but they refuse to believe.
In seeing, they do not see.
In hearing, they do not hear.
The winds of revolution.
No quarter asked. No quarter given.
We will be ready.
Police detectives Skykes and Givens are visiting a morgue, where they have requested to see the remains of deceased New Warriors members, Microbe, Namorita and Night Thrasher. Of Microbe, some of his body is left, but is mostly decomposed. Of Namorita, the coroner can only show some photos. And of Night Thrasher, only his costume seems to be left.
Sykes believes this answers their question. When she asks him if the Warriors were positively I.D.’ed, the coroner sarcastically points out this isn’t his first barbeque. He explains they were able to match the Warriors based on previous medical records. These really are the New Warriors. Or rather, were. Reading from file, he confirms these three people are Zachary Smith aka Microbe, Dwayne Taylor aka Night Thrasher and Namorita. However, the Atlantean consulate seized her body, but not before he had completed the autopsy and took photos for future reference. Namorita is fish food now. No pun intended, he concludes.
Givens asks what happened to Night Thrasher’s body. The coroner thinks it got vaporized. He doesn’t know if it means anything but, with Dwayne Taylor’s remains… the minimal amount of biological material found on these scraps of uniform is inconsistent when compared to what happened to the others in the blast. Now that could be because of their megamorphic physiologies, but the coroner isn’t sure about that. In fact, he continues, the amount of biomatter found was more consistent with seared flesh from severe burns than anything else. Also, the body damage usually associated with whole-body vaporization is extremely inconsistent with the small amount of carbon residue they found.
Now, the coroner adds, whether that’s based on Taylor’s proximity to the blast or the exceptional nature of his vibranium mesh costume is anyone’s guess. Sykes wants to know what Night Thrasher was doing with vibranium. “But that wasn’t the only thing,” the coroner isn’t finished yet. What’s really puzzling is that Taylor’s DNA is… incomplete.
“Come again?” a confused Sykes asks. With the aid of some charts, the coroner says that DNA is a chain-linked macromolecule held together by phosphodiester bounds. In normal-looking DNA, these chains are complete and unbroken. But where intense heat and/or radiation is involved, these bonds can dissolve. This kind of decay can render exact identification difficult at best. Sykes is completely lost and asks for layman’s terms.
The coroner apologizes. What he’s saying is that there are some partial matches in this exhumed sample with what they already have on file from Dwayne Taylor. But that only still puts them in the sixty-five percent probability range. But in the others… Sykes and Givens stare confused at one another. An impatient Sykes demands to know if Taylor is dead, or not. In the coroner’s opinion, he is. But given this dubious evidence, and without an actual body, he wouldn’t bet the farm.
Seething with energy, Nimrod attacks the New Warriors. He lashes out at Blackwing, who dodges it, the blast instead destroying a brick wall. Skybolt tries to fire at the machine, but Wondra warns him to wait because Ripcord isn’t clear yet. However the warning comes too late and Skybolt fires a blast, which misses Nimrod. Decibel lurks behind Nimrod and has it where he wants it, but Wondra asks him not to do it. Again, her warnings are heard not in time and Decibel fires some sonic blasts at Nimrod. He apologizes for it, but Wondra has had enough. She commands Kaz, who sits in the Danger Room’s control room, to shut the simulation down. He does so.
The Warriors realize they messed up. Wondra takes off her mask and starts discussing what went wrong. She tells Skybolt that, if those turbo missiles had been live, Ripcord could have been injured, or worse. Tempest has to learn to use her fire, ice and wind weapons in tandem. She can’t just rely on one over the other. Tempest just smiles and looks like she ignores the warnings. Decibel has to learn to control the direction of his sonic blasts. He has teammates around him. Does he want to shatter their eardrums? a disappointed Jubilation asks. Blackwing points out that they’re doing their best, but that’s not enough for Wondra. She tells everyone that’s enough for now. She wants everyone to get clean, prep their equipment and chill for a few minutes. They will be going out again tonight and she wants them all ready.
Jubilation leaves the room. “Who does she think she is,” an angry Tempest mopes, “the Initiative.”
