Seaside Heights, New Jersey:
People are enjoying the boardwalk stalls and rides. A man stands outside the “Rifle Range” stall, while a woman with curly hair sits on a chair in front of the stall. 'You ever think about what it'd be like to live forever?' the man asks the woman, calling her Molly. She doesn't answer, so he tells her that he knows it is ridiculous, but he just dropped his girl off at school and he saw her friend, who had this little gadget. 'I don't even know what it was. Some kinda sci-fi thing' he remarks, adding that the world's already strange, and it is only getting stranger. 'Can you imagine what it'll be like in twenty years from now? Thirty? A hundred? A thousand? I keep picturing it in my head. Dreaming...imagine if you knew you'd be around to see it... what you could do'. Molly doesn't respond, just stares straight ahead. 'What can I say, Moll? I'm dreamer' the man smiles, adding that he is a very late dreamer, and that Charlie is going to skin him and reupholster his whole freaking office. 'See you at lunch, beautiful' the man calls out to Molly, unaware that she is bleeding on her leg, her hand resting on the wound.
The man enters the back of the stall, where dozens of stuffed animal prizes are stored. One of the toys, a teddy bear, suddenly glows, and a computer voice states: 'Recognized. SHIELD Agent Level 4 – Arthur Banks. Access granted – sub-archive 86-B'. A platform lowers Arthur Banks down into a basement level. He presses a button on his belt, which activates his SHIELD uniform. He adjusts his gloves and walks into another corridor – where he finds several other SHIELD agents lying in pools of their own blood. 'Oh, hell .Red alert! SHIELD archive 86B has been compromised!' Agent Banks exclaims. He goes wide-eyed when a voice calls out 'Daddy?' and he turns to see his daughter, further down the corridor. 'Daddy, where were you?' his daughter asks. Arthur rushes over to his daughter, 'Oh, God... Holly I'm here' he assures his daughter, holding her, he asks how she got in here, as he just dropped her off at school. 'How did you even know -' he begins to ask, before realizing that something isn't right. 'Why are you so heavy?' he asks, only to receive a blood shoved into his stomach. Agent Banks keels over, and his daughter steps away from him. 'What I am doing here is cruel, I understand that. But what you have done to me is much crueller' Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique declares as she reveals herself. 'Do you...do you ever dream about the future?' Agent Banks gasps. 'I used to' Mystique replies, holding the bloodied knife. 'But that was a long time ago' Mystique adds as she turns and walks away, while Agent Banks collapses in a pool of blood.
Madripoor, specifically the Sun Xing corporate towers, the penthouse suite, where a man in a suit kicks an exact double of himself through a glass door, out onto the balcony. 'I'm sure you're asking yourself what's happening...what this strange doppelganger of yourself could possibly want' the assailant remarks, before announcing that Sun Xing just signed the contracts that make it the largest holder of real estate in southeast Asia. 'You own 86% of the island of Madripoor. Or you did, until this moment'. 'I have connections....' the man declares. His doppelganger suddenly shifts into a man in a military costume and asks 'Are you thinking of General Reza? Yes, when he rose to the head of Madripoor's security forces, he seemed like an excellent ally. It's a pity he died six months ago'. The doppelganger shifts again, into a man in a suit called Jack Dalliance, from the Helios Corporation, and points out that it was this investor's backing that allowed Sun Xing to start making his power play. The shapeshifter transforms again, into a blad man and declares 'Then there's always Darca Khan... that little army of thugs he's been building in Lowtown has come in handy with pushing the politicians that needed a little nudge'.
The shapeshifter returns to the copy of Sun Xing, and leans over the real Sun Xing, 'You helped put it all together. Without your help, I could never have taken full control of this island. Now I simply replace you as well, and -' the doppelganger begins, while Sun Xing grabs a knife from inside his suit jacket pocket and lunges at his assailant, but simply slices the end off his doppelganger's tie – which mysteriously turns blue as it lands on the balcony. 'What are you...some kind of demon?' Sun Xing asks, picking the blue shard up. 'Yes' Mystique grins as she reveals herself, before she pushes Sun Xing off over the railing. She picks up the knife, then looks out over the metropolis before her.
'Must you always play so rough with your toys?' a voice asks. Mystique spins around and throws the knife towards the intruder, who grabs it, inches from her elderly face. It is Irene Adler, who smirks and points out that she has been practicing that catch in her mind for three hours. 'But I never expected the knife I gave you for Christmas' she remarks. Mystique smiles as she goes over to Irene and they put their arms around each other. 'How else am I supposed to impress you, Irene? You can see so much of the future. It's important I stay a little spontaneous' Mystique points out. 'It's ours, isn't it? Finally... after all this time, the pieces are in place to start building the future we've wanted for years. And no sign of the brute' Irene remarks.
