In every win is a seed of loss. With every victory, I can feel defeat growing inside of us. It's a voice in my head I can't quite hear.
The basement of Harry's Hideaway, where the scheming Dark Beast has set up his makeshift laboratory. 'Oh, Heavens. I ruin everything. I'm all thumbs I'm afraid' the Dark Beast mutters as a vial falls over onto a table, spilling a green liquid everywhere. 'Let Self help' Xi'an Coy Manh a.k.a. Karma offers as she bends over and starts to clean the liquid up. The Dark Beast watches her and enquires as to whether he can ask a question. 'I don't mean to pry into the heart of my jailer. Maybe it's just your alien infection, but I sense a sadness in you' the Dark Beast remarks. Karma looks up at Dark Beast and explains that she doesn't experience emotions the same anymore, but that she also doesn't belong here. 'Self betrayed Self's friends. Self made us all into this. Guilt' she utters. Dark Beast asks her why she doesn't leave, to which Karma asks where would she go – she would get terminated on her own. 'Ex-friends are merciful letting Self stay' she points out. Dark Beast puts his hand on Karma's and asks 'What if I could help? I'd love to try'.
Upstairs: 'I'm trying to think of what we did wrong now that would bring Captain America to our front door' Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops remarks as he stands before the legendary Steve Rogers himself. Scott asks Logan Howlett a.k.a. Wolverine, Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok and Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik to give him a minute. 'I'm staying!' Alex replies. Scott tells his brother that it isn't necessary, and asks Logan to stay instead. 'He stays. I stay' Alex declares. Captain America tells Cyclops that he knows they haven't always seen eye to eye, but he hopes he knows that he has a tremendous amount of respect for he and the X-Men. 'You'll forgive me if I ask you to cut to the chase' Scott mutters. Cap tells Scott that he doesn't know exactly what he is doing, but he does know that he can't continue doing it. 'With all due respect, Steve, you're not my captain. We're well past the days when you get to tell me to -' Scott begins, as Cap interrupts him, explaining that he is trying to help.
Cap puts a hand on Scott's shoulder and tells him that he knows he is working with Valerie Cooper in the State Department. 'You can't trust her' Cap frowns. Scott glances at Cap's hand, so Cap quickly removes it, '... sorry. I just -' Cap begins, as Scott asks 'And can we trust you?' Cap ignores that remark and tells Cyclops that some of the people whom he considers friends are not his friends. 'We're the only friends we've got' Scott frowns. Cap reveals that he knows the X-Men are taking on prisoners. 'And no offense, but Harry's Hideaway isn't exactly the Raft. It's not safe to keep them here. But I can help you' Cap offers. Captain America assures Cyclops that he wants to help him. Cap points out that things are bad for mutants right now, and he knows they should be looking to the mutant community for solutions first. 'So I'm not telling you what to do. I'm asking you to let me help'. Cap tells Cyclops that if he wants his help, he would like to offer a suggestion: 'Be discreet. You don't have to do this in the public eye'.
'It's not our fault that people are afraid of who we are' Cyclops points out. 'But it's your fault if they're afraid of being killed in the streets by one of your fights' Cap replies. Cap explains that he can't be seen helping the X-Men, but that if they need to contact him, they can, and hands Cyclops an Avengers Communi-card. Cap turns his back on Cyclops, announcing that is his offer, they can take it or leave it, he understands either way. Cap then wishes Scott, Alex and Logan luck.
Logan looks at the Communi-card and remarks 'Went with the strong, silent play, I see'. 'Too much?' Scott asks. 'Always worked for me' Logan points out. 'So what do you think?' Scott asks as Logan begins to pour them both a drink. 'You're actually asking my opinion?' Wolverine remarks, surprised. Scott tells him that he is trying a new thing – and Logan knows Cap better than he does. Logan informs Scott that Cap is right about one thing – they shouldn't trust anyone – including Cap.
Suddenly, Jamie Madrox the Mutliple Man approaches them and apologizes for interrupting. He holds up a cellphone and reports that it is Reaper's, and it just received a text message from Hope – her Mutant Liberation Front has picked their next target.
