The New Mutants are enjoying a fun afternoon, playing soccer outside. Sam Guthrie warns one of his foes, Illyana Rasputin, that her team ain’t gonna score another goals against his. That moment, Roberto daCosta passes her the ball and Illyana suggests Sam leave the fortunetelling to someone who knows how it’s done. She passes it back to Bobby, who scores anther goal. As a goaltender, Doug Ramsey doesn’t have any chance against Roberto, whose passion has been soccer long before he discovered he was a mutant.
Striking the air, Bobby shouts it’s another point for daCosta’s Demons. Sam warns him that his Guthrie’s Gorillas still have one more quarter to. Robert replies that Sam is his dearest friend and he would be doing him a disservice if he permitted Sam to delude himself. He has no chance. Dani (who’s on Sam’s team) asks Amara if it bothers the Demons to have such a shy modest guy for a captain. She can live with the disgrace, Magma replies, provided they go on winning.
From some distance on a bluff, Rahne Sinclair and Warlock are watching the game. Warlock asks why Rahne isn’t participating. The girl replies that when she isn’t in wolf form she has no turn for sporting past times and this way the sides stay even. Besides, it’s so lovely and peaceful here with him.
Warlock examines a dandelion and asks if the puffplants are sentient beings. No, they have no hearts or minds if that’s what he means, Rahne replies lazily and blows one. Is it acceptable to consume its lifeglow? he asks. Rahne doesn’t see why not. They can be pretty and fun to blow around but they can become nuisances if unchecked. Warlock infects a dandelion with his techno-organic virus and then consumes its energy, leaving a husk behind.
From inside the mansion their new headmaster Magneto – now under the cover as Michael Xavier – watches their play. He is deeply lost in thoughts. With a sigh, thinking of his old friend Charles Xavier, he admits it’s impossible. He tries his best to teach Charles’ students as Charles would have wished and run his school, but he has no hand for administration. He decides that Moira MacTaggart both has a gift for it and for dealing with young mutants. He decides to call her and hopes she will agree to come and help him.
At the Muir Isle research complex, Moira, assisted by Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, is currently testing the powers of another of Muir’s inhabitants, Theresa Rourke Cassidy aka Siryn. Moira notes with satisfaction that Siryn has been holding herself aloft on the strength of one note for five minutes now with no sign of strain. Suddenly, she sees the phonelight blink (not having heard it ring thanks to Siryn). She asks Jamie to go tell Theresa to quiet down so she can take the call.
Jamie calls for Siryn, who can’t hear him over he racket. The solution is easy, as suddenly a dozen Jamies call out in unison, finally getting Theresa’s attention. With that, Moira can finally accept her call, coming from Magneto. The master of magnetism is asking her for a favor. He has little taste for formal academics – with his powers he gets the files of the mutants – and a most incomplete understanding of the criteria used by Charles in drawing up what he termed “report cards.” Moreover, most of the New Mutants have undergone some shattering emotional experiences lately, they seem well enough, but there is deep trauma, so if Moira would consent…
Outside the Xavier estate, the game continues. Sam gets ready to shoot a goal, getting past Roberto. But Sunspot catches the ball easily. Unfortunately, Sam, still in action, crashes into Bobby, slamming him inadvertently against the goalpost and to the ground. Roberto reacts instinctively, accessing his powers and punching Sam away. Sam crashes into a tree and falls hard.
Almost instantaneously, Bobby realizes what he has done. Sam has been his dearest friend from the first day here. The other kids instantly run to Sam’s side. Somewhat hesitant to get closer, Bobby asks if Sam is all right. Is he breathing? How badly did he hurt Sam? The others shoot him reproachful looks and Dani acidly informs him that, no, he hasn’t managed to kill Sam. Doug adds that they hope that doesn’t disappoint him. Hiding his hurt with anger, Bobby asks how they can talk like such idiots. He thought they were his friends!
Are they such idiots? Dani asks. They all saw what he did to Sam. If that is how he treats his friends, then they want no part of it. Bobby stammers an apology. When Sam hurt him like that, he lost his head… He lost his temper, Doug finishes. Dani replies they don’t want to hear his excuses. Maybe Sam’s mother and little brothers and sisters will… if it comes to that. She can’t mean a funeral? Rahne asks hesitantly.
Is friendsam’s lifeglow fading, the panicked Warlock asks pleads for Dani to explain. She suggest Warlock ask Bobby to explain. He’s the one who did it.
Bobby realizes they won’t let him near Sam, not even to see if he’s all right or help. They don’t trust him too. His friends… no longer want him among them. They are… right.
That moment, Magneto and the team’s oldest member Karma, approach the kids. The headmaster immediately demands an explanation. Agitated, Warlock asks after Sam’s lifeglow and Shan tries to calm him. Sam awakes, still woozy, asking after Bobby and whether they go the goal. The rest of the kids are relived. Magneto decides to drive Sam to a doctor in Salem Center to be X-rayed. Looking back at Bobby who stands at the mansion’s door, he suspects he will have to face an equally grave, though less life-threatening problem upon his return.
Bobby has gone to his room to think. He realizes that today he has not acted like a hero. He has never heard of Captain America losing his temper… or the mighty Thor hurting someone he cares about simply because he could not control himself. If he met the great Thomas Magnum of Magnum PI today, he would not be able to look him in the face.
He wishes he could go home, but his parents are no longer together. He sifts though a photo album, musing that his father is more concerned with wealth and power than with his family. He has joined the Hellfire Club… and they are evil people and among Roberto’s sworn enemies.
