The Blackbird streaks through a dimensional boundary, with Bloody Bess charting its course. Inside are Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler, Bloddy Bess of the Crimson Pirates, and several Bamfs. Their destination is the slave market run by Tullamore Voge, their purpose is to rescue two kidnapped students from the Jean Grey School, Rico and Ziggy Karst. Bess gets changed into another outfit, while Nightcrawler prepares his swords. After the children are safe, he intends to bring Voge to justice once and for all. It is to that end that Bess has chosen to stand with him, against her teammates. Kurt's heart is pledged to another...but there is something about Bess he cannot resist. He looks at a holographic display of two of his friends, now dead, Jean Grey and Wolverine, and decides that he is just like the two of them, all three of them torn between love and passion. Kurt believes that the fates must laugh at the follies of men. 'Ready, cutie?' Bess asks as she checks her gun. 'But these are thoughts for another time' Kurt thinks to himself, grinning, he tells Bess 'Absolutely. Let's go be heroes'.
Bess told Kurt what to expect, but words pale before the reality. Tullamore Voge stands and watches as Hound Slavers whip at mutant children who are chained together in rows, al wearing blue and white costumes. Ziggy Karst and Rico are brought onto a platform by Broadside and Killian, while the Sea Dogs follow them. 'They're all kids like us – and there are so many!' Rico exclaims. Broadside announces that they are all mutants, and all of them are slaves. Killian reports that Voge operates throughout the Omniverse, so many worlds, too many people – nobody misses a child here or there, even one with super powers. 'You can't get away with this!' Ziggy shouts, tugging at the collar around her neck, which connects to a chain in Killian's hands. 'And who's to stop us, girl?' Voge asks as he appears before the captives via holographic projection. 'Did you really think I'd allow you to escape me?' he asks, adding that they have been “getting away” with this for generations, and will continue doing so long after she and Rico are both dust and forgotten. 'Although, looking at you now, I begin to wonder why I bothered' he adds.
'You can talk as smug as you like, fatso – we beat you before, we'll do it again! And this time, we'll make sure you pay for your crimes!' Rico declares, lunging towards the projection of Voge, until Broadside pulls on the chain connected to Rico's collar, 'Hold your tongue, boy, or lose it' he warns Rico. Killian points out that the boy has spirit, to which Voge mutters that he hates spirit. He adds that he starts to wonder if he wouldn't make more profit selling the pirates, but Killian tells Voge to save his threats. Two “headshots” of Rico and Ziggy hover alongside Voge, while Killian announces that they should let the enhancer field reveal what these two mutants will become when they grow up. Energy whirls around the two young mutants, and Rico asks Ziggy what is happening. Ziggy declares that she feels so strange. 'You won't be disappointed' Broadside remarks. 'Is that us?' Rico asks. 'Wow!' Ziggy gasps as they stare at projections of what they will look like when they are older. Rico's future self wears a blue costume with a large gold X on it, and Ziggy wears a red and white costume, with a small X on her stomach. Impressed, Voge announces that this is something he can turn a profit on. 'Shall we start the bidding?' he asks .
Bidding commences, and the two floating headshots of Ziggy and Rico have numbers alongside them, Rico's is up to 17, while Ziggy is on 3. Ziggy decides that with everyone preoccupied with bidding, it is her chance now. She pulls her small capsules from her pocket, but one of the Sea Dogs sees her doing this, and lunges towards her, 'Girl making sneakky move? Bad girl!' the Sea Dog exclaims. 'Guess again' Ziggy replies as she lets one of the capsules explode, sending the Sea Dog careening backwards. 'Big bang nailed him. But now Killian knows something's up. Only got seconds now to use the baby-bang to set me free' Ziggy decides, as she places the other capsule against her collar, and the collar breaks. 'It worked!' Ziggy tells herself, while Killian is surprised to be holding a chain that leads to nothing. The bidding is now up to 143 for Rico and 97 for Ziggy, who throws to more of the strange capsules towards Rico, 'Heads up, Rico! It's your turn to rock-n-run!' Ziggy calls out, as one of the capsules strikes Broadside, knocking him back, and the other hits the collar around Rico's neck. 'We're not just kids, pirate – we're student X-Men!' Rico boasts as he uses his tail to trip Killian up, then he leaps onto Killian's chest and starts punching him in the face, 'We may lose – but we never quit!' Rico declares.
