The graveyard, night…
Midnight’s Fire is in full battle against Night Thrasher and Silhouette. As he kicks thrasher in the face, he simultaneously knocks Silhouette against Dwayne Taylor’s tombstone. Pressing his advantage, Midnight’s Fire doesn’t give Night Thrasher a chance to recover and gives him a few hard punches in the face until he falls to his knees.
“Just as I thought,” Midnight’s Fire gloats, “an imposter.” He states that the real Night Thrasher would not have fallen so… But before he can finish his sentence, Night Thrasher quickly gets back up and knocks his opponent in the chin, causing him to spit blood. The battle renewed, the two exchange blows, one after the other, until Silhouette jumps in and uses her powers to grab the two combatants.
Rubbing his jaw, Midnight’s Fire compliments Thrasher on his “right cross,” remarking that the guesses it is he, Dwayne, behind the mask. Thrasher takes a moment to look at Silhouette, to see if she will correct Midnight Fire’s misconception. Instead of doing so, Sil asks her brother what’s going on. Has he been following her? Turning his back to her, he tells his sister to stay out of this. “This is between me and Taylor,” he claims. Actually, Thrasher admits to Silhouette, Midnight’s Fire is here at his request!
Barry and Angel’s apartment…
Tito has beaten Vin in the “Need For Speed” videogame… again by crashing Vin’s car. Barry smiles that he told Vin so, to which Vin mocks that he just lost because his game pad is sticking. Another of Barry’s children cheers for his brother, and Tito smiles that his uncle Vin sucks, causing Barry to remind his son that he told him to watch the language and Tito to apologize.
Barry playfully throws his daughter in the air and asks Jono, who is watching something on small television screen, if he thinks Vin sucks as well. Jono apologizes, but he is watching something intensely. Curious, Barry and Vin gather around the screen as well to see three commentators on a political talk show.
The host of the show asks his quests if the New Warriors can be considered as terrorists. Or, should they instead be seen as freedom fighters. Starting the discussion, he answers “yes,” based on their behavior and their constant harassment of SHIELD and its director, Tony Stark. To this, one of the guests replies that he wouldn’t call the New Warriors freedom fighters either. After all: what is their cause? Bringing back the old superhero/vigilante ways? He doesn’t see that’s ever going to happen. But to call the New Warriors “terrorists?” He thinks that’s going a bit far and helps to spread needless post-registration hysteria. They’re trying to build bridges here, the guy concludes, and not tear them down.
The second guest agrees. The public doesn’t think the New Warriors are terrorists, so why would anybody else? He agrees the Warriors are upstart kids, but to go as far as calling them terrorists makes light of the tragedy that true terrorism displays. But, if they’re talking about Magneto, the guy continues…
The guys stop listening there and discuss what was just said. Vin can’t believe it that host actually called them “terrorists” and asks if he is out of his mind. Barry can’t help but wonder if the host didn’t have a point, though, as they are operating outside the law. Blowing bubbled with his chewing gum, Vin tells Barry to get real. He knows people tend to lump things together based on similarities, but rarely look at the real differences. He’ll admit that what they do… walking down villains and carrying on… could look like terrorism to some people, but he thinks if it actually is just that, whoever believes that has their head full of rocks.
Tito asks his father what a “terr’rist” is, with him not being able to pronouce the word correctly. Barry, unsure how to explain it to his son, says they’re bad people who hurt innocent people for what they think is a good reason. Barry hugs Tito and his daughter. Jono thinks Vin at least has to agree with that explanation, right? Vin slaps Jono on his shoulder, thinking he hasn’t been listening to him.
Jono explains that he was fifty feet from an explosion in London, not long ago. It was a car bomb planted by the I.R.A. that killed nineteen people, six of the victims being kids. The victims were people who weren’t even involved in a war between enemies, and they were snuffed out, just like that. That is what terrorism looks like. Vin doesn’t understand why Barry and Jono are letting that host get to them, because nobody else is sharing his feelings. He thinks they are giving this too much thought. Barry reminds Vin that this isn’t a game, but very serious. Vin knows that, but he tells Barry that he knows as well as he does that they’ve captured over thirty villains since they’ve started. And that they’re the only spark of hope that true heroes have in doing things the old way. He asks Barry what’s going on with him. What is he really afraid of? Barry doesn’t answer.
Entering the kitchen, Sofia tells the other girls there – Jubilee, Angel and Miranda, all of whom are watching the children play – that the boys seems to be having fun. Helping Mitanda with the food prep, Angel laughs that all boys have fun where video games are concerned. If she had a nickel for every time those guys played, she would be Donald Trump. Sofia laughs, but Angel tells her it’s okay as she knows her joke wasn’t that funny. Sofia knows, but all this is still weird to her. She means, even without mutant powers, she’s hanging out with a group of super heroes. She can’t begin to tell how much she missed it all.