'TAKE OFF THE MASK, FREAK!' a man shouts at a rally, where hundreds of civilians are gathered. 'Back up' Jono Starsmore a.k.a. Chamber replies, his scarf wrapped around the lower part of his face. 'Your kind's not welcome here, ya mutie freaks!' the aggressive man exclaims, while Magik and Multiple Man stand nearby. 'Go back where you came from, freak!' the angry man shouts. 'I'm not thrilled about being here myself. Tosser' Chamber mutters as he blocks the other man's punch. 'Hey!' another in the crowd shouts. 'Somebody get a cop!' another exclaims. 'Dammit, Jono. We're not here to cause trouble' Cyclops calls out to Chamber. 'I asm. Smash bigots every chance you get, boss' Chamber replies. 'Let's go!' Cyclops tells him as they, Magik and Multiple Man make their way through the crowd, with Cyclops telling them to try and keep a lower profile now – they don't need to be causing a riot at a political rally... again.
'And look sharp. Hope and her people could be anywhere -' Cyclops begins, before someone calls out 'No peace without equality!' The X-Men turn to the direction of the voice, 'I think they might be this way' Madrox mutters, while Cyclops instructs the X-Men to suit up and watch for civilians. Chamber removes his scarf, while Magik readies her Soulsword, and Cyclops puts on his visor – but an instant later, 'Traitor!' shouts Michael McCain a.k.a. Forearm, who slams two fists against Cyclops' back. Civilians begin to run away from the X-Men, while a banner that reads “Humanity for Humans” can be seen across a stage. 'Oh good. The traitors are here' Ishiro Tsuburaya a.k.a. Samurai exclaims. Cyclops tells the MLF to stand down, as Havok appears nearby, and Wolverine, Dani Moonstar and Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane move in from another direction. Samurai declares that the X-Men always were the puppets of the human elite. 'We're being wiped out of existence and still you refuse to shake off their leash!' he points out. Hovering in the air above, the fiesty Tamara Kurtz a.k.a. Dragoness exclaims 'Enough talk! Let's kill them!'
On the stage, several security guards see the incident about to unfold, and begin to rush Ms Prestel to safety, while the battle between the X-Men and Mutant Liberation Front begins as Cyclops fires an optic blast up at Dragoness. Magik thrusts her Soulsword towards Julia Worthing a.k.a. Strobe, who dodges it. Forearm swats Madrox to one side, while Wolfsbane leaps at Samurai and asks him what he thinks they are accomplishing by scaring people. 'How are ye helping the little girl in a small town just learning she's different?' Rahne asks. 'She's seeing that when they come for her she can fight back!' Samurai declares. Wolfsbane pushes Samurai to the ground and tells him that he is going to get people killed. 'At least they won't die on their knees!' Samurai points out. Wolverine battles Richard Gill a.k.a. Wildside, while Havok, Moonstar and Chamber stand ready to assist any of their teammates.
The X-Men switch partners, as Wolfsbane moves over to Wilfside, while Cyclops fires an optic blast at Samurai and tells him to give it up, that they are outgunned and the MLF can't win. 'We don't have to you smug bastard' Samurai responds as Cyclops fires another optic blast, breaking up the ground around him. Cyclops calls out to his teammates, asking if anyone has a visual on Hope or Banshee. 'Banshee's overhead!' Madrox calls out as he and several dupes pin Forearm down, while Sean Cassidy a.k.a. Banshee can be seen flying above him. Cyclops turns to Magik, who has her hands around Dragoness' throat and tells her to get him up there. Magik turns to Cyclops and opens a Stepping Disc. Cyclops steps through the portal, which drops him off on a rooftop nearby. There, the ghoulish looking Banshee turns to Scott, while Hope Summers doesn't look up from her rifle which is aimed at the crowd below.
Cyclops tells Hope and Banshee that they have to talk. 'Sure thing, Grampa. Just lemme take care of one thing first' Hope replies. 'I can't let you do that' Cyclops replies, to which Banshee begins to scream, until Hope puts a hand on his shoulder. 'No' she tells him.
