Utopia, shortly after the X-kids beat back the Sentinel. “Fiero!” Primal shouts to the sky, as he crouches on the destroyed Sentinel’s head. Hope, Transonic and several other young X-Men are having an impromptu barbecue at the beach. Fier-what? Hope asks. “Fiero” is Italian, Laurie informs her. An emotion they don’t have a word for. It means something like “the intoxicating thrill of achievement over strong adversity.” So there’s a word for a feeling like that? Hope asks. Cool. “Fiero!” she shouts as well.
Not so fast, Laurie advises and points towards Idie Okonkwo, who is sitting at the beach, looking forlorn. She takes the edge of the fiero doesn’t she? Idie can’t be here anymore, she begins again. Hope refuses to talk about this, claiming she doesn’t want to spoil tonight. She suggests they argue about it tomorrow. Oh believe it, Laurie promises grimly.
Gabriel Cohuelo (aka Velocidad) is in the infirmary due to injuries sustained during the battle. Missing the celebrations? Pixie asks him. Yeah, he jokes, what’s a victory party without a few injuries for people to gawk at. He goes and gets a fashionable flesh wound and now he’s stuck here? Sorely disappointed. He does look very fashionable, Pixie tells him. Well lush.
They both sit down and she hands him her stripe of pills. Her hands hurt so much she needs to be properly munted and she needs some help. What does “munted” mean? he asks as he frees the pills and gives her one. Broken, she explains as in drugged out of her little head. And what’s the other one? Lush? Gorgeous, she explains. He loves how she talks. Time for his next dose and, if he could have a couple of the munting pills? Try again, she teases him. Can he have a couple of her munting pills, please? Politely wrong, she tells him. He laughs. And “lush,” he likes that. She looks lush, too. Is that how it’s meant to be used? That’s right, she agrees.
Outside, Kenji has altered his own body into a barbecue grill, barbecuing burgers. Surge announces they are great. But they are not beef or any other meat she knows. What meat is that? Me, Kenji replies.
While Surge runs over to the rocks to throw up, Rockslide asks Laurie if she is naked. She is naked, but not naked-naked, she explains. Her flesh becomes her costume. So if she is not naked-naked, he insists, why doesn’t she go around like this all the time? Why wear anything? Beginning to cover her breasts with her hands, she replies the same reason he doesn’t wear a swimsuit all day. So, she can get more naked? She is not going to demonstrate! Laurie seethes. She doesn’t need to. He thinks he’s getting a secondary mutation. An overactive imagination!
Hope orders him to quit hassling her troops. She suggests Laurie come with her to get Gabriel a burger. Surge tells her, for the sake of all that’s holy, not one of the burgers! Oh please, Kenji sighs dramatically. As if he’d really feed people his flesh… and then actually admit it, he adds silently when the others are out of earshot.
A grinning Hope steps into the infirmary. Her smile fades one moment later as she sees Gabriel and Pixie making out. Her eyes begin to flare with anger. Then, without another word she turns around and leaves.
Are Hope and he…? Pixie asks. Yeah, Gabriel admits. Megan calls him a “tosser” and slaps him, then leaves. No translation needed, Gabriel figures.
A little later, Cyclops informs Hope that he and Logan agree that it would be better for Idie to leave for Westchester. Over her dead body! Hope shouts as she stalks out of his office where her teammates are waiting. This is her team!
Laurie glares. She opens the door to Hope’s room where Hope is sulking on her bed. She has taken a pretty broken fourteen year old girl and found a way to smash the pieces even more, Laurie announces. Hope orders her to shut up. Idie has to be here! She has a problem, Laurie announces and points a gun at Hope. And she is not going to get away with it anymore!
Hope doesn’t react with aggression or fear. She just muses that she never told them about her dad, did she? She means, he wasn’t her dad-dad. But he raised her, protected her, took her to the end of time and back. He taught her how to punch to break a guy’s nose, he taught her how to be cut without crying. Anything worth teaching, he taught her. And he died in front of her. Like two months back. She lies back. Him and a bunch of other people, all because of … she doesn’t know.
They thought she was some kind of messiah. That she could save everyone. She thought it was insane and stupid. Her, a messiah? No way! Look at the way she acts. She is no messiah.
But she comes back and the Lights all appear and she touches them and cures them and they are all bonded together… And she thought that her dad must have been right. It’s all for a reason, like fate or something.
Laurie interrupts that this isn’t about Hope. It has to be for a reason, Hope goes on. Because if she is not this messiah, her dad died for absolutely nothing. They are together for a reason. They have to be!
Laurie goes down on her knees. She babbles that she didn’t realize. Hope is so strong and together and… A total bitch, Hope continues. Yeah, she knows. She wants to save people? Laurie asks. There is only one person she can save for sure.
And so, a little later, Hope brings Idie to Wolverine, announcing she should go. She asks him to take better care of Idie than she did. Idie promises she will be there for Hope when she needs her. She knows, Hope replies. She’s so sorry, but she knows.
The morning after, Hope claims she is fine again, as she does some therapeutic training on the firing range. She’s going to have to speak with Pixie, she tells Laurie.