Miranda heatedly disagrees with Sofia, because to her the X-Men are all dead. Still, Sofia says, she thought she’d be there forever. Jubilee agrees, as she picks up one of Angel’s kids and plays with her. The Professor was like a surrogate father to her, and Logan and Storm were the big brother and sister she never had. They were like a regular mutant Addams Family. But once she lost her powers, she was persona non grata. Angel tells Jubilee to stop being so melodramatic, as it wasn’t that bad. Miranda wants to forget about the X-Men, thinking if they really cared, they’d have their backs, powers or no powers. They got their own thing happening now, and she wants it to stay that way. Angel totally agrees with that.
Sofia is surprised Angel and Barry got into all this, with the kids and all. Angel admits she wasn’t really into it at first. It was more Barry’s thing. She just wanted to take care of the kids and do the fairy tale “happily ever after” thing. To this, Sofia asks why Angel didn’t do that. Because, Angel cheerfully explains, this family doesn’t work without Barry. And she’s not letting her old man go out there and face danger alone without her by his side. The way she looks at it, they are in this together or not at all. And besides, she jokes, what baby wants… baby gets.
With the “dinggg!” of the timer, the dinner is finally ready and Jubilee asks someone to get the boys. Instead of finding the others, Miranda instead stands at the open door and shouts loudly at the boys to come eat. Grimacing, Angel mutters that she could have done that.
The Javits Arena Center…
Ultragirl cheers the Junior Guardsmen to do once more shout out the credo. “We are courageous, honorable, law-abiding Junior Guardsmen dedicated to the cause of justice by any means necessary!” the young boys and girls of the Guardsmen proudly shout out all at the same time. Ultragirl compliments them on the good job.
Standing on a balcony nearby, Justice and Rage watch Ultragirl. Vance smiles that leadership suits Ultragirl well. “Yeah,” an unimpressed Rage mocks, “a regular Captain America.” This is really starting to get to him. Who do those kids remind him of? And, to give a hint, it ends in “Youth Movement.” Justice explains it’s not like that. It’s just a counter to the New Warriors and Stark posturing to get more media attention. When Rage then mocks Justice by calling him the president of Stark’s fan club, Vance becomes angry and tells Rage to get over himself. He’s still hanging around the club house. He thinks Rage is just a big man who wants to be a “rebel” but doesn’t have the guts to leave the “empire.”
At this, the two former New Warriors glare silently but angrily at each other. Finally breaking the wage of wills, Rage admits that this feud he and Rage have going is really starting to bore him. They were never like this back in the day. So what do they do about it? Justice rejoins. Get their heads back into the game, Rage replies. Do things the way they need to be done. He’s thinking that maybe they should join. When Vance asks “Join what?” to which Rage replies, “The New Warriors,” much to Justice’s surprise.
Elsewhere in the city…
Standing on a rooftop not too far away from Stark Tower, Midnight’s Fire asks Night Thrasher what they are doing here. Thrasher replies that he wanted Aaron to get the right perspective… the greatest city on Earth is now a seat of fascist control. Thrasher believes the superhuman registration act is leading somewhere bad, and that it’s more evil than anything they’ve ever seen. He honestly believes that no one will be safe, not even Midnight’s Fire. Thrasher needs allies to shield him from the storm and maybe even prevent it. That’s why he asked Aaron to meet him.
Silhouette warns Night Thrasher not to ally himself with Midnight’s Fire, as he is a murderer. “Not now, Sil,” Thrasher tells her coldly. He tells Midnight’s Fire Silhouette won’t tell her anything he doesn’t already know. He knows Aaron still blames him for Sil’s paralysis. And he knows Aaron committed crimes in the worst kind in the hope of destroying him.
To this, Aaron asks Thrasher to tell him something: why shouldn’t he kill Night Thrasher where he stands and finally end their grudge once and for all. Because, Night Thrasher replies, he can give Aaron something far more valuable than his death. When Midnight’s Fire reminds him that they are enemies, Thrasher promises they will be enemies again someday. But right now, he needs something only Aaron can provide. Something only he knows how to find. And only Thrasher can give Aaron what it will yield.
