X-Corp #2

Issue Date: 
August 2021
Story Title: 
A Shark in the Water

Tini Howard (writer), Alberto Foche (artist), Sunny Gho (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), David Aja (cover artist), Alberto Foche (X-Corp Design Variant Cover Artist), Russel Dauterman (Penance Design Variant Cover), Russell Dauterman & Matthew Wilson (Variant Connecting Cover Artists), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Jay Bowen (production), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Monet is getting herself ready for the glamorous Hellfire Gala, listening to phone messages as she applies her make-up – including one from an unimpressed Charles Xavier, who thinks Monet has played X-Corp's hand too soon. She telepathically contacts Angel, who is showering, to discuss recent events, and plan for what is to come. Madrox supervises his dupes in the Gala staging area, as they are acting as kitchen hands and waiters tonight. He's in contact with Trinary, who is keeping a watch over X-Corp's actions throughout the Gala. She alerts Madrox to the arrival of Monet and Angel, thinking that he was supposed to arrive with them. Madrox catches up to Monet and Angel, but Monet is very evasive towards him. Monet and Angel then set about meeting with various people who might be useful to X-Corp – Sunspot, and Thunderbird in particular. Madrox disguises himself as one of his dupes so he can more easily listen in on what's going on between Monet and Angel. Angel dances with Selene, who wants to offer her services to X-Corp. Angel is reluctant, but Monet seems to like her. They then discover that Fenris has tried to enter the Gala, the von Strucker twins themselves keen to offer their wealth to the services of X-Corp – but an angry Monet tells the twins just what she thinks of them and vows that she will never work with them. A woman called Sara St John arrives. She's from Noblesse Pharmaceuticals and was supposed to meet with both Fenris and X-Corp. She takes her meeting with Fenris, while Madrox confronts Monet about whether he has a place on the X-Corp Board. She tells him that the offer is there, but it's up to him to decide whether he wants to stay in the lab or not. Angel and Monet depart for their next meeting – with Mastermind, who is offering his services in shaping the image of X-Corp, something his illusion casting will prove very useful for. Trinary alerts Angel and Monet to the fact that Andrea von Strucker has gone missing from the Gala. Monet is worried Andrea will enter the X-Corp headquarters. Trinary is the first to find Andrea however, inside the HQ – but just as Andrea is about to shoot Trinary, Monet, in her Penance form, attacks Andrea. Angel finds Andreas and Sara St John, who have just struck up a deal, with Sara now working for Fenris Consulting. Sara explains that her own technological research, with Noblesse and Fenris, will now be able to take off. Angel asks Andreas where his sister is, and a fight breaks out between the two of them, with Angel eventually rendering Andreas unconscious. Monet defeats Andrea, and with Trinary and Madrox, reunites with Angel and Mastermind on the shore of Krakoa. Monet assures Angel that Andrea didn't get any intel, before  Monet congratulates Angel on keeping his cool and not reverting to his darker side. She leaves with Trinary and Madrox, which is when Mastermind drops his illusion – Angel had indeed transformed to Archangel, and Mastermind secures his place on the X-Corp Board of Directors.

Full Summary: 

The glamorous Monet St Croix sits before a well-lit mirror in her dressing room, where she applies some make-up. Floor-to-ceiling cupboards and shelves housing her extensive fashions are displayed behind her. Her phone suddenly pings to life, informing her that she has a message from Sunspot. Roberto DaCosta's voice can be heard: “Business-voice time. I appreciate a stunt as much as the next hot young exec, but if you keep taking risks with my money, this party is going to suck for you -” Roberto's message is cut off, as Monet exclaims 'Next'. The phone starts tell her that she has a message from Sebastian Shaw – but she doesn't even let the message system finishing saying his name: 'Next' she tells it. The next message is from Charles Xavier: “ Monet. It is not like you to be evasive. Shame does not suit you. So I wonder why you have avoided my calls since Brazil” Xavier's voice can be heard saying. Monet listens as she applies her make-up. “I understand the logic behind your actions. And you were right to not attempt to save the laboratory – its absence is a setback, but not one worth starting a public brawl with our competitors over. But what I don't understand is... why you would play our hand so soon? The technology at the heart of our home office is not yet ready. You have raised questions, which has brought us the curious and hungry. Now they will want to eat. You would be advised to be careful”. Monet touches her phone as the message ends and remarks 'Stick to your own side of the dance floor tonight, Charles'.

