Michael’s statements, on a rainy day...
“I sat in a window of the old house where they’d brought us, just listening to the rain... mainly because at this point, there was little else to do here. Especially since no one would tell us exactly where on this planet “here” was. The guilty party called themselves “Clan Hellfire.” I was told their roots went back always into the past.
They’d brought us here after the battle of Dunduine. And though some good would eventually come out of this situation, none of us were extremely happy about it at the time. I was originally from New York... and from the past... brought into this future for reasons I couldn’t possibly understand... yet. We listened to the rain hit the cracked pavement, and watched it shine off the vegetation that seemed to cover this place. It was peaceful. Quiet. But familiar, just the same.”
Link and Michael also stare out of the window. Michael asks Link if she knows where they are but, sadly, Link doesn’t. She believes that the name of this place is either long forgotten or denied so strongly that the thoughts of those denying cannot be read. She admits to Michael she doesn’t like it there. Jinx admits quietly to herself that she doesn’t like this place either, even though it reminds her of her home. Jinx tells the others that she’s still queasy from what brought them here, and asks the Witness again what he called it.
The Witness, sitting in a chair, explains he called it “a teleport.” Jinx tells the Witness that they thought he was dead, but now seems to have come back somehow... and not alone. Witness sighs. Scorch highlights that it’s not like they aren’t happy to see the Witness again; it’s just that they want to know more. Jinx warns Scorch not to put words in her mouth and interrupt her like that. She knows what she feels like... and she feels deceived!
Witness wonders if she also felt deceived when he first found her when she was still a little girl, all alone and scared. He wonders how deceived she felt when he took her in, when he taught her how to steal and to stay alive?! The Witness recalls that Jinx was just a little “mama’s girl” once upon a time, but he took her in when she was lost. Like he took in all of them special-ones! He tells the team that Bishop needs them to trust him, even if he doesn’t know it yet. But for now, he wants them all to settle back and wait, as Fold and Trickster aren’t going to let them get passed them anyway.
The team looks at the hooded Fold and Trickster, who are guarding a door. They are the mysterious brother and sister duo. Behind them, inside a door down the hall, away from the debating, accusations and turmoil that would forever change the group, the team wondered how their fates were going to be decided.
Inside the room, Bishop stands in front of a fireplace and admits he likes it in there. He’s also certain he’ll sleep better knowing the world still has a privileged few among them. But, he tells Sammarra, knowing where they are exactly would make him feel a whole lot better.
Sammara fills two glasses of wine, noticing that Bishop is a cautions and careful man, which mixes well with his strength and courage, according to her. She mentions that, if Bishop truly is who LeBeau claims he is, there will be little wonder about his potential for greatness, and little doubt... about his abilities. Sammara tells Bishop that she’s intrigued by him, and asks him to share a drink with her. Bishop takes a glass, mentioning that he already thanked Sammara for saving his life back at Dunduine, but now he’s thinking he has also her to thank for putting him in danger in the first place! He believes that, if Sammara Shaw truly is who LeBeau claims her to be, their is little doubt about her objectives. After all, Bishop has known a Shaw or two in his life!
Sammara explains that she and Bishop face a common threat, one that has eluded him now through three different time periods. Bishop knows she’s talking about Fitzroy. Samarra sees the Chronomancer’s rise to power as a terrible thing, and his atrocities have no place in a civilization struggling to rebuild itself. Such power as he wields has no place in a world with little left to balance it. But... Sammara adds, little is better than nothing, hence the Clan’s interest in Bishop. She asks Bishop if he even knows how to find the Chronomancer. Bishop thinks about it, but can’t come up with an answer. That’s like Sammara already thought. After all, she thinks, why should Bishop know? Sammara had a plan, which was to help Bishop find Fitzroy, but first, she wanted Bishop to be tested. She wanted to lead along him so that Bishop would feel more comfortable with the world around him, and more in touch with the world he’s trying to save.
Sammara takes off her hood, continuing to say that in that process, Bishop ended up defeating the Kith and liberating an entire city. He gained allies who will spread his word to any that might listen. Bishop has exceeded the Clan’s expectations, and not to mention Sammara’s own. Bishop replies that Fitzroy’s forces weren’t in Dunduine to stop him... but instead, Sammara! Sammara calls Fitzroy a madman, adding that Fitzroy’s enemies are Bishop’s allies. She quotes the phrase of “Those committed to their cause are those we want on our side.” And Sammara wants Bishop on her side... and she’s quite committed. Sammara takes off her clothes, standing entirely naked in front of Bishop. Also on her back, two black tattoos of tridents can be seen.
