Wolverine always knew if he stayed in Madripoor long enough, he would end up climbing the walls. As he scales the exterior of General Coy's heavily guarded mansion, he comments that his adamantium claws and complete lack of fear make doing so much easier.
Inside, General Nguyen Ngoc Coy's assistant informs him he has a visitor. "Greetings, sir. I am Coy," the General says.
His visitor cannot resist the pun."I myself am painfully shy," Cyber replies. General Coy acknowledges his visitor's joke, but instead of laughing, offers him a seat. Cyber points out that there is no chair. I know, General Coy says. He gets down to business and asks Cyber about the goods he wishes to move. Cyber corrects him; he possesses nothing personally, but he represents men who do. Suddenly, Cyber ceases speaking and looks over his shoulder suspiciously; he senses something familiar nearby.
Wolverine, continuing his ascent, reminisces about how exactly he ended up climbing the walls of Coy's mansion when there are many other things he would much rather be doing with his night. It was Tyger Tiger who asked him to do this favor, and after some circular banter, Wolverine realized he would probably end up seeing some action that night ... only not the kind of action he was hoping for. "Women. Can't live with 'em..." he says as he climbs through a window.
Logan sneaks through the hallways, completely undetected, except by a lazy housecat. It meows at him rather audibly. Wolverine signals it to be silent. Encroaching footsteps signal the arrival of two guards, so Wolverine hides behind a cluster of broad-leafed house plants. However, he has to endure their jokes and witless chiding as they pass. "Your problem, Lister," one of the men says to the other, "is that you wouldn't know a good joke if it leaped out from behind a potted plant and clawed you to death."
Inside the General's office, Cyber explains why he stopped speaking mid-sentence. "I have certain psionic powers that you wouldn't understand, General ... primarily because the explanation would require words of two syllables or more." In layman's terms, he has detected the familiar brain patterns of a man he thought he killed. General Coy asks if he should be concerned. "Why?" Cyber asks, removing his trench coat and hat. "I'm not."
Wolverine, cursing General Coy's of a windowless office, finally arrives at his door. Unsurprisingly, this door has its own guard. Wolverine rolls a quarter over to the guard's feet, and, while the guard looks down, sneaks over and knocks him out with an uppercut. He creeps up to the door. Through the cigar smoke in the air, he picks up traces of a familiar, yet unidentifiable, scent. Just as he figures out what it might be, a meaty hand breaks through the door and grips him by the neck.
The burly, adamantium-coated Cyber bursts forth and jokes that the exterminators have been lax; there is a rat on the premises. "So. It is you," Cyber says as he strangles Logan. "I thought you were dead. Odd. You don't look dead." He hurls Wolverine against the wall. "I hate being wrong."
As soon as Wolverine recovers, he gets up, unsheathes his claws, and tells Cyber he has no idea how long he has waited to get revenge. His first swipe slides off of Cyber's armored body. His second, Cyber avoids by stepping back. Cyber then reveals claws of his own, five to be exact, which protrude from the tips of his fingers. Of course he knows how long Wolverine has waited to kill him; he was there for Wolverine's previous attempt. "And you were no more successful," he says as he cuts a gaping swath out of Wolverine's stomach, ... than this time."
Bleeding uncontrollably, Wolverine decides to flee. Cyber taunts him as he charges down the hallway toward the nearest window. Why are you running away, he asks? "Could it be you're afraid of me? Or are you too just being coy?" With Cyber only a meter behind him, Wolverine dives through the windowpane and falls to the jungle floor. Cyber stops at the window and watches him flee. One of the General's men asks what happened in the hall; why is there blood all over the floor? Cyber keeps staring out the window, smirking as he answers the guard's question. "Someone bled."
Firestar, still struggling with the difficult moral choice before her, decides to do what is best for those she loves. She delivers the unconscious Mystique to the Arms of Salvation in exchange for a lung transplant for her father. Agent Cross tells Angelica they have cross-checked organ viable organ donors all over the country, and have already found a match; her father's lung will arrive shortly. Angelica asks for confirmation that Mystique will not be harmed in their custody, a request Cross gladly placates. He assures her they only need a tissue sample from Mystique, after which she will be released. However, Angelica's concern surprises him; wasn't it Mystique's organization, Freedom Force, which caused her father's injury in the first place? Firestar resents his insinuation. She is loyal to those who matter, and the shapeshifting mutant who wants her to join her stupid government team is not one of them. "Well, there is something to be said about being part of a team," Cross says, segueing into a new topic.
