Xinjiang Province, China, where Sebastian Shaw holds Emma “the White Queen” Frost, in her diamond form, up against what remains of EVA. Shaw’s fist is kinetically charged and declares ‘You were breaking your fingernails on the door to the future. I pushed it wide open and let you in. And after all that, instead of gratitude, just betrayal piled upon betrayal upon betrayal’. The seemingly empty space suit belonging to Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde lies sprawled on some rocks, while Shaw suddenly picks Emma up by her head, and boasts ‘I made you, Emma. And now I’m going to end you’. Shaw remarks that it is almost poetic, before Emma mutters ‘Ahem’, and points to Shaw’s chest - which now has a yellow-gloved fist through it. It’s Shadowcat’s of course, but Shaw does not know that she is currently unable to solidify her form. ‘Now with threat of sudden and bloody death hanging over you, let’s see if we can put aside our posturing and have a civil conversation’ Emma suggests.
Meanwhile, at Utopia, home of the X-Men, currently under quarantine, ‘By that bounce in your step, I suspect you’ve managed to terrify the truth out of Sublime’s fan boys?’ Scott “Cyclops” Summers asks as he blows his nose. Wolverine a.k.a. Logan enters Scott’s office, claiming that he barely had a chance to show his knives before they went into “please don’t hurt us” routine. ‘The character of wannabes is sorely disappointing, Slim’ Logan adds. Scott points out that Wolverine’s reputation does cast a long shadow, while the one member of the wannabe X-Men that Logan brought up to Scott’s office - “Angel” - exclaims ‘Oh, yuck. It feels like my brain is trying to squeeze right out of my nose’.
‘Are you sure you didn’t do anything to them?’ Cyclops asks Wolverine. The blonde girl throws her hands up and exclaims ‘He didn’t do anything! Mister Wolverine was totally respectful and awesome and really incredibly scary’ and explains that the drug is addictive as Lobe said. ‘It’s one rollercoaster of a comedown’ she points out. ‘It appears so’ Cyclops agrees. The girl looks at Cyclops and tells him that he is much better looking in real life. ‘I can see why the girls all -’ she begins, before Scott interrupts: ‘Speak’ he tells her. The girl grins and puts a finger in her mouth. ‘Purr. Alpha male hottie. I likes’. ‘SPEAK!’ Cyclops shouts. ‘Okay, okay. Lobe didn’t really tell us much. Just to make sure we were at the launch tonight. We’re - like - the proof-of-concept deluxe editions to show to the investors and -’ “Angel” explains. ‘Show off where?’ Scott asks. ‘Here! I’ve got the invite on my phone!’ the girl exclaims, holding up her mobile phone, with the invitation on screen, which reads:
All Area Pass
The Sublime Corporation requests your attendance at an evening of X-cess.
Triumph Hill Ballroom, Richmond, S.F.
‘Same pun. Twice. Just shameful’ Logan remarks as he lies back on a sofa. Scott rubs his head and announces that he will get the address to Angel’s team. ‘OMG! Angel! Can I speak to him! I never got a chance before I was kicked in the face!’ the girl “Angel” declares excitedly. Sternly, Scott points a finger at the girl and tells her to stop this idiocy now. ‘You have no idea what any of you’ve done’ he declares. The girl looks genuinely shocked and exclaims ‘S-sorry’, before hanging her head as Scott tells her ‘These are our lives. It’s not a game of dress-up for the terminally over-privileged’.
Later, at the Triumph Hill Ballroom, in San Francisco. Partygoers are all dressed up with some sort of X-Men attribute to their outfits. Lobe is in a wheelchair and is being pushed around by Bouncing Betty. ‘Welcome to the X-Men! I hope you love the experience!’ he jokes. He greets everyone and tells them to eat canapés and have fun. ‘Be glamorous and fabulous and doomed!’ One of the wait staff approaches Bouncing Betty: ‘Fastball special?’ she asks. ‘Huh?’ Bouncing Betty mutters. The waitress explains that it is maple syrup and vodka. ‘Ugh’ Betty sighs, while the waitress asks Lobe if he would like a Phoenix cocktail. ‘No, not before I speak. They always come right back on me’ Lobe replies.