She enters the room of Pixie, who is just packing. Holding up her hand defensively, Megan assures her she didn’t know. She didn’t break girly-code. It’s not about that, Hope assures her and asks if she is with the other old students who are leaving for Westchester. She was planning to, Megan begins.
Hope asks her to stay. They are a rescue team. When a new mutant emerges, they are all kinds of messed up. Their power goes mad until Hope’s touch stabilizes them. The longer they take, the more chance is that something goes wrong. Pixie is a teleporter…
Megan still hesitates. Hope continues that the last mutant who emerged killed himself before they could get him. He thought he was becoming a freak but, really, he had no idea what he was becoming. They’ll never know. The failed him. They need to be better. They need to be quicker. They need… She begs Megan to help them be better.
Won’t it be awkward? Pixie asks. It’s not like they were serious, Hope replies grimly.
Gabriel hobbles out of the infirmary on crutches. Kenji is waiting for him outside, having converted part of his body into a wheelchair. Nice going, he mocks. Kenji was working so hard on being the most hated member of the team but all the while Gabriel was quietly crafting a masterwork. He is almost envious. There is probably a word for people like Gabriel. “Tosser” apparently, Gabriel replies grimly as he sits down. Much as he can’t control himself, Kenji remarks, he has to ask, “why?”
Gabriel hesitates, then remarks does he know what everyone isn’t talking about? It doesn’t matter if he uses them or not, his powers are killing him. They think he doesn’t know, but he does. He’s aging to death. And even worse, he thinks he is losing his hair.
Always the jokes, Kenji observes. He wishes he was, Gabriel insists. He’s going to be bald by the time he turns 17. For so long, he wanted to e a grown-up. He wanted to be famous and hot and powerful… he wanted this! And now he’s got it and it’s going to be all snatched away. He tries not to think about it too much. By which he means he thinks about it 24/7. But when that Sentibot hit him, it almost took his leg off and he realized he could be dead right now. He needs to live as hard as he can!
They arrive at their part of the complex. Gabriel gets up. The opportunity arose, and… Kenji sighs. “I don’t want to die a virgin!” he mocks. Who said anything about being a virgin? Gabriel protests.
They join the rest of the group. Hope informs them that Pixie will be joining the team to help with their transport problem. But what about…? Gabriel begins to ask. It doesn’t matter, Hope replies and dismisses everyone.
They walk in different directions to their rooms. Kenji and Gabriel pass Kenji’s room (sporting an autographed “Magneto was right” poster on the door) and head to Gabriel’s. That means “I will remember this and hold it against you forever,” right? Gabriel translates Hope’s words. Kenji agrees. Or he may be wrong, he grins as they enter Gabriel’s room. It seems someone’s left a “welcome home, Gabriel” gift. Has Teon pooped in his bed? Gabriel screams. Good boy, Hope tells a grinning Teon.
Hope informs Idie that her rid to Westchester is ready and has Teon carry her bags. When she tries to say goodbye, Idie hushes her and hugs her. It’s for the best, Laurie assures Hope. But if it makes her feel better, they can have a shouting match later. Hope thanks her and leaves.
Kenji reminds Laurie this changes nothing. Laurie disagrees. It’s only an inch, but that’s still a change. There’s always hope. He hates her name so much! Kenji exclaims. His life would be infinitely more bearable if she weren’t so on the nose. He hates “Hope” so much! He’s a nihilist Gabriel remarks unimpressed. They know he hates Hope. See? Kenji shouts.
In Cyclops’ office, he tells Kitty Pryde they are sorry to be losing her. Only he could make this sound like she’s walking out of a retail temp job, Kitty laughs. Scott apologizes for not being demonstrative. But he wasn’t lying to her when he asked her to be liaison. She is the best of them and he’s lost her. There’s not much to say apart from that. Help him one last time: The Lights and Hope: What does she think?
She thinks his concerns are justified, Kitty admits. The kids are all tied together, to each other and the emerging mutants. They went crazy when the poor student in Sheffield killed himself. And Hope’s got some kind of low level control over them and from what she’s seen some are aware of it… and increasingly chafing under that yoke.
And there’s the big problem. The “city in Arizona.” Why doesn’t Scott talk to Hope about it? When Jean first handled the Phoenix, she was unstable. That ended badly, Scott reminds her. Hope has lost her father, she’s under enormous emotional stress. If he told her about Dark Phoenix? That she could wipe out an entire world? He thinks that would precipitate an incident or more likely cause her to kill herself to avoid the chance. They help hold her together until she’s ready.
Ready for what? Kitty asks. And Scott admits he doesn’t know. Whatever she’s here for, these children are their future. Of course they are, Kitty smirks. What does he think everyone’s afraid of?
Hope has huddled up in her room. Leave her alone! she shouts when someone enters. It’s Teon. What’s wrong with her? she wonders. Idie’s gone. Gabriel’s a jerk. She left Kenji as a monster and Laurie thinks she is one. Some messiah she is. Her dad would…
Teon open his arms to hug her. Don’t worry, he assures her. It’s going to be okay. Her dad would be so proud of her. She’s doing the right thing. All of this Teon tells her while his eyes are completely empty.