Hank McCoy isn't a happy mutant. In conversation with his old friend Cyclops, he informs him of his decision to leave the X-Men. He understands that Scott has a lot going on right now but, frankly, he doesn't care. Scott tells Hank that he knows he hasn't had a good time of it lately, and he knows it's been rough, but he needs him there. They all need him there.
Hank replies that he needs tanks. They way Scott thinks these days, he needs more tanks and planes and bombs and guns and more soldiers. He doesn't want to be a part of that. He never signed up to be part of an army. "I Quit!" Scott replies that they can call it a sabbatical. He can take a week, a month, whatever... just call it a sabbatical. A leave of absence. Hank removes his spectacles and tells him that he can rely on him leaving. Scott really doesn't wish him to go. He trusts Hank to let him know when he's gone too far. Hank closes his eyes and lowers his head. He interrupts Scott. "You've gone too far," he says. "See you in the next life." Scott asks him to wait, wondering what he'll do and where he will go? Hank gets up and walks away. "Space. Space I think," he replies. "Make love not war, Scott. Peace." And with that, Hank is gone.
(now, the Savage Land)
Scott Summers is shirtless and taking his frustrations out by getting back to nature. He faces a pack of velociraptors that hunt by surrounding their prey and attacking one at time. He blasts the teeth out of the mouth of the nearest and uses one of them to throw at another, removing its eye, painfully. Scott's actually enjoying himself. He tenses his muscles and readies his body for more. "Who's next?" he grins. Three more attack him in unison. He uses his powerful optic blast to destroy the neck and head of one. The challenge for him is to predict how they'll change their tactics and by staying one step ahead. He came to the Savage Land to clear his head, get centered and get focused. He wanted to strip everything down to the fundamentals and just do the work. No second guessing. No surprises. He looks up as a velociraptor's foot crunches the round beside him. "Ah," he sighs as the next round arrives.
Hank McCoy is at La Brea Tar Pits, former home of the Pride's children. However, he isn't there for them. He's waiting for his girlfriend, the commander of S.W.O.R.D., Abigail Brand. He has a potted plant in his hand as he waits, listening to a poor podcast he's subscribed to. He looks around and reckons it's safe to assume that he's been stood up. Several people are stood nearby looking at the big blue mutant. Hank reckons Abigail is busy. She must have a lot on her plate. He shouldn't take it personally. There's always a chance it's not going to work out. He tosses the plant into the tar pit. "Hey!" comes a voice from behind him. "Pretty sure that's still littering. Just because it's a tar pit and all." Hank turns to see young Molly Hayes standing there, her taste in hats still questionable. He takes her hand as he recognizes her. She's not the young lady he was hoping to see, but he's delighted nonetheless.
Molly tells Hank that he's a giant blue weirdo who talk to flowers. Who was he waiting for? she asks. He replies that it's his girlfriend, he supposes. Green hair. She wouldn't know her. "What," replies Molly. "She lives in Canada or something?" Better, replies Hank. Space. Molly is skeptical and changes the subject. She knows he's smart at science and stuff, and she has some homework to do which the other guys have given her. Reports and stuff. She asks him what extinction is. She knows what it means, but... what does it really mean to be extinct?
(The Baxter Building, New York City)
Hope visits the Fantastic Four for some tests and both Dr. Nemesis and Rogue have accompanied her. Reed tells her that it's nice to see that she survived. He didn't think it was possible. He knows that sounded much kinder in his head.
Dr. Nemesis thanks him. They're happy to still be there. Hope, attached to one of Reed's hi-tech monitors, sighs, "That's us. Happy." Hasn't she been poked and prodded enough already? she asks. Reed isn't sure. Has she? Hope tells him it's been a rough couple, three... hundred thousand years. Reed assures her that he just wants to make sure she's ok and that there are no nasty surprises. Time travel can be tough for anyone, let alone a young woman such as herself.
As he speaks, Hope spots Reed's son, Franklin, out of the corner of his eye. Franklin puts his finger to his mouth to make sure she doesn't say anything as he sneaks into the room. Reed adds that it's taxing for an adult, and she's grown up leaping from century to century. At her age, she 's already gone through such tremendous changes, growing at such astonishing rates. That's to say nothing of her latent mutantcy. He realizes that he's rambling, and tells her that she has great expectations to live up to. He'd like to make sure she's ready to go out there and get started. He asks her to open her mouth and say 'aah.'
(the Savage Land)
Scott is about to use his optic power to take down another dinosaur when he is surprised to see two arrows finish the job for him. Scott turns and finds Steve Rogers, his old friend Captain America, standing there with a bow in his hand and a quiver on his back. Scott says hello, and Steve says it always helps to have backup watching out for you. He borrowed the bow from a friend. Scott asks how the hell he found him anyway. He's in the Savage Land hunting dinosaurs. It's not like he has call forwarding. "Miss Frost," replies Steve. "She does like a man in uniform," Scott says. Steve agrees that it has its privileges. He looks across the valley and comments that it's getting dark. He proposes they crack on with some hunting and get some dinner. He wishes to talk.
