A kiss is all it takes. All the doubt…all the fear…all the insecurity born of lost faith…they all disappear in the caress of a loved one’s lips. It’s at moments like these when hope - adrift on an endless sea of confused emotion - is suddenly found. And the world is wonderful once more. Like right now, here on Muir Island, Scotland, where Brian Braddock a.k.a. Captain Britain, Europe’s finest hero, has returned to the team he co-founded, and the woman whom he loves, and who loves him back - the elemental Meggan. ‘Uh…Meggan, darling? Thrilled as I am to see you after all this time, sweetheart - might we continue our long overdue reunion on terra firma?’ Brian asks as he and Meggan hover high in the air.
Meggan apologizes, remarking that she got carried away, as she is so excited to see him. Meggan tells Brian that, day after day, sunrise after sunrise, she would sit on this very dock, waiting for him to return. ‘It feels like forever since you’ve been gone’ Meggan exclaims. ‘Indeed’ replies Brian, adding that it is certainly a long way down, as he clings to Meggan, who asks him what is wrong and asks him since when he has been afraid of heights. ‘Since I discovered the powers I lost weren’t coming back!’ Brian replies as they land on the dock.
‘They’re not? You mean…never?’ Meggan asks shocked. Brian turns away from her, ‘You sound disappointed. Afraid I’m not the same Captain Britain who once saved your life?’ Brian asks, declaring that he thought that might be a problem, that without his powers, Meggan would find him less attractive, less desirable a husband. ‘Less of a hero…less of a man’. Meggan lets out a small laugh as she wraps her arms around Brian, who asks her if something is funny. ‘Just how silly you’re being’ Meggan replies, telling Brian that, after all these years, he should know that, empowered or powerless, he will always be her hero.
Meanwhile, inside an obscure Operation Zero Tolerance installation, nestled deep within the Peruvian Highlands. A forgotten outpost founded upon the principles of Genocide and genetic prejudice. It is a place where hope - once lost - is rarely ever found. ‘Nightcrawler! Look out!’ shouts Katherine “Kitty” Pryde a.k.a. Shadowcat as her friend and teammate is attacked by a surprising discovery - the man known as Calvin Rankin, who can painfully attest to the lost hope of this facility. Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner dodges an optic blast fired from Mimic’s eyes, while Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin and the techno-organic Douglock also take cover. ‘Stay away…you monsters!’ Mimic shouts, declaring that they cannot keep him here anymore, that he will not let them. Excalibur came here in search of their missing mentor, Professor Charles Xavier…yet another casualty to Zero Tolerance’s war against mutant kind. They found the Mimic instead.
Nightcrawler calls out to Mimic, assuring him that they are not the enemy. Douglock remarks that the Prime Sentinels must have messed up Mimic’s mind so bad that he doesn’t know who the real enemy is. ‘Not that it matters to him right now!’ Douglock exclaims, before calling for help, only to slip on a layer of ice that Mimic set down. With some debris still falling though, Douglock calls out to Colossus to warn him. Piotr turns and smashes the falling debris aside with his powerful form, while remarking that saving Douglock from falling debris is becoming something of a habit. ‘Thank you!’ Douglock repeats over and over.
Shadowcat becomes intangible to allow a barrage of ice to pass right through her as Mimic attacks. Kitty tells herself that Mimic has Cyclops’ optic blasts, Marvel Girl’s telekinesis, Beast’s strength and dexterity, Angel’s wings, Iceman’s thermodynamics, and even some of the Professor’s telepathy, and even though he possesses all that power, it is still not enough to free him from the technological prison he is being held in. Kitty feels sorry for Mimic, being prodded and poked for so long, he is more a caged animal than a rational, thinking man. ‘Lucky for him, my natural intangibility comes with a built-in lock pick for all things techno!’.
Kitty shoves her hand into the control system, short circuiting it, while hoping that Mimic doesn’t freak out and tear them apart. Released from his bonds, Mimic rubs his long-chained wrists. ‘Free?’ he asks. Nightcrawler and the others slowly approach Mimic, and Kurt tells Calvin that he is free at last. Kurt reminds Calvin that he was an X-Man once, and assures him that they are not the monsters who hurt him, but friends who are here to help. ‘Do you understand?’ Kurt asks. Mimic looks at them, ‘Friends? X-Men? I think - I think I remember!’ he exclaims.
