I recommend the song “Stealing My Heart” by the Rolling Stones to highlight Magneto’s growing attraction to Rogue and because it is a light-hearted song which fits the tone of this chapter nicely.
Chapter Thirteen: Copper Plates
From the co-pilot’s seat at 30,000 feet high, the United States had looked ripe for the taking. Or so Magneto thought as his stolen 747 flew over New Hampshire on its way to Nova Scotia. The different states of the U.S. flew by in a flash at 500 mph and Magneto regarded the country that had been his home since 1946. The United States had been his heaven on Earth then. It’s seas of grain and purple mountain majesty had once stood for a land of freedom, liberty, and tolerance. But there was no land of tolerance Magneto knew. Oh, America had always been tolerant enough of its competing religions. But it had taken the United States its entire history to grow tolerant of different races. Suddenly it didn’t matter so much if you were black, white, Hispanic, or Arab as long as you weren’t a mutant. “Muties” as humans called them were hated with far more openness and distrust than any other group had ever been.
It made Magneto feel sick to his stomach. In order to avoid air sickness, he averted his train of thought to a happier subject. He was getting away with his Bowing 747 Scot free. Pyro had already dislodged the black box tracking system and Magneto had used his powers of magnetism to levitate it out the rear cabin door before the cabin depressurization could pull him out of the plane. As a precautionary measure, Magneto had radioed the Russian pilots he had hired to fly escort in their decommissioned MIG fighter jets, but they hadn’t been necessary. No planes intercepted their flight path.
Catalyst and Multiple Man had stayed back at the Brotherhood’s base on an island off the coast of Bar Harbor, Maine in order to execute the most critical part of the mission: scrambling the satellite feed so that no government agencies would pick up on the landing of the jet at a make shift air strip just outside of Kejimkujik National Park. From there the air craft would be taxied into a man made hanger that had been created to house it inside nearby Mount Tom.
All in all, not a bad day’s work Magneto thought to himself. And he hadn’t just got away with a billion dollar aircraft; he had also made it to second base with a girl 46 years his junior. It would seem the world was becoming Magneto’s oyster. No, not oyster. Lobster. Definitely lobster. But Rogue was still his pearl.
Mystique had made a hell of a racket banging on the door to Magneto’s study two days later. With a wave of his hand Magneto opened it allowing his irate former lover into his inner sanctuary.
“Tell me you’re not planning what I think you’re planning?” Mystique’s left hand rested on her shapely hip and Magneto regretted two things. The first was treating the beautiful mutant so heinously in that truck prison and the second was opening the door to admit her only a second ago.
“And what pray tell do you think I’m planning?” He set his copy of the Wall Street Journal down. It was two days old as Juggarnaut had forgotten to pick up the mail from the main land when it was his turn on the schedule.
“I overheard Catalyst talking to Multiple Man about finishing the process of purifying weapons grade Uranium. You’re not building a nuclear bomb, are you Erik?”
“You’re not crazy enough to use it are you?”
“It will be used to-” Mystique cut him off before he could finish.
“You’re going to detonate it!?!” She yelled incredulously.
“Well technically yes-” Again, Magneto was cut off.
“Explain.” It was not a question; it was a command. Magneto sat up straight in his stainless steel desk chair.
“Mystique need I remind you that I am still the leader of the Brotherhood of Mutants and you agreed to follow my orders.” He used the tone of command that he usually reserved for chastising Pyro for shooting fireballs at passing fishing vessels.
“Answer my question.” Mystique’s tone brooked no argument. She began to crack her fingers in a sign of warning and Magneto was reminded that at least for the time being Mystique was the more powerful of the two mutants.
“Well, since you are the picture of good manners I will let you in on my latest plan. Yes, Catalyst has been working on making weapons grade Uranium in order to produce a functioning atomic bomb. That bomb will be used as part of a threat against the government of Australia. It will be flown into Sydney on the Bowing 747, which will pose as a commercial passenger aircraft. We will alert the government of Australia to the bomb’s presence on board and hope they meet out demands.”
“The complete surrender of the continent of Australia to be used as a land for Mutants.” Magneto said as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“And if they don’t surrender?” Mystique’s yellow eyes bore into Magneto her distaste for nuclear weaponry very evident.
“We will detonate the bomb.” Mystique eyes went wide in disbelief. “But Catalyst will contain the explosion to a limited area to injure as few civilians as possible.”
“You really believe this will work?”
