Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde is no stranger to commitment. A member of the X-Men’s extended family, and a founder of their European counterpart, Excalibur, she is entrusted with responsibilities most people her age won’t know till they have their own families, if ever. While her peers will likely graduate college, marry their sweethearts and raise their requisite 2.2 children, Kitty will likely be championing the cause of mutants everywhere, fighting to protect a planet that hates and fears them - side by side with the people whose lives she holds dearer than her own. Including Lockheed the dragon, whom she is currently searching for as she phases into one of the tunnels at the sprawling Muir Island genetic research center.
‘Darn it dragon, where are you?’ Kitty calls out to her dragon who has been missing for some time now. Kitty thinks that she has searched the dormitory, the labs and even the kitchen fridge, but there is still no sign of him! Unaware that dozens of pairs of yellow eyes are watching her from the shadows, Kitty notices some burn marks on the side of the tunnel and supposes that Lockheed did them, but wonders why, as there is no discernable pattern, the blasts are random - almost as if he was strafing on all sides Kitty decides.
Suddenly, Kitty’s lamp cuts out. ‘Are you kidding? Some wonder if “alien technology” this is!’ she mutters as she tries to fix it, while exclaiming ‘Holographic imagers in the Danger Room, universe hopping star gates. Even part of our mutant-detector, Cerebro - all benefits of Shi’ar science - but when it comes to common flashlight batteries?’ Suddenly, ‘Perhaps I can be of service?’ a voice asks, as someone approaches Kitty from behind and puts their hand on her shoulder.
Kitty screams, and spins around, only to see Douglock, and asks him what he is doing down here sneaking around like that. The techno-organic member of Excalibur smiles as he tells Kitty that Moira mentioned she was down here, and explains that Moira pretty much kicked him out of her lab so she could prepare the next phase of her Legacy Virus research, so he figured that he would give her a hand - if that’s how humans phrase it, “cool”. Kitty frowns and tells Douglock that if he wants to help her, that is fine, but that it is not “cool” to sneak up on someone when they are obviously totally concentrating on something else. ‘Especially when that someone has studied ninjitsu with the likes of Wolverine!’ Kitty boasts.
Kitty warns Douglock that if she had reacted on instinct alone, then he would be in traction by now. Douglock just smiles and replies ‘Then I take it you are handling your stress better than is expected…no?’ Kitty looks away and sighs. ‘I wish’ she replies, before revealing that she is worried sick, as she has not seen Lockheed in weeks. Kitty explains that she thought Douglock might be down here, as she knows how much he loves dark places, but that she cannot find him anywhere.
Douglock fixes Kitty’s lamp and exclaims that they should flush him out of the darkness. Kitty looks around at the re-lit tunnel as Douglock calls Lockheed Kitty’s pet and remarks that he sure means a lot to her, more than almost anyone. Kitty replies that Lockheed is not a “pet”, and remarks that their relationship is so much more than that. Kitty explains to Douglock that Lockheed is a confidant when she has got a secret to hide, and a partner-in-crime when she is feeling mischievous, and of course a shoulder to cry on when she is feeling blue. ‘He’s my best bud!’ she exclaims.
Douglock asks if this is what humans do when something - someone - they care deeply about leaves them, ‘You go after them, right?’ Kitty replies that of course you do, as that is what you do for the ones you love, before remarking that Douglock is really trying to tackle some serious human emotion issues, and exclaims that she is impressed, as she knows he has trying to figure out human behavior and all, before asking him why the sudden interest in human emotions, ‘Unless…you like someone!’ Kitty exclaims, before smiling and turning to Douglock, asks him who he likes, ‘Come on, fess up!’ she tells him.
‘No one!’ Douglock replies, claiming that he was merely trying to correlate Kitty’s obsessive behavior with feelings for her girlfriend - ‘I…I mean you “best friend”!’ Douglock stammers. Kitty tells Douglock that he is ‘So busted’ and remarks that he has got a crush on someone, and that if her women’s intuition serves her as well as it has all these years, then she bets she knows who it is. Douglock replies that if he does have a “crush”, is it such a bad thing? Walking down the tunnel, Kitty replies ‘Not at all’ and tells Douglock that as a matter of fact, she thinks this certain someone feels the same way, even if that someone has not admitted it to themselves yet.
