Winter in Chicago. Kitty Pryde is just coming back from a bout of iceskating (still wearing her pink and black skating outfit). Last week, her teammate and boyfriend, Peter Rasputin aka Colossus, broke up with her. He’d met someone he loved more. Kitty was in Chicago at her Dad’s place the next day.
She muses that she’s stayed in her room mostly, not that her Dad noticed. He was hardly ever home. This morning though she finally ran out of tears. She decided she’d try out the skates her father gave her for Chanukah. She hadn’t skated in ages. It showed, but it felt wonderful.
She decides to head to her father’s bank and surprise him. Maybe they can go out for dinner. Parked nearby she spots a luxurious limousine. Must be pretty important people, Kitty figures. She hopes it’s good news. According to Mom’s letter things have been pretty rough for her Dad lately. She’s probably just one more hassle he doesn’t need. She walks up the steps, figuring she might be acting like a spoiled, selfish baby but he’s her Dad! Who else is she supposed to turn to? Where else is she supposed to go to, if not home?
She finds the door locked, the bank’s closed. It’s past office hours. She checks her surroundings. As the coast in clear she simply phases inside and almost runs into the night guard, who luckily had his back turned to her. She is relieved none of her teammates, especially not Wolverine, saw her being this careless. She’d never hear the end of it.
Cheerily, she greets the guard and tells him she is looking for her dad. He’s in conference he tells her, wondering how she got in. Kitty giggles, recalling the look on Mister Case’s face.
She waits outside the conference room, noting that the building is deserted. Her father must have sent everyone else home early. Could those people be feds? No, Kitty decides. Bank examiners don’t drive mile-long limos.
She hears voices from the conference room yelling. She tries to eavesdrop and hears snippets of conversation, none about to make her feel easier. There is talk about discrepancies in bank accounts, her father replying he has already explained. The first voice begins that, while such altruistic behavior is to be admired, it cannot be condoned. Their proposition is most reasonable. He won’t do it! Pryde shouts. Consider the alternative, he is told. They can’t force him, he replies. Then there is the sound of someone being hit.
“Dad!” Kitty shouts out loud and bangs against the door, demanding to be let in. A tall muscular Japanese man opens the door. Kitty runs past him while he asks if he should remove her. Of the other three strangers inside a black-suited man with a thin moustache, also Japanese, tells Shumai to allow her in. Mr. Pryde understands their position. The decision is now his. But won’t he introduce them to his charming daughter? Kitty asks her father if he is all right. She heard an argument. Carmen Pryde shouts at the speaker, a man named Ogun, to leave her out of this.
Out of what? Kitty presses. Just business, Carmen tries to calm her. She’s come at a very bad time. Kitty notices his cheek is red and figures the creep by the door did it. If she hadn’t yelled, they’d have beaten her Dad up. Who are they? What has she barged into?
Carmen introduces the men as representatives of the corporation that recently purchased the bank. But the bank’s been family-owned for generations, Kitty thinks. Ever since Dad’s great-grandpa founded it. Selling it must have broken her father’s heart. That explains why he’s been so distracted and upset. He wouldn’t have done this if he had any choice. Things must have gotten really awful.
“Hi!” she says weakly to the large man, Mr. Shumai, the bodyguard, two westerners, Mr. Delano and Mr. Walsh, part of the North American management team and Mr. Ogun, from the main office.
It’s a very great pleasure to make her acquaintance, the smoking Ogun tells Kitty. She bets, Kitty thinks, but his looks make her uncomfortable. Suddenly, she remembers how scared she was the first time she met Wolverine. Without a word being said, she knew instinctively what he was. Ogun’s the same.
Carmen explains that the gentlemen want him to meet with the head of the corporation. Kitty replies she doesn’t mind waiting. They can go out to dinner afterwards. At that, the men begin to laugh. Kitty wonders what the reason for their hilarity is and Carmen points out the chairman lives in Japan. He sent his private jet to fly him out there tonight. He’ll be gone a week, maybe longer.
Maybe forever, Kitty thinks. Those guys are dangerous. She wonders what to do. Carmen suggests she return to Xavier’s school. She considers it, as she could then involve the X-Men, but decides against it. Until she knows more, it’s better this stays in the family. Does she have to? she pleads.
Ogun suddenly suggests Kitty could accompany Carmen. Shigematsu-san, his esteemed employer, is very fond of children. That sounds great, Kitty replies enthusiastically, but Carmen cuts her off. He forbids it. Strictly he tells her his decision is final. Gentler, he apologizes for snapping at her. He’s got a lot on his mind and is on a real short fuse these days. He asks her to do as he says. He’ll explain later.
Kitty agrees. He hands her a note for the housekeeper plus money. Her cab fare for the airport. Can she handle the change in flight reservations? She’s a big girl, she replies and can take care of herself. And of him, she thinks.
Carmen says goodbye and leaves with the men. She watches their black limo leave, wondering if Ogun and his bosses are Yakuza, Japanese gangsters, trying to infiltrate and take over legitimate businesses like their American counterparts. If that’s the case, her father was trying to protect them both, by making sure they wouldn’t take her hostage. But what if it’s all her imagination?
She takes a taxi and orders it to go to the airport. Traffic’s lousy, the cabbie gets lost, so by the time Kitty reaches the right terminal her father’s plane is already airborne. She finds an early evening Japanese Airlines 747 nonstop from Chicago to Tokyo. She phases into a modular luggage container. Instead of loading bags one by one, the ground crew piles them into these modules and then rolls the entire container into the luggage bay.
