‘All I ever wanted was to be a hero…’ remarks Scott “Cyclops” Summers.
(Flashback, six years ago)
Scott gets a punch in the face, blood splatters from his mouth. ‘Come on, Summers, you little wuss. Fight back!’ a bully shouts. ‘I can’t…I…’ Scott replies as he slumps against a set of lockers at Gaspar de Portolo Junior High School in Portland, Oregon. Scott rubs his head before he falls to the floor, and wets himself. The bully begins shouting out ‘Ohmygod. He wet himself. Unbelievable. Hey everybody! Scott Summers wet himself!’
Soon, a teary-eyed Scott bursts into the house where he lives with his foster parents. ‘Scott!’ shouts Scott’s foster mother, seeing that something is wrong. But Scott doesn’t stop, instead he rushes up to his bedroom and slams the door. As he sobs on his bed, he can hear his foster parents whispering: ‘Go in there and talk to him!’ ‘What’m I supposed to say? He’s not even our kid’. ‘He can hear you, jerk!’ Soon, there is a knock at his door, but Scott shouts ‘Go away, Noah’. Noah opens the door and remarks ‘I know we’re just your foster parents, but, you know - you can still talk to us about…you know…you can talk to us…’.
Suddenly, Scott’s eyes flash red, and he shouts ‘I said…go away!’ With that, a powerful optic blast fills the room, and Noel is obliterated.
‘Scott? Cyclops? You okay?’ asks his fellow X-Man Peter “Colossus” Rasputin”. Hanging his head, Scott replies ‘Yeah…my mind was a million miles away…thinking’. The X-Men, some of them at least, are a million miles away from their normal home in Westchester, currently holed-up in the Ust-Ordynski Collective in Siberia. ‘What the hell are we doing here?’ Cyclops asks. Colossus reminds him that they need to get more “Banshee”. ‘Right. Banshee. The drug’ Scott remarks. With Alison “Dazzler” Blaire, Warren “Angel” Worthington, Rogue and Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner also present, Colossus points out that Banshee has made them all more powerful, as it is the only way they can hope to beat Alpha Flight and get Northstar back.
Glancing out a window, Colossus sees two figures arrive via teleportation. ‘They’re here!’ he exclaims. ‘I’m coming with you’ Scott replies, but Colossus replies that he goes alone, explaining that they will only talk to him. Cyclops begins to protest, but Colossus reiterates that he will be going alone. Stepping out onto the porch, Colossus calls out to the arrivals, thanking them for coming so quickly, when all of a sudden, one of them orders him not to come any closer. ‘There’s a blindfold. Put it on!’ they order.
Colossus picks the blindfold up and complies, ‘Even after all this time, I’m still not allowed to see your face’ he remarks. ‘You understand the power of the secrets. You liked to your best friends. Your teammates. You never told them you were using Banshee’ comes the reply. ‘They never asked’ Colossus mumbles, before opening a briefcase full of money. ‘That’s nice’ the dealer replies, before opening another case, filled with the drug. ‘Here they are - putting their ass on the line. For you. Are you really prepared to take them down this road?’ the dealer asks, referring to the X-Men.
Colossus ignores the question, instead asks the dealer if they brought enough Banshee for the job. ‘Twelve vials. It’s all here. You know what your problem is, Rasputin? You’re a selfish arse’ the dealer tells Colossus. Peter remains stern and replies ‘You don’t know me, friend. Northstar loved me’. ‘Loved? Past tense?’ the dealer replies. ‘Loves’. Colossus corrects himself. ‘I will break continents to get him back. Have you, in your tiny little heart, ever felt so strongly? Have you?’ HELLO?’ But there is no response, as the dealers have vanished as quickly as they arrived.
Back inside, Cyclops watches the goings-ons outside, and Rogue, her skin turned metal, and sporting wings, tells him that if Colossus wanted company he would have asked him to go outside. ‘This is my first drug deal. I’m a little…I mean…aren’t you? A little?’ Cyclops mumbles. Rogue poses seductively and replies ‘No. I finally feel…once you take it, you - of all people - you’ll understand’. ‘Understand what?’ Scott asks.
