One of the most dangerous villains to the X-Men has always been Sebastian Shaw. He manipulated, bribed and murdered his way to a position of power within the Hellfire Club, a secret society of the world’s most powerful. Despite being a mutant himself, he helped fund the creation of mutant hunting Sentinels for the government. Profit and self preservation were more than enough motivation to turn on his own kind. His Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club began manipulating powerful mutants into their service, including distorting a young Jean Grey, ultimately unleashing the destructive Dark Phoenix force within her.
For these and literally countless other crimes, Emma Frost, once his companion, stripped Shaw’s mind and abandoned him on the other side of the globe. So, knowing all that, it would be perfectly reasonable to ask – as Scott Summers is doing now - What the %&$&/ is he doing here?
He’s with them, Hope explains. The amnesiac Shaw reaches out his hand in greeting. Scott blasts him and calls for security! What the hell is wrong with him? Hope protests as Psylocke and Danger arrive. Psylocke orders Danger to contain him, which she does and Psylocke takes him out with her telepathic blade.
Cyclops orders them to escort their guest down to the medlab. Since when do they lynch other mutants? Hope protests. Cyclops tells Psylocke he wants Dr. Nemesis to invasively check Shaw for signaling devices, weaponized diseases, Micro-Sentinels – the works. He needs to talk with Emma and Hope. They accompany him inside, leaving the Lights.
Kenji asks Martha if she would like medical attention as well. Why be tethered to him when they can build her a new habitat? Is he kidding? she laughs. She spent the last few years as a brain in a jar. She’s been sense-deprived, not able to taste or speak or feel. She’s dying to do some tasting, talking and feeling, so he better be ready…
Laurie suggests to the others they head to medical too. She’s not sure she trusts the X-Men to “look after” someone they attacked unprovoked. She can be on human rights watch, Gabriel replies. He needs to eat. He really doesn’t give a damn about other people, she scoffs. “Excuse me?” he snarls. He gets she had a crappy day but she remembers how his power works, right? He accelerates himself through time! So while she hated the last four hours, he just burned off three days of his life to save an old dude! Three days without eating or sleeping. Just fighting! And after seeing Cyclops freak out at the sight of him, he seriously questions if it was worth it in the first place. He’s questioning if any of this is. So excuse him if he doesn’t give a damn about what’s-his-name! See them on the battle field. He leaves.
Pixie admits he has a point. They don’t even know his name.
“Hey, X-brats!” somebody interrupts them. It’s several of the less savory citizens of Utopia, among them Dragoness, Bliss, Random and Erg. Now that their little mutant messiah walked off, they should have a talk, Dragoness announces.
Meanwhile, Emma and Scott are doing the same thing in a gazebo on the astral plane. Cyclops asks why Sebastian Shaw is free. Emma stalls, announcing he is incapable of appreciating the little things. She thoughtfully crafts this setting for their little mind chats and he never so much as bats an eye. The lavender scent is a nice touch, he admits. It doesn’t count when she prompts him, Emma sulks.
He tells her to answer the question. It wasn’t safe to keep him locked up, Emma explains, so she took him to the other side of the world, partly to have time to decide… Decide what? Scott ask. Whether or not he deserved to die. But she couldn’t do it. So she erased his mind. Scrubbed it viciously. And then left him, hoping that would be the end of it.
Scott assures her he doesn’t need to micromanage her decisions. He trusts her. But it would have been helpful to know before now.
In the real world, Hope angrily announces she is trying to trust Scott, but right now she mostly wants to punch him in the mouth. Does she have any idea who that man is? he asks. No, but neither does he, she retorts. Scott doesn’t believe that. That is Sebastian Shaw. Among other horrific acts, he helped create the Sentinels and as such he’s got more mutant blood on his hands than anyone! And she just brought him into their home!
She hasn’t met Sebastian Shaw, Hope retorts. She met the man he just hauled away. And she trusts him.
Emma telepathically contacts Doctor Nemesis in the medlab. Did he find anything noteworthy yet? Not in the two damned minutes since she threw the patient at him, he replies. Is this really necessary? the tied-up Shaw asks, only to be ordered to shut up by Warpath.