Cyclops and Hope face each other, and Scott tells her that he knows she is hurting right now. 'Cable was -' he begins, but Hope interrupts him, 'Oh, you want to talk about him? Or do you want to talk about me? Because I can tell you right now you have no right to talk about either of us'. 'He was my son' Cyclops reminds her. Hope glances away from Cyclops and tells him that family is a funny thing – you don't realize how little it means until you lost the parts of you that matter. 'Even though you failed him, he may have been your son. He was definitely my father and I failed him too. And now he's gone. And you know what that makes us? Nothing' Hope declares, before turning back to her weapon.
Cyclops tells Hope that he gets it, he gets why she is here. 'The X-Men failed Cable and now -' Cyclops begins, but Hope yells him that he doesn't get it, and that everyone failed him – Cable tried to save them and they didn't listen, and now he is gone, the X-Men are gone and war is coming. 'But he made me a soldier, Cyclops. You know what a soldier's job is?' Hope asks. 'To end wars' she declares, adding that she didn't start this one, but she is sure as hell going to end it. She tells Banshee to go, but as Banshee prepares to fly off the rooftop, Cyclops fires an optic blast, striking him in his back. Hope spins around and aims a gun at Cyclops. 'You know how you know the universe doesn't care about me? You're the Summers who came back from the dead' Hope exclaims. Cyclops tells Hope to put the gun down, and that it is not too late – they can work together. 'You came back so soft, Scott. This world has no place for soft anymore' Hope responds, when suddenly, Wolverine appears behind her, and rushes towards her.
'Wolverine, no!' Cyclops shouts, but too late, as Wolverine slams into Hope who fires her weapon, but is knocked off course – and the bullet streaks straight towards Cyclops – shooting him in the face! Hope falls to the rooftop and Wolverine pins her down, 'You're gonna die for that' Logan snarls. Wide-eyed, Hope tells Logan to wait, 'You forgot...' she begins. 'Forgot what?' Logan asks, his claws pressed to Hope's throat. 'You forgot who the hell I am' Hope snaps as optic energy suddenly bursts from her eyes, slamming into Logan and sending him careening backwards across the rooftop, where he lands near the motionless Cyclops. Hope quickly gets up, and rubbing her neck, she returns to her rifle positioned on the edge of the roofrop. She looks through the target, which connects with Ms Prestel's head as her security detail leads the anti-mutant politician away – then Hope Summers fires the gun.
Hope hangs her head – then sees two sets of claws poking out of her chest. 'You were... too slow...' Hope utters as blood spurts out of her mouth. Wolverine's body is burnt from the impact of the optic blast as he tells Hope that he doesn't care about the politician, and that this is for Cyclops. 'Any last words?' he asks her. 'La revolution, comme saturne, devore ses propres enfants' Hope replies. 'Works for me, you pretentious little -' Logan begins, as he raises his arms upwards, with Hope still connected to his claws – uut before he can hurl her from the rooftop, Cyclops sits up. One hand covering his face, he utters 'Logan... don't...' before he collapses.
Six days later, within the makeshift infirmary in Harry's Hideaway: “Beware of the eagle, it's got you by the neck, don't do anything...” the Dark Beast sings as he injects something into the drip connected to Cyclops, who sits up in bed. Dark Beast tells Cyclops to take it easy now, and not to get up, as he can't have his prized patient overdoing it. 'What's happening?' Cyclops asks, bandages over one of his eyes. Dark Beast places some ruby quartz glasses on Scott's face and tells him that he is fine, that everything is fine, although his nom de guerre is slightly more apropos than he thinks he would like. 'My eye...' Scott utters, touching his face. Dark Beast tells him that his eye is gone, that his lovely granddaughter shot it right out of his head, it would seem. He adds that it is quite miraculous that he could perform life-saving surgery in the basement of this dirty bar while lasers kept blasting his tools through the walls. 'No need to thank me, though. Just doing my duty as an X-Man' Dark Beast remarks.
