The war ended. The president came. The mutants were offered the Cure and most of them took it. Only twenty mutants remain who want to stay mutants. Twenty to forge a new community, a new nation and identity…
A bus, flanked by military cars and brings them to their new home - a piece of desert in southwestern Utah. It’s all theirs, a soldier announces and hands Kitty a paper to sign. It’s her deed, he explains. They’ll own the place – roughly eighteen miles in all directions. The government used to maintain this place. Some sort of Hoover era testing grounds. They can’t even get the mountain goats to survive here now. If the lack of water doesn’t kill them, the alkali in the soil does.
Fantastic, Kitty remarks. The soldier continues he thinks they are getting a bad deal. He’d follow Captain America to hell and back if he asked him, but no way would he settle out here!
It’s the deal they gave them, Kitty replies curtly. Anything else? The soldier explains this is now sovereign land and no longer part of the United States in any legal or practical way. The laws of the land do not apply and they are no longer American citizens. That means they have to stay inside their own borders. Come outside and they are considered criminals. Around here, that typically means you get shot at.
About nine miles away is an army base. It’s a training facility. Captain America has personally instructed them to respond and provide assistance if their safety or sovereignty is in any way threatened. They will all be issued identity cards. They have to carry them with them all the time. About two miles roughly northwest of here are limited plumbing and electrical hook-ups. FEMA will be delivering basic shelters to that location by noon today. Here’s her receipt. He’s seriously giving her a receipt? Kitty asks. Why not? he shrugs, it’s all theirs now. He has nothing against them all. Good luck.
The soldiers leave. Garbage, Blackheath, a young man with green dreadlocks announces as he sifts through the soil. Not fit for man or beast. Or for much anything, really. Essentially toxic, this soil is.
Who taught her how to negotiate? Mach Two mocks. She had the ear of the president and this is what she got them? She get them their freedom, Kitty retorts. Jimmy reminds them all they don’t have a choice. Don’t focus on the negative. They can make this work.
If they are so free why is Kitty automatically in charge? Nomi asks and demands a vote. Warpath agrees. Nomi continues the start of a brand new nation deserves a new leader. Of the people, by the people, right? She came out of the same tunnels Kitty did. Kitty’s not that special. They don’t have to stay here. They can demand better land. They fought down an army of Sentinels.
Kitty Pryde fought the Sentinels, Rogue corrects her and orders her to show some respect. Nomi came late to this show. Kitty rallied them into an army. She brought back the head of a Nimrod and took down the Stryker-bot. As she recalls, most of what Nomi did in the tunnels was watch YouTube videos and talk about boys and complain in general.
Is she still hearing voices? Nomi challenges her. Still tweaked in the head? Still thinks she’s seeing ghosts? No, Rogue replies calmly, not anymore. Everything’s really clear these days.
Jimmy whispers that Kitty needs to shut Nomi down. She’s a kid. Most of them are, she replies and tells everyone to listen up. The deal’s been done. There’s no chance at demanding anything else. She takes their president at his word – this is was the best he could do for them right now. So this is their home, but before they let that get them down, think about it. This. Is. Their. Home. When was the last time they could truly say that about any place they lived in? They all had hideouts, squats, hospitals, camps, the street. Now they can build something permanent. Something that belongs to them. They can build that. But Mach Two’s right. They should vote who leads them. Vote for Mach Two and follow her back out into the hateful world the all just fought to escape. See how far that gets them. Or stay here with her and they’ll show the world they are not to be underestimated.
Blackheath, Warpath, Psylocke, Shola and Mach Two herself vote for Mach Two. Iceman, Storm, Armor, Black Box, Micromax, Magma, Jimmy, Rogue and Zero vote for Kitty while Kitty herself abstains.
Zero interrupts the discussion, wanting to show them something. Sam called this land garbage but it’s actually quite beautiful. Very dense, molecularly speaking. Lots going on. He can work with this nicely. When he was in the camp, he would never dream his abilities. He was to feel ashamed. He has Kitty to thank for saving him from that self-destructive mindset. He was once an artist. The path forward is obvious. Kitty Pryde has earned his respect and so his vote. By his count, that means she wins.
As the others begin to walk Warpath tells the sulking Mach Two that she should learn a lesson here. Actions lead to popularity and popularity to power. Kitty earned her votes. Doesn’t matter that she’s wrong. So stop pouting and think about the future. And make sure her next move sticks.