At that moment, Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel stands naked under a rainfall shower in his bathroom. Washing his body, he suddenly hears Monet in his head calling out to him. 'Monet. This... is slightly invasive' Warren responds. Monet ignores his comment and telepathically informs him that she heard from Xavier. 'If we want to make him happy tonight, we need to shake some human hands and smile. He's not thrilled about Brazil. I know, you aren't either. I'm searching your head for a “thank you for saving me,” but I'm not seeing it' Monet adds. 'Thank you' Warren tells Monet, before confirming that he is not thrilled with having to scrap their plans. He adds that Sofia is devastated. 'She had a social media rollout two months from now -' Warren starts to say, before Monet interrupts: 'Who?' she asks. 'Wind Dancer. Sofia. Young, shot the commercial -' Warren explains as he steps out of the shower and wraps a towel around his waist. 'Oh. She'll be fine' Monet mutters.

Warren looks at his stubble that is appearing on his face and tells Monet that she needs to learn people's names. Warren then flaps his wings to shake the water off them. 'I can see you. That is disgusting' Monet tells him. 'Careful what you say about me. I'm your date' Warren reminds Monet. Monet tells Warren that they have a board to staff and a lot of interested parties. 'We have to be smart about this' she points out. Warren's face is now covered in shaving foam and he holds up a razor as Monet remarks that they just need to make sure they have more invitees than seats. 'Are you willing to get a little dirty?' she asks. 'I just got out of the shower. But you seem to know what you're doing when it comes to dirty' Angel smiles.

At 7:30 PM, in the Hellfire Gala staging area, several Multiple Man dupes are busy preparing trays of food and wine, while Madrox himself, wearing an elaborate green Gala costume. 'People, my good, fine men, what is this?' Madrox asks as he looks around the room. 'It's one night of work. I know you know basic etiquette because I made sure to learn it myself. Now, can we please, in the presence of our planet's greatest luminaries, manage to keep the trash cans from overflowing?' Madrox walks over to one of the dupes who stands by an overflowing garbage can and points at it, while asking the dupe if he has something to say. 'People can empty their own $#%&*!$% trash, dude. I don't care who they are' the dupe responds, frowning. Madrox puts a hand on the dupe's shoulder and remarks that everyone is an individual, and asks him what his deal is. 'I don't have a deal. I just like to stand up for the little guy' the dupe replies. 'Well, I don't know if you've heard, but we've gone corporate now' Madrox declares. He rubs his fist into the dupe's head as he tells him that they are going in a new direction. 'You hear me, Mr Organizer? Tonight is very important. Quit fighting, or you get absorbed'. The dupe protests, before a voice can be heard over communicator: 'Dr Madrox?'

Madrox leaves the staging area and touches the side of the glasses that he wears as part of his Gala costume. 'Miss Trinary. I appreciate hearing from you. Just wrangling the terrible temporary hires into shape. We're ready to go' Madrox reports. From a desk within X-Corp HQ, Trinary sits with her feet up on the desk, some food on the desk and a hot beverage in her hand, while several monitors glow around her. Trinary informs Madrox that she is piggybacking on Sage's gate data, and tells Madrox that all of waiter boys have earpieces, and that there are cameras in the hangar. 'I've caught at least one valet joyriding' she adds. Madrox asks Trinary if she stopped him, to which Trinary replies 'They're your staff'. Trinary's eyes go wide as she tells Madrox that Angel and Monet are hitting the green carpet at the east entrance. 'That's valet team Echo. Valet team Bravo, get moving!' Trinary orders.