Wondra walks over to Kaz and Grace in the computer room. Kaz sits in a chair, working with numerous small computer terminals and keyboards around him, while Grace is jus sitting in a chair reading a book. Jubilation asks Kaz to jump online and catch the Herowatch Network. He has to find out what villains have been seen and where. She wants the team ready to patrol tonight. Grace mentions that she’s on it, and that the Gibbon has been seen. Kaz interrupts her, mentioning they’ve got more pressing issues. They’ve got to take it easy on the equipment. Converting the villain Arcade’s old Murderworld into something that now looks like the Danger Room was a brilliant idea by Night Trasher, but they need to conserve their resources.
They need to train, Jubilation states. “Train” not “smash,” Kaz sarcastically replies. Web-shooters, widow’s stingers, anti-gravity discs… it takes Kaz long enough to reverse-engineer this stuff. Grace gets angry and tells Kaz to calm down. Her “boy,” Night Thrasher, is the one who designs this tech and not him. But Kaz builds them anyway, he answers headstrong. And Grace is just a hack so what does she know. Grace jokes that Kaz is short. Jubilation calms them both down. She wants Aja in there and that they get back to work. She’s got some business to attend to.
Elsewhere in the city…
A large crowd has gathered and stares in awe at something, as SHIELD agents do their best to restrain them. Tony Stark, in his SHIELD uniform, walks outside along with Ms. Marvel, wondering what happened. Carol explains that the Warriors just answered to his offer. Tony thinks it would be too much to hope for to have a positive answer. “You tell me,” Carol says as they make it outside.
Tony, Carol and the other spectators stare at the walls of Stark Tower, on which the following inscription is painted in red and black paint: “Stark’s Hopeless Initiative Empowers Losers & Dorks.”
Back at N.W. HQ…
Wondra walks over to Sofia, who sits in Arcade’s former gigantic pinball machine. With all the things they’ve both seen as X-Men, Jubilation says… the horrific futures, the alternate timelines… registration is how it all begins. Fears turned into laws to protect non-powered humans. Sofia believes Jubilation is wrong. The one thing that’s different here: heroes are the ones who initiated registration here. Not madmen, not Sentinels. And it seems to be working for the better.
But at what cost? Jubilation wonders. Being a sellout with the man’s foot on your neck? She doesn’t think so. “The man?” Sofia can’t believe her ears. She asks Jubilation to stop being so melodramatic. Sofia is certain Stark’s not a fascist. He may be an old fogey, but he is trying to stop people’s fears. But all Jubilation is saying is that Sofia has what it takes. She could be one of the New Warriors. Jubilation explains to Sofia she was working in a halfway house for depowered mutants. When Night Thrasher approached her, asked what she was going to do for the rest of her life, Jubilation had absolutely no idea.
“They’re X-Men,” she proudly tells Sofia. They’ve been to different dimensions, the other side of the universe and back. They’ve seen things that most people can’t even imagine. Night Thrasher gave her a chance to be alive again. Now they live free, hit fast and die if they have to, to get the job done. That’s how they roll. Just like when they were in the X-Men.
Sofia suddenly begins laughing, something which Jubilation doesn’t understand. Sofia admits that Jubilation almost had her there. She almost made Sofia believe that she’s really needed on this team but then she pushed too hard. As Jubilation still doesn’t get it, Sofia tells Jubilee to look at herself. She used to be so lighthearted. So friendly and jovial. Now all Sofia can see in her is misery, anger and paranoia. She wants to know what happened to her. “Times change,” Wondra can only say to that. “Sorry,” Sofia responds, but if that’s what being a New Warrior is all about, she’ll take flipping hamburgers and lousy tips any day of the week.
Sofia thinks Jubilee is obsessed with regaining her powers and has gone blind. Jubilee asks what Sofia means by that, to which Sofia asks Jubilee how well she knows Night Thrasher. Did Jubilee ever consider that she’s being played? Jubilee glares doubtfully at Sofia.
