His name is Kurt Wagner, better known as Nightcrawler. He has fought the good fight on this world and many others. He has helped save the universe - and then he died. But that isn’t the end of the story. Fate, it seemed, had other plans, and brought him back to life.
Nightcrawler teleports, an explosive BAMF signaling his mutant power, as he leaps through the air towards Wolverine a.k.a. Logan, his best friend. Both men hold staffs in their hands, and Wolverine sports a new costume. One of Wolverine’s mutant abilities was a healing factor that allowed him to survive any wound. But not long ago, he lost it. ‘Gimme a break, Elf!’ Wolverine snorts to his friend as he attempts to strike, but Nightcrawler teleports away. ‘How many times we tussled? I know how you think!’ Fast as ever, he raises a hand to where Nightcrawler teleports up behind him. Despite his teleports being instantaneous, Logan is there to counter Kurt’s attack.
A staff held by his tail, Kurt attempts to attack Wolverine that way, but Wolverine blocks the strike. ‘Nope - that won’t work, either - or this’ Logan adds as he blocks another attempt. Wolverine lunges, but Kurt ducks, ‘Impressive as ever, mein freund’ he remarks. ‘Perhaps now’s the time to up the game’ Kurt grins as he flips up behind Wolverine, who looks up, annoyed.
They are dueling in the Danger Room, big enough to house a jumbo jet with the technology capable of creating any reality imaginable. Evaluating Wolverine and Nightcrawler’s performance are three of their teammates - Ororo “Storm” Munroe, Dr Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast and Dr Cecilia Reyes, who watch room the observation booth. They are all smiling, as the Beast comments on how Kurt is hitting Logan - too fast for them to even count. The Beast adds that Nightcrawler is trying to find a weakness in Wolverine’s new armor. ‘He better be careful. He’s starting to make Wolverine mad’ Cecilia points out. Storm reminds Cecilia that Logan is a teacher now, and he knows how to control himself. ‘That was before he lost his healing factor, Storm.
Perhaps we’d better -’ the Beast begins, when suddenly, they hear a SNIKT, signalling that Wolverine has popped his claws. ‘Oh, no!’ Cecilia gasps. Down in the Danger Room, Nightcrawler realizes that he has pushed Logan too far, as Logan slices Kurt’s staffs with ease. ‘Logan - no!’ Kurt calls out. ‘I don’t play games, runt’ Wolverine snarls.
Kurt knows that Logan’s claws are forged of adamantium and can cut through anything. When Logan unsheathes his claws, he cuts through his own flesh - in the absence of his healing factor, the pain must be excruciating. Kurt doesn’t know whether Logan is testing himself or testing him. ‘I’ve only just come back to life… I’d like to enjoy it a little while longer’ Kurt thinks as he quickly teleports behind Logan and calls out to him, telling him to top this.
Suddenly, a crack of lightning whips down and separates Wolverine from Nightcrawler. Rain beats down, too, and Storm hovers over them, ‘Listen to him, Wolverine. I will not warn you again’ Storm instructs Wolverine, before informing Cecilia that Logan requires her skills as a physician. Reyes runs into the rain-drenched Danger Room, while Wolverine assures Ororo that he is fine. ’Let me be the judge of that, Mister’ Cecilia orders.
Wolverine explains that he just lost his temper. ’Look at your hands. That’s not rain dripping down, it’s blood!’ Cecilia points out. Logan sits down and lets Cecilia check his hands, assuring her that he will be fine. ‘Keep this up, you’ll be dead’ Cecilia tells him. ‘It’s my problem’ Wolverine points out, adding that he will find a way to handle it. Cecilia suggests that he needs to find a way to accept his new limits.
Nightcrawler watches Wolverine as Storm drops down beside him. Kurt looks concerned and as the rain continues to pour down, he remarks that he is not used to seeing Logan bleed - not like this. Kurt adds that he remembers Logan as the X-Men’s anchor, the constant they could always depend on. ‘And now he’s mortal, just like the rest of us’ Storm points out. ‘Whatever that means’ Kurt remarks.
