Sitting in their war room’s control room and overhearing the heavy discussions, young Grace and Kaz can’t believe their ears: Night Thrasher has just declared he wants to disband the New Warriors.
Kaz finds this hard to accept, since he just got his repair efficiency up to 80%, and asks Grace if she thinks Thrasher is serious about this. In her own hip-hop, white girl lingo style, Grace believes it’s like “Thrash” just said. They’re out of there like a reindeer. Hit and split like a model kit. Does he know what she’s saying? Perplexed by her manner of speech, Kaz asks where she’s from. “Fairfax, Virginia, yo,” she replies.
Down below, Jubilee tells Thrasher that he is out of his mind for disbanding the team like this. To this, Night Thrasher asks Wondra if it wasn’t that was she questioning his commitment? Thrasher states he let the scope of the mission cloud his judgment. And he refuses to endanger any of his teammates any longer. Jubilee defends that she and the others were X-Men for years! They can take care of themselves. “Yet, here we are”, an ashamed Night Thrasher points out. Longstrike is dead. And he’s certain that if they continue, more deaths could follow.
Chiming in, an angry Skybolt says he didn’t risk his neck for the last few months so they could run at the first sign of trouble. Ripcord, who sits behind Skybolt, agrees with him. She didn’t come all this way to quit and won’t just because Christine got ganked. Night Thrasher won’t give her a choice, nor any of the others. Ripcord thinks Night Thrasher just wants to disband them because things aren’t going his way. To this, Decibel adds that Thrasher is being a bit hasty. He knows Thrasher lost teammates before, but he came back to build this squad. And he’s done great, so Jono doesn’t understand why Thrasher would quit now. Thrasher calls this a different situation.
“So that’s it, huh?” Jubilee asks. Just like that, it’s over? She knows one thing: whoever Night Thrasher is under his mask, he would never have made it into the X-Men. Because they don’t buck and run when things get deep. Ripcord wants to know what they are going to do because she has no other place to go. Kaz, unable to draw his attention away from Ripcord’s breasts, suggests they could rent a place together. Grace mocks Kaz and calls him a shrimp, joking that Ripcord would rather stay in a dog kennel than with him.
Thrasher promises everyone they don’t have to worry about any of that. He’ll give them each a debit card linked to their own two-hundred grant account, for their time and effort. He thinks that should be enough to get everyone back on their feet and do what they have to do. Skybolt smiles that will surely work. Ripcord smacks Vin into his shoulder, to remind him to keep his comment to himself. Night Thrasher leaves, promising everyone they’ll have their money by tonight.
Later, at the hospital…
Though her head and forearm are still bandaged, Sofia manages to sit up on her bed, all on her own. Regarding her doctor, who is sitting nearby with a clipboard, she jestingly asks if she’s going to live. The doctor quips that he’s afraid she will and should be as good as new in a few weeks. She just has to rest easy and don’t go saving any more super heroes. Sofia jokes she’ll try to remember that.
At that moment, the people who work with Sofia – Al, Ina and their friends – come to visit her. As Sofia greets them with a smile, the doctor leaves to give them some space, but warns everyone not to stay for too long, as Sofia needs her rest. After thanking the doctor for the advice, Al mentions to Sofia that they saw what happened on TV. It was the bravest thing he ever saw. Sofia saved that kid like she was a regular super hero, like she was Ms. Marvel or something. Ruthie agrees and calls Sofia so lucky. She could even see Sofia appearing on Rikki Lake or Montel, telling her story to zillions of people all over the world. Ruthie thinks Sofia could be hanging out with other super-heroes and fighting villains now. Ina jokes Ruthie sure has a lot of imagination. Ruthie ignores Ina and asks Sofia for her autograph. Rolling her eyes, Ina suggests that Ruthie give Sofia some room to breathe. Al tells Sofia that from now on, she’ll have a job for life. She can come in anytime she wants to. He’ll even name an item on the menu after her: “Sofia’s spaghetti and gravy”. He’ll make it extra special for her.
