(a few hours ago)
An announcer apologizes for the delay in their train arriving late in New York City. On board, Magneto, wearing a long dark coat and a fedora which covers his very recognizable face, listens intently as a passenger receives an internet news report. It’s from Ann Standish and she informs her viewers that a train was struck down by what is believed to be a mutant terrorist attack. The 42nd Street terminal has been cordoned off and she is waiting for a statement from the police department.
Storm, Caliban, Warpath, Hepzibah and Skids are in the tunnels underneath New York City. Ororo is relieved that Skids managed to stop the fight. At least the O*N*E still listens to S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Sally replies that it’s a big case. She couldn’t have those idiots blowing it any worse that she already has. She explains that it started on M-Day, when most of the Morlocks lost their powers. The Morlocks were already outcasts, barely scraping by. Powers were all most of them had.
She asks Ororo how her claustrophobia is. Storm reckons she’ll be fine, and she’s no stranger to losing her powers herself. But, to form a cult? Sally thinks something had to hold them together. Their whole society was collapsing and they had nowhere else to go. So, they started looking for miracles and luckily for them, they found one. Sally asks Caliban if he remembers Qwerty. He does indeed recall her.
Storm asks who Qwerty is. Sally informs her that Qwerty had a miserable life - even for a Morlock. She never moved or spoke or made a decision. Her power wouldn’t let her. She not only saw exactly how every choice would work out, but she saw how all the options of every other choice would work out… the long-term consequences of something as simple as flipping a light switch on or leaving it off. It got to where she couldn’t make a decision because all she could see were the consequences. Eventually she froze. The Morlocks fed and clothed her, but she was pretty useless.
One morning, she saw M-Day coming and saw her powers vanishing. She saw the world changing before her and finally decided to do something. She scribbled her book on the walls of the tunnels by candlelight.
(on board the Blackbird)
Ororo asks Professor Xavier if he’s getting all this. Using his telepathy to establish contact with her, he admits to her that he had no idea that Qwerty existed. The Morlocks are full of surprises, he remarks. He realizes that their search for Erik Lensherr will have to wait until they’ve sorted out this problem. He asks Ororo to try and contain things there and he will be along as soon as possible. Nightcrawler, who is piloting the plane, asks how bad it is. Charles admits it’s more complicated than they realized. It appears that the Morlocks have broken into factions, and Skids has been spying on both of them for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Elsewhere in the tunnels, Warpath and Hepzibah are on the trail of Masque’s crew, and James knows that they’ve been through the tunnel they are in. Hepzibah wants to find them and show them true punishment, but James replies that they can’t do that, even though he’d love to. Hepzibah reminds him that they have killed, tortured and made people into monsters. They deserve bad things. James knows that, but they’re not supposed to be the ones who do bad things.
Hepzibah lowers her eyes and struggles to verbalize what she is thinking. She finally spits it out. She tells James that she did not expect instinct. Her people burrow and nest. Being down there with him has triggered her instincts. The pair of them embrace and she asks if he has instincts, too. James replies that he does, but they really shouldn’t get into it right now. As they look into each other’s eyes, the wall next to them explodes and Warpath pushes Hepzibah to safety.
Through the hole in the wall come Masque, Bliss and Erg, with Leech following closely behind. Masque tells Warpath that he may be a hunter where he comes from but, on their territory, they have edge he doesn’t even know. Hepzibah leaps into action, punching Erg, and only avoids being zapped by Erg due to Warpath’s timely save. They flee down the tunnels, and Masque doesn’t bother to give chase. He reckons that the fight’s already written in stone, and they win.
As they escape, Hepzibah asks James why they are running. They are stronger than them. James replies that the Morlocks may be physically weaker than them, but they’re still dangerous up close. They have to go at them smart, not just tough. He tells her that the one she hit, Erg, soaks up energy, including kinetic energy. When he gets punched his power increases. He figures they have Leech in some kind of dampener, or they wouldn’t be able to use their powers around him at all. Maybe that’s something they can use.
As Skids takes the team to the other set of Morlocks, Storm asks if the book that Qwerty wrote is their religious text. Skids reckons that it’s more like a map to possibilities. She’s read it a few times since she went undercover with them, and it makes no real sense to her. She says the place has to be seen to be believed. Her advice is to let it sink in for a few moments.
