Utter chaos. Spider-Man is besieged by several of his worst enemies, seemingly finished, when suddenly rescue comes by way of two costumed teenaged redheads. The boy tells Spidey to sit this out. The Crimson Crusader and Imp have it covered.
Quickly, the twins demolish the villains and Spider-Man thanks them for saving him. Just doing my job, the Crimson Crusader states modestly. And he does it so well, Spidey admits.
The last time they came to the Big Apple, he made them go back to their folks… he said they were too young… but he was wrong. The tide of evil is rising and the world needs heroes like them more than ever. He’d be honoured to fight alongside them. Maybe they can team up. He’d love to, Crimson Crusader agrees… now that he doesn’t need to be in close proximity to Imp for his powers to work, Spider-man continues.
But he still needs to be pretty close to Imp, Crimson Crusader protests and looks around. Suddenly his sister is gone and with her so is his power of control over gravity. He falls and screams…
And wakes up on the ground, having fallen from his chair in the classroom. Dozy Destine dropped off again. A fellow classmate makes fun of Rory, much to the amusement of the others.
Rory’s twin, Pandora, orders him to back off. Ooh! O’Neil exclaims in mock fear, Pansy Pandora to the rescue of her dopey bother. He’s the one who’ll need rescuing, Pandora threatens.
The teacher intervenes, threatening all of them with detention. That moment, they are saved by the bell. The others head out but she asks Rory if he ill. It’s not right for a young boy to fall asleep during class so often. She really should notify their parents. She apologizes, as she recalls that the twins live with their uncle, their guardian, right?
“Uncle, brother, bully,” Rory replies… but she doesn’t need to be all sympathetic. Their dad is back, so they’re not orphans anymore. Their dad? she replies in surprise. Pandora gives her a polite smile and asks her not to worry. She’ll get Rory home.
Outside the classroom, Pandora reminds him that Walter asked them not to tell about Dad… it will complicate things. How can things get any worse? he asks.
Suddenly, he drags her up the stairs to the roof. He wants to fly home. Pandora reminds him they gave their word to Walter they wouldn’t. He didn’t give them a choice, Rory points out. He’s not their guardian, he’s their jailer! He wants them to be normal, Pandora stresses.
But they’re not, Rory replies, as he drags out their costumes. They’ve got the weirdest family in the world. How many other kids have super powers? He asks her to come on. They’re a team. But they’ll be seen, she protests, her especially, she states as she looks at her costume, a pink mini-dress critically. This thing has to go.
Rory tells her he has an idea he wants to try. If they combine his gravity power and her light power and create a cocoon of warped light… They’ll make themselves invisible, Pandora finishes his sentence. Brilliant! And the best bit is that Walter can’t complain that their crimefighting activities will expose their family secret if nobody can see them, he finishes.
Elsewhere. A mysterious group of robed, hooded gentlemen is holding a meeting.
They call themselves the Crimson Crusader and Imp. This was the sixth time they compromised one of their operations. On this occasion, they were accompanied by a blue monstrosity they referred to as Wallop or something like that. The sound quality of the surveillance tape is very limited but except for cards carrying the legend “compliments of CC and Imp” that were found pinned to a number of bound and gagged villains these few snippets are the only tangible evidence the mysterious group has of their existence. Other snippets show the twins with Vex, Argent and Cuckoo…
A group of beings dressed in hooded robes with Roman numerals are gathered and watch the footage. Addressing the one speaking as “Twelfth Red,” the Guild Primus asks who they are. Some minor league mutant pests affiliated with some vigilante group or other?
The first question is easier answered than the second. It was a simple though time consuming matter to analyze all CCTV at the centre of their reported activity with biometric recognition filters. Their distinctive red hair is unmistakable. They are twins. Rory and Pandora Destine.
Shown with video footage:
Twelfth Red shows another picture of the twins with their legal guardian, their uncle Walter Destine, in Ravenscroft, a small village in the heart of England. Another picture of Walter’s cottage.