Looking at a photo that shows his parents young and happy with him as an infant, his thoughts turn to his mother. Nina is a brave woman and a talented archaeologist. And sometimes he is afraid that she loves her musty old digs more than she does her son. This is his home now, His friends are here… and, though they have been unfair to him, although they never understand him, they are his family now. Bobby walks downstairs, wishing Professor Xavier were here. He always understood.
He enters the headmaster’s office, wishing to talk to Magneto, but the office is empty as Magneto is still in Salem Center. He wonders whether to wait or not when he glances across Magneto’s desk and on it sees confidential files about the New Mutants, including his own. He wonders what Professor Xavier wrote about him… surely if no one ever finds out he looked there can be no harm. A moment later, he wishes he hadn’t.
Xavier’s report on Sunspot:
A most precocious lad. But also, I suspect, deeply troubled. His father – whom Roberto idolized – joined the ranks of the Hellfire Club. The very people responsible for the death of Roberto’s girlfriend.
Roberto and Sam have grown especially close – My hope is that Sam provides a steadying influence. Roberto’s brash self-confidence could so easily become arrogance.
And from there lead him inevitably down t he road chosen by his father.
Roberto feels as though he has been slapped in the face.
In the meantime in Salem Center Sam, surrounded by his friends, receives the happy new, that he has suffered no serious injury. He has a concussion, not a skull fracture. The doctor recommends a few days’ bed rest, no studying and no sport and he’ll be as good as new. Magneto – in his guise a Michael Xavier – thanks the doctor. He joins him to fill out some forms. Sam, in the meantime, is uneasy. He wants to get home as soon as possible and set things right with Bobby. He owes him a big apology.
What for? Surviving? Doug asks incredulously. His friends remind Sam of what Bobby did. His loss of temper could have caused Sam’s death. Sam reminds them that it isn’t what it looks like. Sam hit him hard first. He darn near broke Bobby’s neck. Warlock adds that Bobby showed great alarm and concern. Surely when he hears Friendsam’s wellbeing is established he will express regret. Illyan snorts she wouldn’t count on it and advises Warlock to concentrate on maintaining his human shape till they get out or it will be the doctor who expresses great alarm and concern.
Back on Muir, Moira observes with amusement that Siryn seems to be quite excited at the prospect of their trip. Theresa replies that New York will be a fine change after months of seclusion on this island. Have they forgotten anything? Three different Madroxes assure her they haven’t. One brings the luggage, the second the plane tickets and the third picked up things they might need on their trip. Moira asks him to pull himself together then, unless he booked three seats on that flight.
Back at Xavier’s school the kids wonder where Roberto is. Rahne finds a note and brings it to Magneto. It reads:
Dear Everyone –
You were all right and I was wrong. It was terrible of me to hurt Sam, who is the best friend I ever had. You are all good friends and I have been proud to know you all and be one of you… but I do not belong here. I know that now. I am an evil person, and if I stay I will only end up hurting someone or disgracing you. I saw my report card, so I know Professor Xavier knew this, too. Farewell. Please forgive me. And tell Sam I hope his head is better soon.
The mutants are touched and feel guilty. Sam recalls how, when the New Mutants were first formed, he worked for the Hellfire Club, who killed Roberto’s girlfriend. Roberto forgave him for that.
Magneto sternly tells them they got their pound of flesh. He suggests they all go to their rooms and contemplate that while he thinks of some way to repair the harm that’s been done this day.
The mutants head to their rooms, only Warlock stays behind, pondering on why friend Roberto is permitted to leave while misunderstood and unforgiven. He finds his current state of dismay unacceptable. All friends must be together to form a harmonious unit in spite of difference. Is this not nature of friendshipstate? Friendbobby must be found and reassurances must be given. Harmony restored. He concludes that beings who seek loss of self do so in Manhattan and decides to look for Bobby there. Transforming into a cartoon helicopter the alien speeds off.
Roberto finds himself in Manhattan after a night of sleeping rough in a bus station. He’s caught between shame and injured pride and is low on funds. Feeling hungry, he passes a Korean teen who musters him critically.
A young boy addresses the teenager, offering a pornographic calendar. The teenager first seems interested in the calendar, then tears it apart. The boyish-looking youth reveals herself to be a girl. Angrily, she addresses the kid that he can’t be more than ten. He shouldn’t be out of bed at this time. Instead, he’s hawking goods on the streets. Did his parents send him out there? Did they tell him not to come home until he’d sold every calendar and made a lot of money for Reverend Yune Kim Park and the Glorification Church.
Angrily, she continues that her family made her do that. The Glorification Church brought her into the country. Promised they’d make them citizens and they worked like slaves for that privilege. That’s why she ran away. Maybe there is a God and Heaven, but they have nothing to do with Park and his flock.
She takes away his calendars and his money. Now, she tells him his family has to let him come home and go to bed… or to school. He recognizes her as Chance, the renegade and runs away, threatening he’s going to tell Reverend Park. She scoffs he can tell him there’s no chance for him in this town. Not as long as she’s on the street.
Pleased with herself, Chance counts her money, getting the attention of two tough guys, who demand the cash. Seemingly peaceful she offers it, only to hit and kick them both with a swift move the next moment. Chance takes off, with the men in pursuit. Unfortunately, Chance ends up in a dead end street. No longer amused the men draw their knives, intent on making Chance pay in more than one way.
That moment, Roberto shows up, assuring Chance he will stop them. Roberto turns to his Sunspot form. Chance is startled. She watches as Bobby disarms the men and demands they apologize to Chance. “Hit him again!” she shouts as Roberto lifts one of the men over his head. Suddenly though Bobby feels strange. His superstrength leaves him, drains away. He stumbles and the two men come at them again with a knife and a lead-pipe.