At an office building in the city…
Sykes and Givens are visiting Donyell Taylor at his office. Donyell says he’ll be glad to cooperate, but doesn’t really see how he can help. Sykes wants Donyell to figure that out by himself. Or, Bev asks, should she call Donyell by his other name, “Bandit?” She knows he is a former member of a super-team once run by Donyell’s brother, a team currently operating outside the law.
Donyell confesses that was a lifetime ago. Now, he’s an engineer and philanthropist. He’s not that person anymore. Donyell moves from behind his desk, revealing that he’s sitting in a wheelchair and has lost both of his legs. Sykes and Givens are shocked, and apologize as they didn’t know. Donyell reveals he was in a car accident a little over a year ago. It was the best thing that ever happened to him, though. Really. He now realizes he was never suited for the “hero business.” So he’s dedicating his life to helping others and vindicating the family name.
“How?” Sykes asks. After Dwayne died, Donyell reveals, the name “New Warriors” made a little money from global multimedia rights. He used it to restart the Taylor Foundation as a small disaster relief charity for the families in Stamford. Their father had a lot of rich and powerful friends, so money flowed in from all over the world. But if Sykes and Givens are wondering about all this, Donyell notices, it was the money he made from his many patents that allowed him to found Taylordyne Technologies and restore the family fortune. And as the two detectives can now see, Donyell was able to buy back his family’s old tower.
Sykes says that’s all very nice. She takes out a pen and notepad and asks Donyell if he knows any old members who might want to restart the team. Donyell admits that he knew all of them, but points out that none of them would want to. Sykes wants to know why not. “Out of respect for Dwayne,” Donyell answers. Dwayne was the lifeblood of the New Warriors. Without him, the name means nothing. Sykes asks when the last time was Donyell saw his brother. It was on Dwayne’s funeral. Sykes asks Donyell if he’s sure about that.
When Donyell asks what she’s suggesting, Bev explains that the ME intimidated there wasn’t enough of Dwayne’s body left to make a positive ID. And eyewitnesses accounts from twelve criminals captured this months say they were apprehended by a man wearing black and red Kevlar. Each of them with an assortment of fractured skulls, cracked ribs, missing teeth and broken jaws administered by a blunt object. Sykes wonders if that sounds familiar to Donyell.
Givens tells Donyell he can be a jamoke if he wants to but, good constables he and Sykes are, they’re going to comb through Donyell’s life like a rake through autumn grass. And Givens can assure Donyell that, if they come up with anything that even comes up close to smelling fishy, the ensuing negative publicity for Donyell’s new foundation will make his head spin. Sykes and Givens get ready to leave, with Bev mentioning they’ll subpoena all personal and company records in the morning.
Donyell asks them to wait a minute. He says he got a phone call, some time back. “How long,” Givens wants to know. A couple of months back. Whoever it was, Donyell reveals, used an electronic voice and he wanted him to withdraw an insane amount of money from the offshore accounts. It was extortion and Donyell refused to do it. But that didn’t matter. Somehow that money was withdrawn anyway. But it wasn’t hacked. Whoever it was had actual access codes. And Donyell is the only one privy to that information… besides Dwayne.
Somewhere in the sewers…
Jubilation and Blackwing are working on a huge door together. Jubilee is holding the door against the wall using her superstrength and Barry is burning it together with a small flamer. While they work, Jubilee finds it odd that Night Thrasher hasn’t even taken off his mask in front of them. Barry finishes his job. He thinks that Night Thrasher probably got scarred up in the blast at Stamford, or something like that. Just like what happened to Dr. Doom. But Jubilee wants to know how they’ll know it’s even the real Night Thrasher. It could be anyone under that mask.
Barry doesn’t see what difference it would make if it wasn’t Thrasher. The guy has been straight with them so far. He created this team. He gave them a chance to still be heroes. What more could they want? Jubilation knows… she’s just thinking out loud.