'Sorry, kid. You musta been looking in the wrong corners' Wolverine exclaims as he climbs onto the balcony from down below. 'Been a while, Raven' Wolverine remarks to Mystique. 'How do you -' Mystique begins, but Wolverine interrupts, pointing out that he has his ways, and that it doesn't matter, because Raven has been up to trouble. 'Haven't you? Don't answer. I know you have'. Wolverine informs Mystique that she will get a call from Khan's people, as he started a bit of trouble in Lowtown, there is a full scale gangwar, and her cash reserves are on fire. Wolverine reveals that he convinced an old army buddy of his to get dalliance's accounts shut down by the feds, too. 'And your new pal, the cops'll be up here in a few minutes. They know he's dead. The identity is compromised' Wolverine announces, before asking Mystique how many times he has to stop this before she smarts up? He tells her that this is dangerous business, that she is trying to shape the world, use her gal pal's foresight to pick the right people to swap out, gaining influence and power. 'The two of us, Raven, we're going to be around here for a long while. That's obvious enough by now. I'm not going to let you mess it up. I'd generally prefer the world unmessed' Wolverine declares, narrowing his eyes.
Mystique holds a gun to Wolverine's head and tells him that he can't keep taking this away from them. 'Want to ask your girlfriend how this is going to go down if you don't let me walk?' Wolverine asks. 'Let him go, Raven' Irene urges Mystique. 'Atta girl' Wolverine replies, before telling Mystique to go rob a bank or something, he doesn't care, but just not to try this crap again.
One mile under Seaside Heights, New Jersey, Mystique carries on through the corridors of the SHIELD bunker, when suddenly, Commander Maria Hill's face appears on monitors lining the corridor. 'Mystique, what the hell are you doing in one of our sub-archives?' Maria demands. Mystique scowls at Hill and warns her not to play dumb with her, for this is her trap. 'This isn't playing. I am not a very playful kind of girl. I'm more of an angry-as-freaking-hell kind of girl' Maria points out. 'You've killed six of my agents. I want to know why' she demands. 'You really expect me to believe that? After sending me that message?' Mystique responds.
Maria warns Mystique that she is doing to electrigy the halls in thirty seconds, but Mystique interrupts her, pointing out that this base doesn't have electrified walls, and that it doesn't even have built-in weapons systems, beyond the personnel. 'Doesn't sound like much of a trap then, does it?' Maria declares, before asking Mystique what it is she is looking for. 'Something that cannot possibly exist' Mystique replies, before shifting her appearance so that she looks like Hill. 'Shut down all external communications immediately. Full hour. Top priority lock-down' Mystique orders. 'No! You can't just -' Maria protests, before the communications link is cut off, and the monitors switch off.
Madripoor, night has fallen, and inside a four-story building, Irene sits on the edge of a bed, while Mystique sits nearby. 'Raven, I can't do this' Irene announces. 'You have to. We have to' Mystique replies. 'Please...' Irene begs. 'Irene...you are the only person I have ever cared about. All I want is to build the future we've dreamed of' Mystique explains, before gritting her teeth and declaring that five times Logan has come and stopped them. 'How much longer must we put up with this?' she asks, adding that they will never have their world until Wolverine is gone, and yet he seems unkillable. 'But nothing is unkillable' she decides, before putting a hand on Irene's shoulder and asking her to follow the strands of destiny, find a path where Logan is gone forever – and they will bring that death to him today. 'And then we'll have the world to share together. Just you and me' Mystique urges Irene, who removes her glasses.
The blind woman pauses, before replying 'Yes. Yes, of course'. Irene concentrates, and sees various phases pass before her. She sees Logan as Weapon X, then fighting alongside Cyclops, Colossus and Nightcrawler as the X-Men. She sees him having his adamantium torn out of his body by Magneto, and locked in passionate embrace with Jean Grey. Next is a schism with Cyclops, followed by being covered in adamantium, and solidified.
Irene Adler screams and covers her eyes. 'What? What did you see? How does Wolverine die?' Mystique asks. Irene announces that he will never die, and urges Mystique that they have to stop this, as it is not a threat they can follow any further. 'We will have to find a new path' Irene declares. 'DAMMIT!' Mystique shouts, punching the wall so hard that she breaks it open. Mystique gets up and turns to leave, while Irene sits on the bed still and hangs her head.