The group’s conversations come to a quick halt with the arrival of a large, black orderly, who announces that visiting hours are over. As Ruthie asks why, Al mocks the orderly, calling him “Luke Cage” and telling him that they just got here. However, the orderly apologizes, adding that rules are rules. Angry at this, Ina getting close to his face and mocking that he has a little power and position and wants to throw his weight around. The orderly, looking at the “plump” Ina, calmly responds with “look who’s talking.” This angers Ina eve further and she even begins to threaten him, until she is pulled away and into the hall by Al. As they depart, Ruthie gives Sofia a hug, realizing they;d better leave before they get their heads smacked. Sofia wants her to come back tomorrow. Ruthie promises she’ll try, but she’s working double shifts now while Sofia’s there.
Once her friends are gone, Sofia asks the orderly what’s going on, because visiting hours aren’t over yet until tonight. To this, the orderly tells Sofia they have business to discuss. When Sofia says she doesn’t understand, the orderly takes out an image inducer device, presses a button, and… transforms into Wondra! Sofia now gets it.
Later that night, at the police station…
Detectives Sykes and Givens have looked into the info they got from the Black Panther on their computer, and it has checked out. Stumped, Sykes declares that she was sure it would be the Panther bankrolling the Warriors, because he certainly has the money for it. Givens still isn’t too convinced, believing their might be a slight chance the Panther is still behind the Warriors and he could be deceiving them somehow.
Proposing another theory, he says it could be Namor, who has pockets as deep as Atlantis itself. Sykes agrees, but the Panther told them to look “closer to home.” Givens suggests that was a figure of speech, but Sykes isn’t too sure about that. To this, Givens jokes that she’s sounding like Oliver Stone now.
Their discussion comes to a halt when an envelope is slid under their door. Bev quickly takes out her gun and rushes outside to see who did that, but the person has already vanished. Givens, in the meantime, has opened the envelope and has found a CD-ROM inside. It looks like they’re getting “played” themselves. He places the disk inside the computer, believing they don’t have anything to lose if they look at it. What comes up on the screen quickly astounds them both. “No freaking way,” detective Givens sighs.
Later, in an alley…
Givens and Sykes meet up with Harry’s old friend, reporter Ben Urich, who asks where they got this info. Givens tells Ben not to mind that; he just wants to know if it’s true or not. When Ben points out Harry knows he can’t tell him that, Givens sighs it has to be like this. After all the dimes he dropped in Ben’s lap over the years, give him more scoops than Carvel’s and 31 flavors put together, this is how Ben treats him now. Ben asks Harry to give him a break, but a visibly disappointed Harry tells Sykes it’s time for them to go. Bev doesn’t just want to leave like this, but Harry thinks there’s nothing there for them.
As they depart, Ben closes his eyes in though, searching his emotions and choices. Speaking up, he calls after Harry that it isn’t that simple. After Harry walks back, Ben asks if this is off the record. After Givens replies he’ll think about that, Ben takes a moment of silence before speaking again. Doing so, he asks Givens if he has read Machiavelli. Incredulous, Givens wants Ben to tell him something else because he doesn’t want to hear about that. Urich indicates if Givens wants to hear fairy tales to go read Mother Goose. If he wants the truth, that’s what Ben will give him. “Black coffee, no sugar, no cream,” he adds.
“Fine,” Givens states, wanting to do on. But why would Tony Stark back the New Warriors?! However, Ben replies that he isn’t saying Stark is. Harry doesn’t hear Ben denying it, either, he points out. Chiming in, Sykes thinks it all makes sense. A hero who can create his own villains, stays a hero for life. Givens recalls Stark staged the assassination of an Atlantean delegation. And he was ready to start another world war so he could create the impetus for his precious Initiative program. Ben tells Harry to breath easy because it never got that far. But Givens angrily says that’s not the point. Doesn’t Ben get it?
Ben explains that nobody knew what this Civil War might cost, except for Tony Stark. So he made some scratch for himself. Ben doesn’t care much. He thinks Stark did what he had to do to save the world from what amounts to super-human WMDs.
Harry is angry Urich just sat on this. That he sat while Stark hatched some harebrained scheme to turn the whole country into a superhuman police state? Ben doesn’t think that’s fair. If this had gotten out, what would people have said? Harry thinks that perhaps people would have said they didn’t like it, but that at least they would have known the truth. He believes the truth doesn’t account for anything anymore these days.
And where would that truth have led them? Urich asks. Destruction? Seeing the country burn to the ground like Rome at the hands of unregistered superhumans? He doesn’t think so. Incensed, Harry gets in Ben’s face, asking what happened to him. He used to believe in something. He’d never let this go down back in the day. He had faith in the system. “I wised up,” Urich replies before departing. “You should too.”