Suddenly, they hear someone approaching them. It’s… Wolverine?! Jubilee wonders aloud how he found them, to which Wolverine can’t believe Jubilee has to ask that. Already on the defensive, Blackwing tells Logan to go back to the Avengers, the X-Men or whatever group Logan hangs out with these days. This is their…
Logan warns the boy to back off, joking he doesn’t have the whiskers. Jubilee turns her back on Logan and wants to know what he’s doing here. Logan smiles he just needed some facetime, or does she have a problem with that? Jubilee is angry at Logan for leaving her. She almost died and he was nowhere around. She thought they were a team! Logan reminds Jubilee to think about why she is still breathing. Everyone has to take the piper sometime. Even Logan. The bill became due and Logan did what he could.
Wolverine remembers the deal he made to save Jubilee and how Daken tortured him afterward. Jubilee asks Logan if he’s finished. “Do you want me to be,” he asks. Jubilation realizes Logan isn’t here to reminisce. She wants to know if he approves of their group or not. Logan realizes that’s not for him to say. He just wants Jubilee to remember that these aren’t the old days. People are playing for keeps. It’s dangerous out there. Especially when she’s trying to replace what nature gave her.
As Jubilee recoils at his bluntness, Logan remembers when it happened to him. Magneto ripped the adamantium right out of his body and it hurt like hell. For a while, he thought he wouldn’t make it. He felt useless. Like he couldn’t pull his weight in tobacco. But he had Storm, who had gone through the same thing once. Ororo reminded Logan of something he had forgotten, being near indestructible for so long. She told him that he might not be the same Wolverine, but that he was still Logan.
It’s fine with Logan if Jubilee wants to hold the past against him. But she just has to promise him one thing: whatever she does, however she does it, she has to know what she’s doing and who she is. Logan begins to leave, but stops and turns back when Jubilee calls out to him. “You and me,” Jubilee proudly says… “we’re good.” “Who said we weren’t?” Logan says with a smile on his face as he walks away.
at the police station…
A computer expert named Karen has removed the electronic filter from the voice on a digital phone conversation Sykes and Givens got from the Taylor Foundation records. She compared that with voice print from the tapes of the New Warriors reality show, and this is what she got: a 95% chance they’re dealing with the original Night Thrasher.
When Sykes asks how accurate Karen’s computer is, Karen is pleased to say she’s working with Starktech material. The caller could have a mouth full of marbles and it wouldn’t make a difference. Sykes and Givens thank Karen for the help and leave. They step into an elevator, where Givens asks Sykes if something is bothering her because she seems a little uptight.
Bev asks Givens if he remembers her dad was a cop. Harry does, as Sam Sykes was a straight shooter; one of the best. Bev reveals that her old man walked a beat not far from their house. He used to pick her up from school after his night shift. One day when they were walking home, he spooked some guy robbing a liquor store. That dirtbag shot her dad in the shoulder and was about to put a hole in her dad’s head when none other than Spider-Man showed up.
Givens thinks Bev is kidding. But she isn’t. That robber tried to use her dad as a hostage, but Spidey put that guy down like it was nothing. He saved their lives that day and she always wondered: what if Spider-Man hadn’t done that? What if he went the other way? What if he made a mistake and that crook had put a bullet through her dad’s brain? And what if these New Warriors…? Harry doesn’t want Sykes to dwell on hypotheticals. They’ll make her brain itch, she jokes.
The elevator stops and they make it to the underground parking lot. Sykes continues to say they’ve got a missing body, a probable voice match, and a gang of ex-New Warriors who most likely won’t talk. What’s next? Givens thinks they should make like a banker and follow the money. “Exactly,” Sykes agrees. They know it costs a lot of money to operate a super-team. And they have to have some sort of home base. Givens wants to see if they can follow large purchases and deliveries of electronic items in and around the Tri-state area.
When a sound is suddenly heard behind them, Sykes and Gives check it out and quickly find a costumed man in standing in front of them. The man tells both detectives they’re asking questions about dead people. He suggests that they forget about those people… for their own good.
The mysterious individual throws grenades at the floor and a lot of smoke appears, making it difficult for the officers to see and breathe. As the smoke clears a bit, Givens and Sykes are shocked to discover who they’re dealing with… a giant Night Thrasher towering above them. “A word to the wise,” he says as he grabs both Sykes and Givens into his big hands, “go back to playing cops and robbers on the streets. It’s safer.”