Storm kneels in front of Kurt and touches his face, ‘How about you?’ she enquires. Kurt grins and replies that he isn’t dead - which pretty much says it all. Storm stops the rain and creates a gust of wind to dry everyone off, while telling Kurt ‘Think about that, my friend. You’re not the only one who’s bent the rules of life - and defied fate’. Kurt asks if perhaps that is the X-Men’s stock in trade, and Storm reminds Kurt that he is a man of faith, perhaps Logan’s cushion. ‘His healing, is it gone for a reason?’ Storm wonders. ‘Perhaps the time has come for him to make a choice, to truly decide who and what he is, and face the consequences. Maybe the same goes for you?’ Storm suggests.
Nightcrawler takes some time to explore the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. He thinks to himself that so much has changed since he first came to the school, but in truth, hardly any time has passed. But to Kurt, it felt like a lifetime. He smiles as he passes through a corridor, recalling that back then, there was barely a dozen of them, between the original team of X-Men, and the new. He looks a photograph taken when the All-New, All-Different X-Men were assembled. Kurt is balancing on a banister, kissing Storm’s hand, while Colossus, Thunderbird, Sunfire and Banshee stand nearby. Wolverine keeps to himself, at the back of the group, and Cyclops and Professor X look on.
Kurt remembers that on their first mission, they lost Thunderbird, and then they lost Jean soon after. ‘It seems like life with the X-Men has only one possible outcome’ Kurt decides.
Suddenly, an alarm sounds, ‘That bell - class change!’ Nightcrawler realizes as he quickly leaps into the air and clings to the ceiling as students start to pour out of the classrooms. Quentin Quire passes Eye Boy, who looks up and sees Nightcrawler clinging to the ceiling. Anole and Rockslide also notice him, when suddenly, Genesis notices him and shouts ‘Hey, look - that’s Nightcrawler!’ Sprite is with Genesis, and admits ‘He creeps me out’. Mercury looks up and tells Sprite not to be so lame. She extends her malleable boy upwards so that her face is close to Nightcrawler’s and tells him that she is so happy he is back. She introduces herself as Mercury and asks him if he remembers her. ‘Of course I remember you, Cessily. And it’s good to be back’ Kurt replies.
Kurt hears a voice in his head: ‘That almost sounded convincing, Kurt’ someone tells him telepathically. ‘Rachel!’ Kurt thinks, and he sees his long-time teammate hovering beside him, in astral form. Rachel greets Kurt, who tells her that it is good to see her. ‘Likewise’ Rachel replies, adding that there is a rumor his is joining them as a teacher. ‘That’s Storm’s idea’ Kurt explains while Mercury waves goodbye. ‘You’d do well here -’ Rachel begins, before telling Kurt to watch his back, as a lobster-like mutant races along the ceiling. ‘Yikes!’ Kurt exclaims, moving back. ‘Clear a path! Fast mover coming through!’ the odd mutant calls out as he scuttles past Kurt. ‘Now that’s something you don’t see every day’ a wide-eyed Kurt remarks to Rachel who replies’ Bet you figured you looked weird and tells him that he should see Rico work in zero-g, revealing that he wants to be an astronaut. ‘NASA will love him’ Kurt remarks, but Rachel tells Kurt that Rico has a wicked sense of humor, and suggests they meet back at his place and then she can fill him in on the other new students.
