Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - the location of the first light. Inside a darkened apartment room, a young woman clutches at her hair and kneels before a board with photos on it. ‘Oh God oh God oh God - what’s happening to me what’s happening -’ she exclaims, before pulling clumps of hair from her head. ‘No no no’ she exclaims before falling to the floor, asking why this is happening to her. ‘Why now? What did I do?’ she asks, before beginning to cry. She screams ‘What is happening to me?’
Outside, on a nearby apartment rooftop, Bobby “Iceman” Drake tells Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel that he cannot listen to this anymore. With high-tech equipment at their disposal to listen to the young woman, Angel remarks that this cannot be all there is. He contacts Cyclops, telling him nothing has changed with the girl in Vancouver, explaining that she is still holed up in her studio and having a nervous breakdown, and is screaming to a God that cannot hear her, and feels nothing but benign and indifference towards her sorrows. ‘This is the face of the next wave of mutantkind’ Angel declares.
At that moment, on Utopia, home of the X-Men, inside the command center, Scott “Cyclops” Summers sits before a holographic projection of planet. He notices someone enter the center and waves to them: ‘Well, good morning to you too, sunshine’ Scott remarks, while Angel asks him ‘Is this it, Scott?’ Cyclops replies that he doesn’t know, telling Warren that the other squads around the world are all reporting the same thing about the Five Lights. ‘Nothing resembling powers. Nothing resembling…anything…’ he adds. ‘Skin changes, fevers, flu symptoms…’ he points out, to which Angel asks ‘So what do we do?’
Cyclops tells Angel to keep watching and keep her safe until they figure out what is next. He adds that there is a bit of strangeness here, ’These “Lights” are different than we were’ Scott remarks, adding that Angel is watching a nineteen year old girl, while their x-gene activated much younger than that. ‘So why her? Why now?’ Scott asks, adding that whatever is going on with this girl, it is not how it used to be. ‘I don’t think mutant evolution is done evolving yet…’
‘Ahem’ a voice exclaims. ‘I’m read to go to Alaska now’ Hope Summers declares, a rather large pack on her back loaded up with all sorts of camping equipment. ‘You know we’ve already discovered Alaska, right? It’s got roads and restaurants…coffee, internet…everything’ Scott exclaims. ‘I’m a little over-prepared’ Hope remarks. ‘Yes’ Scott tells her. Hope drops the pack on the floor and walks towards Cyclops, telling him that is how they do it where she comes from. ‘When I come from’ she corrects herself. Scott tells Hope that it is okay to be a little wound-up, to which Hope replies ‘Good. Because I’m a little wound-up’.
‘Hope, I want this for you. Who you are, your roots - it’s a big deal. This quest you’re on? It’s good’ Cyclops declares. Hope replies that all her life she has been told these things - amazing things, crazy things. ‘And - what if everybody was wrong?’ she asks. Scott smiles and tells Hope that she is going to find her roots. ‘There’s nothing wrong that can possibly come of that’ he assures her, before announcing that Rogue, Doctor Nemesis and Cypher are waiting for her in the Blackbird. ‘Good luck’ Scott tells her. ‘Have a good journey, Hope Summers…we’ll be here when you get back’.
Soon, the Blackbird soars across the sky. ‘Next stop, Eielson AFB’ Hope remarks, before Doug “Cypher” Ramsey explains that “AFB” stands for ‘Air Force Base’. ‘Uh - okay’ Hope mutters. Rogue sits up the front of the jet, next to Dr James Bradley a.,k.a. Doctor Nemesis, who pilots the Blackbird.
Back down on Utopia, Emma Frost a.k.a. the White Queen assures Scott that Hope will be fine. ‘Yeah. It’s just - she just got here and away she goes again’ Scott replies. Emma tells him to be calm and carry on. ‘She’s a big girl. Try to keep yourself occupied’ Emma adds. Scott tells Emma that these Lights are everything. ‘Finding these five new mutants is the whole ball of wax, Em’, he declares, before announcing that he is off to Tokyo with Wolverine. Scott points out that ever since Nightcrawler’s death, things have been awful between him and Wolverine. ‘I hope a little time together keeping an eye on the Light there will help smooth things’ Scott explains. ‘My, what a rad bromance you both have’ Emma declares, before telling Scott that in his absence she is obliged to have dinner with a tremendously wealthy, powerful and handsome man of her acquaintance. ‘Tony Stark is coming to town with an Avengers Black Platinum Card burning a hole in his pocket…’
Later, ‘Emma, darling! You look smashing!’ Tony Stark declares as Emma descends a staircase towards him. ‘And you look like a movie star’ Emma tells Tony, who smiles: ‘What can I say, it’s good to be back’, as Emma kisses him on the cheek. Tony motions to their table, telling Emma that it is ready, and that he took the liberty of ordering the oysters and pearls. ‘Come on. Let’s go figure out which way we want to spin the world’.