As Madrox walks down a green carpet, photographers are on standby, as are several dupes. 'Dr Madrox, aren't you supposed to be with them?' Trinary asks. 'Uh, I sure thought I was' Madrox replies, before asking what is on the schedule this evening, and whether Angel and Monet are early. Trinary examines the schedule and discovers that it looks like a lot of people want to meet to discuss the board – Sunspot, Mastermind, Selene and some human called Sarah St John. 'Who is she? I didn't have any of this!' Trinary exclaims. 'How am I supposed to attend all these meetings and keep the dupes passing our coconut shrimp?' Madrox asks. Trinary informs him that it is a packed schedule, and offers to send him what she has. Madrox thanks Trinary and asks her to go ahead and give the catering team the same pep talk she gave the valet team, he could then catch up in time for the paparazzi.


'IT'S X-CORP' one of the paparazzi shouts as Madrox catches up to Monet and Angel on the green carpet. Monet is wearing a stunning red, white and black ensemble, with a spiked red fascinator resembling her Penance claws. Angel wears wide-leg white pants, blue loafers and a long blue jacket, unbuttoned, revealing his bare chest and stomach. 'Monet! Warren! Do either of you care to comment on the display in Brazil?' one of the paparazzi asks. 'Is this a deliberate attempt by X-Corp to destabilize human markets?' another asks. 'What's next?' another calls out. Warren quietly tells Monet and Madrox to keep their eyes up, smile and offer no answers. 'Hey! Were you going to wait for me?' Madrox asks.

'There you are. I'll have a French 75 and the gentleman will have -' Monet begins, turning to Madrox, who interrupts her and declares 'I'm not a waiter'. 'I know, but I'm thirsty' Monet responds. 'You really should be nicer to me, Monet. You destroyed my lab' Madrox mutters. 'When you see the new one, you'll thank me' Monet mutters. Angel shakes Madrox's hand: 'Doctor' he remarks. 'CXO. Good seeing you' Madrox replies, before asking what the plans are for this evening. Monet starts to walk away from Madrox, and Angel follows her, while turning back to Madrox, he tells them that they have meetings with potential board members back-to-back, and thanks Madrox for staffing the event with his guys, as that will make things go smoothly. 'It'll help when it comes to debriefing later too! I get to know what they know!' Madrox mutters to himself. 'I'll be right here' he adds.

Monet and Angel sit next to each other on a sofa in a quiet area of the Gala. Glasses of wine at their side, Monet smiles as she remarks 'Thank you for coming'. 'We're thrilled to hear you’re interested in the board' Warren remarks. Monet adds that it is highly competitive, but if they think they have something to bring to the table, they should let her and Angel know. 'We're only now just beginning to open up our offerings, and you never know what could be useful to us' Monet explains. 'We wanted to make sure we talked to you first' Angel claims.

At 9:00 PM, Neal Sharra a.k.a. Thunderbird sits across from Monet and Warren. Neal wears a pink suit as he smiles and thanks Monet and Warren, telling them that, as they know, he has had access to the X-Corp HQ since its inception, and that the internal workings were something he had a hand in powering from the start. 'So you did' Monet remarks as she flips through some papers. Warren is also looking through papers and tells Neal that they will certainly look through this and give him a call. 'You were highly recommended by Bishop and Sunspot' Warren adds.

Half an hour later, Robert Da Costa a.k.a. Sunspot, in his striking orange Gala costume, sits across from Monet and Warren, 'Did I recommend him? Whatever, I don't remember – I'm mad' Roberto exclaims, running a hand along his head. 'You were supposed to follow a plan and instead decided to gamble because it seemed like good optics at the time!' Roberto remarks. Monet asks Robert if he heard anyone talking about the destroyed lab – because she didn't. 'No one knows a thing about a supply-chain disturbance we couldn't defend. Instead, they're all just talking about our big shiny sky boat'. Roberto makes a small glow of energy around his fingers and smiles as he declares that he wants a board position, that he is buying in – right now. Monet reminds Roberto that they have his money, to which he mutters 'Well, you wait. I got money you haven't even heard of yet'.

