The Californian Desert: From a ridge, the former member of the Serpent Society known as Diamondback, and the mercenary Paladin look down on a facility surrounded by a fence. In the middle of no where, it seems that this facility, dubbed “Genetassist” is not meant to be spied upon by those as dubious as Diamondback and Paladin. Paladin points out that security is low, while Diamondback mocks the facilities name, for she knows that what is being designed in there is as lethal as a nuclear warhead. Diamondback asks Paladin if he knows what this would go for on the Black Market, to which he replies that he knows what it is worth, why else would he have taken the job.
Paladin asks Diamondback why she took this job, to which Diamondback snaps at him, exclaiming that this is none of his business, ‘You’re a gun for hire, not a shrink for hire’. Paladin smiles and comments that he heard she had reformed to win the heart of Captain America, but guesses that didn’t quite work out. Diamondback confirms that she did go legit for Cap, but what can she say? He was her heart’s desire back then, ‘But my heart grew up, you know? And we don’t always get what we want.’ Unbeknownst to Diamondback and Paladin, while they are watching Genetassist, someone else is watching them.
Meanwhile, in Los Angles, at the Keller Mansion, the Xavier Institute students known collectively as the Hellions have just been visited by the mysterious being known as the Kingmaker, who has come to grant their wishes. Sooraya “Dust” Qadir turns away from the Kingmaker, declaring that she wants nothing, so she can be counted out of the deal. ‘Everybody wants something,’ the Kingmaker says to Sooraya, reminding the Hellions that they called him, and he has told them what he can do - one wish, their hearts desire and he can make it happen.
The Kingmaker takes a flower out of a vase and remarks that for some of them, their wish is already clear to him, and turning to Kevin “Wither” Ford, he asks him if he wishes he could turn his power off, to make physical contact again. Kevin closes his eyes and turns his face to the floor, as the flower brushes up against his face, he asks the Kingmaker how he knew. The Kingmaker reminds the Hellions that they all left their names, and remarks that he does research before he takes on new clients.
The Kingmaker points out that time is money and reminds the Hellions that they all have something they want, ‘I can give it to you!’ The usually reserved Dust points out that of course he will want something in return, ‘Things like this are never free!’ The Kingmaker smiles and states that of course it is not free, ‘What kind of businessman do you take me for?’ He explains that his clients form a vast network, they help him grant the wishes, and in return theirs are helped to be granted by others, so everyone wins.
Dust declares that she is still wary, so the Kingmaker turns to leave, suggesting to the Hellions that in the future they do not waste his time with prank phone calls. Santo “Rockslide” Vaccarro asks about the rest of them, but the Kingmaker informs him that it is all or nothing, as they all called him together. Julian Keller, appropriately codenamed Hellion and the leader of the group puts a hand on Dust’s shoulder, and asks what if the Kingmaker could give them a demonstration, at no cost, just to prove he is as good as he says.
The Kingmaker smiles wickedly and announces that it is completely workable, but Sooraya is still unsure. Julian points out that it is fair, as it is only a test, with no strings attached. Sooraya narrows her eyes and remarks that so long as they can back out. ‘Excellent. Who’s first?’ asks the Kingmaker. Sooraya closes her eyes and everyone else looks around nervously, except for Rockslide, who smiles and exclaims that he has got a wish.
The next day, Rockslide is at the center of a wrestling ring, with hundreds of spectators, all watching him as he holds his opponent high above him. The commentator exclaims that it looks like Rockslide is the real deal, as he has got Strongarm helpless! Watching ringside, the Hellions flank the Kingmaker, and Julian remarks that he cannot believe this is what Santo wished for. The Kingmaker explains that this is wrestling for hyper-powered individuals, where his strength will be respected and his appearance is not viewed as outlandish.
The Kingmaker reveals that Santo will have his shot at the title this Summer, and then he will be a legend. Cessily “Mercury” Kincaid remarks to Julian that she thought wrestling was fake, to which Julian replies that this one isn’t, as it is real street fighting for supers, not to mention it is Santa’s favorite - who knew the Kingmaker had access? Brian “Tag” Cruz informs the Kingmaker that he knows what he wants, and whispers it in his ear. The Kingmaker tells Brian that he can do better than that.
Kevin looks at Sooraya and asks her what she thinks now, to which the level-headed Dust replies that Santo does not seem to have the troubles that they have, as she would never have wished for this, adding that she is still not sure she will wish for anything.