As they walk to the settlements in the glaring sun, Kitty asks Rogue if Nomi got to her with what she said. Rogue tells her she has thicker skin than that. Especially when the insults come from fourteen year old girls. Truth is, she feels pretty great. She feels like herself. Whatever was twisting her up inside is gone. She feels healed. She loves this feeling and that’s part of why she feels so sad at the same time.
Quentin? Kitty asks. He’s a dork, Rogue replies. That stupid hair and hipster pants. But he healed her. He did it like it was nothing, a snap of the fingers. And she could really touch him. TMI, Kitty tells her. Rogue reminds her she is untouchable all the time. And then the one guy, the one exception to the biggest curse of her life opts for the Cure and now he is gone too. Why does a guy with powers like that want to give them up? Kitty hugs her.
Sam complains he will wilt in the heat. All he had to do was ask, Storm replies and creates a rainfall. Not bad, Sam admits. They should get together and compare notes. They could do wonders for the place. Jimmy laughs. They stick them in the salt flats and they give it its first proper rainfall in a millennium. This is amazing! he remarks and kisses Kitty on the cheek.
The sight of the camp quickly shuts them up. Twenty metal shipping containers. To call them shelters is pretty insulting. The mutants get to work organizing them into something resembling a community. Utopia, Blackheath sneers and the name sticks. They have water pumps and Storm can bring down more when the conditions permit. Nomi’s people claim a block of trailers to themselves. They have water and shelter but no food. And they are weeks away from growing any. Fury sends them a Stark Industries aid package with food and a special small case for Kitty. Inside, Kitty finds a gun and note by Fury: From one freedom fighter to another: The war never really ends. Keep this secure and keep yourself alive. With respect, Fury.
Later, Kitty, Storm, Zero and Blackheath discuss the soil situation. Zero tells them the soil is dead, toxic to plant life. Nothing will ever grow here, as it stands. It’s clear this land was used in the past as a military fighting range. All sorts of trace particles. He can fix that. Shift molecules, he can remove the offending matter. Can they use what he removes? Kitty asks. Probably, he tells her. The dirt isn’t too great, even after it’s cleaned up. Pretty arid, but sandy. But if they cultivate small areas at a time they’ll get there.
Blackheath announces they need a greenhouse and steady water. That’s Storm’s job. Kitty tells them there was plastic in the crate from Stark. They can probably assemble a shelter to make what they need.
Zero suggests they need to do a proper survey. He’s picking up all sorts of ground contaminants… lead, uranium, PCBs. All trace, but there are sure to be hotspots Kitty asks him to keep that between them until they know what’s going on. She’ll send Jimmy out with him, to do the survey quietly. They can’t risk more dissension.
Later at night in Mach Two’s trailer:
Blackheath tells all of that to Mach Two. He asks her what her power is. He may be linking his fortune to some wee girl whose power may be to sprout interestingly colored patches of hair. Look outside, she tells him. He opens the door to see the caravan is floating high up in the air. If it’s metal, she can move it, she explains. So, are they cool now?
Sam tells her to officially consider him in her camp. His eyes and ears are her eyes and ears. But why Mach Two? What does that have to do with metal? Maybe it’s just the name of this shade of blue hair color, she replies nastily, or maybe she has more than one trick up her sleeve…
Evening outside: Kitty shows Bobby and Jimmy how she has divided their land into a grid. She needs them and Zero to cover it as quickly as they can. She doesn’t know what he is looking for… soil samples, contaminants, stuff like that. But what she needs from them is a thorough survey. She needs to know what they have here. She needs to know what their borders look like and if the government is monitoring them or has installed listening devices and motion detectors.
Jimmy wishes they hadn’t disarmed the mutants or maybe this is the reason, Kitty wants this done at night, and only tell her. Jimmy calls her paranoid. He would be too if a significant minority of people tried to vote him to the sidelines.
Magma is freezing. She turns to her lava form and starts a fire. She suggests they celebrate. Kitty silently decides to destroy the handgun the next day, figuring violence shouldn’t be part of their system. Psylocke reads her mind and tells Nomi to have Warpath search Kitty’s trailer.
From high above, a flying, armored being named Farbird observes them and contacts the SEAR. Her mistress asks if she can land nearby. Farbird reminds her she cannot land and that she will stay on station as long as required. Karen Grant, mistress of SEAR, thanks her and instructs Farbird to keep her updated. She wants to know exactly what Kitty Pryde is doing there…