San Francisco, California, there is a BLINK, which signals the arrival of Clarice Ferguson, appropriately called “Blink”, who teleports into the living room of the young mutant heroes sometimes known as the New Mutants, where Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta, Nate “X-Man” Grey, Amara “Magma” Aquila and Danielle “Mirage” Moonstar are relaxing.
‘Surprise! Hey, guys it’s me! I - whoa. Who harshed your buzz?’ Clarice remarks as the heroes look up at her, unimpressed. ‘It’s Blink. Look everyone. It’s Blink’ Dani mutters. ‘Hey, Blink’ Bobby calls out, while X-Man tells her that it is nice to see her again. “Nice”? Blink mutters, announcing that she came here for some fun, explaining that Westchester has so many rules. ‘Come on! You guys are the fun team!’ she tells them.
Dani gets up off the sofa and assures Blink that they still are the fun team, but that they have had a tough few days and everyone is a bit bummed. ‘Tell me about it in the kitchen where people aren’t glaring at me. Wow. I do not feel welcome’ Blink tells Dani. Dani begins to make some drinks, and tells Blink that they went to Paradise Island and that it was awful. ‘I mean creepy and horrible. We thought we were all going to die -’ she begins. Blink asks her if she is making coffee. ‘Because you make terrible coffee’ Blink declares, before teleporting herself and Mirage away.
‘Two coffees!’ Blink calls out to a waitress at a diner as she and Mirage teleport into a booth. ‘Ribstickers? Okay’ Dani mutters, before Blink asks her to continue. Dani sighs and tells Blink that it is nothing, they just got back from a mission that totally blew. ‘It was the Ani-Mator. And there was this disgusting virus. And, at one point, Nate and I got fused together -’ Dani reveals. ‘In an interesting way?’ Blink asks her. ‘No’ Dani replies. ‘Because I know there is some talk of -’ Blink begins. ‘NO!’ Dani shouts. ‘Ooo-kay’ Blink replies, unconvinced. ‘It just sucked. Everything about it. And since we got back, the mood has been lousy. Everyone’s so low’ Dani explains, hanging her head. Clarice throws her hands into the air and shouts ;Then you need cheering up! A night on the town! Yeeeaah!’
Mirage tells Blink to calm down, and that no one is going to be up for a night out. ‘Besides, Warlock is rebooting -’ Mirage begins. ‘He’s what?’ Blink enquires. Mirage explains that every twenty-three months Warlock reboots - or defrags his system. She tells Blink that this is the anniversary of the day he was assembled on Kvch, so it marks the start of a new life cycle. ‘It’s Warlock’s birthday! We’ve got to go out!’ Blink tells Mirage that she is accepting no arguments, and exclaims that they are honor-bound to celebrate Warlock’s Birthday “like a boss”. Mirage tells Blink that it is too late to organize anything. Clarice smirks and replies ‘Dani Moonstar, have I taught you nothing? It’s never too late to organize anything when you can teleport’.
‘Let’s get this party started!’ Blink shouts, and with a teleport, Mirage, Sunspot, Magma, X-Man, Warlock and Cypher find themselves in the midst of a busy street party. ‘Oh. My. Lord’ Magma utters. ‘Just humor her’ Sunspot suggests. ‘This? This is your idea? I thought you meant bayside San Fran’ Mirage tells Blink. ‘Girlfriends and boyfriends, welcome to the best party in the world. The Chingay Carnival in Low Town, Madripoor!’ Blink announces cheerfully and adds that it is a full-on Mardi Gras meets Burning Man Festival mash-up. ‘Let’s go, New Mutants! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go!’ she urges them. Police officers wave their beer bottles around, civilians in colourful costumes dance, while a Chinese Dragon winds its way through the party.