At that moment, Trinary looks at one of the screens in front of her and asks 'Are you seeing what I'm seeing?' 'No. Of course not' Madrox's voice can be heard responding to Trinary. 'I'm not seeing anything good' Madrox adds. 'Sir?' one of his dupes asks, standing nearby and carrying a tray of champagne flutes. 'Put this on and have a drink' Madrox replies as he starts to remove his costume. Several partygoers can be seen nearby – Banshee, Sebastian Shaw, Nightcrawler, Polaris and Laura Kinney. Madrox tells his dupe that Monet and Angel keep dodging him. 'They've got board meetings – so why am I not there?' Madrox wonders. '... You're on the board?' Trinary asks. 'I've been extended an offer' Madrox claims as he puts his dupe's costume on. 'Neat. Me too' Trinary reveals. 'Are you kidding?' Madrox retorts. 'You became a doctor a month ago, according to your files. And aren't you married? Layla Miller – I don't see her in attendance with you' Trinary declares. 'Listen, you nosy little hacker -' Madrox starts to reply, but Trinary interrupts him: 'It was just a question' she tells him, before suggesting that he probably ought to go break up one of these meetings, as she is concerned their jobs are being offered to people who don't need them.

At 9:59 PM, Warren is dancing closely with Selene Gallio, the Black Priestess. 'Forgive me if I misconstrued the nature of our meeting, Selene' Warren smiles. 'You haven't – but our meeting doesn't start for another 30 seconds. You're dancing with me on your own time. But if you're not the patient type, I'll speak plainly' Selene states, while Monet looks on from nearby. Selene boasts that she has been making deals since before all of Warren's competitors were born – combined, and tells him that time is the one thing money can't buy. 'We both know some very wealthy time machine owners who would disagree with you, Selene' Warren responds. 'Don't get smart with me' Selene snaps. Selene leans into Warren and bites his ear lobe as she tells him that there was a time before agriculture when they didn't let men touch anything of value – they learned quickly to never let the hunters portion out the spoils. 'It's 10:00 PM' Monet declares as she interrupts the dance.

'Really, agriculture ruined everything. The second the men figured out that they could plant seeds in land they felt they owned, it all went downhill' Selene remarks. 'Fascinating' Monet utters, and Warren agrees, before informing Selene that they can't stay. 'I've got more insight, if you've got a seat for me' Selene announces as she starts to walk away.

'I really like her' Monet tells Warren. 'This is why we need a board' Warren frowns. Monet goes over to where Madrox is holding a tray of champagne flutes, and Warren tells her that they can't just disagree about everything and then Monet just wears down his mental fortitude until they do it her way. '... and I disagree' Monet smiles. Madrox receives a communication from Trinary, asking him if he is near the CXOs – as there is a bit of a disturbance on the terrace.

Outside, Quentin Quire, who is part of the X-Force security detail for the Gala, hovers in the air while telepathically forcing the Fenris twins – Andreas and Andrea Von Strucker – to the ground. The twins are both wearing gold outfits and Quentin tells them that they suck. 'I know you were invited as technical citizens of Krakoa, or whatever, but you suck. You're dressed like aerobics-themed LARPers, and you're nazis'. Andreas struggles against the psychic attack: 'This is unconscionable!' he protests, but Quentin just tells him to shut up. As Monet and Warren approach Quentin, he tells the twins that he can see they are just here to talk, but he can also see who they are here to talk to. 'And I bet they think you suck, too!' Quentin exclaims. 'I do' Monet agrees. 'All of you thinking the same. So close-minded as to not even consider what we provide -' Andrea begins, before Monet instructs Quentin to drop the control. 'I want them to listen up of their own accord' Monet explains as she crouches next to the twins, who are both rubbing their heads.

