Two friends from the Young Writers Society are collaborating with me on an X-Men fanfiction. I’m tentatively calling the story X-23, because the story centers around this character.
In case you’re wondering who this X-23 is, she’s essentially a female clone of Wolverine (don’t ask me how that’s even possible) who was created by the villainous HYDRA organization (you may remember them from Captain America: The First Avenger). For more information about her, I would suggest watching this episode if X-Men: Evolution, which introduced X-23 to the Marvel universe. (There do exist subsequent comic books about her, but I have been told they’re absolutely not for prudes. So yeah, don’t read them.) She also appeared briefly in the Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon in a slightly different setting with room for further development, but the show only lasted one season and her storyline kind of fell through the cracks.
In my opinion, X-23 didn’t have all that many opportunities to let her awesomeness shine across all mediums. Twenty minutes of fast-paced animation just doesn’t cut it, and I don’t think it’s fair to kids (and prudes) to continue X-23’s adventures in mature comic books. So my friends and I decided to work on a story of our own which reintroduces X-23 in a more age-appropriate setting. Sure, there’s a healthy dose of action and violence, but our characters never “cuss” or otherwise act beneath their dignity. In short, our story is probably as clean as you can get when it comes to serious superhero stories.
And so, without further ado, I present an excerpt of our story:
Logan the Wolverine arrived at the X-Mansion looking quite a sorry sight. His painstakingly-styled black hair was mussed and tangled, and his yellow and blue spandex uniform was torn in several places. He parked his motorcycle out front and trudged wearily up the marble steps into the front hall.
Professor Charles Xavier had a way of quietly sneaking up on people. That wheelchair of his barely let out a squeak on the Mansion’s polished floors. And often, though Logan would never admit it, the Professor’s subtle, surprise appearances nearly made his adamantium-laced bones jump out of his skin!
“Chuck, you’ve really got to stop doing that,” he grumbled, but only half-seriously.
“Did I frighten you, Logan?” the elderly, balding man asked innocently.
“What do you think?” Logan retorted. Well, I am psychic, you know, the Professor made a habit of saying.
Xavier made an odd noise, something between a snort of amusement and a cough to hide it. “How was your journey, Logan?” he asked gently. “Did you find what you were looking for?”
Logan shook his head. “No. My contact was a woman who called herself Dr. Sarah Kinney. We met in the woods near Alkali Lake. She seemed to know me, but I’ve never seen her before. At least, I don’t remember ever seeing her.”
“Yes,” the Professor said, leaning forward in his seat attentively.
“She had information about a covert project of HYRDA’s, but she wouldn’t even tell me what it was.”
He reached into his knapsack and produced a crumpled photograph. “She handed me an entire dossier of information, though, saying that the information inside would explain the rest. I didn’t have much time to read it before that thing came and destroyed everything.”
“That thing?” the Professor repeated.
Logan nodded. “I managed to salvage this from what she gave me.”
The photo depicted a blur of motion in a crude parody of the Danger Room, albeit more dangerous. The “blur” was petite in stature, but there was no mistaking the twin claws on each of its fists as it brutally dismembered an adversarial robot.
“The very threat she was trying to warn me about,” said Logan grimly. “It slashed her to bits before I even had the chance to react.” He gestured at his tattered getup. “I was lucky to get out of there alive.”
“I can see that,” the Professor replied knowingly. “I’ll take this picture for safekeeping, if you’d like.”
Logan shivered involuntarily. “Please do.”
“In the meantime, after you’ve rested, there’s somebody I would like you to meet.”
Logan shrugged. “I’m all healed, Professor. I can meet them now.”
Professor Xavier’s office was tastefully furnished. A wide desk that accommodated his wheelchair was placed with a blackboard in the center of the room. A row of comfortable chairs were arranged on the other side of the desk, ideally for students taking private lessons with the Professor.
A thin, pale girl sat in one of the seats, looking incredibly uneasy. She was dressed entirely in black and her knees were pulled up to her chin, like she wanted to make herself as small as possible. Logan, who’d pulled a grey hoodie over his torn clothes, could practically smell her fear.
“This is Laura,” the Professor said, waving his hand gently at the seated girl. “She will be attending our school for the time being. Laura,” he continued, “this is Logan, also called Wolverine. He is a teacher here too, like Jean, Scott, Ororo, and Remy, whom you met before. Logan teaches, well, gym.”
Logan tried to keep his cringe inward. His classes, when he got around to teaching them, weren’t your average “lets run around a few times and play basketball” sessions. At least he didn’t have to lie and say he taught art, of all the mundane, useless subjects they offered here.
The Professor cleared his throat expectantly and Logan remembered his people skills (or lack thereof). “Oh. Um, hello, Laura.”
Laura didn’t say anything in return.
Was she this antisocial towards Scott, Storm, and Jean? Logan wondered. (He completely understood anyone being antisocial around le annoying Gambit.) I thought I had issues!
Her mind is very confused, Logan heard Xavier say in his head. I cannot figure out why, but it seems her memories, like yours, are incomplete.
Logan frowned. Chuck, who is she really? I get the feeling you aren’t telling me everything there is to know about this kid.
The Professor didn’t respond. He turned his attention to the girl. “Laura, why don’t we give you a tour of the school? You look like you could stretch your legs after your long journey.”
Laura nodded and unfolded herself from her chair. At full height, she barely reached Logan’s shoulder, which meant she was still pretty short. Her dark hair flowed freely down to her waist. He could also see tiny letters stitched onto the breast pocket of her black jumpsuit. X-23, HYDRA.
Logan had his answer now, and he didn’t like it one bit.
P.S. On a lighter note, here’s what X-23 might look like in real life (see “After”):
Sorry, when I came across that picture of Hugh Jackman, who plays Wolverine in the movies, with long hair, I had to do this. 😛 The girly facial features were borrowed from another celebrity who has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – try to guess who. 😉 (Hint: her character uses the names Natalie, Natasha, and Natalia.)