Rico and Ziggy start to run off the platform, with Ziggy telling Rico that he has nice moves. 'Nightcrawler's a great teacher' Rico replies, adding that he wishes Nightcrawler was here. 'Speaking of nice moves, yours were great' Rico remarks, while Ziggy holds onto one of Rico's claws, they run through the strange industrial facility, past more mutant prisoners, and Hound Slavers. The bidding is up to 27,483 for Rico, and 18,991 for Ziggy, who points out that everything happened so fast in China, the pirates never searched them, and she guesses they figured kids don't pack hardware. 'Got a radio so we can call for help?' Rico asks. 'What d'ya want from me, pal? Do I have to think of everything?' Ziggy exclaims. 'Just asking, is all – cause without a miracle... we're gonna end up just like all these other kids' Rico tells Ziggy as they pass a girl who is crying. Ziggy tells him to trust her, she is working up a plan. 'I sure hope so!' Rico gasps as a Slaver who looks like Voge appears nearby, 'Escaped slaves! Hounds – seize them!' he demands, and several Hounds rush towards the kids. 'We're busted!' Rico gasps.
The bidding is up to 429,733 for Rico and 391,207 for Ziggy, while Killian tells a projection of Voge that they have tracked and caught those two before, and they can do it again. 'So you can lose them, yet again? I'm not interested' Voge declares. Broadside tells Voge that they will go their separate ways, call it quits, and he can catch them himself. 'Sorry, I've made other arrangements' Voge replies, as a blast of energy takes out Broadside, Killian and the Sea Dogs. 'Put them on the market grid. They should bring a fair price' Voge calls out, and as several Warwolves approach his projection, he tells them that he trusts they will do better. 'We're Warwolves, Slavelord. We don't fail' one of the Warwolves boasts.
As the bidding reaches 838,719 for Rico and 838,718 for Ziggy, the two young mutants rush down an alleyway, where another Slaver who looks like Voge is tormenting a child. The Hounds leap after Rico, who crawls along a pipe running overhead, where he tells Ziggy that he is still waiting for that plan. A boy trapped in a small cage watches as Ziggy runs past him, and she calls out to Rico that she is still working on the details. 'In case you haven't noticed, there are lots of distractions' she adds. Ziggy tells herself that there is no point trying to hide, as this place is used to runaways, and the Hounds likely known every hidey-hole. 'We need something better' she thinks. Looking down at Ziggy from above, Rico tells himself that she is doing great, but that they can't keep this up forever. 'No more defiance, slave. You will submit -' one of the Slavers shouts a green-skinned girl, who cries, 'Please don't hurt me! I just want to go home!' Rico starts to cry, realizing that the girl sounds so scared, and needs help, while all he is doing is running away.
The bidding continues, with Rico fetching 1,694,159 and Ziggy on 1,718,327. 'Enough with the running – time to start fighting!' Ziggy tells herself, as she transforms her capsules into two guns, which she starts firing at the pursuing Hounds, knocking two of them backwards. But Ziggy realizes that if she starts shooting at them, they will likely start shooting back, when suddenly, she hears some screaming. She runs down another alleyway, where she comes across several aliens standing before two Slavers, each who has a prisoner in their arms. 'You can't take her away, she's my sister!' one of the slaves calls out. Ziggy realizes that the girls are terrified, but the Slavers are all laughing, to them it is just another sale. 'This is so wrong' Ziggy tells herself, before she trips on a rock and falls to the ground. As bidding reaches 2,547,031 for Rico and 3,973,228 for Ziggy, Rico swoops down and grabs Ziggy, telling her that he has got her back, and that it is a good thing he was watching. Mutant prisoners all start to turn and watch, too, and as a Hound looms over the X-Men students, Ziggy holds her guns towards the Hound, and tells Rico to run as soon as she starts shooting.
'I suspect, students, that's my cue. May I lend a hand?' Nightcrawler asks as he drops down, kicking the Hounds over, he is wearing a cape that flows behind him. 'Professor Wagner?' Ziggy gasps. 'Nightcrawler!' Rico exclaims. Rico's bidding is up to 4,719,082, Ziggy is at 4,197,829 and Nightcrawler has been added to the bidding, currently reaching 894,329. More prisoners watch the struggle, as the Hounds get up, Nightcrawler's attack was not enough to keep him down. Kurt knows the Hound won't hold back. 'But neither will I' Kurt thinks to himself as he leaps towards the Hound, readying his sword, as the Hound reaches for his own sword. Kurt remembers that before joining Excalibur, Rachel Grey was a Hound. Kurt slides under the Hound after their swords clang, he knows those memories still haunt her – yet another reason to bring Voge and his Slavers to justice. Kurt pushes up and topples the Hound. Biding has got up to 4,803,667 for Rico, 5,054,729 for Ziggy and 4,019,792 for Kurt. More mutant slaves watch the struggle, 'Bigger you are, the harder you fall – sweet dreams!' Kurt tells the Hound, adding that the Hound is very good at terrorizing children, but not so much against those who can fight back. 'With a little help from your friends' Bess calls out as one of the Bamfs teleports her in. 'As always, much appreciated. We have the children, Bess' Kurt tells her, while Rico wraps himself around one of Bess's legs. 'Time to go -' Kurt begins, before several more Hounds lunge at him. 'You're going on the block, fool – or into your grave!' the Hound shouts.
