Emma Frost opens her eyes. She wakes up on the floor of a thoroughly bare and dazzlingly white room. The wall opposite her is adorned with white squares of various sizes. Among a sea of white ones, a single black square stands out. Curious, Emma stands up and examines it. Unable to resist to the temptation, she touches the black square with her index finger… and suddenly blank ink pours out from the square and stains her finger. The ink begins dripping down from the square and quickly fills up the room. As the liquid envelops her, a terrified Emma screams Scott’s name.
A screaming Emma wakes up from her nightmare. Beside her is Cyclops. Not fully awoken by her shriek, a half-asleep Scott wearily mumbles if she said something. Emma reassures him she’s fine and urges him to go back to sleep. There’s nothing wrong, she mutters, although she doesn’t seem to believe it, still reeling from the shock of her dream.
“Here she is, boys. Right on schedule,” one of the Russian thugs announces to his companions, using his flashlight to highlight a particular cargo container at the Oakland dock. One of his colleagues asks him if that’s the right one. “Who cares?” the other man retorts. If he’s wrong, they’ll just keep opening until they find the right one.
Colossus is also part of that group of men. Piotr urges himself to keep it together, just a little while longer. After they get the container open, he will bring them down. He deduces that contained within the cargo container are drugs or maybe guns – or stolen goods, he doesn’t know. He resolves to see what they’re talking about, bring the bad guys down and then call the police and save the day…
“Bozhe moi…!” Piotr suddenly utters his trademark cry of surprise as one of the men opens the container’s doors and he finally sees what was transported within: a group of frightened women. One of the women appeals to the thugs: one of her companions, a woman called Sasha, is very sick… and they all need water…
“My God,” Piotr exclaims in shock and disbelief. Amused, one of the thugs notices that the ‘hick’ is freaked out. Another of the criminals urges Peter to lighten up: these whores aren’t even worth the money it cost to smuggle them in. He stresses they’re trash… human garbage… Enraged, Piotr advises him to shut his mouth – or he’ll break his damn jaw. Turning into his steel form, a berserk Colossus changes his mind: “You know what? To hell with it. I’m going to break your jaw anyway.” He immediately carries his threat into effect and then grabs the other two thugs and smashes their heads together. He then turns his attention to the women. With a smile, he welcomes them to America and announces they’re all free.
Marin County – Graymalkin Industries
Cyclops has called together an urgent meeting of the X-Men. First and foremost, he asks them not to freak out. He presents them with what they know: Trask leaked the Cooperstown massacre footage. Emma adds they’re still working on how he acquired it. Cyclops reveals that Trask’s pushing anti-mutant legislation in a few states. They’re working on getting specifics. For now, though, the mayor’s assured Scott they have nothing to worry about here.
“For now,” Emma stresses in a lower voice, sipping her coffee. Scott retorts they have no reason to think she’s lying. She wants the mutants that have come here to feel safe. He encourages everyone to just be calm and carry on, keep cool and quiet. No fights; no showboating; no property damage; just stay quiet. He’s not saying this will blow over but they can’t afford any big spectacles or pyrotechnics…
An upset Pixie suddenly bursts into the room and tells Cyclops and White Queen that they’ve got to come and see this – out at the front gates. The X-Men quickly reach the front gates, where Pixie points them at a large crowd of people amassed outside. Emma mind-scans them and informs Scott these people are scared – and not of them… Ignoring her, Cyclops nervously informs the crowd that this is private property and asks them how he can help them.
A Muslim man takes the floor and reminds him that the X-Men say they’re protecting their people: mutants. Or former mutants. Their daughter used to glow before M-Day and now… The neighbors burned an effigy. Then they burned down their house… chased them… The other mutants mumble about their own ordeals: “We were jumped… Threats in the mailbox…”
Emma telepathically tells Scott that they all have similar stories, similar fears. They’ve all been persecuted. Scott wonders what they want. Emma insists he lets them in. Indeed, they open the gates to welcome the mutants seeking refuge. Wolverine, however, reminds Cyclops they aren’t geared up to take on refugees. Scott suggests they better get geared up. Their doors are open to any mutant, past or present, who seeks sanctuary.
