Towering over the heart of Rio de Janeiro is one of its newest, most strikingly impressive skyscrapers – corporate headquarters of daCosta International S.A., the worldwide industrial empire forged by Emmanuel daCosta. Emmanuel enters the building and chitchats with his doorman for a bit, before heading for his office. He is wealthy almost beyond imagination, but it was not always so. His parents and were little better than slaves. And he still wears the scars of his master’s whip. The happiest day of his life – before his son was born – was when he finally drove that man, heir to one of the noblest families in Brazil, to ruin. All his life, if daCosta wanted something, he went out and got it, and Heaven help anyone foolish enough to get in his way. He never dreamed that opposition might one day include his son.
Sitting in Emmanuel’s own office chair, Roberto greets his father haughtily, remarking he wanted his arrival to be a surprise. Much as he and his mother and his friends’ survival at the hands of his father’s assassin, he adds bitterly.
Roberto is sitting in his chair, Emmanuel remarks. Roberto swings around, looking outside the huge window. He remembers Emmanuel perching him on his knee upon Corcovado beneath the Christ statue and waving his hand across the city, telling Roberto how one day all they beheld would be his. He believed him then, even though Emmanuel laughed like it was no more than a joke and Roberto thought it was wonderful that his father could start with nothing and rise so far, achieve so much. Everything Roberto did was to make his father proud of him, to make him worthy of his legacy. Now he finds he no longer cares. Whatever his father has to offer, he no longer wants.
Emmanuel turns his back on him and pours himself some coffee. He warns his son that he’s never been poor nor known hunger. He’s never had to work like a dog to stay alive. He should think before casting himself into the abyss. He has much to lose.
Nowhere near as much as he already has, Roberto spits back. And he doesn’t consider that he’s leaping off the edge so much as being pushed… by him.
To gain the riches of the fabled Maderia – the lost land of the Andes – he tried to have Roberto and his mother killed, he accuses his father. That was never his intent, Emmanuel still replies calmly. Things got out of hand, is that it? Roberto mocks. Castro simply exceeded his authority. What was it for? Wealth? Power? Don’t they have sufficient already?
His reasons are his own, comes the cold reply. And he desires to know them, Roberto angrily insists. Suppose Castro had succeeded, would he have been sorry, would he even have cared?! Emmanuel turns around, finally angry, warning him not to take that tone with him. He is his father!
Who loves him? And mother too no doubt! Roberto mocks. He looks for the man he remembers. He wants… he needs to find him only he’s gone. A stranger stands in his place.
He presumes to judge him? Emmanuel snarls, ready to strike him. Roberto turns to his Sunspot form and warns him not to raise his hand to him. Some consider him a monster because of his mutant powers. But looking at his father, he wonders which of them more fully deserves that name. He orders his father to forget the Maderia. Find some other land to exploit. If he makes a move into that hidden valley, Roberto will know and the New Mutants will stop him. Farewell.
Fist raised, Emmanuel warns him if he leaves now, he will no longer be his son. Then, Sir, Roberto replies as he enters the private elevator, he is now half an orphan.
The door closes. ‘Berto, Emmanuel voices softly. Then crushes his cup in anger.
Composed again, he calls his assistant to send someone to clean up the spilled coffee and to place a call to the special number in New York. A little later, the call to Sebastian Shaw is established and Emmanuel informs him that he has decided to accept Shaw’s offer of joining the Hellfire Club’s Inner Circle.
In the elevator, Roberto berates himself for losing his temper while getting rid of his tie. He wanted to understand, to let his father show him that Roberto was wrong with his suspicions about him. Instead, he made matters worse. He should have listened to his mother when they parted a fortnight ago, and left well enough alone.
Two weeks ago near Nova Roma, Roberto asks Nina to come with him. She tells him she can’t. Her place, her work is in the Maderia. She won’t stand with him against father? he asks. Nina simply replies that she loves him. After all he’s done? Her son asks incredulously. Hugging him, she explains that Emmanuel has fought so hard for so long that the gentle decent man he once was has gotten lost. If those who love him, abandon him, however will he find his true self again?