Douglock is surprised, and asks Kitty why she thinks so. Kitty replies that it is a girl thing and tells Douglock that he wouldn’t understand, so should just roll with it. Douglock pauses before exclaiming that he has got to run. Kitty asks him where he is going, to which Douglock exclaims that he has got a plane to catch, as he is going to New York! Kitty tells Douglock to send her love to Wolfsbane and the rest of “the old gang”, before phasing up out of the tunnel and thinking to herself that Douglock is sweet, and wishes that her git of a boyfriend Pete Wisdom would rush home to see her again. Kitty tells herself to keep wishing, as she is no Cinderella, and Wisdom is certainly no Prince Charming! Kitty admits that her and Pete’s love is not a “story book romance”, but that she would have thought he would have called her from Germany, before wondering what happens if he doesn’t call her - or if there is someone else in his life. ‘Naaahh, he wouldn’t…would he?’ she asks herself.
However, in Germany, Pete is indeed involved with someone else, a woman called Sari St. Hubbins, and he is currently her prisoner. Chained to a pillar inside a museum and with neural inhibitor on his neck, Wisdom asks St. Hubbins what is going on, and remarks that he cannot believe she is mixed up with Black Air, reminding her that when they were together, she hated Black Air. St. Hubbins agrees, before declaring that she hates Pete more. She smiles and reveals that seeing as how Black Air is giving her all the gear she needs to get her revenge on him, like the neural inhibitor, she is letting bygones be bygones and getting on with it.
St. Hubbins tells Wisdom that seeing him bound like that sure brings back memories, and strokes his face, to which an angry Pete tells her to get her paws off him. ‘Why, Peter - I thought you liked being tied up!’ St. Hubbins exclaims, before asking him if he is ashamed of their sordid past now that he is seeing a “pimple-faced colonist”. Wisdom just replies that, as usual, St. Hubbins is pushing all the wrong buttons. ‘Oh, I see. The poor girl’ Sari replies, remarking that Kitty must have no idea what a two-faced creep she is dating. ‘Then again, she’s got no clue what she’s about to lose either’, St. Hubbins adds.
Wisdom tells St. Hubbins to cut to the chase and reminds her that idle threats do not scare him. ‘I don’t make “idle threats”!’ St. Hubbins screams as she punches Wisdom in the face, before declaring that she will tell him the truth, that it is karmic payback, that all of Wisdom’s past betrayals are catching up with him. St. Hubbins tells Wisdom that for “selling her down the river” all those years ago, she gets the privilege of killing him herself. St. Hubbins then informs Wisdom that for resigning his post as an intelligence agent and what he and his “yank tart” did at Dream Nails, Black Air is now attacking all of his mates in Excalibur!
St. Hubbins boasts that a suicide bomber took out Colossus and Meggan, and she remarks that Nightcrawler is on the way to meet his maker, ‘Lord only knows where’. She grins that rumor has it, Black Air has dreamed up something especially nasty for his precious Shadowcat. Wisdom tells St. Hubbins that it is funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same, ‘You’re still as delusional as ever!’ he exclaims, while thinking to himself that he has to get Sari all riled up, as she is about to make a mistake sooner or later, and when she does, perhaps she will not notice what he is “cooking” behind his back.
Wisdom knows that this inhibitor collar St. Hubbins has him wearing was only designed to keep the most violent of mutants under wraps, preventing the nervous system from sending out the more powerful signals that activate one’s powers, as it works perfectly with the real aggressive types that think raw power can overload the collar’s microcircuits. Wisdom returns to jibing St. Hubbins, by telling her ‘Only a bird as crackers as you would hold a grudge for this long, sunshine!’ St. Hubbins points a weapon towards Wisdom and tells Wisdom that a girl has to hold onto to something while she is wasting away in a government lock-up. ‘Believe me, it’s not your ugly mug that got me through!’ she remarks. ‘Oh? Do tell’ Wisdom replies, when suddenly a small hot knife becomes ignited behind the pillar where his hands are tied.
