Whiteness everywhere, lit by the fire of the Phoenix. My child, wake up, my child is the voice Hope hears. Our children need you.
Hope startles the four Lights when she awakes, exclaiming Kenji’s name. As Teon helps her up, she demands to know what happened to Kenji. Cyclops, Wolverine and Rogue… Laurie begins. Their teammates, Gabriel interjects smugly. …went after him, Laurie continues. Kenji’s out of control! Idie adds. How out of control? Hope demands. Gabriel points behind him where “Godzilla” Kenji is devastating the city. “He’s going to eat Tokyo” out of control. Cyclops will sanction him, Hope fears. Laurie doesn’t understand. Action film for “whacking him,” Gabriel translates.
Laurie announces she doesn’t want to be heartless, but is that a bad idea? Kenji’s going to kill lots of innocent people. Probably including them. Hope explains that Cyclops only thinks about surviving… that’s the only future he can understand. That’s all he can see out there. But she grew up in the future. She’s seen dozens of futures. And you know what? They stink! People just end up dead! Miserable and hunted. Those futures? She wants to burn those futures! She can end this with a real touch. She has to try. Kenji could have been any of them. He was left too long. It’s their fault. They can’t let him die for their mistakes. Not when there’s a chance to save him, and they can save him. She thinks it’s what they do.
She asks Idie to please stop constantly crossing herself. Let’s do it! Gabriel enthuses. He’s going to start sniffing if she carries on with the Captain America impression. Captain who? Hope asks.
Arms akimbo, Laurie announces she’s not sure if it’s just Kenji who’s insane. She would have done this for all of them, Hope retorts. She jumped off a building to save her, she reminds Laurie. Hope saved her life, Laurie agrees, but that doesn’t mean Hope gets to spend it however she wants. She can’t do this, she wants to live! No, she wants to survive, Hope corrects her. She wants everyone to live. She walks away and Idie, Teon and Gabriel follow her, with Gabriel shrugging apologetically at Laurie.
Not far away, “Godzilla” Kenji tears apart buildings, trying to tear into a tower block. Cyclops fires at him and tells Wolverine to make it quick. As if he was going to drag it out and torture him a little, he snorts as he climbs up Kenji’s leg.
The kids have gathered nearby. This is how it’s going to work, Hope tells them, explaining the plan while Wolverine is getting closer to Kenji’s real body atop the mass. Times like this, he realizes specializing in “not very nice” wasn’t the smartest career move. “Sorry kid,” he tells Kenji. “Fight,” Teon shouts as he jumps at him and shoves him away. “Flight?” he mutters a moment later as both of them fall.
Idie takes heat from a lake and creates a fire between Kenji and the city block and around Kenji. No one in, no one out! she announces. Area’s secured, Hope announces and calls Idie a miracle. No she’s not, the young girl replies darkly.
Hope jumps into Gabriel’s arms ordering him to get her to Kenji. Gabriel races up Kenji’s artificial body but a pustule explodes before them. Hope can hang on but Gabriel falls to his death, or so he expects (and he didn’t even take the opportunity for his hands to wander a little). A moment later, he is rescued by the airborne Laurie, who is very much aware that this pretty much happens against her will. If his hands wander, she drops him, she warns.
Hope sees Gabriel is safe. She gets up. All right, the hard way, she announces and syncs Kenji’s powers. Her left arm bursts into tentacles fighting Kenji while with her right hand she creates a small flying helicopter.
Cyclops watches all this, anticipating that she’ll burn out, then pass out. At that moment, the fly Hope created, stings him in the neck.
Cyclops finds himself on the half-demolished Golden Gate Bridge, where Hope confronted Bastion. There’s only he and Hope. She greets him and tells him she can’t hear him. She is a projection. Kenji did this to her, too. She can make a little bio mechanical thing stab into the other person and project stuff right into the brain.
This is too dangerous! Scott scolds her. She is the future of mutantkind and can’t risk—If she knows him even slightly, Hope tells him, she bets he is still arguing with her. She can’t hear him, she repeats. This is a message. Listen: He says she is their future. She’s here to save them or something. She’s starting to think… maybe she is. But she needs his help. Back her up. Let her be their messiah.
Logan touches Scott’s shoulder. Lost him for a second there. Back her up, heaven help them, Scott stammers. Just back her up! Sure thing, Logan replies. How does he suggest they go about that?
Two giant tentacle beings fight each other, but ultimately one of Kenji’s metal tentacles stabs Hope in the neck. She too finds herself in a mental space again.
Blackness where Kenji sits upon his flesh throne. She struggles against the inevitable, he tells her. All things end, all things are over. Always blackness. That is all there is. What can stand against it? Nothing stands. Submit! The future is over.
Hope is about to be overwhelmed but still fights.
Why does she persist? Kenji asks. This darkness is his. She cannot draw on his canvas. Or master his palette. This is his art. He is the master. She is the callow plagiarist. She cowers from the truth. Candles flicker and die. What else is there?
In real life, Hope’s artificial body has gotten its second wind.
There can be but one ending, Kenji is nevertheless sure. How is she doing this? Why is she doing this? She thinks she can save him?! he shouts. She thinks she can save him, he realizes but is sure it’s too late. Universe of scum and sin crushes all. Mankind a tumor on the face of a dead and rotting god. They must be lanced. The pus wiped away. How can she think otherwise? “Four letters” is Hope’s reply.
And Hope’s body finally wrestles Kenji’s down. Then Hope climbs off and walks towards Kenji. She touches him and he falls. There you go, she announces to the X-Men. Now it’s over. Told you so, she tells Cyclops, then faints.