Venice, where Pete Wisdom is making amends. If not for Wisdom, his teammates Meggan and Douglock would not be seconds away from drowning at the bottom of a canal. If not for Wisdom, Excalibur’s team leader Nightcrawler would not be hostage to a trio of inter-galactic bounty hunters demanding vengeance. Then again, if not for Wisdom…none of them would stand a remote chance of survival. ‘Must…keep…going’ Wisdom thinks to himself as he desperately swims to the top of the canal while holding onto the unconscious Meggan and Douglock, until finally, he makes it. Barely.
Tossing Meggan and Douglock onto a dock, Wisdom thinks that his black lungs ain’t what they used to be, before telling himself that he could use a cigarette right now, though he knows that is going to have to wait until he gets his teammates on their feet again. ‘Come on ya bloody elf, don’t die on me now!’ Wisdom tells Meggan while he gives her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. ‘Breathe!’ he exclaims, and finally, Meggan splutters up some water, before sitting up and clutching her head, she asks Wisdom what happened, as the last thing she remembers was the Midnight Runner being blasted by some alien, and they were taking in water.
‘Yeah, yeah, you’re fine’ Wisdom retorts, ignoring Meggan’s question, before dragging her over to Douglock, explaining that he needs her to “hotwire” Douglock so he can get a bearing on Nightcrawler’s position underwater. Meggan uses her elemental abilities to examine her techno-organic teammate and explains to Wisdom that the electro-fire has left Douglock’s body, but that she thinks she can tease it back in. Elemental energy flows at Meggan’s beckoning, leaping from its universal playground, and lands in the inert Douglock’s body - but to no avail.
Meggan wipes a tear from her eyes and Wisdom hangs his head as Meggan tells the unmoving Douglock that she tried to mend the damage, but that it was too severe. ‘Please forgive me’ she whispers. ‘Sure…for what?’ Douglock asks as he sits up, surprising both Meggan and Wisdom. Meggan hugs Douglock, thankful that he is alive, while Wisdom secretly smiles. Yes, Pete Wisdom is making amendments, one life at a time.
Meanwhile, at the bottom of the canal, inside the Sidri vessel. ‘We beat you down…yet you stand up. We smash you…yet you fight back’ the Sidri remarks to Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin as the powerful Russian mutant is forced into the murky water again. ‘We vow to kill you…yet you cling to the hope that you will survive to rescue you misshapen comrade. What sort of creature are you to risk your life for a being with which you share no discernable connection?’ the alien asks.
Suddenly, Nightcrawler bamfs onto the scene, his costume in tatters, blood dripping from his face and two angry swords held ready to do battle, Kurt Wagner exclaims ‘No “discernable connection” monster…? Perhaps you should open your eyes - or whatever it is you Sidri bounty hunters see through - Piotr Rasputin and I share the most unique bond any two beings can possibly share!’ Teleporting again on top of the Sidri, Nightcrawler adds that this bond he and Colossus share is something for which they would both gladly sacrifice their lives - ‘Something a murderous schweinehund like you and your symbiotic brethren would never begin to fathom - a little thing called friendship!’ Kurt exclaims as his sword meets with the Sidri’s form.
Colossus looks up, and shocked, sees that Kurt is alive. ‘In the fuzzy blue flesh, Colossus!’ Kurt replies, adding that he cannot deny that it is a miracle, before suggesting they take this “auslander” down old-school “X-Men style”. Colossus gets to his feet and agrees, remarking that after the beating he has just suffered at the creatures…hands…it would be a pleasure. Nightcrawler and Colossus strike as if they were one being, the result of years of rigorous training as members of the mutant outlaw X-Men, fighting for their inalienable right to simply exist.
For Kurt Wagner and Piotr Rasputin though, they are much more than fellow heroes on a common quest to improve their station in life - they are brothers-in-arms. United, nothing can stand against them. However, despite the duo’s battle tactics, the Sidri seems intent on arguing that point vehemently, and tosses the former X-Men aside with ease. Landing in the water, Kurt tells Piotr that he is glad he came, ‘But sorry you came all this way simply to die’. Colossus just asks what else friends are for, before the pair attack the Sidri once more. The unimpressed Sidri calls them fools for jesting even though death stares them in the face.
Nightcrawler tells the alien to consider it a human “glitch”, and making another joke, remarks that his and Colossus’ overriding optimism makes them all the more lovable, before asking ‘Besides…who said anything about dying?’. Kurt tosses one of his swords to Piotr, shouting ‘Now, as we practiced…block! Parry! Thrust!’ Colossus does as Kurt exclaims, until the Sidri shouts ‘Away!’ and fires a beam from its eyes, sending Colossus careening back across the chamber. Piotr lands hard and realizes that his attack with the sword hurt the Sidri, and wonders if perhaps their armor is not as resilient as they boasted.
Nightcrawler goes over to his friend as the Sidri begins to convulse, and the three Sidri are forced to separate from their form as one, returning to their individual forms. Kurt congratulates Colossus on breaking the link, to which Colossus replies that they should pray it stays broken. The Sidri flit about in the chamber, making strange noises which only they understand, before reforming into a different attack form. ’Hmph’ Colossus mutters. ’You were saying?’ Kurt sighs.