Wisdom thinks to himself that it seems subtlety is still lost on these inhibitors, while St. Hubbins holds the gun to his head and exclaims that day after day she would dream of the moment when she would step up to Wisdom, piece in hand, and put him down like the mangy dog that he is. St. Hubbins remarks that she supposes what they say is true: “Good things do come to those who wait”. Wisdom grins as he thinks to himself ‘Girl, you don’t know the half of it!’
Meanwhile, back on Muir Island, a lone trawler braves an unseasonably harsh storm, ferrying a unique pair of passengers to the tiny land mass of Scotland’s inhospitable Northern Coast. Meggan holds onto a stuffed dragon and wears a dragon-shaped cap as she tells Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin that it is wonderful to be back home. Colossus agrees, ‘Especially after all that craziness in Paris!’ he remarks, before telling Meggan that even though he has only been here a short time, he is very much getting used to calling Muir Island “home”.
Colossus helps Meggan from the boat to the dock as the rain beats down on them, while Piotr remarks that in many ways, Muir Island reminds him of his native Siberia, and Excalibur, as the X-Men once were, is as much a family to him now as his own ever was. Meggan tells Colossus that she hopes the rest of the “family” got home safely and that Black Air didn’t get them. Colossus agrees, before pointing out that all seems quiet enough here, when suddenly, ‘Hold that boat!’ Douglock shouts as he rushes along the dock. ‘You were saying…?’ Meggan whispers jokingly to Colossus.
Douglock calls out to his teammates, telling them that he has got to get to the airport tonight, but that no other ships are willing to dock here until this storm blows over, so that boat that dropped them off is his last chance to get off this island. ‘Somebody, anybody, stop that ship!’ Douglock cries. Colossus shifts into his steel form, telling Douglock that there is no need to panic, and grabs a thick rope that is hanging off the side of the boat which is several feet out on the water, and uses his incredible strength to pull it back into the dock.
Inside the small boat, one of the crewmen informs the Captain that there is a man holding onto the boat, to which the Captain, with an exasperated look on his face replies ‘Let me guess - a big steely man, aye?’ ‘Aye, sir!’ the crew member replies. ‘Not again!’ the Captain mutters, before telling his crew to cut the engines and wait until he lets do. ‘Bleedin’ super heroes!’
Colossus informs Douglock that he has detained the boat like he asked, before asking Douglock where exactly he is so desperate to go. Douglock replies that, to be perfectly honest, he would rather not say. ‘It’s kinda personal!’ he remarks as he boards the boat, before turning and waving goodbye as Colossus lets the boat go.
Colossus turns to Meggan and asks her what she thinks that was all about. Meggan replies that she isn’t sure, but remarks that the empathetic resonances she sensed emanating from Douglock were unusually strong, that something very powerful is going on inside him - something which she fears Douglock may now yet be prepared for. Colossus tells Meggan that she makes it sound like something terrible is about to happen to Douglock, to which Meggan replies that she knows, and prays she is wrong, before telling Colossus that she is off now. Colossus smiles and asks Meggan where she is flying away to, to which Meggan replies that she is going to the hangar, to see something very special to her.
Moments later, after flying though the rain, Meggan arrives at the hangar and recalls that Piotr was so nervous to do this for her when she asked, and remembers what he said to her: “After all I’ve been through, I am not sure the heart of an artist still beats within this armored chest”. ‘Oh, what a big silly he is!’ Meggan exclaims, before thinking that the moment Piotr got beyond his insecurities, putting all the sins of the past behind him, and finally laying brush to canvas, that artists heart of his bled right out onto the canvas as if his very life depended on it!
Inside the hangar, Meggan hovers before a large mural painting of her. ’Wow. I’m sure glad I could help Piotr open himself up like that again’ Meggan thinks to herself, adding that Colossus has given her such a wonderful gift, and not just this beautiful painting, but an invaluable gift of friendship during one of the loneliest times of her life. Meggan wishes that she knew how much longer she was going to be alone for, before smiling and declaring that she misses Brian so much. ’Wherever you are, my beloved Captain Britain, please come home soon, I’m waiting for you. The one I love…’.