Bouncing Betty wheels Lobe towards the stage, as Lobe asks her if there is any sign of their “new X-Men”. ‘None’ Betty replies. Lobe gets out of the wheelchair and tells Betty to presume they are gone, and informs her that she is on security. ‘See what you can do to stop any unfortunate party-crashers’ he adds, before walking onto the stage. ‘Thanks for coming. I’ll keep this short. After all, the cocaine bowls won’t snort themselves!’ Lobe declares, while the partygoers clap and throw their hands into the air. Lobe motions to a photograph of John Sublime that appears on a monitor behind him. ‘I was a top-flight MBA specialist when I heard John Sublime talk about the third species’ he reveals. ‘It changed my life. Humans becoming mutants. And the S-Men who put that into practice. Brilliant’.
Lobe continues, ‘But…surgery? All that nasty cutting? And the religious stuff? Ugggg-ly. There had to be a better way’. He claims that John Sublime was his inspiration, although he is not around any more. ‘Thankfully, the Sublime Corporation is carrying on his good work. For profit’. Lobe declares that this is about making a better world and making money. ‘Because if you look at in the right way, they’re exactly the same thing’. Suddenly, a large image of Lobe’s “X-Men” appears on screen - ‘You, X-Men!’ Love exclaims, repeating the words that are on the screen alongside the “X-Men”.
Lobe turns back to his audience and announces that the Sublime Corporation is in the process of negotiating the exclusive rights to the whole mutant genome, that they have already for the patented ability to give that to any of their consumer partners. He reveals that they have two lines of product - first is their general market product, single use, generalist gene-tailoring. ‘Think of the family hatchback. Think a cigarette for the 21st Century. Everyone can - and will - use these’ he declares as he holds up a small bottle, with Wolverine’s image on it. Lobe motions to the monitor, now depicting the You X-Men in battle, and explains that if you are not one of the everyone, there is a deluxe option. ‘Bespoke tailoring on the dose to compliment your own genetics. Think sports-car, high performance, exclusive. And as demonstrated by our X-models recently, every bit as effective as the real thing’.
Lobe smiles, and tells his audience that, as investors at this critical stage, they will be at the top of the list for their gene-tailors. ‘So…don’t get left behind in the past. Evolve!’ he declares, announcing that everyone can sign their paperwork on the way out, before he introduces the band.
Up on the roof, looking through a sky-light, Alison “Dazzler” Blair exclaims ‘That’s a Dazzler impersonator. They got a Dazzler impersonator rather than hiring me. I hate them so much right now’. Megan Gwynn a.k.a. Pixie lands alongside Dazzler and remarks ‘I mean, why not get you? You’re cheap’ she remarks. ‘Inexpensive’ Dazzler corrects her ‘Cheap has a dual meaning over here, Pixie’. ‘Yeah. I know’ the girl mutters. ‘I hate you so much right now, too’ Alison exclaims. Pixie replies that she has bad stuff crammed into her soul, and some just leaked out. Warren “Angel” Worthington the Third tells the girls to cool it, as they need to work out how to break this thing up. ‘Yeah, we were wondering about that, too’ Bouncing Betty declares as she, Verre, Burst and Thug appear on the rooftop. ‘Of course, what we were thinking about was breaking your jaws’ Betty claims.
‘Oh man. Bad guy trash-talk. I love that. You’re mean! And look bad and smell funny!’ Pixie shouts, while Ororo “Storm” Iqadi T’Challa turns to Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier and asks him if he is ready for this. ‘Your ribs…’ she begins, but the speedster replies that he is hurting enough just to add an edge. ‘And that super speedster is biting my style. You have no idea how much that annoysd me. Let’s finish these plagiarists’ Northstar exclaims.
Back in China, ‘You know what I think, Emma?’ Shaw asks, declaring that Kitty is a smart girl, and she would have used an implement to threaten his heart rather than her arm. ‘She hasn’t. Therefore, she can’t. I don’t think she can do anything. I think you’re bluffing’ Shaw declares. ‘Well, call it, darling’ Emma tells him. Shaw replies that he thinks he will, because even if Kitty explodes his heart, he thinks he can take Emma’s head off before he goes. ‘That’s what you’ve done to me, my dear. I’d rather die than deal with the idea of you tottering smugly around on your stilettos for another damned second’ Shaw exclaims.