‘You and I. We’re the same. Both of us totally screwed. Our abilities control us. Banshee gives us what we’ve always needed’. Rogue replies as she approaches Scott. ‘And what’s that?’ Scott asks, before Rogue kisses him on the lips. Somewhat taken aback, Scott asks Rogue why she did that. ‘Because I can’ Rogue replies, grinning.
Colossus returns, holding up the briefcase filled with the drug, he tells Scott that they have what they came for, and gives both a vial and the injector to Scott. Somewhat concerned, Scott takes the injector and the vial, and shoves it into his neck. ‘Good man. Now let’s find Alpha Flight and get Northstar back!’ Colossus exclaims, while Scott telepathically contacts Jean Grey.
Back in Westchester, Jean responds to her lover’s thoughts, ‘No need to yell Scott, I can hear you!’ she exclaims, sitting in an office, two computers in front of her, Jean is also conversing telepathically with the X-Men’s absent mentor, Professor Charles Xavier, who announces that Storm has tested negative for Banshee.
While Scott and the other X-Men in Siberia board the jet, Scott asks Jean what she is doing. Jean explains that she and Charles are testing all the students and faculty for Banshee. ‘I’ll patch you in!’ she exclaims, so that they can have a three-way telepathic conversation, despite Cyclops protesting that he doesn’t want to turn this into a conference call.
Nevertheless, Jean merges the conversations, and Xavier greets Scott, asking him how he is. Scott replies that they have just secured a batch of Banshee, and that these X-Men do not suspect that he is playing both sides. ‘But that won’t last long’ he adds. Xavier tells Scott to find out who is supplying the Banshee and shut it down, but Cyclops replies that it isn’t that simple, as even Colossus doesn’t know, as the dealer made him wear a blindfold, and is using a teleported.
Xavier tells the senior X-Men that he will check for any recent power signatures of teleporters, to which Jean tells him they have to do better than that. Jean exclaims that Banshee is a threat to their entire race, and they must eliminate it. Scott replies that he is taking care of their friends right now, making sure they do not hurt themselves or anyone else. ‘Right, Jean?’ But Jean is distracted, and goes wide-eyed as she looks at one of the computer screens, exclaiming ‘Sorry, I…we have a positive. There’s a positive. It’s impossible…’ she exclaims. ‘Who? Jean? Who is it?’
Soon, ‘There’s no way. No #@%&ing way!’ Wolverine a.k.a. Logan exclaims, claws outstretched, several cut-up training robots at his feet. Jean, somewhat astonished, stands near Logan and tells him that she is just explaining what she found. ‘No need to take it out on the very important expensive inanimate objects!’. Logan looks at his ex-lover and replies ‘Better than someone with all those squishy, important parts!’. Logan looks at his blood-covered claws and tells Jean to test it again. ‘I did’ Jean replies. ‘Test it again again’ Logan tells her. ‘I did. Over and over. Same results every time. You’ve used Banshee’.
Logan admits that he has done a lot of things: ‘But not this. Never this’. Jean assures Logan that she believes him, but points out that there are so many holes in his past ‘Isn’t is possible - even probable - that you used Banshee?’ Jean asks. ‘So what now - you gonna ask me to leave?’ Logan snaps. ‘No. I need your help. Help us find who’s distributing the Banshee. Find out who messed with you. Stop them’ Jean exclaims. ‘Stop them? I’m gonna make them scream!’ Logan replies, holding his blood-drenched claws to his face.
Meanwhile, inside Department H, fifty miles north of Montreal, Canada, a mighty scream can be heard for miles. Alpha Flight are relaxing in a rec room, and Jubilee remarks that Northstar’s screaming is totally freaking her out. ‘Are we, you know, are we doing the right thing here?’ she asks. While Sasquatch lifts some weights, Shaman plays on a Playstation, and Snowbird sits with him, while Sunfire stands nearby and Aurora walks down some stairs into the room, Vindicator replies ‘We’re saving the dammed world, Jubilee!’.