Meanwhile, in the lab of world renowned geneticist, the Nobel Prize winning Dr. Moira MacTaggert. This lab has, for far too long, seen the good Doctor beleaguered by the puzzling viral problem posed by the seemingly incurable Legacy Virus. This is a puzzle that Moira, the sole non-mutant afflicted by the fatal mutant-specific disease, is determined to solve - even if it means cutting herself off from the people she loves most. Napping across her desk, Moira prays that no one will begrudge her these few restful moments. But she prays, and sleeps, in vain, as her computer announces that she has mail.
Sitting up, Moira mutters something half-asleep, before turning to her computer and noting that the email is not for her, but Shadowcat. Moira remarks that this ISDN is password-protected and wonders who could have bypassed her security system and hacked into it - ‘Oh…them…!’ she exclaims as she looks at the S.H.I.E.L.D. logos on the mail.
While Moira fumbles for the comm-system above, below, Kitty’s search for her little lost dragon continues without incident, until suddenly, there is a giggle heard in the darkness. Kitty turns her flashlight, but sees nothing, though she calls out to Lockheed, asking him if he is there, while thinking that she swears she heard some kind of giggle. The dozens of pairs of eyes in the darkness giggle again, and Kitty turns, hearing it again. Assuming it to be Lockheed, she tells him to quit messing around and come out of the shadows. ‘Oooh! When I get my hands on that naughty dragon!’ Kitty thinks to herself, before calling to him, promising not to punish him for hiding from her all these weeks.
The giggling is heard again, louder this time, but still Kitty doesn’t see anyone, turning her light too late. Kitty wonders why it sounds like there is an echo down here, like there is something else down here with her. Kitty remarks that this reminds her of the night she got chased all over the X-Mansion and nearly killed by the N’Gari demon. ‘Ick! Now I’m starting to creep myself out!’ she exclaims, before telling herself that perhaps her imagination - and ears - are playing tricks on her, before wondering if Lockheed is not down here, then where in the world is he?
Suddenly, Moira’s voice is heard over the inter-comm, telling Kitty to get up to the main part of the complex, as something important has come up. Kitty replies that she will be up in a minute, as she still hasn’t found Lockheed. ‘Very, very important!’ Moira snaps back through the inter-comm, ‘We’re talking national security crisis here!’ she exclaims. ‘Oh. I see. I’ll phase right up!’ Kitty calls back as she becomes intangible and floats up through the floor boards, while a forlorn Lockheed, held prisoner by several small beings in the darkness watches her go.
‘Aww, don’t pretty-Kitty love ya no more?’ one of the creatures exclaims, before telling Lockheed that he is theirs now, and warning him to come along quietly and he won’t get hurt. ‘Much!’ another of the creatures exclaims. Suddenly, Lockheed opens his mouth and roars, unleashing a burst of flame upon his captors, before taking flight. ‘You can run dragon, but ya can never hide from all of us!’ one of the creatures exclaims. ‘Hear that, punk?’ another calls out. ‘NEVER!’
Back in Germany, St. Hubbins turns from Pete and tells him that this is goodbye, adding ‘Good riddance too, if you ask me’. Wisdom calls out that he never betrayed her, and that it is too bad she could not see that, while his small hot knife has nearly cut through the ropes. St. Hubbins replies that what she “saw” was him throwing everything they had away without a second thought for her.
(Shown with flashback illustrations)
St. Hubbins exclaims that she remembers a couple with a hopeful future together, a couple so very much in love. ‘I remember a young man full of promise - the pride of MI-6 - ascending the ranks of the intelligence community like a spitfire!’ St. Hubbins exclaims that this man, Wisdom, promised the her that his work would never get in the way of the happiness. ‘Swore this up and down, he did’, and like a fool, she bought it - hook, line and sinker. St. Hubbins remarks that when everything seemed “wine and roses”, that same upstanding man she trusted, she loved, turned on her and handed her over to his bosses like an obedient little lapdog.
