Peter Rasputin sits on a bar stool alone. The barman chats to two guys, one medium size and the other a large muscular bruiser. Peter had some work to do at the garage, but Uncle Dimitri told him to go to Moe's Bar. "Problems," he said. These problems are standing at the bar. They are two of Pietro Cardona's men, and they approach Piotr. The smaller one says that Moe told them to speak to him and he asks Peter who he is. Peter offers his name, and explains that Dimitri Ivanovic sent him. The bruiser replies, "So? Moe's the one in charge here." Peter tells him that Moe is just a client of Mr. Ivanovic. The smaller man points at Peter and states that Moe can now be called a former client. The place is now under the Cardona's protection. Peter gets up and says Mr. Ivanovic won't be happy. The man replies that in minute, neither will Peter.
The bruiser, Joe, snaps his knuckles and then punches Peter in the solar plexus. Peter doesn't bat an eyelid, and Joe nurses his injured hand. They are surprised, and Peter doesn't waste any time in smashing Joe across the room. The smaller man pulls out his pistol, but Peter quickly knocks it from his hand, telling him that the cold war is over. They support disarmament now. Joe reappears and pulls at Peter's sleeve. Unfortunately, the sleeve tears, revealing Peter's steel skin underneath.
Peter defenestrates both Joe and his partner, but the action is seen through a pair of binoculars. Toad is sat in a van with the Blob. He complains that Magnus always thinks things are easy. "Convince him to follow you." What if he doesn't want to? He certainly won't be the one to make him, but they have to. Maybe Mesmero can give them a hand, he thinks. Blob wonders about Ivanovic. He won't stand by while they take away his man of steel. Toad reckons that Ivanovic will be the least of their worries.
(The Worthington Foundation)
Back at the school, a gym session is in progress. Anna Raven and her team are doing stretches, but she is hit in the butt with a basketball. A redheaded boy named Lee apologizes, saying it went a bit long, but then high-fives his friend. It was a perfect bullseye. Anna never believed that some men are just big children, but today she might just change her mind.
Anna can't stand Lee and Roscoe. Sooner or later she's going to teach them a lesson. Ororo tells her to ignore them. Violence won't get her anywhere. "Pretend they're invisible." Once they are bent over again, the ball does the same thing again. Roscoe asks for their ball back, but Anna has other plans. She hurls it at backboard and it shatters sending shards of glass all over the place. The teacher asks what the hell is going on. Anna has recently absorbed the powers of the Gem of Cyttorak and her strength has increased a hundredfold. She can't really mention this, so she simply apologizes to Roscoe and says it went a bit long.
Nobody laughs. For the boys, apprehension comes before terror. What did Xavier say? "Humans fear mutants and fear is the first step towards hate." Anna realizes that she just made a mistake, but maybe the biggest was joining the Worthington Foundation.
Elsewhere, Kurt Wagner, wearing his image inducer, knocks on Charles Xavier's door and then teleports inside. He says hi to Scott Summers, Jean Grey and Charles. Jean asks him to use the door in future. Someone could have been watching. He replies that the corridor was empty. He thinks his image inducer is a lot of fun. He almost forgot what his face looked like. He turns it off, revealing his real blue face.
Charles asks him to talk to them. What he mentioned on the phone while they were in New York was rather worrying. Kurt isn't sure if they should be worrying, but something is strange for sure. Jean asks him to start from the beginning. Kurt explains that he started with Professor Bolivar Trask. Scott asks what he teaches. He's never heard of him. Charles tells them that his name has been on the list of teaching staff for four months now. However, nobody's ever seen him. He's kind of a ghost. Kurt agrees. He saw the room that's supposed to be his on the third floor. It was locked, but that's not much of a problem for him...
Kurt teleports inside the room but finds it empty. He finds dust everywhere. Nobody has been there for months. He doesn't find anything interesting in the drawers apart from a magnetic key for the staff elevators. The key to Elevator H.
Charles states that every teacher has a pass with which to open each and every door on campus. A card for a single elevator is curious. Kurt thought so too, which is why he tried it out.
