The Grey Gargoyle is running for his life. His pursuer asks the group if anyone can see them. A winged flyer reports that he won’t lose the Gargoyle, due to the bird’s eye he has. The group leader refuses to play any games, and just wants the villain brought down. The Gargoyle runs into an alley, but has to stop when he finds a fence closing it off. He looks scared behind him and the nearest pursuers remarks the Gargoyle wants to dance. The leader of the group tells his female teammate to blow the Gargoyle a kiss, which she agrees to do. A powerful shockwave hits the Gargoyle, knocking him down!
A shadowed super-hero, having similar eyes to Spider-Man, jumps at the Gargoyle, ready to attack. As the Gargoyle powers up his fist, the leader remarks that he isn’t finished yet. But the female pursuer disagrees with that, and jokes Gargoyle just doesn’t know he’s finished yet. The Gargoyle gets hit by a couple of lightning bolts, and drops on his knees. As he coughs, trying to recover, the group leader says Gargoyle’s “kind” are small-minded. He calls them little men with little hope, who seek to belittle others. They have to turn the tables, and show the Gargoyle the error of his ways.
A girl in a yellow costume, her face obscured by goggles and a full-face mask, towers over the Gargoyle, the villain not even reaching her knees. She grabs the Gargoyle in the palm of her hand and starts grasps him tightly. She instructs the Gargoyle to tell all of his friends, to tell everyone… that this is just the beginning.
Sofia Mantega dreams of soaring through the air, and she is wearing a beautiful costume of her own, and it has feather-like wings attached to it so she can fly. She’s happy. However, when she nears the sun, she stops when she is freaked out by an angry looking eye appears in it. The sun suddenly transforms into the face of the Scarlet Witch and Sofia no longer knows what to do. She just stares at Wanda in silence. Suddenly, Sparks fly out of Wanda’s eyes, electrifying Sofia! Her costume is charred, and her powers… gone. Sofia plummets to the ground, far below…
Sofia wakes up, screaming in a subway, and all the other passengers stare at her. Not giving it much attention, she just continues listening to her iPod. Sofia realizes she just had her nightmare again. It’s the third one this week, and the twelfth time she had it this month. The train stops and Sofia walks into the busy city above. She jokes she won’t be surprised if she busts a hundred nightmares by the end of the year. She passes a shop where, in a window, a magazine is shown with on its cover an image of the Thunderbolts. Sofia looks at it for a moment, but quickly continues her walk.
She stops at fence, on which she sees a lot of posters of Iron Man, which read “Registration is the law!” Sofia looks doubtfully to them, but shortly afterwards again continues her walk. She meets up with hobo Sam and his dog. Sam says hi to Sofia, and she asks how he’s doing and if he ate today. Sam claims he had a little something, and that Sofia knows how it is. Sofia tells Sam he needs to come by and see her. She’ll get him a hot meal and a cup o’ Joe to go, as they can’t have Sam wasting away on them. Sam thanks Sofia for being his guardian angel, to which she just says they all have to be something.
Before she departs, Sam remembers that some guy just gave him a hundred dollar bill, and wanted him to give her a PDA phone. She takes it and reads on the display a message: “keep walking, Sofia. I’m pitching into your MP3 player.” Sofia does as told and can suddenly hear somebody talking to her. Sofia asks the guy who he is, but he just wants her to listen. Standing in an alley nearby and observing Sofia, he tells her that they know who she is. She’s an “M” who lost the “X.” She passes a hardware store, where TV’s show an interview with Tony Stark, and a little kid is looking at it. Above her, members of the Initiative fly by.
The mysterious man continues to say it’s a different day today, but compliments Sofia on having moved on, but claims she lacks direction. Sofia begins to ask how this mysterious person knows about her, but he just keeps on talking. He calls her a ship without a rudder, tossed on the waves. Sofia thinks the man hasn’t heard a word she just said. The man concludes Sofia will no longer be on the waves: they are the rudder. He thinks the world is blind, that it’s an ugly place but that it isn’t aware of that yet. But they will open the world’s eyes. Sofia asks the man to wait, but then he hangs up, his only goodbye a brief L8R text.
Sofia continues her walk, not paying attention to some police officers nearby who are inspecting a cordoned-off alley. Granville welcomes Givens and Sykes and thought they’d never show up. He joking asks if the feds finally let them out of the big house. Givens mocks Granville and asks if he solved any Easter egg hunts lately. Granville defends that, as a matter of fact, he found a trail of shells leading to some house “the bunny has been creeping up to.” And apparently, Granville jokes back, the bunny has been seeing someone called “Mrs. Givens.” Sykes breaks the two men up, and as second in command in the NYPD costumed division, she works with SHIELD, and not for them.