Later in the night, various reporters from all around the globe have camped outside the Graymalkin Industries. A woman reports on TV that a flood of what can only be described as refugees have been arriving here in Marin all day, and now, all night. One and all, either mutants, former mutants, or the families of mutants, arriving independently. And one and all, welcomed by the X-Men, in the wake of anti-mutant hate crimes all across the country, although at this late hour the arrivals have slowed down considerably.
Suddenly, the reporter sees a new group arriving at that very moment together with a metal man… Colossus! Excited to recognize him, the reporter informs the viewers that’s Colossus, an X-Man. As Colossus approaches the front gates, the reporters bombard him with all sorts of questions: in Spanish (“refugiados del mutante?”), in French (“prostituees?”), in English (“are the X-Men actively bringing mutants to the Graymalkin facility?”) and in Japanese. “No comment. Excuse us, please,” Colossus spurns them and tells the women he escorts to stay close: they’re home.
Watching Colossus’ entrance through a monitor in the base, Emma calls Cyclops. The X-Men yet again rush to the front gates. Scott asks Peter where these women came from. Colossus explains they came from Russia, smuggled in like cattle on a boat, to be slave labor or prostitutes or worse. “By whom?” Scott wonders. Colossus assures him he’ll take care of that. He wants Cyclops to take care of them.
Japan – Kunashir Island
Beast, Archangel, Dr. Nemesis and Madison Jeffries walk along the coast of a rocky island. “Almost there,” Beast informs his party. “Good,” Nemesis exclaims in relief. He’d been wondering silently this whole time where exactly he’d be murdering them all. It’s nice to finally know what this place looks like. “My word, but you’re tiresome,” Hank sighs. He informs his companions that for almost thirty years this has been the residence of Dr. Yuriko Takiguchi.
Madison suddenly senses there’re things here – machines. Using his mutant power of telekinetically manipulating metal, he brings forth a device buried deep in the sand. Madison explains it’s a motion sensor and a Geiger counter – kind of. It’s broadcasting to somewhere. He can follow the signal if they like. Mockingly addressing him as ‘genius,’ Nemesis points him at a bunker upshore. He realizes the man controlling the machines is there and now he’ll know they’re here. Madison retorts that the machine is sending relay signals to the holding pens.
“The what pens?” Warren exclaims. Holding pens, Madison repeats. He explains this is the security detail. Indeed, several creatures, vaguely reminiscent of king-sized crabs, suddenly emerge from the sand, assigned with the task of slaying the intruders. Archangel asks Beast if he told Takiguchi they were coming. Hank replies that no, technically he didn’t, because Takiguchi is rather alleged to be dead. His intelligence suggested otherwise. “Ha. Intelligence,” Nemesis scoffs. He sarcastically encourages Hank to write down the date and time he claimed to have intelligence. He expects it’ll be the last entry in his diary before the one where he’s eaten by giant crabs.
Seeing Nemesis ready to shoot at the creatures, Beast urges him to save one if he can; he’d like to study it. “Shut up, you horrible prancing housecat,” Nemesis grunts and opens fire against one of the monsters. The creature falls dead, just as Archangel grabs another of them and tosses it from high above. Beast slays the creature with his bare hands, while realizing that what he does is an affront against science. Still, he honestly thinks these things are trying to kill them. Madison remarks that at least they’re not machines. He can’t squish machines, he admits, while fiercely blasting one of the creatures.
Realizing that Nemesis is about to be attacked by one of the creatures, Archangel grabs him and flies upwards with him. Beast jumps on the creature that assaulted Nemesis and begins fighting with it. “Oh my stars and garters!” he manages to utter while struggling with the beast. Jeffries intervenes and shoots at the monster, although he also accidentally gets Hank with his shot, injuring him lightly.
Hank realizes there are too many of them and suggests they get to cover and get inside the bunker. Warren finds this a good idea. There are clearly far more of those crabs than of them. The foursome quickly rushes into the bunker. “There! Safe,” Madison exclaims as he shuts the door behind them.
