Six months ago, in South America, one dark night, waves crash against a small rocky coastline, on which sits a large building. Inside one of the rooms, the feisty wind blows the curtains, while an elderly man sits at a small desk, an old-fashioned telephone, pad and pen the only items on the desk. Hands clasped in front of him, he stares at the telephone in anticipation. Suddenly, the door to the office is kicked open, and he is suddenly surrounded by four Agents of SHIELD, all pointing guns at him. The female SHIELD Agent addresses him as Johnston Coffin and informs him that he is under arrest, by order of SHIELD and the United Nations peacekeeping statues, for crimes against humanity.
The old man frowns, ‘Please, it’s Warden Coffin. I’ve earned the title and its use by those such as you!’ he exclaims, before getting to his feet. ‘So, it’s “crimes against humanity” then, is it?’ he asks, remarking that is the sound of one generation against another, and easy words to be thrown around. ‘Mister Coffin, if you would please -’ begins the female SHIELD Agent, to which Coffin interrupts her, ‘Easy to pin the blame on anyone who fit’s the charge. Just like this new “decency deficit” in the States. Lovely intervention’ Coffin mutters, before raising his hands, declaring that it is Hollywood’s fault, and they should be blamed. ‘It’s the record companies’ fault, blame them. It’s television’s fault, it’s video games and comic books’ fault!’ he snaps.
‘Underage pregnancies? Rebellion against authority? Disrespecting parents? Violent kids shooting up high schools?’ Coffin rattles on. ‘People like me? Blame us. Decency deficit’. Coffin places his hands behind his back for one of the SHIELD Agents to cuff him, while muttering that the decency deficit does it all, and puts cash in their pockets at the same time. ‘I get paid to perform my so-called “crimes against humanity”, and you get paid to stop me…and more often than not, our wages come from the same account!’ the old man informs the female SHIELD Agent.
‘I love it!’ Coffin exclaims, as suddenly the lights go out and the room is plunged into darkness, frightening the female SHIELD Agent, who doesn’t have time to make a move, as Coffin smacks her in the face, knocking her head back hard. ‘Oh, God!’ one of the other SHIELD Agents yells, before aiming his gun at Coffin, and as he has him in sight, fires - except something strange happens around Coffin, and the SHIELD Agents find themselves surrounded by some sort of fire-like energy.
Coffin suddenly appears on the ceiling - walking on it, he stands over the remaining SHIELD Agents, then, with accelerated speed, leaps down at them and rushes past them, knocking their weapons from their grasp and incapacitating them. One of the Agents remains, crouched behind a table, she is caught unawares as Coffin lunges at her, and shoots her at close range. The SHIELD Agent falls to the ground. Coffin stands up, looking rather pleased with himself, the phone rings. ‘Ah. Perfect timing!’ he remarks before picking the phone up and remarking to the caller: ‘My terms have been accepted, excellent. The position is mine? Oh, yes. All hush-hush. Understood. Thank you, Mr Secretary. I look forward to returning to the United States’.
Meanwhile, at the Massachusetts Academy, Snow Valley, home to five unique youngsters known as Generation X. ‘Oh, ewww!’ shouts Jubilation Lee, better known simply as “Jubilee” as she makes her way down a flight of stairs inside the sprawling mansion and sees a pair of boxer shorts hanging on the railing. Sticking her tongue out, Jubilee asks ‘What’s the deal, Starsmore? One of them get away from you on the way to the laundry room?’ The telepathic Jono “Chambers” Starsmore approaches Jubilee, carrying some sacks of clothing, and remarks ‘That’s where it went…least I can remember to flush the bloody toilet’ he tells Jubilee, remarking that he wished she could do the same.
‘One time, Jono. One time the toilet doesn’t flush properly. God. Let it go already!’ Jubilee retorts, while Chambers tells her that he still has nightmares about what he saw bobbing up and down in the surf. Annoyed, Jubilee creates her trademark plasma “fireworks”, destroying Chamber’s boxer shorts on the stair rail. ‘I can’t believe you just did that! That was my last good pair!’ Chamber exclaims. ‘Don’t you mean your only pair?’ Jubilee snaps back. Suddenly, a voice comes from a room down the hall: ‘Can you two please keep it down?’ Paige “Husk” Guthrie asks.
‘I dunno. Can you quit listening to Garth Brooks?’ Chamber asks as he stands at the doorway. Paige sees Chamber carrying a bag of clothing and asks him if that is a bag of his underwear, before telling him to get out, that she doesn’t want to talk to him now. ‘I can hear you beating that stuff into submission before it goes into the wash. I can hear it wailing from down here!’ Paige exclaims. ‘What did I ever do to you, Paige?’ Chamber asks. ‘Nothing, thank God’ Husk snaps back. ‘I could drown you in these, you know...stick the bag over your head and tie it shut around your neck, if that’s what you’d like…’ Chamber tells Paige.