'We do not need to lower ourselves to doing deals with the likes of you' Monet informs the twins. 'Yes, you're very proud to hate us in public where your friends will see. What will you say in private when you need our money?' Andreas asks. Monet raises a manicured finger at the twins and tells them that they misunderstand: 'I am morally opposed to you. I find you repulsive. But here's what should truly terrify you: I also find you, and everything about your ways, obsolete. Even the sharkiest, most bestial, most amoral part of me wants nothing to do with you. You would merely drag us down' Monet declares. Warren squats down next to Monet as he points out that the Fenris twins are used to doing business with humans. 'They can use limited resources to control those beneath them. We don't need to choose between doing the right thing or the profitable thing. So if you want people you can throttle, you can go deal with them' Warren suggests.

Suddenly:, 'Am I interrupting?' a voice calls out. Everyone looks up to see a blonde woman in a black dress standing nearby. She smiles and states that she is of the belief that she is to meet with them all this evening – although it is possible her assistant could have double-booked her. 'Sara St John. Of course' Andreas remarks as he stands up. He suggests to her that they stay out on the Terrace. 'Our mere presence can be very distracting to some of those inside' Andreas explains. 'I see' Sara responds. Monet, Warren and Madrox turn and walk away, as Warren tells Monet that she is rubbing off on him. 'I'm getting tired of this party' he admits, before remarking that he feels like canceling on Ms St John if she is taking meetings with Fenris. 'Indeed' Monet agrees.

Monet then calls out 'I'll take a sparkling water -' to Madrox, who utters 'Monet. It's me'. 'Jamie?' Monet asks, realising it isn't a dupe who has been following her. 'Are you jerking me around, M?' Madrox asks. 'What are you talking about? And is this really a good time? Answer the second one first' Monet instructs Madrox, who asks 'How many board seats can there be?' Hands on hips, Monet informs Madrox that it is an offer, and they want him to consider it – but if it isn't right for him, then he shouldn't take it. 'Stay a lab rat' she suggests. 'Well, I don't know what it entails yet' Madrox replies. 'Exactly' Monet mutters. 'The lab's been a nice scape from -' Madrox starts to say, before Warren checks his watch and interrupts, reporting that he and Monet have a meeting.

At 10:40 PM, Monet and Angel follow Mastermind a.k.a. Jason Wyngarde past some ice sculptures.  Mastermind thanks the XCOs for agreeing to talk a walk with him. He remarks that there are so many gorgeous places on the island that go unseen. 'Too far from the bar for most' he comments. 'Of course. This is stunning' Angel responds. Mastermind suggests that it suits this fine gala – a staggering display of mutant wealth and an absolute testament to the power and glory of Krakoa. 'And you're going to have to do even better. I'd like to know how you plan to' Mastermind states, glancing back at Monet. 'There's old Mastermind' Monet replies, adding that she knew people would be showing up with questions, but she didn't expect them to all be “are you hiring”. She then asks Mastermind if he brought a resume for them to look over.

Mastermind tells the XCOs that they misunderstand, and boasts that he doesn't need them. 'Krakoa's own Hellfire Trading Company has put this big soiree on for the people. The best party they've ever seen. But it's state run, you know? Official. Not very cool' Mastermind declares. 'Ah. Remind me what's cool. Don't you have golf with Magneto or something?' Monet asks. 'Your image, X-Corp. Either of you focus it through a lens that shows people exactly what you want them to see...or they go digging in your trash for their own narrative' Mastermind smiles. 'Are you making us an offer, Jason?' Angel asks. 'I am the lens. And I'm merely making a demonstration' Masterminds replies, snapping his fingers – which makes the ice sculptures and the open space around them disappear – illusions. Monet and Angel look around as they discover they are in the kitchen, where Madrox dupes are busy cleaning.