Meanwhile, in Cooperstown, Alaska, Rogue, Cypher, Doctor Nemesis and Hope are in a vehicle. Rogue tells Hope that they are almost there, and asks her if she is nervous. Hope replies that she doesn’t know. ‘I don’t know what I am. I mean I suppose that’s why we’re here, isn’t it?’ she exclaims. With a laptop on his knee, Doug announces that he has made progress: ‘I have found your birth certificate’ he declares, revealing that Hope’s birth name is “Spalding”. ‘What? Where? Let me see it -’ Hope exclaims. ‘You cannot possibly be seeing it any more than you currently -’ Doug tells her. ‘No - oh no - my parents died!’ Hope exclaims.
Doug announces that he anticipated that, and as such, recovered the list of deceased, too. ‘Let me guess, kid - two hundred, two hundred-fifty names?’ Doctor Nemesis asks. ‘Two hundred sixty-six precisely. How were you able to - ah’. Doug begins. ‘Two-hundred and sixty-six people dead. All because I was born’ Hope muses. Rogue reaches back and tells Hope that being born doesn’t make her guilty of anything. ‘Innocent newborn babies ain’t done nothing’. Driving past a cemetery, Rogue assures Hope that these people died because warped, wicked, evil people murdered them. ‘This is what evil looks like. Not innocence’ Rogue declares.
Later, inside a motel room, Cypher announces that piecing together the events of that evening proves to be difficult. ‘Three human babies were born the night of the massacre. Two of the infants were…recovered’ he explains, before remarking that the birth certificate he obtained lists Hope as “Baby Spalding”, meaning she was otherwise nameless at the time of the attack. Cypher reveals that Hope’s mother’s name was Louise Spalding, while her father’s name is blank. ‘This may be a clerical error or indicative of a paternal lack at the moment of birth’.
Cypher reveals, from the information on the laptop, that Louise Spalding was also recovered, and is interred in the cemetery they passed earlier. ‘My condolences on the loss of your mother, Hope’ Cypher states. ‘Great job, kid. Next you want to fill her in on any pets that died?’ Doctor Nemesis mutters. Cypher replies that he has found no proof of any domesticated animals in any accounts of the attacks. ‘I could search if you wish’ he offers, before announcing that he has discovered the identity of Hope’s maternal grandmother. Turning the laptop around, revealing a photograph, Cypher announces that she lives near their present location. Hope looks at the photograph on the laptop, before announcing that she would like to visit her mother.
The next morning, Rogue, Doctor Nemesis and Cypher stand back as Hope stands over the grave of her mother. Holding a bouquet of purple flowers, she whispers ‘Hi’, before crouching down beside the grave marking: ‘I don’t -’ she begins, when suddenly, a voice calls out: ‘Excuse me? There must be a mistake - that’s my daughter’s gravestone you’ve put your flowers on’ the older woman smiles, holding out a bouquet of yellow flowers. ‘Is that -’ Rogue begins. ‘Yes’ Doctor Nemesis tells her. ‘Did you -’ Rogue asks. ‘I might have made a phone call’ Doctor Nemesis replies.
Hope leaps up: ‘How embarrassing! I’m sorry. I must’ve come to the wrong - uh - the wrong one’ she exclaims. The old woman tells Hope that there is nothing to apologize for, to which Hope asks if she can leave the flowers anyway. ‘I mean it seems a shame to move them’ she remarks. ‘You’re very kind, dear. But what about your -’ the old woman begins, to which Hope tells her that there will always be more flowers. The older woman smiles and remarks that it looks like Hope hasn’t eaten in a year. ‘You’re thin as a ghost!’
Meanwhile, back on Utopia, in the sick bay, Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin stands next to the containment cell where Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde is being held in stasis. Nearby, Madison Jeffries is repairing some machinery. ‘Ms Pryde, here’s what we know and what we don’t. What we think…what we guess…and what, quite frankly, baffles us about your condition’ Dr Kavita Rao announces. Holding an electronic note-book in her hands, Kavita points out that, in spite of the fact that she was gone so long, Kitty’s fingernails and hair growth were negligible. ‘Why?’ she asks. Kavita points out that Kitty didn’t eat, drink, relieve herself, or sleep for the entire time she was gone.