Emma asks Nemesis to have the Cuckoos perform a psychic exam. Exasperated, Nemesis suggests she do it herself. Telepathy and clothes horse are the only things on her resume, after all. Emma admits she is trying to keep her distance. He mocks she actually sounds scared. Emma explains the choice comes down between examining the man or burying him. Currently, they are trying to appease their petulant messiah. But his patient’s options from here heavily depend on his finds.
Scott points out that she is shockingly silent. She assures him endless moralistic speeches are his specialty. She suffered for years under Sebastian Shaw, in every sense and assures him no good can grow from his poison seed.
Hope angrily points out he’s a mutant like them, one whose entire life has been stripped away. He’s terrified and alone! A child. But unlike every other mutant, they won’t offer him sanctuary because he slept with Scott’s girlfriend. Scott tells her to stop right there. Hope scoffs that if they turn their backs on everyone she’s had sex with, there won’t be a man left on earth for them to save. Emma calls her a wretched little mongrel and slaps Hope.
Scott gets between the two of them. He tells Hope she is right. He has a lot of reasons to hate Shaw, but his personal animosity for the man doesn’t make his crimes any less real. Hope points out the man he is talking about has already been punished. He was executed. Whoever Sebastian Shaw was, he has been wiped out of existence. That man they dragged off at knife point is someone else entirely. Someone new growing in Shaw’s place. And this man is innocent! She won’t let them punish him in effigy! In fact, she wants him on her team.
Outside, the other mutants have surrounded the Lights. Dragoness demands to know how come they get such special treatment? Random adds that they head they all just got their powers. But they stopped making mutants, right? Litterbug adds. He thinks they are aliens. Dragoness orders him to shut up. Still, she want to knows why they get the red carpet treatment.
Laurie denies that. Random points out they get weapons, transport off this rock. They even spruced up their digs on the company cards, don’t give him that bull! Pixie, calling him Johnny 90´s, orders him to back off.
Dragoness explains they didn’t come to fight. They came to get a piece. Zero retorts they have nothing to give. They should speak with the Cyclops regime. That’s the ridiculousness of it all! Erg shouts. Do they know how many mutants there are on this island that couldn’t get a minute of facetime? Why do they think everybody split? The X-Men have no problem putting them in the line of fire when this rock gets attacked, but every other day they are just like wallpaper. Kenji orders him not to poke him. He would hate to find out Erg is causing pain to his skinmate.
Dragoness orders Laurie to tell her red-headed master that, since all those X-Men took off, they want their place at the table. They were fighting for mutantkind since before the kids were born. They earned this.
Laurie has had enough. Maybe they are left out because they can’t be trusted, she suggests. Dragoness was part of the M.L.F. right? She’s been reading up. She’s saying Dragoness is a MILF? Pixie asks confused. Mutant Liberation Front! Dragoness shouts, and she doubts Transonic knows much of anything!
Laurie retorts she knows they used terrorist acts and by choosing violence their short-sightedness only made things worse for mutants. So, judging by their second class citizen status and their school yard bully approach here, she’d say they are wallowing at exactly the fit level of obscurity. Now leave them alone, so they can actually make something of themselves!
Dragoness hits her. She wants to try non-violence against someone who hates her? she asks Laurie. Here’s her chance! Fight! Teon decides. And the battle is on. Everybody picks their targets. Martha tries to telepathically take out Bliss who bites her, affecting both Martha and Kenji who are joined.
Emma senses the battle, informing Scott and Hope.
The kids find themselves surrounded.
Scott shouts at Hope that this is exactly his point. She won’t be able to manage Shaw on her own. She can’t even control these kids! Yes, she can! Hope snarls.
She takes over Kenji’s power to capture all their foes with his malleable body. She can control them completely! Hope announces. Want to see what else she can do? Keep pushing her! Her point made, Hope drops all the combatants and orders them to walk away.
Later, Cyclops shows Hope Shaw’s file, suggesting she read it and see what kind of man he is or was. Then tell him if she still wants to take responsibility for him.
And elsewhere, in his room with Martha asleep, Kenji vows that the end for Hope begins tomorrow…