'I see. Showing us the beautiful island and we've been in the kitchens the whole time. Is this your idea of a joke?' Angel asks. 'Image is everything in this business, friends. Monet, you certainly know, after your little stunt in Brazil' Mastermind points out. Monet listens as Mastermind tells her that it doesn't matter what she can or can't do, so long as it looks good – right? 'For example, the X-Corp base. It holds technology within that seeks to elevate X-Corp into entirely new fields. But not yet'. Monet narrows her eyes and tells Mastermind that it's now he who is confused, and asks if this is a threat. 'Oh, no. As I said – consider it a demonstration. If I could fool two of the best minds in the business, just think of what else I could do...for your image, of course'. Mastermind hands Angel his card and tells him that he will be glad to have it when he needs it. 'Please tell me this is the last meeting of the night' Warren whispers to Monet. 'The last scheduled one' Monet replies, before Madrox interrupts them and holds up his earpiece communicator as he informs them that Trinary needs to talk to them immediately.

Monet and Angel return to the Gala, walking past Pyro and other guests, Angel touches his earpiece and tells Trinary to talk to him. 'What do you see?' he asks. Trinary reports that she has Sage's gate data up, clocking comings and goings – and Fenris has just arrived. 'Again?' Monet remarks. Trinary informs the others that the Madrox dupes have eyes on Andreas – who is seen entering the bathroom – but not Andrea – and the two of them register on the gates as one. Monet turns to Angel and suggests that they may have to split up. 'Oh?' Angel asks. 'When we told the nazi mutants to $#%& off, I forgot about the trusting nature of our very valuable and secret headquarters. Our headquarters that isn't done yet' Monet explains. 'No' Angel utters. Monet rushes off, her headpiece falling to the ground as she turns back to Angel and tells him that their headquarters with no locks but Krakoan gates is accessible to any mutant.

At 11:30 PM, the X-Corp HQ hovers over an undisclosed location in the ionosphere. 'Welcome to X-Corp – Andrea Von Strucker' a computer recording states as Andrea enters the sprawling complex. Andrea runs down a corridor, her heels making a loud noise as they strike the floor. In the communications suite, Trinary reports that she can hear someone, and offers to check the gate data. But Angel tells Trinary to wait, as Monet is on her way. Trinary ignores Angel's message and steps out into the corridor: 'Hello?' she calls out, while Angel can be heard telling her to wait again. 'Monet?' Trinary asks as she peers around a corner – then closes her eyes as she discovers a gun pointed at her head. 'Oh, you aren't Monet' Trinary utters.

'No. But I know who you are. You're a criminal, Trinary' Andrea Von Strucker exclaims as she points the gun at Trinary. 'Go ahead and shoot me! These systems only talk to me, and I won't talk for you' Trinary declares. Andrea reveals that she is not here to understand anything, as someone else can break it open later – this is merely an acquisition. 'You know, even more  than amnesty, I enjoy that they wrote it into the law that we mutants can kill one another' Andrea remarks. 'Say hello to Krakoa' she exclaims, wide-eyed as she fires the weapon – but at that moment, Monet, in her Penance form, lunges at her and knocks her to the ground. 'Oh, Andrea! You're going to regret reminding me of that!' Monet exclaims.

'Andreas, where is your sister?' Angel asks at 11:40 PM as he and Madrox approach Andreas, who is talking to Sara St John on the terrace. Cyclops and Jean Grey can be seen several feet away as Andreas claims that his sister had to step away. 'Forgive me, Ms St John and I were just joining hands' Andreas points out as he and Sara shake hands. Andreas then boasts that Fenris Consulting will be too busy, so he will have to rescind their earlier interest in the board. 'Consulting?' Angel asks. 'Yes, I'm so sorry we didn't get to speak – my meeting with Fenris was delayed by their detainment at the entrance, but we've decided to go forward with their offer' Sara informs Angel. 'Ah... I'm sorry to hear it. Forgive me, what is it exactly that you do?' Angel asks. Sara explains that, publicly, she is developing new pharmaceutical technologies for Noblesse. 'You're familiar?' she asks. 'Yes, of course. That's JP Kol's new venture' Angel responds. 'Indeed. Mr Kol was an early investor in many of my ideas, and he's brought me on board in a larger capacity' Sara explains.