Kurt smiles, ‘Yes, you do remember. I know you do. You must’ Kurt exclaims, adding that Mimic must remember Charles Xavier, and asks if he saw Professor X here, saw what happened to him. Kurt asks Mimic if he saw where the Prime Sentinels take Xavier. ‘You remember them, don’t you? The Robot people?’ Kurt asks. ‘Robot people?’ Mimic asks. A flash in his memory, he sees a Prime Sentinel attacking him, and exclaims that he remembers, ‘I remember!’ he shouts, unleashing a powerful optic blast in the process.
‘Not a particularly pleasant memory, I assume!’ Kurt exclaims while dodging the blast, while telling his teammates to take cover, as he think he touched a nerve with Mimic. Colossus urges Douglock to look out, but it is too late, as Mimic’s blast smacks right into him. ‘Never mind’ Piotr mumbles. ‘I am so not cut out for this lifestyle! Douglock mutters while rubbing his head.
Back on Muir Island, Meggan, Brian, Dr. Moira MacTaggert and Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair are having a catch up over some tea. Moira exclaims that it has been ages since she has heard from the lads at Darkmoor, and asks Brian if they have taken her picture off their dartboard yet. Brian replies that they haven’t, as Darkmoor is still trying to keep up with her research, to their eternal dismay. Brian adds that the scientists at Darkmoor would likely keel over if they knew that Moira was taking a break from her Legacy Virus research. Brian admits that he is rather surprised himself.
‘Well, they don’t award the Nobel to corpses!’ Moira exclaims, before explaining to Brian that she decided, with some unexpected help from Douglock, that perhaps the time had come to take a sabbatical of her own. ‘To smell the roses, so to speak’. Moira adds that, from the looks of things now, the roses are to be wedding bouquets. Brian just smiles, while Rahne asks when the big day is. Jokingly, Meggan tells Brian to marry her now or lost her forever. Brian smiles, ‘Right. I think I’ve kept you waiting long enough’ he admits. ‘How about next week?’.
‘Next week? But I haven’t anything to wear!’ Meggan exclaims, shocked. Rahne remarks that a week isn’t much time, to which Moira whispers that, when you are in love, it can be an eternity. Moira and Rahne pull Meggan up from the sofa while Moira tells Rahne that she knows just the place to find her gown and her make up, and her shoes…. Rahne exclaims that this is so exciting, just like Cyclops’ and Phoenix’s wedding. Meggan blushes and remarks that she hopes she looks half as beautiful as Jean Grey did, and asks Brian to wish her luck. Brian assures Meggan that when it comes to being beautiful, she does not need any luck, while thinking to himself how good it is to be home.
Meanwhile, elsewhere within Zero Tolerance’s Peruvian stronghold, the five Prime Sentinels trapped here gather themselves, while the female exclaims that they should have destroyed the “Mimic” when they had the chance, for now they are trapped and their only chance at survival depends on whether a bunch of gene joke muties rescues them or not. One of the others replies ‘Not me! I became a Prime Sentinel to exterminate those freaks. No way I’m hanging my life on them!’, before suggesting they kill them all now and let God sort them out later.
He begins to go towards the chamber where Excalibur are dealing with Mimic, until the female tells him to stand down, and unleashes a small blast, stopping him in his tracks, he asks what gives? The woman exclaims that they all made a huge mistake when they sold their souls to that devil Bastion, who baited them with his twisted promises of genetic purity, and they bit - hook, line and sinker. She remarks that is all over with now, and this is the aftermath - the retribution. ‘The judgment upon us all’ she remarks, before telling her companions that whether they like it or now, the mutants are the only chance at salvation they are ever going to get.