Kurt swipes the card and an automated voice authenticates him as being Professor Trask. Kurt enters the elevator. Inside there are no buttons. It starts to move as soon as he gets in and descends a fair way. He exits into an empty corridor in some sort of sub-basement. He tries lots of doors until the very last one opens. Kurt enters but is a little disappointed. He finds it to be a perfect computer lab. There are monitors, peripheral devices and computers. He turns one on to check it out but it needs a password and he doesn't have one. He then hears voices approaching.
Toad and the Blob are investigating a breach. Their system says it was Trask, but this has happened three times in the last month. It wouldn't hurt to check. As they enter the lab, Kurt teleports outside into the corridor and makes his escape.
Jean thinks it's a pity he couldn't check the computer. Kurt replies that they can do it now. He has most of the hard drive copied onto his flash card. Jean asks him to wait a minute. He said he didn't have the password. Kurt smiles and says that all of a sudden he had an inspiration. He keyed in the numbers printed on Professor Trask's card and it worked. "Magnificent," replies Charles. "I am in your debt." Kurt replies that it's he who should be grateful to them all for accepting him. It's a debt he feels that he can never repay. He departs, leaving the others to discuss the matter at hand. Jean asks Charles what's going on at this campus. Charles admits that he thought he knew, but there's something he hasn't quite grasped. He asks her to call Hank. He has an urgent job for him.
Outside in the corridor, Kurt, now wearing his image inducer again, passes Anna and tells her she seems preoccupied. Anna pauses but realizes that it's Kurt. He admits that he can fake his appearance but he can't hide his accent. He loves being able to walk around without problems. He can't thank Hank enough. As he plays with it, the device frazzles and switches off. Clearly there are some improvements to make. It's only a prototype. Anna hears some people approaching and tells Kurt that he can't stay there. He'll have to disappear. Anna suggests he teleport into Higgins's office. It's closed and the principal was down in the cafeteria five minutes ago. Kurt doesn't hesitate to port, and just in time too. Once the danger passes, Kurt opens the door and Anna falls inside with him. He reckons they're a real action couple like Mr. and Mrs. Smith. "Dumb and Dumber is more like it," replies Anna.
On the other side of the door, a guy named Beatty asks Principal Higgins if she has a minute. Kurt and Anna overhear him and need to hide. Higgins tells Beatty that she was just leaving. She just needs to get some documents and then she's going to a meeting. She'll be back in an hour. Kurt asks Anna what they're going to do. She asks when she was made boss. "Since now," he replies. The door slowly opens and Principal Higgins enters. Kurt and Anna have secreted themselves behind the bookshelves and watch as Higgins removes her glasses. They can't believe their eyes when Principal Higgins shapeshifts in to her natural state - the blue-skinned mutant Mystique!
(later that evening)
Charles and Jean gather the X-Men for a secret meeting at the bandstand. Logan joins them. Sometimes, Charles thinks that 'secret' is the password to the database of a mutant's life. Each one of these kids guards a secret. Some know exactly what they are hiding. Some, like Warren, sense it and others, like Logan, simply refuse to admit it. Kurt and Anna now share a secret. Xavier can read it in their minds. None of them asks questions out loud, but each one of them is waiting for answers. It's time Charles gave them some.
He informs them that he has bad news for them. He hoped he would never have to say this, but a war is coming. It's not a war between nations, but between mutants and humans. Somebody just declared it, there on the campus. But, they can stop it from happening. He explains that he sought each of them out with maximum discretion. He tried his best to bring them to the campus without anyone noticing. But, he's discovered that somebody was always one step ahead of him. That somebody is Magnus!
The pupils are aghast. Warren asks why? Charles tells him that to rule over mankind is an old dream of Magnus's. He's turned the Worthington Foundation into his headquarters and started to recruit his army. Warren doesn't feel that this is possible. His father would never allow something like that to happen. Charles explains that this is why Magnus keeps him under the mental control of someone called Mesmero. Warren then says they must do something about it, but Charles advises against rushing into something. For the time being, his father is in no danger. Magnus is focused on his main goal which is recruiting mutants for his cause. He usually gets what he wants, though Kurt managed to avoid being captured. Many other students like them didn't have the same luck.
