Twas a fortnight past New Year’s and all through Excalibur’s camp…many a creature were stirring…most inexplicably…a BAMF!
Where once sat a stuffed toy on Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde’s bed, now leaps a wicked and clever creature, ’Bend…rend…twist and distend!’ it exclaims, while its fellow Bamfs grin in the darkness, revealed by their yellow eyes. ’Gonna capture Kitty’s dumb dragon…and hack off his head!’ the Bamf exclaims.
‘Hear that, Lockheed? We’re coming for ya!’ the Bamf exclaims, opening the door to the hallway of the residential wing of the Muir Island Research Center, and asks Lockheed who is flying past the room if he thought he could get away scot-free with Kitty’s heart. ‘Thought we’d let ya steal what was rightfully ours, huh?’ The leader of the Bamfs is flanked by the dozens of look-alikes, all exclaiming ‘Grab him!’, ‘Spear him and stab him!’, while the leader tells Lockheed that if they cannot have Kitty’s heart, no one can. Lockheed tries to pull the door closed, but the Bamfs teleport around him, ‘Payback time, punk!’ one of the exclaims. ‘You know what they say about that brimstone breath - it’s a bamf!’ and with that, the Bamfs teleport away with Lockheed.
Meanwhile, in the Holo-Suite, two old friends, Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde and Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner are engaged in an old pastime reminiscent of their days as X-Men. The two founding members of Excalibur are clad in pirate outfits as they battle each other on a wooden pirate ship, with water beneath it, all created from the technology of the Holo-Suite. Kitty backs Nightcrawler onto the plank as the blue-furred leader of Excalibur asks Kitty if she still doesn’t want to talk about it. Kitty replies that she doesn’t, and lunges towards Kurt with her sword, only for Kurt to teleport behind her. ‘Hey! No fair teleporting!’ Shadowcat exclaims.
Kurt replies that all is fair on the high seas as it is in love on land, before reminding her that she could become intangible so his sword would pass harmlessly through her - if she was concentrating that is. Kurt snatches Kitty’s sword from her with one swift moment and tells her to pay attention to this training session, or to come clean about the funny mood she has been in these past weeks. Kurt trips Kitty up and she lands on her back on the plank, as Kurt darts over her, holding a small dagger to her throat, joking that or else she will have to taste his steel. ‘Laugh it up all you want, Elf, nothing’s wrong!’ Kitty exclaims.
Kurt lets Kitty sit up, reminding her that she is like a sister to him, and that he knows her better than she is giving him credit for. Kurt exclaims that something must have happened when Kitty went to work for SHIELD, and that she has not had the heart to tell Wisdom about it. ‘Have you?’ he asks. With the fake sun setting in the background, shimmering over the water, Kitty replies ‘I…nope…’. Kitty doesn’t look at Kurt as she remarks that she cannot tell Wisdom, as he will be devastated. ‘Probably a lot less now than if you wait, and he finds about it later…whatever “it” is’ Kurt points out.
Kitty covers her face with a hand as she reveals that the “it” is the fact that she met someone, a guy her own age named Rigby Fallon, someone who is a lot more like her than Pete Wisdom will ever be. Kurt asks Kitty if she is ashamed because she had feelings for Rigby, to which Kitty replies that the feelings weren’t so much for Rigby, but for the idea of him. Kitty explains that Rigby made her feel something she hasn’t felt in a long time, and certainly not since she and Wisdom started dating - young. ‘I see. So it’s more guilt, than shame’ Nightcrawler remarks, before pointing out that there is someone here who might be able to offer invaluable insight into such feelings.
At first Kitty is confused, but then she realizes who Kurt is referring to. ‘Not him! Anyone but him!’ she protests, exclaiming that Colossus is the absolute last person in the world who is going to give her relationship advice. Suddenly, the Holo-Suite is thrust into darkness, and Kitty informs Kurt that she didn’t program this “Pirate Kitty versus Captain Bloodcrawler” holo-adventure as a night scenario, and asks him if he did. ‘Nein!’ exclaims Kurt, when suddenly the plank vanishes, then the ship, ‘Right. Then this is very bad!’ Kitty exclaims as she and Kurt plummet to the water.
