The kids are about to have a mutant power training… in the gym?! While the others wait for the challenge to appear, Jubilee mocks and doesn’t like the idea. Suddenly, a Sentinel bursts in from the roof, and takes out Chamber and M! Synch warns that they better act fast. Skin stretches his arms and grabs the Sentinel, and makes it fall down while Jubilee fires her powers on it. She knocks out the Sentinel’s vision sensors, and Penance jumps high in the air and slashes one of the Sentinel’s arms off!
Synch goes to stand next to Skin, and synches Skin’s powers. Now, he can also stretch his arms. They team-up and manage to outbalance the Sentinel. M has recovered, and flies towards the Sentinel, knocking it down. Chamber finishes the job and destroys the robot with his powers. The team congratulates each other on the fine teamwork, and the headmasters climb down from the control room. And they are followed by none other than… Forge!
Forge congratulates the kids as well, as they did a pretty good job on their first test in their new Danger Room. Forge explains that he has installed it as a primarily holographic simulation unit, which is imbedded into the walls and the floor of the school’s actual gym. Banshee thinks that they should all thank Forge for finding an opening in his busy schedule so he could come help them out there. The kids agree and all thank Forge for his help. Forge warns the kids that he had the difficulty of the earlier training on “easy,” so they shouldn’t be too smug just yet.
Banshee is impressed. He recalls that this is as good as the original Danger Room, and nowhere as finicky as the bio-sphere was. Emma doesn’t agree and doesn’t like the Room, as it’s not… organic. Skin agrees with her. He explains that the solution the kids came up with was too direct. Forge knows that a real Sentinel with a functioning threat assessment computer would have anticipated every move the kids made. He adds that the trick to outfighting third generation artificial intelligences is to think around the Sentinel in illogical ways. They need to find the human solution; something a machine can’t anticipate. But Forge stops talking, as he isn’t there to guide the kids through a training program. He’s just there because he owns a complete set of alien wrenches and a cordless Makita drill.
Forge transforms the room back to normal, and the control room transforms back into regular basketball rings. Banshee and Forge walk away, with Sean asking Forge if he knows what happened to the bio-sphere. Forge asks Sean if he remembers Krakoa, the living island. Emma and the kids walk away as well, leaving Gaia behind.
Sean asks Forge what he means about Krakoa, as Sean thought that the bio-sphere was a part of him. Forge confirms that. He explains that Krakoa wants –needs- to be whole again for some unknown reason and possible dire purpose. Jubilee apologizes, and cuts in. She asks Emma about Gaia. Emma told them that Gaia was going to enroll in the school, but Jubilee wants to know why she isn’t training with them, as Gaia isn’t even wearing her uniform. Emma takes a look at Gaia, who smiles at her and explains to Jubilee that Gaia is a special case.
Banshee and Forge enter the kitchen together. Banshee is impressed by the transforming control room, and asks Forge if that’s something new he came up with. Forge admits that, actually, it’s a bit of salvage. He explains that it’s a piece of technology that fell into his hands during a recent… adventure. Forge doesn’t know it for certain, but the technology could be alien, interdimensional or maybe even trans-temporal. But he has discovered that the technology is metamorphic matter controlled by a liquid computer interface. And the linkage might be either psionic or some sort of time-shifting messaging.
Sean worries if the technology is safe, since Forge doesn’t even know where it came from, but Forge confirms that it’s safe. While making a sandwich, Forge explains that he has wiped the memory and installed the parameters for the control room and the backboard. Forge knows it can’t really think for itself. He’s confident that, as long as somebody doesn’t tamper with its internal codes, and Forge doesn’t think that anyone here is around that, nothing should happen. Sean wonders. He asks Forge if he can do them another favor, as long as he’s there.
Emma explains that she has put Gaia on the roster on a trial basis. She explains that Gaia’s… life experience, for better or worse, sets her apart from the rest of the students. And until they are sure the school is the right place for Gaia, there’s little point in creating a “history” for Gaia to present to the school board. Emma excuses herself, as she has to go make some decisions about other wards of the school.
Meanwhile, Artie and Leech are enjoying their new home. Leech thinks it’s much better than their old treehouse. They start cleaning. Leech asks Artie what he thinks about it. Artie takes a look at the mess in the house, and thinks about spiders. Leech mentions that they just need to clean that up and, when that’s done, the house will be theirs!
