- It's an asteroid belt... and there's no time to alter our course before we hit it!
- -- Beast
Appearing in "-- Did I Miss Something?!"
- Gladiator (Mentioned)
- Magneto (Mentioned)
- Lilandra Neramani (Mentioned)
- Imperial Guard (Mentioned)
- Professor Xavier (Mentioned)
- Archangel (Mentioned)
- Psylocke (Mentioned)
- Iceman (Mentioned)
- Graydon Creed (Mentioned)
- Legacy Virus (Mentioned)
- X.S.E. (Mentioned)
- Shard (Mentioned)
- Onslaught (Mentioned)
- A Royal Star Cruiser of the Shi'ar Empire.
Synopsis for "-- Did I Miss Something?!"
The issue opens to the Beast asking "Did I miss something?". He is one of 6 X-Men transported aboard a Royal Star Cruiser of the Shi'ar Empire. The others are Bishop, Gambit, Joseph, Rogue, and Trish Tilby. The latter has effectively been recruited for this mission despite having no powers.
The team figures out that Gladiator teleported them there but are still getting their bearings. Their hanging on from whatever they can, as the Cruiser is speeding on and it effects them. Beast realizes that the ship is out of control. He also says that they have probably been teleported "untold" light-years from Earth.
He next tries to understand what the ship's readings are saying, though he claims that his knowledge of Shi'ar linguistics is rusty. He says that based on the readings, either they stabilize the internal environment of the ship or they will end up as pancakes. Joseph attempts to volunteer to help, but Rogue tells him to stay put. She saysis the one who will help the Beast and says that Joseph should stay out of the way.
Hank starts attempting to take control of the ship. The first button he pushes proves to be a mistake and the effect causes Rogue to fall back into a wall, which starts shattering. Beast next instructs the ship's computer to communicate in the English language. He tries to recalibrate the internal pressure to compensate for passengers. He is an a hurry because the internal pressure is already high enough to start breaking objects. The computer protests that in order to devote effort to "non-mandatory" life support, they would have to compromise the pre-programmed navigational instructions. Beast overrides the previous programming.
The X-Men are now in a stable environment and the ship is under control. Trish expresses her faith in Hank and his ability to handle their situation. But he starts explaining that their troubles are not over yet, they are just beginning. He continues explaining what he found out about their destination. The ship has been programmed to take them to a stargate. Reaching it would allow them to travel light years away, right into Shi'ar space. But between them and the stargate exists an asteroid belt. They are on a collision course with the belt.
Beast then explains that they are facing a dilemma. If they don't hurry towards the stargate, it will close and leave them stranded in an unknown area of space. If they do stay on course, they are likely to be smashed by asteroids. Suddenly Joseph intervenes. He decisively instructs "Dr. McCoy" to stay the course, surprising everyone except Gambit.
Joseph explains that he can offer no guarantee, but he will attempt to use his magnetic powers to deflect the asteroids in their path. He lights up with energy and starts using his powers. Rogue thinks to herself that it is amazing that Joseph is trying to save their lives. A few months ago, as Magneto, the same man was equally likely to let them die in space. She figures that Joseph does not remember his previous, lethal identity.
On the other hand, Beast voices concerns about Joseph's plan. He points that Joseph still has much to learn about his powers and he could do more harm than good. Joseph does not argue against Beast's assessment of his situation, but points that him not trying would result in a far worse alternative for them all. He reminds the X-Men that they took him in when they had every reason not to. He wants to repay the favor by getting them through safely, no matter the consequences to himself.
Joseph's plan works. The ship safely passes through the asteroid belt and reaches the stargate. Beast says they have a choice ahead of them. They can try to turn their Cruiser around and abort their mission, or they can head through the stargate towards an inter-galactic conflict. He reminds his fellow X-Men that according to Gladiator the conflict was serious enough to threaten the existence of the Shi'ar Empire. Gambit jokes that the 6 of them against the universe sounds fair to him. The actual decision to go through the stargate is taken by Rogue, who points that their presence is needed.
The scene shifts to the Xavier Institute. Cannonball has just announced to Cyclops, Phoenix, Storm, and Wolverine that the other X-Men have gone missing. Wolverine seems pissed and accuses Sam of having lost the X-Men. Storm tells her friend to allow calmer heads to deal with the situation.
Cannonball explains that he has not lost the 6 missing X-Men, they were snatched away by the Gladiator. The Gladiator left himself right after the event. The only information the alien shared with him was that Lilandra Neramani has grounded the Gladiator and the Imperial Guard. They have been ordered not to return to the Shi'ar Homeworld. By what the Gladiator said, Sam has concluded that the Homeworld is in danger. Wolverine points that Lilandra wanted the Guard to stay away from danger, but had no problem with endangering the X-Men. He concludes that with friends like the Shi'ar, who needs enemies?
