A Haven to Call Home
|A Haven to Call Home|
|Dates run:||September 22 to November 11, 2023|
|Run By:||Ben and Tapestry|
|Read the logs:||A Haven to Call Home|
We will all be victims of the Mahapralaya, Quentin. Even those who choose to be saved will know suffering. I cannot prevent that.
Radha Dastoor, Abhay Dastoor, Josephine Sarcina
A routine request to locate a missing spouse leads X-Factor Investigations to discover an isolated, all-mutant commune on the West Coast. The founder, a wealthy philanthropist named Radha Dastoor, encourages mutant separatism and self-sufficiency in the face of an increasingly hostile world. Radha is essentially a walking pocket-dimension, able to take people into herself to heal, reflect, and shelter if necessary. While XFI determines the place is at least cult-adjacent, they do not find evidence of coercion or abuse against its members when they run background checks, perform cursory interviews, and engage in some light telepathic vibe-checking. They wrap the job and leave.
A few weeks afterwards, Inez begins to demonstrate frightening neurologic symptoms. With no obvious cause and Inez rapidly deteriorating, XFI recalls Radha and her members' claims of her ability to heal the incurable and ask for her help. Radha is able to cure Inez by taking her into her own dimension and eliminating the infection, though like all the ailments she cures, she professes not to understand what caused it. Regardless, bridges are built between her and XFI.
She begins to engage Quentin about the future of mutantkind, preaching about an inevitable human-mutant conflict and apocalypse called Mahapralaya, or Great Dissolution. It will annihilate most human and mutant lives on Earth, but ultimately usher in a golden age. She requests Quentin’s assistance in shoring up her subdimension by creating a type of astral scaffolding. Her hope is that doing so will enable it to become a self-sustaining world in itself rather than something dependent solely on her power and will. Essentially, Radha is currently using a hand-crank generator; she wants Quentin to help her hook up to a dam. Together, they can create an ark for mutants to survive the Mahapralaya. While Quentin is skeptical of the spiritual aspect of her teachings, he does like the idea of building a safe haven for mutants from which they can create their own isolationist society. With the encouragement of Radha's brother Abhay, Quentin eventually agrees. Over the next several weeks, he spends his time alternating between New York and Radha’s compound on the West Coast, becoming closer with Radha, Abhay, and their followers.
Madin, having left the mansion following their outing as ex-Brotherhood, hears of the commune through Quentin and decides to give it a shot. They're enamored with the commune and what it represents: not integration into human society, no shared services, but a whole world apart from humans.
Haller, intrigued by reports of Radha's healing capabilities, pays her a visit and is forcibly "healed" of his DID as a way of proving her power. While he immediately reports to Emma Frost and determines no psychic tampering took place when Radha rearranged his brain, the experience leaves him shaken.
During this time, two seemingly unrelated categories of news reports hit the airways: first, a sharp uptick in climate disasters in the continental US like hurricanes, tornados, and floods; and second, the appearance of a so-called "mutant plague." This "plague" has been appearing in urban areas with large concentrations of mutants and is characterized by violent power flares and extreme neurologic/autoimmune-like illness in the victims. It is surmised that this is what happened to Inez.
Immediately after Halloween, an unusually strong storm hits NYC, including parts of District X. For approximately 48 hours, various services are interrupted due to flooding. Various efforts are made through the District X Community Center to assist the inhabitants during this time, such as providing meals, clothing, childcare, and so on.
The extra visibility of mutant activists and the typical impulse to allot blame for misfortune incites a Friends of Humanity demonstration near the border of District X. The X-Men arrive undercover to monitor the situation. While not exactly calm, the situation abruptly devolves with the detonation of an explosive device. A dozen mutants immediately begin to flare, including Alex and April. The X-Men manage to get the situation under control, but not without injuries. It's a public relations disaster.
Using her past experience as a cat burglar, Sue manages to steal the explosive device from police evidence holding under the impression that this is the chemical weapon theorized to be spreading the plague. However, chemical analysis reveals traces of nothing but tear gas, and Arthur’s psychometry determines it was planted by one of Radha’s people. XFI realizes there is one other constant in who has contracted the so-called mutant plague: they were all wearing bracelets passed out by Radha's adherents. Though Quentin is loath to believe it, he concludes that Radha has been orchestrating terroristic attacks and climate disasters to prematurely bring about the Mahapralaya she has been prophesying, and has in fact been using the plague to drive other mutants into her grasp.
With many of the X-Men in temporary quarantine and hoping to be proven wrong, Quentin confronts Radha about his suspicions. Unfortunately he is proven right. Radha attempts to bring him and the members of her group, many of whom were equally misled, into her subdimension as a way to hold them all hostage. Unbeknownst to her, a side-effect of her reorganization of Haller's mind also gave him unfettered access to the full spectrum of his powers, and with Hope acting as his guide, he is able to forcibly tear himself and Radha's hostages from her grasp by shifting them back to reality. This frees Quentin to initiate the psychic failsafe he built into their arrangement months ago, ultimately leaving Radha stranded within herself, unable to rejoin reality.
Radha’s cult fractures, with high-ranking members like Josie and Abhay escaping. Quentin, rejecting involvement of human police and the “justice system,” and unwilling to publicize the fact that anti-mutant groups were right about the unnatural weather events (and that the “mutant plague” was due to a mutant herself), declines to call the authorities. He harbors hope that he can convince Abhay and the others to reform and even join his cause.
Trivia and Meta
The riot and his subsequent illness proved the tipping point for Alex Summers and he decided to leave the mansion and rejoin his wife.
The log titles for all XFI plot logs come from the Haven arc of X-Factor volume 1, issues 96 to 100 (and 117, her final appearance).