The computer announces that the safety interfaces have been disabled, adding the prolonged utilization of Holo-Suite protocols within the current parameters could lead to disorientation, dismemberment and death. ‘Do have a nice day’ the computer concludes. Kitty and Kurt resurface, bobbing about in the water and Kurt tells Kitty that he thought she ran a diagnostic before they started. Kitty replies that she did - twice - and theorizes that the new Stark Industry processors that she installed must have fritzed.
A holo-shark approaches Kitty, who becomes intangible, she is relieved that her phasing disrupts everything mechanical, otherwise she would be shark food! Kitty knows though, that the problem is the Holo-Suite uses both robotics and holography so lifelike that it is impossible to tell which is which. Kurt drives his sword into the fake-shark, knowing that he could teleport the two of them from this ersatz “Danger Room”, but Kitty would need to solidify first, and that would leave her vulnerable to attack. Kurt wishes that he could orient himself then perhaps see what is going on in the control booth - unaware of course that several little Bamfs are running about, pressing buttons and getting up to all sorts of mischief. ‘Oh, Jaws - dinner!’ one of them exclaims.
Just outside the Bamf-infested control booth, Wisdom leans against the wall smoking a cigarette, telling himself that Kitty has been acting rather dodgy lately, and that he hopes she isn’t ticked about that spat the two of them had before she left, as that wasn’t his fault. ‘Hmp. Women’. Pete grumbles, before approaching the control booth. The computer asks him to halt for tactile, vocal and retinal identification, and as he places his hand on the touch pad, Wisdom is asked to speak slowly and clearly. ‘Toss…off…ya…bloody…blighter’. Wisdom replies. ‘Identity confirmed. Welcome, Peter Wisdom’ the computer announces.
The door to the control booth opens and Wisdom enters - not seeing the Bamfs teleport away suddenly. However, Pete does smell brimstone and sulfur, and remembers that Nightcrawler had scheduled a workout before his, and suspects that Kurt just left. ‘I can’t believe this. Me…”working out!” Wisdom tells himself, recalling that there was a time when the only exercise he would stomach was a fast jaunt down to the pub with his mates back when he was still a “solo” act for the MI-6. But now he has to pull his weight as part of a team - a family. ‘The times, they are a’changin!’ Wisdom tells himself, before ordering the computer to run Wisdom program-alpha.
The computer replies that it is unable to comply as the previous program is still operable and safety protocols are deactivated. Wisdom spins around, concerned, he thinks that Kurt is not stupid enough to leave a program running and orders the computer to open the control booth shield. The computer complies and announces that the blast shield is open, enabling Wisdom to look down into the Holo-Suite, where he sees Kurt and Kitty tussling with the shark.
Kurt sees the control booth panel open and calls out to Wisdom, asking him to deactivate the program. ‘Schnell, man, SCHNELL!’ Nightcrawler exclaims. Wisdom begins tapping various keys in the control booth, ‘All right…I’m “schnelling!” I’m “schnelling”!’ Wisdom exclaims, before realizing that the manual override is busted, so plunges his mutant power “hot-knives” into the control booth.
Still thrashing about in the water, Kurt tells Kitty that it has been a pleasure knowing her. ‘Devoured by a holographic shark. How mortifying’ Kurt mutters, while Kitty just screams out to Peter. Suddenly, the water begins to slowly disappear, and the shark vanishes. ‘Yes, my love?’ Wisdom asks. ‘What the heck took you so long?’ Kitty snaps at him when Wisdom enters the Holo-Suite. ‘I’m sorry, were you thanking me?’ Wisdom asks Kitty, who angrily exclaims that they could have been killed in there.
Wisdom replies that there is no need to get all snitty, before commenting on her pirate outfit and telling her that it is very kinky, before asking her what is next. ‘Leia’s “slave girl” outfit?’ Kitty just harrumphs as she storms past Wisdom and out of the Holo-Suite. Wisdom turns to Kurt and asks him to level with him. ‘It’s not really me this time…is it?’ he asks. Kurt just turns away, replying that he wished he knew, and tells Pete that he is sorry. ‘Blast’ mutters Pete, tossing his cigarette away.
While Wisdom watches his relationship turn sour, his teammate the elemental Meggan takes the time to sort out the recent developments in her life. Developments both personal - and natural. Meggan sits on the snow covered ground outside, beneath tree, and begins talking to it. ‘Poor tree…all sick and withered. I’m sorry I wasn’t here to help you before you died’ she tells the tree. Meggan explains that she has been so wrapped up on her own problems, that has caused her to neglect the trees well-being. ‘Ridiculous boy problems’ Meggan adds.