From the control room, two Arms of Salvation agents monitor the exchange between Firestar and Agent Cross over cups of coffee. Cross is about to deliver his recruitment pitch to Firestar, one of the men says. He finds the situation funny because Firestar essentially has no choice; if she turns down the offer, they will not let her leave the facility alive! On the monitor, Agent Cross finishes his sales pitch. He implores Firestar to consider the benefits of working with a team like theirs, and as he leaves, asks her to think it over very carefully.
Later, Spiral and Avalanche rendezvous with the Blob and Pyro at confrontation site outside the hospital. Spiral mocks them for losing to "that little princess" Firestar, but Pyro reminds his teammate that same little princess bested her too! Besides, his team was at half strength. Blob, meanwhile, only wants one more crack at Firestar. If Mystique has her way, Avalanche reminds him, they will have that opportunity when Firestar joins Freedom Force!
Spiral adamantly objects. They have tried Mystique's way, and look where it has taken them: the team's defeat and Mystique's capture. She proposes they do things their way from now on, and the others agree. They will first locate Mystique using the tracking device installed in her belt, and once they find her, Freedom Force will attack her captors as a team. The sudden arrival of Super Sabre in the team's helicopter impedes their plans; surely their do-gooder teammate will try to convince them to behave more responsibly. Spiral suggests they keep their plan a secret. "We'll be in and out with Firestar's head before any of them are on to us," she says. The best part? Their revenge will appear to be in the line of duty. They board the helicopter.
An hour passes. Agent Cross returns and asks Firestar if she has reached a decision. She denies his offer; she may be unsure of how to use her powers, but she is not a mercenary. Pity, Cross says. At his command, an energy gun emerges from the wall and blasts her. Several Arms of Salvation agents enter and encircle Angelica's unconscious body. One of the men, wearing a heavy suit of body armor, grabs her by the hair and lifts her off the ground. He has wanted to kill her ever since she interfered and saved Meg Fallon, and now, he relishes the opportunity to see her brains splattered all over his gloves.
A sudden explosion knocks the men off their feet. Freedom Force enters and begins beating the mercenaries senseless. Where is Firestar, the Blob asks? The agents in the control room watch helplessly as their peers are overcome by the mutants. Firestar, meanwhile, regains consciousness and assesses the situation. Freedom Force may have just saved her life, but that doesn't mean she is glad to see them.
In the confusion following Freedom Force's attack, which is compounded by Avalanche crumbling the facility's foundation, the Arms of Salvation initiate emergency evacuation protocols. All the restricted areas are now unlocked. After burning her way through the walls of her holding cell, Firestar wanders through the hallways and unintentionally enters the organ-harvesting area, a room she was never meant to see.
Firestar suddenly understands the Arms of Salvation's purpose: they kidnap innocent people and harvest their organs for their clients, who pay top dollar. Donor survival is not a priority. Upon seeing Meg Fallon, Howard Fallon, and Mystique laid out on the operating tables, Firestar screams and lets loose her powers. She neutralizes the surgeons with her acute microwaves, and walks over to the unconscious Mystique to apologize for getting her into this mess. As Mystique wakes up, Angelica proposes a deal: she will help her escape, as long as she promises to leave her alone in the future. "No deals, Firestar. You do what you have to," Mystique says. Firestar frees her anyway.
Suddenly, a man outfitted in frightening battle armor and bearing advanced weaponry bursts through the door and curses Firestar for destroying the operation he has spent years building. "But I'm not going down alone," he shouts. "I'll see you dead first!" This man, Agent Cross, is the man who would ultimately kill Firestar.
Beast passes the time on his flight to Belgium by telling some of his life story to the snooty stranger in the adjacent seat. "I wasn't always the lovably loquacious lothario I am today," Hank says. I used to be a kid. Granted, I was a monstrously malformed misfit of a kid. But a kid nonetheless."
High school junior Hank McCoy, already quite burly but still lacking his signature blue fur, stands on a cliff that overlooks the valley. The sun sets behind him. It is the night of his junior prom, and he is alone. His prospects instantly change with the unexpected arrival of his classmate Jennifer Nyles. Hank asks why she came. To ask her favorite biology tutor to the year's biggest dance, she replies. With tears in his eyes, Hank refuses to believe the prettiest girl in school would ask a gorilla like him to the prom, and asks who put her up to it. Why can't the bullies just leave him alone? Admittedly, when she first met Hank, Jennifer judged him by his appearance. However, through all the hours they spent studying together, she has seen the great guy behind the 200-plus I.Q. and size 13 feet. "Now give me a hug, you big hairy lug," she says, drawing him closer. As she has already taken the initiative to rent him a tuxedo, he has no excuse to miss the dance.
