- But what if the man I was once tried -- but couldn't? Could my soul have been so lost -- so empty -- that I'd become a monster?
- -- Joseph
Appearing in "Moving On"
- Unnamed metallic creature.
- Maggott (First appearance)
- Eany and Meany. Maggott's slugs. (First appearance)
- Maria de la Joya
- God (Mentioned)
- Sharra (Mentioned)
- K'ythri (Mentioned)
- Phalanx (Mentioned)
- Professor Xavier (Mentioned)
- Onslaught (Mentioned)
- Magneto (Mentioned)
- Kree (Mentioned)
- Sinister (Mentioned)
- Homo superior (Mentioned)
- Avengers (Mentioned)
- A book on Shi'ar historical records.
- Maria de la Joya's car.
- A Shi'ar transport vessel.
- A mammoth spaceship of unknown origin.
Synopsis for "Moving On"
The story opens in Guatemala. A car seem stuck and its car horn is honking loudly. The driver of the vehicle runs on foot. She hopes that someone may hear that horn and come to her aid. Otherwise she is a dead woman. The narration identifies the running woman as Maria de la Joya.
The one pursuing her is soon revealed. It is an an unnamed metallic creature in what seems to be an armored form. Its nature is not explained. "He" (actual sex uncertain) compliments her for being a resourceful woman. But warns that she is going to tell "him" her secret and then she will die. Maria claims to have no secret, and to only be a humble servant of God. She explains that she works at the Holy Sepulchre Orphanage, near Las Lisas. While she speaks and distracts her enemy, Maria grabs a rock.
"He" clarifies that "he" speaks of the man Maria nursed to health some months ago, the man who fell from the starts. "He" wants to know where is this man. She says that her orphanage only houses children and not grown. She claims that "he" has her confused with someone else. She finds herself close enough to use the rock to hit "him".
Privately, she realizes that "this terror" is looking for Joseph. She does not know "his" reasons for the search. "He" recovers quickly from her attack and seems furious. He leaps towards her and prepares to kill her. At this point two giant slugs (Eany and Meany) appear and start feeding on "him", burrowing through the metal of the armor and into the flesh beneath the armor.
"He" collapses and possibly dies. Maria wonders what manner of creature has the power to do such a thing. At this point the two slugs return to their master, Maggott. The newcomer points that the sight before her is disgusting. But then smiles and adds that it is not worse than what "he" had in store of Maria. Maggott compliments her on using her car horn to summon help, as he would not have managed to locate her otherwise. But then asks about her friend Joseph and his whereabouts. He is apparently after Joseph himself.
The scene shift to Chandilar. Lilandra Neramani observes her people attempt to rebuild their heavily damaged capital city. She recalls all the recent events caused by the Phalanx: the carnage, the explosions, and the near eradication of the Shi'ar race. She wonders whether she brought this carnage on herself and her people. Whether it was her penance for the mistakes of her past, since she is far less than the perfect monarch. Or was it merely a reminder that even the most worthy dreams must be torn down and be rebuilt to greater heights.
Her thoughts turn to her beloved Professor Xavier and she summons an image of him. She draws parallels between their respective situations. He has suffered his Onslaught and she has just experienced her own "Onslaught". He paid for what he did to Magneto and she paid for what she did to the Kree. She then points that despite the great distance between them, his dream has helped save her own dream. And so long as the X-Men continue to fight for their co-existence with the society that spurns them from their differences, Xavier's dream will live again. She ends the image, steps away, and prays that they will share in that success.
Later that night, the Shi'ar stage a celebration with Lilandra as the center of attention. She pledges on behalf of the House of Neramani to usher in a brighter dawn for all peoples Shi'ar Empire. The crowds cheer. Rogue and Joseph also attend the celebration. Rogue is impressed with Lilandra's ability as a ruler. Joseph feels disgusted, thinking that they should be mourning their dead instead of celebrating. Rogue points that the Shi'ar are honoring their dead, by not letting the traumas of their past get in the way of their future. They are honoring them by moving on.
Joseph asks what happens if they can not move on. Some of the families around them may have no reason to go on. They have lost fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers, and sisters. The dead are never coming back. How do they cope with a tragedy like that, when they know that the same forces that took their loved ones still exist?