And soon, inside Kurt’s quarters, Kurt and Rachel sit on the sofa, two large pieces of artwork behind them, one depicting the X-Men team shortly after the originals and All-New, All-Different X-Men met, and a second of the original Excalibur. Several pairs of yellow eyes can be seen peering out of the shadows in the room. ‘And I thought we were weird’ Kurt remarks to Rachel. ‘Not even close, my friend’ Rachel replies, before telling Kurt that she likes what he has done with the loft, noticing the acrobatic rings and bars hanging from the ceiling. Kurt explains that just the keepsakes are his, the design and furnishing he owes to Ororo. ‘Beats living in a lighthouse’ Rachel remarks, referring to their former Excalibur headquarters. ‘I dunno, we had a good time with Excalibur’ Kurt replies, before asking Rachel if she has spoken to Kitty lately. Kurt adds that it is hard to believe that Kitty is in hiding somewhere with Cyclops and his own school of new mutants.
‘So many things changed while you were gone, Kurt’ Rachel replies, sipping a hot drink. She hangs her head and tells him that it makes you want to keep a tighter hold on the things that have stayed the same. Rachel puts the mug down and announces that she has to go, as she has a class. ‘I’m really glad you’re back. I missed you’ Rachel tells Kurt, kissing him on his head. She gets up and starts to leave, while Kurt replies ‘And I, you’ as he picks up a photo frame sitting on the side table. Rachel glances back and asks Kurt if he has any plans later, as they could go to dinner. ‘I’ll let you know’ Kurt replies as he looks down at the photo of Amanda Sefton.
Manhattan, a beautiful blonde woman walks along the sidewalk. She suddenly glances back ‘What -?’ she remarks, noticing something - or someone - move in the shadows on the rooftop across the road. The glamorous woman then enters an apartment building, and when she gets into her own apartment, ‘Who’s here? Show yourself or I’ll -!’ she threatens, but sitting lying on the sofa is Nightcrawler, a toy Bamf is with him, and several real Bamfs dart about on the sofa too. A glass of champagne is held up by Nightcrawler’s tail as he smiles and remarks ‘Guten abend, fraulein’.
‘Kurt!’ Amanda Sefton exclaims at seeing her foster brother and ex-boyfriend. She drops her bag and coat and rushes over to him. ‘Amanda!’ Kurt calls out, arms extended, they embrace. ‘I’ve missed you’ Kurt tells Amanda. ‘You’re alive!’ Amanda replies, while glancing at the Bamfs who smile at her. ‘You noticed’ Kurt remarks, while Amanda tells him that they are going to celebrate. They then kiss passionately.
Suddenly, the living room window is smashed as a large creature in a red and gray armor bursts through. ‘What? Someone you know?’ Kurt asks, shocked. ‘Totally not!’ Amanda replies, before asking if this is a friend of the X-Men. The being fires a blast of energy, knocking Kurt and Amanda back into the group of Bamfs who are flung about the apartment. ‘Apparently so, since he’s shooting at me!’ Kurt declares, adding that he is generating some kind of kinetic pulse blast. ‘Can you just say “zap ray”?’ Amanda asks as she falls to the floor.
The intruder turns his attention to Amanda and fires a disc at her. ‘The girl is clear - and now she’s caught!’ he boasts as the disc releases coils which wrap around Amanda. Kurt calls out to her, concerned, and before her entire body is trapped, he touches her hand: ‘Gotcha!’ he exclaims as he teleports Amanda and himself out of the apartment. The Bamfs follow, and everyone falls into the apartment complex swimming pool, outside. ‘I hate it when you teleport!’ Amanda calls out as they fall into the water. ‘You didn’t used to’ Kurt reminds her as they come up for air. Amanda points out that she was younger then, and didn’t know any better. Kurt tells Amanda to stay here, while he deals with the behemoth. ‘Not a chance. He broke into my house. He threatened me. I’m going to help take him down’ Amanda replies. The Bamfs look on, concerned, while Kurt looks Amanda in the eyes and tells her that she isn’t - as she is the target, the monster is here for her. ‘I’m not about to let that happen’ Kurt assures Amanda as he teleports away. Amanda frowns and glances at her ruined hairdo, while the Bamfs look at her, unsure.
