A normal day outside the Jean Grey School, until Shark Girl shouts, “She’s back!” All students and teachers look up expectantly, as Storm returns after her recent adventures.
Soon, she is back in normal life, teaching classes, doing administration and checking with Beast on the mold problem, which doesn’t get better. She dries it out with a gust of hot air. Beast jokes she’s just signed up for biannual maintenance work. Does she get a raise? she asks. He’ll ask the head mistress.
She’s a true hero, someone figures silently. But that’s all just a bit too easy, isn’t it? An eye forms on the pipes where the mold used to be. He’s really talking about art. And art… needs something more.
Outside, Storm looks up in shock as huge tentacles come from the cellar, seemingly chasing after the students. She fires lightning bolts at the tentacles.
The being in the cellar screams and begs her to stop. Can’t she see it’s him? He just wanted to come home! He withdraws the tentacles and Storm looks down to see the slender shape of a young Japanese man. K-Kenji? she asks.
Kenji is taken to the infirmary. He still has cyber parts but looks a lot more harmless and vulnerable than in the past. Beast’s genetic tests confirm he is their former student Kenji Uedo. Former? he asks. He died on Utopia, Beast reminds him. Well that explains some of it, Kenji admits.
A little while ago, he woke up in a bottle in an underwater lab run by a man named Harmon. He said Kenji’s cells were special so he used parts of him to fix his own body. It… hurt.
And then he woke up again… here.
Storm apologizes. She fought Harmon and knew he had stolen tech from their old headquarters but she had no idea Kenji was there. He tells her it’s all right. But why is everyone so nervous around him? Storm replies diplomatically that his time with them was… difficult.
Kenji claims he doesn’t remember much. He knows they found him in Japan. He was an… artist. But he was supposed to become a hero. He almost became one, Storm replies. Kenji looks down. He thinks he did some bad things but he can’t remember. He doesn’t know what he deserves. He just knows the X-Men were the only ones who ever treated him like a person.
Storm smiles. All he needs to know is he’s a mutant and an X-Man. And a student at this school. And he’s home now. She touches his head and tells him to get some sleep. They’ll figure it out in the morning.
She leaves the infirmary. Outside, Rachel Grey is waiting. She’s been telepathically scanning Kenji since Storm called her. He seems to be telling the truth. But he’s got a… tricky mind. Storm explains the last time they saw him he was a sociopath and a murderer. She’d like a little more detail. Rachel continues his organics are constantly forming and reforming themselves. That might mean he’s got an entirely different mind from the boy who tried to kill them all or it might mean he’s just hiding his true self from them.
Storm wants a telepath and two more guards to watch him constantly until they figure that out. She looked into his eyes. Whoever he was, right now he’s just a frightened child. She believes him, but they have to be careful.
The Morlock tunnels:
Callisto and her charge Angie are checking the mold problem, which keeps getting worse. Angie asks if they should be worried. This is new. Callisto shrugs. Back in the day, they had a few Morlocks with fire powers. She just had them torch everything. Angie chuckles. That must have been pretty cool, having powers. Cal reminds her one of her powers was tentacles. But, yeah, it was pretty cool. But being a mutant always set you up for bigger fights. It’s better living the way they-- Suddenly Angie is grabbed and dragged away.
Storm is asleep when she is awakened by Callisto’s phone call. Cal tells her they are under attack. She ascertains they are in the tunnels when she hears Callisto scream. She runs outside to Beast’s room. She tells him to mobilize any X-Men in the five boroughs to meet. That moment, both Storm’s phone and Beast’s tablet beep.
Forge is calling Storm from Kenya. While she is flying towards Manhattan, she cuts him off that Callisto is under attack. He suggests this may be related. In order to safeguard the rainmaker tech, they are building Noah and he’d deployed a fleet of drones in a hundred mile radius. Fifteen minutes ago, they started picking up encrypted communication signals. He is uploading them to Beast. Twelve minutes ago, he dug deep enough to find traces of modified Trask code.
Beast looks at the data and realize it’s a Sentinel commline. He tells Forge to evacuate the village. Forge assures him he did that eleven minutes ago. Noah tells Forge to look. Techno-organic monsters attack similar to those attacking Angie and Cal in the tunnels.
Storm calls Marisol Guerra in Mexico. She informs her Beast picked up readings in her surroundings. She may be in danger. That explains the zombies Marisol replies wryly, referring to the attack on her house. Storm tells her to run.
Storm screams in frustration. She tells Marisol and Callisto she wants to help them now but she has to return to where she thinks is the source of those attacks. She assures them they are not alone.
She sees the tentacles attacking the school. She flies inside the building and orders the students to the north exits, then runs through the hallways shouting for Beast and Rachel. She finds them and several students captured by the tentacled mass, while Kenji uselessly tries to fight it with a chair. It’s not his fault! he cries before he is grabbed himself. He becomes part of the mass and begins to remember.
Storm assures him whatever he is seeing isn’t him. He can be who he wants to be. He can stop this any time he— He interrupts. He remembers what he did. What they did. They killed him. Storm replies that other him was insane. He was going to kill everyone! But he is different! He—
And there she goes again. Telling those pretty stories, he interrupts. She flies around the world, reaching out to everyone. Fellowship, sacrifice, redemption. There is a place for everyone in her great heart, isn’t there? But when he showed her his truest heart, they just let him die. And they never thought of him again until he appeared to her in this sweet sad form. But he is much more than that. Just like every child she is saving. So many flaws, so many horrors.
In the mass, another face, that of the Kenji they remember, forms and claws tear through new Kenji’s head, letting him deflate like a doll. So now it’s his turn to tell the stories. The true stories. The tentacles grab her as well. Life is a horror show. And the monsters win!