A computer camera turns on, capturing the image of a young girl in her bedroom. Clad in a white tank top with a Chinese character on it, she wears her dreadlocks bunched neat and tidy. She is sooo bored, she tells the camera. All she wants to do… all she can think about doing… is getting the hell out of there. Continuing to address those who might be watching, she explains that she is home schooled and that every day is the same as before. She wants to see the world, maybe kiss a guy. Maybe go to school, though she knows some of her viewers think that school sucks. To those, she says try being stuck in one place your whole life. It’s frustrating and she hates being frustrated. If only she could…
Suddenly, a voice calls out her name, Georgia, and tells her that she’s not doing that live computer broadcast again, is she? No, daddy, Georgia replies. Of course not. Incredulous, her off screen father counters that she is! Does she think he doesn’t see the light? She warned her and warned her! Georgia tries to defend that she didn’t notice the light, but this only angers her father more. Grabbing her by the wrist, Georgia’s father pulls her off-camera and instructs “Orville” to take care of this. Immediately, a large, bald man in a tan suit appears on camera, trying to figure out how to carry out his instructions. When he remarks that he’s not sure how, Georgia’s father orders him to figure it out. Yes, sir, Orville replies, producing a handgun. A panicked Georgia only has time to plead for a few seconds before Orville fires his pistol, ending the live stream.
At Serval Industries corporate HQ, CEO Harrison Snow asks his assistant, Linda Kwan, what she means, that “she knows.” Sitting on the other side of Snow’s desk, Linda explains that Harrison’s wife asked her about her sleeping with him. She doesn’t think she could have been more explicit. When Harrison replies that his wife was bluffing, Linda rejoins that she didn’t sound like she was bluffing. She never does, Snow replies. The two continue to argue about the severity of the encounter when Snow’s secretary informs him via intercom that Ms. Dane is there to see him. Holding up a hand toward Linda, Snow orders in his guest and then tells Linda that she really needs to get a grip.
A moment later, the two are joined by Polaris, dressed in civilian clothes. Snow thanks Lorna for coming and then gets to his point. Lemar Smaug, Snow begins, is an alien warlord from outer space, posing a serious threat to Serval Industries… and she’s okay with this? Well, “okay,” might be a strong world, Lorna replies.
In the X-Factor common area, Quicksilver happens upon Danger, who is reading a book. Is she out of her mind? he asks. She’s reading a book by Scott Dakei? Seriously? When Danger innocently asks if that is a problem for him, Quicksilver defends that Dakei is an anti-mutant idiot, so yes that’s a problem for him. He owns half a dozen major newspapers, plus an entire news network that’s ultra-conservative. He makes J. Jonah Jameson look like Mother Theresa. To this, Danger assumes aloud that he’s being metaphorical, yes?
When Quicksilver reiterates his question, Danger explains that the book is a straight-up action thriller about a heroic secret agent determined to stop a presidential assassination. His personal politics do not factor in at all. Quicksilver replies that that doesn’t matter, but Danger replies that it does. No, it doesn’t, he reiterates. She shouldn’t be supporting someone who puts out repulsive views and works for the destruction of their kind. Innocently, Danger replies that she actually thought she was supporting the bookseller. Him too, Quicksilver adds.
Walking into the room, Cypher asks if they are talking about Scott Dakei. Pietro is, Danger answers. She’s indifferent. Addressing Quicksilver as “Quicky,” Cypher presents a laptop and tells him he wants to show him something. It’s a live stream that’s produced by Scott Dakei’s daughter, Georgia. Asked why he should care about that, Cypher replies that it’s getting a lot of attention lately. Is she espousing her father’s anti-mutant views? Quicksilver asks. Hardly, Cypher replies. She’s pretty much the exact opposite of him. It just got shut down, but he has her last transmission here. At first, Quicksilver asks why he should be at all interested, but he watches the last few moments of Georgia’s live stream in silent attention.
After it is finished, Cypher explains that the police were called but they went away empty-handed. Technically, he broke no laws. And because he is who he is, most mainstream news outlets quashed the story. Considering this, Quicksilver notes that it appears she has some serious father issues, to which Cypher replies that he thought that might interest him.
In short order, Polaris asks Quicksilver if he is seriously suggesting they go in and… what? Kidnap her? It’s not kidnapping if she wants out, Quicksilver defends. Polaris begins to object, but Cypher interjects. She’s in trouble. A girl’s in trouble. What purpose is there in being a super-group if they don’t help people? Changing tact, Polaris asks how much of this is because she’s Scott Dakei’s daughter? They figure he’s a schmuck, so he has it coming. When Gambit chimes in that maybe he does, Polaris asks if he’s agreeing with Pietro. Hey, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, he replies. Thanks, Quicksilver tells him. Standing nearby, oblivious to the flowers which Warlock seems about to present her, Danger asks that they suppose they go in. Let them suppose they get to her and she wants to leave. What then? Do they take her despite her father’s wishes? Absolutely, Gambit replies.