They arrive in a cavern lit be candles. The place resembles a church, with several cloaked figures kneeling before the candles and with a woman, Delphi, standing halfway up a staircase with an open book. She greets Ororo by name, and welcomes her to Lindisfarne: sanctuary of the new dream. She is right on time, as expected. Ororo doesn’t understand what’s going on, but Sally explains that it’s nothing to do with her. If they knew she was coming, they knew it weeks ago.
Delphi informs them that they are pacifists. Even if they weren’t, most of them have no powers. Nobody wishes to fight her. Skids introduces her to Ororo, saying that she was Qwerty’s friend. Delphi informs her that she found Qwerty’s body in the days after everything changed. She died writing the final words that she transcribed. In death, she became an angel of hope, for all mutants, for in those dark hours she saw a mutant future bright beyond belief. She adds that Ororo is there because she was always there, in this instant.
Ororo asks her not to preach to her of fate. Delphi replies that choices are stones thrown into a vast ocean. They see the ripples they case. Qwerty saw the ocean. She gave her life to write the words contained in the book.
Warpath tells Hepzibah to go for Leech if he’s open and get the collar off him. With their powers shut down, they’ll be easy prey. She should drop Masque first, but shouldn’t allow him to touch her. He likes her face the way it is. As they approach the end of their tunnel, Masque’s crew is waiting for them several meters below. Erg asks if Masque is sure this is the place. Maybe they should have hunted them down while they had the chance - before they got reinforcements. Masque asks him to wait.
Warpath and Hepzibah drop through the hole and Masque points to them. Warpath manages to pin Erg to the wall with one of his knifes, and Hepzibah moves in lightning fast on Bliss, kicking her in the face. Masque grabs Leech and pulls him into an opening in the wall, so Warpath quickly takes out Litterbug and heads off in hot pursuit. He catches up with them in the darkness and collides with Masque. Both he and Leech are sent sprawling. James then sees Leech hiding behind some masonry and approaches him. As he gets within reach, Leech grabs him around the neck “We ain’t goin’ anywhere, Injun Joe,” he gloats. Leech then appears behind them wearing Masque’s cloak and he tells Warpath that it isn’t him. “Oh $#@%,” cries James as he realizes he’s been caught.
Masque runs his fingers across Warpath’s face and begins to mould his skin, removing his mouth and nose so he is unable to breathe. “You were too pretty, anyway,” he snarls. Hepzibah arrives and leaps at Masque, but Bliss comes up behind her and bites her on the neck. Hepzibah blacks out and Bliss acknowledges Masque’s tactical skills. Everything went just as predicted. Masque changes his face back into his own, and replies that it wasn’t a prediction. The prophet mapped out the whole damn future of the mutant race for them. All they’re doing is making it happen, step by step. That’s why Warpath never had a change. They’ve got themselves an owner’s manual.
He kicks James in the ribs and tells him that people like the X-Men and Delphi’s faction can think their good thoughts and talk peace until they’re blue in the face. But, wishing ain’t doing. Bliss begs Masque to let up on Warpath, but he warns her to remember who’s in charge. However, she is right. This isn’t how the book says it goes. This isn’t their time to die. Not yet. They still have the next phase of the prophecy to bring about for Delphi and the rest. He changes Warpath’s features back to how they were before he messed with them, as Erg pulls at the knife trapping him against the wall. Masque asks Bliss to give Warpath and Hepzibah a dose to keep them down. He’ll go set off the bombs. Leech looks on helplessly.
Ororo asks why the people around her are watching her. Delphi informs her that they have seen the world brought to life with her arrival. Now they await what comes next. Ororo thinks they put too much stock in fate. The book is incoherent. Flipping through the book, she reckons it contradicts itself on every page. Delphi replies that it’s complex. Qwerty set down her visions as they came to her… not so they could be understood by others. If Ororo knew Qwerty’s burden, how her powers worked, she would know coherence was never easy for her.
Ororo asks what happened. Why did Masque and the others break away from her faith? Delphi says they had different ideas about what it written. Still, she adds, Masque has served some function. Ororo is there, after all, and that is Masque’s doing. Ororo wonders how she’s suppose to fit into all of this.