The New Mutants are still amazed at what has just happened, and Blink grabs Magma and Dani, ‘Let’s go!’ she tells them. ‘Well, since we’re here…’ Magma remarks. ‘I’m about to have a really bad attack of “what the hell”’ Mirage mutters. X-Man turns to Warlock and tells him to stay close and not to get lost. Warlock asks Nate to define “lost”. ‘I dunno. Wander off and start dancing like a crazy person’ Nate replies. ‘Like the girls are, you mean?’ Warlock points out, observing Dani, Amara and Clarice dancing amongst the partygoers. Sunspot and Cypher watch the girls, and Sunspot remarks that they get in the mood real quick. Cypher points out that Blink is a very enthusiastic influence, and remarks that the Chingay Carnival is a very exuberant event.
Cypher continues, explaining that Chingay is Chinese New Year, but in characteristically unconventional Madripoor style, it gets celebrated a little later over here. ‘I believe the earliest records of the carnival date back to 1791 when Dutch merchantmen - merchantmen…’ his voice trails off as he continues to watch the girls dancing. ‘Gosh. They really are dancing vigorously, aren’t they? The girls? I mean they really seem to have got over their post-mission depression with great alacrity thanks to Blink’s infectious gusto’ Cypher states. Sunspot frowns and replies ‘Yes, Doug. They have. They are having soooo much fun. Without us’. Cypher tells Bobby that he is sure Amara will dance with him, but Sunspot interrupts, announcing that he needs a drink. ‘Do you want a drink? I need a drink’.
Bobby goes over to a bar, and Cypher follows him, telling Bobby that he mustn’t be so glum, as this is a party. ‘The party according to Clarice. The definite article party’. Sunspot just mutters that Amara looks happy without him, and that he is never going to get her back. Bobby tells Doug that he thought maybe that crazy date might shake some sense into her, but no, Amara is happy, like she’s seeing someone. ‘Mephisto?’ Doug asks. ‘She wouldn’t be that insane’ Bobby replies. Doug tells Bobby that he has to get over Amara. ‘Y’right’ Sunspot replies. ‘No, you do. You have to put what’s past behind you and reinvent yourself. I could help you. I could coach you’ Doug offers, enthusiastically. Sunspot just bursts into laughter. ‘You? You coach me? About dates? About girls?’.
Sunspot tells Doug that he doesn’t need any coaching, and motioning to a girl dancing nearby, Sunspot asks ‘You’re going to help me land a hottie like…that for instance?’ Cypher frowns and tells Bobby that he finds his lack of faith disturbing. Cypher reminds Sunspot that he is a master of language, that it is his super power. ‘You think I can’t teach you a few simple words that will help you score with any girl you choose?’. This intrigues Bobby, who tells Doug to show him what he has got.
Warlock informs Nate that he is going to find Doug and Bobby. Nate tells him that is a good idea, and that he will be there in a second, but he can’t stop looking at Mirage, who, along with Magma and Blink, is now sitting around a table, when several locals approach them. ‘Hey, sugar - you and your sweet friends want to dance?’ one of them asks. ‘No’ Blink replies quickly. ‘You want to drink?’ the local asks. ‘No. We’re fine’ Blink tells him. ‘Don’t be like that…’ the man tells her, but Blink just smiles and uses her teleport power on the men, sending them to an even larger man. ‘…we’ll show you a good time’ the local finishes his sentence. ‘Are you talking to me?’ the large man asks, turning around, frowning.
Blink remarks that there must be some yummy guys in this town. Dani replies that there are, as she looks past Blink, to where Nate is walking. ‘There are? What did you see?’ Blink asks her. ‘Hi’ Nate exclaims, blushing. ‘Nate? Danielle, do you like Nate?’ Blink asks. ‘She so does. You can tell’ Amara declares. ‘I do not’ Mirage replies quickly, while blushing. ‘Oh my God. You do! You’re blushing!’ Clarice exclaims. Magma begins to laugh, and jokes that there is so much chemistry between them that they need lab coats and goggles. ‘Shut up!’ Mirage declares, and trying to deflect the subject of attention, suggests to Blink that she asks Amara about her new boyfriend. ‘Who is this new boyfriend you speak of?’ Blink asks. ‘No, really! There’s isn’t! Da-ni!’ Amara exclaims, but Dani’s attention has turned back to Nate, who has turned away from the girls and is walking towards an alleyway.