After laughing raucously at his own anecdote, Beast asks his seat neighbor if he is boring him. The Frenchman, who does not understand a word of English, scowls. Hank offers to tell the rest of the story in French, but decides it is far too personal and continues in English. He hasn't thought of Jennifer Nyles in years, for reasons he feels guilty about, and needs to get this story off of his chest. Now, where was I, Hank asks?
Back at the McCoy household, Hank smiles bashfully as he and Jen pose for prom photos. While his tuxedo is a little big, Hank appreciates Jennifer's effort. His parents joke that he may not realize it yet, but Hank is probably in love. The happy couple later arrives at the prom, only to be greeted by Jen's belligerent ex-boyfriend, Evan. "You stood me up for that?!" Evan says. "He should be wearing a flea collar, not a bow tie!" Hank tries to take the non-confrontational route and leave, but Jennifer refuses to let this spoil their night. She walks up to Evan and hits him with a right hook. KER-POW!
"Ker-pow?!" the Frenchman asks. It seems Beast's vivid storytelling has finally captured his attention. Hank explains he would have decked Evan himself, but back then, he was much too shy. Looking around, Hank realizes the plane has finally landed in Brussels.
Several miles away, at the Belgian Ministry of Defense, Commander Courage reports to Captain Mascelein that the police have not yet found the city's serial killer. The good news? The captain, being dead, no longer has to worry about it.
Back at the airport, Hank throws his arm around the Frenchman's shoulder and continues his story. "Jennifer and I were inseparable the whole summer. Not that we were "going out" or anything. We were ... just friends," Hank says. "Sure, I loved her ... but you couldnâ€'t help but love her."
Jennifer gets in the face of Hank's football coach and demands he give him a shot at playing quarterback. The coach insists it will make him a laughingstock, but Jennifer reminds the coach that his team is in the midst of a three-year losing streak; if no one has laughed at them yet, giving Hank a chance certainly won't make it any worse.
Eventually, the coach submits and lets Hank play quarterback during practice. Hank hesitates, but Jennifer urges him on. It's time he stopped letting others define his limits, after all. Hank gives it a try, and on the first hike, he leaps over the offensive line and bounds toward the end zone in a few broad strides. How did I do, he asks the coach? Jennifer informs him the coach has passed out, but the tears in his eyes before he fainted must have been a good sign!
After Hank passes through airport customs, his new French friend, also in town for the mutant research symposium, catches up with him and asks if they might split a cab. "You can't fool me, my friend," Hank says. "You just want to hear the rest of the story!"
Unfortunately, there is not much left to tell. After high school, Jennifer went to London to study genetics, while Hank attended an American university on an All-American football scholarship. He recounts the last conversation with Jennifer he ever had: the two spoke over a poor trans-Atlantic phone connection, which ended just as Jen was telling Hank she loved him. He then went to his football game, after which he was attacked by the Conquistador. Later that evening, Professor X arrived and wiped the memories of everyone Hank ever knew. "Jen knew everything about me," Hank tells his attentive listener. "Subsequently, her memories were altered the most." Just like that, Hank's best friend had no idea who he even was. Isn't life funny, he asks.
When they arrive at the hotel, Hank thanks the Frenchman for listening, and exits the cab. The bellhop asks to take his bags; Hank politely declines. Instead, he looks at the symposium's event schedule, and is shocked to see Dr. Jennifer Nyles is a keynote speaker! The bellhop, meanwhile, approaches from behind and taps Beast's shoulder. Hank once again states he needs no help with his bags. The bellhop insists. Hank refuses again, but as he turns to look the bellhop in the eye, he is startled to see the man transforming into a costumed villain. Two adamantium coils extend from the backs of the man's hands, and he announces himself as the assassin known as the Constrictor. He wraps Beast in his coils and seers off his clothing.
Hank wriggles free and bares his teeth at the assassin. He tells the Constrictor he has chosen the absolute worst day to try to kill him. "Now if you'll excuse me?" Hank asks. "I have to check in."