Delphi informs her that she’s the witness. She’s the witness that they saw a brighter world ahead and that they waited peacefully until the end. “The end?” exclaims Skids. Ororo asks her what she’s talking about. Delphi says that she is truly sorry, but what must come… must come. Explosions are heard overhead and the ceiling begins to fall in on them. Ororo screams as Caliban grabs hold of Skids.
High in the sky, lightning forks violently, all around the blackbird. Charles knows that it’s Storm. Something has gone wrong. He can’t enter her mind. It’s not been like this since he’s known her. It just went white. He can’t get in. All he hears in screaming.
In the tunnels, a small spark of electricity lights up Ororo’s terrified face. The power fades, and all is darkness.
It’s June 29th, and Beast arrives in District X with Bishop who spent a lot of time here recently. It used to be a thriving mutant community, but now it’s just a ghetto. Bishop doesn’t get back here much as his work with the government keeps him occupied. Hank asks if his contacts are still good. Bishop assures him that one of the few things one can count on in the neighborhood is Charlie Hustle.
He knocks on Charlie’s door and he opens it, telling Bishop that he’s late. Before they can enter, one of Charlie’s customers appears, wanting to get straight. Charlie reminds him that there is nothing to sell him, but he’s working on it. Bishop says it’s not like him to turn down customers. Isn’t he afraid Garrett will go to the competition? Charlie replies that there aren’t any competitors anymore. Bishop strong-arms Charlie, believing this to imply that he’s done away with them. He reminds Charlie that he offered him immunity against his better judgement because he said he could help them. However, that was immunity for dealing, not murder.
Charlie asks him to relax. This was what history books call a bloodless coup. The other dealers moved on to greener pastures. You can’t sell what you don’t have. Bishop asks if he’s saying he has cornered the market on Mutant Growth Hormone. “Hah. Yea. Right,” replies Charlie. “Welcome to my monopoly.” He opens the door to reveal shelves stacked high with sample bottles.
Hank is amazed. He gives no thought to whom the samples come from or what may have reduced them to selling their bodies, or how the drug eventually burned out of the systems of the humans foolish enough to use it. None of it matters. He has his precious data.
“These vials,” he asks. “They contain mutant DNA?” Charlie says that’s the thing. They’ve all got DNA samples that came from mutants. You bought a dose, you got the power for a while and felt the ultimate rush. That was until M-Day, when all the mutants lost their mojo. The MGH followed suit. Hank looks at a bottle and asks if it means that the samples suddenly became inert. Charlie confirms that it does. He has a client who works in a forensics lab. He said there is no trace of mutant DNA in any of the samples. Luckily, he had a stash from Whirlwind. He kept his powers, so he auctioned those off for top dollar. But, now all his samples are bupkes. In the space of a heartbeat, Hank’s dreams fall flat. Charlie turns and gives Hank a strange look. “Unless…”
He offers to buy Hank’s blood for fifty grand a pint, Bishop’s even. They can name their price. Clients are desperate but, if they go hungry much longer, they’ll learn to survive without it. If they play this right, they could all be filthy rich. As he smiles broadly, Hank flips out. He grabs Charlie by the throat and defenestrates him, holding him at arms length high above the sidewalk below.
Charlie asks Bishop to help him. He’s a cop isn’t he? Bishop turns away and replies that he’s a fed, and this isn’t his beat anymore. Hank’s frustrations at losing another lead and at Charlie trying to drag him into the gutter get the better of him. He looks at Charlie’s petrified face as thoughts race through his mind. It isn’t Charlie dangling over the abyss. It’s him. He pulls Charlie back inside and hurls him across the room. Bishop says he is sorry that Hank didn’t find what he was looking for. Hank admits that this was his last hope. He’s hit a dead end.
He notices that Bishop doesn’t seem particularly bothered by the extinction of the mutant race. Bishop replies that it’s because he doesn’t believe it will happen. He’s from the future. There were plenty of mutants where he came from. Hank reminds him that he’s from an alternate future. ”Like Cable or Marvel Girl, your very presence here makes it unlikely that it will ever… wait. That could be it.”