Dawn, on Muir Island, the world’s foremost center for genetic research, and home to the international team of heroes known as Excalibur. Dr. Moira MacTaggert and her foster daughter, the youngest member of Excalibur Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair are saying goodbye at the dock. Rahne tells Moira that she won’t go if she wishes, to which Moira tells Rahne not to be so “sapsy”. ‘Go see your friends, have a good time at your “New Mutants Reunion” she adds. ‘But what if your condition gets worse?’ Rahne asks, to which Moira tells her not to fret, and adds that she will miss her lots.
‘Now who’s being “sapsy”?’ Rahne asks, smiling, before reminding Moira that it will only be for a weekend, so she will be home real soon. Moira tells Rahne to watch herself, as there is no telling what kind of trouble Bastion is stirring up for mutants in the States, when the dock master calls out ‘All aboard!’ Rahne smiles and reminds Moira that she is a big girl and can take care of herself, to which Moira replies that she knows, and tells Rahne that she makes her proud, and that she loves her. ‘And I love you too, Mum. Lots’ Rahne replies smiling.
Moira watches Rahne walk to the boat and thinks to herself that it seems like just yesterday when she took Rahne in as her own. Moira decides that Rahne is her only family now, and wants to spend as much time with her as possible - ‘But thanks to the bloody Legacy Virus, I’m not sure I got much time left!’ Crying, Moira prays that she will still be here when Rahne returns.
Rahne looks back at Moira and tells herself to keep a stiff upper lip, as Moira will find a cure to lick this disease that is killing her. ‘But if - Heaven forbid - she can’t…’ Rahne thinks, before reminding herself that the good Lord will hear her prayers and save Moira. ‘I have faith’. Suddenly, Wolfsbane’s teammate, the techno-organic Douglock rushes towards her, ‘Wait up! You forgot this!’ he calls out as he holds her diary out to her. Rahne is surprised to see Douglock, even more so because he is not using his image inducer, so she asks him if he isn’t worried about people seeing him in his true form.
Smiling, Douglock replies ‘Not anymore, and I owe it all to you!’, explaining that it was Rahne who taught him not to be afraid of what he is on the outside, that it is what is on the inside that matters. ‘You taught me to have faith in myself’ he adds. Rahne hugs Douglock and tells him that is the nicest, sweetest thing anyone has ever said to her, before sniffing and remarking that he is going to make her cry. ‘For the record’ Rahne begins, ‘I think you’re just beautiful inside and out!’ and plants a kiss on Douglock’s lips as she tells him that she is going to miss him. Douglock replies that he will miss her, and begins kissing back. The two kiss for what seems like some time, before a embarrassed Rahne pulls back. ‘Oh…my…God!’ Rahne exclaims, before declaring that she has go to go.
‘Uhh, yeah, bye’ Douglock replies as he watches Rahne get onto the boat. It is amazing what can happen in an instant. As Douglock and Wolfsbane have just discovered, sometimes a single kiss is all it takes to change a friendship forever. Rahne looks at Douglock out the window of the small boat, while Douglock thinks that he cannot believe he just did that. ‘Being that close to her did something to me!’ he exclaims to himself, before kicking a rock along the dock as he returns to Moira’s Research Center, and thinking that his olfactory receptors went wild when they registered the scent of her hair. Douglock tells himself that his tactile sensors jammed into overdrive when his oral epidermal layer met Rahne’s. ‘I never knew this was possible, but I think - I’m in love!’ Douglock exclaims, before feeling that it is too bad Rahne probably hates him now.
Meanwhile, deep within a remote valley in the Swiss Alps, at the foot of the legendary magic mountain known to a sacred few as Wundagore. Last night, a jet airliner exploded and crashed not too far from this majestic site. It’s unfortunate passengers - Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin and the elemental Meggan, both of Excalibur. Despite a raging blizzard, they trudged tirelessly from peak to frozen peak, searching for shelter. They failed. And as a new day begins, the heroes’ fierce struggle for survival at last comes to a chilling end - or does it?
