Kat Farrell just want to get a real story. As a sapien reporter in a world dominated by mutants, this isn’t always easy.
She arrives at Stark Tower where a team of SHIELD Red Guard agents has arrived to investigate some kind of incident. As she approaches the yellow “DO NOT CROSS” line, a large African-American Red Guard agent with a red crystal in place of his left eye blocks here view. She claims to be just passing by but the agent identifies her as Katherine Farrell, reporter for the Daily Bugle and tells her point blank that she is considering writing a story on the crime scene. Kat snidely asks what level of psychic the agent is and he brusquely replies and asks her to move along. She tries to argue that she has a right to stand there and the agent responds that he’s allowed to bring her in if he thinks that she could create any potential trouble, which could ruin her day in a serious way. He asks Kat to move along a second time.
She asks for a comment and the agent responds that a human hopped up on MGH ran through a plate glass window. She questions SHIELD’s presence on such an insignificant crime and he replies that it’s standard procedure. She notes that this is SHIELD Red Guard and he responds “No comment”. She asks if someone threatened to blow up Stark Tower and he asks her a final time to move along. She tells him that people have a right to know why Sebastian Shaw, director of SHIELD is here.
This causes the agent to turn around and Kat uses this as an opportunity to snap a picture of Shaw alongside SHIELD Red Guard agents, Nightcrawler and Jessica Jones. The Red Guard agent harassing Kat turns around when he hears her take the picture, but she has already disappeared into the crowd.
Nearby, Clint Barton notices a copy of The Pulse on a newsstand emblazoned with the news of the upcoming gala at the House of Magnus. He looks at the publication and then up at the offices of its publisher, the Daily Bugle.
When Kat arrives inside she wonders aloud where everyone has gone. Someone suggests she buy a watch and she realizes that she’s late for an editorial meeting. Kat is late and her editor is none-too-happy about it. The blue-skinned, green-haired mutant is explaining how the Bugle will be covering the gala at the House of Magnus when Kat arrives.
Kat tries to explain to her editor that she was looking into a story over at Stark Tower involving SHIELD and her editor brusquely says that they will wait for SHIELD clearance and continues her meeting. Kat questions the editor on why they have to wait for SHIELD’s blessing to report the news. The editor is appalled at being questioned and informs Kat that SHIELD is there to protect them and requires their full cooperation. Kat interrupts her and notes that Sebastian Shaw was present and reports on the implausible cover story she was given by the Red Guard agent when she asked about what was happening. She notes how unusual this is and Ben Urich agrees with her, but the editor still insists that they wait for clearance.
Kat argues that they’re there to be reporters and not just government press agents. The editor retorts that she might have been interested in this discussion had Kat arrived on time, but that now it was time to get to work and make a newspaper.
Following the meeting, Kat vents her frustrations to Ben Urich who reminds her that they live in a mutant’s world and she should learn to pick her fights. She asks when they plan to start doing that since neither of them ever have. She notes that as humans, they have to tread the path of least resistance just to continue working and that despite this, they have very little to show for their efforts.
Ben wonders why all of this is bothering her so much today and Kat replies that today just feels different to her. He says that they are lucky to have the chance to work and occasionally sink their teeth into a story that might make a difference. She says that he gets those chances but she doesn’t and he says it’s because he picks his fights and doesn’t challenge his editor in front of her staff. Kat reluctantly admits that that wasn’t such a smart move and Ben encourages her to write something really inspired to make up for it.
Kat burns the midnight oil, staying late to work on a piece for the upcoming issue on the House of Magnus gala. She goes into the archives to try and track down an old photo of Lord Magnus and Richard Nixon.
She is interrupted by Hawkeye who is hiding in the stacks. He fires a pair of arrows that pin her shirt to the wall and knock her glasses off. He asks if she knows who he is. She begs him not to hurt her and tells him she can’t see without her glasses. He asks who she is and she responds that she’s just a reporter. He replies sarcastically that he only read the sports page when he was alive. She asks what he means and he lets out his frustrations, saying that if he read more maybe he’d understand what’s happening. He holds up a paper and demands that she read it. She’s still afraid and asks for her glasses. He hands them to her and says that the article he’s showing her is about the Magnus memorial in Central Park.
He seems surprised and looks at the article again. He sees a headline announcing his own death and showing a photo of the day he joined the Avengers alongside Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. The article byline says that it was written by Kat Farrell. When he turns it around to show Kat, the article appears to be about the Sentinel Memorial being declared a national landmark. The byline says Ned Leeds. He demands she read the article loud and she does. He can’t believe it and is shocked that she doesn’t even know who he is.
Hawkeye tells Kat that he knows she thinks she’s having a bad day, but says he has her beat since he just found out he died a few months earlier. He tells her he has a story for her and relates his entire situation to her. He explains that he was a moderately successful superhero until he was killed by his teammate and one-time crush, Wanda who had lost control of her mutant powers and gone mad. Kat recognizes the name Wanda and asks if he thinks it was Wanda Maximoff who killed him. He says that it’s all a mutant illusion and that it’s paper-thin. He accepts that he was killed months ago and cannot help but think that his presence, the very fact that he’s alive is all part of the illusion.
Hawkeye goes on to relate the true nature of the world as he remembers it. Magneto was a terrorist, Wanda’s mutant powers proved to be beyond her ability to control and she had a mental breakdown that led to his death and that of several other Avengers. He thought at the time the battle he died in was genuine and that he went out in a blaze of glory.
He explains that he was happy enough playing sapien rebel in this new reality until a mutant teen with out-of-control powers awakened his memory of his true history. He is frustrated that Kat doesn’t remember or believe him. Kat is flabbergasted by his story. Clint apologizes for attacking her and admits to being a bit agitated by these revelations. She accepts his apologies and asks his name again. He repeats it and says that there’s something he wants her to see.
Clint takes Kat to the site where Avenger Mansion should be. In its place is a botanical garden. He explains that this is where Earth’s mightiest heroes lived and they managed to screw things up pretty badly. He confesses that he now has dual memories; one set of how things were and how he died and another of how Magneto has re-imagined his existence. He explains that this is why he may seem so confused and scattered. He then crosses over to the Sentinel memorial in Central Park. He pulls out a trio of explosive arrows and fires at it. The Sentinel head explodes, leaving only a charred shell. Hawkeye apologizes to Kat for his outburst but he figures he’s owed a tantrum given all that’s happened to him. In the distance, police sirens can be heard.
Kat wonders why he’s brought her here to see this. Hawkeye explains that he needed someone, anyone, to know the truth. He asks her to report it, even if she thinks he’s just a delusional psycho. He can’t help but think that maybe Wanda brought him back to life so that he can put a stop to her madness. He can’t think of another explanation and decides that that is just what he’s going to do: stop Wanda and Magneto by whatever means necessary.
He tells Kat he’s going to Genosha to put the entire family out of its misery. He says that he may not be able to restore reality, but that can take care of those responsible. After all, what does he have to lose since he’s already dead? As he walks away, Kat finds herself caught in the headlights of the arriving police cars, clearly wondering what to do next.