More and more slaves are watching the battle, some smiling, others looking concerned. Bidding has reached 4,917,082, 5,197,829 and 6,303,549 for Rico, Ziggy and Kurt, respectively. 'So much for our best laid plans. Looks like, yet again, we're fightin for our lives!' Bess exclaims as one of the Hounds lunges at her. 'Bet you wouldn't have it any other way' Kurt calls back, as he punches one of the Hounds in the face. 'No fair, knowing me so well' Bess replies as she smacks her gun into the Hound's face. Kurt punches another Hound, while battling a different Hound with his sword. 'What can I say? You've charmed the pirate in my soul' Kurt smiles. 'Music to my sweet ears' Bess declares as she throws a Hound over herself, slamming him into the ground. Kurt tells himself that the words are just banter, what is scary is the emotions that underlie them. Those feelings are totally real – for both of them. 'Looks like the baddies have called for help' Kurt smiles as more Hounds rush towards them.
As bidding gets up to 5,031,771 for Rico, 5,203,019 for Ziggy and 17,331,007 for Kurt, the mutant slaves are joined by even more who watch the battle. Kurt elbows one Hound in the face, while punching another. Normally he would teleport against these odds, but it seems the interdimensional travel has thrown his own ability to travel through space for a loop. In truth, he doesn't mind its absence, it makes this fight a whole lot more fun. 'Look at the Professor go!' Rico exclaims as he, Ziggy and several Bamfs watch Kurt take out the Hounds. 'When you grow up, Rico, I bet you'll be even better' Ziggy exclaims. When all the Hounds lie motionless in a pile, Kurt and Bess turn to the children, 'Oh my gosh, you beat 'em all!' Ziggy exclaims. 'Just this small contingent. By the time reinforcements arrive, we need to be long gone' Kurt points out, to which Rico tells him that they can't leave. 'We certainly can't stay, Rico. That'll be the end of us' Kurt replies, as bidding reaches 5,219,937 for Rico, 5,219,737 for Ziggy and 39,421,839 for Kurt. Motioning to the mutant slaves all around, Rico tells Kurt that all the captives here are kids, they have been stolen from their homes and are being sold. 'How can you turn you back on that?' he asks, while two Bamfs ride on Rico's tail.
Kurt tells Rico that he knows it seems harsh, but that their primary responsibility is to the two of them. 'We'll get you out of harm's way and then come back for them' Kurt declares. 'And what about the kids who get sold in the meantime?' Rico asks, angrily. 'What's the phrase – are they just collateral damage?' he asks. 'You came for us – how can we turn our backs on them? I'm sorry, Nightcrawler, he's right. I stand with Rico' Ziggy announces. Kurt tells himself that they are just kids, idealists, fools – but they are right. 'Fine, have this your way. The Bamfs will teleport you to the Blackbird. There, you'll be safe. Leave the rest to us' Kurt replies. The bidding has reached even higher numbers, which can't be seen due the mutants crowding around, while Rico waves his claws in the air and exclaims 'No way! We may be kids but we can still help. We stand together against evil. We reach out our hand to people who need it and we pull 'em to safety!' Ziggy looks concerned, while Rico continues, asking if this isn't why the X-Men were created in the first place. Kurt closes his eyes, 'Out of the mouths of babes – comes a reminder of my obligations, not simply as a hero... but as a man. Can I measure up to them?' he asks himself.
'Whatever you decide, sweetie – I've got your back' Bess tells Kurt, who reminds Rico and Ziggy that this is not a game, that they could be hurt, or die, or worse. 'What about the kids? They need all of us. If there's even a chance to help them, it's worth any risk' Ziggy exclaims. Kurt tells himself that Ziggy is a child, that she doesn't know what she is saying, but recalls that so was Kitty when she joined the X-Men, and her youth didn't slow her down – if anything, it made her try all the harder. 'These two are so much like her' Kurt decides. 'All right, then... we do this as a team. Our primary target is the head Slaver, Tullamore Voge' Kurt tells Bess, the kids and the Bamfs. Suddenly, 'Professor Wagner -' Rico shouts. '- behind you!' Ziggy exclaims, but it is too late, as there is an explosion that blasts Kurt, Bess, Rico, Ziggy and the Bamfs through the air, they land several feet away. 'Why do I have the feeling things just got a whole lot worse?' Bess asks. 'You have no idea' Kurt declares as he looks up. 'You know this crew?' Bess enquires. 'We have a history' Kurt replies. 'But we can beat 'em, right?' Rico exclaims, as several Warwolves loom over the heroes. 'You can try' one of them declares. 'We're the Warwolves, kid. We've been waiting for this moment a long time' another Warwolf announces, warning the heroes that before they are done, they will take their lives, their powers, and their very souls!