‘Uh, Meggan…?’ asks Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin as he approaches his teammate, axe in hand. ‘Speaking of whom’ Meggan whispers to the tree, before spinning around and seeing Colossus raise the axe above his head, she asks him what he thinks he is doing with that axe. Colossus asks what it looks like he is doing, before explaining that he is going to cut down this infirm, old tree so that he can plant a new one in its place. ‘You’ll do no such thing!’ Meggan exclaims, telling him that this tree’s connection to the earth - alive - or dead - is no different than the connections human beings share with one another, and asks Colossus if he would extinguish a flame in winter simply because its fire burned less brightly?
Colossus asks Meggan to forgive his ignorance, as he is trying to understand why she doesn’t want him to cut down this dead tree, but that he is afraid her metaphor is lost on him, a “simple farm boy”. Meggan glances to the side as she explains to Colossus that she is talking about the two of them. About the emotions she sensed in him the day of Moira’s quarantine. Meggan takes flight, ‘The feelings you hold for me in your heart!’ she exclaims, adding that she mistook those feelings for genuine friendship, but now knows that they run much deeper than that. Meggan tells Colossus that he must know she can never reciprocate those feelings, before bidding him goodbye, and remarking that it is too bad they couldn’t be friends.
A forlorn Colossus stands with axe in hand still, thinking to himself that he doesn’t believe this, though admitting that the times he and Meggan have shared together, the adventures they have shared, have only made him care all the more for her. However, Colossus thinks to himself that his feelings for Meggan were platonic, nothing more than that, as he would be a fool to think he could capture the heart that already belonged to their absent teammate, Captain Britain. Colossus wonders though if he is not to blame, perhaps Meggan is the one whose feelings are misplaced.
Colossus wonders if perhaps he was just a convenient outlet for Meggan’s effusive attractions, and with Captain Britain’s return looming, Meggan doesn’t know how to reconcile the two. Piotr tells himself that what it comes down to though, is that he should have known better than to open his heart to soon - especially to a confused empath. Colossus frowns as he takes the axe and makes the first cut into the tree.
Nearby, the techno-organic Douglock is searching for Lockheed. ‘Come out, come out wherever you are!’ he exclaims, while thinking to himself that Shadowcat will go ballistic if he has lost that pet of hers. Douglock is unaware though that as he searches for the little purple dragon, some little blue demons are watching him! Darting about on the ledge overhanging Douglock, the Bamfs are trying to push a large boulder down onto Douglock. Douglock remarks that he knows he promised to watch Lockheed while Kitty was working out with Nightcrawler, but that he has seen the little scamp all morning.
‘We’re golden! It’s rock n’ roll time!’ one of the Bamfs exclaims as they get a large stick under the boulder and jump on it. ‘Aces, baby!’ another grins as the boulder tumbles from the ledge. Down below, Douglock’s external sensors register an oversized spherical mass approaching at an extremely high velocity, and wonders what it could be - ‘Somebody! Anybody! HELP!’ he shouts as he looks up and sees the boulder rolling down towards him. ‘Oh man, I’m a pancake…I’m a pancake!’ he exclaims, when suddenly, Colossus, who heard Douglock’s cries for help, smashes his metal form through the boulder.
Colossus tells himself that he needed this release, remarking that it is reassuring to see his organic steel hide is still useful protection against natural disasters, though it offers little reinforcement in the affairs of the heart. ‘I think I just soiled my techno-organic shorts…’ Douglock whispers, before asking Colossus once the boulder shards settle how in the world this could have happened. Colossus replies that he doesn’t know, but that he suspects the answer lies somewhere above them, atop that hill.
Douglock follows Colossus up the hill, where one of the Bamfs tells his fellows that the jig is up, and they all teleport away. Colossus detects the smell, and Douglock exclaims that it is the residue of Nightcrawler’s teleport, ‘Though for the life of me, I can’t imagine why he’s want to squash me like a grape with a five ton boulder!’ Douglock adds. Colossus pauses for a moment, before remarking ‘I’m no Wolverine, but my nose is telling me…we’ve got pests!’.
