Not long ago in Central Park outside Xavier’s school:
Storm and Nightcrawler explain how the newly created portal to Krakoa, which they are standing next to works and praise life on Krakoa. Kitty Pryde is the last to take a step through the gate or at least tries to. Instead, for her it is running into a brick wall, face first. Blood gushes form her nose as she swears in pain and surprise.
Kitty (now wanting to be called Kate) refuses to depend on her friends’ powers to get to Krakoa. Instead, she steals a boat and intends to sail toward Krakoa, accompanied only by her faithful dragon Lockheed. Alone at sea, she starts drinking from the stash she was supposed to bring for Wolverine (leading to some whiskey-induced navigational mishaps…).
Lockheed gives her a seagull wing as a gift. Kitty is disgusted at first, then realizes that means they are close to land. Wow! she marvels, as she sees Krakoa in front of her. Hello, Krakoa, she greets the island and mutters what did she do to piss it off.
She steps ashore and finds herself ignored. She tries one of the portals from this side but again no luck. He heard about her, a kid sneers. She’s the mutant that can’t use the gates. And he’s that kid everyone wants to fight, she replies with an evil glint in her eyes.
Iceman greets her. Still can’t use the gates huh? No, she replies but adds sarcastically she’s been assured top men are on it. He’d like to meet those top men, Bobby muses wistfully. Her too, she replies tartly.
Did she get it? an agitated Wolverine shouts at her as he runs toward the boat. She smiles, musing the Five really brought them back. And they’d do it for all of them, Bobby agrees. Kitty asks how he is. Adjusting same as everyone, he shrugs as he gets into a bag of chips. Logan is having a hard time with the price fixed menu. So, does she already have a home here? Kitty begins to ask. Logan walks past them, carrying a casket of beer and thanking her profusely.
Bobby replies to her question that she doesn’t have a pad yet. She has to ask Krakoa for a seed, then plant it. Never mind, she interrupts. She won’t be here much. What is she going to do? he asks. She has a weird offer she wants to talk to him about, she replies. He tells her to hold that thought. He wants to see why that gate has no traffic. If she’s hungry, everything on that tree is edible and delicious. She’s good, she replies, tight-lipped. He walks through the door. Show-off, she mutters.
Kate suddenly receives a mental message and her astral form joins Emma Frost, who is in London, just stepping into a limousine. Emma wonders why she hasn’t asked the others to stop calling her ‘Kitty’ yet. Because the X-Men can do a lot of astonishing things but she doesn’t think they can do that, she jokes. They are not really meeting to discuss her name, are they?
Emma tells Kitty she trusts her. She’s been hearing that a lot lately. Why does everyone trust her? Emma calmly explains that she has been fighting for her life for years against impossible odds and never once did she give someone an extra shot in the ribs because they deserve it. So they think she’s weak! Kitty accuses her. If she did, she would not have extended the invitation she has, Emma shoots back calmly.
They leave the limo, having arrived outside a huge storehouse. Emma explains that, even in these unpredictable times, she is predictably dependent, and that is not an insult. The fact that the Krakoan gates don’t work for her is an opportunity. She’s just completed a successful journey to the new mutant homeland. Emma hopes it is the first of many on behalf of their new corporation.
Kitty is thinking about it but Emma wants an answer. Kitty marvels when she sees what is inside the building, namely a state-of-the-art ship.
Emma explains that only some of the humans took their offer. Mutants must also set the price on the black markets to have a stable economy. The Hellfire Trading Company is the most important mutant corporation. There will be perks to a captaincy, including any guest she may wish to invite aboard. There are mutants across the world that cannot access the Krakoan gates. In North Valnon, the kleptocratic family that runs the country has cordoned off the entrance to Krakoa. In other places, humans are already doing predictable things to mutants. Several gates in Brazil have mutant-hunting quadrupeds in the area. She’s sure those mutants would love to join her on their new craft… There’s also a fortune to be made – the kind that writes history books for two species.
Ororo said no, huh? Kitty replies wryly. Before she could finish her pitch, Emma admits unabashedly, but she will be grand! And there are side benefits to a captaincy. She really must start to live a little. She is not a school teacher anymore. She’s thinking about it, Kitty replies evasively. Emma tells her not to think but imagine it. Be a Queen. Do it for the wardrobe! Emma starts describing some of the outfits she wore in her early days. She remembers, Kitty interrupts her. She will ravish in red, Emma assures her. Put herself in Emma’s hands. She deserves it!
They break contact. Lockheed brings his latest spoils - a crab. She’s glad he likes it here, she tells him.
Iceman is in a Russian town at the seaside when he steps outside the Krakoan doorway. Weakly, he quips that it’s winter here already. You can really smell the vodka in the air he jokes to the military personnel gathered around the gate. They are not laughing.