Mystique continues to walk through the SHIELD bunker, she has reverted to her default appearance, and comes to a series of locked panels on a wall. She shifts back into Maria Hill, and presses a panel on one of the locked boxes, which opens at “Maria's” touch. A draw opens, and inside it is a tag that reads “Property of Irene Adler, DECEASED, Highly Confidential”. An envelope is in the draw, along with a cassette tape, with the hand-written words “Now you are ready toknow” on it. 'No...' Mystique utters.
A Few Weeks Ago:
Madripoor, in her safe house, Mystique sits at a desk, a large photo of she and Destiny together hangs from the wall behind her. 'I've been waiting for news about Logan...I've been waiting for months now. When I tried to take Madripoor forty years ago... it doesn't matter' Mystique remarks as someone stands before her. 'He's dead, Mystique' the man replies. Mystique stands up. 'It hurts... did you know that?' she remarks. 'I'm sorry?' the man asks. 'It hurts to transform... bones growing and shrinking... skin and sinew pulling and parting... but turning into him always hurt the worst' Mystique announces as her arm starts to transform. 'The wrist and the forearm expand to make room for the claws...and then to use them, you need to be willing to bleed...to break the skin'. Claws pop through Mystique's transformed arm, and she holds them up to the man standing before her. 'See.. .can you imagine how much that hurts?' she asks. 'There's... there's one more thing' the messenger reveals, handing Mystique an envelope. She scowls at it, then angrily asks the man 'What is this?' The messenger raises his hands defensively and reveals that the card arrived seconds after they got the intelligence on the Wolverine.
Mystique holds the card out and it reads: “Raven, my dear, I'm sorry. It is time for you to know the truth. SHIELD sub-archive 86B. Irene Adler”. Mystique looks back up at the messenger and remarks 'You know how I said it hurts... hurts when I grow the claws? That's why I never go a step forward. To extend the bones beyond human physiology'. Raven then does just that, extends the claws several feet, they slice through the man's chest and pin him to the wall behind him. 'It hurts too much' Mystique utters, turning to the large painting on wall of she and Destiny.
SHIELD agents enter the sub-archive and find their comrades lying in pools of their own blood. 'Swarm the base! Find her!' one of thw agents calls out to the others. As they leave the corridor, one of the apparently deceased agents opens his eyes, and makes his way out of the sub-archive, exiting through the door behind the Rifle Range stall. 'She...she's killing everyone...' the agent utters. 'Get this man to medical, right away!' another agent booms. The agent is then rushed into a chopper, and airlifted towards the SHIELD Helicarrier stationed in the sky above.
Once inside the chopper though, the agent is revealed to be Mystique. 'Thanks for the ride, boys' she smiles as she sits up, and takes out the first agent by slamming her hand into his helmet, shattering the glass covering his eyes. She kicks another in the head, and shoots another square in the forehead, before taking out the pilot. Mystique gets into the pilot's seat and puts the recently acquired cassette tape into a player. She goes wide-eyed as she hears Irene's voice: 'Forgive me, Raven. By the time you listen to this message, I will have been gone from this world for some time...' Irene's voice declares, adding that from what she can see, Raven will still be marching down the path they paved together, reaching towards a future she can wield as she sees fit. 'You know you will be stopped, time and time again. It has become a game – a game you enjoy playing, but now, finally, you have the upper hand'. Irene tells Raven that now, finally, she is poised to win, and that when she finally hears this tape, many elements will have just begun to converge. She will be at a nexus point, where many great changes will be possible.
Irene's voice continues, informing Raven that it begins with a death, but that it can end with a rebirth. 'The future is yours to shape'. Irene then informs Raven that if she is hearing her voice, then Wolverine is dead, and his end will bring together a group of lost souls – some evil, some merely broken, and that Raven must make them hers, and twist them to her ends. 'I will tell you exactly what you must do. Listen carefully, my love. And I will bring you your DESTINY' Irene declares, while a tear falls down Mystique's face.
18 hours later:
Madripoor, Mystique gazes up at the portrait of she and Destiny, as a voice calls out 'Where the hell have you bee?' Mystique doesn't turn around, she simply replies that she had word from an old friend and needed to run an errand. 'Fine, then, don't tell me' the second Silver Samurai remarks, before asking 'You called?' Mystique tells the Samurai that she needs confirmation on something. 'Did Daken just tear apart an auction in high town?' she asks. The Samurai replies that he just heard that over the wire. 'How could you know already?' the Samurai enquires. 'What can I say, Samurai? It's Destiny' Mystique smiles.