Mexico City, Mexico, where Gabriel Cohuelo sits with other students, ready to take a test. ‘It’s not so bad’ he thinks to himself. ‘It’s not so bad once you see the light at the end of the tunnel. The endless studying, the sleep wrecked by fits of teeth grinding, headaches. Missing football’. He tells himself that it is worth it once the test is done, then he will be off to college - Yale, Harvard, whatever. ‘The States. No more home. No more mom and dad’ he tells himself, almost able to taste the end on his tongue. His future tastes like a nine-volt battery. One last test, one last test and then his life will finally start - but life is not fair, as his pencil snaps, and he falls sideways from his desk, his test paper flies up into the air.
And then, Gabriel doesn’t think anything at all. He is taken home by ambulance, held down to a bed, while someone prepares a needle to inject something in to him. He seethes, and surges, and his thoughts become faster and faster and faster. Suddenly, a voice calls out ‘Doctor and Mrs Cuhuelo? We’re here for your boy’. With that, two figures enter the room - Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock of the X-Men, and former X-Man Dr Cecilia Reyes.
Meanwhile, in Napa county, California, at a restaurant called the French Laundry, where the X-Men’s Emma Frost a.k.a. the White Queen is dining with the debonair Tony Stark - otherwise known as Iron Man. ‘Well, honestly, darling, for a man with a crippling traumatic brain injury, you don’t seem to have missed a step’ Emma remarks. ‘You’d be surprised, but thanks’ Tony replies, adding that he doesn’t, for instance recall the last time they had a meal. ‘I remember Marrakesh, I remember Monte Carlo, Paris, Monte Carlo again -’, Emma then interrupts, telling Tony that their last meeting was not nearly so jovial. ‘I know. I found my notes’ Tony replies.
‘Ooh, notes. How sweaty and teenage of you, Mr Stark’ Emma smirks, asking if these “notes” were filled with dirty drawings in the margins and bad poetry revealing how he really feels about his dear “auntie Emma”? ‘No, you super freak, they said we agreed we were going to leave each other alone’ Tony explains, adding that he is here to tell her that leaving each other alone is a terrible idea. ‘Oh my’ Emma utters. ‘Mutants and human super heroes - anybody fighting on the side of angels - we stand together. We’ve got to’ Tony exclaims.
Tony adds that he knows Cap and Cyclops talked, and he knows Cyclops got a medal for what the X-Men did for the city - for the world - and tells Emma that he is here to reinforce that it is the real deal. ‘This is the way it is right now’. Tony tells Emma that there are to be no more secrets, no more isolation, as everybody can get along with everybody. ‘No more hiding in the shadows. We have to pull together if for no other reason than we’re all so…broken…right now’. Emma raises her glass and replies ‘Please, darling. What kind of bore has no secrets?’ Tony smiles and raises his glass as he replies ‘A dead one. Here’s to unity, Ms Frost…unity and no more secrets’.
Later, on Utopia, down in the brig, the White queen approaches Danger, who exclaims ‘To what do I owe such an unexpected visit?’ ‘A toast’ Emma replies. ‘Pardon me?’ Danger asks. ‘Don’t worry about it’ Emma replies, before asking ‘How is he?’ The duo approach the cell where Emma’s secret prisoner is being held in stasis - Sebastian Shaw a.k.a. the former Black King leader of the Hellfire Club. ‘He’s on the beach, talking to his father. As far as he knows’ Danger replies, referring to the virtual reality device Shaw is “plugged in” to.
Danger assures the White Queen that Shaw remains safe, and remains their secret. ‘You never can tell, darling…with this one, you never can tell’ Emma remarks. Danger points out that Emma seems unable to hide her anxiety, and assures her that Sebastian Shaw shall not be going anywhere. Danger explains that, after Bastion was able to violate the brig from within, she has increased security a thousand-fold. Danger explains that electric and psychic sense-nets keep constant track on the space and on literally everything coming in and out. ‘I can trace dust mites as easily as telepathic incursions’ Danger boasts.
‘But that’s not what you’re worried about, is it? You’re worried about his very presence here becoming known, aren’t you?’ Danger asks. The White Queen frowns and tells Danger never to presume to tell her what she is or is not worried about. ‘You fourth-rate action figure. I’ll have you -’ Emma begins, before a voice interrupts: ‘Excuse me, Emma? Peter and Kitty were wondering if they could see you in sick bay. I volunteered to come down here and wrangle you. Um. As it were’ Madison Jeffries of the X-Club remarks. ‘Hey there, Danger’ he whispers. ‘Hello…’ Danger replies as she approaches Jeffries, while Emma storms off. ‘Fine’ she mutters.