Rogue changes the subject to what seems to be real cause of his outburst. Not how the Shi'ar are coping, but how does Joseph. He asks what if the original Magneto, the man he once was, tried to deal with such a loss and could not. Could his soul have been so lost and empty, that he would become a monster. Rogue responds that she does not know. Privately she thinks that this has been troubling Joseph since he found out he was Magneto, the X-Men and humanity's greatest nemesis. Rogue asks Joseph if he trusts her, and he replies that he does. She then promises that when they return to Earth, she is going to tell him everything about Magneto.
The scene shifts to Gambit, who is not attending the celebration. He is outside the city's perimeter, digging a mass grave for the dead. He toils long and hard, seeking reconciliation with his own past. The narration explains that his teammates know nothing of his darkly checkered past. But this is the same past which he can never forget. The event he can not forget, is his unholy alliance with a most Sinister foe of the X-Men and his shameful role in one of the greatest tragedies Homo superior has ever endured. If his teammates ever find out, Gambit fears that he would likely be counted among the most reviled men in history.
Gambit takes a break from his digging. He turns to the sky and says he is sorry. Sorry for all the stupid things he did as a puppy, all the lies and the betrayal to himself and his own people. He says he will always be sorry. His break ends and he starts digging again.
The scene shifts to Beast and Trish Tilby. The celebration has just ended and they are walking to their rooms. Beast says that he really enjoyed spending time with her. She agrees and asks how often does a simple newscaster go to the other side of the galaxy and fight aliens with her bouncing, blue-furred ex-boyfriend. Beast tries to tell something about their status as exes to each other, but has trouble expressing himself. He finally says that he wants to restart their relationship and he wants the two of them to never go in separate ways again. He sounds as if seriously wanting to deepen that relationship.
Trish says that she has seen every corny, tear-jerker film ever made. In fact she once aspired to become a screenwriter, prior to becoming a journalist. She claims to know what would happen if the two of them agreed to pick up their relationship where they left off. But that is not going to happen. The first two acts of their relationship have not made for such a well-paced story. They should not rush into act three just yet. She kisses him goodnight. Hank says he loves her, but Trish does not seem to reply. Behind the closed door of her room, Trish seems much sadder than she let on. She knows that Hank loves her, and she loves him too. But she apparently does not want or does not dare to deepen their relationship.
The following morning the 6 X-Men rise and prepare to return to Earth. Rogue asks where Gambit was the previous night. He claims to have tended to personal things. Beast claims that Gambit smells bad. Lilandra greets them and presents them with the best transport the Shi'ar Empire has to offer. in appreciation for the help, the Shi'ar also offer them the best escort to ensure their safe passage: Deathbird. Lilandra watches the 7 of them depart and comments that Charles (Xavier) should be proud of this generation of X-Men.
The next scene opens to Bishop's bedroom aboard the ship. He is partly dressed and reading. He is trying to learn about the myriad beings of this era, 80 years before his birth, through a Shi'ar book. He is reportedly learning about one being in particular. He finds it fascinating that hers is a truly mystifying history.
His reading is interrupted when someone requests entry in his room. He invited them in, whoever it is, and is surprised to see Deathbird. She is dressed in a green dress rather than a combat uniform. She says that a warrior can at times divest her armor and slip into something more comfortable. He compliments her appearance, saying she looks as stunning in the dress as she looks in combat. He reveals that he has been studying Shi'ar historical records and they include her own history. He finds that her martial experience is unparalleled in the House Neramani.
She warns him to be careful of what sordid chronicles he might find. She is, however, impressed that Bishop is reading in the original Shi'ar language of the text. She receives the book and invites him to join her in the Ship's holovid chambers. She assumes he is familiar with the technology, since it has been incorporated into the Danger Room. He counter-offers to discuss historical accounts with her, since there is so much written about her. He recites a passage: "And so for her crimes, the wild one was stripped of her title and banished forevermore from Chandilar... Her true name banned from Shi'ar tongue for all time, she shall heretofore be known only as Deathbird."