A man in a red suit of armor - Professor Phobos - steps forward, announcing Russian mutants have no interest in going with him. Iceman points out the guns and tanks. The other man replies that mutants either serve the state or get crushed, then blasts away at Iceman… who finds he is suddenly in his depowered state (dressed only in boxers and flip flops) his power neutralized. Phobos tells the soldiers he is all theirs. Bobby jumps back through the portal before their bullets can hit him.
He almost just died! he shouts. Working or playing? Kitty asks, slugging a bottle of something with a definitely high alcohol content. Icing up again, he explains they have a situation with some “aggro” Russians and they can’t go in via portal. They got some kind of knock-off Iron Man suit that deep-sixes their powers.
Kitty shouts she wants to fight some aggro humans and orders him to get into her boat. She then sweet-talks Storm into helping them, as they will need her winds in their back. Storm asks if she has been in Logan’s stash. She is the stash, Kitty replies.
A middle-aged, well-dressed woman, Mrs. Zhao, speaks to the public and the press outside her home. She tells the people not to believe the lying mutants. Krakoa does not create families, it destroys them. Her husband touched the gate in the nearby park and disappeared. She demands to know where her husband is and why the mutants took him.
The crowd becomes agitated. One man dressed in a trench coat and a fedora states he is investigating her husband’s disappearance. She asks his name and what agency he is with. Bishop introduces himself and asks if they may speak privately, but Mrs. Zhao refuses and turns away. Bishop calls after her that they have no record of her husband going through their gates. He gives his word. Viciously, she hisses that his word is worth nothing, mutant!
Bishop calls telepathically for Professor X to inform him that something is rotten in Taipei but he will stand down for the night.
In the meantime, Storm is using her winds to send Kitty’s boat as quickly as possible toward Vladivostok. Suddenly, it turns out they have a stowaway. Pyro comes up from below, where he had lain down to sleep. From his thick, Australian accent, Iceman deduces he is the original Pyro, not their younger sometime teammate. Pyro explains he was one of the first mutants to be resurrected. He felt so special until he realized they used him as a lab rat. He was gonna steal that boat and get into trouble, but that bunk was so nice he just fell asleep. Storm informs him he has been drafted, but stresses their ‘no kill’ rule. Together they all discuss strategy.
In Vladovostok, Phobos still stands at the Krakoan Gate, disappointed at the lack of action, since he was spoiling for a fight.
Storm comes flying in and Iceman arrives on an iceside. She observes that the armor seems to be converting energy. They are both hit by his blast and momentarily lose their powers. Not so tough without their powers, are they? Phobos gloats.
Kitty, in the meantime, has snuck up behind him and takes his suit of armor out by phasing through it. Not so tough without his suit? She shoots back.
Several Russian soldiers rush at her. One runs right through her phased form, making them believe she is a hologram, until she karate-chops one in the throat.
Fed up, she uses a combination of phasing and martial arts to disarm a soldier. She trains his weapon on him. She assumes they are using non-lethal ammunition against civilians? she asks. He replies with a racist slur. In return, she shoots him in the knee. She phases through the saber attack another soldier tries from behind, then tells them to forget about the damage a bullet can do. Look at the damage a gun can do. She phases the assault rifle into the legs of two soldiers, then allows it to solidify.
Unimpressed, she turns around to see a tank driving up. She phases inside and through it, destroying its electronics. The soldier with the sword attacks again. She takes him out and grabs the sword. Afterwards, she kicks him.
Pyro informs her there are more troops. He needs some fire. She addresses Lockheed, who breathes flame to help. An ecstatic Pyro makes the most of it, forcing their foes to retreat.
Kitty suggests the others take the gate back to Krakoa. She’ll take boat. Clearly elated, Pyro asks what the rush is. They could go somewhere fun. Storm agrees that they came together and will leave together. Kitty again touches the Krakoan gate which to her is a wall. No change.
The Russian mutants come closer, thanking them. They were about to be shipped to a gulag. Kitty turns around with a smile and announces that, if you are a mutant and can’t get to Krakoa, then the Marauders will bring you home.
A little later, Kitty is under deck working on a black piece of cloth. Finished, she phases upward on deck. She can’t live on the island she simply tells Storm who understands. Kitty adds she figured she wouldn’t have to explain herself to her claustrophobic friend. Looking at the ocean, Storm states that she doesn’t love the name “Marauders.” Kitty admits she was on the spot, and she doesn’t know if the X-Men will want to be associated with what they are doing. If she stays out here a while, will Storm stay with her?
Storm muses that they changed the word so quickly, and a lot of their people are trapped in hostile territories. How could she turn her back on them or on her? She is with her. However, Ororo stresses, Kitty will deal with Emma. She wants no part of her. Kitty thanks her.
Lockheed brings two human fingers Kitty telepathically speaks to Emma and announces the answer is ‘yes’ to both her propositions. Oh darling, she’s made her so happy, Emma gushes.
Kitty raises the piece of cloth - a pirate flag with an X-symbol on the skull. Calling her ‘Kitty,’ Iceman asks where they are going. Anywhere they want, is the reply and she asks them to call her Kate.