Uncertain about this, Bishop asks Sammara what she’s doing. Sammara gently touches Bishop’s face, smiling that he does more than intrigue her. Bishop is speechless. Sammara’s eye starts to spark, and she says that she needs less than wine to exert her influence. She and Bishop start making love.
Outside the room, Jinx is trying to get passed Fold and Trickster, but they won’t let her. Scorch tells her they won’t let them wander off, but he was still thinking about going for a walk, for as far as they would be allowed. And he was hoping Jinx would join him. That is, if he could pull her away from this doorway, and the fate of the world for a moment. Jinx agrees to join Scorch, and Michael asks Link where they are going. Link smiles that the story behind Scorch and Jinx is a long one to tell. She turns away from the window, having seen enough rain.
Once outside, standing in the rain, Jinx reveals to Scorch that when she was a little girl, she used to stay out in the rain until she was soaked to the bone. Her mother would have to come out looking for her. Her mother would say to her to come inside, that the world was more dangerous when it was wet.” Scorch admits he never knew what that meant, but he remembers the first time Jinx told him that story. Jinx guesses it means that, if you catch a cold, you catch your death. Scorch always hated the rain. He opens his hand, and the rain melts on it. He reveals that, back when he was young, he remembers being held under water by the other kids. They had seen what he was and hoped to douse the flames... or drown him in the process. Jinx hasn’t forgotten the past either. How could she?!
Scorch touches Jinx’ shoulder, wanting to say something, but she tells him not to. Jinx pulls away from Scorch, telling him when she saw him at Dunduine, for a second, she felt like a young girl again. He was so brave... so reckless... but in all the right ways. But then she remembered how much Scorch has changed. How much they both have. She thought about how much they have to do, and how they can’t do it without each other. She tells Scorch that they’re going to change this world somehow. She can feel it. And that means they can’t risk making the same old mistakes. Not now. Jinx apologizes. Scorch is sorry too, but then sees Nom standing behind him, and angrily asks what he’s looking at.
Bishop wakes up and coughs. His eyes open, and he sees a torch hanging on the wall. He thinks he must have blacked out and wonders what Sammara did to him. She calls out to her, but doesn’t gain an answer. He knew he never should have trusted a Shaw. Bishop takes the torch and looks up, discovering he fell into a deep tunnel. He calls out for help, but nobody replies. He runs deeper inside the tunnel, finding abandoned trains lying on the sideways. He finds tunnels opening into other tunnels, leading him, like he’s been led all along. But, he jokes, at least Sammara left his clothes intact before dumping him down here. He thinks Sammara has plans for him and wants to see what they are.
Suddenly, an eye detects Bishop, and a robotic voice says, “mutant activity sensed… preparing to respond.” A bright light is shown, and Bishop is shocked at what he sees now!
Michael walks over to the Witness. He knows they don’t really know one another, but he hasn’t seen Bishop in a while. He knows the others are buying what the Witness is telling them, but he isn’t so sure about it. Witness compliments that Michael is a smart boy. He explains Bishop will be standing at the brink of greatness soon enough. He thinks the rest of the team is going to be Bishop when that time comes, and so will Michael. The Witness also says that he isn’t used to be trusted, and doesn’t expect anyone to start now.
Link telepathically contacts the Witness, telling him she never fully trusted him either. The Witness doesn’t think this is the right time to discus that now. Link tells the Witness she sure is having a hard time trusting him now. Witness asks the girl to stop talking so loud telepathically, or else both their heads will be hurting. Link can’t, and suddenly screams it out from the pain!
Sammara comes out of the room, mocking that Link sure is acting most inhospitable. She knows they brought the dogs through the door, but didn’t expect them to mess the rug. She mocks Link that a headache can be a miserable thing. She wants her to keep her thoughts to herself in this house, or else she’ll share hers. Jinx wants to attack Sammara, and asks her where Bishop is. She demands to know why they are there. Link tries to stop Jinx from attacking Sammara, but she quickly grabs Jinx by her throat! She warns Jinx never to raise a hand on her again. She claims she means more to the fate of this world than Jinx ever will. With that, she drops Jinx.
Scorch and Nom are ready to attack Sammara, even though Scorch has never hurt a woman before. Sammara smiles that they won’t now either, and with a sparking eye tells the two men to stay where they are, and they do as told. But then, Sammara gets hit from behind by... the Witness! He asks Sammara to stop this, before somebody stops her. And he will do that if necessary.