When she asks what they’ve got, Granville invites Sykes to take a closer look at the lamppost. She does, and is surprised to find a shrunken Grey Gargoyle taped on it! He’s the size of a candy bar now. Sykes also finds a calling card on the Gargoyle and reads it. It has the letters “NW” on them, and Garville thinks that should ring a bell. Sykes asks if anyone saw anything, to which Ganville answers people just saw some bums and an alley cat. Folks mentioned a variety of white mice and pink elephants running around these parts. Although for the life of him, Granville can’t remember who said what.
Sykes orders Granville to call SHIELD and have them send the wagon, which Granville says is already underway. Givens believes it could have been the Initiative going through field training exercises but Sykes doesn’t think so, as if that would have been the case they would have given a word to the local bureau. Givens knows feds don’t need permission. Sykes agrees with that, but explains that both SHIELD and the Initiative keep records and incarcerate, especially these days. “No,” she thinks, these skells have been left on the streets for the authorities to find purposely.
Sykes looks into the alley behind them and is shocked at something that catches her eye. She orders Granville to stand back, which he does, and she orders a police officer to clear the alley. When Givens asks Sykes what it is, she points to some letters written on the ground, and he is shocked as well, though wonders what they mean. Granville looks too, and is certain they won’t mean anything good. The three officers stare at the ground, which have the words: “New Warriors were here” artistically spray painted on the concrete.
Elsewhere, in a diner…
Customers are watching an interview with Tony Stark, dressed in his SHIELD uniform, who promises to do everything he and his organization can do to bring these lawbreakers to justice. Tony concludes that the idea the New Warriors are behind these heists are just rumors but does warn that, whenever super humans outside the law, it’s always potential for danger. But he promises to make this situation his top priority.
One of the customers remarks that it’s a bad idea when a super hero turns into a politician, mocking he has control issues. However, another is pleased Stark did the right thing by taking his mask off, and thinks they can’t ask more of him. The other customer believes his friend is paranoid, but the friend states that doesn’t make him wrong. The other guy explains that people are happy, and defends Stark is a stand-up guy and has his vote when he runs for president. The friend agrees it’s a sure thing Stark will run for president next.
Sofia enters the diner and the customers happily welcome her, wanting to hear a story. She jokes the rent his high, the funds are low and that the man won’t cut him a break. The customers laugh about it. Her boss, Al, reminds Sofia she’s late again… for the fifth time this week. Sofia apologizes explaining the roof leaked on her alarm clock. Al doesn’t buy it and warns Sofia she has to start treating this place like a real job. Sofia mocks this place isn’t Spago’s. Al defends they’re lucky it isn’t, because, if he was Wolfgang, Sofia would be fired by now. Sofia starts playfully hanging around Al not thinking he would do that to her, but he sure would, sure as a fish is wet. Sofia suggests she make Al a deal. He is intrigued and wants to know what it is. Sofia jokes if Al starts cooking some real food, like a real chef, she’ll treat this like a real job.
The other customers overhear the conversation and laugh about it. Al mopes he doesn’t know why he keeps Sofia around, because he has seen better waitresses at a bus stop. Sofia jokes it’s because she’s cute and takes Al’s customer’s minds off his meatloaf. A cook mocks Al Sofia has him there. Acting gruff, Al returns to the kitchen, ordering his gawking staff to get back to work before he calls Immigration. When Sofia asks the others if they think Al will fire her, another waitress, Tina, doesn’t think so because Al’s bark is bigger than his bite. She then adds that she’s got Sofia’s back like a train track.
Interrupting the two, one of the customers displays his empty coffee cup and asks for a little service. Rather undiplomatically, Tina promises she’ll get to him, but first warns Sofia that her boyfriend is back. At first, Sofia doesn’t know what Tina is talking about. However, when she looks at here Tina was pointing, she sees Barry, a good-looking guy with brown hair and a leather jacket, sitting on a table thinking and perusing a menu. Sofia says she hardly knows him, but Tina thinks Barry is trying to know her. Sofia says she isn’t sure, but Tina jokes the boy isn’t sniffing around there for nothing, and she’s sure it won’t be because of the good food. She tells Sofia to trust her: if a man stares that hard in a place like this, it’s either her or because something is moving across his plate. Sofia understands and, after pausing to put some red lipstick on, she walks over to Barry’s table.
