The Californian Desert, just outside the research facilities of Genetassist. Mercenaries Rachel “Diamondback” Leighton and the man known only as Paladin stand and wait for a helicopter to land, and once it does, Colonel Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. emerges from it, asking them if they want to explain to him what has happened here. ‘It’s like we said on the radio, Nicky…there was a group of kids -’ ‘That’s Colonel Fury to you,’ Fury reminds Paladin, before sarcastically remarking that he is glad to see his top-notch mercenaries taken out by a bunch of children.
Calling Fury “Nicky” again, Paladin points out that they had a first-class telekinetic with them. Fury mutters that he is going to pretend he didn’t hear that, and hands Rachel a photograph, asking her if this is the telekinetic, a kid called Hellion who saved the governor recently. Rachel confirms that it is him. Fury hands her another photo of the other Hellions, explaining that they are a group of students from the Xavier Institute who have been making all sorts of trouble recently. Paladin asks Fury why he doesn’t get off his and Rachel’s case and do something about it. ‘We intend to,’ Fury declares, holding up a security photo of the Hellions surrounded at an airport some time ago.
Meanwhile, at the office of the Kingmaker in Beverly Hills, Julian “Hellion” Keller, leader of the Hellions holds the weapon in his hand, and offers it to the Kingmaker as promised. Julian’s teammate Sooraya “Dust” Qadir protests, as does Kevin “Wither” Ford. The Kingmaker reminds the kids that a deal is a deal, they signed the papers, warning them that they do not want to find out the consequences of breaking the deal. He points out that he has upheld his end of the bargain, so now it is their turn.
Before Julian places the case in the Kingmaker’s hand, he declares that there is one condition - that the contracts be destroyed so they are free from the deal. Julian returns the case to his side, telling the Kingmaker to release them from the deal and they will give him what he wants, so they will have fulfilled their obligation, but after that, they are done. The Kingmaker smiles and asks Julian if that is what he really wants. Julian replies that he doesn’t want to be tied to anyone. The Kingmaker reminds him that once the deal is off, all the benefits they have recently enjoyed will be gone.
The Kingmaker reminds Kevin that the cure has almost worn off, so he will need to take another dose soon if he wants the death touch to stay dormant. The Kingmaker turns to Sooraya and points out that he could her mother into the United States, and he doubts the Xavier Institute could do the same, even doubting that they could track her down the way he did. The Kingmaker informs Santo “Rockslide” Vaccarro that he will be banned from the wrestling circuit and will never get the chance to prove his strength. The Kingmaker places a hand on one of Cessily Kincaid a.k.a. Mercury’s shoulders, reminding her that her parents finally accept her for who she is, she has their love and didn’t have to change. ’I made that happen. What happens if our deal is off? Are you willing to risk losing that?’
The Kingmaker reveals that when Brian “Tag” Cruz came to him, his wish was to keep his friends after they got their own wishes. Julian is surprised at Tag’s wish, to which Brian, somewhat embarrassed, claims that he thought will everyone getting everything they ever wanted, the group might stop hanging out, that everyone would leave him and he would have nobody. The Kingmaker angrily reminds Brian that it was he who made him realize he could be the one to make the others happy, he could make them need him, adding that in time, he could have been the next Kingmaker.
Turning to Hellion, the Kingmaker reminds him of fortune and glory and of how the world treats mutants and the little respect he gets from his own parents. The Kingmaker tells Julian to imagine how the world would treat him if he pulled the plug on his arrangement with Jennifer Matlin and her newspaper. Julian pauses before looking back at his friends. He then turns back to the Kingmaker and tells him to tear up the contracts.
In another office, the Kingmaker holds the contracts in his hand, telling Julian that this is his last chance. ‘Do it,’ Julian declares, before the Kingmaker tells him to put the case on the desk. The Kingmaker then puts the contracts into a shredder, announcing that the Hellions are now released from the deal. Julian places the weapon on the desk, telling the Kingmaker that the weapon now belongs to him or whichever client he has arranged to give it to.
The Kingmaker declares that Dr. Octopus will be very pleased, and tells the kids that they are missing out on being part of a very exclusive clientele. He informs the Hellions that they are free to leave and to do whatever they want with the rest of their ‘pathetic and uninspired lives’. Julian smirks, ‘Whatever we like, huh? Well for starters…we’d like to take that case back…NOW!’ Julian leads his team into battle against the Kingmaker, using his telekinesis to throw a chair at the Kingmaker, however the Kingmaker mutters ‘Stupid kids…’ and tapping a button on his watch, a force field appears around him.