Only a short distance from the massive citadel, a cloaked figure approaches the unconscious Colossus and Meggan and tells them that this is no time to be lazing in the snow - as a war is on the horizon! Meggan and Colossus are awakened by the strangers voice, and wearily, they ask ‘Who are you?’, ‘What do you want?’ The stranger pulls back her cloak, and surprises Colossus and Meggan by revealing herself to be a walking, talking cow. ‘The creator has named me Bova’ she reveals.
Bova informs Colossus and Meggan that she wants nothing more than to see them safely out of harm’s way before it is too late. Colossus wonders why Bova’s name is so familiar, to which Bova replies that she has been a friend and ally to the heroes known as the Avengers for a long time, but that is not important now, as she turns to Meggan and points out that she requires immediate medical attention. Meggan thanks Bova but declares that she will be fine, just needs to get on her feet again.
Shortly, the trio approach the gates to the massive citadel, but are stopped by the evolved creature known as Sir Ram. ‘Ho there, cow!’ he exclaims, remarking that it is not wise to be bringing the wayward to Wundagore at such a dire hour. Bova asks Sir Ram to let them past, pointing out that Meggan is injured. Sir Ram replies that Meggan will stay wounded, for he recognizes her cohort as one of the enemy. ‘”Enemy”?’ Colossus asks confused, before informing Sir Ram that he has never seen him before.
Sir Ram watches with amazement as Colossus shifts his form from flesh to metal, and declares that such trickery will not spare him the wrath of a Knight of Wundagore. Sir Ram exclaims that it is his life’s charge to protect this sacred mountain from all who would dare usurp its ancient mysteries, ‘And by the Creator - you shall not have them!’ Sir Ram exclaims as he smacks Colossus with his spear - but it just breaks against Colossus’ strong form, and Colossus punches Sir Ram, sending him careening backwards, while wondering where he knows the name Wundagore from.
Colossus remarks that he doesn’t know who Sir Ram assumes him to be, but that he is not the enemy. Sir Ram calls Colossus a liar and exclaims that he is an Acolyte, one of the vile Exodus’ loathsome brood. Piotr lifts Sir Ram up and swings him into the snow, where he lands with a thump, while Colossus replies that he hates to disappoint him, but that he has him confused with the man he is now, with the man he once was. ‘But you did serve that hateful monster, I saw your image in the Creator’s picture boxes!’ Sir Ram exclaims.
Colossus helps Sir Ram out of the snow, ‘As I said…that was past history. I serve no man but myself now’ he assures Sir Ram, before declaring that if Exodus threatens the sanctity of this home, then he would be honored to stand against him. Sir Ram replies that Colossus’ soul is as noble as his arm is strong, and tells him that he will be a great asset to their cause, before turning to Meggan and patting her on the head, asking what good she will do in battle.
Furious, Meggan spins around, ‘What good? WHAT GOOD? I’ll show you “what good” I can be - you horn-headed, fur-faced macho-mannered GOAT!’ she shouts before casting Sir Ram upwards, high into the air - he just manages to grab onto the top of the citadel while being amazed that he was lifted into the air by a windy gust where once there was none simply because Meggan willed it. ‘Right. Like I said - she ought to do just fine! Umm, er…would you mind helping me down?’ Sir Ram calls down.
Meanwhile, in Kassel, Germany, at the Documenta Art Archives. Every five years, the modern art masterpieces stored within these hallowed walls are taken out and put on public display. Some works are bizarre…some absurd…but to the ever critical eyes of “avant garde society” they are all expressions of genius. Which begs the question - “what about the art of torture?” Does it not merit such praise when executed by a master whose deftness in the ways of pain is conveyed through the agony of his victims?
The “victim” of this particular piece, however, might beg to differ. His name is Pete Wisdom, a member of Excalibur, he is currently chained to a pillar inside the museum. A former spy, Pete Wisdom never begs for anything - not even his life. Battered and bruised, he regains consciousness, wondering where he is, as the last thing he remembers was getting lectured by Nightcrawler about being a team player. He wonders where Nightcrawler is and calls out to him, when a strange voices calls out ‘Looking for your friend? You won’t find him here’. Wisdom recognizes the voice, despite the filter used on it, and calls out ‘You can’t fool me!’.
