“The plane to Lisbon, you’d like to be on it?”
“Why? What’s in Lisbon?”
“The clipper to America…”
She has seen the movie “Casablanca” at least a dozen times in her life. Intently watching the sterling black and white images of people who can only hope… for freedom.
Sitting in a plane towards America is Renee Majcomb, who finds herself at the toilet. She stares into the mirror and holds a scalpel. Her hand shakes heavily, which Renee finds weird, as she has held a scalpel many times in her life, but having a passport for a “patient” has to be a first. Renee never thought she would leave her beloved Genosha; an island nation off the coast of Africa just North of the Seychelle Islands. It was once the envy of the world, but is now reduced to a war-torn shell. Although her heart aches to be with her bipartisan rebel battalion fighting for the civil rights of all Genosha, or working in her bio-lab as a world-class bio-geneticist, today she is faced with the realization that the information she carries… may mean the end of her life.
After switching photographs in her passports, Renee will enter the United States with a new name and identity. For, despite the dangers she has encountered in the past, she knows they pale in the comparison to what will happen to her if certain individuals learn she has made it out of Genosha… alive. Renee prays to God this works.
At a gift shop in New York’s Kennedy Airport. The International Terminal.
Domino picks up a newspaper which has a disturbing headline on it: “Mutant Bigfoot Kills Nine,” though the paper only has a shadowed picture of the creature. Domino mocks that, just when you thought it was safe to go camping, this happens. She reads that “informed sources” say a mutant serial killer is roaming the Rocky Mountains. She finds this to be disturbingly familiar. Cable, who’s standing next to Domino, wonders how she can read that sort of stuff, as she knows it’s all made up. Domino doesn’t believe Nathan never picked up one of these while standing on line at the super marker, though Cable claims he never has. The guard tells Domino the paper costs two dollars and seventy cents. As she pays, Domino jokingly asks Cable if he thinks Elvis is sill alive. He can’t deny nor confirm that.
Domino is surprised Cable really thinks people make this stuff up. She then continues reading and finds an article that says time travel is possible. Someone talking over loudspeakers informs all the travelers that Flight 760 to Guadalajara, Mexico is now boarding. Cable suggests they better go or else they’ll miss their flight.
Domino steps through the airport’s metal detector, and Cable waits behind her. Domino wants Cable to admit he can’t stand it when somebody else is right. Cable corrects her by saying what’s really bothering him is why they came there in the first place, as it seems… unnecessary. Domino’s bags clear out good, and she is allowed through the detector. When Cable steps through it, the alarm goes off, of course. Cable sarcastically wonders why he got out of bed this morning. As a security agent asks Cable to empty his pockets, Domino asks if this is going to be a problem. The agent asks Domino to take a step back, and she does. Cable takes some keys out of his pocket, and smiles to the agent they set the thing off every time.
Domino and Cable continue their walk, and Flight 1-12 arrives from Genosha at Gate 5. Domino wants to say to Cable she thought this wasn’t going to go well, but Cable asks her to give him a little credit. He wouldn’t bring a gun through security… (at least, not a metal one).
At Customs and Immigration, more specifically the Genoshan flight passengers file in. Some of the passengers that are getting out of the plane are filled with joy, others with fear of the unknown. And in the case of Renee, there is a certain sense of relief.
One of the passengers is a mutant with a purple skin. The mutant takes his cap off, and doesn’t even care if people can now stare at the “65” number marked on his head. He has been through too much to care about what anyone else thinks. Renee is standing a little behind the mutant, and sighs gladly that, so far, things are going good. It’s almost too easy. She realizes this would have been so much simpler if the Genoshan government would have just approved her Visa card. But, if everything goes well, she might be able to see Charles tonight.
Renee continues her walk out of the airport, not noticing that she is being watched by Pipeline and Hawkshaw, who have followed her all this way. They are both dressed in black tuxedos. Pipeline informs his partner that the transmission has been completed and congratulates Hawkshaw on the good tracking. Hawkshaw can’t wait to see what kind of security people have got up ahead.
Out in the front of the international terminal are two members of X-Force standing. Shatterstar and Rictor get out of their cab. Rictor complaints about the awful traffic they had to face to get there and hopes he doesn’t miss his flight. To be honest, Shatterstar kind of hopes Rictor does, though Rictor sure doesn’t hope so. Shatterstar takes out a large suitcase out of the cab’s trunk, and Rictor asks why his friend brought those. Hesitant, Shatterstar admits he would never think to go anywhere without them. “Madre Di Dios,” Rictor sighs. As the cab drives away, Shatterstar and Rictor see a group of protestors standing in front of the gate. Shatterstar wonders what’s going on, but Rictor doesn’t even care. He just wants to book and go to the gate.