New Warriors HQ…
Ripcord is fighting a simulation of the robot known as the Destroyer. Leaping deftly from its blow, she laughs that it is on full tilt and still can’t tag her! Watching nearby, Blackwing takes off his helmet and sighs how he’s going to miss this. Ripcord doesn’t care much about Night Thrasher not backing them up with money anymore. She reminds everyone they’ve still got the Herowatch Network. Its five-thousand eyes worldwide, so that could be a big help. She jumps on a wall and then on a ceiling where she hangs upside down. The only thing is, she mentions to Grace and Kaz, is what will happen when their equipment brakes down? Who will fix that? Referring to the nearby Kaz as “knee-high,” Grace replies that he’s “still down.” Ignoring the slang, Kaz again reminds everyone that the equipment costs money which isn’t feasible without Night Thrasher.
Interrupting the group, Phaser can’t believe everyone is still trivializing what happened to his sister. He lost her because of this nonsense! Angel tries to cheer Phaser up by saying they all care about what happened to Christine. She was one of them. She notices Barry, who looks rather sad, sitting on a few boxes. She asks if he’s okay, but he isn’t. His life is about to end, he tells her. When Angel reminds Barry they’ve got each other, Barry replies that that’s good, but he doesn’t want their kids to grow up in the United States of “Stark Industries.” Skybolt smirks Barry might as well let it go. He doesn’t think Night Thrasher will change his mind about this subject, with him having a skull as thick as a tree bark.
Chiming in, Decibel wonders if that doesn’t bother Skybolt. Where he is going to go? What is he going to do? Skybolt, now wearing civilian clothes & sporting a cowboy hat, replies he isn’t sure. He thinks about going back to Arkansas. Two hundred thousand bucks buys a whole lot of distance between Tony Stark and super-villains. Ripcord wonders where Jubilee is. Phaser thinks Jubilee bailed. Got out before she got got. He thinks that’s obvious. Barry doesn’t buy that because Jubilee was more committed to their cause than any of them.
Joining the group, Night Thrasher returns and bluntly asks where Jubilee is. He doesn’t see any need to make this any harder than it already is. Like he promised, he hands over the credit cards to his former teammates and turns to leave. Decibel wants to make Night Thrasher understand he doesn’t have to do this. Longstrike’s dead wasn’t his fault. However, Night Thrasher has already made up his mind and tells everyone to take their money and be on their way.
Suddenly, Jubilee enters the room with Sofia, who calls Night Thrasher even more stubborn than she is. Angel asks Sofia if she’s alright. Sofia, walking with the aid of a crutch, explains that the doctors said she’s fine. Nothing a band-aid, a cheeseburger and a pint of ice cream can’t cure.
Turning back to Night Thrasher, she says she heard he is closing shop. She understands. But she knew a guy once who told her that freedom isn’t free. She knew a guy who might’ve had some hurt, but tried to make amends, even though he knew he had an uphill climb. This guy pulled her in. It might’ve taken some time, but he opened Sofia’s eyes… made her understand.
Thrasher replies that he doesn’t want to hear about it, but Sofia asks who said she was talking just to him? Continuing, she says that the first time was with her mother. It was just the two of them until her mother left to be with God. Then came the winds. Her “poppy,” as Sofia calls her father, didn’t understand. She doesn’t blame him. She didn’t really understand it, either. But he couldn’t handle it. Finally, it was the Institute’s turn. But when she and others mutants lost their powers, she no longer belonged there either. The school became a memory. As tears begin to trickle down her face, Sofia continues that families are hard to come by. She doesn’t want Night Thrasher to make her go through that again.
Jubilee asks the still silent Night Thrasher if he heard that. What Sofia said was real. She can accept it if Night Thrasher wants to quit. But she didn’t join this group just for the powers, or because she didn’t had anything else going on in her life. When Skybolt then jokes he actually did it for the powers, Jubilee warns him to be quiet. She joined the group for the camaraderie. The same sense of team and family they had at the mansion. That doesn’t stop just because they lost their powers. So, she adds, if Night Thrasher wants out, he can take his “wonder gloves,” his “web-shooters,” his “turbo-suit,” his fake Pym-particles and the rest of the tech he commandeered. It’s his. Because the thing they’ve got going on here… it’s good. And that will go on with or without Night Thrasher.