Kurt doesn't understand how Magnus found out about him in the first place. He only arrived from Europe two weeks ago. Charles says it's a good question. He found Kurt thanks to his powers, but how did Magnus manage to do the same? The answer, he continues, lies on the hard disk he copied. He asks Hank to explain what he found. Hank informs the team that the answer is Project Cyberno! It's a mysterious device created by Professor Trask that can trace the brainwaves of mutants. The machine is hidden on campus and Magnus is using it as they speak.
Charles thinks they must locate Cyberno. As long as his system is in working order, none of them can consider themselves safe. First, however, they have a more pressing matter. There is a mutant in New York named Peter Rasputin. He is from Siberia and works for the Russian mob. Bobby becomes excited, and asks Xavier if they're going to catch a criminal. Charles replies that 'catch' isn't the right word. He's not a criminal. In fact, he's only fifteen years old, just like Bobby. A boy with a secret. He's just located him, so their task will be to meet him and convince Peter to join them before Magnus can get him on board.
Meanwhile, Peter has been targeted by Magnus. He can't explain how these people managed to find him, but he finds their proposal exciting. Blob, Toad and Mesmero have offered him the chance to become an American citizen. He needs a green card - the same color as Mesmero's face. What a crazy country he thinks. He'll have a scholarship at an exclusive school. It's just too good to be true. However, he explains to the trio that his Uncle Dimitri Ivanovic won't let him leave his job that easily. Mesmero says that it's all right. They've talked to his uncle and he said Peter is free to do as he likes. Peter asks if they're sure. His uncle isn't usually so obliging. Toad grins and replies that old Dimitri was very nice to them. He even took some pictures of the meeting they had. Then again, he adds as he hands Peter the photographs, he's not sure he actually said free. It's not easy to talk with a broken jaw.
Peter realizes that, although his uncle is a bad man, these guys are no better. He has dreamt his whole life of being free, but freedom has its price. He scrunches the photos up in his fist which becomes steel. He grabs Toad by the shirt and tosses him to the ground. Mesmero takes a cowardly step backwards and orders Blob to stop him. Blob replies that he knew it would come to this. Peter readies himself and tells Blob that the bigger they are the slower they move, and the harder they fall! Blob tells him that's what they say, but as Peter punches him, only to find his hand sink into the skin of the Blob, laughs and says that it's nice to find something that still surprises. He smashes Peter in the face, sending him to the floor.
Blob tries to explain that they didn't come to fight. They just came to give him an invitation. Peter says he has a strange idea of hospitality. Mesmero informs Peter that he could persuade him to follow them by bending his mind with his mental powers. Toad uses his long tongue to grab Peter's ankle allowing Blob to lay the boot in. Mesmero adds that he always tries to ask politely first. Blob smacks Peter once again in the chin, telling his friends that Peter's a tough one. But, there's no metal that can't be bent if you hit it hard enough.
Standing nearby are the X-Men who have also tracked Peter down. Logan snikts his claws and asks Blob to start with them. He'll have to be careful, though. They're sharp. Standing next to him are Anna Raven, Hank McCoy, Bobby Drake, Scott Summers and Ororo Monroe. Bobby points as he recognizes Blob as being the fat one who serves food in the cafeteria. Hank berates him for ruining their dramatic entrance. Blob charges at them, but he is stopped by Ororo who unleashes a lightning blast at him. Mesmero makes a run for it, but Toad stands his ground. He puts his tongue out again but Bobby freezes it. Logan warns him that he has a choice. Keep fighting or say goodbye. Now!
Toad realizes discretion is the better part of valor and he flees with Blob. Hank tells Ororo that he doesn't know about her, but he likes people who don't talk too much. "Opposites attract, you know?" replies Ororo.
Peter is confused. He doesn't know these guys. Maybe they're even more dangerous than the other three. He warns them not to get any closer to him, but Scott assures him that they just wish to talk. Peter tells him he has nothing to say, and that if they leave now, nothing bad will happen. Hank explains that nothing's going to happen anyway. They just want to talk to him. Peter grabs a wrecking ball and hurls it towards them, warning them again to leave him alone. He is surprised when Anna Raven catches the ball and holds it up with one hand. She informs him that if she were his enemy she would use it to crush him. But, she's not there to fight. She drops the ball and Peter calms down.