‘Self-friends? Where are you?’ Warlock calls out as he makes his way up some stairs to a rooftop, when suddenly, he collides with a woman wearing a metallic outfit, who drops her drink against Warlock. ‘Oops! I’m so sorry!’ she exclaims. ‘Pardon me!’ Warlock declares, before asking the woman if she is all right, and remarking that he should have been looking where he was going. ‘No, I should have been looking where I was going’ the woman replies. ‘No, Self is certain Self should have been looking where you were going, too’ Warlock smiles, adding that comparative trajectory plotting is not difficult, so collisions can be avoided. ‘You’re funny’ the woman smiles, before Warlock introduces himself. The woman introduces herself as Trois, and Warlock tells her that he likes her costume. Trois thanks him and explains that she is from High Town, so she really shouldn’t be here tonight. ‘My mother will kill me. Can you believe I snuck out?’ she exclaims. Warlock replies that he cannot believe it, because Trois has told it to him in a phrasing that suggests it is unlikely. ‘You’re really funny’ Trois replies, asking Warlock if he wants to get a drink.
Meanwhile, Sunspot approaches the woman he was eyeing up earlier. ‘Hey, good looking -’ he begins, smiling. ‘Too much confidence’ Cypher remarks, and indeed, the woman throws her green drink in Sunspot’s face. ‘Creep!’ she calls him. Another drink, another woman, and Sunspot tells the second woman that he kind of likes it here. ‘It’s okay, I suppose’ he adds. ‘Too aloof’ Cypher frowns. ‘So, do you kinda like it here?’ Sunspot asks the second woman, who edges away, ‘No…I kinda like it over there’ she tells him. ‘Hello!’ a wide-eyed Sunspot calls out to a third woman, who replies in a language Sunspot does not speak. ‘Too much…language barrier’ Cypher mutters, before going over to his teammate and asking if he would like him to translate. ‘No. I want you to go away. Then I want to die’ Sunspot replies, while the woman continues to speak to them in her own language.
With a big smile, Bobby approaches another woman, asking her if she comes here often. ‘Too much big angry boyfriend!’ Doug calls out urgently, but too late, as the boyfriend punches Bobby in the face. Bobby retaliates, by spinning around and punching the big angry boyfriend, knocking him back. Doug tries to stop his teammate, but Bobby just shouts ‘Yeah? Who wants some, eh?’ as others nearby begin to start fighting, too.
Up on the rooftop, a monkey sits on the edge of the barrier, and with a confused look, watches Warlock and Trois. ‘So, you reside in the High Town urban area?’ Warlock enquires. Trois replies that she does, up the hill, and that her family is big in technology. She reveals that her mother is a little old-fashioned. ‘A good girl like me coming to Low Town? Disgrace!’ Trois declares, adding that her mother can be overbearing. ‘Self has high-level familiarity with that social dynamic’ Warlock replies. ‘Your parents too?’ Trois asks. ‘My father’ Warlock tells her. ‘Ah. It’s all about old money in High Town. Tradition. Duties and responsibilities’ Trois remarks.
Trois tells Warlock that she doesn’t want to break with tradition or disappoint her family, but that she really wants to experience a little of the real world herself. ‘Self moved out of home, and moved in with friends. That was our precise motivation, too: to interface more with the real world. Real life’ Warlock states, adding that it can be alarming, but the compensation is that it can be rewarding. ‘You get to meet a lot of new people’ Warlock adds, leaning against the barrier and smiling. ‘Exactly’ Trois replies as she smiles back. The monkey still looks at them both and, confused, rubs its head.