Finally replying, Night Thrasher calmly says to Jubilee she’ll never survive. However, Jubilee reminds him they’ve been through worse. Continuing, she says that, if Night Thrasher wants to honor the New Warriors, bring back their good name, and make a difference in this world… he’ll have to lead them. He’ll have to lead them or get the hell out of their way! “Daaayyuumm…” Grace slangs at the slam, betting that Thrasher “heard that.”
Night Thrasher takes a moment to silently consider what Jubille has said. “Alright,” he finally replies. They live on… and fight. But no more games. He wants each of the Warriors to give him all they’ve got. And when they can’t go on, if their teeth hurt, their noses bleed, their bones ache… they better double their efforts. He asks everyone if they understand. The entire team cheers loudly. The lone exception is Phaser, who silently glares
Approaching Thrasher, Grace holds up a palm to be slapped in celebration. Telling him that she “feels” him “N.T.,” she asks him to “give me some, dog.” When he only glares at her incredulously, he asks is he’s going to leave her “hangin’?” That’s cold.
Nearby, Tempest introduces herself as Angel to Sofia, who jokes that she can see the House of M has been good to Angel, as she lost all that junk in her trunk. Angel can only laugh at the remark. Following Angel, Phaser takes off his glasses and introduces himself to be Christian Cord. Sofia, however, needs no introduction for the next and recognizes Jonothan Starsmore. Decibel smiles he guesses he’s hard to forget. His Chamber days may be over, but explains they call him Decibel now. Ripcord used to be known as Miranda Leevald, or Stacy X. And Skybolt’s real name is Vin Stewart. Sofia used to know him as Redneck.
“No matter how things change”, Sofia says. Now turning her attention to Night Thrasher, whose mask is still on, she asks what about him, “big boy?” Taking a few moments to reply Thrasher eventually promises “In due time.” Right now, he just wants Sofia to know that she never has to be alone again. None of the team. But he won’t lie to her. It won’t be easy, but that’s the price of freedom. Sofia knows that. That’s how they roll.
Turning now to Christian, Thrasher apologizes again about Christine. He knows that nothing he does or say can ever bring her back. But, Thrasher tells Phaser, if he’ll stand with the Warriors, he’ll never regret it. He’s a good soldier and Thrasher would hate to lose Phaser. He then stretches out his hand and all of the other Warriors, including a reluctant Phaser, places their hand on top of Phaser’s. They form a circle, and Night Thrasher proudly declares that the New Warriors are here to stay!
Later, at Tony Stark’s office…
Tony Stark and Ms. Marvel get a visit from detectives Sykes and Givens. Tony is furious about the information the two have just shown him and demands to know where they got it. Givens explains they don’t know but also don’t see what difference that would make. He just wants to know: “Why?” After Carol asks Tony what the info’s about, Tony shows Carol the file which indicates they think he is secretly funding the New Warriors. Carol is speechless.
Sykes tells Tony they got the word. They know he’s pulling strings behind the curtain like a tin-plated Gepetto. Givens doesn’t care who Stark is in this world, but when he takes him and his partner from real crimes to deal with his Mandarin mastermind mubo jumbo, they’ll be throwing hands like two guys from a neighborhood. Tony assure the detectives that not a word from the files is true, however to this Givens asks Stark that, if they did believe him… would he tell them if it was true? To this, Tony doesn’t have an answer.
Sykes says she has to hand it to Stark. He faked them like a Gucci bag in Chinatown. They thought he cared. Thought he was really trying to do something positive here. But when it came down to it, he was just another fat cat with a silver stick in his mouth who manipulated the system to serve his own ends. Tony wants to defend himself but the detectives don’t want to hear it. Givens tells Stark that if he wants to play chess with the taxpayers’s dollars, he can have at it. But they’re police. Tony can’t just take them away from doing their jobs to be his personal lackeys. They don’t have the time or the stomach. They leave.
Once alone, Carol asks Tony if it’s true. Tony reminds Carol that she knows him. “I do,” an uncertain Carol answers, “that’s why I’m asking.”
Elsewhere, a wheelchair bound person listens in on the conversation. After stopping the recording with a click of a remote control, the individual moves his feet from the wheelchair’s foot rests and then… stands. Walking to the window of the room, Donyell Taylor takes in the view of the city outside. The legacy of Night Thrasher, and his part in it, looms in his thoughts.