Scott offers him the opportunity to change his life. Peter tells him that his family lives in Russia and survives on the money he sends them every week. If he changes his life, so will they. Hank assures him that Professor Xavier will take care of them as well. Peter asks who he is. Scott replies that he's the man who can give him a better future... the future he deserves. A future they all deserve. "You're not Scientologists, are you?" he asks.
(meanwhile, back at the school)
It's late, and Jean Grey is in Xavier's office. She informs him that the mission has been accomplished. Charles is satisfied, but he isn't happy. It isn't the idea of playing with people's lives that worries him. It's the lies. He told his students that they could stop the war, but that wasn't true. In the Bolivar Trask archive, there weren't just the plans for the device called Cyberno. Xavier has found proof that the first battle has already begun. But this, for the time being, will be his secret.
A train sweeps through the countryside carrying the Professor Xavier and the X-Men. Anna Raven sits alone, lost in her thoughts. She left when it was still dark and now that the sun is beginning to light the scenery, Anna would like to clear her mind as well. But, her thoughts seem to chase each other ceaselessly. Professor Xavier talking about war, Ororo's distrust, Cain Marko gasping when she absorbed all his strength... the awe and fear of Peter Rasputin. Her gloves protect all the others from her deadly touch, but they can't stop the dark energy that the Gem of Cyttorak gave her.
Anna looks sad as she looks through the window. The curse of Cain is now inside her and Anna knows that her destiny is now fulfilled. She needs to be alone because this is the only way she can be sure she won't hurt anybody. It's the only way for her not to suffer from other people's pain. Anna knows that leaving the Worthington Foundation was the right thing to do. She didn't say goodbye to anyone and left without even a backward glance.
What Anna doesn't know is that her friends are already looking for her.
Ororo asks Jean what they're waiting for. Anna might get off at the next station and they could lose her. Jean replies that Anna is confused and all she wants is to get as far away as she can. Ororo asks if she knows that, or is it a guess? Jean can hear Anna's thoughts. She assures Ororo that they'll find her. Ororo asks then what. If she decided to escape last night, why would she change her mind this morning? Jean replies that she didn't say she'd come back. That's what they're hoping, but they can't let her go without even trying. As she speaks she groans and holds her head. Ororo asks what's wrong. Jean tells her that, for a second, she had a feeling... like she made contact with somebody. "Anna?" asks Ororo. Jean informs her that Anna doesn't have telepathic powers.
Elsewhere on the train, Emma Frost is seated next to Sebastian. She tells Sebastian that the X-Men are looking for Anna. She intercepted Grey's thoughts but fears she may have noticed. She's afraid she made a mistake. Sebastian reckons the mistake is being there and wasting time. Why don't they get rid of all three and finish this once and for all? Emma asks him to relax. A fight isn't always necessary. Sometimes a phone call is enough.
(Worthington Foundation, Greenwich, Connecticut, the day before)
A full moon shines over the school. Hank McCoy is working late when the door opens and a silhouetted figure steps inside. Hank asks if it's Bobby, but it isn't. It's Donald Pierce. Hank tells him that if he's looking for Anna then he's in the wrong place. Without warning, Pierce lunges at Hank.
Elsewhere, Professor Xavier visits Warren Worthington III and says that he missed his lessons today. He thought he might be sick, but now he sees that he's all right. "What's the problem, then?" he asks. Warren removes his shirt and drops it to the floor. "This is the problem," he replies. He opens a large pair of white wings to their full extension. He informs Charles that, until this morning, they were just two horrible stumps of flesh and bone. What's happening to him? Charles tells him that it's his gift... his power. Warren doesn't get it. Bobby has a power. So does Hank. Who needs wings? "Someone who dreams of flying," replies Charles with a smile.
Warren tells Charles that it's not what he wants, but they are interrupted by Kurt who teleports into the room. He apologizes, but informs Charles that he has a message for him. He spots Warren's wings and compliments him on them. Charles feels the message might have to wait, but Kurt tells him it cannot. Hank told him to call Charles with utmost urgency. There's a problem in the lab!