Meanwhile, on Muir Island, home to Excalibur, another desperate hero rages against cruel fate in the name of survival - specifically, her own. Clad in her quarantine suit while locked in her laboratory, Moira MacTaggert continues working at her computer station, while her foster daughter Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair stands behind her and asks her mother if she cannot just accept her being in here and get on with it. ‘I’m doing this to help you, so you don’t have to face your illness alone’ Rahne explains. Moira doesn’t look at Rahne as she replies that in all the years she has been he legal guardian, she cannot for the life of her remember ever being as furious with her as she is now.
Moira reminds Rahne that this was supposed to be a one-woman quarantine, and points out that as long as Rahne is in here, she is going to be exposed to the Legacy Virus. ‘It can kill you, girl!’ Moira shouts, before deciding that she is going to call the whole experiment off and get Rahne out of here. Moira goes over to the door and tries to open it, exclaiming that she doesn’t care if the door is programmed to stay magnetically sealed until her job is done. ‘Open, blast ye!’ she shouts, to no avail, as the door remains sealed.
Rahne goes over, smiling, she places her arms around her mother and tells her to let it go, ‘If you do open the door. I’m not leaving you’ Rahne asserts. ‘Aye, but you are - as soon as I get this lock decrypted’ the world-renowned scientist replies. Wolfsbane points out that if the door is opened, then the whole experiment will be ruined, and this would all have been for nothing. Rahne switches into her half-wolf-half-girl form and hugs Moira while reminding her that she needs a test subject that has been exposed to the virus, but is not infected.
Moira replies that if she is wrong about the effects of long-term close-quartered exposure can have a non-infected person, and it is equally fatal “second hand”, ‘I do not want you to be the one who suffers’ Moira exclaims. ‘Better it should be me!’ But Rahne exclaims ‘Nonsense’ and says to her mother ‘If your life is worth sacrificing to win the war against this bloody plague…so is mine!’. The two women continue to hug for some time.
Back in Venice, Wisdom asks Douglock if he has had any luck locating Colossus and Nightcrawler yet. Douglock replies that he is searching, while thinking to himself that it is hard to concentrate, but he is unsure if it is because the Sidri zapped him, or because he is so concerned about Rahne. But he knows regardless, he has got to focus, as his friends are depending on him. Shortly, Douglock announces that he has found them, but that their life signs are weak.
This upsets Meggan, who asks Douglock if he is sure, before suggesting that he might be suffering some kind of malfunction that is dampening his signal strength. Douglock is about to reply that he is fully functioning, until Wisdom clamps a hand over Douglock’s mouth and whispers to him that Meggan needs good news about her two closest friends now, not bad. Wisdom grins as he turns to Meggan and tells her that Douglock is still buggered, and asks Meggan to clear them a path so that they can get a better look down below. Meggan takes to the air and hovers over the crash site beneath the water, she then literally pulls the water away, revealing the alien ship beneath, she exclaims that Kurt and Piotr must be inside, and asks Wisdom and Douglock what they are waiting for, before she flies down to the Sidri ship exclaiming that they have to rescue their friends.
Douglock turns to Wisdom and remarks that he is the last person in the world he would ever expect compassion from, before informing him that his sensors painted an accurately bleak portrait of their friends’ status, but Wisdom deliberately deceived Meggan, as if concerned the truth might harm her. ‘Query: Why?’ Douglock exclaims. Wisdom replies that it needed doing, and tells Douglock to shut his trap and jump. They do, and land in the canal, where moments later, while the duo swim towards the Sidri ship, Meggan releases the parted waters to cushion her teammates descent, and allow life along the grand canal to resume its usual, placid pace - well, for the most part, except for the civilians in their gondolas who are tossed about.
Back inside the Sidri ship, the battle continues to rage, as the Sidri tell Nightcrawler and Colossus that their courage is wasted, ‘Today out years-old score shall finally be settled!’ Kurt jokes that he didn’t realize they were keeping score, while Colossus, who is pulling at the massive Sidri, remarks that this sounds a lot like one of the Danger Room exercises at the old School for Gifted Youngsters! Colossus adds that the program featuring the Juggernaut comes to mind, as the Sidri are nearly immovable as he. ‘Except ol’ Juggy on a bad never as foul as these beasts!’ Kurt exclaims.
‘Your scurrilous insults are as harmful as your pitiful swords, misfit!’ the Sidri exclaims, before warning Nightcrawler to mind his wagging tongue, or else they may slice it off as recompense for the hideous metamorphosis which he afflicted upon them. Kurt is backed into a corner, with the Sidri holding his own sword up to his throat, and Kurt admits to himself that he is too weak to teleport. He wonders if this is the end, when suddenly, the Sidri is hit in the back by a small burst of flame, and the alien knocks Kurt aside, unwittingly freeing him.