Emma knocks on the attic door, and asks if she can come up. Artie and Leech welcome her inside. Emma asks the kids if the attic is a suitable replacement for the treehouse in the bio-sphere. They say it is. Emma goes to sit down, and explains to the kids that she needs to talk to them about their future. She remembers that, after these last few months, living in a treehouse of all places, she thinks it’s time that she put a little structure in Artie and Leech’s lives. She explains that they are going to start by putting the two of them in a special-ed program, one that will included sessions where they’ll train in the use of their powers. She thinks it’s time that Artie and Leech become a part of things around there. The kids hug her, and agree.
Later, the kids sit in class. Banshee has asked Forge if he would give a guest lecture, as, Sean adds, Forge is also a shaman. Forge doesn’t think him being a shaman is important right now. He thinks the manner in which he relates to the universe is personal, but the manner in which they, as mutants, relate to the world at large is a matter for deep thought and serious conjecture and that they must always question themselves and their motivations. Forge writes on the blackboard behind him the topic of the class’ conversation: power responsibility ethics.
Forge asks the kids how these three titles relate to the kids as members of Generation X and as mutants in training. M raises her hand, finding the answer to be so obvious: with great power comes great responsibility, and with responsibility comes the societal obligation to make ethical decisions.
Gaia is still in the gym. She decides to practice basketball, thinking it’s easy since all the other kids manage to do it as well. After a few failed hoops, Gaia thinks she needs to concentrate. However, she still misses, joking she concentrated too much. Gaia has had enough, and uses her powers to morph the hoop, and makes a score. Gaia smiles, remembering that nobody told her that morphing the hoop was against the rules. She doesn’t think why everybody makes such a fuss over this game, and walks away. When she’s away, Gaia doesn’t hear the hoop suddenly… talking! It says, with an evil tone in its voice, that the game is about to begin.
Skin wants to know how they could possibly know what the right decision is, thinking that’s subjective. Jubilee knows that what could be good for someone could be bad for someone else. She also doesn’t see how they could possibly know if, when they make a choice, it’s the right one. Chamber thought that one of the primary percepts of ethics was that the choice they least want to make in any ethical choice situation is probably the bad one. Forge agrees with Jono’s statement, explaining that ethics is about putting others before themselves.
Suddenly, a pitch-black arm strikes through the blackboard! As it attacks the children, Forge recognizes the villain as Paradox! Forge quickly explains that Paradox is a cyber-morph, which is a form of artificial intelligence that he deactivated and reprogrammed in the Danger Room control panel. Paradox grabs Forge by his throat, realizing that “deactivating” is just a nicer word for “killing,” and thinks that his enemies what to do that with him. The kids at first think that this is just another surprise test, but Banshee confirms they are fighting the real deal this time.
Jubilee opens the attack with her fireworks. Forge warns that you can’t blind Paradox that way, as his entire body surface is an environmental sensor! Penance tries to slash Paradox, and Skin tries to stretch his arm to grab him, but none of their powers work either. Chamber tries to blast a hole through Paradox, but he just transforms his body and lets the blast pass him.
Banshee realizes that Paradox probably can’t morph fast enough to avoid his sonic scream, so he uses it against Paradox, and makes him lose balance. Synch warns Forge that he must let him synch the binary code so that they can deprogram Paradox. Forge thinks it’s a ridiculous idea, as the code is all zeroes and ones and 78 pages long in printout! Synch agrees, but knows that Forge must have memorized it, and goes for it. Forge holds him, as he can show the code on display faster, and does so.
Paradox shouts at Forge that he defeated him before by cracking his code, but swears that it won’t work this time. M flies around Paradox, shouting at Synch that she’ll keep him occupied why he can do his thing. Synch thinks that they can manipulate the code to shut down Paradox. Forge thought of that, but it’s moot since he didn’t bring the hardware to access Paradox’ liquid memory! This isn’t good.
Chamber notices Paradox getting closer to Forge and Synch, and decides it’s time that he, Skin and Penance finish it like they practiced. Penny and Skin attack Paradox on his right, forcing him to move left and giving Jono the chance to hit him again with his powers. Paradox congratulates them on the maneuver, but knows it’s not enough. Emma enters the room and is startled to find out what’s going on. Paradox notices her, and points his attention to Emma.
Synch also notices Emma, and moves over to her. He synches her psi-powers and download the code changes in Paradox’ memory. The psi-blast hits Paradox and he transforms back into the basketball hoop!
Banshee thought that Forge said it was safe. Forge knows, as it was safe, and is safe again now. He thinks that there must have been a fault in the code, something he must have missed in the initial inputting. At any rate, he concludes, with the programming straightened out, he thinks it’s safe they have seen the last of Paradox.
Suddenly, a basketball goes through the hoop! Surprised, everyone turns their heads around, and notice Gaia. She smiles that she’s ready to begin.