The protestors are an organized demonstration against allowing Genoshans entry into America. For Rictor, it is a reminder of why he is leaving America to take some private time with his family. This is a decision that has greatly upset Rictor’s best friend: Shatterstar. Rictor and Shatterstar are almost unable to move through the crowd, but eventually make it to the front entrance. One of the protestors wants Rictor to sign a petition against the Genoshans, as the protestor believes the Genoshans have the Legacy Virus. Julio becomes angry and wants to fight the protestor, but Shatterstar holds him back, saying the guy isn’t worth it. Rictor instead breaks the protestor’s pen and, in the Spanish language, calls the protestor a pig. They step into the building, and the protestor angrily calls Rictor a mutie lover.
Rictor hands his bag over for a control check, and wonders if the people outside would still be protesting if they knew what it was really like in Genosha. Shatterstar agrees and finds it odd how some people can act without thinking how it affect others. The guard checking the bag tells Rictor that, if he asks him, he thinks Genoshans should just go back to where they came from. Rictor angrily replies they didn’t ask the guard. The guard remains silent for a moment, but then asks Shatterstar to open his suitcase. In it are Shatterstar’s two swords, which of course greatly upset the guard. Shatterstar doesn’t understand the reaction and asks if there is a problem. The shocked guard demands to know where Shatterstar thinks he is going with those swords! Shatterstar still doesn’t understand: he keeps his sword in the case, so what is the problem, he wonders.
Behind him people start to stare. Rictor tries to lie that the swords are actually valuable antiques and that his friend didn’t want to leave them in the car. The guard asks if that means Shatterstar isn’t boarding the plane. Rictor confirms his friend is just here to wave him out. That’s fine by the guard, but Shatterstar has to leave them there and can get them back when he leaves. Shatterstar begins to protest, as where he comes from taking a man’s sword away is…
Rictor pulls Shatterstar away and just moves on, explaining to him that trying to explain to the guard he came from another planet, one hundred years in the future, isn’t going to help the situation. And besides, Rictor says, he has a plane to catch! While the final boarding call to Mexico is heard, Rictor tells Shatterstar he knows the following must sound weird coming from him, but Julio warns Shatterstar he has to start thinking before he acts. Especially now when he’ll be out of the picture. Shatterstar asks Rictor one last time to change his mind. He doesn’t know what he’ll do without him. Rictor is sure Shatterstar will be fine, as he has friends. Cable interrupts the two, agreeing that once Shatterstar will get it through his head he isn’t alone, he’s sure things will work out until Rictor gets back.
Julio is a bit surprised to see Cable there, as he thought Cable didn’t care if he stayed or left. Cable explains they’ve got a lot of history between them. Nathan knows Rictor thought for a long time he killed his father, and he supposes that thought still doesn’t make looking at his face every day very easy. Nathan also understands that Rictor needs to spend some time with his family but hopes that, while Rictor is away, he’ll think about something. The hostility between human and mutant has never been worse. And mutants fighting between themselves is the surest way to defeat. Despite the problems they’ve had, Cable considers Rictor as a valuable part of X-Force and hopes he’ll come back soon. Rictor mocks Cable knows what they say: be careful what you wish for. The two shake hands.
Later, as Rictor’s plane disappears from sight, Cable realizes how important it was for him to be there. Domino smiles that she told Cable it wouldn’t be so hard. Cable agrees, but doesn’t think the same counts for Shatterstar, who is still staring somberly outside the window. When Cable asks Shatterstar if he wants to hitch a ride back, with a sad tone in his voice Shatterstar says he would like that. Cable watches the young warrior with an odd sort of empathy. He himself has said good-bye to so many friends over the years that he knows there is nothing he can tell Shatterstar to make him feel better. As with most pains of the heart, this too, will take time to heal.
Some time later, Cable, Domino and Shatterstar are back at the security checkpoint, where Shatterstar gets his swords back from the security guard. He warns Shatterstar he has to be more careful when he brings something like this. Though a bit unsure, Shatterstar thanks the guard for the advice, but tells the guard he can be sure they won’t be back anytime soon. Shatterstar informs Cable that when they return to the mansion, he wants to be sent on a mission immediately! The guard receives a warning about a critical situation with the protestors and Genoshans on level five. Agent Walker runs into action.
Domino suggests to Cable that they’d better go check things out as well. Cable jokes to Shatterstar it’s like his buddy said: “be careful what you wish for.” They all walk over a balcony and see the protestors from outside fighting the Genoshan immigrants. Cable puts his large coat out but has a little trouble with it, as the coat is rather large, and jokes he doesn’t know how Gambit manages to maneuver around in his. Domino asks Cable if he has any idea how he wants to handle this situation. Shatterstar notices how everyone below is out of control, and wonders what any of them could hope to accomplish.
It’s utter chaos. The heat in the room is well over one hundred degrees. Cable knows that means tempers are short and the possibility for violence is high. What worries him the most, however, is that confined to this space, the probability of injuries, or worse, has increased tenfold.
Domino wonders if this situation has just got out of hand naturally, or if someone is making things bad. Cable explains he’s trying to telepathically skip around the mob to see if he can find someone or something responsible for this insanity. Domino watches Cable doing this again and sees Nathan pushing himself harder than he anyone should. It scares her a little, knowing how much she is starting to care for him. Cable almost can’t handle the fear and panic he telepathically receives. He telepathically informs Domino and Shatterstar he has locked onto something. Two men are agitating the crowd to cover. One of the men has taken a woman hostage.
