The ruins of Rooks Community College:
In the conflagration sits a horrified young man.
It’s all right, a voice tells him. He wants to help him. His name is Charles… Xavier! the young man finishes. He recognizes him from the news. He’s supposed to be dead! With a gentle smile, Xavier replies that he is an X-Man. They never die.
The confused boy, Simon Lasker, doesn’t understand what happened. Suddenly, everything was on fire. Xavier explains that was the manifestation of Simon’s special ability. He is a mutant.
Xavier rises from his wheelchair. It is his life’s work help mutants like him. There was a mutant with his ability he used to know. His name was Pyro. Does he want Xavier to help him, as he helped Pyro? Relieved, Simon thanks him. Hugging him Xavier – or really Mesmero – promises him that everything is going to be wonderful…
The Box (Homo superior prison):
In the main hall, Lydia Nance’s debate with Kitty Pryde is broadcast on TV. Nance distances herself from being a bigot. Lying ‘%&$§!, the new Avalanche mutters and Simon agrees. Mesmero joins them, asking if they would care to get some payback. On him? Simon deliberately misunderstands. Name the time and place. Why so angry? Mesmero smirks. All he did was unlock Simon’s true potential.
Avalanche grabs him and accuses him of manipulating them. Mesmero tells him to calm himself and claims Lydia Nance manipulated him as well. And he is not accustomed to being the one manipulated, he snarls.
Simon sensibly points out this is all just talk, as long as they are stuck here. Stuck here because of Mesmero! Avalanche adds. Well, then, how would they like to get out of here because of him? Mesmero grins. He has managed to hack into the collars that suppress their powers. Avalanche doesn’t buy it. Mesmero tells him to believe what he wants, but his choice is to walk out the front door.
Avalanche and Pyro holds a whispered conversation. Simon doesn’t trust him either, but he wants to get out of here more than anything. And so they follow.
Mesmero creates an illusion, making the guards believe they are guards as well and influences them to forego retina scans. “These are not the droids you are looking for,” Simon jokes. As they walk out, they ask how Mesmero hacked into the collar. They are supposed to be unbreakable. They are, he agrees, if you don’t bribe a guard to help you. Who’s ready to start the next chapter of their lives?
Central Park, New York City:
Carrying a duffel bag on his shoulder, Logan leaves the Institute, then is suddenly swept up in the air. Storm asks what he is doing. Because it looks like he was going to leave without telling anyone. That is only because he was planning to leave without telling anyone, he deadpans. He gets serious and states he is old. Nothing works as it is supposed to. Especially his healing factor. Everything that went down in the Negative Zone took its toll. He doesn’t want to become a liability. They are only as strong as their weakest link. And he is bone-tired. He is an old man.
Storm asks where he is going. Canada for a bit, then Japan. She hugs him and tells him they will miss him. He promises he is only a call away.
Inside the Institute, Nightcrawler informs Kitty that Prestige has left the infirmary on her own, surprising the doctor as before she was comatose. They track her to the Danger Room, where a scenario is running showing the ruined New York of Rachel’s future. Kitty is worried because she knows Rachel has been having flashes to her past as a Hound. They finally find her, wearing a new costume, skin-tight black and red with spikes. What do they think of the new look? Rachel asks insouciantly.
In a warehouse, Pyro and Avalanche are back in costume. Simon wonders about the point. They used to belong to a couple of dead guys. These suits are new, Avalanche points out. He knows what he means, Simon replies. What are they doing here? Avalanche replies he wants payback for Nance screwing with their lives. But Mesmero screwed with their heads, Simon points out. Avalanche replies it was Nance’s idea and they saw on TV the #%&§ hates mutants. And he said it himself: Mesmero could be manipulating them right now and they’d never know. Mesmero joins them and smiles, agreeing that is very true.
The Danger Room:
So what’s going on here? Kitty demands. Rachel explains her Hound markings have returned. She decided she needed a new look to go with them. Impatiently, Kitty states she meant what’s going on with her? Kurt gently interrupts and Kitty realizes this is couples stuff and discretely gives them some space.
Rachel assures Kurt that she is better than before. Kurt is not convinced. Kitty told him about the memory flashes Rachel had of her past as a Hound. He stresses he is worried not upset. She’s experienced twin traumas in a short amount of time. She overstrained herself fighting that Sentinel AI, and the Dartayan attack put her in a coma.
She smiles and tells him it’s all connected. She sees and feels so much more, and not just psychically. It’s like the dial’s been cranked on all her senses. She’s never felt more alive!
The Hudson River:
The Heritage Initiative’s fundraising gala is taking place on a yacht. Pyro, Mesmero and Avalanche crash the party (which consists of mostly Pyro scaring guests with his fire powers). They see Lydia Nance and Pyro corners her with his flames. Mesmero smiles evilly.
The Xavier Institute:
Nightcrawler informs Kitty of the attack on the Heritage Initiative. Considering her opinion of Lydia Nance, Kitty jokes she’s going back to bed. They walk to the X-jet, where Magma is waiting with the rest of the team. She insists on coming along because of what Mesmero did to her and threatens to go on her own, should Kitty forbid it. Kitty orders Nightcawer to keep an eye on her and ’port her away on the first sign of trouble.
She turns to Rachel and reminds her that, a few hours ago, she was comatose. It’s a good thing she’s not anymore, Rachel deadpans, because they are going up against an industrial grade telepath. Kitty is silently doubtful. Logan is gone and now they are going into the field with two X-factors. She decides to say nothing and gives the order to leave.
On the yacht:
Impatiently, Avalanche tells Pyor to fry Nance, but Simon hesitates, finally admitting he is no killer. He lets her go. Avalanche grabs her by the arm and is hit by a bolt of lightning the next moment, courtesy of Storm. The X-Men have arrived.
Kitty orders Prestige to take Mesmero, Storm to fly Nance to safety and for Magma to face the Pyro copycat. Instead, Magma ignores orders and goes for Mesmero, grabbing him and vowing to make him pay for what he did to her. Kitty calls Kurt’s name, meaning for him to teleport Magma away. Mesmero head-butts Magma. Nance, in the meantime, tells the crowd how those mutants fight among themselves.
Rachel psi-blasts Mesmero, who observes she has gone through some changes. Her synapses are beautifully rearranged. He manages to telepathically stun her.
Kitty finds all her teammates have been incapacitated. Avalanche and Pyro grab her and she finds she cannot phase, since Mesmero is in her mind. She blames herself. She knew they went into the field compromised…