Kitty falls back, while Fantomex mutters ‘Nice try, Emma…but the best problems are only ever solved with violence’ and he fires a weapon - the resulting action causes Shaw to light on fire. ‘In this case, incendiaries’ Fantomex remarks. ‘You may be a bloody fop - but you’re right about violence’ Shaw declares as he throws Emma aside, and she lands on top of Fantomex. ‘We…must stop meeting like this’ Fantomex tells Emma as she begins to get up off him. ‘No…don’t move. I like you there’ Fantomex tells Emma, who drops her diamond form and points out that she is a tad busy. ‘Well, come straight back’ Fantomex tells her, before muttering ‘That’s an interesting…way…for my arm to bend’.
‘You are no better than me!’ Shaw shouts at Emma as he emerges from the flames. Emma tells herself that she has to lock Shaw down, but she knows that he is so furious, and his mind is like a shark, he wants one thing. ‘You are weaker than me. No courage. No convictions!’ Shaw shouts as he rushes towards Emma. ‘What else is new?’ Emma asks herself, before realizing that there is no way past that desire, as it is a black glacier, bearing down, and she cannot stop him. ‘I could never stop him’ she admits. ‘You are a quitter!’ Shaw shouts, but Emma tells herself to focus, ‘Almost there. Almost…no. No. too late!’ Emma realizes, and wide-eyed, tells her self to switch - she doe so just in time, assuming her diamond form as Shaw smacks her several feet away. ‘Too close’ she tells herself.
‘After all this is over, I’m going to have something to remember you by’ Shaw tells Emma as he approaches her, the dust settling around her. Shaw tells Emma that after she is thoroughly smashed, he thinks she would make a damned fine crown. ‘Well, Emma, darling. You’ve been running from him for all these years. Is there any good reason to stop now?’ Emma asks herself as she begins to run away from Shaw.
In San Francisco, ‘Betty? Betty? Oh, please don’t say you’ve failed me completely again’ Lobe mutters down his mobile phone. Suddenly, Betty falls through the sky-light above, with Angel battling her. ‘Oh, you have. You’re fired. Again.’ Lobe mutters as shards of glass scatter everywhere. The other X-Men land around Angel, who exclaims ‘Lobe, I presume. You’ve stolen a mutant genome. We’ve come to get it back’. ‘Also, cure for a certain plague. Thanking you’ Pixie exclaims. Lobe reaches behind a curtain and declares that typical 20th Century protectionist policies never work. ‘Enterprise, like information, wants to be free. Also, expensive’ Lobe declares, before reaching into a bag, he tells his partygoers that they need to protect their future investments. ‘We need to fight for the greatest freedom of all: Free enterprise’. Lobe begins tossing the small vials to the partygoers, and exclaims ‘C’mon, everyone…who wants to be an X-Man?’
‘Uh-oh’ Dazzler remarks. ‘Northstar…’ Angel begins. ‘Punch the ugly man in the face’ Jean-Paul exclaims. ‘You got it’ Angel tells him. But Lobe suddenly drinks one of the vials himself - and his eyes glow red. ‘Convenient! Fast-acting! Easy to use!’ Lobe declares, and as he unleashes an optic blast at Northstar, knocking Jena-Paul backwards, Lobe adds that they are also tasty. ‘To me, my investors!’ he jokes, putting on some glasses, he holds the vials up. ‘What do you want?’ he calls out. ‘Wolverine!’ ‘Deadpool!’ ‘Wolverine!’ ‘Deadpool!’ the partygoers call out. ‘Adam-X’ another exclaims. ‘Really?’ Lobe asks. ‘Well, what the market wants, the market gets. Except for Adam-X’ Lobe declares as he throws vials with the images of Wolverine and Deadpool to the partygoers.
Pixie helps Northstar up, while Angel, Storm and Dazzler do what they can to keep the now-powered partygoers back. Angel contacts Cyclops, informing him that they are outnumbered and out-gunned. ‘They’ve given out powers to a horde of would-be shareholders. On so many levels, this really can’t get any worse’ Angel exclaims.
In his office, Cyclops replies ‘Understood, Angel. Hold on. Help is coming’. The female “Angel” stands shivering in a corner, while Scott turns to Danger, telling her to make the announcement: ‘Any X-Man who can stand, assemble on the landing pad’. Danger points out that it is possible in his fevered state that Cyclops has forgotten no one has any powers. Scott stands up and throws his blanket off him, ‘Do it, Danger. It’s too late to matter. We can’t let a little thing like having no power stop us being the X-Men. We’re breaking quarantine…’.