‘And for what?’ St. Hubbins asks, ‘A minor assassination attempt!’ she exclaims, answering her own question. St. Hubbins reminds Wisdom that he knew what she did for a living, that she was a contract killer, and was good, until he ruined her career. ‘Minor? MINOR?’ Wisdom shouts, ‘You looney bird - you tried to assassinate Queen Elizabeth! What did you expect me to do? Ley you blow her royal head off?’ Wisdom asks, before telling St. Hubbins that he did it because he loved her, because he thought she would get well in rehab. While Wisdom’s hot knife has almost cut through his shackles, St. Hubbins shoves her gun in Wisdom’s mouth as he remarks that he can see she is still ill. ‘The heck I am!’ St. Hubbins snaps back.
St. Hubbins boasts that she is in the drivers seat, back on the road again, and tells Wisdom that she is going to ride it all the way till he is nothing but a stain in the pavement beneath her spinning wheels. Suddenly, St. Hubbins notices smoke coming from behind Wisdom, but before she can react, Wisdom kicks her hard in the face, ‘Mind the street signs, ducky, ya might miss the next exit back to the nuthouse!’ he exclaims. ‘You’re free!’ St. Hubbins mutters. ‘As the proverbial bird!’ Wisdom replies as his shackles crumble to the ground. ‘So much for your neural inhibitor’ Wisdom declares as he shatters it, before giving St. Hubbins some advice from one agent to the next - ‘Never try to wow the kid who’s met the “man behind the curtain”. Little bugger will ruin your show every time - especially when it comes to that “dog and pony” act, Black Air’.
Wisdom tells St. Hubbins the oldest tricks in the book are Black Air’s stock and trade, but when it comes to him, he has been there, done that. ‘Shows over!’ Wisdom shouts as he unleashes numerous hot knives. St. Hubbins fires several blasts from her gun telling Wisdom that she doesn’t need any gear to take him down, before asking him if he has forgotten that she was the best there is at what she does before he threw her away like some broken toy. Wisdom drops to the ground, dodging the blasts, before exclaiming ‘”Best there is…?” Hey, ain’t that a trademark infringement or something?’
Wisdom thinks that he might joke himself into an early grave if he doesn’t stay a step ahead of St Hubbins’ 9mm’s, as she is a sharper shot than ever. ‘But then again…so am I!’ Wisdom exclaims before telling St. Hubbins to “Eat hot knives” and blasts her weapon right out of her hand. ‘Stab your eyes Wisdom! And your bloody mutie power!’ St. Hubbins shouts. Wisdom tells St. Hubbins that she has thrown herself in with the wrong lot, as once she is done with him, Black Air will just cut her loose, ‘And guess who their next target will be?’ he warns her. St. Hubbins ignores Wisdom’s warning, instead she tells him that he has to catch her to kill her, but that he cannot catch what he cannot see, and swings her legs around hard so that she trips him up.
Wisdom mutters that he hates playing “hiding in plain sight” before deciding that whoever taught St. Hubbins that disappearing act sure knew camouflage technique, and wonders who it was, before catching a glimpse of St. Hubbins in front of him, he manages to grab her ankle and forces her to the ground. ’Running off on me, Sari? And just when it was starting to seem like old times! Oh well’. Wisdom remarks, before telling Sari that she has come to a dead end in the road and that it is time to step away from the car. Wisdom suggests to St. Hubbins that she takes this chance to get out whatever is eating her up inside like a normal human being, to take advantage of it while he is all ears.
There is silence, so Pete asks again if there is something Sari wants to say to him. St. Hubbins just spits in Wisdom’s eye and tells him to ’Go scratch ya bloody prat!’ Furious, Wisdom raises a hand to slap Sari across the face, ‘Why I oughtta -’ he exclaims, before exclaiming that he wont, and tells St. Hubbins that he wants her back in London, keeping her bosses in Black Air away from his friends in Excalibur, warning her that if any of his teammates go down, then Black Air will be next. Wisdom takes a cigarette from his pocket and strikes it across Sari’s head, telling her that he knows he hurt her all those years ago, but that he did it for the girl he loved. Walking away, Pete remarks that he sorry, but not that sorry.