Back in the ring, Strongarm leaps down at Santo, boasting that no rookie is going to beat him. Suddenly, one of Rockslide’s hands is shot-off from the rest of his body and smacks Strongarm in the face, knocking him to the floor. ‘Dude, I don’t even need my whole body to beat ya! Santo exclaims. ‘Did you see what he did?’ someone in the astonished crowd exclaims, and after three seconds, Strongarm does not tap back in, which means Santo is the winner. The crowd goes wild, and begin chanting ‘Rockslide! Rockslide! Rockslide!’ The Kingmaker smiles, and turning to the five other Hellions, asks them who is next.
Later, in Portland, Oregon. Cessily has arrived home. A taxi pulls out of her parents driveway, but she just stands in front of the house. Suddenly, her mother and father open the door and rush over to her. ‘We’re so glad you decided to come home!’ Cessily’s father tells her, and as her mother hugs her, Cessily asks if they are okay with her being here, to which her father replies of course they are, and asks her if she is here for the rest of the Summer. Cessily’s mother smiles and tells her that she looks good, which surprises Cessily, nevertheless, she thanks her mother.
Suddenly, a neighbor calls over the fence, ‘Hey, Mark! That your daughter? Haven’t seen her in years!’ Cessily apologizes to her parents and exclaims that she doesn’t want to cause a scene, so heads inside quickly. Mark Kincaid tells his daughter not to, as it is time they faced up to this, and calls to his neighbor, Frank, asking him if he remembers his daughter, Cessily. With eyes downcast, Cessily is brought to the fence, and the slightly stunned Frank asks when it was that she turned that color. ‘Our daughter’s a mutant, Frank. There. I said it. She’s a mutant’ Mrs. Kincaid states, before adding that she hopes it won’t be a problem.
Nervously, Frank replies that he has got no problem but has to go now. Mark grabs Cessily’s suitcase and remarks that it didn’t go as bad as he thought, as Cessily’s mother wraps and arm around her and leads them inside, suggesting that Cessily get unpacked and then they can go out and do some shopping, have some lunch, make a whole day of it. Cessily is surprised by this, and smiles, before her mother asks her about her school and friends. Mercury replies that her friends are the same, although they do have a new guy in their group who she thinks is really cool - Kevin.
Back at the Keller Mansion, Kevin stands nervously beside the large swimming pool, while Julian and Brian lie on sun chairs wearing just their shorts. Julian asks Kevin why he has got such a long face, and suggests that he can and lounge in the sun with them. ‘Yeah, ‘cause I’m dressed to get a tan’ Kevin replies sarcastically, motioning to his well-covered body, to which Brian suggests that he could at least lose a few layers, as the chairs are plastic.
Concerned for his teammate, Julian assures Wither that the Kingmaker will come though, as he has a good feeling about him. A courier arrives at the gate, and asks the young men if any of them are Kevin Ford. Kevin makes himself known and the courier hands him a package. Suddenly, a dog enters the yard and starts barking at the courier. Julian explains that the dog belongs to his neighbor, adding that he hates it. Examining the package, Kevin holds a jar labelled Benetech Cure Mark II, and exclaims that he thinks it is from the Kingmaker - it’s the cure!
Later, Julian and Brian are waiting outside for Kevin still, so Brian calls to him, pointing out that it has been half an hour, just like the prescription said. When the neighbors dog starts barking again, Julian exclaims that it wont shut up. When Kevin emerges from the mansion in the same protective clothing he was wearing, Julian reminds him that he was supposed to change, dress into natural fibers to test it out. Kevin explains that he is scared to test it, as he doesn’t want it to fail.
Tag points out that Wither just has to touch something alive to see what happens. ‘But not me’ remarks Hellion, as the dog starts running towards them, he exclaims ‘bad dog! This isn’t your house!’ The dog rushes to Kevin, who shouts ‘Get back! No…don’t!’ but the dog leaps onto Kevin - and starts liking his face. Julian points out that he is touching him and nothing is happening. Tag congratulates Kevin as it worked, adding that it is another wish granted.
Meanwhile, at the Maslak Refugee Camp in Western Afghanistan. Sooraya sits in the back of a jeep, remarking that she does not understand how this is possible. The Kingmaker replies that travel permits were easy, as was acquiring the jeep, and while information about the refugees was difficult, it was not impossible. Many refugees gather around the jeep, and motioning to another woman, also dressed in a black burka, the Kingmaker announces that he believe he has solved Sooraya’s family problem, adding that in time, he might be able to arrange for her mother to emigrate to the States.
Eyes-wide, Sooraya calls to her mother. The older woman lowers her face covering, surprised to see her daughter. Sooraya hugs her mother and tells the Kingmaker that she doesn’t know how to thank him. Getting back into the jeep, the Kingmaker tells her not to worry, as she will soon now.