“It has to. Humanity will never allow us to co-exist; so we must find a place where mutants can live separate from Homo Sapiens’ prejudices. Where better than the island continent of Australia?” Mystique had shifted her weight and placed her right hand on her hip. She considered Magneto’s words carefully before nodding at him once in a sign of approval. As she had turned to leave, Magneto called to her.
“Look here Mystique.” He held up the newspaper for her inspection. “After our escapades at Albany International Airport I’m now listed as the FBI’s Most Wanted fugitive. I even beat out Osama Bin Laden.” Magneto let a big grin form on his face, his ice blue eyes filling with the warmth of happiness. “On your way out could ask Pyro to bring up some of the good champagne? I want to celebrate.” Stealing the 747 had not been the same display of power as single handedly moving the Golden Gate Bridge. But it was a start.
The months of being deprived of his powers had caused Magneto to take up many hobbies he had neglected throughout the years. One of these was art. During the first bleak weeks without magnetism, he had used charcoals. As he grew to accept his fate, he moved on to oil paints. Now that his mutation had returned and he wasn’t just holocaust survivor Erik Lensherr but mutant mastermind Magneto; he worked exclusively with copper and zinc plate etchings.
As he used his manipulation of magnetic fields to press the metal into the shape of a face he thought how Rogue would like these. The copper got an interesting relief effect when detail was added and it gave the metal great texture. He bet Rogue loved texture. Where had that thought come from? Magneto continued to add features to the etching. It was engrossing work. His control of such precise and short range magnetic fields was tedious labor but he continued knowing it was good practice for rebuilding his power.
Magneto’s dalliance with young Rogue was an issue of much concern to the aging super-villain. (Well, he actually he wasn’t really aging anymore. Catalyst had taken care of that. But he certainly wasn’t getting any younger.) Magneto attempted to rationalize his own behavior as he etched long hair to frame the face taking shape on the copper plate.
He had kept abreast of Rogue’s progress through Charles for many years after the incident on the Statue of Liberty. Whiling away the hours in his plastic prison he had had ample time to develop a technique to shield him from the girl’s deadly skin. The idea of conquering so powerful a product of nature was intoxicating in and of itself. But knowing what Charles had told him about the girl’s untapped potential was even more attractive.
Magneto knew he wanted the girl for her powerful mutation. He would not squander the girl as the X-Men did; Rogue would be a key asset to the Brotherhood’s quest for the continent of Australia. Magneto etched large almond shaped eyes with abundant lashes on the copper plate. But there was another side to his interest in the young girl. After Charles’s death and his falling out with Mystique, Magneto had become a much lonelier man.
When he had seen Rogue slip in the wreckage of Alcatraz his heart had gone out to her. Something of the girl’s spunky defiant attitude reminded him of his own and he had desired to help Rogue in her struggles with her mutation. He had heard from Charles some of the problems Rogue faced and how she wasn’t accepted even by the other mutants. Erik had grown up a bisexual Jewish mutant. He was an outcast even among outcasts. He could relate easily.
What Magneto couldn’t understand was the irresistible urge he felt to make love to Rogue. He wasn’t sure if it was the fear she displayed towards him, her obvious sexual inexperience, or her youthful desirability, for she was very beautiful in his eyes; but he knew it was an all-consuming need. Alone in his bedroom at night when he finally released his mind to sleep, he would fantasize of Rogue’s deadly skin bared for him; her round supple breasts bouncing as she rode him violently towards climax. He would wake each morning with a hard on as though he was a teenage boy and not a man at the end of middle age. He etched plump, thick, smiling lips onto the face in the copper.
Having resolved nothing, Magneto stopped and examined his artwork. The face on the plate had turned into Rogue. It wasn’t a bad likeness of the girl. He would have to get Catalyst to put this in acid for him. Magneto amused himself by attempting to predict how long it would take Rogue to come to him. He stopped his ruminations when he heard a knock on the handless door of his study. He opened it with a wave of his magnetic fields, but didn’t look up from his desk.
“Yes?” He asked, wondering what Pyro had “accidentally” destroyed now.
“Um…Hi.” He looked up to see who had interrupted him. He smiled and put the etching into a drawer in his desk.
“Hello Rogue.” Evidently it had taken Rogue less time than he would have guessed.
It had been around noon when Rogue, carrying just her overstuffed old red duffel bag, had taken a cab, leaving the Charles Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters behind her forever. The cab had taken Rogue the 15 minute drive to the local subway station, Brewster Metro-North, where she had hopped on to the 656 train at 12:10PM which arrived at New York City’s Grand Central Station at 1:33PM. From there, she had walked the 6 blocks West and 2 blocks South to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, stopping by the statue of Ralph Cramden from the Honeymooners TV show.
