|Dates run:||June 30, 2008 - April 26, 2010|
|Plots:||Bhagavad Gita, Red X Mission: Shake Hands With The Devil, Operation: Retribution, Congress of Behram, X-Men Mission: Eric The Red, Old Man of the Mountain, X-Men Mission: Hotel Saragarhi, Song of Isaac, Key of Solomon, Lakshmibai Raj|
“You were always worried about what outside people would think, Lilandra. You forgot that the most important people are inside our borders. Remember when father would take out the old military maps of North India, and he’d trace the development of the Shiar clan, pointing out the battles and kingdoms and migrations all the way to the present? Remember that he used to say ‘history is the tracing of the audacious’.” Neramani said, touching the crystal. “What is India today? It is how it has been defined by treaties, successful and unsuccessful wars, the application of will against what ‘has always been’ to make something new and old again. Are her natural boundaries as they are now, or are they more, eliminating the threat that has clawed at our borders for ages?”
A complex conspiracy unfolds to engineer the rise of D. Kenneth Neramani of the Shiar to the office of Prime Minister of India. However, Neramani's ambitions go much further, and the X-Men are drawn in against a world power ready to flex its muscle.
M. Cornelius Neramani was the powerful head of the Shiar clan, an upper caste linage dating back centuries in Northern India. The clan had focused strongly on political and military influence under his leadership, promoting key officers to major commands in the Indian military, and forming a strongly conservative hard line political force from the north. However, they had always lacked the connections to build a coalition with Southern Indian parties to win major elections. M. Cornelius was an ardent nationalist, who believed both Sri Lanka and Pakistan should be incorporated as part of Greater India, a trait he passed on to his eldest son, D. Kenneth. When Cornelius died, an autospy discovered that much of his brain had crystalized, a side effect of his secret psionic empathic abilities. His son took over his father's place at the head of the clan and its political machine. D. Ken had the crystal formation in his father's brain extracted, and kept it with his personal effects.
Unfortunately for D.Ken, the crystal continued to send out a psionic echo of sorts, which his own mutant powers made him suspectable to. The echoes led him to believe it was his father speaking to him from beyond the grave, and as he became more mental unstable, the willingness to commit atrocities grew. When his sister's husband, a powerful Pakistani General, died, Neramani saw the opportunity to put his plans in motion and seize power.
Bhagavad Gita - Thanks to the Kingmaker, Calysee Neramani engineered a mutant terrorist attack on India, destablizing the Pakistani state. D. Ken used the attack to bring down the ruling party and secure his own election as Prime Minister of India.
Red X Mission: Shake Hands With The Devil - Under the excuse of attacks by Tamil Tigers, D.Ken launched the annexation of Sri Lanka, using his newest assemblied Imperial Guards - a mutant strike team - to break resistance through genocide against the Tamils.
Operation: Retribution - X-Force removes three members of the Imperial Guard as a threat against using mutants as a military strike force. While the unit commander Daciot takes notice, it does little to check Neramani's ambitions.
Congress of Behram - D.Ken's youngest sister, Lilandra, holds a conference on mutant weaponization in Germany, and D.Ken arranges secretly for a Muslim extremist terrorist group to assassinate William Bastion. If they had been successful, it would have completely broken apart Pakistan, irregardless of the UN peacekeepers presence.
X-Men Mission: Eric The Red - The X-Men, through Christopher Summers, discover that Indonesia has been secretly shipping young mutants to India under the guise of an anti-piracy treaty. The mutants are meant to form multiple new Imperial Guard units for the future.
Old Man of the Mountain - Amahl Farouk is betrayed to the Indians following the defection of a diplomat with knowledge of India's secret plans to annex Pakistan. The X-Men are able to save Farouk but the Imperial Guard takes back the diplomat, keeping his knowledge secret.
X-Men Mission: Hotel Saragarhi - D. Ken tries to remove his most powerful opposition in Parlement, engineering a hostage situation in the resort hotel the man is staying at, intending him to be killed 'accidentially' when the Imperial Guard and police forces storm the hotel. The X-Men successfully rescue him, and plant the seeds of doubt in Daciot regarding the motives of his leader.
Song of Isaac, Key of Solomon - Calysee Neramani is abducted from her home, again engineered by D.Ken as an excuse to secure their borders by moving troops into Pakistan.
Lakshmibai Raj - D.Ken decides to finally move Indian forces into Pakistan, knowing that the UN troops will be unable to stop him and his hold over Sri Lanka and deal with Indonesia provides him a buffer from American navel forces to threaten his invasion. Lilandra betrays her brother's plan to Xavier, who in turn makes a shocking request of the X-Men: to stop the invasion before it can spiral out of control and kill millions in an all out war. The X-Men are able to delay the ground troops by disabling vehicles and supplies. They disable the navel group by destorying the carrier flight decks and then creating an EM pulse to short out the electrical systems, all with minimum loss of life. X-Force heads straight into New Delhi, rescuing Lilandra and killing D.Ken to end the threat. Lilandra steps in as her brother's interim successor, rolling back most of his policies and returning the region to peace in exchange for a seat for India on the UN Security Council.
Trivia and Meta
Over two years, India dramatically rewrote the geopolitical balance on the planet, changing a number of relationships and diplomatic positions.
This was the first plot arc in XP history to involve every active character in the finale. It was also the first plot arc to encompass different missions for each separate group in the game at the time: X-Men, X-Force, Red-X, and ELPIS.
The arc was conceived as an adaption of a number of space-based X-Men adventures, adapted to the idea of the Shiar as a political family in India and not aliens. Many concepts - the madness of D'Ken, the MKrann crystal, the Imperial Guard - remain consistent between the canon and the adapted plots.
Many elements of Indian politics, society and history were built into the plots, attempting to maintain as authentic and honest a portrayal as possible, including using proper regional names and PBs for NPCs. Any inconsistencies are mistakes, and not based on attempting to treat India as a simple singular region and culture.
The arc took two years to run, and features over 700,000 words across the 9 plots. It was the largest plot arc until Genosha.
The major details of the arc, including all of the basic structures of each plot, were conceived and written up in a single night.