There have been descendents of the Destine lineage in residence since the twelfth century… not unusual in itself for that region of England… except that there is no record of any Destine ever being born in the area.
Why on Earth is he investigating so far back, another inquires. Because the little documentation their researchers have been able to uncover is all forged. The family is hiding from something, Guild Primus, realizes.
This is not a recent phenomenon, Twelfth Red explains and points to a picture of birth and death records. A statistically improbable number of births and deaths have occurred in remote regions of the world, regions conveniently lacking bureaucratic controls and there is a curious correlation between deaths and births.
Walter Destine and his father, also Walter Destine who served in the British army in WW. The men in the two pictures look perfectly alike. The son did not appear until after the father was listed as dead.
More pictures. Samantha Destine getting a degree in 1972 and perfect lookalike Samantha Hassard of Perpignan, France today.
Looking at the current picture of Samantha in front of Walter’s cottage, a man wonders about a man in the background of the picture. Is his skin really green? Yes, comes the reply. They suspect he may be Dominic Fate, last seen two decades ago working as an escapologist in New York.
Please also note the women behind him. She is Pepa Perez, a street girl from Barcelona, who was reported missing on the same night that famed fashion designer Kay Cera was murdered. The killer was never found. Perez resurfaced in New York with Samantha Hassard a few weeks later, now claiming to be Kay Cera, daughter of the late designer. She inherited the not unsubstantial estate of her namesake.
Who are these people? Guild Primus, wonders. Meddling do-gooders or criminals? Unknown, Twelfth Red replies. He limited his investigations to official records and long range surveillance. Good, the Guild Primus decides. The Guild’s interest must not be revealed. They must proceed cautiously until they know what those people want.
In the kitchen of Walter Destine’s cottage, Walter and Kay are once again arguing while Samantha, keeping out of it, prepares a salad. He was only asking her to help out by peeling a few spuds, Walter tells Kay. Sipping her champagne, she informs him that she doesn’t do menial work. He should have a cook… and a maid.
Walter insists he wants the kids to b grounded… able to live in the real world. If it’s a question of money… Kay hints amused. He doesn’t need her money, he retorts. Of course, not, she replies. He writes romance novels. They are very successful, he insists. So why does he hide behind the pen name Sabrina Bentley? It’s a marketing thing, Walter replies and the publisher prints his poetry under his own name. So he’ll be a bit of a celeb with the ladies in lavender, Kay mocks.
Sam gathers the salad and some more groceries in a basket and leaves, with the others still arguing, Walters stating pointedly he wouldn’t expect her to understand. Kay points out that she knew Byron and Shelley… intimately. No doubt, but these potatoes have more soul than she ever had, comes the reply.
Outside, Kay runs into her father, who’s reading on the porch. She complains that they are at it again. Do they really hate each other or do they get some perverse joy out of tearing at old wounds? They are very different, yet very much alike, comes the cryptic response. Maybe he could act like a responsible father and crack their heads together, Sam suggests. Adam explains that he discovered long ago that the fact that he looks so much younger than most of his children is counter to the patriarchal paradigm and diminishes his authority. Sounds more like an excuse so that he can avoid family interaction and spend more time reading, Sam suggests.
Not at all, he defends himself. He has merely been attempting to catch up with some of the amazing developments that occurred during the yeas he was lost in space. He shows her the title “Evolving DNA.” Why is he interested in genetics? Sam wonders. Everything interests him, comes the reply. At the time of his birth, many believed the world was flat and stars were pinpricks in the veil of heaven.
She thought he was maybe looking for a way to explain his insane children, Sam retorts. She’s going to the ruin… Dominic hasn’t been out of his anechoic chamber today. Does she think he’s unwell? Adam inquires. Sam doesn’t know… he still treats her like a little sister. He barely tolerates her presence. Because of Vincent, Adam states. They have reached the ruin of the old Destine mansion. He to grieves, he calls after her as she enters the ruin. Vincent was his son. Yet Adam killed him, are Sam’s parting words.