Inside the chamber, Nightcrawler teleports rapidly around Mimic, hoping that by teleporting and hitting as fast as possible should keep Mimic off balance before he has a chance to - ‘Stop it! Stay away! You’re making me change!’ Mimic exclaims as he swats Nightcrawler away. Kitty realizes that Nightcrawler was too close too long, and now Mimic has adapted his powers. Kitty thinks it is fortunate that some of them possess other talents that are not genetically bred, and decides that it is time to see how the copycat fares against someone skilled in the deadly ways of the ninja!
However, as Kitty almost hits Mimic, she instead passes through, then, the now blue-skinned Mimic trips her up, and Kitty realizes that Mimic can not only phase, but he knows all about her martial arts techniques too. Nightcrawler tends to the fallen Shadowcat, while remarking that as if fighting the combined powers of the original X-Men wasn’t bad enough, now they have to fight themselves too. Colossus exclaims that he might be able to prevent Mimic from adapting their powers any further, and rushes towards Mimic, thinking that though he is resilient, even he must fall before the force of his organic steel - Colossus realizes his theory was wrong as Mimic smashes Colossus across the chamber and through the next wall.
‘That was some wallop!’ Douglock exclaims as he looks through the large hole and asks Colossus if he is okay, only to be grabbed by Mimic, who clings to the ceiling while throwing Douglock around, exclaiming that he looks like the robot-people so will hurt him, try to shock him like they did. ‘Ow! Not the hair!’ Douglock shouts as Mimic tugs at his techno-organic hair. ‘Did someone declare it “mop the floor with Douglock day” and forget to tell me?’ Douglock asks as Mimic release him and tosses him aside. Nightcrawler tells Douglock to go limp as he catches him, while informing him that he has discovered Mimic’s weakness. ‘Sounds like a plan to me!’ Douglock exclaims as Kurt whispers a plan to him.
In London, ‘I feel fat in this!’ Meggan exclaims as she stands before a mirror in large white wedding dress. The tailor tells Meggan that her figure is rather inconsistent with their available dresses, and that no two sizes seem to fit her the same, that it is like her body keeps changing. Rahne whispers to Moira that the poor tailor sure has his work cut out for him. Moira agrees, remarking that she doubts many empathic metamorphs frequent the bridal department.
The tailor reaches for another dress while thinking to himself ‘Fifteen dresses in over three hours. They don’t pay me enough for this!’, before handing another dress to Meggan and suggesting that this is more to her liking. ‘Fussy bloody cow’ he thinks, while Meggan gets changed behind a curtain, Moira remarks that she knows Meggan wants to look beautiful for Brian. ‘But ye’re almost as indecisive about buying clothes as Kitty!’ Rahne adds.
‘Well, then…how about this?’ Meggan asks, stepping out from behind the curtain. ‘Too prissy. I should know!’ Rahne exclaims. ‘Better?’ Meggan asks, moments later, in yet another dress. ‘Too trampy!’ Rahne exclaims. ‘Waaay too trampy!’ Moira agrees. ‘Oh, I give up! I’ll never find the right dress!’ Meggan sighs as she tries on yet another. Moira smiles: ‘You know the old saying luv’ she begins. ‘”Three hundred and thirty times isthe charm”!’ Rahne exclaims. ‘Very well…then how about this?’ Meggan asks. ‘Perfect!’ everyone exclaims in unison.
Back in Peru, ‘Douglock, what are you doing?’ Colossus exclaims as he sees Douglock with his arms wrapped around Mimic’s neck. Mimic thrashes about wildly, trying to rid himself of Douglock, who replies that it was all Kurt’s idea. Kurt calls out to Colossus, quickly informing him that Douglock has the means to subdue Mimic, but only with his help. Douglock remarks that his techno-organic coils cannot penetrate Mimic’s steel hide, but that a surface pulse might do the trick, but it will take all the power he has got.
Douglock tries to latch onto Mimic, and Colossus grabs Mimic while telling Douglock to make it quick, as Mimic’s strength rivals his own, and cannot contain him much longer. Mimic shouts out in frustration, ‘Here goes everything!’ Douglock exclaims as he and Colossus are thrust from Mimic, who screams as energy courses through Douglock’s coils inundating Mimic with the once force capable of laying him low - electricity! Mimic resists the deluge of pain with the same determination that allowed him to survive the torment meted out by his Zero Tolerance captors. This time, however, all his determination, all his resistance, proves futile.
