Once again, Kiden Nixon has stopped time. She leaves the frozen Bobby Soul and Lil Bro and runs back to the park to collect their things. Look at her run, a voice observes. Not in all those years did I imagine it would be this way. Something about the murdered body of Tattoo Man catches Kiden’s eye. She approaches him and sees a calling card tucked under the brim of his ski-cap. She’s beautiful. She’s strong. She’s alive. And whatever happens, the voice says, …she’s going to stay that way. Kiden pulls out the card and looks around suspiciously. Someone, somewhere, has already seen the body.
From a distance, a woman with dyed hair and facial piercings observes Kiden’s face, up close and personal, through her sniper rifle. “Bang,” the sniper chick says with Kiden in her sights. Even with the entire world seemingly slowed to a crawl, the Sniper Chick somehow remains unaffected.
Kiden returns to Lil Bro and Bobby Soul, the latter of whom has apparently forgotten his own identity. After telling herself everything will be alright, Kiden returns to the normal flow of time, catching Bobby Soul mid-sentence. “—okay, I accept the fact we know each other, even that we might be friends,” he says. “But everything else you’ve told me is crazy.” Ignoring his denial, Kiden hands him his jacket. Where did she suddenly get all this stuff, Bobby asks? A moment ago, her hands were empty. Kiden tells him not to worry about it. Instead, he should focus on keeping his little brother warm.
Bobby turns to Lil Bro with a confused look on his face. Lil Bro stares back, expressionless. “Yo, about that. I don’t… know him,” Bobby says. Nevertheless, he reaches over and gently draping his jacket over Lil Bro’s shoulders. He lifts the little boy into his arms. Everything will be alright, he tells him. Kiden cannot help but smile.
Once again, she activates her mutant power and brings time to a stand-still, but not before taking Bobby’s hand in order to ensure the effect extends to him. They walk through the motionless, rose-hued streets of the city, en route to the hospital. Bobby asks Kiden if they two of them are an item. Kiden, caught off-guard by the odd question, tells him no, and adds she thought he had his memories back. Some of them, Bobby answers. Kiden asks if he even noticed the immobile state of the rest of the city. He finally does, and asks if Kiden is responsible. What does he think, she asks? He thinks she is weird. She thinks she liked him better when he had all of his memories. Changing subjects, Bobby asks again why he lost them. Kiden said he possessed someone. Does she know who, he asks? “Nope,” Kiden lies.
The three mutants finally arrive at the hospital, only to find it bustling with motionless activity. Out front, several reporters hold microphones to a group of nurses. Inside, they find the lobby filled with the military soldiers who handle mutant affairs. A line of them leads right to their friend Tatiana’s hospital room, just like a trail of breadcrumbs. Talk about overkill, Kiden says. She enters the room and two soldiers talking to a nurse beside the unconscious Tatiana’s hospital bed. Kiden sneaks up beside her, tells Bobby Soul to get ready, and lets go of his hand right as she returns the flow of time to normal.
A barrage of different noises and conversations immediately surround the three mutants. On the TV screen, Trish Tilby reports on the events at the hospital, while in that very room, a doctor derides the soldiers for brandishing their guns around his patients. While the armed soldiers talk to the nurse, Kiden stirs Tatiana awake, and grabs her hand in preparation for the temporal transition. “And away we – go?” Kiden says, confused. She looks around and realizes nothing has changed; the soldiers are moving just as quickly as she and her friends are.
“Yo. They can see us,” Bobby says. Kiden calmly acknowledges her plan did not work. One of the soldiers lifts his rifle to her face and orders her to stay still; he has authorization to use lethal force, should she attempt to access her mutant ability. The other officer calls for backup. A higher-ranking military operative orders his men to stand down; the three mutants are only kids! He lunges over to Bobby and grabs his arm. The armed soldiers, meanwhile, notice Kiden’s face scrunch up, as if in concentration. She appears to be trying something. They fire their rifles.
