against them.
Arcade's plan was that he built this race up as a special, exclusive betting game. A hundred high level rollers bet on the outcome and various points of the race, following it by the GPS and hidden footage of Arcade ’s men on the contestants.
Having told their colleagues they were taking time off for various reasons, Remy and Ororo started with the location of the first former colleague in hand. Due to their lack of funds, powers and help, they quickly fell into old habits, running cons, picking pockets, stealing cars and all manner of petty criminal activity to get around the country and get to the victims first. Unfortunately, the other teams didn’t have all the same limitations, and included in the five team pairs are two survivors of the Reavers and two of Belladonna’s agents.
The journey across America took them to three separate cities: Savannah, Chicago and Seattle, fighting with the other teams to be first. In Savannah, they faced the Egyptian and FOH teams whilst having to break the first Lostboy, Rory Browne out of hospital. They succeeded in securing him, and the FOH team was arrested, much to the displeasure of Williard, the representative of the FOH in Vegas.
In Chicago their target - Landin Judkins - was located in a half-way house for the mentally ill. Remy and Ororo found Judkins without difficulty, but unfortunately, so did the Hand. The half-way house was blown up, and Ororo nearly got herself killed trying to find survivors in the rubble. Only when Remy told her everyone was dead did she finally let him drag her away. The danger wasn't over, however; the Reavers ambushed them on their way to the next city, and they barely made it out alive. Only the assistance of New Orleans Guilds| Marius Bordreaux, believed dead after the events of Drop of Nightshade, got them to a safe haven for the night.
In Seattle, they discovered their last target - Laura ‘Flair’ Vincent - was being held in a police station following a local crackdown on the homeless. The action had caused unrest amongst both the homeless and civil liberatarians, the situation was whipped into a near-riot by the death of a police officer and the subsequent further action by outraged police. An alread-tense situation was worsened by the Assassin's Guild, their people stirring things up into an attack on the local police precinct. Remy and Ororo encountered the Reavers again, and without their powers they were almost fatally outmatched. Barely surviving that encounter, they ran into the Assassins as they managed to break into the police station, and in the ensuing violence and the discovery of Flair beaten by the police, Remy almost tipped over the edge. Only Ororo's intervention stopped him from killing a police officer and becoming Gambit once more.
Once they secured the last mutant, Arcade lived up to his end of the bargain, destroying the evidence and taking the psychic wipe from Nathan in exchange for their victory. The three mutants were sent to Muir Island Research Facility, to undergo psychic and regular therapy. With a year or more of care, all three can eventually be reintroduced to society without trauma.
Trivia and Meta
After the first battle with the Reavers, Remy and Ororo found themselves taking comfort in each other, but later agreed it had been a mistake and would not be repeated.
Arcade's game was echoed by another type scenario, run by Mojo and called the Most Dangerous Game.
The three members of the Lostboys program were all named after characters in the (in)famous Andrew Vincent fanfic, "X".