Holding back his tears, Roberto steps out of the elevator, wondering what if this is his father’s true self.
At the famous beach of Ipanema are Dani Moonstar and the team’s newest companion, Amara Aquilla. Amara marvels at the material and daring cut of her bathing suit. And all these people and buildings! Compared to this, Nova Roma is little more than a village. As for the ocean… she never dreamed so much water existed in the entire world.
What she doesn’t say but think is that she is bothered by the hot sun. The jungle outside the valley of Nova Roma was hot, but not like this. Even with her sunglasses the sky is so bright it hurts her eyes. Glumly, she thinks she doesn’t belong here and wishes she were home.
Back in Nova Roma. Angrily, Amara asks her father Senator Aquilla why she has to leave. It is for the best, he replies. Easy for him to say, she scoffs. It is not! he insists and reminds her that she is his only child. He doesn’t want to send her to the other side of the world. But sometimes a father, especially the first senator of Nova Roma, must deny the entreaties of his heart. He will miss her terribly. Then why send her away? she sulks.
While Amara is still musing, some young men address her, trying to flirt with her. Dani tries to get rid of them, but instead one of them grabs Amara and kisses her. Furious, Amara hits him and, reflecting her anger, lava bursts out next to them. Dani shouts out a warning at her but it comes too late as Amara’s rage creates an entire volcano on the beach and unleashes it skyward.
Nearby, Rahne Sinclair steps hesitantly into a church, believing her foster father reverend Craig would be furious seeing her in a Catholic church. But, she thinks to herself they all believe in God and read the same Bible. And she can’t find a Presbyterian church in the city and she needs to pray. Surely, the Lord won’t mind which house she prays in, so long as it’s to him.
She kneels down and wonders whether God will listen. She’s only a wee girl and for all she’s done her soul is probably sentenced to hell. She fears she is damned, But it not her fault she is what she is. Why must she be punished for it? Why has she become a wicked spiteful person, hurting those who never did her any harm? Because of her, Amara and her Dad were nearly killed and their city enslaved. She loves Sam Guthrie but he does not love her. He cares for Amara. She saw it in his eyes the moment they met and has hated Amara for it. Now her best friend Dani spends most of her time with Amara and has forgotten her. She wonders if her friends really care for her as a person or only appreciate her as a teammate.
Sam comes running in, shouting they need her fast. They’ve got big trouble! Amara has disappeared and Dani figures they’ll need Rahne’s wolf powers to find her.
Elsewhere, Amara has been carried along with the crowd as it panicked, separated from Dani and swept far away from the hotel or any part of the city she finds familiar. Confused, she stands on the street, surrounded by angrily honking cars. Impatient drivers shout at her to move. Amara panics at the sight of the cars and doesn’t know which way to run in traffic. Confused and horrified by the noise and stench and heat, she just freezes in the middle of the road, wishing the Black Priestess had killed her.
A policeman joins her, asking what’s going on. He order the drivers to quit honking, they are scaring the girl. Gently, he leads Amara aside, asking if she is well and telling her this is no way to dress if you aren’t used to the sun. He asks her her name. In English, she replies she doesn’t understand. Believing her to be an American tourist, he changes his tune, believing her condition might be caused by drugs. He grabs her wrist roughly and orders her to accompany him to the police station.
When his grip hurts her arm, she instinctively uses her power to cause the road to quake. Afraid of killing people, Amara screams.
Not too far away, the mutants feel the tremor and notice the buildings shake. They reach the epicenter, where a minor volcano stands in the middle of the road. Sam feels responsible for the mess as Amara is their responsibility and suggests they help the authorities. Dani decides against it. Amara is their responsibility. She wouldn’t do this deliberately. Something must be wrong with her. They need to find her!
