Appearing in "Need to Know"
- Dunfee Elementary principal - (Death)
- Unnamed medical staff
- Mindy, Steve, Cindy, Ron & Marie
- Michael Shaugnessy (Only appearance; dies), a priest
- Several New Yorkers
- Willie, a custodian - (Only in flashback)
- Norton & Edna McCoy - (Only in flashback)
- Mr. Sinister - (Vision)
- New York
- West Virginia
Synopsis for "Need to Know"
Hank McCoy is a genius. Hank McCoy is a mutant. Hank McCoy is an unashamed monster, pupil of Sinister and former servant of Apocalypse's regime. But Hank McCoy escaped to another universe, where he has amused himself for years with human experimentation and shadowy pursuits. Now, however, he has decided to enact his greatest experiment: with sufficient knowledge, can he replace his counterpart in this universe?
Meanwhile, Beast of the X-Men has been trying to save the world. Using the Danger Room as a macroscale simulator, he is trying to crack the secrets of the Legacy Virus. Despite the worries of the X-Men, in particular his oldest friend Iceman, Beast throws himself into his work.
As this goes on, Dark Beast uses a series of ruses and biological adaptations to get close to Beast's old parish priest, his elementary school principal, his high-school sweetheart and his parents, pumping them for details of his life. Hank McCoy on this world, it turns out, was a sweet, well-meaning child with a boundless curiosity and an eternal love of two words, "why" and "because". Hank is amazed that his counterpart has done so much, and yet not taken the great strides science requires. He then murders all of these people except the parents, acknowledging that they still hold his heart.
After a week in the lab, Beast is at his computer, still convinced that he can save his friends. However, he is groggy from lost sleep, and makes a mistake in his chemistry... which then corrects itself, with the note "BECAUSE NUCLEOTIDES COMBINE COVALENTLY". Amazed, Beast tracks the bugging software to the old Brand Corporation offices, now derelict. In the dark, tired, distracted, and cut off from his friends, Beast is an easy target for his counterpart, who finally explains to the reader why he is doing this: fear of this world's counterpart of Sinister prevented him from making powerful allies in this world. Now, Bishop remembers his activities in the Age of Apocalypse, and rather than break cover to make allies, Beast has decided to solve two problems at once, taking Hank's place so he can steal his allies and watch Bishop simultaneously.
Dark Beast also explains that he has murdered most of the people Hank knows. This drives Hank into a rage, and he prepares to kill Dark Beast. But the villain has an ace up his sleeve: curiosity. By killing him, Hank will never know what Dark Beast knows. In this moment of hesitation, Dark Beast knocks him out.
When Beast comes to, he is being bricked in behind a wall in the Brand building. As Beast sees his freedom vanish, he vainly asks, "Why?"
His counterpart will give him no answer other than, "Because."
- This story is continues in Uncanny X-Men #331.
Links and References
- The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators - accessed on 11/27/2010
-  plot summary at uncannyxmen.net