One of the Prime Sentinels alerts the other to the force field around the complex which they can see through a skylight window dissipating. ‘We’re free! Let’s get out of here!’ The female Prime Sentinel is somewhat surprised. ‘They did it. The mutants really did it. They saved us!’ she exclaims. The five Prime Sentinels take flight, while she thinks to herself, ‘All that hatred. All that fear. All that death and destruction…all along, believing their species to be a threat to humanity’s way of life….never once realizing that deep down inside - whether homo sapiens or homo superior - we’re all the same’ she declares that they were fools. ‘I’m so sorry’ she whispers as they leave the complex.
Kitty motions to the air and alerts Nightcrawler to the escaping Prime Sentinels, she exclaims that they cannot let them get away, but Kurt tells her to leave them be. ‘But after all they’ve done to our friends…our family…to the Professor!’ Kitty protests. Nightcrawler replies that, hard as it may be, they must find it within themselves to forgive the Prime Sentinels for their sins, and pray they never find it within themselves to commit them again.
Nightcrawler then turns his attention back to Mimic, informing him that there is something he must ask, something of dire importance. Kitty reminds Kurt that Mimic has just been through hell, and that it looks as if he is just now reverting back to what passes for his “normal” state, she suggests Kurt give him time to recuperate before he starts on with the third degree, that once they get Mimic back to Muir Island and Moira has had time to address the damage done by Zero Tolerance, then Kurt can start grilling him.
Colossus agrees, ‘One ordeal per day is enough to suffer’ he remarks while helping Mimic to his feet, telling him to take it easy and that it is over. Tired, Mimic thanks everyone. Kurt tells Calvin that there is no need to thank them, before asking him if while he was held prisoner, did anyone make any mention of Professor Xavier. ‘Any mention at all? I must know!’. ‘The Prof? No, nothing. Why?’ Mimic asks. ‘No reason in particular…’ Kurt replies solemnly.
Minutes later, en route across the Atlantic Ocean and bound for Muir Island. Mimic is hooked up to some equipment and Colossus watches over him, while Kitty tells Kurt to look on the bright side, remarking that not only did they help the Prime Sentinels - who are still just people - but they saved Mimic, good things which would not have happened unless he asked them to come to Peru with him. Kitty adds that it may feel like he has let the Professor down by on the front line during the war against Bastion, ‘Which you probably think means you’re less than the leader - less than the hero - he trained you to be…but you were out there fighting for his dream. You just did it on other fronts. With the rest of us!’.
Kitty remarks that they don’t have to be “X-Men” to do that, to which Kurt replies that it sounds like Kitty is trying awfully hard to justify Excalibur’s distance in the current scheme of things. ‘Maybe’. Kitty replies, before asking Kurt if he remembers what Professor X always said. “Once an X-Man…always an X-Man!”. ‘How could I ever forget?’ Kurt asks.
In London, a certain whirlwind shopping spree comes to an end, and Moira tells Meggan that she will knock Brian off his feet when he sees her in that dress. ‘Yeah, I guess’ Meggan replies quietly. Rahne asks Meggan what the matter is, pointing out that she doesn’t seem very excited about getting married. Meggan hangs her head and replies that she is, but that there is something she should probably tell Brian, but she is scared. ‘Something really, really bad!’ Meggan adds. Moira asks if she is referring to the situation with Colossus, to which Meggan asks Moira how she knows about that.
Moira replies that it was not difficult to see the sparks between Meggan and Colossus, though the sparks certainly did seem to be flying off Meggan more than Colossus, Moira admits. Meggan replies that it was just some stupid crush when she was feeling lonely, and that it meant nothing, as she never stopped loving Brian. Meggan asks her friends if they think she should say anything. ‘What do you think?’ Moira asks. ‘Crumbs…’ Meggan mutters, knowing the answer to a hard question.