Paige Guthrie wakes up in a darkened room with a stiff neck. She’s wrapped up in a blanket and finds it odd that the Phalanx would go to the trouble to kidnap her, but also provide her with a blanket. She pulls at the “blanket” and realizes that it is actually the distended skin of a fellow mutant!
This doesn’t shock Paige at all. She has seen a lot as the sister of Cannonball, who’s always been a constant member on of one of the X-teams. She greets the young man, Angelo. He replies in Spanish welcoming her to hell. A burly blonde man named Gregor admonishes Angelo for his vulgar language. He tells Angelo things are bad enough without him being so negative. Angelo tells Gregor he’s only being realistic. Whatever reason they were kidnapped and brought there, it can’t be good, Angelo points out.
While Monet peels at the circuitry-laden garments each mutant is enveloped in, Paige checks the inner walls of their prison. She informs the rest of the prisoners that their kidnappers are called the Phalanx. She tells them that the Phalanx hate mutants, which she is and assumes everyone else is too. She tells the group not to panic, though, as she plans on finding a way out and contacting the X-Men for help.
Paige’s optimism falls on deaf ears in Angelo’s case. He sarcastically asks her if she really thought they were just sitting around doing nothing, waiting for her to show up to rescue them. He tells Paige they’ve tried everything and there’s no way they’re getting out. This angers Paige and she explains she was only trying to help.
With a big goofy grin Gregor attempts to calm them down reasoning that if they work together they could all be out by dinnertime. Paige asks Angelo if Gregor is always so weird. Angelo replies that he’s been that way the whole time.
Clarice, who is being comforted by Gregor at the moment, tells them it’s hopeless, that they’re all going to die. Tears come streaming down the young mutant’s face. Paige holds out her hand and introduces herself hoping to comfort her. She tells Clarice she has friends looking for her as they speak and that they will find her and when they do they will all be free. She asks Clarice to be strong until then. Clarice tells her she can try.
Angelo, still put off by her optimism, tells Paige that when the Phalanx come back to experiment on one of them again maybe she can bore them into submission. He suggests a chorus of “Kumbaya” might do the trick. Monet isn’t paying attention to any of this, though. She’s too busy fiddling with the circuitry she pulled off her techno-costume.
Clarice asks Paige if her friends will arrive before she disappears. Paige doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but follows the young girl’s eye line to her stomach. Somehow the transmode virus has infected Paige and it’s surrounding her belly. Paige is shocked to say the least and tells herself everything will be all right, that the X-Men will arrive before it’s too late. The expression on her face shows she worries though.
San Francisco, CA
Banshee carrying Emma, and Everett carrying Jubilee, begin their landing approach at the west coast offices of Frost Enterprises. As they come within reach of the Victorian townhouse built atop a skyscraper, the security systems lock on. Luckily, they identify Emma’s presence and do not vaporize the incoming mutants.
The group had been tracking Paige’s psychic imprint all the way from St. Louis. It wasn’t until they hit the California border that the signal went dead. They decided to stop by Frosts’ to get some much needed food and rest. Emma opens the door and invites everyone inside.
Banshee grabs her arm and warns her not to double-cross them in order to make a deal with the Phalanx. Emma is furious that Banshee would think such a thing and lets him have it. Banshee calmly agrees with her and then assumes she won’t mind if he blows up the dozen or so targeting devices that are trained on them. He fires off some sonic screams, destroying all of them. Emma folds her arms and blames her forgetfulness on the coma. Everett complains about his ears hurting. Jubilee tells him it will pass.
Next Generation Detentino Cell
Gregor and Clarice closely inspect Paige’s infected stomach. Gregor postulates that the Phalanx have actually been able to infect her, something they’ve been trying to do with the rest of them. Clarice asks her what will happen to her. Paige says she’s unsure, but it looks like she’ll be the first... Angelo cuts her off and grabs her by the shoulders. He tells her she’s right and that there must be a way out and that they must keep trying. Paige asks him why his attitude has changed. Angelo tells her that just because he’s negative all the time, doesn’t mean he has lost hope.
An opening into the chamber appears. Harvest stands before the surprised mutants. Hearing Angelo’s comment about “hope” he tells them that he once had hope when he was a human being. He tells them how he left his wife and children to join the Phalanx to rid the world of mutants and make it a better place. Now, Harvest tells them, his goal is to rid the world of all organic life.
Clarice can’t stand to hear anymore of Harvest’s hate and uses her power against another living being for only the second time in her life. After the first time, she awoke a few hours later in a pool of blood and vowed never to do so again. Times change. Harvest’s body is suddenly segmented into various components and rearranged in various places. Gregor grabs hold of Clarice and pulls her back, claiming Harvest will get her. Despite Clarice’s pleas for him to let her go he won’t. With Blink occupied, the opening into the chamber begins to close, allowing Harvest to regain his composure and escape.
