The Xavier Institute For Higher Learning:
Cyclops opens his class, which is supposed to teach the many students present about leadership and tactics. Lots of squad leaders like David, Sofia and Julian have showed up, but Scott finds it refreshing that also a lot of team members have signed in. Scott wants his students to remember that a clear strategy is as valuable as the strongest mutant power. Julian asks Cyclops whether, in a real X-squad, the leader should be the most powerful one. Cyclops corrects the boy that that isn’t necessary, as it all depends on the mix-up of the squad. Looking sarcastically at David, Julian asks Scott that a leader should have powers beyond being smart, no?
Scott realizes that Julian is once more trying to turn his class into a discussion towards his dislike for David. But he won’t allow it, and Scott wants to talk about David’s knowledge absorbing powers, and he mentions that they would make David the best man to use in any battlefield. Julian agrees, but mocks that they’re talking about just borrowed knowledge. The minute those people are gone, David’s mind is useless, he thinks. Sofia tells Julian that he’s being harsh. Julian doesn’t believe that, as he is just telling things the way they are. What good is a part-time strategist who can’t even defend himself? David, wearing new glasses, wonders.
Later, after class:
Sofia and David walk out together. Sofia wants David to know that he is invaluable to the team, just like they all are. David is depressed and doesn’t believe that. Josh notices his friends and walks over to them, asking how class was. David tells Josh not to do that, so he won’t. Josh notices David’s glasses and jokes about it. David gets even grumpier and explains that his eyesight isn’t what it used to be, so he’s got no choice.
Office of Emma Frost, the Headmistress:
David has searched Emma out and they have been talking for a while. Emma finds David’s question to be interesting, but wants to know why he didn’t ask it to his advisor. David explains that’s because Dani only has limited telepathy and can only cast illusions and he thought he needed a full telepath to fulfill his request. Emma agrees and enters David’s mind to find the answer. Emma draws back, because David has a mental block installed in his mind, which prevents him from retaining the knowledge he absorbs, like some sort of defense mechanism.
David wants to know if he can get rid of it. Emma is reasonably certain that she could do that telepathically. But she has to wonder if that would be wise, as the block may be there for good reason.
New York City, the office of Dr. Sean Garrison:
Sean wants to talk a little bit more about Kevin’s powers. Kevin admits that he used to think that he could do something good with them, but that he isn’t so sure about that now. Sean wonders and asks Kevin if he could control what it is that he decays, and if he could target specific cells. Sean thinks that Kevin could cure cancer some day. That would be cool, Kevin smirks, as he thinks about Josh and how cool he thinks when he uses his powers to help people. He would love to beat Josh like that.
Sean can’t help noticing that Kevin keeps talking about his rivalry with Josh. Sean wants to know more about Laurie. Kevin explains that she and Josh finally started dating, after she learned to control her pheromone powers. Hearing what Laurie’s powers are, Sean suddenly gets very interested and wants to know more, claiming it’s for his notes. Kevin tells Sean Laurie’s full name, and that she used to be shy and that he thinks that she started liking Josh when he saved her life. Kevin asks his doctor if it would be wrong to tell Laurie a secret that could break her relationship. Sean doesn’t care about that, he only wants to focus on whatever makes Kevin happy, and wants to explore that, no matter what.
The Xavier Institute Campus:
Dani is busy taking care of a horse when Emma approaches her. She wants to talk about David and that he asked her to remove the mental block in his mind. Dani doesn’t know how she feels about that. Emma does, as it’s extremely dangerous. She knows that knowledge not earned could ultimately lead to corruption. Dani agrees, but knows that David is a smart kid and is sensible even without his powers. She fully trusts him. Emma thinks that it’s their job as adults to guide David. Dani knows that, but realizes that, in the end, it will be David’s decision to make.
A few minutes later, David, Dani and Emma gather at Emma’s office. Dani wants David to think this through but David already has. He remembers when he was in high school, and used to know all the answers to the tests. He felt like a fraud when everything got out of his head when the teacher walked out. Emma tells David that he’ll still be a fraud even if she removes the block, as David would still be using the knowledge he absorbed from others. David thinks so too, but believes, that over time, he will combine both the knowledge of his own and the ones he absorbed. He would be putting them together like the minds of the originals never could and coming up with new insights.
Right now, David has to learn twice as hard to learn because he is going backwards. He gets the answers and then he has to figure out the questions after everything fades. Dani recalls that David always said that working backwards kept him honest. David agrees, but that keeps him from being useful. David makes everyone understand that he isn’t ashamed of his powers. He just wants to use the full potential of them. He thinks that they all know that he isn’t going to change otherwise.
Dani and Emma look at each other, with noticeable doubt in their eyes. Dani can only tell David that he’s the most responsible person she knows and trusts him to make a wise decision. David tells Emma to go for it. Emma tells David that Dani is his advisor, and will follow her lead. David goes to sit, though he’s a bit scared. Dani holds his hand and promises to be there for him. Emma goes into his mind, and promises that it won’t hurt.
The next day:
Beast teaches his science class. David raises his hand - not to ask a question, but to go to the bathroom. Henry gives David the permission to go. He notices Noriko in the hallway. She’s a bit surprised to see him, as normally he would be in class. David tells her that he simply had to go out of class to test if everything worked. And it did. David knows everything Beast knows: genetics, physics… The whole lot is inside his mind. Noriko asks David if he’s going to skip class now that he knows all the answers. Hesitating at first, David afterwards says that he’ll go back to class now. Noriko’s glad to hear that, because, she jokes, the day that David Alleyne would skip class is when the world is upside down!
Later at the Danger Room:
Dani tells to her team that, instead of the normal Danger Room session, she’ll give her students a special guest who’ll learn them everything about self-defense. She introduces Wolverine to the squad. Though Logan’s a busy man, as he triples duty on the current X-teams, Logan agreed to do the training but she warns the kids not to waste his time.