Fortunately, Kiden stops time moments before being obliterated by the bullets. She stands hand in hand, frozen in time, with her friends Tatiana, Lil Bro, Bobby Soul… and the high-ranking military officer, who came along for the ride. The officer gasps; what the hell is going on, he asks? He orders the kids not to move. Kiden, moving her head out of the approaching bullet’s trajectory, orders Bobby not to let go of the man. Bobby ignores her. He head-butts the officer right in the nose, forcing him to release his grip. The sudden release restores the normal flow of time, once again leaving the four mutants stuck in the same room with the officers intent on arresting them.
While Bobby Soul stares at the smoking ruins of the hospital wall, Kiden grabs onto his hand and tries to activate her mutant ability. It works after the second try. By the time the officers come to their senses, all four mutants have disappeared, including the one restrained on the stretcher, Tatiana.
As they flee the hospital, the time effect slowly wears off, eventually returning to normal. Bobby holds Tatiana in his arms, while Kiden carries Lil Bro. Tatiana, bleeding from her shoulder, says she does not feel so good. They need to get her to a doctor, Kiden says. Tatiana refuses; she was just at a doctor and almost got arrested, for no reason other than being a mutant! Kiden asks her to relax. No one plans on turning her in. Who does she think they are anyway? Kiden asks.
After Bobby tells Kiden to give using her mutant ability a rest, he says he knows of a doctor who might treat Tatiana. This doctor, who volunteers at local homeless shelters, works out of her apartment, off the record, and under the table. Tatiana doesn’t think they should trust anyone. Kiden agrees; as far as she can tell, Ms. Palmer is the only adult who wouldn’t rat them out. Well, what do they want to do then, Bobby asks? Play doctor? Kiden may have swiped some antibiotics from the hospital, but they have no thread or needles. Tatiana needs to see a professional. These are their lives, after all! They cannot keep messing around. Defensive, Kiden claims she did not start this fiasco. Bobby tells her she still needs to finish it. “I know you. I remember,” he says. “You’re too stubborn to live.” Kiden glares at him and walks away with Lil Bro. After taking a few steps, however, she turns around, and asks where they can find this doctor.
Later, in Chinatown, Kiden, Bobby, Tatiana, and Lil Bro walk through a seedy alleyway in search of the doctor’s home. They finally arrive at the door, which not only has extra locks, but an exterior covering made of steel bars. Kiden tells Bobby that if she wakes up in a bathtub full of ice without her kidneys, she is going to be pissed, especially if she doesn’t get a cut of the money. She rings the buzzer, repeatedly and impatiently. The viewing slot on the door finally opens. A black woman stares out at the kids on her porch. Tatiana sheepishly says “hi”; Bobby says they have an emergency; Kiden asks the doctor lady if she is done staring and if she can help them, or what? The woman glares and slams the viewing box shut. Thanks a lot, Kiden, says Tatiana.
The enraged Kiden begins ringing the buzzer and shouting. Suddenly, the door swings open, and the young mutants find themselves face-to-face with a woman wearing sweatpants, a loose-hanging bathrobe, and a ponytail full of cornrows. “Touch that buzzer on more time, kid, and I’ll kick your ass from here to the East River,” the doctor lady says. She opens the outer door and lets the strangers into her apartment. In the background, the TV broadcasts the breaking news from the hospital. Various pop-art posters adorn the walls, as well as a poster of the mutant singer Dazzler. The doctor switches off the TV set, glances at an old photo of herself alongside the X-Man Beast, and gets out her medical kit. After assuring the teenagers she is indeed a doctor, she asks Tatiana to sit on the bed, and tell her what happened.
The teenagers start telling an obvious lie about how Tatiana got shot and how they had to flee the hospital because they couldn’t pay the bill. “Try another one, kid,” the doctor lady says. “I saw the pictures of you guys on the news. Live reports at the hospital. You’re all Trish Tilby’s been talking about. God, I hate her,” she says. Tatiana insists they did not kill anyone. The doctor smiles and says her day is looking better, then. She turns to the other three kids in the operating room and asks them for some privacy; they can wait on the couch. Tatiana asks if Kiden can stay. Kiden pulls out a bag of stolen medical supplies and says she has some medicine Tatiana can use. “Whatever,” the doctor says. She orders Kiden to go wash her hands, bring her the box of sterilizer, and start boiling some water. She turns back to Tatiana and apologizes; this operation is going to hurt. Tatiana figured as much. The doctor asks how she is handling the pain. Tatiana says it hurts, but she can function; the doctors gave her some painkillers at the hospital. “I’ve seen grown men, way more doped up, with injuries not as bad as yours – and they screamed like babies,” the doctor says. “You’re one cool customer, compared to them. Very tough, kid. Very brave.”