Rahne shifts to wolf form to get Amara’s scent, but can’t due to the sulfur in the air from all the volcanic activity. How will they find Amara now? Dani wonders. It isn’t as if they don’t know where she’s been, Sunspot jokes. Just follow the volcano! Dani notices that Roberto cracked a joke and figures the confrontation between he and his father can’t have been to bad then.
Meanwhile, Amara, suffering from sunstroke, stumbles through a derelict area. Hallucinating, she calls for Helios, lord of the sun and asks for her inner fire to be joined with his celestial glory. Her humanity is instantly consumed and around her she lays waste to Rio. A pit suddenly gaps wide within her mind. At the bottom stands Selene, the black priestess, a mutant like Amara who slew Amara’s mother and tried to do the same to her.
Amara falls. The hallucination is over. She won’t become like her, she shouts. Exhausted, she finally faints and is found by someone else.
Later, led by Wolfsbane, the New Mutants have reached that point. Rahne informs them there are a lot of scents mingled with Amara’s. She thinks some people carried her to a car or truck and drove off. Sam strokes her head, much to Rahne’s annoyance, as he announces she can probably follow that car easily. Annoyed, she shouts at him not to do that. She isn’t his bloody pet! Sam apologizes. He didn’t mean nothin’ like that. She grumbles at him that he should keep his hands and thoughts to himself from now on.
She addresses Dani, announcing there is a very odd taste to the air. It makes her want to run like blazes for the open country. Roberto recalls that, years ago in Peru, he and his parents were in an earthquake. Right before the main shock, the sky had the same quality, the same unearthly stillness. Dani realizes that Amara’s been triggering baby volcanoes and quakes all afternoon. Could she be building to a big one? Let’s not find out! she decides and orders the team to find her first!
Elsewhere, in one of the shantytown houses in one of the favelas, a feverish Amara lies on a bed. A young woman puts a wet cloth on her forehead, while chiding the children who found Amara that they should have taken her to a hospital. One of the boys, Vadinio, asks Flor not to be mad. They couldn’t think of anything else to do. Flor chides him that Amara is not one of them. If she dies there, they will be blamed for it. She asks him to take some money and phone an ambulance.
Behind you, the door! her brother shouts. Sunspot slams it open, demanding his friend. The kids believe he is a demon. Bobby realizes they are only kids and powers down. He tries to calm them and Flor reasonably tells her brother to listen.
The other mutants join them while Roberto talks to Flor and the kids. Dani examines Amara and announces it’s got to be sunstroke. They have to lower her body temperature with some ice. Not in this neighborhood, Flor replies.
Dani recalls how in the Amazonas he was able to cool Rahne down a little by manifesting an illusion of a snowstorm. Dani tries the same, attempting to manifest an image of Amara’s heart’s desire. Unfortunately it is death for herself and all the New Mutants.
On cue, there is another tremor, announcing a big quake to come. Dani orders the boys to get some ice… now! A second later, Sam flies the two of them outside. Bobby knows of a warehouse. Outside they find an icetruck. Sunspot lifts it while Sam carries both him and the truck. Sam has never carried so much weight and is nervous about landing. That’s their least problem, Bobby replies grimly and points toward the bay where the water is already boiling. Most likely a fissure opened on the floor and molten magma is pouring into the ocean. Amara’s creating a volcano in the middle of Rio harbor!
Her initial awareness is a longing for blessed oblivion, then flames consuming body and soul, quickly transformed into glittering crystalline ice sculptures of unearthly beauty before they too shatter and Amara’s eyes at last open. She finds herself lying on a slab of ice. Dani examines her and finds her fever has broken. They’d still better take her to a doctor, but the worst is over. She asks Bobby to take care of making amends to Flor.
Is the city destroyed? Amara asks fearfully. Hardly even scratched, Roberto calms her, apart from some messed-up streets and a brand new island in the bay.
Amara admits her father was right. She has much to learn about herself, as girl and mutant. She sees now she cannot do so by herself. Like it or not, she needs their Professor Xavier. She is afraid, for better or worse, they are stuck with her. Taking her hand, Rahne assures her that suits them just fine!