Charles makes his way to the lab and is greeted by Bobby Drake. He asks where Hank is. Hank replies that he's there; a bit bruised but intact. He's trying to save some computer files. Charles sees Donald Pierce lying on the floor with his hands and feet frozen up and he asks what happened. Logan informs him that Pierce stopped by and tried to kill Hank. These things happen. Hank explains that he was working on the hard disk they found in Professor Trask's lab. He asks Charles if he remembers the encrypted files in the Sentinel folder. He just managed to open them when Pierce attacked him for no reason. Luckily Bobby appeared and cooled him down.
"Cooled him down!" states Logan. He adds sarcastically that maybe they should wake Pierce up and let him finish the job. Hank continues to say that as soon as Bobby stopped him, Donald fell to the ground. His pulse is weak but regular. Charles asks Logan to check Pierce's pulse. Logan bends down and notices a plaster on Pierce's neck. Charles asks him to take the plaster off. He shouldn't worry. Pierce won't feel a thing.
When Logan rips off the plaster, Bobby gasps. What they see are biomechanical implants. Logan asks if Pierce is a cyborg or something. Hank asks Charles if he knew. Charles explains that Anna found out when Donald got hurt fighting Cain. Logan becomes angry that Anna knew and didn't tell anyone, but Charles says that Donald has feelings for Anna which she probably reciprocates. That's why she didn't say. Hank looks at the computer monitor. He thinks that the files make more sense now. In the files there is a project to implant a microcontroller and a memory card into human subjects. Opening these files sent a signal to the unit implanted into Pierce. He attacked him to protect what was supposed to be a secret... because he was programmed to. Somebody like Magnus?" asks Bobby. Logan asks if he has a better candidate.
Bobby asks what they're going to do with Pierce. He's going to come round sooner or later. Charles tells him that he and Logan are going to take him to his room. Let the puppet master know that he has failed. He is relying on Hank to discover the truth behind Project Sentinel.
Ororo has been asleep. When she wakes up she remarks that it's cold. She asks Anna if she left the window open. She sits up. "Anna?" She opens the wardrobe doors and discovers that all Anna's clothes have gone. "Oh, no..." she gasps. Elsewhere, Hank has managed to open the files and he calls Professor Xavier. However, he explains that he wishes he hadn't opened them. There are microcontrollers for each and every student and teacher on campus! Charles says he'll call him right back. Jean has arrived. He puts the phone down and asks Jean what she's doing. It's very late. Why isn't she in her room? Jean tells him it's Anna. It looks like she's left the college.
Meanwhile, Professor Magnus receives a phone call from Emma Frost. She informs him that Xavier's boys are upset. Raven escaped. Magnus is surprised and asks where she is. Emma doesn't know the answer to that. Xavier sent Dr. Grey and Monroe on her trail but she doesn't think they know where Anna's gone. Magnus feels that they soon will. Thanks to Xavier's mental powers he can trace every mutant just like Cyberno.
(the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania, today)
Sebastian asks Emma who she has to phone. She teases him that it's her boyfriend, but really she calls the police. She whispers that she can't speak long, so the controller must listen carefully. She's aboard Train 67 which left Stamford last night. They have a situation. There are three girls with weapons. She asks them to hurry.
Moments later, a police helicopter is hovering over the train and officers are preparing to rappel to the train. Inside, Ororo asks Jean if she saw the helicopters. Jean thinks that they're flying too low and they're following the train. She knows that they are ready to strike as their thoughts are reaching her like cries. "Let’s go," she says. "Let's find Anna before things get too complicated." The police descend their ropes and land on the train's roof. Anna, meanwhile, is oblivious to all this. She doesn't notice the train guard ushering people from her carriage. When she looks up, it's empty. She wonders where everyone's gone, but as she looks around, she feels a pistol being pointed at the back of her head. An order is given by Officer Halloran. "Don't move!"
Jean and Ororo find the carriage next to theirs empty. Jean realizes that it's been evacuated. From nowhere, two officers appear with their weapons aimed right at Jean and Ororo. They order the girls to keep their hands behind their necks and to lie down on the floor. Ororo asks what they're doing. They haven't done anything. One of the officers orders them to do as they're told. The other asks his colleague to keep them covered. He calls Halloran and explains that they have two of the targets. "Do you copy?" Halloran can't hear them. He is out cold and his gun has been twisted into uselessness.