'You're not supposed to be in here unsupervised, McCoy' Havok announces as he enters the room. 'Quite right' McCoy replies, claiming that he thought he heard their star patient call for him. He heads out the door, telling Havok that he will leave them to talk, and remarking that he has other patients to attend to after all. 'Whatever' Havok mutters. Scott tells Alex that he should be nicer to McCoy, that he is trying. 'Is he?' Alex asks. 'He did just save my life, right?' Cyclops points out. 'He kept arguing that we should let him give you a robotic tongue while he was operating on you' Alex remarks. Scott pokes his tongue out, and tells Alex that he is glad he didn't let him. 'Thought about it' Alex smiles. Scott stands up and asks Alex where hope is. Alex tells Scott to calm down for a minute, reminding him that he almost died again, he assures him that everything is under control. 'You're not the only x-leader in the... in this bar, ya know?' Alex remarks. 'Where is she?' Scott asks again.
Alex informs Scott that Hope is in bed in the next room, that Wolverine diced her up real good, but she seems to have borrowed his healing factor, so he didn't kill her. 'She's a tough kid. Got a lot of Nathan in her' Alex adds. Alex then informs Scott that the rest of the MLF is locked up in the now very crowded basement, except for Banshee – he said they can leave him on the roof. 'Dani and Shan are watching them?' Scott asks. 'Yeah... so, about them...' Alex's voice trails off. 'What?' Scott asks. 'It seems your pal Dark Beast convinced them to let him run some experiments on them...' Alex reveals. 'What?' Scott gasps.
'Absolutely filthy. Animals live like this' Dark Beast mutters as he dusts some photo frames hanging in a corridor. 'What did you do?' the shirtless Cyclops shouts as he stumbles out into the hallway, pointing at the Dark Beast. 'You don't touch them, you hear me! What did you do?' he demands to know. Cyclops shoves Dark Beast up against the wall, grabbing him by his throat, as the Dark Beast looks at Cyclops and assures him that he has no idea to whom he is referring. 'Scott! Wait!' Alex calls out. 'They've been through enough, you freak -' Cyclops starts, optic energy surging from his one good eye, before he screams, clutching his head he drops to the ground. 'Oh, did I forget to mention that? Your skull is barely held together. With your eyebeams constantly firing, you run a perpetual risk of blowing your own head off... but when you increase the focus and intensity like that, the risk becomes a likelihood. Of course, if you touch me again, I'll -' the Dark Beast begins, when suddenly: 'You'll do what?' Havok asks as he places his fist, surging with energy, to the Dark Beast's head.
'Alex! That’s enough!' Dani Moonstar exclaims as she, Magik, Wolfsbane and Karma enter the corridor – all looking very normal. 'Dani... you're... you?' Scott asks, sitting up as Dani goes over to help him stand. 'I am. Illyana is. Shan is. Rahne is. We're good' Dani tells Scott. They hug, and Scott welcomes Dani back, telling her that she was missed. Dani thanks Scott and tells him that she was here before, but was just a little different. 'That goes for all of you. It's good to see you well again' Scott tells Illyana, Rahne and Shan as he turns to them. The New Mutants look back at him and smile. Scott asks if the Transmode Virus is completely gone, adding that he didn't think that was possible. 'Well, if I may, the Transmode isn't actually a virus' the Dark Beast announces.
The Dark Beast explains that the Transmode is more akin to a parasite, that it can feed off a host, or it can take on a symbiotic relationship. He adds that this parasite didn't just come from their old friend Warlock – it is him – he divided and spread himself out over multiple hosts so as not to consume them – a compassionate infection. Dark Beast then reveals that he has thankfully found one true host that Warlock can completely consume, and that with a few chemical enticements, he lured Warlock out of the New Mutants. 'What do you mean true host?' Cyclops asks, before the Dark Beast opens a door to another room, where Madrox is kneeling over one of his dupes. 'He means me' Madrox explains, as the dupe reaches up, nearly completely engulfed by the Transmode, he looks like Warlock. Dark Beast grins as he declares that once again, their dear friend Jamie Madrox has proven himself a scientific wonder – the perfect guinea pig becomes the perfect host. 'Hello... friend. Please kill me' Warlock utters. 'Near perfect' Dark Beast smirks....