(in flashback images)
Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, was born in Los Alamos, New Mexico. His mutant ability of self-replication manifested at birth. From an early age, Jamie was fascinated by what the discoveries of science had to offer. Soon, his powerful duplication abilities were discovered by the world and put to use by some of the greatest minds in science and technology. Naturally inquisitive, he has always loved a challenge. A student of many fields and holder of dozens of patents, Madrox has always sought out all life has to offer. Jamie recollects what his duplicates learn when he absorbs them, making studying a breeze – you can call him Dr Madrox several times over! With a mind like Madrox's there's no telling what can be done. Everything from research and development to design and engineering, monitoring and lab development, and post-experimental analysis, is done at the hands of just one mutant. When the dupes are absorbed, Dr Madrox aggregates all of their information in his brilliant mind without even needing to call a meeting. That's the patented Madrox Workflow!
Technology TALKS, NorCal, where expo attendees make their way through the exhibition center. Among them, two very important individuals – Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel and Monet St Croix, sometimes called Penance. Both are XCOs of X-Corp. Above the exhibition is the X-Corp floating headquarters. Monet is on her phone to Warren and tells him that Madrox is in the air, and that his little monkeys are working their hardest. 'At 5PM local time he activates the IBG and we change the world' Monet adds. 'Let's hope he makes it happen' Angel responds to Monet. Monet tells Warren not to be cynical, and adds that Madrox is very dedicated these days. 'True' Warren agrees. They hang up their phones as they locate each other among the crowd, and Monet asks Warren if this is how he wants to waste their time. 'There's ten minutes to my next talk, I need coffee, and there's a line for the ladies' Monet adds. Warren informs Monet that Noblesse knows what they are up to, and that they are trying to get ahead of them. 'Did you see their copy for this thing?' Warren asks. 'Yeah, “It's here. Ionosp-here”. Ridiculous' Monet replies.
Warren suggests that Noblesse knows about the IBG and since they cannot build Krakoan tech, they are trying to get ahead of their launch by printing up a bunch of brochures to look like they had the idea first. 'It's a good idea. We should have done it' Monet comments, when suddenly, 'I pitched it, actually' a voice calls out. Monet and Warren look over as Sofia Mantega a.k.a. Wind Dancer appears alongside Trinary. 'It was in the second of my three pitches. The “Phase 3” section. Did you read the deck I sent?' Wind Dancer asks. Monet greets her associates and tells them that she is glad they picked up her invitations. In typical Monet style, she ignores the question Wind Dancer directed at her. Monet then asks where everyone is headed next. Trinary informs her that they are headed to “We TALK Tech too: Women's Perspective in Business”. 'Mm. My sympathies' Monet replies as the group step onto an escalator.
Warren asks Monet if it isn't nice that there is a place for the women here to network away from the masculine posturing. 'Or you could just quit the posturing and not send them to the tea garden while you misbeheave' Monet suggests, before telling Trinary and Sofia to have fun. 'You won't be able to get any real wheeling and dealing done there, but it's good practice' Monet adds. 'Monet' Warren begins, turning to her. 'I'm not going to that' Monet snaps back telepathically. 'You know they don't care about those talks any more than you do' Warren replies, smiling as he looks at Trinary and Sofia taking a selfie as they travel down the escalator. 'They only want to be there because I told them you would be there too' Warren explains. 'Fahhhh...' Monet mumbles, covering her face with her hands.
Shortly, Monet, Wind Dancer and Trinary arrive in the conference room. 'Wow. This is nice' Trinary remarks as she looks around. 'Tch. No, it isn't' Monet scowls, before stating that it is insulting. 'Sending us to day care as if we can't handle the unvarnished version of business' she remarks. Trinary says that she would rather talk with women, to which Monet tells her she would too – when they are actually given the keys. 'But these women very likely all work for men' she explains. 'Like that Sara St john woman. She looks independent, but she's just the hand of JP Kol' Monet adds, before telepathically contacting Warren, asking him to keep her updated. She tells him that she will keep this connection open, and points out that she is going to be bored stuff here, so she may as well be in both rooms at once. At that moment, 'Warren Worthington?' a voice calls out – and at the same time, 'Monet St Croix?' another voice asks. 'Sorry – I'll call you back' Warren and Monet both tell each other via their psi-link.
