The Jean Grey School:
Kenji’s tentacle mass breaks through the roof, even as he holds Storm and the other mutants prisoners.
Good night, school.
Good night, Storm
Good night, mutants everywhere.
Storm lets loose a barrage of lightning bolts freeing the others. She orders them to run and tells Beast to protect them.
Noble as always, Kenji mocks. Saving the innocent and then heroically sacrificing herself. She assures him it doesn’t have to be like this. He came here for help. They can still-- He refuses. He is tired of her story, because despite all her promises it never included him!
Tentacles grab her and cover her mouth. Others connect to her head. She spends all her time trying to make everyone see her beautiful world. Now it’s time for her to see his. Goddess! she moans as she sees the memories.
This is how he died. Ripped apart by one of her students.
She sees herself, Hope Summers and others of Hope’s team from the dying Kenji’s point of view.
And this was the last thing he saw: Her and all the pretty people staring at him in horror and disgust, because of who he is.
No, because of what he did! Storm shouts. He infiltrated their minds… tried to kill Hope! Now her pretty talk fades away, he grins. He doesn’t belong. She can’t fix him. Her inclusive dream is a lie. But she won’t tell it to anyone ever again. He tells her to open her eyes and watch her friends die.
Images flood Storm’s mind and in turns they feel what she feels. Marisol on the run from monsters in Mexico, Callisto and Angie battling more monsters in the Morlock tunnels and Forge and Noah doing the same in Kenya. She’s looking through the eyes of Kenji’s flesh puppets as they hack into her dearest.
Forge, attacked by Kenji’s puppets, tells her they are all linked via Kenji as he is trying to assimilate them, but she can break free. He tells her to at least save the school.
Kenji leers that he hopes she does, that she cuts loose with her lightning and murders him again and then listens in horror as all the rest of them die anyway. That’s exactly the lesson he wants her to learn. Heartbreaking moral compromise, followed by senseless tragedy. That is the only truth that matters in this world.
As Kenji drags Storm down, Forge urges her not to give up. She has to fight. Kenji claims it’s impossible. Faced with an impossible situation that exposes her lies she couldn’t decide, so now everyone dies.
Now that’s an interesting story, Storm announces as her eyes begin to glow, but she likes hers better. Kenji let her in. That’s all she wanted. He wanted to pour his horrors into her head but now she is inside his.
Elsewhere, the techno zombies hesitate.
And it’s time to work, she announces. She glides upward, still trapped by the tentacles. Kenji created hundreds of tons of conductive mutant flesh. All she has to do is tap it and she nearly explodes with the power it gives her.
Seeing what she is about to do, Forge warns her to be careful. Storm digs deeper than ever to control the fundamental forces that control the weather… the Earth’s magnetic fields. She creates magnetic cyclones where the creatures are. The magnetic cyclone whirls the cyborg puppets past the stratosphere. And, as their mindless cells freeze, her new power fades. Exhaustion surges through her body. But then the nodes in her flesh crackle with static. An awestruck Marisol contacts her and asks if that was her. Storm replies she will never give up.
Kenji is still left with her, his tentacles still holding onto her as he promises neither does he. However, their final objectives are a little different. He attaches more nodes to her skull. She burned away so much of his flesh. She thought she won. But she has just weakened herself enough for him to take over.
Forge urges Storm to incinerate him with her lightning. She refuses. Kenji leers that she won’t kill him because that would prove his point. So he’s free to seize all her marvelous power and use it to visit their lies on the world. He begins to manipulate weather patterns. Forge again wants to convince Storm. She tells him now it’s up to them.
She explains they are still connected via Kenji’s nodes, with each other and Kenji. Realizing where this is going, Callisto announces they can’t-- They can! Storm insists.
They all meet up in the mindscape. Kenji laughs at the idea of a mindscape intervention and vows he will kill them all. Storm replies she isn’t talking to him. She is talking to Kenji. He insists he is Kenji. Storm announces he is just the thing Kenji thinks he needs to become to make sense of the world. And that’s who he is, he repeats.
Storm continues that he said life is tragedy and that they lied to him and maybe that’s true. But they are writing their own story here. That’s what they do every day. Against all odds. Against all evidence.
Cal is unsure. Storm tells her to trust. They just show him what they know. He’s seen their pretty world before, Kenji mocks.
Storm’s eyes glow. They are not here to show him pretty. Because a lot of it’s a whole lot ugly, Callisto agrees. They’ve all been monsters once or twice, Forge adds. They show him memories.
Images of memories:
Storm fighting Callisto for Morlock leadership. Storm hitting Forge over his betrayal of her. Marisol’s nasty behavior towards Storm at school.
And they’ll probably screw up a few more times before they are done, Marisol announces. But they are here, Storm explains. And they are writing a different story. Together. And if the boy inside Kenji didn’t hold up hope this might go for him, he would have cut off the nodes that connect them five minutes ago. Kenji’s shape falls apart.
At the Jean Grey School, everybody finds themselves free. Kenji’s shape withdraws. What’s left addresses Storm. Maybe he’ll see her around. He disappears.
Later, she sits exhausted on the school’s stone steps. Beast informs her they can’t find him but Rachel senses a new psionic presence in the area and it’s happy. He’ll come to them when he’s good and ready. She did good. “We did good,” she corrects him. He tells her she should rest. But she wants to fly, doesn’t she? He tells her to go. They’ll hold down the fort.
She steps into the air. When she was a girl, she used to live in the sky. And some days, she wonders why she ever left. But she’s not a goddess any longer, not even a queen. Instead, she’s part of something so much more and this is where she belongs.