Before Wolverine can even begin his class, David wants to try something with Logan. David wants to know how much he can do on his own. He hands Logan over a Magneto-like helmet, which will shield his mind from telepathy or in David’s case leeching. Logan agrees. He puts the helmet on and they both begin to fight each other. The Danger Room transforms into a dojo. David successfully manages to block Wolverine’s every kick, and can even surprise the man!
Wolverine congratulates him, but tells David that he still masters him because Logan has the heightened agility and strength. David knows that, but he has been running into lots of different X-Men all day. David absorbed all their skills and mastered them. He beats Logan again. He shuts down the simulation. David asks Logan who he would says is even a better fighter than he is, and David asks if Logan could introduce him to that person.
Some time later, David writes a list of people he would like to meet. The list includes intelligent persons like Reed Richards, and powerful and former leaders like Bill Clinton. Josh comes into the room and asks David’s what he’s doing. David explains, and hopes that Dani might convince some of the listed people to guest lecture at the school. Josh thinks that it’ll take David a while to meet them all. David wants to go through the list in the next few weeks. Or maybe just pass them for a moment. Josh asks David what he’s going to do with the schoolwork.
David says that he has absorbed every curriculum and all the required reading. He opens a drawer from his desk and shows Josh all the papers he wrote so far, which will cover the next few weeks. David is confident if he’ll cover the next ones over the week, he’ll be ready for the rest of the year. Josh thinks that David is going to leave the school. David denies that. At least, not yet, he mentions. But he does feel like he could be spending his time more productively.
David hugs his roommate, and tells Josh that there’s so much more they could all achieve. David tells Josh that his power could eliminate every possible disease inside his body. Josh doesn’t know that for sure, as he is still learning how to heal external wounds. David offers Josh to help him master that skill. Josh doesn’t know what to say, but wants David to promise to stick around at the school at least to help them win the next upcoming Field Day competition. David promises to do that and they walk out of the room.
The next week:
Cyclops speaks to the New Mutants. He tells the team that they are about to enter the Danger Room. Scott explains that this week’s Field Day assignment is to stop the simulate crisis they will find inside the Room. Scott explains to all teams present that the squad who can fulfill the mission with the less civil and property damage will win the contest.
The team goes inside the Danger Room, and are shocked to find out that they are going to have to take on… a rampaging Hulk! David quickly orders his teammates what to do. He tells Laurie that her pheromones will calm the brute and that Sofia has to use her wind powers to guide them. Noriko has to distract the Hulk long enough so that Laurie and Sofia can do their jobs. Jay has to evacuate the surrounding scared civilians and Josh will have to check on the injured. The team moves for fifteen minutes and the Hulk reverts back to Bruce Banner, though Noriko gets hurt in the process. David congratulates his team and goes to check on Noriko, who isn’t that badly injured. But she realizes her mistake, as if it would have been a real scenario, she would have been killed. David explains that the loss of a teammate was not one of the mission parameters. He’s confident that they will win, and that not even the Corsairs can beat them.
A few Field Day assignments go on, and later the winner announcement comes. Cyclops proudly announces that the second and third winners are the Corsairs and the Hellions, but this year’s Field Day winners are… the New Mutants! The New Mutants go on stage and Scott hands Sofia their deserved trophy. But the Institute has one more award to reach. Scott presents all present students David Alleyne, who wins for all-around academic excellence! Everyone in the room proudly claps for David, the bright star of the Xavier Institute, except for Julian, who just stares. David thanks Cyclops for the great honor.
The New Mutants go celebrate in a separate room. Josh is more than glad to have seen the look on Julian’s face. Everyone notices that David stands alone, thinking. Noriko walks over to him and asks what’s wrong. David apologizes, but he feels it’s time to leave the Institute. Sofia feels bad as she thought that they agreed to lead the squad together. David is certain that they’ll do fine without him. Jay admits that everyone could see David’s depart coming, though wouldn’t believe it.
Josh likes the idea of having a room for his own, but wants to know what’s going to happen with him reaching his potential. David promises that they will get there in time, but now he simply has got a lot to do. Noriko tells David that he can’t leave, because, well… she doesn’t want him to. David apologizes, but this school simply doesn’t have anything left to offer him. Noriko angrily leaves.
A few hours later, David has packed his suitcases and leaves. Dani meets with and thinks that David is acting a little bit hasty. David thanks Dani for all the advice she gave him, but he feels like he is smarter than all his teachers and doesn’t see a reason why he should stay. Dani tells David that they’ve all given him reasons, but he just didn’t take them. David just walks out. Dani watches him leaving and Emma walks over to her. Dani admits she has a bad feeling about this, but so does Emma. She feels that things are going to get much worse.
Three months later:
David has funded his very own Alleyne Enterprises. He has gathered a press conference, and the New Mutants are there, too. They are so proud of both David and Josh. David is proud to announce that they’ve really done it: they have found a cure for cancer, and also one for AIDS! The press is stunned. David further explains that he’ll have a cure for every dangerous disease imaginable, and will reach it to all in need without any charge. But David admits that he couldn’t have done it without the help of Josh’s healing powers. Laurie notices that Josh isn’t up there with David and wonders why. Jay simply thinks that Josh is waiting to make his big entrance.
David further regrettably announces that finding these cures meant taking samples from Josh’s own body. He knew the risks and that made him a hero. And Josh Foley died so that David could bring the cure. David feels sorry for the loss and says that nobody could feel it more than he does. He allows the press to ask further questions. Laurie cries and runs away.
Somewhere in Alleyne Enterprises, Josh’s body lies on an operating table, covered with a blanket…