The Kingmaker stands protected, and asks the Hellions if they think that after all these years in doing business, he wouldn’t have made a few deals for himself. He boasts that his client list is long and that some of them have amazing gifts with technology. ‘You kids have no idea who you’re dealing with’. Blasting Rockslide with an optic beam, the Kingmaker congratulates the Hellions on getting him to release them from the contracts, which he thinks is their loss. Sending some sort of charge through Hellion and Dust, he tells them that they do not have the power to stop him.
Brian tags himself and walks over to the Kingmaker, who tells him that he has got to be kidding, as he has worked with mentalists before and several even work for him. ‘Do you really think your limited form of mind control can affect me?’ The Kingmaker punches Tag in the face, knocking him backwards, before turning to Wither reminding him that he wants his powers to be gone, well now they are and won’t return for another half hour.
‘Be careful what you wish for, huh?’ However, the Kingmaker jibes Kevin by telling him that he never uses his power anyway, always fighting what he is. He tells him that he could be a magnificent killing machine, but shooting him with an optic blast calls him pathetic as he slams against a wall. The Kingmaker’s assistant, Stephanie, enters the room, and the Kingmaker tells her to call the police, informing them that there are wanted felons in his office and that they have trashed the place. ‘Come to think of it, this place is a dump. We’re breaking out lease’.
Soon, the Hellions all lie unconscious on the floor as the police arrive. ‘Don’t move!’ shout the police which wakes the Hellions up. Brian tags himself, which causes the police to flee ‘Must run!’ ‘Must run!’ they exclaim, when they arrive back outside, their colleagues are waiting for them, and one of them asks what happened back there, suddenly, one of the police sees Hellion lifting his teammates away on a telekinetic platform, escaping through a large hole in the building.
Santo tells Julian that he is glad he is so powerful, but Julian doesn’t think so, pointing out that the Kingmaker wiped the floor with all six of them, before asking Kevin if his powers are back online, if the cure has worn off. Kevin replies that he can feel it like a hunger, it is coming back, but swears that he will not use it. Julian points out that if the Kingmaker is getting the weapon to Doctor Octopus, then he is heading for New York, which means they need to go to the airport, adding that at this late at night, it is the only time in Los Angeles when the freeways are empty.
Indeed the freeways are rather empty, including the one that the Kingmaker is traveling along. Talking on his mobile phone, he informs someone that they shouldn’t worry, as all their roots are pulled up, and when the kids give the authorities any information, there will be no one for the authorities to find. He tells whoever he is speaking to that this hardly even affects them so to stop worrying, and boasts that he is always prepared for these contingencies.
Suddenly, there is a crunch, and the Kingmaker is thrown out of his seat. He calls to Stephanie and asks her what is going on out there. ‘Can the Kingmaker come out an play?’ asks Rockslide, standing in front of the smashed up car. Holding the case in his hand, the Kingmaker tells the Hellions that their learning curve appears to be non-existent, and reminds them that they cannot touch him or the case. Hellion uses his telekinesis to lift the car up, causing Stephanie to tumble out of it as he points out that for all the Kingmaker’s talk and mystical-looking scrolls, he is jus at man - a man with a nasty rolodex and some toys.
Tossing the car at the Kingmaker, Julian boasts that he and his friends are much more - ‘We’re mutants!’ the car hit’s the Kingmaker’s force field and goes up in flames. As the Kingmaker reminds the Hellions that he left them alive last time, Santo fires one of his fists at him, though it bounces off of the force field. Julian sees that the Kingmaker is going for his glasses, which means he will have to drop the force field, so now is their chance. Dust offers to handle it, but unleashing an optic blast, the Kingmaker exclaims ‘Lets just finish this already,’ and the power blasts right through Rockslide, causing him to become, literally, a rock slide.
Julian starts to pick up the pieces of his broken teammate and orders everyone to stick to the plan, and to hold the Kingmaker off while he puts Santo back together before he dies. Julian asks Kevin to give him a hand, as the Kingmaker smirks and reminds the Hellions of what he said about leaning curves, boasting that inside the force field, the kids cannot touch him - except Dust that is, and suddenly in her sand form, she glides past him and knocks his watch off his wrist. ‘Let’s lose those glasses too,’ suggests Cessily as she transforms her hand into a mace, knocking the glasses from the Kingmaker’s face.
Tag approaches the Kingmaker, who reminds him that his mind control won’t work, to which Brian tells the Kingmaker that he reminded him that it is mind control, and all this time he has made someone “it” and everyone ran. But now he knows that he cam make people “it” for real. ‘I can make you a star’. Brian touches the Kingmaker’s foot, and everyone suddenly wants a piece of him as several passing cars all stop, and people get out of their vehicles, all stating that they must be near to the Kingmaker.