Sara continues, informing Angel that Kol wasn't sure if he was going to just continue investing in projects he admired or truly jump back into the game himself – but after Kol got a lay of the land since Brazil, he has opted to go all in. 'One can't really do pharmaceuticals right now without a mutant consultant. You understand' Andreas declares. Sara informs Angel that with Fenris Consulting and Kol's backing of Noblesse, her research is poised to take off. She tells Angel that it is a shame they missed the chance to work together. 'Perhaps next time?' Sara smiles. Angel remarks to Andreas that Sara seems publicly proud to be working with him. 'You wouldn't believe what we've been able to do for our public image. Let's take a walk, Angel. Shall we?' Andreas replies. They walk through a crowd of Hellfire Gala attendees. Captain Britain can be seen, and Colossus, too, as Angel informs Andreas that he expected to have competition among his fellow Krakoans sooner or later. 'You didn't expect it to be so soon?' Andreas asks. 'I didn't expect it to be so  shameless' Angel admits.

'I won't begin to appeal to your sense of morality, but if you so much as offer anything close to a state secret, you won't have to worry about your finances' Angel warns Andreas. 'She won't need that. She's a human trying to get rich off  of us – they can't help themselves. I could sell anything and call it mutant' Andreas replies. 'That's really something coming from you' Angel remarks as they walk past Sunspot and Warpath. Calling Andreas by his name “Swordsman,” Angel asks him where his sister is. 'Don't attempt to woo her. I wouldn't let her alone with the likes of you, Worthington' Andreas replies. 'No, I'm serious' Angel tells Andreas. 'You know where she is, and Monet and I do, too. So if we're here together, they're probably together too. And I think Monet is going to win that fight' Angel warns Andreas.

'You son of a $%#&' Andreas snaps. 'You're threatening my Andrea? If we weren't at this stupid party, I would kill you for that!' Andreas boasts, gritting his teeth and waving a finger in Angel's face. 'Oh, Andreas...we haven't been at the party in some time' Angel replies, before thanking Mastermind, who appears and snaps his fingers, and the Gala illusion around them vanishes. 'Happy to help' Mastermind remarks, as Angel and Fenris find themselves near the docks on the shore of Krakoa. 'You tricky bastards. Claiming the moral high ground only to trick me!?' Andreas exclaims, before asking where his sister is.

Inside X-Corp HQ, 'Aah!' Andrea calls out as Monet slams her against a wall. 'If you kill me, I will make hell on that stupid island -' Andrea threatens, while Monet lunges at her: 'You idiot animal. You'll be begging to die!' Monet exclaims.

'Where is my sister?' Andreas shouts as he takes a swipe at Angel with his sword. 'You tell me, Andreas. We both know it – spit it out. Admit it!' Angel exclaims, dodging Fenris' attack. 'You're pathetic' Fenris tells Angel, ducking for cover as Angel attempts to punch him. 'We made a big mistake. X-Corp was going to be open to all mutants. Anyone who wanted to manifest an idea. No office doors. Real open-plan work space. No doors. No locks. Just gates. Thank you for showing us how foolish that was' Angel declares as he grabs Fenris in a headlock, and pulls him into the air. 'Maybe in a few generations, we can change that' Angel wonders, while Andreas struggles to break free of Angel's grasp. 'Don't worry. We won't give you Struckers the satisfaction of waking up on Krakoa. Sleep' Angel utters as he renders Andreas unconscious. Angel drops down to the ground, telling Mastermind that he is tempted to dump Andreas in the water until he wakes up. 'Well done' Mastermind tells Angel. 'I appreciate your aid' Angel replies, before asking if they should leave.