‘We can contain you,in spite of your phase-state with a low-grade electromagnetic field. So there’s some of you here and some of you…somewhere else’ Jeffries remarks. ‘How can she un-phase?’ Colossus asks. ‘How can we get Kitty back? Her…voice, her body…when does she get her life back?’ Kavita replies ‘Have you ever… say… squeezed something, for a long time? For whatever reason, flexed one group of muscles as hard as you can for as long as you could? Created an intense muscle memory in a short period of time?’ She explains that, to the best of their abilities, to analyze Shadowcat’s hard-to-analyze physiology, to stay phased as long and as hard as what she did, has had what appears to be an effect not unlike creating intense muscle memory. Kavita tells Kitty that she doesn’t remember how to un-phase. ‘Ms Pryde, your body has trapped itself in this state and until you remember how…you’re stuck in limbo’.
Back in Alaska, Hope sits down on her grandmother’s sofa as the elderly woman asks ‘Who did you come all the way out to this god-forsaken place to visit?’. ‘Uh - my Dad. Nathan. My Dad’ Hope replies. Hope’s grandmother tells her that she is sorry to hear that. ‘So hard on a girl, losing her father’ she remarks, before asking what he was like. ‘Strong. He was real strong’ Hope replies, bringing a cup of tea to her mouth. ‘What, uh - what about Louise?’ Hope asks. The old woman looks at a photograph nearby and replies ‘In a word, “difficult”. Ornery, you know? Awful lot of fire in that girl. She was a redhead like you. Turn bright red when she got mad, Lord…’.
Hope’s grandmother explains that Louise was a fire fighter, and that it suited her. ‘That just made the end all the worse. The whole town burning and…well, it was just a shame’. Hope asks if Louise was married or anything, to which her grandmother goes over to the photo and picks it up, replying that Louise had a few boyfriends, but wasn’t one for settling down with anyone for too terribly long. ‘A man would’ve just weighed her down. Thing about Louise was she…“Maybe I have other things to do”, she’d say, if you bugged her about it’ the older woman remarks, handing Hope the photograph.
Hope’s grandmother declares that Louise was a girl with good grades, a good brain in her head and looks - she could have done anything she wanted. ‘Could’ve gotten out of Alaska, anyway’ she adds, before explaining that Louise didn’t want to, as she wanted to run into burning buildings. ‘Louise believed she was here to save people. And nobody would keep her from her destiny’. Hope looks at the photo and begins to cry, before announcing that she is ready to go now.
Later, the Blackbird soars across a darkened sky, and inside Hope talks to Cyclops over video-conference. ‘Did you - did you know, Scott?’ Hope asks. ‘Bits and pieces. Most of it. I knew there wasn’t any danger or…are you mad?’ Cyclops replies. Hope tells him that she isn’t, and, as weird as it sounds, is happy. ‘If you had told me, I might never have come. Might never have met my grandmother or…thanks, Scott. Thanks for this’ Hope declares, while Scott smiles and tells Hope not to worry about it.
Inside another Blackbird, Cyclops gets a call from Iceman, asking how far the cavalry is. ‘Our girl’s starting to lose it and we could use some back-up’ bobby declares.
In Vancouver, the young woman stands on the edge of a rooftop: ‘I can do this. I will do this’ she declares, telling herself that she doesn’t want to be like this anymore, as everything hurts and everything is awful. ‘I don’t want to be a freak anymore and -’, suddenly, ‘Um. Hello?’ a voice calls out, as Hope appears on the rooftop with Iceman, Angel, Rogue and Doctor Nemesis. Hope slowly approaches the girl, explaining that they were sort of flying by, and her friends have been keeping an eye on her. ‘They said you were kinda having a hard time. So I thought maybe I’d come by, say hi’.
The girl, whose skin is slowly turning blue, turns and exclaims ‘You - you what? “A hard time”? What are you - what’s happening to me? Do you know what’s happening to me?’. Hope explains that they are the X-Men, and suggests perhaps she is becoming one now, too. ‘I don’t - I don’t want to be a - how could I be -’ the girl exclaims, looking at her arms, she declares that her hair is falling out, her bones hurt and her skin is just cold. ‘I got a 1590 on my SAT! This shouldn’t be happening to me. I worked too hard for - for’ she declares.