The Sidri is furious, ’Who dares deny a Sidri hunter his rightful kill?’ the alien snarls. ‘We do, you big dumb…crab!’ Meggan exclaims, with Wisdom and Douglock at her side. ‘Right, well said there, luv!’ Wisdom tells Meggan, while Douglock warns the Sidri to get away from his friends, ‘And perhaps we’ll allow you to leave the planet…intact!’ The Sidri realizes that Douglock is a Phalanx and remarks that perhaps his mind’s collective consciousness can be of some use to them - after they have scrapped his body for spare parts that is!’ The Sidri proceeds to attack Douglock, while remarking that although Douglock is distinct from his race’s gestalt, he still possess the means for the Sidri to be whole again.
‘Once we are brothers, we can finally return to our home world and our people and this infernal exile will at last be over!’ Kurt watches in horror as the Sidri begins its assault on Douglock, before calling out to Meggan and Wisdom, informing them that intense heat is the Sidri’s greatest weakness, and asks them to generate enough heat and they should be able to break the trio’s meld, before urging them to do it quickly, before it attacks Douglock again. Meggan, taking a leaf out of Wisdom’s book, asks him if he is ready to show these “gits” what a cricket-style “fastball special” feels like.
Wisdom understands what Meggan means and informs her that he is sparking up his best Sunday “heater”, while Meggan uses her elemental abilities to increase the temperature a thousand-fold. Wisdom extends his hands, readying his hot knives while informing Meggan that they will let it go on three. ‘One!’ exclaims Meggan as she hovers above Wisdom, adding fuel to his fire. ‘Two!’ declares Wisdom as his mutant power is released. ‘Three!’ shouts Meggan as she turns up the tempo. The Sidri turns to watch the intense flames approaching itself, ‘No! Not now!’ After all these years of isolation from our people, we were so…’. The Sidri doesn’t get to say “close” like it wanted to, as Meggan and Wisdom’s combo smacks into it, before a massive explosion ensues.
The five heroes are tossed about in the water, but eventually, with Colossus helping the injured Douglock, they all make their way to the surface, and gasp for air. Kurt tells everyone to keep on their toes, as this is far from over. When everyone is safely on the dock, Kurt announces that he is going to go back down to look for survivors, when suddenly, the transformed Sidri rises from the water, shocking Excalibur. The Sidri declares that they desire to slay Excalibur for the tragedy they visited upon them, their wrathful fires are extinguished on this day. The Sidri explains that the artificial mutation that made them an abomination in the sight of their fellow hunters is as last beginning to heal - thanks to the technical elements extracted from the Phalanx “anomaly”.
The Sidri announce that in exchange for the means to rejoin their people, they grant Excalibur the boon of continued life. ‘Use this gift wisely and tamper not with the unknown…lest the unknown tamper with you!’ the Sidri exclaim, before taking off into space. ‘Amen!’ Douglock exclaims as he regains consciousness. Douglock tells his friends not to worry too much about him, as his internal systems are already compensating for damaged techno-organics, so he should be fully functional in approximately 28.6 hours. ‘Give or take a year!’ Douglock adds.
Colossus asks his teammate what of the Sidri and how he was able to help them. Douglock explains that, like his own people, the Sidri are a techno-organic collective, and require certain components to maintain the link to their race. Douglock reveals that when those three Sidri were mutated, they lost those components, and their connection to the other Sidri, and since he is no longer “using” the ones bred within him, he simply donated them. Douglock adds that not only has he made amends for the accidental wrong done to the Sidri in the past, but he is now, more than ever, free of the Phalanx collective. ‘I am truly an individual!’ he exclaims, to which Excalibur congratulate him.
Meanwhile, on Muir Island, a high-tech ship arrives belonging to SHIELD. The captain of the ship asks his crew which one of them is going to escort the lady and her pet outside, to which Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde replies that there is no need, as she can let herself out. Kitty waves goodbye to her associates and tells them that helping SHIELD save the world has been oodles of fun. ‘Not!’ she adds. Her alien dragon Lockheed flies alongside her and Kitty exclaims that it is great to be home, and that she cannot wait to snuggle up on her own bed again. Lockheed makes a noise, to which Kitty tells him he can snuggle too, provided he doesn’t fight with Pete.
Kitty then uses her mutant power to phase from the roof of the Research Center down into her quarters, remarking that it is bad enough Wisdom is going to want to kill her after she tells him what happened with Rigby Fallon, so she doesn’t want the two of them fighting also. ‘Ahh! Room sweet room!’ Kitty exclaims as she grabs Lockheed and flops down on her bed. Lockheed starts squirming, and Kitty remarks that she thought he would be psyched to be home, but Lockheed breaks free of Kitty’s grasp and flies away.
Kitty tells herself that this is weird, and recalls how Lockheed went missing for weeks, and is now freaking out for no reason. She wonders if it was something she did, and turns to her stuffed Bamf doll sitting on her bedside table. Picking the doll up, she exclaims ‘Maybe you can tell me, Bamf’ and asks it what has got her best bud so spooked. ‘Oh, why am I asking you? You’re just a stuffed toy…’ Kitty mutters, before putting the doll down, unaware that its eyes have just lit up, and its placid smile has just grown wicked, as a pair of sharp teeth jut up between its lips….