Cannonball and Beast are preparing to defend themselves while Karma slowly awakes, realizing they are… in Spiral’s Body Shop, her porta-dimensional laboratory. Xi’an becomes wide awake, as she realizes her younger siblings are somewhere in there at the witch’s mercy. It is at this moment that Spiral’s mutated monster suddenly attacks them.
Beast notes that they seem conspicuously harmless so far. So long as they are merely herding them towards the shop, he suggests to Cannonball that they play along. Cannonball agrees but Xi’an flips and attacks. On to plan B, Sam sighs, as he and Beast join the battle.
Karma uses her possession power to work up the creatures to a frenzy and her friends realize she wants blood and the creatures can taste it. They gotta get to her before...
As Xi’an is about to be overwhelmed by the creatures, Sam loses it and comes to her aid, Beast realizes that the monster outnumber them by far. They cannot possibly stop them without stopping Karma. But Xi’an is unwilling to give up. She is no longer one of Xavier’s army. But if the twins are truly in the creatures’ clutches, then it won’t do any good to get all riled up, will it? Sam points out. A moot point, Beast remarks. The cavalry has arrived. Their foes’ cavalry. Xi’an wants to attack again and Beast keeps her from doing it, reminding her that they work together here to get in.
As they arrive at the Body Shop, a disappointed Viper remarks that her invite was for Karma. A bonus, Spiral calls the others. Sam politely asks what this trouble is about anyway. Viper points accusingly at Karma and tells them to ask the snake in their midst.
Coldly, Xi’an demands Viper return her siblings to her now. Of course, Viper replies, but she cautions Karma against any more attempt to use that ugly little mutant power here unless she enjoys the psionic feedback of a shielded perimeter. Xi’an threatens that she will tear Viper apart with her bare hands if she has hurt the kids. Mockingly, Viper admonishes the young hero. Violence can have such a detrimental effect on young minds… as fragile as they are and all that.
The altered twins step out, Leong now a half naked young man, Nga also grown and dressed in a strange metal suit crouching next to him. Xi’an screams in horror which quickly turns to rage, as she jumps at Viper, vowing that she will kill the other woman.
Leong jumps to Viper’s defense and fells his elder sister. When Xi’an asks what he is doing, Leong orders her away. Suddenly, his chest opens and wirelike tentacles spring from it to snare Karma. Watching this, Viper laughs, remarking this is better than advertised. Spiral’s Body Shop does fine work indeed.
Beast observes the nanites in action and explains to Cannonball that they are techno-mites, burrowing up from within Leong’s body, spinning new layers of dermal tissue while the skin he sheds encases Karma, keeping her from Viper.
Viper suggestively touches Leong as she tells Karma that they have grow so close. Isn’t it just the sweetest… thing?
Hank has had enough. He snarls at Viper that they were happy healthy, normal children with years of games and toys ahead of them… And now they are no more, Spiral replies with a smirk. She would have expected a molecular bio-chemist of his reputation to appreciate what she’s accomplished here, even if she has never been quite… desperate enough to experiment on herself. Hank stays silent as his thoughts wander back.
Young Hank McCoy’s physical mutation had been minimal to the eyes of others. Nothing more than a slight disproportion of his extremities. He wanted to be normal. And he thought he had the skills to tamper with nature. To correct what he perceived as her mistake, but she laughed in his face. As he swallowed the potion instead he turned to his current furry state.
He’s come a long way since then. No mutant wears the X more proudly now. Interesting choice of words, Spiral observes. Happy, healthy, normal? Viper laughs and observes that Spiral offended him.
Get on with it, Spiral orders her servants and one of them breaks Sam’s leg. He falls. Viper explains to Beast that Sam isn’t going anywhere. And the mutates will make sure that he pays in pieces for every move Beast makes against Viper and Spiral. Sam weakly asks Hank not to listen. Viper announces that Beast wanted games… It’s his move.
Beast warns Sam to brace himself, grabs him and jumps atop the building, parks Sam there and drops down again. While Spiral threatens him, Viper orders Leong to walk Karma over to her. The legs that hold Xi’an captive move as if of their own accord. She motions to Nga. It’s her turn to play.
Xi’an asks Nga if she is still in there, somewhere under all that pain. Yes, the young girl replies. Yes! she cries and the load on her back explodes and another version of Nga emerges… and no. A version of Nga that also incorporates a lot of Xi’an.
Viper smirks, anticipating the fun to come. Cannonball attacks her, warning her that in Kentucky they don’t play with snakes, they stomp them. No doubt, Viper replies calmly and remarks that Nga has now also tapped into Karma’s powers and with that she now controls Cannonball’s mind and body.
Nga forces Sam to attack Beast. Desperately, he asks Hank to do something, to please help him… to stop him ’fore he kills Hank. Beast however refuses to fight Sam when his forcefield is inactive.
Xi’an watches, horrified at witnessing what her power does to others, as she realizes that she is using other people like combat suits of armor, forcing innocents and guilty alike to see and hear and feel every terrifying moment, all the while hiding safely along the sidelines.
Viper caresses Leong suggestively, telling him it will be over all too soon. Hank, in the meantime, urges Sam to fight the possession. He’s trying, Sam shouts, but he’s losing!
Hank reminds Sam of his psi-training. His continued ability to speak his mind suggests that Nga’s hold hasn’t quite solidified. Spiral interrupts him by sneaking up on him and delivering a blow to his jaw.
Viper is furious at Spiral. She paid top dollar for this. She has the right to every drop of blood she can get from it. Spiral just informs her that the Body Shop isn’t Viper’s personal playground. If she still intends to expose Karma to the extensive array of procedures they subjected her siblings to… No, Viper smirks, that’s just where she intends to start…
Cannonball finally falls under Nga’s mental onslaught. Both the X-Men are beaten.
Spiral informs Viper that she will begin with the necessary preparations… run the acid bath, sharpen the silverware. Finally, Viper tells a horrified Xi’an, she’ll be coming with them. Leong will be coming with them, sharing Viper’s pleasure in Karma’s long-overdue pain. Nga unfortunately has to stay behind to deal with the sleeping strays Karma dragged along. Off-handedly, Viper orders Nga to kill Beast and Cannonball. Karma begs for their lives. Nga is still a child, too young to have blood on her hands. As Nga grabs a knife and against her will prepares to slit Beast’s throat, Viper decides that Xi’an should have to watch the show after all.