Hope’s hand lights up, and suggests that the girl might have other things to do now. ‘Maybe I can help’ she offers. ‘How could you…how can anyone possibly help a freak like me?’ the girl asks, before leaping off the edge of the roof. ‘Dammit!’ Hope exclaims, before leaping off the building, and soaring down towards the girl: ‘I’ve got you -’ she exclaims as she grabs hold of the girl, before suddenly, the girl’s form completely turns blue, and she takes flight, with the glowing Hope hanging on to her. ‘I’m flying!’ she exclaims. ‘So fly! To! The damn! Rood!’ Hope snarls.
Back on the rooftop, Hope exclaims ‘Oh my God. That was -’, to which Rogue tells her: ‘Insane, darling’. ‘Yeah, but - but it felt amazing!’ Hope replies, while Iceman and Angel approach the girl. ‘It was - it felt good for you, too?’ the girl asks. ‘Yeah, I -’ Hope begins, while the girl exclaims that she fells brand new from the inside out. ‘I feel brand new!’ she declares, before taking Hope’s hands and remarking that her life is a disaster as of this exact second. ‘A total disaster. I have, like, six finals and - and I swear to God I’ll follow you wherever you go, whenever you got there!’. Hope smiles and introduces herself, while the blue-skinned girl replies that she is Laurie, and thanks Hope for saving her. ‘It’s…ah…I think it’s what I do. So you’re welcome’ Hope replies, before asking Rogue ‘Who’s next?’
Utopia, where Cyclops, Colossus and Psylocke are going about cleaning up the mess of the recent devastating battle. ‘What exactly do you think you’re doing?’ Doctor Nemesis asks Magneto, who stares out at the X-Men from inside the med-lab. ‘I’ll tell you what I’m not doing’ Magneto mutters. ‘I’m not staying in bed at the request of my so-called “doctor” while Cyclops and his team attempt to rebuilt Utopia all by themselves. ‘It was not a request, Magneto’ Doctor Nemesis declares. ‘I’m grateful for your concern, Nemesis, but -’ Magneto begins, before Doctor Nemesis interrupts, telling Magneto that it was not concern, but annoyance.
Magneto’s attention is drawn to a monitor, where several images are displayed, while Doctor Nemesis remarks that if Magneto goes out there and joins them before his powers have been sufficiently restored, it will kill him. ‘And then all that time I spent saving your morally questionable life will have been wasted’ Doctor Nemesis mutters, before realizing that Magneto isn’t even listening to him. ‘No. What are we watching? Who are they?’ Magneto asks, still watching the monitors. ‘You don’t recognize them?’ Doctor Nemesis asks, before announcing that they are the Young Avengers: ‘That’s Hulkling, Captain Marvel’s son. Half-Skrull, by the way’ Doctor Nemesis begins, before motioning to Ant-Man’s daughter, Stature, then Patriot, the grandson of the original Captain America, followed by a young Vision, a young, female Hawkeye, then a teenage mage who, though Jewish, calls himself Wiccan, followed by a speedster, unimaginatively named Speed.
‘I’m rather surprised you haven’t heard about them’ Doctor Nemesis remarks, adding ‘Especially since it’s been generally assumed that the mage and the speedster are your grandsons’. ‘WHAT?’ Magneto asks, shocked. Doctor Nemesis hands Magneto a photo, remarking that he doesn’t believe the rumors, adding that there is no scientific explanation for the assertion. ‘But then, there was never any scientific explanation for how the Scarlet Witch and the Vision managed to have children in the first place’ Doctor Nemesis remarks. ‘Take a look…see for yourself’ he exclaims as Magneto looks at the photo of Wiccan and Speed.
‘Magneto…what are you doing out of bed?’ Cyclops asks as Magneto approaches those X-Men clearing up the debris on Utopia. ‘Dr Nemesis said -’ Cyclops begins, but Magneto interrupts: ‘Dr Nemesis talks a great deal, Scott, but I find he actually says very little’, adding that it looks like the team could use his help. ‘You won’t be helping anyone if you don’t give yourself time to…recover’. Scott remarks, while Magneto uses his powers to levitate the metal scrap under Cyclops’ feet, bringing the leader of the X-Men towards him.