The scene shifts back to the Cruiser. It has passed the stargate but has yet to reach its destination, which confuses the Beast. He thought that "traveling through the stargate should be instantaneous". He stops interacting with the computer and goes to check up on Trish. Rogue replaces him and tries to get the computer to identify their destination. The computer denies access to this information, since it has been classified by Majestrix Lilandra. A frustrated Rogue points that after all the X-Men have done for Lilandra. she is sending them to the unknown.
Joseph approaches Gambit and thanks him for supporting his plan. He says that the support means a lot to him. Gambit tells him not to get "misty-eyed". Remy explains tat they are both untrustworthy members of the team and they have to stick together.
Meanwhile, Beast apologizes to Trish about getting her involved in this mission. She is not an X-Man or a mutant, she was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. She asks him if he has a point in this conversation, while she is actually preoccupied with changing clothes. Hank says that if there was a way for him to get her back on Earth, he would do it. She points that he can't do that. He keeps trying to emphasize how much he wants her safe, and she tells him to stop being "condescenting".
Trish then reveals to him her new clothes. She has chosen for herself a Shi'ar uniform, which Hank recognizes as that of a Shi'ar navigator. The uniform is form-fitting and flattering. It is open in the middle, leaving her with a bare midriff. The uniform comes with gloves and boots, but no headgear. Trish has left her hair flowing freely.
Hank wonder why she chose to change clothes. She informs him that the first rule of being an international war correspondent is to always dress the part. She figured that she is with the X-Men as an intergalactic war correspondent and should follow the rule. Hank thinks that she is treating their situation as a joke.
She smiles but points that she knows this is not a joke. She realizes they are in deep trouble, she realizes they could die, and she is frightened. But she invites her boyfriend to ask whether she would rather be anyplace else in the galaxy, rather than right here by his side. Hank starts asking just that and she shuts him up with a kiss.
The scene shifts back to the Mansion. In a communication room stand Cannonball, Cyclops, Storm, and Wolverine. Phoenix does not seem to be with them. Cyclops has tried and failed to contact the Shi'ar through the Mansion's Shi'ar Communications technology. He figures that something is wrong with the Shi'ar. He has tried every conceivable frequency and nothing works, as if there is nobody there to reply. As if an entire section of the universe just stopped. He claims that should not be possible. Wolverine suggests traveling out to space and look for "them", though it is unclear if he means the missing X-Men or the missing Shi'ar.
Storm argues that they can not leave Earth, as there are matters "closer to home" that concern them. She reminds them that Professor Xavier is in government custody, while Archangel, Psylocke, and Iceman are all in a Leave of absence. Meanwhile the average normal human is craving revenge for the assassination of Graydon Creed and the Legacy Virus crisis keeps getting worse. Cyclops asks whether she is saying that the few remaining X-Men would do more good by staying on Earth. She does not answer directly, just says that Scott has heard her arguments and the decision is his to make.
The scene shifts back to the Cruiser. Bishop stands alone and contemplates the direction his life has taken. It seems only yesterday to him when he was an officer of the X.S.E.. He was fighting to police mutants in an effort to protect both humans and mutants. Today he fight by the X-Men, the legends of his youth. He would have once considered this a dream come true. But he actually feels out of place, living decades in his own past. He has been among the X-Men for many months and he still has not made any friends. He thinks that perhaps Shard was right. She has always believed that her brother is destined to be alone. Rogue reaches him and asks whether he wants some time alone. He replies he does not want to be alone.
Rogue senses he is troubled and invites him to talk to her. Bishop says that he feels directionless after Onslaught. He has spend his whole life believing in Professor X. He first heard the legends then met the reality of the man. Now he has lost faith in him and does not know what to believe in. Rogue suggests a life lesson she learned the hard way, that you can't change some things but can change how you feel about this fact. He says he feels nothing. She touches his hand in an effort to make him feel something.
He is surprised since the skin of their hands touched and no absorption of mind and powers too place. She replies that this is because of the Shi'ar uniform she chose for herself. It is a mining uniform and includes a low-grade force field. She can use it to touch people through the force field without making actual skin contact. She still can not control her powers, but she is able to surprise Bishop. He admits to be pleasantly surprised by their entire conversation. Their conversation ends as the Cruiser finally reaches its destination.
The X-Men start gathering and Gambit complains that he can not see anything. Joseph offers a somewhat complex explanation for this. The speed of light in hyperspace is twisted and affects the Cruiser's sensors, which onlt begin to decipher subspace transmissions. Gambit asks how a man with amnesia can know this, and Joseph says he does not know. Beast realizes that they are about to make visual contact with the Shi'ar Empire's busiest docking facility.
Beast is shocked to see the facility is huge but lies in ruins. He asks the computer to identify the facility. It identifies it as Starstation A'sura Tarrel, with a permanent staff of 700 people and capacity to hold 3,212 humanoids. Beast instructs the computer to search for any biological signs of occupation. The computer scans it and finds no one aboard. Beast figures there is no one left alive.