Back in the apartment, the intruder swats several Bamfs away, ‘You creatures are an annoyance - but you cannot defeat Trimega!’ he boasts. ‘That’s my job!’ Kurt exclaims as he teleports into the living room, armed with his staffs, Trimega laughs: ‘By hitting me with sticks - hah!’ Kurt leaps over him, and hits him with the staffs, ‘You’d be surprised by what the right man can accomplish with the right tools’ Kurt replies. He kicks Trimega in his chest and explains that even armor has its weaknesses - as does the man who wears it. ‘A flawed presumption, freak - that will cost you your life! Trimega declares, and Kurt looks very concerned as Trimega raises his hand towards Kurt, energy blast ready at close range. But, Kurt teleports just in time. ‘I don’t think so’ he tells himself as the blast strikes the ceiling.
Kurt teleports behind Trimega, he knows that the trick to using teleportation in a fight is to hit hard and so quickly that the adversary has no chance to respond. Kurt bounds over Triemga’s head when the villain turns to fire another blast. Behind Triemga now, Kurt whacks him in the face with the stick. But he decides that this isn’t good, as he is striking with all his strength, to no effect.
Suddenly, Kurt sees the ceiling, where the force beam struck, is starting to collapse. The Bamfs teleport up to the ceiling and hold it up, saving Kurt, who, distracted, is struck bny Trimega. ‘Fool!’ the villain calls out. ‘Your fists cannot defeat me!’ Trimega declares as he attempts to strike Kurt again, but Kurt darts backwards, and Trimega’s fist strikes the floor. ‘The only thing you can do is run!’ Trimega calls out as Kurt teleports away from him. ‘Actually, I had a better idea!’ Kurt replies as he grabs Trimega by his arm and teleports him, then throws him with all his strength at the collapsing wall that is already badly cracked from the energy blast that Trimega fired at Kurt earlier. ‘Time to go, my friends!’ Kurt tells the Bamfs who all teleport away from the ceiling. Gravity does the rest, as the ceiling collapses on Trimega.
The Bamfs dart away, pleased with themselves, although Kurt doesn’t think Trimega is out, he is just too big and tough. Even worse, the effort Kurt made has cost him - he hurts all over. Suddenly, ‘Kurt! Are you all right!’ Amanda exclaims as she teleports into her apartment, wearing one of her old costumes, serene energy swirling around her. The Bamfs smile at Amanda, and Kurt bows and kisses Amanda’s hand, ‘The better for seeing you’ he tells her, and adds that she looks lovely. ‘Better than my apartment, that’s a fact’ Amanda points out, before asking where the robo-creep is. Kurt informs Amanda that they dropped a wall on him, but that he didn’t think it would keep him down so long. ‘Cheerful’ Amanda replies. ‘Realistic’ Kurt remarks, before asking Amanda if she has no idea why Trimega came after her.
‘My powers and skills are based on sorcery, you know that. This guy was all high-tech’ Amanda points out. ‘What have I to do with that?’ Amanda asks as they check the rubble. The Bamfs search through it, but look puzzled when they can’t find Trimega. ‘Unless - someone wanted to attack you from a perspective you couldn’t see coming’ Nightcrawler suggests. ‘And against which you had no defense’ he adds. But they cannot find Trimega in the rubble. Kurt supposes that he must possess a capability to teleport, and wonders where he went, and how the two of them should respond. Amanda tells Kurt that she has no answers for the first, but that if this creep was after her, perhaps she isn’t the only one in danger. ‘I want to check on my mother, Margali, to make sure she’s safe’ Amanda announces. Kurt tells her that he thinks it is time to call in the X-Men, but Amanda frowns and replies ‘No’. Amanda tells Kurt that if this is family business, then family should deal with it. ‘Question is, how d’you feel about that?’ she asks. Kurt takes Amanda by her hands and assures her that where she goes, so does he.
Amanda casts a teleportation spell around herself, Nightcrawler and the Bamfs, and as the serene energy encase them, Kurt calls out ‘Racing across the globe to save the day once again? It’s as they say: some things never change!’