‘And a nasty breed at that, I’ll tell ye!’ Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair exclaims via video-monitor, shortly as Kurt, Colossus, Meggan and Douglock gather. Dr. Moira MacTaggert, also via the video-communicator, remarks that she doesn’t understand how, but that whoever the culprit is, they have got Nightcrawler’s signature registering all over Muir Island. Moira informs Excalibur that now, a number of her most delicate systems will not stop glitching, and that a vial of the Legacy Virus nearly spilled when the computer testing it malfunctioned. Moira exclaims that if Wolfsbane hadn’t corrected the error in time, then the whole island would have been an instant hot zone.
Nightcrawler exclaims that something is not adding up here, reminding everyone that the teleport signature “bamf” is a unique characteristic to his mutant ability, and no other teleporter has ever demonstrated a similar trait. ‘It can’t be duplicated. That’s impossible!’ he remarks. Douglock shifts his form slightly as he remarks that, borrowing a page from the fictional super-sleuth of yore - Sherlock Holmes -“To explain the impossible, one must rule out all possibilities and accept whatever impossibility - however improbable - that remains as the solution to the mystery”. Wolfsbane asks “Douglock Holmes” what that might exactly be. ‘Elementary, my dear Wolfsbane - there’s more than one Nightcrawler on this island!’.
Colossus declares that is ridiculous, and turns to his best friend, asking him if he subscribes to that silly theory. Nightcrawler replies that he is afraid Douglock may be on to something, before pointing out that no mutant in the world can dupe Muir Island’s sophisticated bio-sensors into believe their teleport signature if his, and they have no evidence the intruder is even of this world. Colossus asks Kurt if he has a clue to its identity. ‘Not “its”…”their”!’ Kurt replies.
Wisdom, with another cigarette, leans against a door, telling himself that it is all that stands between him and never trusting another soul again. ‘And why?’ he asks himself - because the moment he started settling in around here, the one person who ever made him feel comfortable in the first place, who made him trust again, starts flaking out - and with no good reason. Wisdom doesn’t know what got into Kitty, but intends to find out. He is about to knock on her door, when suddenly, ‘Tell me you’ve seen Lockheed!’ Kitty exclaims as she phases part of the way through the door. ‘Lost your stupid pet again, have ya?’ Wisdom asks.
Wisdom enters the room as Kitty goes about looking under the bed, calling Wisdom apathetic, she informs him that she didn’t lose Lockheed, but Douglock did, as she asked him to look after Lockheed while she and Kurt worked out, since she knew that there was no point in asking Wisdom to look after Lockheed. ‘Note to self: Never trust an extra-terrestrial biological entity to babysit your dragon, even if it wears the face of your best friend!’ Kitty tells herself, while Wisdom thinks ‘Say it!’ to himself, pointing out that that it is going to blow things up out of proportion anyway, so he should just be a man and say it.
‘Pryde - Kitty…we need to talk’ Wisdom declares. ‘In a minute’ Kitty replies. ‘No, Kitty…now’ Wisdom exclaims. ‘I said…in a minute!’ Kitty retorts. Wisdom calls Kitty a “silly little girl” and tells her to grow up for a second and forget that bloody lizard, and to come out from under the bed. Dropping his cigarette to the ground, Wisdom stubs it out with his foot. ‘I said…we need to talk - NOW!’ he exclaims again.
‘Fine. Talk’ Kitty replies as she sits on the edge of her bed, not looking at Wisdom, she holds her wide-eyed Bamf doll on her lap. ‘Something happened while you were away…something you don’t want to face. I want to know what’ Wisdom declares. Kitty glances back at him, ‘No…you don’t’ she replies. ‘The blazes I don’t!’ Wisdom exclaims, turning to Kitty and asking who made her the authority on what he wants or doesn’t want. Wisdom points out that Kitty has been a stranger since the moment she came home, and he wants to know why.
Tears begin to fall from Kitty’s eyes, while Wisdom lights another cigarette. ‘Please don’t make me do this…’ Kitty whispers to Pete as she hangs her head, when, suddenly, ‘Yeah, “Witless”! Quit the third degree! She’s - urff - squeezing the life outta me!’ exclaims the Bamf, squashed in Kitty’s arms as it lunges upwards, before telling Kitty to grow a spine, ‘Ya used to have one!’ the Bamf remarks, before biting down into Kitty’s arm, causing Kitty to release the Bamf, who then scampers away to join its fellows.