‘As you can see, I’m fine. Besides, if I have to spend one more minute in sickbay, I’ll end up killing Dr Nemesis, and you know I’m trying not to do things like that anymore’ Magneto exclaims, before announcing that he does have one question. ‘That can’t be good. You’re usually the one with all the answers’ Cyclops replies as he steps down towards Magneto. ‘What can you tell me about the Young Avengers?’ Magneto asks. ‘Specifically the ones called Wiccan and Speed?’. Cyclops frowns, before turning away from Magneto and firing an optic blast, which cuts in two a massive slab of debris.
‘I can tell you…they are not your grandchildren’ Cyclops declares. ‘Of course they’re not. That would be impossible’ Magneto remarks. ‘And yet…’ he begins. ‘Erik -’ Cyclops exclaims. ‘…they do look rather like Wanda, don’t you think?’ Magneto remarks. Cyclops replies that he had not noticed, while Magneto magnetically lifts the slabs up over his head, before using his powers to raise several large metal beams. ‘Have you noticed that one is a mage, the other is a speedster, and their names are Thomas and William? Because Wanda’s sons were named Thomas and William’ Magneto reminds him. But Cyclops reminds Magneto that the Scarlet Witch’s sons were not real, but magical constructs.
‘They were considerably more than that. They had thoughts and feelings. They had minds of their own. They had souls’ Magneto declares, adding that his daughter may have used magic to give the twins life, but that even the Scarlet Witch cannot create a human soul. ‘And when those souls were set free, what if they found their way into the bodies of Wiccan and Speed?’ Magneto asks. ‘You’re never gonna find out, old man…because you’re not going anywhere near those kids’ Wolverine declares as he approaches Cyclops and Magneto.
‘If you even try, you’re gonna find yourself at war with the X-Men and the Avengers’ Wolverine exclaims. ‘Logan -’ Cyclops begins, to which Wolverine remarks ‘With the Avengers, at least. Those kids are under our protection’. Magneto declares that they do not need protection from him, as he means them no harm. ‘I simply want to meet them’ he explains. Magneto declares that as unlikely as it seems, Wiccan and Speed may be the only family he has left. ‘Whose fault is that?’ Wolverine asks. ‘After all, the last time you saw your son, you tried to kill him. And your daughter hated you so much she tried to wipe out your entire race!’
‘So you can see why the Avengers won’t be asking you to baby-sit anytime soon’ Wolverine exclaims. ‘What more do I have to do to show you I am not the man I was?’ Magneto asks. ‘Plenty’ Logan tells him. ‘Very well. Then I hope one day Thomas and William will allow me to prove myself worthy of them - the same way I hope to prove myself worthy of being an X-Man’ Magneto replies, before excusing himself, announcing that there is work to be done. He stands before a massive mess of metal pillars, and begins to use his power on them, while Wolverine stands and watches, telling Magneto that he puts on a hellavu show.
‘Bringing Kitty back. Taking down those super-sentinels all by yourself. You’ve pretty much said and done everything right so far. Hell, if I didn’t know you, I’d swear you were one of the good guys. But I do know you’ Wolverine exclaims. Logan continues, exclaiming that the knows that the minute the X-Men, or the Young Avengers, or Magneto’s own children no longer serves his interest, he will turn on them. ‘You can’t help yourself. You’re Magneto. You may even think you want to change, but deep down we all know it’s only a matter of time before you turn out to be the same selfish, manipulative -’ Logan stops talking as he notices the mass of steel beams and rods hovering over him. ‘I’d choose my next few words very carefully if I were you’ Magneto warns him.
‘Stay away from the kids, Grandpa’ Wolverine declares, before storming away. Cyclops tells Magneto to give it time, assuring him that once the X-Men have accepted him, the Avengers will also. ‘There’s no reason to force the issue at the moment. Besides…with all the rebuilding it’s not as if we don’t have our work cut out for us…here’ Cyclops turns around, and sees that Magneto has completely reconstructed the steel beams and rods, transforming them into a frame for a building.
‘Ah…there you are’ Magneto exclaims as he finds a briefcase in amongst the rubble. He opens it and pulls an envelope from it. He pulls from it photographs of Wanda and Pietro as children, and puts them against the photo of Wiccan and Speed. ‘Erik? Are you okay?’ Cyclops asks, reminding him that Dr Nemesis said he needs rest. ‘Take some time for yourself. You’ve earned it. Go away for a while. Do whatever you have to do to take care of yourself’ Cyclops tells him. ‘Tell me I’m not going to have to worry about you, Erik’ Cyclops adds. Magneto smirks as he replies ‘You have nothing to worry about, Scott. Nothing at all’.