Back in Mexico, Gabriel is thinking everything all at once and then two “angels” stand over him. ‘Gabriel. Can you here me?’ Dr Reyes asks as she tries to help him. ‘His thoughts, Dr Reyes. Moving so fast’ Betsy remarks, while Cecilia asks Gabriel how he feels and he if knows where he is. Gabriel’s hands begin flailing about rapidly, as he thinks to himself ‘Please help me’. Cecilia holds up a needle and tells Gabriel that it should help calm him. He feels a pinch run up his arm, melting and warm - it only helps for a moment.
Soon, Cecilia stands before Doctor and Mrs Cohuelo and informs them that she suspects that their son is somehow in the process of becoming a mutant. ‘How can - how is he -?’ Mrs Cohuelo begins to ask. Dr Reyes tells her that at the moment, she is not wholly certain of anything beyond that they know something profound is happening to him. ‘We have…machines, technology. Tracking technology that led us here and -’ Dr Reyes explains, before Dr Cohuelo asks if she can help his son.
Dr Reyes replies that the X-Men were created to protect, train and assist children like Gabriel. ‘To help him become whatever it is he’s becoming’. She begins to explain that they have facilities, when Psylocke enters the room, announcing ‘Something’s happened’. The women go back into the room where Gabriel is, and Betsy tells Cecilia that he is still here, she can sense him. ‘His mind…his essence is here, in this room, but…I’ll be damned if I can tell you where’ Betsy exclaims as they look around the seemingly empty room.
Psylocke tells Cecilia that she needs to borrow her abilities for a moment. Reyes begins to protest, but Psylocke places her hand on Reyes’ face, telling her that it is going to hurt, but will hurt less if she stops struggling. ‘Ah. There. The presence is still inside’ Betsy remarks as she does something to Reyes, who exclaims ‘Call Scott Summers. Tell him the boy has vanished’.
‘Roger that, Betsy. Keep the room sealed until Hope arrives’ Scott “Cyclops” Summers telepathically replies from Japan, adding that Hope and the others are en route to Mexico as they “speak”. Scott turns back to Wolverine a.k.a. Logan: ‘So. Where were we?’ he asks, before asking Wolverine not to tell him it is time for another round. ‘My liver can only take so much you-time’ he adds. Wolverine replies that it doesn’t matter, as Kurt is gone and no amount of toasts or raises of the glass will bring him back. ‘I was just trying to say that…Kurt knew what he was signing up for. He knew better than most’ Wolverine remarks, adding that Nightcrawler was ready for it.
Logan adds that he is mad about it, and sad about it. ‘He was my best friend. But you, Slim…you ain’t shown me a thing’ Wolverine exclaims, adding that he knows they had a whole lot to deal with back there, as it was the end of the world as far as any one knew. ‘And there’s a time and place for letting yourself lose it. Maybe the middle of a battlefield ain’t that time and ain’t that place’ Logan suggests, before declaring that the war is over. ‘The war is over and you won. So have you let yourself feel any of this? Have you let yourself process…any…of this yet?’ Wolverine asks.
‘I’m sorry, but am I actually getting coached in how to process my emotions from the Wolverine? Because, after me shacking up with Emma Frost, that’s kind of the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard’ Cyclops exclaims. ‘You’re a hell of a wartime general, Scotty. But what worries me is how you live your life once the war is over. All the training, all the insanity you were prepared to handle…did anyone bother to teach you how to stop?’.
Back on Utopia, in the sick bay, ‘Any aches? Any pains?’ Dr Kavita Rao asks Armor, who replies ‘Only everywhere. And it hurts to keep my armor up…’. ‘Darlings!’ the White Queen exclaims as she makes an overly dramatic entrance. She announces that she has arrived. ‘I have what is, quite frankly, the most amazing opportunity to eat sushi the way God intended it this evening so my time for you is short at best’ Emma declares, before shouting ‘Now: What do you want?’
Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin” calls out to the White Queen: ‘I was - we were - Kitty and I haven’t been able to speak since her return’ Colossus remarks. Motioning to the containment device where Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde resides, Colossus tells the White Queen that none of the psychics left on the island can find their way into her mind, as she is too ghostly. ‘But none of the psychics left on the island are you, are they, Ms Frost?’ Colossus points out, before asking if she would act as their conduit. ‘Can you help us?’ he exclaims.