Meanwhile, inside the laboratory of Dr Jamie Madrox, Prime, within the X-Corp HQ. Madrox stands on a balcony looking down into the lab and tells his dupes who are busy below that they are nearly ready to begin. Madrox communicates with another part of the headquarters, where Vulcan, Bishop, Neal Shaara the third Thunderbird and Sunspot are all connected to some sort of power core. Madrox addresses each of them and tells them that they each have unique abilities to harness and manipulate solar energy, and that together, it seems that they will be able to create a mutant circuit that will generate enough power to activate the Ionospheric Bandwith Generator. 'I can be many men and learn many things. But I cannot work alone! No mutant can! We need one another -' Madrox starts to say, when suddenly, one of the dupes holds up his mobile phone and tells him that he has an incoming call – from Layla Miller. 'Not now!' Madrox exclaims.
'Laaaayyyyla! How's my girl and my little baby boy?' Madrox asks as he looks at his phone, where he can see Layla and their son, Davey. Layla tells Jamie that she thinks today is the day, and informs him that Davey has been grabbing onto everything, and keeps reaching for things on the countertops. 'I think he's gonna walk today' Layla reveals. 'That's great. I'll keep an eye on the playroom monitor. Gotta go -' Jamie starts to reply, before Layla interrupts him, suggesting to him that he should come home early, as Davey will probably get right up on his feet to greet him at the gate. But Jamie tells Layla that he can't, as it is launch day, and the Technology TALKS event is underway. 'And we're the grand finale' Madrox explains, before suggesting that Layla should keep Davey on the couch so he doesn't walk anywhere until he gets home. 'He loves cartoons. The older and worse, the better' Jamie adds. 'I'm serious' Layla snaps. 'So am I, Layla' Jamie responds. 'Okay, so I'll tell your son to just stay seated until you're around for him' Layla snaps, pointing a finger at the camera in her phone. 'Layla, come on! I know it sounds crazy, but I don't trust a dupe to run something so vital -' Madrox starts to say, his attention focused on one of the dupes who show him something – but at the same time, Layla hangs up the phone, ending the call.
Jamie covers his face with his hands and tells his dupes that he is sorry about that, and that they will commence shortly. 'Doc? Something I can do to help the wife and kid? Maybe I'm a softie, but -' the dupe begins, to which Madrox tells his dupe that he will be more useful elsewhere. He then instructs the dupe to go home, spend the day and make sure he comes back so he can absorb him. 'It's really important I gather your memory data, okay?' Madrox asks. Madrox then turns back to the other dupes and tells them that they have their assignments, that they are not to deviate and not to use improvisation. 'Now we use our gifts to be men of science' he boasts. 'So let's not beef this'.
As the day goes on, Jamie tells his team that they are on the precipice of making history with the launch of the ionospheric bandwith generator. Jamie watches a video of his dupe playing with Davey, who walks towards him. 'C'mere, buddy' the dupe can be heard saying on the recording. 'We cannot miss a beat' Madrox announces, while his dupe picks Davey up, smiling, and holds him in the air. As Bishop, Sunspot, Thunderbird and Vulcan continue with their important work, Madrox tells them that joint capacity for solar-energy manipulation produces a new circuit, generating a massive amount of energy for the ionosphere around them. Energy crackles around the floating X-Corp HQ, as Madrox explains that with the locally empowered ionosphere comes bandwidth, and at an exponential increase. He points out that human companies have been trying to drive faster on the road, but they couldn't figure out how to add more lanes – he has, however. 'We have' he adds, while the video footage shows his dupe and Layla Miller smiling at each other.
Back at the conference, Monet pours a drink into two glasses while Sara St John sits nearby. Monet tells Sara that if she had to make time to meet with her, she is glad they found it somewhere private. Monet's thoughts reach out to Trinary, asking her where the dirt on Sara St John is. Monet hands Sara one of the glasses, while Trinary tells Monet that her entire digital presence is immaculate, that she doesn't exist outside of press releases – she is clean. 'I prefer to do business the old-fashioned way' Monet informs Sara. 'Like a man?' Sara asks, raising her glass. 'No one's that clean' Monet telepathically tells Trinary. 'Like a mutant' Monet corrects Sara, reminding her that she attended the gala with Fenris, who she caught sticking their fingers in her office. 'You left with them, too' Monet adds. Sara explains that the Struckers maintain that they were granted the same access to X-Corp as any other mutant, and that they had no reason to believe that their presence would be seen as disruptive. 'The Struckers? You mean the beloved children of Baron Strucker, the Nazi? Who followed in his footsteps? Listen to yourself. Did you know?' Monet exclaims, before telling Sara not to tell her, as she can find out what she knows for herself. 'Careful. Ever since the Hellfire Gala's displays -' Sara begins, as Monet connects her mind to Sara's. '- we've been taking necessary precautions against psychics' Sara reveals. 'Aaah!' Monet utters as she goes wide-eyed when her mind connects with Sara's.