A female voice tells Wisdom that his hearing is as acute as ever, to which Wisdom suggests she step into the light so he can get a look at her. ‘Pete - I’m insulted!’ the woman exclaims, reminding him that he used to be able to see her with his eyes closed. ‘That’s how well you knew me!’. ‘Yeah, well, out of sight, out of mind’ Pete mumbles, before telling his captor that he still sees her as a cagey bird, still doing that vanishing trick of hers, “hiding in plain sight” and so forth. Wisdom addresses the woman as St Hubbins and asks her to quit mucking around and to tell him what this thing on his neck is.
St. Hubbins steps into the light, holding a weapon up to Pete, St. Hubbins tells Pete that his memory is getting dodgy in his old age, and that she will leave him to figure out what the device attached to his neck is, before telling that as he is not going anywhere, she might as well tell him that he is going to die - and that she is his executioner!
Wisdom tells St. Hubbins to get over herself and points out that his hot knives can melt these chains in a second. ‘Think so? Give it a go, then!’ St. Hubbins smiles. Wisdom does so, unleashing his mutant power on the chains, only for a surge of painful energy to course through his body. When the energy subsides, St. Hubbins taps Wisdom’s neck, explaining that the device is a neural inhibitor. Exhausted, Wisdom remarks that he knows neural inhibitors fries a mutants’ nervous system whenever they use their powers, but that neural inhibitors are top clearance special issue hardware, only for use by the United State’s government mutant group X-Factor - or agents of Black Air!
St. Hubbins flashes Wisdom a tattoo on her lower abdomen, and Wisdom cries ‘No…not again!’, as he realizes there is a nasty storm brewing on the horizon for he and his friends.
Back on the Swiss Alps, the Knights of Wundagore prepare for a tempest of their own under the guidance of the reptilian Lord Gator, and the grizzly Lady Ursula. Lord Gator is communicating with Delphis, and asks him if all his protective wards are in place. Delphis replies that he does for now, but that he doesn’t know how long they will hold. He remarks that in all their years, they have never faced a foe as deadly as Exodus. ‘He ought to prove a most mystifying challenge! I, for one, look forward to testing his mettle!’. Lady Ursula mutters ’That’s because you won’t be fighting on the front lines!’, but Gator calms her down, when suddenly, Sir Ram enters the room with Colossus, Meggan and Bova in tow.
Sir Ram cries out that he has won allies to their cause and brought reinforcements, to which Lord Gator calls him an imbecile and exclaims that he has butted his head so many times that he has knocked all the sense out of it. Gator approaches Colossus but Sir Ram steps in between them, informing Gator that Colossus has renounced his covenant with Exodus, and that he and Meggan have pledged their allegiance to the Knights of Wundagore for the coming battle. ‘And the serpent hides itself innocently among blades of grass before striking its prey. How do we know that you’ve not led a viper into our midst?’ Lord Gator asks. ‘Because you have my word’ Colossus exclaims, before offering to tell Lord Gator exactly how Exodus would storm a tower as well fortified as this.
Before Colossus can begin though, a voice exclaims ‘That will not be necessary, X-Man. I have seen to it personally that my knights possess all of the knowledge they need to repel the renegade!’ Sir Ram and Lord Gator both whisper ‘The Creator speaks!’ while Colossus remembers the voice, well, but never expected to hear it again. ‘Bozhe moi! You!’ he gasps.
Back at Muir Island, Moira and Douglock are working in one of the labs, and Douglock asks Moira if she has seen Kitty. ‘Briefly’ Moira replies, explaining that ever since Kitty got home she has been looking for Lockheed, adding that the dragon has been missing for some time now. ‘Yet no one seemed to notice?’ Douglock asks. Moira points out that things have been rather hectic lately, and with all the commotion, it seems that everyone just forgot to check on him. Moira tells Douglock that there is no real reason to worry, as Douglock is not scared of anything.