Some of the passengers are wondering what's going on and the guard tries to keep them calm, telling that there's nothing to worry about. Sebastian tells Emma that making things happen is what she does best. Emma replies that it's just the beginning. He hasn't seen anything yet. Back in the other carriage, one of the two officers, Ronnie, tells his colleague Jack that Halloran isn't answering. Jack is nervous as Ororo has started to glow. "Ororo, don't," exclaims Jean, but it's too late. She prepares to strike with a lightning blast, but fortunately, Anna arrives and grabs Ronnie, allowing Jean to punch out the distracted Jack.
Anna sees her two friends and asks what's happening. What do the police want? Jean informs her that they think they are dangerous criminals or something like that. Now they've given them a good reason to think they are. She'll explain later. First, she has to take care of Ororo. Oddly, Ororo stand up and tells them she's fine. They should just worry about themselves! Jean immediately realizes that it's not really Ororo. Her mind is under someone else's influence. She warns Anna to stay back. Ororo tells Jean that now she knows her little secret. How nice it was for her to play mommy. She's so sweet. "So pathetic!" She creates a strong blast of air that knocks Jean and Anna to the floor. Anna holds on to a seat to prevent her from being blown away, whilst Jean finally gets to use her powers.
Jean mentally warns Emma to get out of Ororo's mind and to leave her alone. "I said... leave her... alone!" Emma sits up with a start and collapses into Sebastian's arms. He's no idea what's happened to her. Emma's influence over Ororo ceases and the winds drop straight away. Anna helps her to her feet and asks if she is okay. Ororo apologizes but Anna says she knows and it's fine. They should help Dr... Grey? They look down and see a young girl sat there wearing the same clothes as Dr. Grey. Little Jean, Emma Frost called her. Now she knows that she wasn't just teasing, because the Jean Grey in front of them can't be more than fifteen years old.
Ororo asks who on Earth she is supposed to be. Anna doesn't have an answer, nor time to think as the train's wheels bite into the track. Everyone is thrown forward as the brakes kick in and suddenly, all hell breaks loose. A storm of lead and steel falls on the railroad car, breaking glass, plastic, fabric and metal alike. Gunfire rains down from the two police helicopters and the girls duck for cover. Ororo freaks out a little and her anger turns to power. "Enough!" she screams.
In an instant, the clear morning sky turns dark and the noise of weapons disappears in the roar of a storm. The helicopters remain in the air, trying desperately to resist the fury of the elements as tornados encircle them. But, the rage of the hurricane is Ororo's and it's an unstoppable force. In the devastated railroad car, Halloran and Jack decide that they'll never tell anyone what they can see. They watch the three girls flying across the sky like three goddesses or three witches, smiling like three friends.
Professor Xavier has announced that Dr. Grey has left her job. However, two days later a new student joins the college. The X-Men discuss her. Bobby can't believe it's Dr. Grey. Did she use an image inducer like Kurt? Hank reckons that thanks to her mental powers, she managed to let them see what she wanted them to see. She's a very powerful telepath, and a very shy one too if she decided to hide behind the identity of an adult. Logan thinks she's not at all bad looking. Not that she was bad before. He asks Summers what he thinks. Scott asks since when does Logan care what he thinks?
Before an argument can start, Warren warns them that Jean is approaching along with Ororo and Anna. Everyone is now there, along with their new Russian cousin. Peter Rasputin. Peter tells Logan that where he comes from, they say 'Beris' D Ruzhno, ne budet gruzno' which more or less translates as 'Many hands make light work.'
Later, Charles tells Kurt (wearing his image inducer) that he was very quiet in class today. Anything wrong? Kurt replies that he was thinking that here at the Worthington Foundation, everyone eventually finds what they're looking for. Jean just did. He has friends, but that's not what he's looking for. He came to America to find his mother, but he can't do that if he stays at the school. Charles asks if he's thinking of leaving. Kurt says no. Hank warned him about the threat of the Sentinels and he won't leave when Charles needs him most. Charles is pleased. It proves how right Kurt is, just like he too found what he was looking for. He looks outside and sees Kurt join the X-Men. For now, everyone is happy.