Clearly exasperated, Polaris explains to the group that she just came out of a meeting trying to explain why they didn’t try to destroy the Magus. And now this? How’s Snow gonna react? When Gambit asks how important is that, Polaris reminds him that Snow owns the group. No one owns him, Gambit counters. For a moment, Polaris groans and pinches the bridge of her nose in contemplation. Where is he? she then asks. And her. Where are they? In the bunker, Cypher replies. It’s what he calls his place in New Mexico. He has it up on the screen, he adds, gesturing to a holographic display. In addition to everything else, he lives in constant worry the government’s gonna sweep in and attack. So this is what he set up topside. And that’s just above ground. He also has a subbasement. It’s never been photographed but he managed to access blueprints. Examining the images, Polaris declares it heavy duty. Yeah, Cypher agrees.
For a moment, Polaris considers, then offers an “okay.” She then adds that they go in, but not as a super hero team. Not in uniform. She’s not clearing this with Snow, so they’ll stay in civvies, understood? And what do they do with the girl, Danger then asks, once they get to her. Do they just steamroll over the father? She honestly doesn’t know, Polaris replies. She’s going to see who this plays out. Told that she might not like it, Polaris replies that that’s the story of her life. She’ll prep the plane. Be ready to leave in half an hour. And for God’s sake, don’t tell Snow. Or anyone.
As the rest of the team prepares, Quicksilver receives a transmission, which only he can hear. Is he there? Havok asks. Come in and report. The bar.
Soon thereafter, wearing a coat and hoodie, Quicksilver appears in a flash, just as Havok prepares for his next shot at the pool table. The Magus is the head of Techno, Inc., he reports. Which Magus? Havok asks. The future evil version of Adam Warlock or… The other one, Quicksilver answers. Cursing, Havok asks if they took him down. Running a corporation isn’t inherently evil, Quicksilver says, so no. Seriously? Havok asks. Seriously, Quicksilver says. All right, Havok replies. He’ll let Stark know. Anything else cooking? When Quicksilver doesn’t immediately respond, Havok begins to reiterate. No, Quicksilver lies. Not a thing. All’s quiet. Satisfied, Havok begins to offer a game to Quicksilver, only to find he is already gone.
Why didn’t she tell Snow about this? Polaris is asked. Looking out the window of their jet, she replies that it’s like the old saying goes: it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. Asking a question of her own, she asks why they are so in on this? It’s just a human girl who needs help… Interrupting, Gambit asks if they need a reason other than that. It would be nice, Polaris replies. Okay, see, right here is why he gets so impatient with super groups, Gambit rejoins. They get so caught up in their individual, y’know, whatevers… “Mandates?” Polaris asks. Agreeing, Gambit adds that it becomes about missions and fighting villains and whatever. And no one pays attention ta the small guys who are just having problems and need a hand from higher up. When Polaris then asks if it weren’t involving some guy who hates mutants, Gambit admits that he wouldn’t care. Thought so, she replies and then thanks him for being honest.
Over the intercom, the pilot informs Polaris that they’re five minutes to handling. After thanking him, Frankie, she orders the team to buckle up. They’re going in. Disembarking the plane, which has landed on Dakei’s estate, the team walks up to the entrance of Dakei’s house/bunker. Asked what the plan is, Polaris replies that it’s pretty radical, but she thought they’d ring the front doorbell. Asked if she’s sure, she replies that that customarily what you do when you go to visit someone, yes? When Gambit notes that he may not be inclined to talk to then, Polaris replies that they’ll deal with that if and when the time comes.
At the front door, Polaris presses the button on the security intercom, just below a camera. When a voice comes on, she says hello and announces that they’re there to see Georgia. And they would be…? the voice asks. Interjecting, Danger announces that they’re X-Factor. They are a team of mutants. Polaris begins to sneer to Danger that she should let her handle this, but the voice from the intercom interrupts. They have five seconds to leave. Or they will be dealt with harshly. Grinning at this, Polaris repeats the word “harshly” and asks if they should be worried. He’s not, Quicksilver announces, followed by similar sentiments from Gambit. A few seconds later, part of the bunker retracts, revealing more than a dozen spin-barrel miniguns, which immediately open fire and cut all of X-Factor into shreds.
