(Two billion years ago)
Threshold, where in a cave, the Thresholder called Grove announces that they are under attack. 'Threshold's defector, Nightfount, leads the Unbreathing against us, razes our cities...intent on reigniting the Oxygen Wars'. Grove remarks that they feared the Unbreathing, but their final weapons against them, the smart bacteria, have instead turned their hate against each other, and they war, using their own infected bodies as fodder. On the battlefied, a child bites into their mother's neck, while war rages around them. Grove tells Amass, Crave and Theia that the present is beyond saving, and that the future is their only hope. 'You are our only hope' she utters. Crave and Theia look concerned, while Amass smiles.
At the Broken Baths on Krakoa, most of the Marauders are relaxing naked in the hot pools. Kate Pryde looks unimpressed and asks 'You're questioning the mission now? Why? Because of Cassandra?' 'Who wouldn't have questions about world-conquering germs?' Lucas Bishop asks. Jeanne-Marie Beaubier a.k.a. Aurora points out that it isn't like Kate has been taking opinions, adding that she isn't saying they shouldn't go. 'Throwing us to the wolves, deep in the past shouldn't be a split-second decision' Kwannon a.k.a. Psylocke remarks. Akihro a.k.a. Daken, Carl Valentino a.k.a. Somnus and Heather Tucker a.k.a. Tempo listen to the conversation as Kate asks Psylocke if she thinks this was – a split second decision. 'I've worn an X a long time. Saved plenty. Lost plenty, too. This mission isn't some wild dream...it's an act of will' Kate declares.
Kate continues, telling her team that the choice here is the one she makes every day – to hope. To not take no for an answer when others would. 'And yes, when necessary, to dive at the wolves...and kick their asses'. She asks her team if they want to know a secret, before announcing that their boat doesn't work for Krakoa – it works for mutants. 'We go where we're needed, full stop. The Quiet Council itself couldn't keep me from doing my job. That's why I chose you all. Not for stats or experience. For your hearts. You need to dave lives...and not be stopped' Kate declares. 'Solid speech, Captain. But saving Threshold could still mean overwriting Krakoa as we know it' Tempo points out. But Kate suggests that saving the past from Arkea and Sublime doesn't need to undo the present. 'We'll find a way... they've been beaten here. We can beat them there' Aurora utters.
But Fang asks 'What if Tempo's right? The past's long dead. Even if we save Threshold... time'll still get them. There's no threat to Krakoa here and now'. He asks if they can really risk erasing all of their own lives for something that is over. Bishop turns to Fang and remarks 'Your life was over when I was born, Fang. I'm still here fighting for it. We plan. We take precautions. We help who we can. And until then...we keep the Threshold Three out of trouble'.
Later, at the Green Lagoon, 'You should be captain of that ship, Kwannon. Not a tour guide' John Greycrow remarks to his lover, Kwannon, as the two of them stand and watch the Thresholder called Crave devour plate after plate of food. Seated to one side of Crave is Maggott, whose digestive creatures eat a meal from a bowl, and on the other side, an unhappy looking Horsepower, recent arrival to Krakoa. Kwannon tells John that she chose to show Crave around, and adds that she thought he would enjoy the business. 'No money on Krakoa and still you've got me doing charity' Greycrow smiles, before asking Crave if there is anything else he can get him. 'In time, no doubt. I'm not done with your initial offering, yet' Crave replies as he continues to scoff the food – and plates – before him, while Horsepower and Maggott look on in disgust. 'If he takes a bite out of the counter, I'll bury him beneath the rest' Greycrow remarks to Kwannon, who points out that it has been billions of years since Crave's last meal – in a way. 'So he wouldn't mind eating a bullet?' John asks.
'Sad what passes for hunger in your day, friend Maggott! Speaking of which...do yout gut demons intend to finish that?' Crave asks, putting a hand on Maggott's shoulder, but gets no response, so he turns to the holo-menu and remarks 'No matter. You said bullets, Greycrow? Delightful. I must have missed them here...' as he continues to search through the holo-menu. 'More of a menu hack, but don't worry...you've earned it' Greycrow replies as he hands Crave a gun. 'Delicious! Our mollusk mines never yielded such delightful alloys' Crave utters as he bites down on the gun. 'With skill such as yours, surely you run this island' Crave adds. '...not just yet!' Greycrown exclaims, annoyed. Kwannon tells John that it is okay, and calms him down as he grows agitated. She then turns to Crave and asks if there is more he wants to do than just eat before they depart. 'What? I'm sorry. I've just been taken again by the menu' Crave replies. He then tells Kwannon that it's curious – the words are foreign, but the alphabet, the characters are the same – drawn from the very seed that spawned Threshold.