Stepping gingerly, Sam gets closer to Dom’s anechoic chamber and calls out that she thinks living in the basement of this crumbling ruin is pushing the whole hermit thing a bit far. He was hoping to deter visitors, comes the reply from within the chamber.
She steps inside, asking why he is in his costume. He explains it is his turn to take the twins on “crimepatrol” tonight. It was thoughtful of her to bring a chicken salad, but he just wants the water, he adds. How did he know? Sam asks surprised. He can smell it, Dom explains. Cos lettuce, extra tomato and radish – no dressing. Just the way he likes it.
But it’s an airtight container, Sam remarks. She prepared it with her own fair hands, comes the reply. She smells of food? Sam asks. Less so than of soap… contact traces of Walter and Kay… the leather chair in the study, Conté crayon and paper… she was sketching.
She thanks him sarcastically for making her feel really stinky. Not at all, Dom tells her. Her own natural scent is uniquely pure. Silver… And she has the most spectacular aura. Shimmering and pulsating. Like a mist of magical potential awaiting her instruction to solidify into – he screams in pain. He opened his sense a little too far to see her aura, he explains. So many frequencies being broadcast nowadays…
And he sees them all, she muses, His power is more a gift than a curse. Slowly leading him outside the chamber Sam offers she can take the kids out tonight. They’re looking forward to going out with him, he tells her. They always have fun.
So not only is she stinky, but a bore too? she asks. No, being with the twins has helped him and… Suddenly, he whispers to her to play along. They have company. Loudly Dom says, but the twins are too young to be shown the alien artefact.
The alien artefact? Sam repeats. Yes, it is hidden here in the rubble, Dom informs her. He can show her, but she must swear never to tell. Oh right, yes, she replies unenthusiastically. He warns her, it can be dangerous as he tears at some old curtains and tells her to generate a sword in case the dark forces are unleashed. Quickly, he captures something behind them with the curtain and orders Sam to strike and slice it up.
Fearful protests come from beneath the curtain as the twins reveal themselves. What a relief, Dom mocks. He thought the alien darkness was free. He knew it was them Pandora replies. There is no alien artefact, is there? Rory asks doubtfully. Nope, Sam replies.
He warned them about being overconfident, Dom reminds the twins. They were invisible, Rory protest. They still created a pressure displacement and air currents, Dom explains and he heard… he hesitates and grimaces as though in pain… heard their heartbeats… their synapses pulsing. Hovering over him, Sam asks if he is okay. Fine, but the air down here is stale. He suggests they go outside.
But he’s missing the point, Rory remarks. They made themselves invisible. He wishes Newton was there. He’d tell them how impressive that is. They flew all the way from school without anyone seeing them. Dom advises them to keep quiet about that if they don’t want Walter to ground them for life.
Walter already knows Cuckoo informs them telepathically. Surprised? she asks Dom playfully. Her astral image doesn’t displace air. What does Walter know, he asks. The headmaster was concerned about Rory sleeping in class, Kay explains, then someone said that they’d seen the wins taking the stairs to the roof. When they couldn’t’ find them, the panic button was hit.
As if on cue, a furious Walter comes at them, tearing through the trees in his way. Rory starts apologizing, but Walter doesn’t want to hear it. The twins knew the deal. They could play at being superheroes at night, under supervision. But only if they act like normal people during the day.
Dom interjects that they are great kids and Walter did a wonderful job raising them, but…
But nothing! Walter shouts. Dom ran off to his island retreat while he raised the twins. So he doesn’t get to give him advice.
Sam addresses him. Walter cuts her off. She wasn’t much better. She only visited when it suited her. Okay, okay, she replies, but she meant he has to calm down. He’s starting to transform.
In disbelief, he stares at his hands as he grows to his hulkish, blue, feral, superstrong form. He shouts this can’t be happening. He hasn’t lost control!