Seeing this via the camera, a man orders a cease fire, after which the guns go silent and once again disappear behind the bunker’s walls with a BLANG! A few moments later, the front door opens, out of which step Orville and his boss, Scott Dakei. Well, that was simple, Dakei notes simplistically. Asked by Orville what they should do with the bodies, Dakei answers what any citizen would do. Call the police. A moment later, however, all of the bullet-riddled corpses of X-Factor disappear in a flash of light. Dakei and Orville have only a moment to comprehend the instantaneous arrival of a smiling Quicksilver, who greets them just before knocking both men out. That felt good, he smiles over their unconscious bodies.
Quicksilver is soon joined by the rest of the team. Excellent holo-images, Polaris compliments Danger. Thank you, she replies. It was no effort. Despite her dismissal, Warlock remarks that self-friend Lorna is correct. That was superbly done. Hearing this, Danger asks Warlock why does he do that. Asked what she means, Danger asks talk that way. Referring to himself as “self” Is he not familiar with personal pronouns? Not waiting for an answer, Danger turns and follows the rest of the team, leaving behind Warlock and Cypher. When Warlocks asks what just happened, Cypher tells him not to worry about it. Is self-friend Doug sure? Warlock asks. Self-friend is always sure, he replies.
Within the Bunker, Danger leads the group, displaying a hologram map for their convenience. When she points out the way, Polaris asks how does she know. Repetitive imprints in the carpeting, she replies. The child’s footfall is most frequently seen, so she concludes her room is in this direction. Works for her, Polaris replies.
The team soon finds Georgia in her room, hunched over a book with a pencil in her mouth. Hearing her name spoken, Georgia looks up and exclaims. Speaking for the group, Cypher notes that this is a difficult situation for her, but they’re… Seeing her remove something from a drawer, Cypher asks her what it is. They’re mutants, aren’t they? Georgia asks, walking toward them with her object. She means, she recognizes Quicksilver and Polaris, so she figures they all are. Or maybe robots or something. This is so cool! Could they sign this? Seeing her present him with the object from the drawer, in actuality a notepad, Cypher sheepishly replies that no one’s ever asked for his autograph before… Why not?! Georgia asks in disbelief. They are so amazing!! He can use his real name or super name, either one is fine. Uh… all right, Cypher replies.
Changing subjects, Polaris informs Georgia that they are there because of what happened on her live stream. Oh, that, Georgia replies. Don’t worry about that. Reminded that her father shot her computer, Georgia shrugs that he bought her a new one. That was just showing off. To this, Cypher reminds her that he fired a gun. He’s always firing guns, she defends. He doesn’t mean anything by it. He fired guns at them! a wide-eyed Cypher counters. He tried to kill them! When Georgia innocently replies that that’s silly, Cypher counters that it’s not. He shot enough ammo at them to depopulate a small city. But they’re still there! Georgia points out. So how bad could it have been? Gambit begins to interject, but the sound of rapidly approaching footfalls interrupts.
“This way! Hurry!” a man leading a security in SWAT gear yells.
Declaring that they’ll be there any second, Polaris explains to Georgia the way it is. If she wants out, she can come with them. Or she can stay there. She knows she needs time to think ab… Interrupting, Georgia announces with a smile that that’s easy. Stay there. This is her home. Rubbing his face in frustration, Cypher announces that he doesn’t get it and reminds her that she said she wanted out. Yeah, Georgia replies, but not to run away. Told that sometimes you have no choice, Georgia replies that she actually thinks she does.
Having had enough, Cypher grabs Georgia by the arm, telling her to come on. Immediately, Polaris orders him to let go, but Cypher defends, asking if she doesn’t see what’s happening there. She’s a prisoner and she doesn’t realize it! Emphatically, Georgia orders him to let go, but Cypher ignores her. Her father’s an anti-mutant dirtbag and he keeps her prisoner. They can’t just turn away from this! Resolute, Polaris counters that they can if she doesn’t want to come with them. She doesn’t know what she wants, Cypher rejoins.
I said let go! George again exclaims. Cypher begins to reply, but suddenly stops in mid-sentence, his eyes rolling up in the back of his head. The rest of the team stand paralyzed as they are not sure what they are seeing. White light emits from Georgia’s hand, from which Cypher’s grip finally relaxes. A moment later, which seems to take forever, Cypher falls backwards. By the time he hits, much of his muscle mass is gone and his skin seems desiccated. Looking down at what might be the corpse of Cypher, Georgia optimistically notes that she at least got his autograph! Who wants pie?