Tuscola County, in the “Thumb” of Michigan. A farmer stops his tractor in the middle of a very large corn field. He gets out of the tractor and stands beside it, drinking some coffee from a thermos. Suddenly, crows begin to drop out of the sky around him. ‘The heck? Geez. Why’d them crows drop dead? They bin poisoned?’ he calls out as he spits his coffee out, before touching his head, and mutters to himself that he doesn’t feel so good. ‘Feels like that day-shah view thing…’ he mumbles. Funnily enough, the farmer gets out of the tractor and stands beside it, drinking some coffee from a thermos. Suddenly, crows begin to drop out of the sky around him. ‘The heck?’ he mutters as he spits his coffee out.
Time bugles and blisters, and in the tight locality of that one Tuscola County field, time spins on itself. Play. Replay. Crows die of old age, then live, and die again. That tiny moment of the farmer’s life loops over and over. There is a blinding light in the sky. Play. Replay. And, as Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie and Shan Coy Manh a.k.a. Karma both appear, time resets. ‘Margin of error?’ Karma asks. ‘Six months, plus or minus. Twenty-eight miles, plus or minus. Not bad, considering. I got a fix on Stroud’ Cannonball replies. Both mutants appear older, and their costumes are black and yellow - the yellow glows - it is made up of Warlock technology. Cannonball blasts back into the sky, ‘Ten minutes east, as the crow flies. Allow me’ Cannonball remarks. As they leave, a large flaming “X” remains in the corn field. ‘What in -?’ the farmer gasps as he stares at the symbol.
Meantime, at the Jean Grey School, in Westchester, New York, ‘Everybody stay where they are. I’m trying to get a scan’ Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast orders as he stands in the living room where his teammate Karma has vanished. He wears some high-tech glasses that gather readings, while Bobby “Iceman” Drake tries to keep several student from entering the room. ‘What happened?’ Kid Gladiator asks. ‘Professor Drake, what’s the flash?’ Oya asks. Genesis and Broo are with them, while Iceman tells them all to get back to their lessons. ‘We’ve just got a little situation here’ he explains.
Inside the living room four members of the visiting New Mutants are still in shock at their former teammate’s disappearance. Warlock, Doug “Cypher” Ramsey, Amara “Magma” Aquilla and Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta listen to the Beast as he tells them that there is no sign of Karma, not even the micro-organic traces that you would expect if she had been sitting in the room until recently. ‘Which she was’ Cypher points out, while the Beast announces that he is definitely picking up scads of temporal residue. He then contacts Dani Moonstar via communicator, and tells her that there was definitely some kind of episode here, and would even use the word spasm, before asking her how Face is.
‘Very upset…I got him sedated in medical’ Dani replies, before confirming that she is down at Cerebro. Dani informs the Beast that Rachel Grey is running a sweep. ‘Wherever Sam and Karma went, we’ll find them’ Dani declares as she stands beside her teammate Nate Grey a.k.a. X-Man and their friend and current resident of the Jean Grey School, Clarice “Blink” Ferguson. ‘Sure, unless it’s “when” ever they went’ the Beast replies over the communicator. Dani suggests they put a in in that until they know they have to freak out about it. Suddenly, Rachel announces that she has a fix on both Cannonball and Karma. ‘Except it’s not Sam and Karma. Ooooh. That’s hard to explain’ Rachel mutters. She tells the others that it is like they are different somehow, before stating that she has pinpointed their location and it is a place called Stroud in Michigan. ‘Stroud?’ Dani asks, looking at Nate and blink. ‘Crap’ Blink mutters. ‘We gotta go’ Dani calls out as Blink teleports them into the living area, and then collects the rest of the New Mutants, before teleporting out again, as the Beast tells them to be careful.
Stroud, Michigan, a local community that is still putting the place back together after recent storm damage. The concert venue is a real disaster place. ‘I don’t remember this place’ the older Cannonball tells the older Karma as they walk through the debris. Karma replies that they weren’t on the mission here, as they were both on sabbatical. ‘It was definitely here though. This is where it happens’ she declares. Cannonball tells her to set her Lockware to scan, to see if they can get a context. Karma does so, but replies that she isn’t getting much. ‘Turns out we can learn more the lo-fi way. Look’ Cannonball calls out as he pulls a poster from a wall. ‘The bad…Diskhord. We’ve missed it’ Cannonball tells Karma. ‘Oh, no. please no’ Karma utters. ‘Damn that margin of error. We were so close’ Cannonball points out. Karma tells him that they should scan again and confirm that, as readings all point to this being the epicentric moment.