In reality, Hawkshaw has captured Renee, and reminds her that she knows the law. Genoshan by birth means Genoshan for life. Fact is, her country needs her. Cable spots both Hawkshaw and Pipeline now and orders his teammates they can’t leave neither leave the area. Pipeline, as he holds some sort of transporting device, shouts at Hawkshaw that he’s powered enough to go and warns him to get ready to transmit! However, Cable spies the device Pipeline holds and destroys it with a telekinetic blast. Pipeline panics because now he’s without the device; they’re stuck in this genejoke United States! Hawkshaw is sure they’ll figure something out. They’ve already lost enough because a few mutates are afraid of a little hard work. Renee will come back with them, one way or another!
Shatterstar jumps down from the balcony, wanting to rescue Renee. Cable tries to hold him back, but fails to do so. Shatterstar starts fighting Hawkshaw, who starts shooting at him. One of the bullets actually hits Shatterstar, who falls on the ground, and Hawkshaw calls him an idiot. Renee punches her elbow into Hawkshaw’s stomach. She releases herself, and declares this madness will stop now. Hawkshaw quickly recovers, but now points his gun at Renee and wants to shoot her as well. However, Domino quickly interferes and pulls Hawkshaw’s arm up, causing him to fire his gun in the air. Domino jokes she likes Renee’s moves, but wishes she shared her optimism as well.
Pipeline opens fire on Domino as well, who pushes Renee on the ground for protection. Pipeline asks Domino why she had to interfere, because this situation could have stayed a private Genoshan affair. Agent Walker appears from behind the corner, shouting at Pipeline that it’s time he learned they don’t tolerate his kind here. Pipeline smirks at Walker he just made a big mistake, and shoots at him. Cable quickly pushes Walker aside, and lets the bullets bounce off from his metal arm. He then fires a telekinetic blast at Pipeline’s gun, destroying it. Cable checks up on Agent Walker, who is surprised to find himself rescued by a mutant who doesn’t even know him.
Domino warns Cable that they’ve got to go. She pulls Shatterstar up, who needs medical attention ASAP. Cable orders Domino to get Shatterstar out of there and promises to catch up. Once they’re gone, Cable tells Renee he knows something about Genosha and that this wasn’t a customs problem. He wants to know who Renee is and why Pipeline and Hawkshaw wanted her so badly. Renee introduces herself, and explains that her leaving Genosha has made governments… nervous. She admits their concerns are justified, but that’s all she can say. Given Cable’s unique abilities, she wagers they have a mutual friend. She asks Cable to tell Charles she’ll be contacting him soon but, in the meantime, she suggests Cable had better leave, because his presence is likely to create more of an incident.
Cable understands, but thinks to himself that he’s sure it won’t be long before he and Renee meet each other again. As Cable leaves, Agent Walker tells Renee he’ll have to turn her over to the proper authorities and assumes she’ll want to press charges. Renee isn’t sure that will do much good, but agrees they better act swiftly. She watches one last time to the protesting crowd standing in front of her.
Hours later, at Xavier’s…
Cable meets up with Domino, who is watching TV. He says he just checked up on Shatterstar. He’s in a stable condition down in the medi-lab and wants Beast to give him the once over tomorrow. Domino replies that she has been watching the news. They’re saying the “disturbance” at the airport was caused by two “Genoshan terrorists,” who were taken away by “officials.” The “terrorists” have claimed “diplomatic immunity.” Cable doesn’t like that, of course, because that means Pipeline and Hawkshaw will be released and back in Genosha in twenty-four hours, and nobody will know the difference.
Domino reminds Cable that he knows that isn’t true, because Renee knows it. He shouldn’t be so hard on himself. They did good today. Cable, however, still isn’t sure. He drinks some coffee and goes to bed. Domino says she will watch some more TV, and wishes Cable a goodnight. Domino continues to watch the news, and sees an exclusive interview from Trish Tilby. She explains it’s cold in the Rocky Mountains where she is right now, and adds that rescue workers are still out searching. There are already thirteen confirmed dead in what is being called the worst killing spree this area has ever seen. Trish is standing with Everett Hale, a local hunter who is part of the tracking party.
Trish explains to Hale that she learned they’ve made an important discovery today. Hale thinks it’s indeed really important. They thought they were dealing with either a serial killer, or some kind of animal, maybe a grizzly. Then they found a paw print in the snow and made a plaster mold. Trish shows an image of the print. Hale explains it’s as Trish can see: the print is just too big to be either man or beast!
When Domino sees the print, she quickly touches the TV screen in disbelief. She takes her hand away from it, and watches her hand shaking visibly. From the very first time she heard about this story, it has had a disturbing familiarity about it. Now, even more haunting, is the realization that she has seen that paw print before. It indeed doesn’t come from an animal, but… from a man. Someone Domino considers to be… a friend…