Bishop is shocked when he sees... a half-broken Sentinel?! The Sentinel, with a cracking voice, points its hand at Bishop, like he’s ready to fire at him. The Sentinel reveals that he was set for preservation and ready to eliminate a threat. And he won’t be prevented from reaching its objective. Bishop tries to explain that he isn’t a threat but, before he can, the Sentinel starts to fall down.
Panicking, the Sentinel exclaims that he’s critically damaged. His systems are degrading. He’s severe, and his objective is uncomprimised. Bishop is stunned to discover his enemies got a Sentinel on their side. But still, the Sentinel looks damaged and wonders how long it has been down here in the dark. Bishop tries to run away from it, but then hears the Sentinel scanning him. The Sentinel unit identifies Bishop as lost, and that he’s affiliated with the X-Men. The Sentinel goes to sit down, not believing that finally, one of the X-Men has come... for him. Bishop stares in disbelieve.
Sammara angrily tells LeBeau that not even his own people seem to trust him. And she doesn’t see a reason why they should. She wants to know how long the Clan has followed him, and wonders if it was long enough to know all about the things the Witness has done. She wonders if the Clan knows about the deals he has made in his own interest over the years. Witness admits that he has made his share of mistakes, but not with the team or with Bishop. Sammara reminds the Witness he promised them a champion to defeat their enemies, and not the beginnings of some X-Men revival! She thinks the Witness should remember what’s important here.
Witness replies that they’re all very valuable to Bishop’s quest. If he is to find and defeat the Chronomancer, he will need all of their help. That is what’s important. X-Men do not concern him. The betterment of the Witness’ kind is a secondary objective, and the re-establishment of some long-lost dream is not the least bit interesting to him... at all. Sammara corrects the Witness he has to help Bishop find and defeat the Chronomancer and sees that as his prime objective. She knows Bishop was brought to this time for a reason and won’t have the Witness ruin that. Jinx strongly points out she would follow Bishop into oblivion. Sammara heads back into her room, telling Jinx she might have to do that.
Bishop tells the Sentinel he hasn’t come for it, but knows what it is. What Bishop doesn’t know is why he’s there, and what makes the Sentinel think it knows. The Sentinel identifies itself as Gol-19. He’s a mutant-hunter, sent to deliver a message to any X-Man he could find. But, the other Sentinels were closing in. He left those Sentinels to die so that their message might be reached. Bishop doesn’t really understand whom the Sentinel left. The Sentinel reveals that he left... the last of the X-Men! Bishop is shocked to hear that, and that the X-Men sent the Sentinel.
Gol-19 reveals that it began in the last days of the great war. It was before the death of both mutants and machines alike. The X-Men sent him with a message... and a gift... for any X-Man that might survive. They were scattered... hunted and destroyed. They did any means of finding others like them. Others... like Bishop. The Sentinel knows Bishop has come for it. And he wants Bishop to hear his story.
While Bishop began learning what he needed to know, above things went on...
Michael thinks he is starting to understand the Witness. He thinks the Witness isn’t sure if he can trust the people he’s working with, and that he’s looking for Bishop in his own way. The Witness is impressed at how smart Michael is for a boy his age. The Witness knows he’s an old man, past his prime and his time. But he can see the wisdom in Michael. He wants Michael to always trust that wisdom, and to do in life what he thinks is best. That’s all any of them can do.
Link comes to apologize to the Witness for snapping at him earlier. The Witness knows it’s he who’s got plenty to be sorry about. But he has done the best he could and knows for sure his reasons were right. He goes to sit down again, telling the team to take care of Bishop, no matter where it is they are going to or whenever it is they will end up. Michael smiles.
“The Witness found the team as children, trained them as survivors, and prepared them for the course their lives had taken. I never knew my own father. But I felt, at that moment, inside that familiar place that seemed so much like home though I swore at the time it couldn’t be... like I knew theirs.”
Bishop tells Gol-19 that his story was quite remarkable. But he wants to know more, thinking he should have been there and done something. The Sentinel reveals that it had been reprogrammed and taught not to kill. But then, he saw the X-Men die. Now, Bishop is there, and knows he has come for him and heard his tale. Now, the unit wants Bishop to share the tale like the X-Men would have wanted. The Sentinel can sense that Bishop doesn’t trust him. The X-Men warned him that whomever would find him might not trust him. The X-Men also told Gol-19 to deliver a gift.
