|Dates run:||May 28th, 2011 - June 6th, 2011|
|Run By:||Tapestry, Nichole (co-runner)|
|Read the logs:||Aftershocks|
"No way to predict who becomes a mutant. No oversight when they do. No criteria for what power goes to who. Dangerous mutations. Lethal mutations. Some uncontrollable. Some mutants can mean the best and still kill. And if not them, maybe their children."
When X-Factor Investigations are to investigate the death of a victim of a suspected serial killer, they discover the killer's choice of victims to be less random than originally thought.
When X-Factor Investigations are hired to look into the death of a murder victim named Olivia Scott, Bishop receives a tip from someone on the police force that the case may be especially relevant to his firm. Once Doug Ramsey is recruited to gain access to the case files he discovers that the NYPD have recently identified the only apparent link between the victims: that every one of them was x-factor positive.
In an attempt to locate the killer, Vanessa and Bishop quickly enlist the aid of Professor Xavier and Amanda Sefton to use their respective talents while the two investigators interview victims' families. Unfortunately, Amanda lacks a sufficient focus for her locator spell and something about the killer's mind does not result in the expected psychic spike; two days into the investigation another victim is killed without pinging for either. Bishop takes Laura Kinney to the scene in the hopes of finding some clue as to the killer's identity; they find nothing, but Laura does detect a distinctive scent of old blood and lemon-scented antiseptic wipes.
Though Xavier continues to search for the killer, he passes formal communication with Vanessa to David Haller for a fresh perspective and, presumably, a very strange incentive to socialize with his peers. During a brainstorming session he, Amanda and Doug recall a past strategy used with the entity Xorn, and, because it makes as much sense as anything, Amanda and Haller decide to meet at a murder site and attempt to use Amanda's connection with the city to interrogate New York itself. Haller has doubts of his ability to interpret anything received from a city, and on a hunch approaches Meggan Szardos in the hopes her empathy will bridge the potential gap. Though Amanda is less than thrilled by the prospect, the three are ultimately successful in divining an emotional signature from the killer to act as the focus of a tracking spell. With a magical dragnet to cast, Vanessa puts Laura and Jean-Paul Beaubier on quick-response alert.
Results are yielded the very next evening when Amanda's spell sends Laura and Jean-Paul to intercept a man and a woman on a near-deserted street. Shockingly, it is the young woman whom Laura identifies as carrying the scent from the crime-scene. After an initial chase, Laura and Jean-Paul corner the girl at a bar; with nowhere left to run, she drops all pretense of escape and goes along quietly.
Once Vanessa and Bishop arrive to interrogate the suspect the girl proves less than forthcoming. Temporarily stymied, Bishop acquires her name, Caroline Alito, by calling one of the contacts on her cell under pretenses of WalMart Employee. Doug then uses this information to pull her police records, which include her current address. Faced with the possibility the girl may not talk, and the even more alarming risk a second party could be directing her kills, the investigator send Jean-Paul to her apartment to gather evidence while they continue the interrogation.
At this time Meggan, Amanda and Haller arrive at the scene to see if any further aid can be offered; despite his misgivings, Haller is eventually convinced to establish a superficial link with the killer while the interrogation continues so the answers may be fed to Bishop and Vanessa. With this new strategy, they discover two things: first of all, that the killer is working alone, and second of all, that her ability to locate passing mutants is not due to a conspiracy, but because she herself is a mutant with the ability to detect others by scent. At the same time, Jean-Paul's search of her apartment reveals another detail: that she is a survivor of the 2006 San Diego Earthquake perpetrated by Magneto.
Before the police arrive to take Alito into custody Meggan makes a request to speak to her, hoping to gain some manner of understanding for the emotions she sensed during the tracking spell. Unfortunately, the answers she receive provide no solace. It is a lack of closure echoed for the families of the victims when Alito commits suicide in custody less than 48 hours after her arrest.
Trivia and Meta
- First appearance of the homemade newsletter SOME GUY WITH A PRINTER'S MUTANT NEWS FOR MUTANTS
- First appearance of the victims services group and charity Survivors Against Fear/Life After Loss