‘Oh God. Kill me’ Emma mutters. ‘You summoned me to this toilet to ask if I could read your girlfriend’s mind?’ she asks. ‘Da’ Colossus tells her. Emma looks annoyed as she exclaims ‘If you ever wished to see me throw up inside my own mouth, congratulations, darling, because I -’ she stops talking as Kitty makes some gestures at her. ‘Dammit, Pryde. Fine’ Emma mutters, before standing between Colossus and Shadowcat, she tells them that if they can relax their surely, quivering teenage hormones it will help the process go much faster. ‘Breathe, if you can help it…oh my…’ Emma exclaims.
‘What? What is she - is she all right? Is she is -?’ Colossus utters, to which Emma exclaims ‘What do you think, you giant Russian hick? Of all the words in all the languages in all the worlds that you can imagine, what do you think she could possibly be thinking at you?’. Colossus stands up and presses himself against the container, where Kitty is smiling. ‘Katya. I love you too’ Piotr exclaims.
Back in Mexico, Hope enters the Cohuelo mansion, and introduces herself to Dr and Mrs Cohuelo. ‘Dr Reyes said your son was undergoing some kind of…change. We’re here to help’ Hope exclaims. ‘But you - you’re a child. We were expecting a…a doctor, a specialist. You’re a little girl’ Dr Cohuelo remarks. The blue-skinned mutant called Laurie steps forward and announces that she has not known Hope for long at all. ‘But if what’s happening to your son is like what’s happening to me? If the pain he’s in right now is like the pain I was in? This girl will save his life’ Laurie declares, putting a hand on Hope’s shoulder.
Inside the room, Psylocke announces that Hope has arrived. Hope enters the room, where Hope asks ‘You guys don’t know if he’s still inside?’. Reyes replies that Psylocke is certain, while she, empirically, has her doubts. Betsy declares that Gabriel’s psyche is still contained within, she is sure of it. ‘Good luck, child. We’ll open up a passage way for you’ Betsy tells Hope, who passes through Reyes’ force field, calling out as she makes it to the other side. ‘Is anybody here?’ she calls out. Hope uses her power, ‘Ah’ she remarks.
Beneath Utopia, in the massive pillar that holds Utopia up and serves as a home for the Atlanteans, a man slices some fish and tells Emma that it starts with the hands, everything good starts in the hands, and the fingers. ‘The delicate art of the knife’ he remarks. ‘If you say so, darling’ Emma mutters, sitting at a bench. ‘Were I you, I would believe anything Kitano-San tells me’ Namor the Sub-Mariner tells the White Queen as he emerges from nearby water. Namor tells Emma that Kitano-San was the only good thing that came out of his time spent living out of water.
‘I’ve never seriously considered allowing a surface dweller full Atlantean citizenship, but Kitano-San is such an artist I have almost made the exception’ Namor announces. Namor sits on the other side of the bench and takes Emma’s right hand, telling her that, as always, she is a vision. ‘I dare not take my eyes off of you’ he exclaims. ‘You’ve got that right’ Emma tells him, before taking her hand back: ‘Boundaries, darling. Boundaries’ she exclaims. ‘I am a king. Don’t presume to tell me about boundaries’ Namor replies. ‘Especially while a guest in my kingdom’ he points out, before asking, down here, who would know? ‘Down here, our transgressions belong only to us’.
‘I’ll know, and your chef would, too. But quite frankly the man is too brilliant to kill simply because you refuse to keep it in your pants’ Emma remarks as she puts some of the fish in her mouth. ‘Tiny and green though they may be’ Emma adds, referring to Namor’s pants. ‘Oh, please. How much longer will you pretend to care about Scott Summers?’ Namor asks, before remarking that Emma is the woman so brash to name herself Queen. ‘You deserve a king. A leader of men. Not a boy playing at being a soldier’.
Emma glances sideways, before exclaiming ‘”Boy,” don’t give me “boy” you imperial brat!’ Emma tells Namor that he saw what kind of man Scott Summers is during Bastion’s insane attack on the world. ‘You saw what kind of man he can be’. Namor smugly replies ‘Of course I did…when there was a war. But now his war is over. What kind of man will he be now that his messiah child has come?’
Back in Mexico, Hope extends her arms upwards and calls out ‘You’re still here, aren’t you? I can almost -’ she begins, before glancing sideways, and exclaiming ‘Gotcha!’ as she releases her powers, taking hold of the surprised Gabriel Cohuelo, whose hair has grown long and now sports facial hair. They fall to the floor, and no longer in his moving state, Gabriel asks ‘Who are you? And how did you get into my bedroom? And can you stay?’. Gabriel’s parents, Rogue, Psylocke, Dr Reyes and Laurie enter the room, with Mrs Cohuelo exclaiming ‘My baby!’ as she reaches out for her son, while Dr Cohuelo declares that it is a miracle. ‘Mom? Dad? I can’t - how long was I running?’ Gabriel asks.