Sunspot and Warlock take a confused look at their new surroundings: a cluttered yet comfortable room. Wiring on the wall calls it the “Beat St. Club.” A grinning Vanisher greets them all. And he’d like to say to all of his loyal followers as well as the new recruits: Welcome to the Beat Street Club. Welcome home.
What is this place? Bobby demands. It’s where we are, stupid, Chance tells him. Beat Street is the home for the Fallen Angels, Ariel explains, all the misfits who knew they weren’t going to make it as superheroes… or maybe think it wasn’t even worth to try. And they can tell by just looking that description fits all of them, Chance addresses Sunspot, Warlock and the Madroxes. Sunspot coolly reminds her that he saved her life earlier, but demands she address him with the respect a DaCosta deserves or…
Oh, she can’t wait to hear that one, Chance replies unimpressed. Does he wanna hear what she really thinks he deserves? Vanisher gets between them, assuring Sunspot she was fooling.
Ariels assures Roberto that she and Chance felt bad about leaving him to his fate, that’s why they sent the rest of the Angels to find him. And if he stays for a while, Warlock is welcome too? Bobby asks. Wouldn’t dream of separating them, Ariel promises. After all once an angel has fallen, what’s he got left but his friends? Sunspot finds himself taken in by the girl.
What about them? Ariel addresses the Madroxes. They came there to convince Bobby and Warlock to return home. The best place to convince them is if they’re close at hand, the girl points out, and maybe Beat Street might become home to them too. The Madroxes admit that it’s nice and cozy there.
Gomi tells them to make themselves comfortable while he does the same for Don and Bill. He asks Don what he wants to hear. Either Talking Heads or the Albuquerque’s Boys greatest Polka hits, he figures from Don’s reply. With their mental images, the lobsters inform him they are hungry. Did she hear? Vanisher tells Chance; they are hungry. Life’s tough, Chance replies unimpressed. He sighs for her not to make him say it. She knows the rules. Yeah, only they apply to only some of them. She tells Ariel to help her get some food.
Warlock asks Gomi if Don and Bill are sentient beings, while Gomi is busy checking out records.
In the restaurant, Siryn is pissed off, demanding to know where the kids disappeared to, while the Madrox with her tries to calm her. Angrily, she explains that all his duplicates and Warlock and Sunspot ran into a room that looked nothing like this and slammed the door in her face.
The waiter tries to get them to sit down and order. In frustration, Theresa screams and some of the glasses shatter. Madrox mutters something about a low-flying plane as apology and gets her to sit down and check the menu.
She apologizes. He doesn’t seem to be worried abut his duplicates disappearing. That’s why he’s not worried, he retorts. Wherever Warlock and Sunspot at, he’s sure his other selves are keeping them out of trouble. The only trouble is he doesn’t know where he is. But his copies… she interjects. They aren’t copies, he explains. Each and everyone of them is genuine with his own life and memories for as long as he’s apart from him. But each Madrox is complete unto himself. He’s no realer or better than any of the others. He’s just luckier because he gets to be the only one with her.
Another Madrox elsewhere helps the lady from the terminal carry her luggage. She thanks him. But won’t his twin brother, the one she saw him with, worry about him? Let him, he replies. Besides this is so great. He was only once in Manhattan before. And he got hassled so much, he never really got to see the sights. And when he thinks of the long lonely miserable years on the farm after ma and pa died… They left him and his brother all alone? the lady asks, as he carries the luggage up her house. No, there were a lot of them, Jamie replies evasively. When he rejoins the others, all he’ll have are his memories conflicting with other memories of how he spent this time It’ll be like dying and losing himself.
Back at the Fallen Angels’ hideout, the bunch of Madroxes figure that the girls won’t bring enough for all of them to eat, and there aren’t enough chairs anyway. So, slapping against each other, they pull themselves together, until there is only one Madrox left. Just in time for Ariel and Chance to return with some fast food.
Chance remarks that they shouldn’t expect her to clean the table. Fair enough, the Vanisher, lazing around, agrees and orders Gomi to clear the table. The boy just agrees and concentrates his mind-over-matter powers on the table. Unfortunately, his control isn’t that great and objects begin to fly all over the room.
