|Strain 264 Theta|
|Base(s) of Operations:||Earth|
|First appearance:||Uncanny X-Men Vol 2 4|
|Created by:|| Kieron Gillen |
Strain 264 Theta was the designation given to a group of Phalanx who were a race of Techno-Organic beings that sprouted as a side effect of the Technarchy's transmode infection. This hive minded Techno-Organic race invaded the planet during the events of the Phalanx Covenant. As a hive mind, the inhabitants of the Strain consisted of multiple beings linked to a single joint intelligence. Their existence was to the point that they did not remember the moment where they experienced loneliness or the time before the initiation into the Phalanx. Its members did not feel the fear of death that other beings felt and had a need to conjure up the belief in heaven. Instead, they were united in the belief and that the entire Strain worked together for all of time. In this time, Strain 264 Theta moved on Earth to assimilate other beings into their collective intelligence with the idea of incorporating new minds into their hive mind. The Strain typically encountered resistance from the Humans brought into their ranks but once assimilated they became compliant and experienced the happiness of being members of the Phalanx with this group seeking to spread this gift to the entire planet.
The fate of the rest of the Strain was unknown but at some point during their invasion of Earth a member of the group was attacked by the Mutant scientist known as Mr. Sinister. Using a device, he managed to separate this member of the Strain from his kin and took him to his laboratory for study. Awakening from his slumber, this member was separated from the mental assembly of his kin and left alone. This marked the first time this member of the Strain was left ever alone to the point that he yearned for his captors presence. Mr. Sinister in the mean time expressed a great deal of interest in the Phalanx captive's ability to be a hive mind race. This period saw extensive experimentation conducted on this lone survivor of Strain 264 Theta to the point that it marked a traumatic experience in the specimen's existence. Following the completion of his experimentation, Essex abandoned the Phalanx captive and left him in storage in a laboratory. In his container, the Phalanx sensed life nearby in similar containers but failed to make contact with them.
One of ManyEdit
In 2012, Mr. Sinister returned to this forgotten laboratory after a failed mission against the X-Men. Essex decided that this base was no longer necessary and decided to terminate all the specimens present as part of a waste disposal procedure. An explosion occured with the lone member of Strain 264 Theta believing that he had died. However, a fact from his Techno-Organic body managed to survive the devastation but this barest fraction of its form was unable to sustain even a rudimentary consciousness. This captive was only saved when lower lifeforms such as earth worms approached the seemingly deceased remains which allowed the Phalanx to absorb the organic mass into his own body. Though not possessing minds, the rudimentary flesh allowed for a slow reconstruction of the bodily form by passing from nematode to nematode until a hand with a head was created. With enough strength, the member of Strain 264 Theta fought against the force of gravity and made his way to the surface. Despite his weakened form, any Phalanx was capable of sensing the presence of other members of his kind. However, this specimen felt nothing and he deduced that his kind's invasion of the Earth must had been repulsed or defeated after being foolishly rejected by the inhabitants of the planet. With this in mind, the surviving Phalanx decided to seek out the rest of Strain 264 Theta and reconnect with his kind. To accomplish this feat, he decided that he needed to grow in strength to ensure the resultant connection.
Whilst in the woodlands, the Phalanx was discovered by a lone young Human girl with the curious child sheltering the survivor in a box which she took home. Feeling this Phalanx to be a friend, she spoke to the specimen in her room in secret. The survivor of the Strain decided not to immediately infect her in the fear that she would get scared and flee. Thus, he remained passive and pretended to be a novelty for the child who abandoned her dolls whilst keeping the specimen with her. One night, whilst asleep, the Phalanx made his move and began the assimilation process in the hopes of restoring a collective intelligence with the addition of a new mind. However, a horror came to the survivor of the Strain when the new mind did not join him. Instead, he had taken her body as his own with her mind being lost thus effectively killing the favourite Human child that sheltered him after absorbing her flesh into a Techno-Organic form. The Phalanx may had screamed at this act had the child's mother not entered into the room with the rest of the family being assimilated. Similar to the child, both parents did not form a communion with the hive mind but instead entered into a void. These acts led to the survivor of Strain 264 Theta to believe that Mr. Sinister had removed the capabilities from the Phalanx specimen to create a unified intelligence. That whilst he was able to absorb flesh and metal, he was unable to create a Phalanx communion with his capacity to make a hive mind being tested to destruction. As a result, the specimen came to believe had had become an eunuch and unable to spread the hive mind.
The Phalanx came to believe that his only hope for re-experiencing the hive mind was through renewed contact with the rest of Strain 264 Theta to cure him of this malady. In that time, the specimen disguised himself as the assimilated family members in the town to prevent suspicion from falling on his detection. At this time, the specimen decided to absorb more bio-mass into his body to become a stronger transmitter towards his people and ultimately agreed to become a Babel Spire to achieve his goal. Thus, the specimen decided to kill the inhabitants of the town to absorb more bio-mass. This was a task that the member of Strain 264 Theta did not enjoy killing beings but decided that their lives were insiginicant to the greatness of the hive mind. He reasoned that whilst unfortunate, it was a necessary task and that he would pay this debt once he was cured of his malady. He became obsessed and added more bodies to its Techno-Organic form with no thought about revenge against Essex but of restoring its ability. However, the larger mass created an energy-vent that was unanticipated and despite shutting this down, the signature of the Phalanx was detected at The Peak by Abigail Brand. Knowing that a response was expected, the specimen knew they would expect him to hide but his large form meant that he abandoned subtlety to feed on the town.
As expected, the response came from the Mutant elite force known as the Extinction Team who arrived to witness the specimen forcibly take flesh and steel from the town. Being a Phalanx of one, the specimen engaged his foes and was initially assaulted by Colossus who was enhanced by the power of Juggernaut. Reshaping his form, he attempted to counter when he was temporarily held in place by Magneto's magnetic powers until he compensed for this assault. Renewed attacks from Hope Summers and Storm led to the survivor of Strain 264 Theta to call his attackers foolish for rejecting the gifts the Phalanx were offering them. He transformed his body into a Babel Spire to summon the rest of his kind and did not worry about possible destruction of his form as his mass was so great that enough portions would survive to serve as a transmitter for the rest of the Phalanx. The specimen waited for a response only to become horrified when he heard no reply from the heavens. He came to the shocking realization that there was a hole in the stars where the systolic heartbeat of his kind should be heard. Thus, the specimen knew that he was not separated from his Strain but rather he was the last of Strain 264 Theta. A feeling of grief and horror was felt by the surviving Phalanx at the thought of being alone that he attacked the Extinction Team. This was cause he felt he could not live like this anymore and lowered his defenses to allow the X-Men to destroy him. The ruined dead pieces of the Strain fell to the floor of the destroyed town and though a victory for the Extinction team, it came at a heavy price with Storm wondering if the specimen was capable of being understood or whether its motivations were too alien. Cyclops responded that it was unlikely that they would ever get an answer.
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