(Hatch Tech, inc.)
Iceman, Northstar and Gambit arrive at the building on an ice slide. Northstar states that he’d like some advice. Bobby asks why; it sounds like he’s made up with Kyle already. Jean-Paul knows that, but something feels off to him. He just seems a little distant. Remy reckons it makes sense. Kyle thinks there’s no place in Northstar’s life for someone like him. That would be enough to make anyone feel vulnerable.
Jean-Paul asks why he would feel vulnerable. About what? That’s ridiculous! Remy replies that it might be ridiculous to him, but he has a job that’s always taking him away from Kyle. He probably doesn’t feel like a priority in Jean-Paul’s life any more. Bobby quips that what is ridiculous is Kyle taking relationship advice from Remy. He’s always in the middle of some high-drama love triangle that never works out. “I mean jeez,” he adds. “The angst.” Remy asks if he’s done, but Bobby asks how Rogue is. Remy warns him he’s serious, but Bobby says so is he. Making Remy uncomfortable is the best cheap thrill ever!
Whilst Remy works on the door lock, Northstar asks if they can get back to his problem and asks what he can do. Bobby reckons he should keep it simple; get Kyle something nice and make him feel special.
He then asks why Remy, the master thief, hasn’t finished with the door yet. Remy replies that he is and, with a fizz of violet energy, the door drops to the floor with a ‘choom.’ As they enter, Bobby points out that the place is deserted. After those mercenaries attacked them they were expecting some activity. Remy agrees, especially as the G.P.S. tracker they took off them led them right to this building. It feels like a trap to him. Iceman reminds him of the rules. You never say that. Now they’re jinxed! Northstar does a super-quick recon of the place and informs them that there’s no sign of anyone. However, there’s something they need to see.
They head through the dark empty building until Bobby sees what Jean-Paul means. “Now that’s creepy,” he remarks. They all look at a full-scale prison and Bobby asks what this is doing in a weapons manufacturing facility. “And where are the prisoners?” asks Jean-Paul. Remy asks, more importantly, why there is a S.H.I.E.L.D. emblem on the wall?
(New York, West 73rd Street, later)
Wolverine is having a coffee at Janet & Jiri’s when the Black Widow walks in wearing her civvies. He looks up at her as she approaches and tells her that she’s evil to have come. Natasha says she knows, but she likes seeing him out of sorts. He’s cute when he’s grumpy. He tells her it’s good to see her too and asks what life’s like these days for an Avenger. “Complicated,” she replies, “As you well know.” She reminds him they aren’t there for a chit chat and she has to catch a transport jet in an hour. “For?” he enquires. She smiles and takes his coffee, telling him that it’s just another top-secret mission. Very boring. She might have to save the world… again.
He asks what she knows about the weapons manufacturer. She informs him that Hatchi Tech used to be one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most reliable contractors. It provided advanced firearms, body armor and ammunition. It was all basic but necessary. She shows him a photograph and explains that it’s owned by a very smart businesswoman named Susan Hatchi. Several years ago, she became ill and the company underwent restructuring. Because of this they lost their contract with S.H.I.E.L.D. But, adds Natasha, she has trouble imagining that Hatchi is responsible for organizing the Marauders to attack them. Her biggest crime appears to be an addiction to designer clothing. Logan asks about the holding cells in her facility. She informs him that they used to supply prisons with specialized gear. Running scenarios is a common way of testing prototypes. Logan sighs. He was hoping to catch a break. Natasha adds that Hatchi tech has been sold around the world. Seeing it on those mercs doesn’t really mean much.
Logan still doesn’t think it smells right. Natasha knew he’d say that which is why she’s brought him a list of her holdings. Maybe it will help his investigation. She smiles and says there’s no need to thank her. She knows that she is wonderful. Warbird then enters the café and tells Wolverine that she tires of waiting in his vehicle. If they are return to the school before Prince Kubark exits his classes, then they should find their target quickly and kill him. She adds that she is also hungry. She takes some food off a tray carried by a waitress. “Ah. Thank you human,” she says. Natasha watches her with interest, enjoying the exuberances of a Shi’Ar warrior woman. She whispers to Logan that between the two of them, she could never fight in an outfit like that.
It’s a beautiful day and Kyle is walking through the park with his phone glued to his ear. He is complaining about his lack of Wi-Fi and the fact it will take a week to install it. He works from home and not being able to access his e-mail twenty-four hours a day costs him money. He loses his patience and asks to speak to the manager. Northstar then appears and apologizes for being late. The following wind blows a guy’s hat off and ruffles someone’s newspaper.
Ignoring this, Jean-Paul tells Kyle that he had to run an errand. Kyle loses his call and cries out in frustration, complaining about his lack of internet at the apartment which means he has to lug his laptop to some crowded coffee shop just to check his e-mail. “I hate this!” he cries. Jean-Paul asks if he isn’t overreacting a little. Kyle reminds him that he is responsible for managing the Northstar brand which stands to earn over ten million dollars this year. Doesn’t that matter to Jean-Paul? “It’s just money,” he replies, nonchalantly.
Kyle replies that he guesses Jean-Paul’s job is just punching people in the face, which he clearly thinks is more valuable. Jean-Paul tries to say that wasn’t what he meant, but Kyle tells him that he might not think that what he does is important, but he does. A lot of other people would too if he made them filthy stinking rich. Jean-Paul tries to apologize but Kyle’s phone rings and he answers, greeting Mr. Cheung in Chinese. Despite taking the call, Jean-Paul continues to try and speak with him, forcing him to abandon his call.
