Hellfire and Damnation
|Hellfire and Damnation|
|Dates run:||A full year plot from February 2005 to November 2005|
|Read the logs:||Hellfire and Damnation|
"I can't go back to Xavier's even if I wanted to. I owe Emma some favours. And I want to make sure that no-one forgets to be scared of me again in a hurry. So yeah, I'm the new White King."
Following his father's death at the hands of Alphonso de la Rocha, determined to have his revenge, and make sure that his enemies don't attack his family again, Pete Wisdom quits Xavier's, and joins the Hellfire Club as their White King.
Ties directly into Lost In The Woods.
As a result of Amanda's relationship with Manuel de la Rocha, and having crossed swords with Romany during the events of the Asgard incident and unable to strike at her, Pete or Amanda, Alphonso de la Rocha had Pete's father killed in retaliation for the spike Amanda had put in his plans for his estranged son.
When Pete discovered this, he quit Xavier's, intending to kill Alphonso. He quit partly out of moral conflict, partly so as not to bring any retribution from the Hellfire Club down on the school, and partly because he had realised how much his association with Xavier's had damaged his reputation as a frightening figure in the world of espionage and unscrupulous power brokers in which he had previously moved - a repuation on which he felt his family's safety rested, and which would only be restored is he demonstrated swiftly and conclusively that he was still willing to kill anyone that acted against him. He went to his old friend Emma Frost in secret for help and resources and she agreed on the basis that as White Queen of the Hellfire Club, she stood to gain from Alphonso's removal, especially if it was at the hands on an (ostensibly) independent party.
In the end, Pete did not kill Alphonso, although it was made to look like he had, and he used the now seemingly-permanent separation from Xavier's and the X-Men to infiltrate the Hellfire Club (inter-court murder being more acceptable to them than an assault from outside), filling the vacant space as White King. The only people aware of the deception were Alison Blaire and Charles Xavier, although Domino also knew the truth, but agreed to have it hidden with a false memory.
He remained in place as White King for eight months, gathering information on the Club's illegal activities, and putting himself in a position to remove them them as a threat.
During the time he was undercover, he did manage to rescue Meggan Szardos when she was kidnapped by Patches, although at the time everyone believe that he had somehow been involved with Patches instead, thus solidifying his position within the Club.
This position was further solidified when Pete was involved in obtaining information on mutant training camps in Africa from Nathan's uncle Gideon Faraday. Nathan got a phone call from Gideon, sending him to the drop point as part of Gideon's ongoing plans for his nephew, and confronted Pete. Things came to blows, and Pete used an EMP device to disable Nathan's psychic abilities and his telekinesis, escaping with the information and barely his life. Nathan, seriously injured, was taken to hospital with a resurgence of his virus. Unwilling to tell Amanda the truth, that her 'uncle Pete' was dealing in mutant children being made into weapons, Nathan lied about his injuries to the school at large, telling people he had been hit whilst crossing the road. The deception lead to an increased distance between himself and Amanda, who sensed he was not being straight with her.
In fact, the whole situation was a multi-level setup on Pete's part. He was attempting to get certain information about Sebastian Shaw's shadier business dealings, and in order to get the man to extend him that extra element of trust, he needed to enable Shaw to move goods through Laos without Xavier's finding out about them.
Early in his defection to the Hellfire club, Pete had visited the site of one of his last jobs for British intelligence - a secret Arctic research station where an experiment with psi-active viruses had gone horribly wrong. Visiting the station, he obtained a samaple of the virus for himself, and then had it altered and weaponised. To non-psi's it presents as nothing more than a slight cold. In a telepath, however, it produces a high fever, and a case of involuntary broadcast telepathy, such that any other nearby telepaths can effectively rifle through the infected party's knowledge without worrynig about shields, or detection.
Pete lured Nathan to his office (with help from Faraday) specifically in order to put him in hospital, so that the X-Men would be without a field telepath, and so would need to draft Betsy Braddock for the short term (and also because he did not want to chance the unknown consequences of exposing Nathan to a virus that would disrupt his powers when he was already using those powers to contain another virus, judging arranging a flare Nathan's known and controllable condition a lesser evil). Pete then made sure that the X-Men discovered the location of the facility in South America that the people he employed had been using. In their attempt to shut the facility down, Betsy was infected with the virus.
A week or so after the mission, Betsy attended a party thrown by Emma Frost, despite the slight cold that she believed herself to be suffering from, at which Pete had stationed a plant in the waiting staff - an unscrupulous low grade telepath. When Betsy was taken ill at the party, Pete's plant was able to rifle through her memories specifically of Xavier's intelligence networks, and using that information, Pete was able to render Remy's intelligence gathering operation effectively blind in Laos, thus permitting Shaw to move good through there, and crucially, making sure Pete knew what he was moving.
Matters came to a head during Selene's attempt to recruit Amanda to the Hellfire Club, when Pete revealed his deception by taking Selene out of the picture permanently, using materials provided by Alison, Dr. Stephen Strange and Romany, and returned to the mansion.
Trivia and Meta
As a result of this plot, Pete came very close to a nervous breakdown and spent most of 2006 avoiding direct operational work, making an exception only for Operation: Opening Salvo, which was personal business for him, anyway.