Reacting to the painful memory, Deathbird shouts enough and destroys the book. A shocked Bishop accuses her of destroying ancient knowledge, and asks whether Deathbird would discard her own past. She replies with a resounding "yes". She explains that those stories have made her a pariah among the Shi'ar. And that she was little more than a child when banished. Bishop replies that she should not ignore the past because it is prologue. She will repeat her roast mistakes if she tries to ignore them, while she can instead learn from them and move on.
Their discussion is interrupted when Beast summons the two of them to the ship's bridge, where everyone else has already gathered. Beast reports that they have encountered a spatial anomaly. Deathbird arrives and recognizes the anomaly as an energy signature. She says they were caught in another vessel's wake. Beast soon locates the other ship. It is a "mammoth ship" which dwarfs their own and travels at a higher speed. Beast recognizes that the mystery ship is moving nearly at the speed of light, yet it only uses part of its thruster capacity.
Deathbird recognizes that the mystery ship is heading towards the same stargate as their own, and that leads to only one planet: Earth. An explosion seems to affect the Shi'ar cruiser which is caught in the mammoth ship's gravitational pull. Beast tries to move what remains of their cruiser towards the stargate, trying to surpass the mammoth ship. The mammoth ship reaches the stargate first and seems to crash on it. There is a wake of destruction which affects both the gate and the two ships. Beast screams and the story ends.
- The metallic creature somewhat resembles a gorilla, but one with armor and cybernetic enhancements. Whether it is a robot, a cyborg, an armor user, or something else remains unexplained. It has never received a name or an origin story.
- While this is the first appearance of Maggot, Eany and Meany, they only appear briefly and do not receive names.
- Due to the original plan to make Maggot an Australian, his few words in this issue are supposed to be in an Australian accent. The plan eventually changed and he was retconned into a South African instead.
- The subplot about Gambit's guilty past foreshadows his upcoming origin story, which will be covered in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 350 (December, 1997). The most Sinister foe that he allied himself with is Sinister, also known as Nathaniel Essex. The great tragedy of the Homo superior that he participated in is the Mutant Massacre, though that one mostly affected the Morlocks and not the wider mutant population.
- The information that Trish Tilby once aspired to become a screenwriter seems to be new. Little information about her background has otherwise been given.
- It is somewhat questionable here that Beast and Trish consider each other exes. Throughout the spacefaring X-Men storyline, they act as being back together as a couple.
- It is unclear what exactly is Beast proposing to Trish in this issue. Never parting ways again may be his way of asking for a renewal of their boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, for a more committed relationship, or even marriage. In any case, Trish turns him down.
- The X-Men do not really face any villain or conflict in this issue, which is mostly devoted to character development and character interactions. In particular, Bishop and Deathbird seem fascinated with each other, flirt, and are set up as a prospective couple.
- The mysterious ship has remained a mystery. Subsequent storylines either ignore it or drop contradictory clues to its origin. It is mostly used here to divide the core cast into two groups, which spend several issues exploring their new surroundings.
- The Marvel Chronology Project, which tracks character appearances, has the following information on the characters of the issue.
- Beast next has a behind-the-scenes appearance in the flashback portions of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 358 (August, 1998). His story then continues in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 347 (September, 1997).
- Bishop next appears in the flashback portions of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 358 (August, 1998). His story then continues in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 348 (October, 1997), though he is no longer with the X-Men.
- Maria de la Joya appears here following Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 327 (December, 1995). She next appears in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 368 (May, 1999).
- Deathbird next appears in the flashback portions of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 358 (August, 1998). Her story then continues in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 348 (October, 1997), though she is no longer with the X-Men.
- Eany and Meany appear here following their origin story in X-Men Vol 2 76 (June, 1998). They next appear in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 347 (September, 1997).
- Gambit next appears in the flashback portions of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 358 (August, 1998). His story then continues in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 346 (August, 1997).
- Joseph next appears in the flashback portions of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 358 (August, 1998). His story then continues in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 347 (September, 1997).
- Lilandra Neramani next appears in Galactus the Devourer Vol 1 5 (January, 2000).
- Maggott appears here following his origin story in X-Men Vol 2 76 (June, 1998). He next appears in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 347 (September, 1997).
- Rogue next appears in the flashback portions of Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 358 (August, 1998). Her story then continues in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 347 (September, 1997).
- Trish Tilby next appears in Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 347 (September, 1997).
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