A sudden jerk a long while later tells her the plane is moving and almost buries her in cases. Whoever packed this module didn’t do a very good job, she thinks. Things get worse after takeoff as the cases settle at the rear of the 747 during its climb. To avoid being crushed, she has to phase, but at the same time has to be really careful to avoid phasing not only through the baggage but the aircraft’s hull as well. Cautiously, she slips into the passenger cabin.
The flight isn’t crowded, so Kitty huddles up in a seat in a remote corner of the coach cabin and tries to sleep. Eventually, a stewardess gently shakes her awake and asks for her boarding pass. Kitty admits she doesn’t have one. The stewardess thought so. She doesn’t remember anyone with her distinct outfit entering. Does Kitty have a passport or ID? No. The stewardess asks how and why she got aboard? Some sort of school prank? Kitty is about to burst out with her problem, but then doesn’t and agrees it was on a dare. The stewardess reports her to the captain, but is pretty nice to Kitty on the while trip.
Late afternoon, they finally land at Anrita, Tokyo’s international airport. Kitty is told to stay in her seat until the rest of the passengers have disembarked at which point she will be turned over to the police.
With attention elsewhere, Kitty phases down and outside the hull, scaring the ground crew. She runs away and hides, telling herself to wear sensible clothes next time.
She catches a bus to Tokyo. Phasing into the bus, she bumps into a man who strictly chides her. Kitty replies and apologizes in polite, fluent Japanese. Thankfully, Professor Xavier taught all of the X-Men Japanese before they visited the country. As she disembarks, she wishes she’d paid more attention when they toured the city. She’s forgotten how huge and crowded Tokyo is. She wonders if there is a general alarm out for her. She has no idea how to start looking for her dad. Then she recalls that Ogun mentioned that his boss’ name is Shigemtasu. Assuming the company’s in his own name, she can get its address from information. She learns that the main office is in the Otemachi district, near Tokyo Station, which is only a few blocks away.
Soon, Kitty finds herself impressed by the size of the office building but it’s after working hours. The building is locked. It’s getting dark too and the clouds are looking really nasty. She isn’t dressed for rain. She isn’t dressed for much of anything. She rifles through her belongings, finding only four bucks and change. And two and a half sticks of gum make for a lousy dinner. The rain starts and she decides she needs cover.
If she turns to their friend, Lady Mariko, she’ll call the professor. She decides to hide out in Shigematsu’s skyscraper. She airwalks up to the higher level offices just as the thunderstorm starts. The storm reminds her of Ororo. She and Illyana are her best friends. The way she’s been acting lately she sure doesn’t deserve them. Tired from the jetlag, she sinks down on a couch and falls asleep.
Unfortunately she is awoken by a screaming cleaning lady. Before Kitty can explain herself, a security guard comes in and immediately goes for his gun and fires at her.
Kitty runs towards the shattering window and jumps, realizing that with that kind of paranoia those people must be crooks.
The guard believes he hit her and momentum threw her out of the window. He tells the woman he’ll alert command.
Downstairs in the torrential downpour, Kitty angrily finds she left her skates and her hat behind. And since the alarm’s been sounded she can’t get to them. Once her dad sees the skates or someone reads the nametag in them, they’ll know it was her. With goons swarming across the plaza, probably looking for a body, she decides to put some distance between them and her.
Kitty already sniffles, sure to get a cold. She decides she needs a place to stay, decent clothes and some food and that takes money. She phases inside a bank, battling with herself whether she should reach inside the storage bin of the ATM machine. But that’s stealing. No, only borrowing, she persuades herself. She’ll give it back. She wouldn’t consider it, if she weren’t desperate.
She takes the money, but the next moment an alarm goes off. Frightened, she drops the money and runs outside where the police are already waiting, ready to arrest her. Like an amateur, she panics. She can’t bear the thought of being caught and the professor and the X-Men finding out what she has done. So she runs.
One cop chases her into a dead end but then she phases into the ground, leaving the cop to believe he’s been dealing with a ghost. Kitty solidifies downstairs and lands in the cold waters of a sewer. She lets the stinking waters carry her along.
Later, sunrise. Kitty cowers in a doorway, miserable and freezing, feeling rotten, not just because she’s coming down with a cold but because she is a thief like her father. The reasons don’t matter. They still stole. And they both got caught. She had a small fortune in her hands. But she was too spooked by the alarm, and the police and dropped it. She wishes she’d never eavesdropped at her dad’s office. If only she’d done as she was told. She coughs and sniffles, realizing she’s got a fever. What she wouldn’t give for some of Peter’s special cuddles, except what made them special was the fact that they loved each other. That isn’t true anymore. She wants to go home. She wants her friends. She walks towards a payphone and places a collect call to Xavier’s School.
At Xavier’s the phone rings and it’s Wolverine who answers. When he hears from the operator that Kitty is calling from Tokyo he demands to know what’s going on. Ashamed, Kitty puts down the receiver. She’s too embarrassed to speak with him.
While Wolverine is puzzled, Kitty finds things can still get worse as she sees her face on a TV screen and learns that the police is looking for her for the attempted robbery last night. The camera in the teller booth took her picture.
She decides to give herself up. But first she’d better explain the mess to her dad. She wonders if she’ll go to jail. She phases inside Shigematsu’s office building. She wonders whether Professor X will fire her from the X-Men for this, then tells herself to slow down. She realizes her fever is rising as she reaches Shigematsu’s executive suite. She hopes her father will show up soon.
As the door opens, she phases into the next room. Among the men are an elderly Japanese man, dressed in traditional clothing, Shigematsu-san himself and Carmen Pryde. After some pleasantries, Shigematsu states that he hopes Pryde understands their arrangement. In return for appropriate remuneration, they will “launder” funds from their illicit operation through Pryde’s bank and from there channel them into legitimate investments, agreed? With a sad face, Pryde agrees. Horrified, Kitty shouts her father’s name.