Disclaimer: 'Lex and everybody he badmouths are copyright Marvel Comics. I'm not making any money from this, which makes me wonder why I do it. I figure it's stress-relief and an unbalanced mind.
Well, first of all, it was hot.
And I don't mean a nice kind of hot. I mean the kind that makes you break out into a rollicking sweat when you blink. It was hot and dry and parched and sweltering.
Ororo liked it, and Logan seems at home pretty much anywhere, but they were the only ones. Betsy (she was still Caucasian!Betsy then) and Piotr absolutely loathed it; Ali complained endlessly about the sun wrecking her skin. Rogue and I both grew up in warm places, but the heat in Mississippi and Hawaii are completely different from the Australian outback. Longshot was happy, but then he's always happy. Maddy didn't complain much, but I guess that other things--like turning the world into a demonic Inferno--kind of distracted her.
Don't get me wrong, though--I sort of enjoyed the whole outback adventure. You know, despite the fact that we were outlaws and the entire world thought we were dead and computer sensors couldn't pick up on us and the deserted Reavers' hideout we lived in made Nowheresville seem like a bustling metropolis. For one thing, there was a lot of kissing going on. I didn't get a lot of it, personally (Logan seemed to be the favourite), but Betsy planted one on me before kicking my ass through the Siege Perilous. That was nice.
And the solitude and heat affected us all differently, too. Piotr moped around a lot, in between painting naked portraits of the women on our team. I think he stopped doing that when Longshot once innocently asked if Piotr was going to paint us guys next. Anyway, he'd go sit around in the sun, get really really hot, and then cook eggs on his pectorals. It got a little disturbing when he insisted that we use his back as a pancake griddle, and Ororo had to have a talk with him.
Speaking of whom, Ororo was kind of weird and wild in those days. She wore clothes that made her look like a cross between Stevie Nicks and a streetwalker, and she kissed Logan. A lot. You'd turn around, and when you looked back, they'd be locking lips. The two of them would go out for their Serious Discussions about Leadership, toss each other around, kiss, and then come back ready to face the world and some serious villains. Like, oh, I don't know... M-Squad? The Cosmic Cutie Commandoes, otherwise known as "C-Cubed"? (You think I'm joking? I only wish!)
If you've ever talked to Logan when he's in one of his preachy, 'I can do it all' kind of moods, you've got a rough estimation of what he was like the entire time we were in Australia. You'd have to quadruple it to come closer to what we lived with. Logan and I had this sort of ongoing argument where he'd call me 'boy' or 'kid' or 'son' and I'd flip out and start sass-mouthing him. We hardly ever got good and mad with each other; I think it was just a way for both of us to blow off steam. The only other thing to do was to train or exercise or some other sort of physical activity. I took up running. I had a really cool set of matching green-striped wristbands and a headband to go with them. I was the most stylish guy on the outback in those days, yes indeed.
Which would make Alison the most stylish woman. She used to lie around in the sun half-naked for hours on end, all oiled up, frying herself to a nice golden brown. Actually, she got a little carried away towards the end of our tenure there and started looking kind of creepy, all blue eyes and blonde hair with this leaf-brown face, kind of like a tall, sexy gnome or something. Ali spent most of her time impressing upon us what a cosmopolitan kind of gal she was and how this backwoods, Spartan lifestyle just wasn't the one for her. Then she'd mock-up our surveillance equipment into a karaoke machine and badger us into listening to her sing once a week. That only stopped being torture when Rogue decided to sing too one night, and her rendition of "Video Killed the Radio Star" seemed so fun that the rest of us started taking turns as well and robbed Ali of her stardom.
Roguie was great back then. I've met her a few times since hardly knew her; the scrappy, tough girl's suddenly transformed into a rather whiny, lovesick... chick. But in Australia, she drank beer, hit things really hard, wore trampy clothes and flirted with Longshot. sigh Those were the days! She used to call everyone 'bunkie', and her hair was all spiky. We got along okay, which is to say that we never beat up on each other. Not too hard, anyway.
There isn't much to say about Longshot--he was just kind of there, all big senseless blue eyes and "That bad man wants to hurt us!", that kind of thing. I guess he was all right. Good guy, but not the kind you could discuss anything deeper with than what to have for lunch, if you get my drift.
Betsy, though... now, keep in mind that this is when she was wearing that pink Barbie costume, with the sash and swags and girly stuff like that. And she had the most amazing purple hair; it used to halo around her head and retain that shape for weeks on end. She did get it permed, once. God, that looked awful. In those days, Betts used to project this funny, cross-eyed butterfly thing when she used her psi-powers. She must have figured that the butterfly wasn't very impressive, because once she became Ninja!Betsy, she changed it to the 'focused totality of her psychic powers' or whatever the hell that spiel is. From what I remember, Betts was kind of demure, sort of a purple English rose, not the brazen hussy she is now. But then again, I wasn't paying too much attention to her.
Madelyne was what I was busy studying.
Kind of disturbing, isn't it, that my brother and I would go for the same type of woman? I mean, as if it isn't bad enough that Jean and Lorna are very alike--strong-minded, capable, passionate--we both fell for Maddy like a 747 dropping out of the sky. Hey, maybe it's psychological that we would go for a pilot, after the whole catastrophe with the airplane when we were kids and all. But then again, I did really terrible in my college Psych course, so any self-analysis I do is usually intrinsically flawed in some nasty way.
(As an aside--I think it's because she was a redhead Redheads are my favourite, apart from greenheads. I think it's because I really loved Christmas as a child.)
In hindsight, everything that happened with Maddy is sort of one long Pop-Up Video, with little captions pointing out how stupid I was. Pop! When they were having dinner at the Empire State, Alex somehow failed to notice that Madelyne's dress spontaneously changed every two minutes. Pop! When they were fighting X-Factor, Alex made a ridiculous speech about not being "Sinister's chicken". Pop! Could the 'Goblin Prince' outfit have been more humiliating? Gaaahh!
It sounds as if I didn't get along with anybody, doesn't it? Well, basically, that's the truth. I was one of the most contrary, uptight bastards who's ever graced the Summers name, barring dear old Dad, that is. When I first joined the bunch who ended up in Oz, it was by accident. I stumbled upon them, and they had to let me come--after Betsy suggested killing me, the dear girl. None of us got along very well. We were the picture of dysfunction. Oh, no, wait--Ali and Longshot were sleeping together, so I guess they were getting along fine.
Jubilee told me once that she was living down in some sub-sub-basement or something at the Reavers' hideout. I don't know how the kid survived so long on what she stole from our kitchen, because we weren't exactly stocked to the gills. She also told me she stole some of Rogue's and Ali's and Betsy's clothes, which seems kind of funny now, but at the time caused quite the fooferaw. They all thought 'Roro snitched their clothes, which she found a ridiculous idea (who would steal that hideous tiger-stripe dress of Betsy's?) but played up to it all the same, which really pissed the other ladies off and caused us no end of quarrels. Then Jubilee told me that she watched us in secret sometimes, and she thinks the mole on my left thigh looks like a bird. If any of you ever want to know what utter creepy embarassment feels like, have some pre-pubescent kid discuss your more intimate skin pigmentation with you.
So there you go--the real rundown on what living in the Australian outback was like, from somebody who was there all of the way, right up until the long trip through the Siege Perilous, with Genosha waiting for me on the other side. But that's another story. And God knows you're probably thankful enough that this one is over.