‘Sure. Of course. But we’ve got to face facts. We’ve probably failed’ Cannonball points out. Suddenly, amongst the rubble, the New Mutants and Blink materialize. ‘There! It’s them! Both of them! Thank God!’ Moonstar exclaims. ‘Hey, you two!’ Sunspot calls out as he approaches them. Moonstar grabs his shoulder and tells him to wait. ‘Why are they ignoring us’ Sunspot asks. ‘Is that what you see?’ Cypher asks, before stating that he sees entirely different patterns of body language in both of them. ‘They are Sam and Shan, except…’ his voice trails off. ‘Except what, Doug?’ X-Man enquires. Moonstar tells everyone to stop talking while she approaches them. She walks ahead of her fiends and calls out to Sam and Shan. ‘Sam Guthrie, this isn’t funny’ Dani exclaims when she gets no response. Sunspot waves his hands in front of Karma while Warlock pulls funny faces at her. ‘Can they see us? Why can’t they see us?’ Sunspot asks when Karma doesn’t react to he or Warlock.
Moonstar frowns and asks what is up with their costumes. ‘Is that Warlock Tech?’ Dani asks, before deciding that it isn’t her, but Sam and Shan look older. ‘Not sure. I don’t know them as well as you’ X-Man replies. ‘I’m serious, Nate. Like ten years older at least’ Dani exclaims. ‘So…future versions?’ Cypher remarks. ‘See, Doug, you say something like that and I’m already liking it less. Time travel stuff freaks me the hell out’ Sunspot declares as he looks at Karma. ‘I thought Asgard stuff freaked you out?’ Magma remarks. ‘This is getting silly. Sam, please -’ Dani calls out as she touches Sam on the shoulder, only to be knocked back by a surge of energy from the Warlock Tech. ‘Don’t -’ the older Cannonball begins, while Nate rushes over to the fallen Moonstar. ‘What the hell did you do?’ Sunspot calls out.
‘God, Shan! I didn’t want to hurt anybody. The contact field just shocked her. We have to explain this…’ Cannonball tells Kara, who replies ‘No communication! You know the rules!’ and her Warlock Tech shocks Sunspot, knocking him back. Warlock and Magma tend to Sunspot, while the older Cannonball is still concerned about Moonstar. ‘Guthrie! Come on!’ Karma calls out. Cannonball replies that he knows, but that he didn’t realize it would be so hard to see Dani again after all this time. ‘Enough. Let’s go. We have to end this contact’ Karma exclaims as she grabs Cannonball by his arm and starts to pull him away. However, ‘You’re staying right here’ Blink declares as she teleports in front of Karma, blocking her. Karma frowns, annoyed, she tells Cannonball to access his powers and resist the New Mutants as necessary.
Suddenly, a massive surge of lava rises up from the ground, separating the New Mutants from Cannonball and Karma, all courtesy of Magma. ‘Whoa! Magma, what the hell?’ Blink exclaims as she is knocked backwards. Cannonball tells Blink that he is sorry, and announces that they are leaving now. ‘Are you kidding me? Shan is using Amara against us!?’ Cypher calls out, annoyed, while telling Karma to get out of Magma’s head and to leave her alone. The possessed Magma continues to raise the lava from the ground below them. ‘Sam! Tell me what this is! Tell us what’s happening?’ Moonstar calls out. ‘Ignore her’ Karma tells Cannonball, who replies that he can’t. He steps through the flames, and tells the New Mutants that he doesn’t want to hurt any of them. ‘It’s so good to see you again. So Good. Dani…’ Sam exclaims as he embraces the surprised Moonstar. ‘Whoa, okay’ Dani declares.
But Karma is still in opposition and tells Cannonball to stop this. ‘You know what’s at stake!’ she exclaims as she still controls Magma, who aims some lava towards the others. Cypher reports that he can read the harmonics of their force field cycles - 3456.78 kilocepts. Doug tells Warlock that a sonic cannon should work, ‘Got it, Self / Friend’ Warlock replies as he transforms his arm into a sonic cannon and aims it at Karma. ‘Their force fields are disrupted!’ Cypher calls out, before turning to X-Man, who exclaims ‘X marks the spot’ as he takes Cannonball down with a psychic attack. ‘No!’ Dani shouts, but it’s too late. ‘They’re both down. Slick play, Ramsey’ X-Masn congratulates Cypher as he, Blink and Warlock gather around the fallen Karma. Moonstar tends to Cannonball, while Sunspot goes over to Magma and asks her if she is okay. ‘Why did she do that? Why did Shan use me? She’s our friend!’ Magma exclaims, rubbing her head.
Later, at Mission Street, San Francisco, California, in the New Mutants’ apartment. ‘Friends? Friends explain things. Friends don’t act like that’ one of the New Mutants declares. With a scar over one of his eyes, the older Cannonball sits at the kitchen table and replies that he knows, but that he has to be careful as everything he says is a risk. ‘Of what?’ someone asks. ‘Creating ripples in the Timestream. Creating paradoxes that will wreck the future’ he explains. Moonstar and Magma sit at either side of Cannonball. X-Man stands with his arms folded behind Moonstar, Blink has ready the first aid kid. Warlock stands away from the others, while Sunspot brings over a tray of drinks. Cypher sits on a nearby sofa, where Karma is still unconscious.