Elsewhere on Krakoa, sitting on a large rocky mound, Amass asks 'So. This is the best we do? An island' to which Cassandra Nova, sitting nearby, tells him not to be so dour, and reminds him that everyone he knows hs long dead. 'Everyone you know wishes you were' Amass snaps back. He puts his head in his hands and wonders if he was stupid to expect more. 'Threshold covered a continent. We'd have mastered our fears someday. Pioneered the void, like you did with Arakko, Cassandra'. He reveals that they called that world Krazna, and its sister planet was Teeamu – nothing but asteroids, and now it is just gone. 'Yes, well. So is your precious Threshold. For all its continent-straddling' Cassandra smirks. Amass looks annoyed and tells Cassandra to mock all she wants, but that Krakoa wouldn't be here without Threshold, and that neither would she. 'You think?' Cassandra asks, still smiling. 'To thrive here, you must both defend your existence and offer cruel reminders of your value. For me, such acts are like breathing' Cassandra utters.
'Why would I want to be like you?' Amass asks as he drops down off the rocky mound onto the ground below. 'You want to survive. And I've long considered that my true mutant power' Cassandra declares, informing Amass that she has survived an attempted murder in utero, survived the loss of her flesh, and survived a cumbersome redhead mangling her morals. 'Mutants have hated me since I was conceived...and I've survived'. She admits that, in fairness, she hated them as well – and now she hates everyone else. 'It's quite the turn'. Amass informs Cassandra that back home he was treated like a thief, like he was casing them, looking to steal their bodies. 'Even here, I can tell this land's a mutant. It's almost familiar. I could merge with it if I -' Amass begins as he touches the ground, before Cassandra telekinetically grabs him and flings him up in the air, warning him that would break the rules: “Respect this sacred land”. Amass asks Cassandra if she follows the rules. 'Heavens no. And I dare these urchins to hold me accountable. There can be no rules...when it comes to mutantkind's survival' Cassandra responds, adding that she warned that Threshold's germs would grow into today's Arkea and Sublime, and that when the Marauders ignore her and go back anyway, there will be no rule but her own.
Elsewhere, at Dead Mutant Cove, an unmasked Tempo sits on the shore of Krakoa with Theia at her side. Theia tells Tempo that Krakoa is beautiful, and that her home amazes her. 'You say they ride the waves here?' Theia asks, explaining that all but their bravest feared waves, as oceans meant death, thanks to the enemy below. 'Still got plenty of enemies, Theia. Most of them human' Tempo replies. Theia remarks that it is strange to hear that humans are the majority now mutants. 'Their rarity, their fragility...their wisdom – these led us to cherish them. A far cry from the hate you endure' Theia adds, hugging herself and hanging her head as she tells Tempo that these tensions feel so alien to her, and wonders if they always will. 'But then...yours isn't the society torn apart by weapons of its own creation'.
Tempo tells Theia to watch out as she notices the tide coming in. 'No matter. Just a moment' Theia remarks as she uses her powers to diver the waves, redirecting the water so that it breaks on the shore around them but not on them. Theia then tells Tempo that she didn't think there would be a future to greet them, and that what they left behind was so bleak, and asks her if she truly believes she can help Threshold. 'Pryde does. Mutant solutions to impossible problems. That's what she says' Tempo replies, adding that it is wild how the same thing can make someone admirable and irritating. 'Your captain's drive is enviable...I see nothing to dislike' Theia replies. 'There's driven and there's foolish. Even with you on gravity, Aurora on speed and me on time...Amass merging us all, even with everyone and a boost fruit. Forget precision, Theia...this's still just a leap of faith' Tempo declares.
Theia stands up, 'Without question' she replies, adding that it would not be her first. 'I know. I know. And that's why I'm ready to jump. I mean...look at you. So far from everything you knew, bending the ocean...for me' Tempo utters. 'It was not unwelcome, I hope?' Theia asks, smiling. 'Not hardly. But you risked so much to get here, I figure...I'm due for a risk of my own' Tempo replies as she takes Theia's hand and Theia helps her to stand.