The Sentinel opens its hand and Bishop looks inside it. He tells Gol-19 that he told him so much, and doesn’t see how he could simply believe it all. Sentinels have hunted mutants since their inception and he wants to know how he could be sure that the X-Men sent him. Bishop is again shocked at what he finds... Storm’s tiara! The Sentinel mentions that Ororo fought bravely until the end, to be sure the means to find others like her would be safe. And then, the Sentinel starts falling down right in front of Bishop. Bishop says that Gol-19 speaks of the X-Men... of his friends... and of an end that came so tragically. He wonders what he could do with this information.
Gol-19 admits to Bishop that it is dying. But, it’s glad that his message has been delivered. He’s glad that the promise he made to the X-Men has been kept. Now, he wants Bishop to go, and use the new information he has been given, and to return to the place of the X-Men’s final stand. There, he might find others like him. The Sentinel wants to tell Bishop one final thing. He explains that his last energy cell is located behind his eye, and wants Bishop to take it. Bishop knows that if he does that, Gol-19 will die. But the unit has waited so long for that moment. And now, he can at least die in peace. Bishop takes the cell, and the Sentinel dies.
Sammara, Fold and Trickster appear behind Bishop. Sammara sees the cell, and thinks that means the Sentinel has informed Bishop about what it kept secret for this long. Bishop confirms that. He quietly remembers the Sentinels final words “to find others like him.” Sammara tells Bishop he doesn’t need to be so protective. She explains that the site of the X-Men’s final stand is an important discovery. And it will also be necessary if Bishop is to find the Chronomancer. Sammara wants Bishop to do that. They want the same things. And, she’s aware that Bishop may not believe her, but she promises she has no means to stop him from achieving that goal. She asks Fold and Trickster to teleport them away.
A while later, back above...
Bishop informs the Witness that the Sentinel told him to find a surviving X-Man. So, he wants to ask, why the Witness was never sent into the pit to learn the Sentinel’s secrets. Quiet for a moment, the Witness asks Bishop if he remembers the first time they met. Bishop thought of him as bad news, and even that he was a traitor. The Witness knows he hasn’t done many things to be trusted in any timeline, so now he realizes that Shaw doesn’t have to think any different. But the Witness is aware he wasn’t entirely truthful with Bishop and knows that in time, he will understand. He wants Bishop to tell the team he’s proud of them, and that he had his reasons for what he has done.
Bishop knows the Witness always has his reasons. Calling the Witness “Gambit, Bishop warns him he won’t be manipulated. The Witness is well aware of that, and calls Bishop “mon ami.”
Bishop walks back over to his team, and Scorch asks where they are going to now. Bishop informs his friends that they are going to make a little detour. They’ve got a side-adventure to undertake. And... he’s got a story to share. On that moment, the team gets teleported away... up to their next adventure.
Someplace far, far away... in a dark castle...
Bantam closes a cell door, which is guarded by two Chronotroopers. Fitzroy is angry that she doesn’t respond to her, even though he gives her his attention and devotion. Bantam reminds his master that Shard is strong, but also delicate... and Bishop’s sister. Plus, Shard has seen Trevor do some questionable things. Bantam thinks it should be enough that Fitzroy has her. They walk down some stairs, and Fitzroy thinks he needs to do more. He has to show them all he can be. To be feared is a wondrous new feeling, but Fitzroy realizes it is also an easy enough ambition to satisfy. He’s confident that since Shard loved him once, she’ll do it again.
Inside her cell, Shard sits alone on her bed, and cries.
At the Witness’ place...
Sammara, wearing a white dress, asks the Witness if he thinks Bishop shall succeed. She knows how much rides on this, and believes they cannot be concerned with whether the team likes the Witness or not. The Witness can tell Sammara for sure that Bishop won’t quit. And he doesn’t want Sammara to be wondering about him, as he’s taking care of himself.
Sammara slams the door of her room shut, and smiles in herself she sure isn’t worrying about that. She knows they can’t let their feelings get in the way of their objectives. Though she admits Bishop is a remarkable man, she states they must prepare for all possibilities. And to artfully side... with the winning team. Whomever that might be. P>
A portal opens behind Sammara, revealing an image of... the Chronomancer?! Sitting in his throne, Fitzroy compliments Sammara she’s looking as cold as ice. Trevor says he has always sought to bring Sammara’s people to their knees, and has always looked forward to watching her squirm. As Sammara takes another glass of wine, Fitzroy asks her what it is they might have to offer one another.