Suddenly, a posh voice calls out: ‘Jonathon, darling…darling, please, I had a heavy night with the Cristal. Coffee. Please. Before I expire!’ Chamber enters the kitchen, where Emma Frost, one of the Academy’s head-masters, is lounged over a chair, and pointing to a bag of fresh coffee on the bench. ‘There’s a good boy!’ Emma exclaims as Jono begins to pour her some coffee. Suddenly, the phone rings. Slightly annoyed, Emma picks it up: ‘This is the Massachusetts Academy’ she tells the caller. ‘No, darling, this isn’t Emma Frost. I’m her stalker. I break into her office every few weeks just to answer the phone!’ Emma tells the caller, who must have asked “Is this Emma Frost?” ‘I see’ Emma suddenly remarks, ‘Well, thank you, darling. No, no, thank you’ she tells the caller after listening to them, before she hangs up. ‘Weevil’. Emma remarks, before snuggling into her white dressing gown and telling Jono to pour that coffee with some gusto. ‘Auntie Emma just made another hundred million. Where’s Sean?’
‘Here, pay attention!’ Sean “Banshee” Cassidy - Emma’s colleague - tells the final two members of Generation X - the snobby Monet St. Croix and the practical joker Angelo “Skin” Espinosa. The trio stand amongst the rubble of one of the buildings on the campus, and Monet and Skin both sport new costumes - bright red and yellow spandex team costumes, with their own additional feature - Monet’s features a long white skirt, parted at the front, while Skin has extremely baggy grey pants. ‘Let’s see what I can tell yeh about not getting yourselves killed, then!’ Sean exclaims.
Motioning to their surroundings, Banshee points out that this ruined part of the Academy makes for the ideal training area for the nastier aspects of what he can teach them. ‘And while we’re here and all, let’s think for a bit about how it got this way, shall we?’ Sean suggests, reminding the younger mutants that he has been in covert ops since he was a child, working undercover for Interpool was the closest thing he ever had to a proper job. ‘While Emma teaches you how to be sneaky and work information and manipulate people and all that deep black Hellfire Club business…I’ll teach you how to stay alive while you’re doing it. How’s that?’ Sean announces.
‘Right then, Mister Espinosa’ Sean remarks, beckoning Skin forward. ‘It’s Angelo. I’m not my old man!’ Skin replies. Sean tells Skin to have a go, ‘Let’s see what that stretchy prehensile skin is really good for. How fast can you get?’ Sean exclaims. Skin proceeds to extend the fingers on his right hand, ‘You sure you up for this, old man?’ Angelo asks Sean as he uses his fingers like a whip against a wall. ‘Come on then, wee lad!’ Banshee replies, causing Skin to lunge towards him, flinging his extended fingers outwards ready to lash Sean. But when Skin reaches the place he thought Banshee was standing, he finds himself whipping empty space.
‘You’ve been around me long enough to know that my mutant powers are sound-based - and I can use hard sonic pulses to move myself about pretty quickly. Yeh should’ve been expecting that just now!’ Sean tells Skin, who looks around and sees Sean standing up on one of the half-demolished walls. ‘Can yeh not be so stupid, Angelo? If yeh get the chance to know your enemy…use it!’ Banshee instructs.
Banshee turns to Monet, and tells her that in twenty seconds, he is going to tap her on the shoulder. ‘Any ideas how to stop me?’ Sean asks. Unimpressed, Monet replies ‘Miss St. Croix will be perfectly fine, Mister Cassidy’, and stands her ground as Sean leaps into the air, telling her to concentrate on what is at hand. ‘Ten seconds. What’re yeh gonna do?’ he asks as he propels his way down towards Monet. With Sean inches from her, Monet readies one of her uber-strong arms, pulling it backwards, ready to punch Sean - who suddenly unleashes a powerful sonic scream.
A startled Monet is thrown backwards as Sean’s sonic scream rips up the ground underneath her. ‘OOOF!’ Monet exclaims a she lands several feet away. When an annoyed Monet gets to her feet, Sean tells her that he assumed she would offer a bit more of a challenge there. ‘Is that really the best yeh can do?’ Banshee asks. Monet suddenly lunges at Sean, fist outstretched, she comes within inches of smacking him in the face, only to be blasted back by another sonic scream. Monet lands in a brick wall, her indestructible form shatters it.