Soon enough the X-Men start exploring the "derelict space station". Rogue has partnered up with Beast. She wonders what could have caused this carnage when the Shi'ar Empire is the preeminent force in the galaxy. They have found corpses but are still unclear who or what killed them. Beast deduces from the condition of the remains that the massacre occurred some time ago. Rogue suspects that their search is futile, but Beast argues that they should look for clues to the identity of their new opponent.
Rogue changes the topic of their conversation. She asks whether the time is after midnight. He replies "yes" and she says it is Christmas Day (December 25). They wish each other Merry Christmas. Beast then searches for the station's power core and finds that someone or something has stolen it.
The scene shifts to another duo of X-Men, Gambit and Joseph. Joseph finds it embarrassing that his magnetic powers seem to be useless, they don't work on "this alien metal". Gambit suggests that the obstacle ahead of them might not be metallic in nature, but made out of some kind of polymer. He uses his powers over kinetic energy and a good kick to open the way.
Joseph comments that "Remy" is full of surprises and Gambit comments that his partner does not even know half of it. He thinks to himself that he hopes that Joseph never finds out about the full package of surprises, his mysterious past. Joseph reports to Trish Tilby, who co-ordinates the various groups as their communications officer, that they have found nothing on Deck 23.
Trish is still aboard the Cruiser, alone. She is glad that there is some static on the lines, so that nobody can hear her teeth chattering. She feels scared but does not want Hank to find out. She had a hard time convincing him not to worry about her. She contacts Bishop, who is searching alone aboard the station.
Bishop is surrounded by corpses, but Trish informs him that her study of the Shi'ar readings suggests there is another life-form in the chamber with him. He thinks she has misunderstood the readings but agrees to search for one. He lifts debris and finds a barely alive Deathbird. She identifies herself as the sister of Majestrix Lilandra Neramani and "commands" Bishop to help them. The story ends.
- The Marvel Chronology Project, which tracks Marvel character appearances, has the following information on the non-regular cast members which appear on this issue.
- Cannonball appears here directly after Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 341 (February, 1997). He next becomes a regular cast member of X-Men Vol 2, starting with issue #62 (March, 1997).
- Cyclops appears here directly after Journey into Mystery Vol 1 513 (October, 1997). He next appears in X-Men Vol 2 62 (March, 1997).
- Deathbird last appeared in X-Men Unlimited Vol 1 13 (December, 1996). She goes on to be a semi-regular cast member of the Uncanny X-Men title, appearing in issues #343-345, 348, 353-354, #357-358, 372-374, and 377. Her storyline largely concludes by Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 377 (February, 2000).
- Phoenix appears here directly after Journey into Mystery Vol 1 513 (October, 1997). She next appears in X-Men Vol 2 62 (March, 1997).
- Storm appears here directly after Wolverine Vol 2 114 (June, 1997). She next appears in Star Trek: The Next Generation / X-Men: Second Contact Vol 1 1 (May, 1998).
- Wolverine appears here directly after Psylocke and Archangel Crimson Dawn Vol 1 1 (August, 1997). He next appears in Star Trek: The Next Generation / X-Men: Second Contact Vol 1 1 (May, 1998).
- While all the spacefaring X-Men start wearing Shi'ar uniforms in this issue, only Rogue continued wearing her new uniform semi-regularly when they returned to Earth.
- The computer of the Royal Star Cruiser fails to identify Deathbird as the sole survivor and reports that there are no survivors. Shortly afterwards Trish Tilby and Bishop discover that Deathbird as still alive. The computer error is never explained.
- While Cyclops, Phoenix, Storm, and Wolverine appear here as active X-Men, their recent activities are not explained. They were previously seen in X-Men Vol 2, issues #60 and 61, but these issues are apparently set in November. What have they been doing for the last month?
- Other than Beast's struggle to place the speeding Cruiser under control, this issue contains no action scenes. It is mostly devoted to setting up the X-Men's new situation and exploring their characterizations.
- Trish Tilby's storyline is a variation of a familiar plot, that of an innocent civilian dragged into the hero’s adventure. Unusually, she makes the best of her situation. She seems thrilled to be part of the action, hides her fears, and actually serves as a new member of the team. This is something of a spotlight issue for her.
- Bishop's storyline focuses on his loneliness, failure to connect with the X-Men, and lack of a direction following Onslaught. This is something of a commentary on the character's history so far. Bishop has regularly appeared in the X-Men titles since 1991. In all this time, he has been given little character development and almost no connection to any other X-Man. While several issues focused on the X-Men's characterization and relationships, Bishop rarely got the spotlight treatment. His one major storyline was the search for the so-called X-Traitor and this was resolved when the traitor was revealed to be Onslaught.
- A few online reviews suggest that Bishop's storyline actually represents Scott Lobdell's uncertainty what to do with the character following Onslaught. The story with the spacefaring X-Men actually served as Bishop's last major participation in X-Men storylines for several years. He next leaves the team and stays in space, becomes Deathbird's reluctant partner for a few years, and eventually becomes a solo adventurer in Bishop the Last X-Man Vol 1 (1999-2001).
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