(La Brea Tar Pits)
Hank tries to explain the meaning of extinction to Molly. By definition, he begins, extinction is the end of a species. It means there are no more of that species and never will be. Molly asks if it means they're all dead like the Stool Pigeon. Hank corrects her but says yes. They'll be dead like the Passenger Pigeon and the dinosaurs. "So mutants aren't extinct!" replies Molly, "Because, like, we're still here. We're still alive." Hank says that they are for now, but there are no more of them coming, at least in a number that you'd call statistically significant.
Molly mentions the girl that everyone's talking about. Everybody's saying they are coming back. They're saying that there are blips, or whatever. Mutants turning on. Hank holds out his massive hand and extends his fingers. He informs her that there are five. Five mutants. Six if you include the girl herself. Six mutants down from a birthrate that was going to overtake humans in a hundred years. Statistically insignificant. Molly looks on the bright side. At least there are six. That's better than nothing. It’ll turn around. He has to believe in stuff, she cries. He's gotta believe.
Hank explains that he had a friend that used to say that sort of thing to him all the time. He himself is a scientist. His worldview is wholly formed by the empirical rather than articles of faith. They used to argue about it. Molly asks what happened to that friend. Why doesn't he listen to him anymore? Hank looks over to a bird that has been caught in the tar pit and tells Molly that he died. Molly pauses a moment, but then she punches Hank, knocking him to the ground. She runs away, calling him a really depressing jerk.
(The Baxter Building)
Hope is in a huge machine that resembles an MRI scanner. Franklin hides nearby as his father remains in the control room above. Hope wishes she could run away, but Reed asks her not to talk. It can interfere with the readings. Hope then hears voice say hey. She moves her eyes left and spots Franklin, who introduces himself. She says hi back. Franklin tells her that things can get so weird sometimes, especially when all the grown-ups are looking at you all the time to do something. He guesses he just wanted to meet someone who knows what it's like. Reed notices his son and asks if he sneaked into the testing room to come visit their guest. Franklin replies that he just wanted to keep her company. Reed tells him he's a sweet young man, but he's now a very grounded young man. Since he's already there, he may continue to keep Hope company, but he shouldn't touch anything. Franklin crosses his arms and huffs. "I never touch anything. Reed can still hear him, so he apologizes to his dad, but whispers to Hope that his dad can be a super jerk sometimes. Hope thinks for a moment, before replying that her dad was great.
Franklin asks if something happened to her dad. Hope closes her eyes and says yeh. Franklin says sorry, before asking if she likes bikes. Hope has no idea what bikes are and Franklin realizes that she's one of those. He tells Hope that everything's going to be weird for her for a bit. People will want her to do stuff... to be something, and she doesn't know what it is. Those people yell at you all the time and then tell you to do stuff. They end up being your family, and it's a pretty amazing world out there when they let you get out and see it.
(the Savage Land)
As Cyclops cooks something on a spit over a small fire, Steve Rogers looks out over the Savage Land. He finds it pretty amazing. The views. The scenery. Scott informs him that he started coming out there to decompress. It beats a spa, he guesses. Steve asks if that isn't a thing for ladies. Scott says spas or decompressing... the results are the same. Having so much responsibility constantly does his head in after a while. He needs to get out the lands and just... live. He doesn't know how Steve does it. Steve Rogers explains that Scott was trained. He knew what his job was going to be. Scott knew it wouldn't be easy. Scott replies that he always figured... he figured he was ready to be Lou Gehrig. He didn't know he'd have to be Joe McCarthy, too. Steve appreciates Scott adjusting his idiom for him, but he was a Dodgers man.
Steve asks Scott what kind of man he is. Scott looks down into the valley below and assumes he's one on the edge of a precipice. Steve means what kind of leader is he. Where is he going? Where is he taking those folks of his? Scott reckons that's why he's come to the Savage Land; to figure that out.
Steve gives him something to chew on. How about he comes into the light? He knows that Scott has lost good people and he doesn't know exactly what they had to deal with inside the energy dome that engulfed San Francisco, but he knows that getting out of it meant he didn't just save themselves. He saved the rest too. The whole world saw the X-Men save them. He thinks it's time to bring the X-Men front and center... for him to lead his people into the daylight. Scott has reservations. Mutants are hated and feared. That's how they're perceived. Steve reckons that it was, and it might be for a while, but now's the time and he is the guy to do it. The whole world is changing, adds Steve, and they're the ones changing it. A hero is a hero, and he doesn't care if they have horns on their face or wings on their back, three arms or nine tails. This is the time. The X-Men are heroes and it's time to act like it. Scott replies that they're talking centuries of prejudice here towards mutants, towards mutant terrorists. He doesn't even know where to start. Steve says they're all just people, he'll see. Scott is his guy for this and can handle it. He will get things started.
(La Brea Tar Pits)
Hank chases after Molly who is starting to become tearful. She doesn't know how to handle this. Hank asks her to wait, and Molly turns to him and points, aggressively. She tells Hank that he sucks. They're not extinct. She's not extinct and she's not going to be extinct. Hank tries to get through to her. He explains that she's not going to... her life will still be as long as her life will be. None of them will die any sooner than they would anyway. It's just that if she has babies, they will be human babies. That's all. And their babies and their babies. They're all just people now. No more blue fur, no more wings, no more horns. No more Princess Powerfuls and no more powers. Molly says that's not fair. She finally starts to cry as she tells Hank that they do so much for everybody all the time. Why are they being punished for it? Hank gives her a comforting hug and admits that he doesn't know. He guesses it just wasn't their time.