Monet doesn’t get up, she just sits amongst the rubble, as Sean walks over to her. ‘Yeh got to learn to get your control back, Monet’ Sean tells her. ‘I know what you’re feeling, I really do. But self-destructing isn’t gonna change the past’. Crouching down beside Monet, Sean tells her that he has lost more loves to this game than she can imagine, that he knows how it feels to wake up every morning and wish you were dead too. ‘I miss Everett, too, yeh know. We all do’ Sean says softly, while Monet frowns, and crushes a large rock with her bare hands.
Back inside, Paige still sits at her computer, several newsgroups are up on her screen: alt.mutants, alt.mutants.die.die.die, alt.mutants.theory, alt.mutants.threat and alt.x. Paige sips a drink out of a can called “Wired”. ‘Huh, that’s weird’ she remarks, before tossing the empty can into a box filled with other empties. ‘What’s up, Emma?’ Paige asks as she enters the kitchen, where the White Queen is still lounging in a chair, dressed in her robe. ‘Are you quite incapable of forming the phrase “Miss Frost”?’ Emma asks as Husk opens the refrigerator. ‘Ah, never mind. My realtor just emailed me the contracts on an island I just sold’ Emma announce, holding a small computer in her hand.
‘You have an island? Husk asks as she reaches for a can of “Wired”. ‘Had, dear. Discovered in my dear sister Adrienne’s real estate portfolio’ Emma replies, before declaring that it is not too much good to Adrienne now, and slamming her coffee cup down on the table. Emma looks at Husk and tells her that she heard her muttering back there in her little “don’t bother me when I am working” room. ‘Anything wrong?’ Emma asks. Paige replies that she isn’t sure, to which Emma motions to a stool and asks Paige to come and tell her all about it. ‘I dunno…it’s weird’ Paige begins.
‘I mean, ok, you know we follow a lot of stuff on the internet, right? Underground news sites, fax lists, stuff like that?’ Husk asks Emma, who replies ‘I know, dear. I pay the telephone bills’. ‘Oh, yeah, well, anyway, we try to monitor all the mutant hate stuff, and since the Columbine thing, we’ve been following suppression stories, too’ Paige explains, before getting to her feet and telling the White Queen that it all began with that movie, “The Grid”, which was held back on video because of all the concealed-weapons-in-the-black-trench coat footage. ‘Right?’ Paige remarks. ‘Mmm…probably had more to do with promoting the DVD format, but please continue’ Emma interjects.
Husk makes her way back to her room, ‘Yeah, well, that’s just what they say’ she replies, before revealing that she is starting to recognize a pattern in the stories that she follows. ‘Remember that kid who wrote this violent story for school and it got him arrested? It made the papers…?’ Husk asks Emma, who replies that she remembers, and remarks that it was about him killing his classmates. ‘They had him arrested in case he grabbed a gun out of daddy’s sock drawer and did it for real’ Emma adds. ‘The kids get taken away, right? Arrested and stuff, but they never come back!’ Husk exclaims.
‘How odd’ Emma replies. ‘Yeah’ Paige agrees, before telling Emma that after what happened, they all decided that they want to make some kind of difference. ‘We’re not training to be super heroes anymore, ok? And we’re never gonna be the X-Men, or even X-Force. I don’t think any of us even think that way anymore!’ Husk tells the White Queen, adding that no matter what Banshee says, they are not just training to survive in this so-called “World that hates and fears us”, either. Paige exclaims that they can make a difference, can change the way that people think about things.
‘Emma, these people disappearing are my age, and younger…and they didn’t even do anything’ Emma asks Paige if she wants to look into this, to which Paige replies that she does, as it is wrong. ‘Well, whatever you need, it’s yours, dear. I did just sell an island, after all’ the White Queen replies.
Meanwhile, a teenage boy sits inside a cell deep within Juvenile Hall. He is startled and looks up when a guard clangs his baton against the cell bars. ‘Jonathan Somers?’ the guard asks. ‘Yes’ the boy replies. ‘Up. You’re being moved!’ the guard orders. ‘Am I going home?’ Jonathan asks. ‘No’ the guard replies as he leads Jonathan out of the cell. ‘All I did was make a videotape. We were just talking about the killings!’ Jonathan exclaims, remarking that he has been here for four days, but didn’t do anything. ‘Can I at least see my Mom?’ he asks. ‘We’ll take it from here’, two unusually large men decked out in old-school military attire tell the guard.
Jonathan Somers looks back at the guard as the two large men take him away. ‘Sorry, son, there are things you just shouldn’t talk about’ the guard tells him. Outside, a black van is waiting, the back door opens as the large men bring Jonathan over, and another man steps out - holding a syringe while the other man hold up their batons. The third man shoves the needle into Jonathan’s eye, before the van drives away….