The Vanisher shouts at him, calling him an incompetent, something Gomi’s lobsters take badly to. One of them immediately bites into the Vanisher’s foot and the other gets in front of Gomi, looking aggressively at anyone else willing to insult him. His own fault, Ariel admonishes the Vanisher as she puts down the food. He knows that the lobsters don’t like it if anyone picks more on Gomi than usual.
Even among crustaceans, such loyalty to one’s friends, Bobby observes. Once he enjoyed that same gift before he wantonly tossed it aside, he angsts. Warlock anxiously asks if his friendship isn’t satisfactory. Bobby calms him. He doesn’t know what good act he has performed in his wasted life of his to deserve as true a friend as Warlock. Warlock inquires if Madrox might not be considered a satisfactory friend as well. He too followed when former friends approved policy of personal isolation and ostracism. If Madrox does not consider himself sullied by the company of such pariahs as they, he would consider himself honored, Bobby replies.
The Angels share the burgers (with extra penguin McBurgers for Don and Bill) and Vanisher proves that nobody takes him seriously when he lets Ariel steal his seat. Jamie is curious about Gomi’s lobsters and asks what their story is. Are they mutants? Is Gomi? Gomi remarks that Don’s color marks him as a mutant, but mutations aren’t what gave any of them their abilities. They are three cyborgs. He had a small hand in their creation.
Gomi narrates how his cousin, Ramon Lipschitz, and his best friend, Tadashi Fujita, were despite only being college seniors two of the most brilliant scientists of their age. When they were given a research grant and faculties near Coney Island and needed a lab assistant, they called on him. He likes to think it’s because he is neither completely unintelligent nor unfamiliar with scientific methods (translation: they needed someone who’d work for free).
Ramon and his partner had always been good for him. When they found out how much he hated his real name, Fujita said he’d completely understand and gave him his new Japanese name Gomi (Japanese for garbage).
Their project was on superbeings, the wave of the future. They wanted to use cybernetics to try and enhance normal creatures’ abilities and were using lobsters for their subjects, one perfectly ordinary and one a blue mutant as a control.
Gomi talked to the two lobsters, promising them they’d enjoy lives as sentient beings. Neither of them was showing any signs of rejecting their parts so soon they’d be able to think and communicate. They’ll be able to live outside the water for long periods and have superior strength.
However, over the course of their research, Ramon and Fujita had developed more than academic interest in one particular superbeing (whom they even had a pinup of), Marvel Girl, considering her the perfect superheroine, dreaming of the time after they’d publish, be famous and maybe get to meet her in the flesh.
The lobsters showed success and superior strength as one of them ripped apart a phonebook, and the two men went out partying. However, it was Gomi who tried to personalize the lobsters’ living conditions much to the two men’s annoyance.
Then one day, after the Starcore spaceflight disaster and the appearance of a new superbeing, Phoenix, disaster struck as the two men realized that Phoenix was none other than a transformed Marvel Girl. Something had ruined their dream girl.
And so a new phase of their research was immediately undertaken as Ramon and Fujita worked feverishly to develop cybernetics that would recreate the original Marvel Girl. The cybernetics worked. The plan was to kidnap a lovely girl and implant the cybernetics in her but Ramon was doubtful; what if something went awry? They’d have ruined a perfectly good girl for nothing. But what do they have lab animals for if not to experiment upon, Tadashi replies. Agreeing, they both captured Gomi, anaesthetized him and implanted the cybernetics in him.
However, it became soon clear that something had gone wrong with their invention. It manipulated a form of telekinesis, but it was capable only of creating a pillar of pure brute force. There was no fine motor control whatsoever. And an even bigger disaster lurked around the corner. The new administration had cut grants to the sciences and they were sending an inspector to examine their results.
What results, they wondered. They have to eat them, Fujita decided. The lobsters maybe, Ramon replied, but they can’t eat Gomi. Their mothers play mahjong together. So the two of them fled, leaving Gomi, Don and Bill to wait for an inspector that thanks to a bureaucratic snafu never came. Instead, along came the Fallen Angels on a membership drive and they voted two to one that they were sick of living alone and joined up.