“Excuse me? Comrades?” a voice welcomes them in Russian. The four men encounter an elderly Japanese man, supported by a staff. The elder argues he will never renounce his country nor will he reveal the secrets of his research. They’ll do their masters in the Kremlin a great favor to simply execute him now. Ignoring the man’s words directly, Beast addresses him in Japanese, presuming he is Dr. Yuriko Takiguchi. He explains to his companions in English that this is the good doctor and he’s speaking Russian because he believes Russia has finally seized his little slice of land. The land and all the gear from S.H.I.E.L.D. he acquired when he ran their so-called Green Team.
Dr. Takiguchi admits it’s a pleasure to meet one so unique in appearance with such flawless Japanese. And yes, he continued his research into atomic mutation theory here that he began with the “Green Team” long after S.H.I.E.L.D. pulled their plug and he… lost his son. Beast offers both congratulations – Dr. Takiguchi’s English is as flawless – as well as condolences on the doctor’s loss. Takiguchi reassures him his son died a hero but still thanks Hank. However, he’s it a loss: if they’re not Russians, then who are they and why are they here? And how are they going to escape?
Warren explains they’re from the X-Men. He also tells Takiguchi that he knew some of his guys. He has worked with them; good people. He explains they came to recruit him for his mind but before they get into that… escape from what? Takiguchi reveals that those creatures they encountered were just the first wave. The way they came to his place, he really did assume they were Russians – so he initiated the self-destruct event. Archangel asks him whether he can shut it off or… Madison interjects that if it’s mechanical, maybe he can. Beast asks Takiguchi what ‘event’ means.
Takiguchi points them outside the windows and suggests they take a look for themselves – the one thing he thought for sure the Russians could not stop. As the party approaches the windows, Takiguchi reveals that he made it; he created it, right here in this lab. It seemed only right that its hatred be what finally consumed him.
Rising from the sea is a reptilian monster of unimaginably titanic proportions. Livid with anger, the lizard-like behemoth begins to growl. Beast and his party are left speechless, with the notable exception of Doctor Nemesis who spontaneously blurts out “You’ve got to be @#$&*!% kidding me!”
In the infirmary, the X-Men are tending to the refugees. Cyclops approaches Colossus and tells him they need to talk. Half of the news media of the western world just filmed him bringing these women through the front door. Who are they? Where did these girls come from? Colossus replies they came from Russia. He assures him he’s taking care of it. Cyclops retorts there are legal issues. Immigration and their medical needs… Piotr has to tell him how he found them.
Piotr recalls how Scott told him to go hit things. He told Piotr he needed him back. He explains to Cyclops that these girls – they were mutants once, like them. And they were brought here by a wicked man. For labor. For slavery. For prostitution, he doesn’t know. He found people that needed help. Their help. He makes no apologies. Scott retorts that he wouldn’t ask him to. He’s done nothing to apologize for. He urges Peter to bring help if he needs it – and keep it quiet. Before he leaves the room, he tells Piotr that it’s nice to have him back with them.
As Colossus is about to leave the facility, Emma appears behind him and informs him she’d like to come with him. Colossus hopes she’ll forgive him for saying this but he doesn’t think this kind of thing was her style. Turning into her diamond form, Emma admits she does tend rather tend towards the cerebral but… Colossus has dug up the absolute scum on the Earth and she expects stomping them might be… therapeutic.
The Richmond District
In a basement, the tattooed mutant rages, while his minions watch him. The man admits he forgot Piotr. He didn’t recognize him when he came here. The accent – he should’ve known, should’ve recognized. No matter – his father was a punk. He’s a little punk, too. Besides, he’s sure Piotr’s coming. One of his men suggests they leave – run.
“Bah! Run? Like hell, you child,” the tattooed man retorts. He runs from no one. Especially a brat from the old country. At his age he’d never stop. And they would come, one after the next, each one younger and hungrier than the last. They would take away what he has taken a lifetime to steal. “Armor-piercing rounds, gentlemen,” he tells his men and orders them to load up and aim for the eyes. Surely they’re Piotr’s softest parts, he deduces.
Suddenly, a car, spiraling out control, crashes into the room. “Boss, look out…” one of his men screams. As the dust settles down, the tattooed man lays eyes on the perpetrator and exclaims, “Ah. Of course. The hick”. Before him tower Colossus and Emma Frost. “You monster. I brought a friend who wanted to meet you,” Colossus snaps.