'Save the frills, Jumbo. We're looking for function here, not fashion' Kate Pryde tells the extravagant costume designer Jumbo Carnation as they stand in his workshop within the White Palace. 'The clock is ticking for Threshold' Kwannon remarks, to which Bishop reminds her that it is time travel, so it doesn't matter when they leave. While the mutant called Stitch uses her control over light metals to sew some fabric together, Jumbo remarks that fashion can be function, and reveals that he and Stitch sat down with Forge earlier. 'This is what we got' he smiles, holding up a small skull symbol, he explains that the molecules inside the brooch are intuitive, not unstable, and that they are self-healing, too, meaning they will protect the past from today's germs and be the look that launches a thousand puberties. Jumbo tells Captain Pryde to tap once to deploy, twice to retract and three times to pat him on the back. 'And don't forget Stitch. Her gifts make her a virtuoso with micro-circuitry' Jumbo adds, which causes Stitch to smile. Kate, Kwannon and Bishop examine the brooches, and Kwannon tells Jumbo that Stitch should be proud, both of them should. 'All that remains...is to put your work to use'.
Later, the sun glows over the ocean as the Marauder sets sail. 'No suits for the new blood?' Fang asks as he adjusts the brooch on his costume. Theia smiles and tells Fang that it is quaint he would call them new. 'I am safely your elder's elder' she reminds him. 'New blood and new bodies, Theia. Fresh from Arbor Magna. Now hold tight...we're nearing land. I can smell it' Fang remarks as the Marauder rises out of the ocean and flies towards land. Soon, once the Marauder has landed, Tempo puts the brooch on her yellow costume and tells Fang that the Threshold Three are still breaking in their resurrected bodies. 'Isn't that what you were doing down at the cove?' Fang smiles as the team begins to depart the vessel. 'They haven't been here long enough to pick up our pathogens' Tempo replies coldly towards Fang. Christian Frost appears and, on behalf of Hellfire Trading, he welcomes the Marauders to Cooterman's Creek. Kate thanks Christian for the ride and tells him not to break her boat while she is gone. 'That's your job, Captain. Enjoy the past' Christian replies. 'And if you happen to see an especially well-dressed eukaryote...hand's off, it's likely a Frost!' Christian adds.
The Marauders activate their special suits – black and white costumes with red accents and a protective helmet. The individual's name is written in bold red letters down the right side of their leg. The Threshold Three look on and smile, while Somnus asks 'This is the spot? There's nothing ancient here' to which Bishop tells him that there wouldn't be, not after this long, and explains that Sage ran the numbers – this is where Threshold stood, at least what hasn't been pulled beneath the continental crust. Theia warns Captain Pryde that Threshold will seem strange to modern mutants, but Kate tells her not to worry. 'I'm sure your people put their pants on same as us' Kate jokes. Theia explains that their clothing grows from short-lived unicellular colonies that live an entire lifespan on their skin's surface, then petrify into bespoke attire. 'You...you make amoeba clothes?' Somnus asks. 'Is it that much stranger than silk coming out of a worm's -' Aurora begins, before Amass asks everyone if they're ready, warning them that unification can be disorientating for first timers. 'On your word, Bishop' Amass remarks.
'Do it, Amass. And remember...we land two weeks before Arkea and Sublime' Bishop instructs Amass, as the Thresholder merges himself, Crave and Theia with the Marauders, they form one strange being which appears blue, with many arms, and a face comprised of all of their faces. 'Is...this it? We're all in here? Who's driving?' Tempo asks. Theia tells her that they all are, and one of them, explaining that movement is quasi-autonomous when amassed. 'This can't be a committee. To jump so far back in time, I need to be driving' Tempo replies. 'I'm “driving,” Tempo. Your hands are all holding mine. So, lead me' Theia tells her. Energy crackles around the strange being, as Bishop tells Amass that they will each guide, him through their gifts. 'Call it out, people!' Bishop exclaims. 'This is Tempo. Chronokinetics are go'. 'It is Theia. Gravity shield is go'. 'This is Pryde. Intangibility is go'. 'Bishop. Compound energy field is go'. 'This is Psylocke. Psychic backup is go'. 'This is Aurora. Lightspeed is go'. 'Miss Nova here, with a Threshold language upload in hand'. 'Erm – it's Somnus! Prepping Hypersleep!' Amass then reports that he is full of nervous mutants and jumping in three... two... one.
