Mendez XXVI (d. 3979) is a villain from the film Beneath the Planet of the Apes. He was a mutant who lived beneath the ruins of New York City in the latter half of the 40th century.
Descended from a long line of leaders who have carried the family name, Mendez was an elder inquisitor who conducted all liturgical services for a subterranean mutant community. He was also the caretaker of a holy artifact which they referred to as the Divine Bomb.
Like his mutant brethren, Mendez' true visage was that of a hairless, aberration, whose skin bore the scarred characteristics associated with prolonged exposure to atomic radiation. To compensate for his horrid appearance however, Mendez possessed acute mental capabilities. These powers included the ability to communicate telepathically with his fellow mutants, as well as other humans. He employed his powers for a variety of effects, which they referred to as "Weapons of Peace". The most common of these abilities was a process known as the Visual Deterrent. This reflected a mutant’s ability to create elaborate and convincing illusions designed to confound or in some cases ensnare unsuspecting prey. The mutants used the Visual Deterrent to trap the time-lost astronaut George Taylor. They later used the power to much broader effect in the hopes of warding off an encroaching ape army. Accompanying the Visual Deterrent was a practice known as the Sonic Deterrent. Using this technique, Mendez could generate a piercing sonic hum in a target’s mind – the intent of which was ultimately to drive the victim insane. The most intrusive and devastating tactic however, was a practice called Traumatic Hypnosis. Using this ability, Mendez could control another person’s mind, forcing them to act in contrast to their own nature – even violently.
When astronaut John Brent and the mute woman Nova discovered the mutant city in the Forbidden Zone, Mendez and a panel of Inquisitors interrogated him at length. They knew that Brent had come from the nearby Ape City, and they wanted to know more about the Ape’s intentions towards their society. He tried to persuade Brent of the mutants' honourable intentions but his statements were full of contradictions. He proclaimed that they were peaceful people yet when they tired of Brent and Taylor's unwillingness to agree with them, they used their telepathic powers to force the two astronauts to fight each other.
Following the interrogation, Mendez led a mass in the altar room within the ruins of St. Patrick’s cathedral. Shortly after the mass however, an army of gorilla soldiers led by General Ursus stormed the cathedral, and began shooting mutants in cold blood. Mendez attempted to activate the launch controls of the Alpha-Omega bomb, but Ursus fatally shot him with a machine gun before he could fulfill his plan. Mendez was one of the last of the mutants to be shot and killed by the ape invaders, on the steps of his altar to the great bomb.
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