However, elsewhere in the sprawling complex, ‘Coo?’ Lockheed whispers, when suddenly, a voice tells Lockheed to drop the “mute” act, as they know he can talk. ‘We said drop it!’ another voice cries out as Lockheed simply gurgles something again, before exclaiming ‘Alright, it’s dropped! It’s dropped!’ and he proceeds to ask his assailants what they want from him, as he thought they were friends. ‘”Friends”? “Friends”?’ a voice asks. ‘Us? Be friends with a loser like you?’ another voice exclaims, before countless pairs of yellow eyes can be seen peering out at Lockheed from the darkness, all cruelly laughing at him. Lockheed begins to cower, and thinks to himself ‘Kitty…somebody…anybody…help!’
Meanwhile, above the Atlantic Ocean, British Airways flight 1013 wings its way towards New York, carrying an excited Rahne Sinclair to a long overdue reunion with some old and dear friends. Rahne writes in her diary while thinking to herself that it will be so good to see Sam, Bobby, Dani and Xi’an, as she misses them all so much. Rahne wishes that Illyana and Doug could be there also, before thinking ‘Doug - if only Douglock was more like you’, suddenly though, she erases that from her diary, wondering why she thought that.
Rahne thinks to herself that Douglock is just as sweet and kind as any other person she knows, and tells herself to admit that she is confused. Confused because a friend has feelings for her - feelings the like of which she has not genuinely felt for anyone in a long time. Rahne admits to herself that when Douglock kissed her earlier, and she kissed him back, she actually enjoyed it.
Back on Wundagore, the Creator exclaims that there are two things in his possession that Exodus covets. He reveals that the first is this very tower, where the hidden mysteries of science and sorcery are revealed as one. Stepping out of the shadows, the High Evolutionary reveals himself, and holds in his arms a young girl, exclaiming that she is the second thing Exodus wants, for she is Luna Maximoff, daughter of the mutant speedster Quicksilver and his Inhuman wife, Crystal.
The High Evolutionary holds a small hologram of Quicksilver in his other hand as he exclaims that Luna is also the grandchild to the self-proclaimed “Master of Magnetism”, Exodus’ former lord, Magneto. The High Evolutionary explains that he has sworn to protect Luna while Quicksilver mourns the tragic passing of Crystal. The High Evolutionary declares that although Exodus may be man, mutant or even God, ‘I, the High Evolutionary, shall never forfeit her!’.
Colossus remarks that the High Evolutionary must not realize how ruthless a fanatic Exodus can be, as he will stop at nothing to claim both this tower and Luna as his own. ‘You must let us stand with you!’ he exclaims. The High Evolutionary tells Colossus that his courage is admirable as it was last time they met, but that he has all the resources he requires to prevent Exodus from usurping what is rightfully his alone. Meggan asks the High Evolutionary if this means he is just going to toss them out of here because he is too proud to accept anyone’s help. ‘Precisely’ the High Evolutionary replies as he returns to his throne.
The powerful being then turns back to Colossus and Meggan and tells them that despite Exodus’ loyal followers, he is but a king without a castle, and no good monarch can remain one for long without proving his might. The High Evolutionary remarks that is why he has become a target, the ultimate proof of Exodus’ fitness to lead. ‘But I shall defeat him - alone’. Suddenly, an energy field surrounds Colossus and Meggan. Colossus urgently asks the High Evolutionary what he thinks he is doing, and Meggan tells him to stop, as he cannot do it alone. Without emotion, the High Evolutionary replies that he can, and will, because he has faith. He wishes Colossus and Meggan well on their journey, and announces that the path from which they were diverted, is the one which he shall return them to….
….and in an instant, Colossus and Meggan find themselves in Paris. ‘He did it!’ Colossus exclaims. ‘We’re finally in Paris!’ Meggan remarks that she wonders if they will ever know what is going to happen at Wundagore, to which Colossus replies that if Exodus is victorious, then they will certainly know. Meggan jokes that what they went on was some roller coaster ride, and smiling, asks Piotr if he is ready for the ones at Dudleyworld? Colossus just smiles and slaps his hand against his forehead.