‘Let me guess - Satan stuffed the stockings this year’ Wisdom mutters, before asking Kitty what those things are. ‘Bamfs!’ exclaims Kitty, looking at her bed where more of the creatures have appeared. Kitty explains that the Bamfs come from a place called the “Well at the Center of Time”, but that they are just fairy tale creatures, characters she created, figments of her imagination- like something from a dream. ‘Ain’t no dream here, sweet-cheeks!’ one of the Bamfs exclaims. ‘We’re the real deal!’ another boasts. ‘Live and in color straight from the other side of reality!’ another exclaims. ‘And we’ve come for you!’.
‘Bamfs?!’ Moira, Wolfsbane and Douglock all ask at once. Colossus asks Nightcrawler if he means like the ones from the “fairy tale” Kitty told to lull his sister, Illyana, to sleep. ‘As Douglock said, “rule out the impossible”!’ Kurt remarks, while thinking to himself that if those miniature versions of him are to their usual tricks to win Kitty’s affection, then this won’t be as bad as he suspects. Kurt then teleports away, arriving in Kitty’s quarters. ‘Nope, it’s worse’ he tells himself, before asking Wisdom and Kitty if they are having a little pest problem in the dormitories.
Wisdom tells Kurt to get down here and help them exterminate these ruddy knock-offs. ‘Hey baby, how about a kiss?’ one of the Bamfs asks Kitty. Kurt asks Kitty what happened. ‘Don’t tell me you accidentally opened the dimensional door to the “Well at the Center of Time” again?!’ Kitty smacks one of the Bamfs in the face. ‘Absolutely not!’ she exclaims, informing Kurt that one minute she is cuddling up to her Bamf doll, and the next thing, they are up to their ears in irate blue Munchkins.
‘We know you love us best! Why won’t you admit it?’ one of the Bamfs asks. Kitty tells the Bamf that she is sorry, but she is already spoken for, and smacks it away. As the Bamf lands on the ground, another one suggests that he try roses next time. ‘Chicks dig them!’.
Wisdom starts up his “hot knives” and asks to be let at the Bamfs, as he is in a foul enough mood as it is now, and he could sure use some target practice to blow off some steam. ‘And maybe a few of their heads’ he adds quietly. But Nightcrawler tells him to stand down and suggests they see what they really want. Shadowcat points out that it is obvious, they want her. Kitty adds that it is because of these little maniacs that Lockheed has been such a basket case over the past few weeks. ‘I can’t imagine the terrible things they did to make my poor dragon so afraid…or why’.
Three angry Bamfs group together and one of them tells Kitty it is because she created them, gave them life, made them love her - but then she forgot about them, all because of some stupid mumbly-mouthed dragon. ‘It flaps its wings…bats its eyes…coos for you some, and wam! You’re fawning all over that slimy lizard instead of cuddling up with us!’ another of the Bamfs exclaims, while the third declares that for that insult to their tender affections, ‘Your friends are gonna die!’.
Colossus, Meggan and Douglock burst into the room, ‘Again? First, it’s Black Air…then the Sidri hunters…and now plush toys!’ exclaims Meggan. ‘Staying alive has become so tedious lately!’ she adds, while some of the Bamfs decide that it is time to make their exit. Colossus tells the creatures that they have had enough of the mischief and that they need to settle down so Excalibur can return them to where they belong. Meggan tosses several of the Bamfs aside, while Wisdom asks Colossus how he proposes they are going to do that. ‘Energy manipulation’ Nightcrawler exclaims, before Douglock exclaims that in theory, Meggan’s powers should be able to tap into that “well” that they spoke of, but only if she can discern the proper spatial relations between dimensions at near infinite points without causing a complete universal breakdown in the process.
Colossus remarks that it seems they have reached an impasse, and suggests to the Bamfs that they surrender. ‘Why don’t you?’ one of them exclaims, before boasting that they have the winning ace up their sleeves. Suddenly, Douglock extends a techno-organic tendril around one of the Bamfs’ necks. ‘Hey, boss!’ cries the Bamf for help, when suddenly…Nightmare appears! The villain has Lockheed lying on the ground, chained beside him and tells the Bamfs to settle down, as he is here, or more precisely, everywhere. ‘In the shadows, lurking under every child’s bed…in the dark, subconscious recesses of every human head…you will find me and my realm of horrors!’ Nightmare introduces himself to those in Excalibur who do not know him, and announces that they have something that he wants….