Molly says she doesn't want to be like the dinosaurs. Hank informs her that dinosaurs were stupid. They had brains like walnuts. No science, no art, no life. Dinosaurs were dumb. They wandered around, eating and making more dinosaurs and dying. That's all they did. In a way, mutants have been a gift. If you know you're the last of your kind, doesn't it just make her want to go out and live life even harder? To have a richer, fuller time on Earth? To make history books never forget the feats of which homo superior was capable. "What about you Molly?" he asks. What will she be doing with the rest of her life that the whole world will know it was worth living?
Molly thinks for a moment. First she's gonna have to finish this report or she'll get into trouble. She'll start with her homework. Hank thinks that's a good idea. He asks if she likes popcorn. He reckons he'd like to start by eating a bag of popcorn. They spot a vendor nearby. So, popcorn and homework, says Molly. What next? Hank tells her that next, he's off to see his girlfriend in space. He hopes Molly will do something similarly grandiose, and live a long, long time.
(The Baxter Building)
Reed Richards delivers the test results to Dr. Nemesis and Rogue. The big news is that there's nothing wrong with Hope. There's nothing that will stop her from living a long and healthy life. She's got the typical maladies he supposes. She's had rickets and needs some dental work. He's started her on a vaccine schedule as she basically needs every shot under the sun. He's worried about her immune system as it's never been exposed to the viruses and bacteria’s of this era. Plus, she's had all the injuries and traumas that one might expect attendant to the lifestyle she's led. But, there are no chronal anomalies or any other residual damage from time travel. The only question he needs to ask is about her family. "Genetic histories and such?" asks Nemesis. Reed says yes, and birth defects, that kind of thing. Can she contact them?
Hope appears at the door and tells him that it might be tricky. Nobody knows who her parents are. She was the baby in Cooperstown, Alaska, before it got blown up. Reed is surprised. "How awful." He offers her his condolences and asks if there is any other information about their medical histories that could be recovered. Hope really doesn't know. Rogue informs him that they don't even know what her parents' names were. Reed thinks they should think of this as a scientific mission. Maybe they could investigate Hope's family medical history. Any information they could find would be of value... where Hope's mother and father came from, anything at all that might help assemble a picture of who she is. Hope says she'd like to go to Alaska and find her family.
Now back from the Savage Land, Steve Rogers has been busy. None other than the president himself hosts Scott Summers at the White House. The president says that there have been many honors and privileges bestowed on the occupants of this house, but few have meant so much as this. He offers Scott the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It's America's highest civilian medal and an honor to present to a recipient as worthy as Scott Summers. For all he's done for humanity, for mutantkind and for the peace and safety of the world, he has the thanks of a grateful nation. They expect nothing less from him that what he's done so far: great things. He wishes he could have waited and given it to the rest of this year's honorees, but Cap insisted... "Respectfully," Steve interjects. "Respectfully, that we expedite matters in this case for the public good." Scott wears the medal around his neck, not sure what to say. Steve Rogers grabs Scott and poses for the cameras alongside him. "Tell your people they fought for their country," smiles Steve. "They saved the world."
(later, San Francisco)
That evening, as fireworks go off around the city, Scott is back on Utopia and he joins Hope, who is sitting alone. He asks why she isn't on the mainland celebrating. Hope says she could ask him the same thing. She asks why this is all going on anyway. Scott pulls out the medal from his jacket pocket and informs her that the President gave him a medal. "What for?" she asks. Saving lives, he replies. He realizes what he's said and tries to apologize, followed by a slightly uncomfortable silence. He then tells Hope that they can't keep letting Cable's death get in the way of talking to one another. She came back and she's not going anywhere. He's going to take care of her and they have to learn how to live with each other.
He holds his fingers up and says there were five lights. Five bright sparks that lit up right after she returned. A dead race suddenly comes back to life. First thing tomorrow, he adds, he wants herself and Rogue to take a team and start... Hope cuts him off with a waft of her hand. She tells Scott that she's tired of everybody's expectations all the time. She flusters as she tries to explain her thoughts, but Scott takes her hand and asks her what she wants. Hope thinks that she wants to find her family. Find out who they were and what they were like. She doesn't even know her mom's name.
Scott looks at the medal in the palm of his hand. He stands and hurls the medal into the bay. Hope asks why he would do that. Scott replies that, all his life, people have been treating him the way he’s been treating her. So, no more expectations. They'll put together a squad to chaperone her to Alaska. Like it or not, she'll be a target, but she should go and she will find what she finds. He'll task teams to find the lights and make sure they are safe, and if she doesn't want to go to them, they'll have to bring them to Utopia. It's her decision. Hope offers a big smile in response.
Hope, Dr. Nemesis and Rogue are aboard one of the Blackbirds and heading into the sunset north to Alaska.