At that moment, Monet, Madrox and Trinary appear on the shore and walk towards Warren and Mastermind. 'Looks like we both roughed up a nazi. And you say we have no synergy' Monet calls out. Angel states that they can't let Fenris provoke them like this, before admitting that this place was a special circumstance. 'Nonsense, Warren. It was necessary. And you kept your cool. No blue meanie or anything. You must be very proud of yourself' Monet tells him as she puts a hand around his right bicep and holds up a glass of champagne. Angel asks if Andrea got any intel, but Monet reports that she got nothing physical, and that if she saw anything, she won't remember it. '... did you kill her?... Monet?' Angel asks. 'No' Monet replies. 'Just “no”?' Angel asks. 'Synergy' Monet remarks, before telling Mastermind that it is good to see him. 'Oh, no. Your lovely gown' Mastermind remarks, looking at Monet's torn outfit. Monet and Trinary start to walk away, before Monet waves at Warren and tells him that she will see him at the office, bright and early.

Mastermind glances at Warren and tells him that it was good that he kept his cool. 'I appreciate your help' Warren responds. 'I didn't expect your help with this, but...' Warren begins, as Mastermind drops the illusion – revealing Angel has transformed to his Archangel persona. 'Of course you didn't ask. You shouldn't have to' Mastermind replies. 'That's the value of having someone in charge of image' he smirks.

Characters Involved: 

Angel , Mastermind, Multiple Man, Penance, Trinary (all X-Corp)

Thunderbird III

Andreas & Andrea von Strucker

Aurora, Banshee, Captain Britain II, Colosuss, Daken, Gloriana, Jean Grey, Loa, Kwannon, Nightcrawler, Polaris, Pyro, Quentin Quire, Rictor, Sebastian Shaw, Sunfire, Sunspot, Warpath, Wolverine/Laura Kinney

Sarah St. John

Unnamed Gala guests
Camera crew

Story Notes: 

Part of the “Hellfire Gala” event. Issues in this event can be read individually, as several of them take place over the same period of time. The recommended reading order places this issue as part 8, following New Mutants (4th series) #19 and followed by Wolverine (7th series) #13.

This issue includes a one-page briefing outlining the Hellfire Gala meeting schedule, put together by Wind Dancer for Angel and Monet. The briefing notes the following:

Thunderbird (Neal Shaara) was recommended by Bishop, something to do with the technology of the X-Corp base, and his energy powers, and Thunderbird wanted corporate participation in exchange for his involvement. Wind Dancer's recommendation is for a brief meeting, and Monet's notes indicate a place can be found for Thunderbird.Sunspot wants to discuss appropriate resource management, specifically his money he signed over to X-Corp. Wind Dancer recommends a brief meeting.Selene, referred to as the Black Priestess, is noted as being the first of a few Hellfire Club stakeholders who are interested, but there are nasty rumors about what she is up to when away from Krakoa. Wind Dancer's recommendation is for a cautious meeting in a public place. Angel notes that unless Selene would be able to contribute something vital, he can't see her being beneficial for X-Corp.Sara St John from Noblesse Pharmaceuticals reached out for a meeting, the only human who did so. Wind Dancer didn't know how to decline the meeting, so recommends a meeting with caution. Additional notes report some further intel that Trinary uncovered.Jason Wyngarde (Mastermind), not one of his daughters as Wind Dancer had hoped, Wind Dancer's notes indicate that he talked a lot about PR, but they already have someone who does that. Wind Dancer doesn't recommend getting involved with Mastermind, but schedules a brief meeting.A short note mentions that Wind Dancer tried to get in touch with some mutants who Monet and Angel requested – Bishop, who declined a meeting, and Risque, who was out of range when the request was sent, but also that now she is back in range, she has still not responded to the request.

Thunderbird III was last seen in Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #9-10.

Selene was first called the Black Priestess in New Mutants (1st series) #9, which was also her first appearance.

Selene has been living on Krakoa since House of X #5, appearing mostly as a background character. She's had a prominent role in Captain America (9th series) #1-8, 20-23, 25-26.

Since the formation of Krakoa, the Fenris twins have appeared briefly in Marauders #8, 17 and 21.

Andreas von Strucker was known as the third Swordsman beginning with New Thunderbolts #4.

This issue includes a diagram of the X-Corporation Board of Directors, noting that Angel, Monet and Mastermind are all in the position of CXO, with one blank CXO position and the role of chairperson unspecified. 

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