Vindicator exclaims that Alpha Flight are the first internationally sanctioned mutant team, made powerful enough to take on any conceivable threat. ‘Liberators. Brotherhood. Ultimates’. ‘Ultimates are the good guys. Right?’ Jubilee asks. ‘The Ultimates answer to America. Selfish. Egotistical. American. We answer to the world!’ Vindicator replies sternly. Wide-eyed, Jubilee exclaims that she isn’t talking “press-release”, and explains that it’s the Banshee. ‘Can’t you feel it?’ she asks, declaring that not only is she constantly PMSing, ‘It’s the rage. The joy. The high. I mean, Sasquatch and Sunfire haven’t powered down in weeks!’
‘You wanna see my pretty face, Jubes?’ Sasquatch asks, shifting from the beastly form - into that of a young red-haired woman. ‘Better?’ she asks. ‘Yes. Nice to see Rahne Sinclair is still human underneath all that fur!’ Sasquatch exclaims that they are all fine, to which Jubilee smiles at Vindicator and puts a hand to his face, ‘What about you?’ she asks. ‘You gonna take off that mask? Or are you all sorts of hideous under there?’. Suddenly, Vindicator grabs Jubilee’s hand, pulling it away from his face, and snaps a finger, causing her to scream. ‘We’re not human. We’re mutants. Don’t forget that!’ Vindicator bellows.
‘You broke my finger. You broke my &@&ing finger!’ Jubilee shouts, while Snowbird attempts to console her. ‘You don’t need fingers to cast your “fireworks” Vindicator reminds her, when, suddenly, Shaman tells everyone to shut up, ‘There’s something…’ he begins, concentrating hard. ‘Something? What is it?’ someone asks. ‘Brimstone?’ Shaman replies, indeed, as Nightcrawler teleports the other powered-up X-Men into Alpha Flight’s rec room. ‘WHERE’S NORTHSTAR?!’ Colossus screams. Dazzler creates a solid-light form of a large bear, while Angel appears in a large full-bird form.
One of Alpha Flight exclaims that the entire wall has been teleported out, while Colossus smashes Shaman in the face, demanding to know where Northstar is. ‘I WILL RIP YOU APART!’ he screams, while Dazzler’s solid-light bear snags Aurora and bites into her arm. ‘You might be faster than light…but I own it!’ Dazzler tells the sultry Alphan. Snowbird calls out to Aurora that she is coming to help her, when, suddenly, Angel swoops past her and uses his clawed feet to grab her by the shoulders, pulling her into the air, he speeds outside and high into the sky, ‘You’re a flier, right, Snowbird? Try the stratosphere!’ he exclaims.
Back inside, Nightcrawler confronts Sasquatch, ‘You don’t want this fight, little demon!’ Sasquatch exclaims. ‘You can’t fight me if you’re not here!’ Nightcrawler replies - before teleporting off Sasquatch’s right arm. ‘My arm!’ gasps Rahne, horrified. Kurt is shocked, ‘Oh, God, I didn’t know I could…I’m so sorry, I’m -’ he mutters, seemingly genuine, but he is interrupted by Vindicator who blasts him in the back. ‘I can smell the Banshee on your breath. You irresponsible brats! Like children who broke into their daddy’s liquor cabinet!’ Vindicator snaps.
Suddenly though, Rogue approaches Vindicator from behind and places her fingers on his face, exclaiming that when her daddy got drunk, he liked to touch her. ‘One day he touched me and I took away his life. What am I gonna take from you?’ she exclaims. Vindicator is horror-stricken, but after a moment, so is Rogue. Wide-eyed, she gasps ‘You? No…that’s impossible. You can’t be…’ Realizing Rogue is now vulnerable, Vindicator frees himself from her clasp, and blasts her with his powers, ‘You know my secret. You’re dead. You’re &%#ing dead!’ he shouts as his powers force Rogue up against a wall. ‘He’s crushing me!’ Rogue cries out.
Cyclops unleashes his optic blast on Vindicator, but it doesn’t appear to have any effect, so Scott calls out to Peter for help, ‘He’s gonna kill her!’ Scott exclaims. But Peter is busy pummeling Sunfire, ‘Where is he? Where? Tell me and I wont snap your neck!’ Colossus threatens Sunfire. ‘Science lab. North end of the building!’ Sunfire instantly replies.