Rogue thought about delaying the next leg of her trip for a few days to explore some of what the city had to offer, only to dismiss the thought after she realized how compelling her need to see Magneto again was. She wondered if she should have gone to La Guardia and taken an airplane. She shuddered violently. She had no interest in entering an airport again any time soon. Besides Rogue’s funds were quite limited.
Each month at the School the mutants had received a stipend of $150 from the interest earned on the school’s generous endowment to use as they pleased. The girls often blew theirs on clothes and trips to the local movie theater, while the boys had bought sneakers and video games. Still even the youngest mutant managed to put some of the money away in his or her personal savings account Professor Xavier had set up for them. Mutant children were better at saving then human children. They understood instinctively the need to have some money available “just in case” there was a rainy day.
Rogue, however, had blown much of her savings on her trip to San Francisco to obtain more of the Cure. So taking a plane to Maine was not an option even if Rogue had wanted to fly there. Instead Rogue took a $100 four hour bus ride to Boston. From Boston, Rogue had had to wait two days before being able to get a spot on a tourist bus going straight to Acadia National Park with the Audubon Society. How had Rogue known to go to Bar Harbor, Maine where Acadia National Park was located?
She had phoned Pyro, of course. Rogue had kept Pyro’s cell phone number stored in her cell phone from before he had left to join the Brotherhood of Mutants. Pyro like Rogue was only a few years past teenhood. And a teenager would sooner admit their parents knew best, than change their cell phone number. So it had been simple to call Pyro’s cell and listen to the ringback tone of Metallica’s “Fuel” and wait for Pyro to pick up.
“Rogue? What are you doing calling me?” Pyro had caller ID, so he knew before clicking the answer button it was his old friend from his X-Men days.
“Ah’ve left the X-Men.”
“You mean they finally kicked you out for drinking all the chocolate milk and not replacing it?” Pyro’s signal broke up a little as he spoke.
“Ah really left the X-Men, Pyro. Ah want to meet with Magneto. Where in Maine is his base?” The connection was silent for a moment and Rogue wondered if Pyro was asking someone for permission to tell her.
“Bar Harbor. Wait on the dock at the end of Sols Cliff Road. Call me again when you get there.”
“Pyro?” Rogue had asked, but he had already clicked off.
Magneto and Rogue:
“What are you doing here?” Magneto’s keen eyes cut through the image of Rogue before him holding her big red duffel bag in both hands. Her eyes had bags under them and her brown long hair was pulled sloppily back into a pony tail; the two white streaks hanging limply down the sides of her face. She looked the picture of tiredness.
“Ah left the X-men.” Magneto smiled and used the metal zipper on the duffel bag to levitate it from Rogue’s hands and set it on the ground next to her. It landed softly and Magneto felt a pang of satisfaction that his control was returning. He moved a chair with his magnetism for Rogue to sit down in.
“Make yourself comfortable.” He looked at his watch. 9:38PM. “Have you had dinner?”
Rogue shook her head no, her twin white streaks waving with the movement of her head.
“You must be hungry.” Magneto touched a button on his desk to call Pyro. “Pyro.” He spoke into the comm.
“Boil some lobster and bring it up with a bottle of white wine. Make it the 2004 Yellowtail Pinot Grigio.”
Author’s Notes: So I just learned that the mansion is located in Salem Center, NY, which isn’t as far upstate as I had hoped. There’s really no way Rogue and Logan would have gone to Albany International Airport. They would have gone to Danbury Municipal Airport exactly 7.07 miles from their fictitious mansion, although I doubt Danbury has jets taking off from it. I picked an island off of Bar Harbor, Maine because I have once visited there and it’s far enough North to be really no man’s land which I think Magneto would want in a base.
Now before you get upset over Magneto’s plan to invade Australia, remember he is a bad guy, he does have a worthy cause behind his actions, and Catalyst can contain the explosion to do minimal damage. You’ll find out more about the Brotherhood’s plans to establish a mutant homeland later in the story.
If you are unfamiliar with etching, acid is the finishing technique, so when Magneto says he is going to put the etching of Rogue in acid he is not destroying it, but staining it.
Oh and if you currently live in Australia, I would consider moving before Magneto puts his plan into action. Yellowtail is an Australian wine as any wine-lover will tell. It’s a very popular vineyard. I am personally fond of the Pinot Grigio but they also make a lovely Shiraz.
Rogue and Magneto share a bottle of wine, get to talking, and doing who knows what else…Go to Chapter 14