(Two billions years ago)
Sentrytown 87, Tthreshold, where several fires rage as the Thresholders battle each other. 'Why fight on? You truly think this battle can be won? These people, their flesh...is all mine by right!' a green-skinned Thresholder calls out, blocking attacks of others, while dozens of rat-like creatures scurry about. 'Please. I didn't ask for a sibling. I didn't care to break this world... until they made us hate it! Even so, it's mine to destroy – not yours. After all, I was here first!' another of the Thresholders exclaims, the two seem to be possessed one by Sublime, the other by Arkea.
Suddenly, the creature comprised of the Marauders and the Threshold Three lands with a mighty thud in the middle of the battle. 'Well, we're here. And it's just as bad as I remember' one of the Threshold Three remark. 'They're ripping each other to shreds!' Psylocke calls out, while one of the others reveals that this city kept watch for the Unbreathing. 'Buy we're too late!' they add. 'This sickness you call Arkea and Sublime is here. We undershot our landing' Their utters. Tempo tells Theia that she is sorry, but she tried, however they travelled billions of years. 'That's like throwing a dart at a snowflake' she exclaims. 'We made it, Tempo. That's what matters. These mutants are infected... butchering each other for Arkea and Sublime. They think there's no one to stop them' someone remarks, while someone else asks 'Want to show them they're wrong?' 'I know I do, Marauders...so let's give 'em hell!' Kate Pryde declares as Amass releases the mutants from the combined being, and they all leap towards the waring, infected Thresholders.
'Welcome, mule! Welcome to -' one of the infected mutants begins, before Theia slams a gravity field into him. 'No' she tells him. 'Good luck with that' Kate smirks as another mutant tries to slice her head off, but their weapon just phases through her. 'Quite the body count for bacterial infants. It's almost nostalgic' Cassandra states as she hovers over several of the infected. Suddenly, 'Behind you, Cassandra! They're -' Amass calls out when he sees Cassandra in danger, never mind the dagger that has been put to his own throat. 'NO! LET GO OF ME, CHARLES!' Cassandra shouts as one of the Thresholders grabs her neck. Cassandra looks anguished as she utters 'That – that pain, that memory... it will cost you your life' she warns the mutant. 'Hardly, woman! Not while this Enriched mule is my carriage! The sight of it! Its smell, its sound – all force your most painful recollections! The weapons this body has are amazing!' the virus calls out from within its host body, when, an instant later: 'So are these' Fang snarls as he shoves his claws into the Thresholder's skull. Fang tells Nova to stay down and let her livery heal, before asking her if that was Xavier's name he heard her screaming. 'Perhaps. A brother engineering your miscarriage can certainly be...formative' Cassandra replies. 'Family gets you every time' Fang agrees.
Fang starts to tell Cassandra that they need to get back into the battle, when he is struck with a blast of energy. 'Your hermetic vestaments are nothing!' the virus cries out from another host form. 'We always get in. You mules bred us for war. Now you have it. War to rage until there is no more flesh left to infect. Until only I or my sibling live!' The virus continues: 'The death of a mule is but the loss of an append-' suddenly, he screams as his hand is severed from his arm. 'Care to offer up any others?' Aurora asks, light dazzling around her hand, ready to strike again, she rushes over to Fang, 'I'm here, Aki! I'm right here!' she tells her partner, as Fang keels over, growling. 'You – you've got to heal! Got to let your livery close up, before -' Aurora exclaims, but Fang's body twists and turns, and he starts to tell Aurora that she is too late. 'We're made to get in. To outthink and overpower immunity. Built for a single art – societal collapse. Why would we eve stop at one?' the virus asks as it takes over Fang's body and mind.
'Unbreathing, Enriched, Enshrined...you're all just mules to us. And this is a strong one!' the virus exclaims as Fang's helmet is removed. 'No! If Fang – if even healing factor can't hold them off, we're -' Kate Pryde begins, as the virus asks 'Doomed? Of course. And what's this about a mission? How sad. There's so much to learn and see inside this body. The feeling – is SUBLIME!' Fang exclaims, the Sublime virus now in complete control...