Cannonball announces that they had to come back here, that there was an adjustment they needed to make - small, but vital. ‘What happened to Sam and Karma? I mean our Sam and -’ Moonstar begins, while Cannonball explains that you can duplicate, so they had to take the present Sam and Shan out of now. ‘That way we could step into your now without bad things happening’. He adds that it created a gap that he and Shan could transfer into so they could make their tweak. He adds that traveling back was a radical step, that they really didn’t want to, but that it was a last resort. ‘For months in our now we’ve been trying to make the adjustment remotely, using Karma’s power. We tried to make one of you make the adjustment. But there was no fine control. It just was too clumsy’ Sam explains, hanging his head.
‘So some of the weird things that have happened to us…the blackouts…that was Karma trying to control us from the future?’ Nate asks. ‘Yes. Oh, God, I’ve said too much already’ Cannonball exclaims, before raising a hand, and a small bubble of energy appears courtesy of the Warlock Tech. ‘What’s this?’ Moonstar asks. Sam explains that he is accessing his Lockware memory archive, and adds that it is just his personal images - his now, their future. ‘A photo album?’ Amara enquires. ‘Hey, look at that!’ Sunspot exclaims as an image of the New Mutants appears. ‘When is this? We’re all there. We look older’ Cypher remarks as he examines the holographic projection which consists of the New Mutants together for a photo shoot. ‘You can look, but I can’t explain. Words create much worse paradoxes’ Cannonball tells the others, before another projection appears. ‘Hey, look at Doug there!’ Blink smiles. ‘Nice apron, man’ Sunspot laughs as they watch the older Cypher standing over a barbeque.
More images appear: ‘If this is the future, it looks pretty good’ X-Man declares as he looks at an image of the New Mutants relaxing at a beach. ‘Hey, Amara, babe, look at us!’ Sunspot declares as a projection of he, Magma, Moonstar and Cannonball out at dinner is shown. ‘Are we moving out there? When does that happen?’ Moonstar asks as another image is shown. Cannonball remains silent, before another image appears, with Karma smiling as her arm is covered in the Warlock Tech. ‘When do we all get that?’ Magma asks, confused. ‘New uniforms!’ Cypher exclaims, while Warlock examines the new uniforms and tells his friends that it is not just Transmode, but more. ‘It was derived from your bio-organics. It was supposed to make things more - anyway…’ Cannonball announces, his voice trailing off.
Blink asks Cannonball why he would want to make an adjustment to this future. ‘Why would you need to? It looks great!’ she exclaims. Sunspot agrees, and points out that he has seen a few futures, and that they mostly suck. ‘This looks…pretty sweet’ he adds. ‘Oh God, you don’t see it, do you?’ Cannonball remarks. ‘I look at the pictures and I realize how they must seem to you. Happy, secure. But it’s not…it’s not’ he tells the New Mutants. ‘Take the Lockware. It was meant to liberate us, but it’s just on of his controlling devices’ Cannonball states. ‘Who are you talking about?’ Moonstar asks him, before Cypher enquires as to why he isn’t in any of the later pictures. ‘Sam, why have you avoided looking at me all night?’ Cypher asks. ‘Do I die? Sam, do I die again?’ Cypher exclaims frantically.
Suddenly, ‘EEARRRGHHH!’ Karma exclaims. ‘NYYAARGGHH!’ she calls out as her body convulses and she writhes about on the sofa. ‘What’s wrong with Karma?’ someone calls out. ‘He’s found us! He’s tracked us. We must’ve made too many ripples’ Cannonball announces. ‘Who?’ X-Man enquires. ‘The true / friend! He -’ Cannonball begins, before he is pulled backwards. ‘My Lockware! He’s trying to control my bodysuit!’ Sam exclaims. Karma is thrown to the ceiling, while Sunspot wonders what is happening to the tech in her suit. “Tendrils” extend from Karma’s armor and lash out at Blink and Sunspot, while Moonstar helps Cannonball up and asks him how they fight this. ‘Sam! God, we’ve got to get this suit off you!’ Moonstar exclaims. ‘You can’t!’ Cannonball replies. Dani looks into Sam’s eyes and asks him to tell her how to help him. ‘It’s part of us! Te tech is part of us!’ Sam replies.
Karma’s “tendrils” continue to lash about the room, and knocks Nate, Magma and Warlock over. ‘Holy crap! We’ve got to contain Shan before she levels the place!’ Sunspot calls out, before he blasts some energy towards her, but realizes that it has no effect, that she isn’t even feeling it. Moonstar calls out to Cypher, telling him she needs his help, as there is something wrong with Sam. But, Cannonball pulls away as Cypher comes over. ‘No! No! Don’t let him touch me!’ Cannonball exclaims, before he is also pulled into the air by tentacle extensions from the Lockware armor, ‘The true / friend. The true / friend!’ Cannonball exclaims. Karma joins in and they repeat that over again, while faceplates cover their faces. ‘Sam. Shan. You went behind my back. That’s not what friends do. Have I got to take control in this now too?’ a voice calls out, as identical faces appear where once the older Cannonball and Karma’s were. Sunspot and Moonstar stare up in horror: ‘Is that…Doug?’ Bobby asks. Dani replies that she thinks both of them are, and adds that they are in really big trouble.