Mirage, Magma and Blink are dancing once again, when Mirage exclaims that she is exhausted, but Blink replies ‘No, you’re not! You’re loving it! I told you this would be fun!’, before turning to Magma and remarking ‘Now about this dating the Devil thing…?’, Magma tells her that it is not what she thinks. Magma smiles and remarks ‘He’s not what you think. No one really gets it. When he’s with me, he’s not…the Devil, you know’. Blink goes wide-eyed and asks Magma if she has seen him since. Magma confides that she has, and asks Blink not to tell anybody. ‘Don’t spoil this for me!’ she tells her.
Cypher pushes Sunspot away from the fight, despite Sunspot boasting that he could have taken them all. ‘And I could have taken you to the hospital’ Cypher replies, suggesting that his teammate cool down. ‘Let’s go somewhere quiet and -’ Cypher begins, but Sunspot stops walking and exclaims ‘Uh-uh-uh. I am back in the game, Douglas. Do you see that? That is the girl for me and -’ Bobby begins as he looks at Trois - when suddenly, his jaw drops as he sees Warlock walk up to Trois, who puts her arm around him. ‘Well, I did not expect “too much Warlock” to be making the strike-out list tonight’ Doug smiles. ‘How -? How did he -? When I can’t -? The shame! THE SHAME!’ Sunspot shouts, dropping to his knees.
‘Hey, Doug!’ Blink exclaims as she teleports Doug over to where she and Amara are still dancing. ‘It’s time for dancing, Doug!’ Amara exclaims. ‘It is?’ Doug asks as he joins them. ‘Yes, come on! You boys have been so boring all night!’ Amara declares. ‘Lead on, then’ Doug replies, while Amara sees Sunspot staggering down an alleyway, and asks ‘What’s up with Roberto?’, to which Doug explains that he just needs to sit down and be quiet for a bit, that he got himself overexcited. Smiling, Doug then asks where Dani got to.
Rounding the corner of another alleyway, Dani is smiling as she approaches Nate, who is sit on a box, beer in hand, telekinetically lifting the broken glass of another beer bottle in front of him. ‘Hey! Come on. We’re all dancing’ Dani calls out to him. Nate looks up and replies that he is not really a dancer, adding that he is not sure how this works - partying and everything. ‘We didn’t have you know, disco in the Age of Apocalypse’ Nate points out. “Disco”? Dani replies, telling Nate that is the worst excuse she has ever heard, and grabbing his hands, pulls him towards her, telling him that he is dancing, end of. ‘Whoa! Whoa! I’m not even dressed for it! I don’t have any shoes!’ Nate points out. ‘True’ Dani remarks, looking down at Nate’s feet. She holds one of his hands up, and puts his other hand on her lower back, assuring him that she won’t step on his toes. ‘See? See? There you go. Hip action. You can do it’ she tells him as they begin moving.
Dani tells Nate that he hasn’t said much since the island, and Nate replies that he knows, ‘Before we went, I thought I’d worked out what I wanted to say to you. Then…then we got all fused together…and we both freaked out a little…well, a lot’ he explains, adding that by the time they got home, he wasn’t sure if the thing he wanted to say was the right thing anymore. ‘Shut up and say it anyway’ Dani tells him as their faces move closer together, and they kiss.
Trois looks at her watch and announces that it is so late, that she has to go or she will be missed. Trois tells Warlock that this was really great, and that she hates to leave, before writing her cell phone number on his arm in red lipstick, and kisses him on the cheek. Warlock looks as goofy as ever, and staggers about a little bit, while Trois runs off, telling ‘by the way, I really love your costume, too!’
Warlock goes over to where his friends are regrouping. ‘Bobby?’ Clarice calls out as she approaches Bobby, who is slumped over in an alleyway. ‘I don’t feel so good…’ Bobby mutters, while Clarice helps him to his feet. She tells him that he doesn’t look - or smell - so good, either. Bobby tells her that he is sorry, to which Clarice tells him to snap out of it, as there are plenty more fish in the sea. ‘You’ll find a girl. A great girl’ she assures him. Bobby smiles at her, to which Blink frowns and replies ‘Yeah, but not me’. Everyone gathers together as a photographer approaches them. ‘Hey! You want photo! I take photo for a dollar!’, and everyone smiles.