Brian warns the Kingmaker that the people are going to keep coming until he is buried under a pile of people, and Cessily slams her mace-like fist down, telling the Kingmaker that it is over. The Kingmaker dodges Cessily’s attack, ‘Not yet’ he exclaims, reaching for his watch, and grabbing it, he sticks it to Cessily, who is stopped in her tracks. The Kingmaker reminds Cessily that he only stunned her with it last time, before pointing out that with mercury and electricity, electricity wins every time.
Holding the unmoving Mercury to the ground, the Kingmaker warns Tag to shut off his power and get the people back, or else Mercury will die. Tag complies as the Kingmaker orders Dust to revert back to her human form and get away from him. ‘Do not kill her’ pleads Sooraya. Wither tells the Kingmaker to let Cessily go and then they will let him go. The Kingmaker smirks as he tells the Hellions that they will let him go, and he will take Cessily with him to ensure that.
‘No. You’ll let her go now. Or you’re dead,’ declares Wither, holding a de-gloved hand near the Kingmaker’s face. The Kingmaker doesn’t believe that Kevin’s powers are back on yet, but Kevin claims that they are, as he can feel it - it is hungry and wants him to use the power, wants him to kill ‘And you’re giving me plenty of reasons to stop fighting it’. The Kingmaker releases Cessily from his thrall and announces that it is done, when suddenly, ‘No…you’re done!’ exclaims Hellion as he finishes putting Rockslide back together and rushes the Kingmaker, knocking him aside with a powerful telekinetic blast.
The Kingmaker lies sprawled out on the freeway as he slowly reaches for the case holding the weapon - until Rockslide sets his hands down on the Kingmaker’s arms and then sits down on his back, trapping him as he jokes that he likes it better when he is the one breaking himself into pieces. Julian takes hold of the case, informing his friends that they have got it back. The Kingmaker angrily tells the Hellions to keep the case, just as long as they let him go, adding that he will even restore their wishes. Dust reminds her teammates of how she has always felt throughout this event - it is a deal with the Devil, no matter what he offers them.
Julian thanks the Kingmaker for the offer, remarking that he would rather send his sorry butt to jail. Kevin takes hold of Cessily and asks her if she is okay. Mercury looks into Wither’s eyes and exclaims that he saved her. However, Cessily frowns when Kevin replies of course he did because she is his friend. Tag hands Wither his glove, telling him that he never realized how hard his power is for him, that it called to him like it does. ‘It is what it is. It is what I am,’ Kevin replies.
Later, Fury, Diamondback and Paladin arrive at the site of the Hellion’s tussle with the Kingmaker, and Rachel asks Julian if he had a change of heart. Julian replies that he needed to make sure the Kingmaker was a genuine villain then sever his ties, before explaining that in the end, they were on the same side. ‘What can I say? I’m a hero!’ he jokes. ‘Hero, huh? I’ll try to keep that in mind while I recover from the table you dropped on me,’ Rachel replies.
Fury explains to Paladin that they are going to drop the charges against the Hellions as long as they keep their mouths shut. ‘Who cares about charges? When do I get paid? Paladin asks. ‘You’re a piece of work, Paladin’ Fury mutters as he opens the case, only to discover that the weapon has been damaged. Hellion smirks and tells Diamondback that the computer files in there must have got damaged during the fight.
Diamondback smiles, before Hellion admits that it might have been his friends’ ability to wither anything organic which made the weapon inert, accidentally of course. Rachel storms off, informing Julian that nobody gets it now, not even the government, so he cost her the finders fee. Hellion points out that he kept a bio-weapon from getting out there, ‘So all in all, I think you know I’m the real deal!’ he exclaims, arms outstretched. Rachel tells Julian that he is cute, and suggests he call her in a few years.
In the locker room of a wrestling arena, Wither takes down some posters of Rockslide and tells his friend to cheer up, for at least he will go down in wrestling history with a perfect 1-0 record. Santo replies that it stinks, but it was a stupid wish anyway, not like Kevin’s he thinks, and tells Kevin he is sorry he still has his death touch.
Sooraya sits alone and speaking on the telephone, she informs another person that she is seeking a refugee whose name is Mirah Qadir. Sooraya is surprised when she learns that her mother has been transferred from the camp, and asks the person she is speaking to if they know where to. It seems they don’t and put Sooraya on hold. Dust covers her mouth as the tears begin to fall from her eyes.