In the kitchen, Bobby asks Kiden to just trust the doctor. She’s mean, Kiden says. “Just like you, huh?” Bobby asks.
Back in the operating room, the doctor asks Tatiana if her mutation gives her additional tolerance to pain. Tatiana’s eyes widen; she knows she is a mutant? It was on the news, the doctor tells her. She can see Tatiana getting worried. She apologizes and tells her she has nothing to worry about. Tatiana’s mutation is a part of her; whatever special thing she can do, it’s natural. She has nothing to fear. Easy for her to say, Tatiana says. She has never been hunted and feared just because of the way she was born. “Dios. I wouldn’t have chosen this. Never. And now everyone knows. Everyone. They’ll lock me up – just for that,” Tatiana says.
The doctor tells her to breathe, and take things one at a time. Tatiana finally asks for her name. “Cecelia,” the doctor says. “But you can call me… Doc Reyes.”
Changing subjects, Cecilia commends her patient for taking the risk to come see her. No place is safe for them right now, but they took their chances on a stranger anyway. Kiden interrupts and asks if Cecilia is a quack. Did she lose her job for stealing drugs or something? Cecilia asks Kiden if she knows how to talk without being insulting. She doesn’t, Tatiana says. While Kiden reels from that off-hand insult, Cecilia says her position in life came down to a matter of choices. She believed her choices made sense at the time. Tatiana asks how she feels about her choices now. Abruptly changing the subject, Cecilia tells her guests they should rest. She has to go out for a few hours, but while she is gone, they can help themselves to anything in her fridge. How do they know she won’t sell them out, Kiden asks? “Same way I know you won’t rob me and run,” Cecilia says. “Now rest.”
After getting dressed, Dr. Reyes walks into Chinatown. Kiden follows her in secret, observing as Cecilia enters a phone booth and dials a familiar number. “Hey, Hank. It’s me,” Cecilia says into the phone. After insisting everything is fine, she says she needs a favor.
Kiden, crouching behind a wall, fails to notice the hip-looking woman sneaking up on her. “So you’re what all the fuss is about,” the Sniper Chick says. Kiden asks who the hell she is. Nobody, Sniper Chick answers, much like the “nobody” Kiden found dead in the park earlier that morning. She hopes Kiden liked the gift she left for her.
“You bitch,” Kiden says, putting her finger in Sniper Chick’s face. She asks what happened to Ms. Palmer. Sniper Chick nonchalantly grabs Kiden by the collar and pulls back her fist, in preparation for a punch. Kiden tells her to try it. Activating her mutant ability, Kiden slows time to a crawl. Sniper Chick punches her in the face anyway. Kiden falls to the ground, stunned; her powers have no effect on this woman!
Sniper Chick tells the fallen Kiden she has much to learn, and she intends to teach her. However, she is much harder to kill than the other person Kiden and her friends killed. Whenever Kiden is ready to learn – whenever she is ready to get out of this mess – she can find her. Sniper Chick drops her calling card, which bears the Empire State University logo, on Kiden’s chest, and leaves. Kiden examines it alongside the other memento the woman left earlier that day: a picture of Cameron Palmer lying naked and bruised on a tile floor. She crumbles the picture in her hand.
Shortly thereafter, the Sniper Chick returns to a fancy lounge area. Tall cases of books adorn the walls on either side of the room’s large fireplace. Two people sit in lounge chairs by the fireplace, engaged in a game of chess. Sniper Chick reports they will have the girl by tomorrow, just as her boss planned. One of the unseen chess players relays Sniper Chick’s news to a man on the other end of a phone call. The man on the other end asks how their guest feels about that news. “She can see the pieces falling where they must,” the unseen man says, “…can’t you, Ms. Palmer?”
Cameron Palmer, chained to the other chair, makes her move in chess, and glares at her opponent. He continues his phone conversation. Everything is for the best, the voice on the phone says. The other chess player – the corpse of Kiden Nixon’s father – absolutely agrees.