Some distance away in the forest, Adam bowls over in pain. In eight hundred years, he has suffered but one pain… upon the death of each of his children. He sees his children through the trees. He has endured that loss enough to know its sting well. This new sensation that inflames his nerves is unfamiliar. Something else breaches his invulnerability… something evil.
Pandora gently touches Walter’s arm, asking if he is okay. He curtly orders the kids back to the cottage and to eat their dinner. Then straight to bed. No TV and no flying. As the others head back, he tells himself that he is in control. He’s not… not… like Vincent! In rage, he tears apart a tree. He’s not like Vincent, he repeats in a small voice. Concerned, Adam watches him.
Meanwhile, at the Guild’s headquarters, Twelfth Red talks with Guild Primus under four eyes regarding something he kept from the rest of the council. This man, referring to Adam, appears to be in his twenties, but there is no official record of his existence. A facial recognition search found photographs and paintings of the man from archives spanning almost seven hundred years.
Is he suggesting the man is immortal? Guild Primus asks. That he cannot say, but one of the archival discoveries he made was in the records of their own guild. This photograph from 1849 – showing Adam and two other men and two women - and a report that “this old one and others possessed of supernatural prowess slew four Guild brothers.”
Guild Primus tells him he was right to withhold this. If this is the same man and he has knowledge of their guild’s existence, the danger is incalculable. Has he a strategy in mind? Already enacted, Twelfth Red informs him. Another party under Guild review was injured by this group’s interference. He anonymously disclosed the Destines’ location to them…
Back at the Destines’ cottage, Walter is checking the kids’ bedrooms. Rory protests that great power does bring great responsibility. If he says that one more time, he’ll send him to boarding school, Walter threatens, so far from Pandora that their powers won’t work. He tells him to go to sleep.
He wishes Pandora a good night. When she doesn’t reply he enters her room. Pandora is sulking because Walter’s always miserable since Sam and Dom and the new Kay came – always arguing but no one will tell them anything because they’re too young. It was easy when they thought they were normal mutants, now they don’t know what they are. Why can’t anyone tell them about their mum? He tells her they’ll talk tomorrow and wishes her a goodnight.
Outside in the Destine family cemetery, Adam sits contemplating at the feet of the statue on Vincent’s grave. Still living in the past, Kay asks, as she joins him. Vincent was a bad seed. Adam did what had to be done. Spending night after night sitting here achieves nothing.
Has she truly lost all compassion? Adam asks her. Kay reminds him that his idealism has gotten her killed more than once. She must care about something, Adam insists.
Nothing he’d consider noble or virtuous, for that he should talk to Rory. With a smile, she informs him that even asleep Rory dreams of saving the world. She is spying on Rory’s dream? Adam asks agitated. Yes, comes the cool reply. It’s really dramatic.
She tries to forge a mindlink and let him see as well. Calling her by her given name “Jasmine,” he shouts that she should not have violated Rory’s mind and she is foolish to attempt such a transgression with him.
Instead Kay’s mind is overwhelmed by images flowing into her - splintered memories of events past and yet to come:
Kay in her previous body dying… Captain Britain… A feral face… the Inhumans… Walter fighting Cuckoo and Sam… the Omegans… Nightcrawler, Lockheed and Phoenix… the Silver Surfer… a blonde exotic woman blasting Dominic… a reptile eye.
She is awakened by her own agonized scream. She rubs her head, admitting she’d forgotten about that freaky clairvoyant insight, his weird temporal perspective gives him. She’d never realized it was so intense.
Adam remarks hat the severity of the vision increases as a crisis becomes more imminent. It has rarely been this extreme… only once before in fact. Uncomfortably, he looks at the Vincent statue.
Kay orders her hair, stating that she’s glad she remained in the backwater dump if something interesting is finally going to happen. Interesting… Adam repeats. She must know that the events he foresees always involve the suffering or death of one of his children. She can live with that, Kay shrugs, as long as she is not the one who suffers and dies, unaware of the fact that someone is watching them…