Cessily stands on her parents front lawn, ‘Mind control?’ her father remarks, before declaring that he remembers everything now, that the man in the suit wanted to talk to he and his wife about Cessily and brought these people along with him. Mrs. Kincaid informs Cessily that the men looked into their eyes and then suddenly everything was different. Cessily tells her parents that she just wanted them to accept her. ‘By forcing us to?’ her mother asks. Cessily’s father frowns and asks his daughter what she wanted them to accept - that their daughter isn’t human? That she travels with people who can make them change their minds? Walking back into their house, Mr. Kincaid tells his daughter that it might be best if she stayed at “that school” next time she has a break.
Mercury turns to Tag who is standing by the road and asks him if it is true, were her parents really being mind-controlled? Brian replies it is, and explains that once they turned the Kingmaker in, he went through his rolodex and found listings for a couple of low-level telepaths. Brian apologizes to Cessily, who exclaims that she should have known there was no way her parents would suddenly accept her, but she was so happy and just didn’t see it. Cessily admits that she was so naive, but Tag reminds her that it is her parents who did something wrong, for she is their daughter and shouldn’t require mind control. Cessily begins to cry and hugs Tag.
At the Keller Mansion, Jennifer Matlin’s front-page article “Los Angeles’ Mutant Menace” lies on the table as Julian’s stern father tells him that they do not appreciate having to rush back from their vacation to find that Julian has gotten himself into another mess. Julian asks ‘What?’ pointing out that S.H.E.I.L.D. cleared the Hellions of everything and explains that the reporter is just carrying out the Kingmaker’s grudge against them. Julian’s mother tells her son that he shouldn’t have crossed the Kingmaker, for he is a very powerful man and they owe him, so they cannot protect their son from the Kingmaker.
Julian smiles ‘Protect me? In case you haven’t been checking the scores, me and my friends waled on him!’ Julian warns his parents that if anyone needs protection it is going to be them, for the Kingmaker is going to be ticked off, and he now knows he cannot handle the Hellions. ‘You got in bed with a villain and now he’s gonna be mad at you’. Julian starts to take his leave, suggesting to his parents that they should be looking to him for protection, and telling them that if they need him, to give him a call, for unlike them, he is always there for his family.
In Los Angeles, at the Federal Building, Stephanie welcomes the Kingmaker back and holds the door open to the car. The Kingmaker asks how many favors they had to burn to get him out of this. Stephanie reveals that they didn’t have to use any favors, to which the Kingmaker asks how it is possible. Stephanie suggests he get inside the car, and upon doing so, inside he sees Emma Frost. ‘It’s been a long time…’ smirks the Kingmaker. ‘…Since I had you tossed from the Hellfire Club? It certainly has,’ declares the White Queen.
The Kingmaker asks Emma if she got him released, to which Emma replies she did, which means, but the Kingmaker’s rules, he now owes her. Angrily, the Kingmaker begins to say that they didn’t enter a deal, but addressing him as Wallace, Emma tells him to shut up and listen to her, warning him that if she can get him out of prison, she can put him back in - and no amount of favors will get him back out if she exerts a little mental influence.
The White Queen informs the Kingmaker that her children are to be left alone now and forever. ‘Are we clear?’ Emma gets out of the car and the Kingmaker replies that they will be unharmed. ‘Not just unharmed. You go nowhere near them’ Emma orders. The Kingmaker tells Emma that the Hellions are very impressive, to which Emma replies that she knows.
Later, at the Xavier Institute, Julian sits in Emma’s office and tells the school headmistress that he realizes they made a scene at the airport, and got into trouble with S.H.E.I.L.D. - and trashed a freeway, but wants to know if it would be okay if the Hellions stayed here instead of going to his parents house. Julian tells Emma that he promises to listen now to her lectures about responsibility. ‘My “lectures”?’ Emma asks, telling Julian that when he is trying to behave he is still so insolent - which is one of the things she likes the most about him.
‘You truly are a Hellion. You will always do what feels best,’ Emma tells Julian with approval, and exclaiming that after his adventures in California, it is quite clear that his instincts can be trusted and that he will do the right thing. ‘I couldn’t be more proud of you’. Emma leads Julian out of her office, the young mutant asking the White Queen if she isn’t made at him. Emma points out that he and his team were faced with great temptation. Did they falter? Yes. Did they come through? Absolutely.
Emma and Julian walk outside where Dust, Mercury, Tag, Rockslide and Wither are waiting. Emma tells Julian that they are all welcome to stay here, but that means training. ‘I’ll make a hero out of you yet, Julian. Of you…and of all my Hellions!’