Gregor apologizes her enabling Harvest to get away. Paige tells him not to worry, as they’re all new to this. Besides, Angelo points out, it was very educational. Clarice asks him what he means. Angelo explains that they now know that they can still use their powers.
Jubilee and Everett are hanging out on the Golden Gate Bridge amidst some heavy rain. Everett tries to make some small talk, but Jubilee is in no mood. Everett asks her if she wants to be left alone. Jubilee, head sunk in her arms on the guardrail, confides in Everett that hanging out with the X-Men used to be fun, but now she hates it. She likes all of her teammates, even Iceman, but she feels so useless. Everett believes she can be pretty impressive in battle. With a wave of her arm, Jubilee lets of some colorful explosions. She tells Everett she’s just a firecracker, or even worse a sparkler when compared to other X-Men. She admits she’s in need of some serious training.
Everett thinks about it and agrees with Jubilee that she has a pretty lame power. Jubes gives him “the look” and Everett quickly changes the subject to the status of Banshee and the White Queen.
About a half-mile away, at a S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house, the crack team consisting of Banshee and the White Queen attempt a break-in. Two agents enter the safe house for the shift change and Sean and Emma walk in right behind them; Emma using her powers to psionically mask them with Banshee using his scream to disrupt their physical readings. One of the agents asks Agent Santora, who’s been on duty, if there is anything to report. Santora rhetorically asks if there’s ever anything to report.
Next Generation Detention Cell
Gregor tries convincing the rest of the crew to stay put and wait for a rescue by the X-Men. Nobody’s buying it, though, especially Monet who speaks for the first time ever. Everyone’s shocked to say the least.
Monet tells them their first priority should be to escape from this prison. She adds the finishing piece to the techno-organic machination she was working with earlier. Gregor disagrees and tells her they’re trapped “pretty darn good” and that the Phalanx are monitoring their movements.
Monet agrees, but points out that their outfits composed of the techno-organics helped them do so. She shoves the device she created into a nearby light fixture, charging up the mechanism and creating a powerful backlash that envelops Gregor. He screams out as his true form is revealed, that of the Phalanx.
Gregor demands to know how she figured it out and then suddenly starts speaking in binary. The rest of the crew watch in stunned disgust as their former prison mate is fried. Angelo asks Monet the same thing, how did she know Gregor was of the Phalanx? She cockily tells him there are few things she doesn’t know.
Several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents discuss a possible upcoming transfer, as Sean and Emma break into their computer system. Emma spots some low level techno-organic activity using the computer’s monitoring system and assumes that’s where the kids are being held. Sean tells her, mentally of course, that it’s enough to point him in the right direction for the children. Emma puts her hand on his arm and reminds him they’re teammates on this one.
A gun is cocked and pressed up against the side of Emma’s face. The triggerman tells her not to move. Banshee looks up from the computer to see S.H.I.E.L.D. agents surround them. He asks them if they’ll at least listen to why they’re there. They respond by cocking their weapons as well and training them on him and Emma. Banshee then asks how they were able to detect them. One of the agents explains that the puddles they were leaving behind weren’t covered up by their illusion.
Another agent tells them they’re under arrest for trespassing on government property. Emma, ever so courteous, explains that she will fry all of their brains in order to get out with the information they needed. Banshee, quick on his feet, lets loose with a powerful sonic scream, sending the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents every which way. He apologizes, but tells them it was the better of the two options. Joining Emma back at the computer console, she assures him she was only bluffing.
Next Generation Detention Cell
Monet explains she was tipped off by Gregor’s use of antiquated colloquialisms as to him being a Phalanx plant from Harvest to monitor them. She also explains through some technical jargon that “Gregor’s” comm-link should be fused from the overload she caused making it seem as though everything is still normal. Which, she adds, is important because they will be escaping. She asks the others if they have any questions.
Angelo is dumbstruck, but Paige wants to know how they’re getting out of there. Monet explains that they will be able to break free from the room, but there are no guarantees after that. Monet faces part of the wall and asks for a moment to concentrate. Clarice points out that Harvest came in through the other wall. Monet pulls back with her right arm and tells her that’s why they’re going out this way. She punches through the wall, which leads right to the outside world.
Angelo and Clarice are the first out. Angelo asks Monet why she didn’t do that earlier. She replies that there were two reasons, and if she has time she’ll explain them later. Angelo takes the hint and thanks her.
Monet turns to head out, when Paige calls out to her. She tells Monet to keep an eye on them. Monet turns around and finds Paige crouched over on the ground. Monet asks if it’s the T-O virus. Paige says it is and very weakly tells her it feels like her guts are on fire. She urges Monet to leave her behind, that she’ll only slow them down. Monet agrees with her logic, but picks her up and tosses her out the escape hole nonetheless.
With the four of them now free of their prison, they assess the situation. Clarice points out that there is no sign of the Phalanx. Monet explains that when your enemy can assimilate the matter around them and replicate over and over again, that they are in fact surrounded.