Back in California, this time in Hollywood, Julian and Brian are on an outing, and Julian mutters that he wants to know when it is time for their wishes to be granted, before informing Brian that Cessily called to say her parents are suddenly all over her, proud to show her off, and adds that Kevin is losing the whole “goth thing”, not to mention Santo has a big fight coming up, and the last he heard, Sooraya was being taken to see her mother. ‘What about us?!’
Brian ignores Hellion’s complaining and simply asks him what he wished for. ‘Fortune and glory, man’, claiming that they are the “basics”, before asking Tag what he wished for, adding that he heard the Kingmaker comment that his wish sucked. Tag repliers that he changed his, that it is no big deal. Julian motions to someone getting out of a limo who is suddenly surrounded by reporters, cameras and other people. He smiles and says again that fortune and glory are the way to go.
Suddenly, Tag turns their attention to the rooftop, where a sniper is aiming his weapon at the Governor. Hellion flies up, telling Tag to warn the Governor, while he deals to this. Using his formidable telekinesis, Julian creates a force field, blocking the bullets entry. ‘Uh-uh, pal’ Hellion exclaims, before asking the sniper if he doesn’t like the Governor, and suggesting that this is a little much. Julian uses his telekinesis to push the sniper off the rooftop, but once separated from his rifle, Julian catches him on a telekinetic platform, telling him that he is not going to fall to his death, but go to jail.
The Governor’s bodyguard ushers the Governor away, as a crowd of people point to the sky, one of them asking who it is up there. Hellion hovers above them, introducing himself and telling everyone not to worry, as he is on the job. ‘That’s right, H-E-L-L-I-O-N’, Julian remarks with a smile. One reporter asks him where he is from, as another asks if he is a mutant. Suddenly Brian steps forward and tells the reporters that there will be one question at a time, and points to a young woman who he seems to recognize, ‘Miss…Maltin, isn’t it?’
The reporter smiles as she asks Hellion how he knew the Governor was in trouble. The cocky Julian replies that he is a local boy and was just showing a friend his wonderful town, when he just happened to look up, adding that if he weren’t traveling a tourist, he may never have seen the sniper. Tag asks Miss Maltin if she has a follow up, to which she points out that Hellion is not a typical super hero in costume and mask, and asks if he is just an average citizen helping out. Julian smiles and reveals that he is name is Julian Keller, adding that he has no secrets and explaining that he is a Los Angeleno born and bred, and that he wanted to just chip in.
Soon, the interviews have finished, and Julian and Brian make their way along the street. Out of earshot, Julian asks Brian what happened back there ‘You were all over that!’ Tag reveals that the Kingmaker wanted him to make sure that Julian’s big debut went well, to which Julian asks Tag if he knew about it. Rounding a corner, Tag replies that he did and that the Kingmaker wanted Julian to look good, which is why he let Jennifer Maltin get the first couple of questions.
Jennifer Maltin is waiting for the Julian, and Tag takes his leave, informing Julian that he will see him back home. Julian thanks Jennifer and tells her that she made it real easy for him. ‘Better than those pesky “Are you a mutant” questions, right?’ asks Jennifer, before telling Julian not to worry, for while he will have to answer those questions, now that everyone likes him, it should be much easier.
Julian grins and says ‘Counting on a one-on-one interview, aren’t you?’ Jennifer smirks and tells Julian not to flatter himself, for while the Kingmaker wants him to be a star, she will make him a star, but as to how much they enjoy the process, that is up to them. Hands in his pockets as they walk side by side, Julian asks Jennifer if she works with the Kingmaker too. Jennifer reveals that she does, and declares that signing with him was the best decision she ever made. ‘Can you say Pulitzer Prize? I can. Thanks to him’. Julian tells Jennifer that she doesn’t need to sell him on it, for so far, he is loving this deal.
Back in Afghanistan, Sooraya and her mother are spending time together, sheltered in a tent. Mrs. Qadir points out that her daughter is wearing her burka, and asks if she wears it in America. Sooraya informs her mother that she never wore it because of the Taliban, but because she likes the modesty and protection it affords her from the eyes of men. Mrs. Qadir smiles and tells Sooraya that it is good she is in a country where she has that choice, for here, things are better, but not all the time, and not everywhere.
Sooraya and her mother clasp hands, and with a twinkle in her eye, Sooraya informs her mother that the man who brought her here says he can help her come to America so they can be together, and asks her mother if this is something she would like. A tear falls down Mrs. Qadir’s face as she states she would love this, before asking Sooraya what it is she has to do for this man to make it possible. Sooraya smiles as she admits that she doesn’t know, before exclaiming that she now thinks it doesn’t matter what she has to do.