Kyle then notes that Jean-Paul is looking ill and asks if he’s going to vomit. Jean-Paul covers his mouth and explains that he isn’t going to vomit… he’s just nervous. Kyle asks if someone died and asks if there is anything wrong with his sister. “Are we being invaded by aliens again?” he whispers. Standing beside the fountain, Jean-Paul takes Kyle’s hand and nervously replies that this is about them. Kyle thinks for a moment, not really wishing to hear the answer to his next question. “Are you… breaking up with me? Jean-Paul drops to one knee and smiles. “Hell no,” he replies. “I’m asking you to marry me.”
Kyle is speechless as he sees the gold band held out before him. Jean-Paul informs him that he came up with the idea that morning. Maybe Kyle is feeling vulnerable right now or scared that he isn’t a priority, or even that he will leave him, but he doesn’t want Kyle to feel that way. Kyle replies that he knows he isn’t going to leave him. Jean-Paul adds that this is so easy he should have thought of it before. Kyle closes his eyes and asks if he really thinks that getting married is easy. He’s come up with this… thing, that he believes will fix everything, but he hasn’t listened to a word he’s said. They are still not on the same page. Still with his eyes closed tight, Kyle tells Jean-Paul that he’s sorry, but he can’t marry him. If he did right now, as things stand, it would be a mistake for the both of them. Northstar can’t believe it and he reminds Kyle that they love each other. Kyle says of course they do, but Kyle is asking him to marry him out of not out of some sense of committed love, but because he wants to put a band-aid on their problems.
Jean-Paul gets to his feet and says that’s not true, but Kyle replies that he didn’t even think this through. Jean-Paul assures him that he did. This is what he wanted! Kyle replies that nothing about this situation is what he wanted. Jean-Paul would have known that if he’d been listening to him. Jean-Paul doesn’t know what’s going on. Didn’t he just say he loved Kyle, loudly and with a ring attached? Kyle replies that he wants them to be together forever, but the way he asked… it doesn’t look like that’s what he wants. It sounds like he’s just doing him a favor. With a tear trickling down his cheek, he tells Jean-Paul that he has to go. He’ll see him when he sees him. With that, he turns and heads off, leaving a disappointed Northstar to crush the ring box between his fingers.
Meanwhile, Kyle appears in someone’s crosshairs. “Got him,” says the guy. His boss, Susan Hatchi, tells them that he knows what to do. “Make it elegant.”
(Red Hook, Brooklyn)
Wolverine, Warbird, Gambit and Iceman are sneaking around the area in the early evening light. Warbird is itching for some action but Wolverine tells her that no one can fight all the time. Sometimes you have to investigate and ask some questions. Warbird replies that she is quite skilled at eliciting answers without bloodshed. All she requires is her tongue. Wolverine can’t tell if she’s being sarcastic or not. Remy informs them that all the east end buildings are empty and there are no signs of any weapons, secret hideouts or Marauders. Bobby adds that there are just some homeless guys who said that military Humvees have been driving in and out of the place at night. An hour ago they heard screams.
Right on cue, they hear another scream. They turn to see Blockbuster charging towards them. He looks scared to death. He mumbles quickly about wanting some help, but Warbird reacts instinctively, throwing her sword into Blockbuster’s back. He falls down dead and Wolverine pulls out the sword. “Damn it Warbird,” he sighs. “I needed to ask him questions.” She replies that in that case he should have stopped Blockbuster himself. Where she is from, the enemy is not allowed to escape. Not twice, anyway.
He hands her weapon back and leads them to a wooden door which he slices through with ease. They look inside and see a pile of dead bodies. Bobby covers his mouth saying he should not have gone to that all-you-can-eat buffet beforehand. The team looks through the bodies and finds the Marauders. Arclight has a harpoon through her neck. Remy thinks they killed each other and fast. None of them had any warning. Logan believes that someone was controlling them and getting rid of the evidence, too. Warbird notes that one of them is missing… the teleporter. “And Chimera,” adds Bobby. Wolverine then sniffs the air and turns towards an open door. He realizes the danger too late and they are all kayoed by a mental assault courtesy of Karma.
Northstar takes to the skies, wiping the tears from his eyes as he rockets through the air. He thinks that Kyle is being crazy. He’s tried his hardest to give him what he wants and it’s not enough. His job is important. He saves lives. And what does Kyle do? What does he do? He does everything. He finally realizes what Kyle has been saying to him. He flies at speed towards the ground, crash-landing in a field. He lies on the grass looking upwards, asking himself what he’s done. He apologizes to Kyle for not listening. He gets himself up and heads once more to the skies. “Okay. Let’s get this over with.”
(Hatchi Tech, Inc.)
Northstar soon arrives at the facility and tries to get Wolverine to pick up his phone. He leaves a message, informing Logan that he’s back at the weapons facility and that there is some activity. He then gets a call from Kyle and, looking at a bus below, he asks Kyle where he is. “Inside,” he replies. Northstar enters the building and calls Kyle’s name. Iceman replies that Kyle isn’t there, but he is! “Let me teach you about pain,” he warns. Taking on the appearance of an icy scorpion, he lunges at Northstar, who uses his speed to evade Bobby’s massive ice fist. He asks Bobby to stop and listen, but he replies that he is a God and he requires a sacrifice. Ice envelops Northstar but, before it can become too thick, Jean-Paul tells Bobby that he doesn’t know what’s going on, but if he’s hurt Kyle, if he even touched him, he will kill him!
Northstar smashes Iceman in the face, which has the positive effect of bringing Bobby out of his mental thrall. He groans and asks what the heck just happened. Northstar leaves him behind and heads further into the facility. He gets another call from Kyle’s phone and heads to the tunnels below, calling out for Kyle to please stay alive. As he enters the tunnels, he sees Wolverine and Gambit standing there blocking his path. “Too late, mon ami,” says Gambit. “Get ready to die, bub,” adds Wolverine.