Light in the Darkness
|Light in the Darkness|
|Dates run:||November 26- December 11, 2012|
|Read the logs:||Light in the Darkness|
Your fears are mine.
A kidnapping turns into a lot more than anyone could ever imagine.
The CRL [The Church of the Redeeming Light] is an offshoot of the Southern Baptist Convention, based outside of Pearl, Mississippi. The church and compound were originally founded in 1989 by Pastor Derek Greene. Originally holding three families, the compound now boosts 60 members, most of them living either in a collection of family apartments or in the barracks for single men and women. The church owns significant acreage surrounding the compound which it operates as a multi-crop farm.
The FBI initially maintained a watch on the CRL due to Greene being a suspect in a number of arson cases at several women's health clinics. When Greene died three years ago, they ended their surveillance, but the CRL was quickly implicated in a case involving a teenage runaway who supposedly spent a period of time at the compound before collapsing in downtown Jackson and later dying. Doctors could not determine a cause of death, and it was quickly revealed that the teen was a mutant.
When SHIELD discovered an email trail with one of the younger female members strongly encouraging the teen to visit her, as far as offering herself to him sexually, SHIELD discovered that the church was unusually active on online message boards and communities for young mutants. While no illegal activities were apparent, SHIELD decided to send in an agent undercover to investigate. Agent Nathan Tyler was assigned to the case, due to his experience in undercover work of this nature, and his own dedicated to his Baptist faith and thorough understanding of the religious background and texts of the offshoots of the CRL.
Unfortunately, what SHIELD was not aware of was the fact that Tyler was suffering badly from undiagnosed depression and anxiety issues. What had been considered nothing more than a bad temper an overzealous approach to his faith at the beginning of his career were morphing into a full blown breakdown at the time of his assignment, and his fitness reports had been growing more worrisome. However, they decided that he'd be the perfect candidate for the assignment.
For the last ten months, Tyler has been undercover, although his reports have been fairly innocuous; enough to justify keeping him undercover, but nothing hinting a major issue with the church. He has also made it clear that once the assignment is over, he plans to apply for early retirement on medical grounds. SHIELD has expanded his undercover time for one more month to wrap things up before shutting down the investigation.
The reality is that something is seriously wrong at the CRL. The people living there worship a figure they refer to as the Lady of Light; supposedly a living embodiment of Heaven, whom they obey without question. The 'Lady' is actually the avatar of a dark essence known as D'spayre. D'Spayre feeds on the 'light' of people - the essence of their souls. It discovered that mutants possess a much deeper well of this energy, and has been using her people to try and draw in mutants to feed on. Her cult is regularly drained to feed the creature, who uses empathic coercion to make them worship it. In Tyler's case, the discovery of his limited light powers turned out to be a huge boon for its feeding presence, and has completely twisted his mind inside out to worship it unquestioningly. When he mentioned having a daughter, it decided to look into it further.
Tyler was dispatched to track his daughter, discovering that she was now in New York at Xavier's. Investigations into her incident suggested to Tyler than Tandy must have similar powers to him, only at a greater scale. Obsessed with acquiring her power, D'Spayre ordered Tyler to bring his daughter to it. Tyler spent some time planning, and flew to Shaker Heights, Ohio, where he murdered his ex-wife and her husband.
Returning to the church, he received the order to pull out by SHIELD, who decided to terminate the investigation a couple of weeks early and informed him of the death of his ex-wife. His alibi secured by SHIELD by duping them regarding a report, he travels to the mansion to see his daughter. As he explains to Xavier and any staff involved, with the death of his ex-wife, he's now Tandy's legal guardian, but his split with his wife had turned Tandy into a stranger to him. Sounding almost contrite, he suggests that if she wants to stay at the school, he'll help arrange it, but they need to go over a lot of things to settle on the plan for her future. He meets Tandy and they head out to discuss things over lunch.
Tyler, however, has other plans. He drugs Tandy's food and drops her into his car, heading for the church. After they are hours late returning, the mansion goes on alert, but they can only do limited actions - they don't know that Tandy's been taken by force and the fact that Tyler is her father makes it impossible to use legal channels yet. Cerebro is unable to latch on to Tandy's powers, and they are forced to use limited other options. However, they are helped as the investigators in Tandy's parents murder sopena SHIELD for Tyler's issued sidearm, and match the bullets to it. Now a wanted felon, Tandy's disappearance becomes a federal kidnapping case, which falls squarely into Fred Duncan's sphere and he assigns Kane to it immediately. Kane contacts Adrienne and both meet up at the diner where Adrienne is able to pick up some of the missing pieces using her powers.
Officers head to the CRL compound only to discover everyone inside dead, drained of their life force. However, Tyler has not been as thorough wiping the computers as he thought, and they are able to pull details of plane tickets under a fake family alias for Central America. D'Spayre has been prepping an unknown agenda for years, and finally may have the key on unlocking hell on earth and freeing her master. However, with a target, the X-Men arrive shortly after - along with SHIELD and the FBI- smashing the compound apart and rescuing Tandy as D'Spayre is forced to flee. Tyler tries to kill Kurt but Tandy uses her own powers on him and sends Tyler into a coma. He is then taken by SHIELD.
Trivia and Meta
- Adrienne and Haller come to the agreement that a codename for Adrienne might be needed.
The events of this plot still occurred in Phase 2, but specifics, such as which characters were involved, remain fuzzy for the purposes of not breaking the world. ;)