Vindicator manages to smash Cyclops in the face, and Colossus rushes past him, heading for the science lab, despite Scott telling him not to, ‘Don’t leave us!’ he exclaims. ‘I don’t have the power…I faked the first injection!’ Scott reveals. Scott looks at the injector, loaded with Banshee, ‘I can’t…I…’ he mutters, until he looks around, his team is in distress - Vindicator continues to pour the power on Rogue, while Shaman smashes Angel to the floor, and Aurora gains the upper hand on Dazzler. Scott grimaces as he shoves the injector to his neck, and pumps himself full of Banshee. ‘Oh God! The pain. The pain’s…oh God…it’s…it’s…gone?’
(In Scott’s mind / flashback takes place before Ultimate X-Men #1)
Scott turns around and sees a short-haired Marvel Girl, pushing Xavier in a wheelchair. He calls out to them, and asks them where they are going. Following them into a room, he realizes that it is the Whaleys’ living room, and that he is watching the past: ‘My foster parents. This is the day…’ his voice trails off. Jean frowns, ‘It smells like…those stains? Are they -? Oh God. I’m gonna puke’ Jean exclaims. Xavier tells Marvel Girl to hold it together, as this boy needs their help. ‘Isn’t that right, Scott?’ Xavier calls out.
Hiding in a room, Scott, with packing tape stuck over his eyes, shouts ‘I don’t know who you are. Or how you know me. But, you better leave. Bad things happen here!’. Holding up a pair of ruby quartz glasses, Xavier assures Scott that everything is going to be fine. ‘Nothing’s fine! Scott exclaims as he rushes past, declaring that he killed Noah and Janelle. ‘I opened my eyes and…. I’ve been in the dark. Weeks? Months? I don’t know…’.
Jean assures Scott that it is going to be all right, and introduces herself. Taking the glasses from Xavier, she moves closer to Scott, ‘You…you don’t even know me!’ Scott exclaims. ‘You and me, we’re gonna be real good friends. And friends look out for each other. Right? Now, here - try these on. Open your eyes’. Jean tells Scott as she peels the tape from his eyes. Scott keeps his eyes closed, but places the glasses on, and asks how long he is going to have to wear them for. ‘Until the day you can learn to control your power’ Xavier replies.
(Present / Reality)
Cyclops screams, and his visor shatters, as his eyes glow red - but the optic power doesn’t pour out. ‘It’s over! It’s finally over!’ he exclaims, grinning wildly. ‘I can feel it!’ he exclaims as he blasts Shaman, freeing Angel.
‘Jean-Paul!’ shouts Colossus as he searches for his boyfriend in the science lab.
‘It’s what I was meant to be!’ Cyclops exclaims as he punches Vindicator in the face.
‘Northstar?’ gasps Colossus as he finds Jean-Paul, his face like a ghost, strung up to some table, wires attached to him.
‘Powerful!’ Cyclops shouts as he smashes Vindicator in the face once more.
Colossus frees Northstar, who begins to shake violently, ‘So cold…can’t stop shaking!’ Jean-Paul whispers. Concerned, Peter explains that it is the Banshee, and that Jean-Paul is overdosing on it. ‘You have to fight against it!’ he exclaims. ‘Can’t stop shaking…I cant stop!’ Jean-Paul replies.
Back in the rec room, ‘What now? An earthquake?’ Rogue asks, motioning to the walls cracking. Cyclops replies that it is Northstar. ‘I can hear him’ he remarks.
Colossus looks extremely worried now as he holds Jean-Paul in his arms, ‘Can’t…can’t stop shaking…’ Northstar gasps over and over.
Cyclops seemingly flies to the science lab, his optic blast trailing behind him, where Jean-Paul continues to shake violently in Colossus’ arms, and Colossus begins to cry, tears stream down his checks. ‘Peter? Is Northstar…?’ Cyclops asks - only to find Northstar lying in Colossus’ arms, blood dripping from his noise, his eyes white. ‘He wouldn’t stop shaking…he wouldn’t stop…he wouldn’t…’ Colossus whispers….