Midnight’s Fire laughs and calls the New Warriors idealistic fools. Night Thrasher tells Aaron he can mock him all he wants, but this is a chance for Aaron to preserve the future before it collapses. To this, Midnight’s Fire asks what kind of future is that? One where Thrasher and his cohorts have taken down Stark and the entire Initiative by themselves? “Something like that,” Night Thrasher responds, his eyes cold and determined. Now, he wants to know: will Midnight’s Fire help him or not? The question asked, Midnight’s Fire contemplates his response.
Angel and Barry’s apartment…
Everyone has finished their meal and Vin compliments Angel on it, to which she says it’s just something she put together. Jono jokes for her not to be modest. He’d kill himself trying to cook like this. It was really great. Stretching nearby, Vin says that the next treat will be on him.
Changing the subject, Miranda asks the boys what they were yelling about earlier. The trio seem reluctant to answer, but Miranda refuses to let the subject go. Finally replying, Jono asks the girl if they believe what they do can be seen as terrorism. To this, Jubilee asks what brought that up, so Vin mentions that some clown on CNN mentioned it. He told the others it wasn’t a big deal. Sofia defends that all they do is catch criminals, so how can that be seen as an act of terrorism? It’s not, Vin jokes, but bird-boy and the blue banshee have bugs up their tails. Barry defends it’s not like that. He explains he has a family now. A wife and kids. Plus friends. People that have been there for him ever since he went to the X-Mansion. If people think they are terrorists, it could put his family to jeopardy, and he won’t stand for that.
Vin states that there are consequences to everything they do. This is one of them. Jono thinks it shouldn’t be like that. But if this is going to be a problem, they’ll have to rethink how they do things… immediately! Angel wonders what if the world does look at them as terrorists. This could come back to bite them. She doesn’t want their children to grow up to think they are criminals. Not like that. Barry promises they won’t have to.
Disagreeing, Miranda thinks Barry can’t promise something like that. When he asks why not, she explains that it’s because Barry can’t read minds. Everything that goes on in this world is based on perceptions. What people think…how they react. She thinks they are what they are and do what they do. All they can do is show people that they’re on their side. That they can take down villains and save lives without selling out like the Initiative. She doesn’t think they are terrorists. They know that and thank God the public knows that too. She suggests they go on about business as usual. If they start second-guessing themselves, they could wind up like the old team. And she won’t be going out like that.
Jubilee has had enough and agrees with Mira. The last thing they need to do is question themselves. They’re not terrorists, end of story. And what they do is good. But there’s something else she thinks needs to be said. Ever since she joined this group, she felt like a kind of… comfort. A kinship with them all that goes beyond anything she ever had with the X-Men. Maybe it’s because losing their powers really put life in perspective for her. But if this is going to work, they can’t just be a team. They’ll have to be something better… a family. A place where they have the latitude to speak their minds as well as enough trust to have each other’s backs when things get tight. This is all there is for Jubilee now… and it’s all she wants. She wants to know who stands with her.
“We’re not done yet,” Vin says determinedly as he slams his fists on the table. He stands up together with Jubilee, and asks Barry if there are no hard feelings between them. Barry smiles that they’re all good. He and Angel also stand up, as do Sofia and Miranda. So, Angel says, if this “Hallmark moment” is over… “To the family!” everyone cheers by raising their glass. Miranda jokes and wonders if this is legit if they’re drinking snapple.
Silhouette tells Thrasher she can’t be hearing this. She’s an officer of the law now. And they’re talking about subversion. To this, Thrasher reminds Sil that she can leave at any time. Midnight’s Fire doesn’t have to give his answer now. But, he can’t wait forever. In turn, Midnight’s Fire wants Thrasher to remember that he’s playing a dangerous game. With forces he can scarcely understand. And as for Taylor’s request, Aaron promises he’ll think about it. He jumps off the roof and then vanishes without a trace.
So… Sil says, lowing her head. Where does that leaves them? Night Thrasher just answers that their lives have taken divergent paths. He wants Sil to forget about him, and everything she thought they once had. But Sil says she isn’t built that way, and can’t just turn off her feelings like a switch. “Try,” Night Thrasher says as a farewell when he jumps off the roof as well.
Midnight’s Fire is driving a pitch black limo through a dark alley. A shadowed person is sitting behind him. This person finds it fortunate that Night Thrasher contacted Aaron, as it saved them the trouble of looking for him. What did he find out? Aaron explains that Taylor is running a group of merry men and wants him to play Little John. The mystery person wants Aaron to keep his options open, because they might need to play that card.
But the person is pleased that his suspicions were right: Taylor has allied himself with “the other.” And, the person promises, once they find this other, power will be his once again. He compliments Aaron Chord on a good job. “Yeah, so what now?” Midnight’s Fire demands. The person wants Aaron to have patience, and to let Taylor do their work for them.