Warlock consumes the rest of the food. Madrox asks Ariel about her teleportation. Is she a mutant too? The teleportation is just a trick some of the folks at home taught her, the girl replies. It all has to do with doorways. Concentrate on a closed door and mentally juxtapose it with another closed door. And when she opens the door in front her of her, the others side is the other side of the door she’s thinking of. She has no idea how it works scientifically. She thinks it involves bending space. But the important think is it always works.
Vanisher tells her not to be so modest. He’s sure Madrox, Sunspot and Warlock would be much more impressed by a demonstration. What’s he driving at, Ariel asks. Boom Boom, he tells her. Has she forgotten she’s in the clutches of those notorious mutant hunters, X-Factor? Let them have her, Chance announces. “Time Bomb” turned the rest of them in of her own free will. If she’s stuck now, too bad.
Ariel asks Chance not to be so hasty and unforgiving. There are more important things at stake here than individual emotions. Much more important or does she have to draw her a picture? Chance gets what she driving at and agrees.
Meanwhile, Siryn and the other Madrox are getting something from Cerebro. The building they are passing must be full of mutants. It’s the headquarters of X-Factor, Siryn explains and suggests they move along quickly. Madrox tells her they have another concentration of mutants near the midtown area.
In the lab inside the X-Factor HQ, Hank McCoy and Bobby Drake are going over Hank’s calculations. Boom Boom interrupts them, suggesting they head upstairs. There’s something important going on there. Hank tries to throw her out, while Bobby points out there really might be something. Oh sure, Hank scoffs. She probably wants to lure them into a deadfall she’s got set up in the hallway or something.
While they argue, Boom Boom fumes at never being taken seriously. In revenge, she creates a small timebomb and puts it into one of Hank’s test tubes. Boom Boom walks off in fake sadness, but moments later there’s a small explosion and the two former X-Men are after her.
Back at Beat Street, Ariel explains she’s never been inside X-Factor headquarters, but she thinks they can assume that a building that size has at least one broom closet in it and that they don’t leave the door open. She concentrates, opens the door and peeks into X-Factor’s HQ. Seeing Boom Boom running up the stairs, she shouts at her to hop in and get all aboard for Beat Street.
Boom Boom slides into the broom closet / Beat Street HQ. Ariel slams the door behind her. Iceman opens it to find only an empty broom closet. Where did they go? he wonders. Who cares? Beast asks. The important thing is that that little walking disaster area is out of their lives.
Great going! Boom Boom shouts. Vanisher reminds her that he was the one who ordered the rescue from the clutches of those fiends. They weren’t such fiends, Boom Boom laughs. One or two of them were kind of cute. But now she notices the scenery here has improved as well, she remarks, looking at Madrox. She introduces herself to him. She’s Tabitha, but everyone calls her Boom Boom.
Warlock is curious about Ariel’s power, remarking that it demonstrates a most sophisticated understanding of spatial manipulation. Ariel doesn’t know how it works. Roberto remembers; she said it was something that people from her home can do. Where does she come from? She’ll tell them about it someday, Ariel replies evasively. Maybe they’ll even go there. But they are not really interested in that right now, are they? Strangely, Bobby and Warlock find themselves agreeing with her.
And she really has complete control over her power? Madrox asks. Of course, she assures them. For example, she’s going to open the door without doing anything and all that will be outside is reality in the alley outside. She opens the door, just before Siryn and the other Madrox are able to knock on it. Ariel just remarks that she thought they’d never get there, while Siryn stalks inside and immediately angrily addresses Roberto, telling him she’s had a long tiring day and is not in the mood for any…
Vanisher steps between them, suggesting of course she’s tired. They are all tired. No reason to be upset. Why don’t they just calm down and start over. Roberto angrily opines if Miss Cassidy intends to go on as she began, then let her spare the trouble of any further words. Chance agrees. Who does she thinks she is anyway? she asks Terry challengingly.
Madrox and Madrox, in the meantime, happily greet one another and mention they are doubles, much to the disappointment of Boom Boom, who liked him better when she thought he was twins.
Ariel pipes up, telling Terry she can understand she’s upset and everyone agrees she is entitled to an explanation. She’ll get one. But it’s so hot and overcrowded here. They can all be a lot more comfortable if everyone will just step outside. They do so and end up in what seems to be a paradisiacal landscape…