Back in Los Angles at the Keller Mansion, Tag is on the phone, telling someone that Strongarm was a joke, that Rockslide needs real action. He states that he wants Rockslide against someone who matters, or else he is going to pull him out. ‘You better believe you’re gonna call me back!’ Tag shouts down the phone, and after hanging up, Santo asks him if he is sure that is going to work. Brian tells Santo to trust him, adding that the Kingmaker told him to pull out al the stops, and even gave him a look at his rolodex.
Tag says that it is all about who you know, a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours”. Santo agrees, so long as he is known as the strongest man in the world, Brian can scratch whatever he wants. Hellion suddenly enters the room, telling his friends that his parents house has tons of cool places to hang out, and his father’s study isn’t one of them. Brian declares that he is doing business, to which Hellion smiles, before thanking Tag for hooking him up with Jennifer Maltin, ‘She’s pretty hot!’
Brian tells Julian that he is always there for him, and that he is glad he came by, as they need to talk. ‘Have a seat’. Tag declares that today was big, that Julian captured the hearts of the media, to them, he is a hero, but that they cannot waste time, as time is money - and they have to capitalize. Julian replies that he likes the sound of that, and asks Tag what he is thinking of. Brian sits down at the desk and puts his feet up, explaining that as Julian is a public hero, they will get him on the talk show circuit, some magazine spreads, while more importantly, being public means Julian can do advertising eventually.
Tag tells Julian that they will take care of the rest - fortune and glory. Hellion smiles and tells Tag that it is amazing, before asking him if he really thinks he can do magazines and advertising. Brian points out that there will need to be a few more heroic deeds, but with the Kingmaker’s connections, then yes. ‘It’s a scratch-your-back thing’ Santo offers. Julian tells Tag that he is ‘so the man’, before admitting that he doesn’t understand why Brian is doing all of this for him and Santo - what about his own wish? What did you wish for?
Tag grins and reminds his friends that the Kingmaker had six wishes to grant to them, so he figured he might be able to chip in, explaining that his power to make people “It”, well, the Kingmaker is teaching him how to really make people “It”, so he is using the Kingmaker’s connections to put both Julian and Santo on the map. Julian asks Tag if that was his wish - as it sounds like the Kingmaker’s wish! Julian tells Tag he is crazy, but whatever makes him happy. Santo smiles and declares that calling the Kingmaker was the best thing the Hellions ever did!
Back at the Kincaid household, Cessily and her father are playing a board game and her mother watches. Cessily points out that it is her father’s turn, to which Mark Kincaid jokes that Cessily is clearly anxious to beat her old man. Cessily’s mother asks her family what they would like for dinner, to which Cessily suggests they could order Chinese food. Mark agrees that is an excellent idea, when suddenly, there is a knock at the door.
Mrs. Kincaid smiles and announces that she will get it, when a well-dressed man enters the house, apologizing for disturbing them, he informs Cessily that the Kingmaker needs to see her back in L.A. as soon as possible. Mercury replies that she doesn’t understand, to which the Kingmaker’s agent informs her that the trial run is over.
In Afghanistan, Sooraya is informed that it is time for her to return to the United States, so she and her mother hug farewell.
Lying around on the grass wearing shorts and a t-shirt, a smiling Kevin suddenly frowns, as another agent informs Wither that the Kingmaker wants to see him.
In his dressing room, Rockslide looks at himself in the mirror, until Tag enters and informs him that the Big Man wants him. ‘I thought I was the Big Man’ Santo replies.
Hellion has tied some thief up at the police station and a gathering of reporters and camera people surround him, ‘All part of the friendly service!’ Hellion exclaims. However, behind him is the Kingmaker, who congratulates Julian on making the most of this - before informing him that it is time to go.
Inside his office, the Kingmaker informs Julian that all of his friends are here, and motions him towards a conference room, adding that he will be with him shortly, as he has an important call coming in.
Julian enters the conference room and asks Sooraya if she found her mother. Dust replies that she did and exclaims that it was wonderful. Cessily points out that Kevin is wearing shorts, to which Kevin replies it is cool. Across the table, Tag informs an eager Santo that the Champ’s is a real possibility within a month.
In his office, the Kingmaker turns on a screen, where he is greeted by Dr. Otto Octavius - a.k.a. Dr. Octopus - on the other side. The Kingmaker asks Octavius how he may help him, to which the Spider-Man villain exclaims that he hears Genetassist has almost completed their research. The Kingmaker replies that they have, and that word has already spread - everyone is going after this and Genetassist is unprepared. Dr. Octopus snaps that he doesn’t care who else wants it, he wants it. A sombre Kingmaker looks through one-way-glass into the conference room, at the Hellions, and declares that whatever Doctor Octopus wants, he gets - ‘And I have the perfect team for the job!’