The two say hello to each other and Sofia asks what she can get him. When he remarks that he’s still thinking about it, Sofia suggests that she bring him the usual. Barry hopes he isn’t that predictable, and Sofia flirts she just works there. Barry jokes back that Al disagrees with that. As Sofia leans across the table, Barry mentions that he has been coming there for a month now and knows very little about her. He wonders why that’s the case. Sofia smiles that she likes it that way. Barry believes that’s the wrong way to have some fun, and Sofia asks if he’s trying to stick her up.
Later that night, at Sofia’s apartment…
Sofia has her mysterious PDA phone plugged into her laptop, which suddenly rings. She climbs out of bed and demands to know who the mysterious caller is and how he knows her name. On her computer screen, words appear and ask “Why the hostility?” Sofia warns that she doesn’t respond well to the “Morpheus” routine. More words appear: “Lol. We like your style. And we know what’s still inside you.” When Sofia asks back who “we” are, the person types they are “concerned citizens. Active observers. Conscientious objectors. Warriors opposed to this new world order.”
Sofia sighs, realizing aloud that she is dealing with the vigilante group. More words appear: “Give the girl a happy meal.” Sofia asks what they want with her. They wan her to join their cause. Sofia reminds the persons that she can’t do that anymore and lost her… she gets interrupted by the message “not all heroes have powers.” Sofia isn’t willing to risk her life on that. “Freedom is never free,” is the final message.
Sofia thinks about it, and says she has a date tonight. They want her to cancel it. Sofia shouts she has adjusted and has a life now. She may not be Paris Hilton, but she isn’t Mother Theresa either. She doesn’t want to hear about mutants anymore, or about Cerebros, Sentinels, super-villains or Danger Room dementia. No more nothing! She wants to know why she would possibly give all that up. She gets an answer: “Because you want to.” Sofia is speechless.
Meanwhile, at the park…
Givens and Sykes find Anaconda webbed-up against a lamp post and think they are dealing with the real Spider-Man now, noting that the webs are starting to degrade. Sykes wants to give forensics a sample so they can run an assay. Givens recalls this is the fourth super-villain they’ve trussed up in as many weeks. And now they’ve got Anaconda, who appears to be wrapped up in Spider-Man webs. He calls Spider-Man an idiot and thought the webslinger would know better after what happened to Captain America. Sykes doesn’t want to start liking their lollipops just yet, as this isn’t a done deal yet. Givens is open to suggestions, but Sykes wishes she had some.
Sofia is waiting on a sidewalk when suddenly Barry shows up. Sofia is surprised to see him because she thought she told him she couldn’t make it for their date. Barry suggests they take a walk, because there is someone he would like Sofia to meet. Suddenly, she realizes what’s going on and angrily slaps Barry in his face! She can’t believe she fell for it. All this time, Barry has been using her! Barry disagrees, claiming they’re actually friends. Sofia doesn’t think so because she would have known. She actually thought he liked her. Barry promises he does, and repeats they’re friends… ever since he joined the X-school.
When she asks if he’s a mutant, Barry replies that he was, just like Sofia. Sofia still doesn’t believe it, because she knew everybody at the school and she has never seen Barry there. Barry remarks he looked a little different back then, and went by another name: Barnell Bohusk. Sofia’s eyes go wide as she realizes Barry’s identity. “… Beak?!” Beak confirms, and Sofia gives him a cheerful hug.
She asks Barnell how he has been, and how Angel is doing and if he ever found his kids. Barnell tells her to slow down and wants to take on one thing at the time. Sofia indicates Barnell could have told her who he was from the beginning, and that she’s still pissed about it. Barnell says they needed to be sure first.
Sofia thinks, by that, Barnell means he’s working with the vigilante group. To this, Barnell replies that they’re not vigilantes. They are who they are and do what they do. Sofia doesn’t understand what that means, which Barnell wants to show her. A portal opens and Barnell takes her hand, pulling her through it. Sofia begins to ask where they’re going, but before she can finish they are on the other side. It is an immense room, filled with monitors and hi-tech equipment.
Clutching her stomach, Sofia is a bit sick from the transportation, and jokingly asks if it would be okay if they never do that again. Barnell jokes it made him woozy the first time, too. Joining the two, somebody greets Sofia by name, telling her that they’re glad she could make it. Again, Sofia’s eyes go wide, exclaiming to the newcomer that he’s… dead. Standing before her, very much alive and clad head to toe in his body armor… is Night Thrasher?!