Nearby, Wind Dancer asks Trinary if Monet left the talk. 'I can't say I blame her. I forgot that I find most of this corporate talk pretty distasteful' Trinary replies. Wind Dancer asks Trinary if she is changing her mind about wanting a seat on the board, but Trinary tells her she isn't, as X-Corp can be different – at least, she hopes so. Wind Dancer then tells Trinary that people online really like her, that she has a good buzz in a lot of circles. 'You're like a deminist Robin Hood. It plays fantastically' Wind Dancer smiles. 'You know that only some people say that about me' Trinary corrects Wind Dancer. Trinary tells Wind Dancer that she is good with those things, finding the good angle, but that she talks to these things – computers and phones. 'They can't help but tell me when they feel the crackle of people's hate for me' Trinary explains. 'What kind of $#%& friend would tell you that?' Wind Dancer asks. 'You talk to enough computers. You also need people' she points out. Looking through some hi-tech glasses, Trinary announces that she felt a strange piece of tech activate. 'It's a psychic reflector! That's got to be Monet!' Trinary declares as she begins to run down the corridor, with Wind Dancer flying behind her.
Outside, dozens of attendees at the expo raise their cellphones above their head and take photos as the X-Corp HQ can be seen. 'Sunspot? Shaara? What's going on?' Madrox calls out. He tells them that it looks like they are starting to overclock from here. 'Hello?' he asks, but gets no answers. 'We're only 20 minutes from launch. Someone tell me what's going on!' Madrox exclaims. One of the others starts to respond, but Madrox can't make out what they are saying, as the connection is faulty. 'Oh my God' Madrox utters, while another dupe steps through a Krakoan gateway, and Madrox realizes that he failed to account for range. 'We're generating too much power – we've had to vent out a blast of energy during the tests' Madrox announces. He scratches his head and frowns as he remarks 'But if we get far enough away to safely vent the extra energy, we'll be out of range for the bandwidth launch! We didn't account for – I didn't account for range!' Madrox realizes.
Madrox waves his fists in the air and calls himself careless, and declares that there is now no time to run the procedure. One of his dupes tells him that he remembered the manual vent, but that it is near the front gate. 'If someone goes right now -' the dupe begins. 'Now?' Madrox asks, turning to the dupe. One of the other mutants continues to try and contact Madrox, but the communication is garbled. Madrox then speaks into a communicator: 'Attention, X-Corp personnel: Whoever is nearest to the forward gate – the manual vent is two floors down'. At that moment elsewhere in the HQ, one of the dupes begins to run to a staircase. 'I'm on it!' he calls out. Madrox states that the IBG's manual vent is grounded for this level of potential voltage, and warns the dupe that complete disintegration is a possibility.
In the room where the core that Vulcan, Sunspot, Thunderbird and Bishop are powering, energy crackles around furiously, while one of the men shouts 'Hey, are we getting that help anytime soon?' Madrox responds by suggesting they keep sending overflow energy to Vulcan, and informs the men that he sent whatever dupe is nearest to the vent. 'It's a planet's entire ionosphere of energy, Jamie!' one of the men exclaims. 'Hold on!' the dupe calls out as he reaches the manual vent. 'Vulcan's doing all he can and more!' one of the men exclaims as Vulcan appears to be in agony absorbing the excess energy. 'I've got it -!' the dupe announces as he hits the switch to manually open the vent.
Outside, the crowd continues to focus on the X-Corp HQ. 'Looks like they've normalized. X-Corp appears to have their launch back on schedule' someone remarks. 'Did you see it glowing?' another asks. 'I thought it wasn't launching until happy hour' another exclaims, while a man in a black suit states that they are moving.
Back inside the X-Corp HQ, 'Truly, I believe I've managed an impressive quantity of energy' Vulcan comments as he, Thunderbird, Bishop and Sunspot follow Madrox into the area where the manual vent is located. Madrox coughs as smoke clears around them. 'Yeah. You did great, man' Madrox tells Vulcan, while realizing that he should have had someone ready to vent the overage. 'It looks like he couldn't handle it' Madrox adds, referring to the dupe. '$#%&. He had just gotten back from...$#%&!' Madrox utters, wiping his eyes. Sunspot tells Madrox that he is sorry. 'Is “sorry” appropriate here?' Sunspot asks. 'I know you destroy these guys on a whim all the time' Sunspot adds. Madrox tells him that he will be fine. 'I just... hate losing data' Madrox replies as he picks up a scrap of the dupe's labcoat which has a small badge on it.
Elsewhere as the expo continues, several people gather around Angel as he steps down from the stage where he was just speaking. One of them calls out to him: 'I'm an accounts manager at Marchand during the day, but I actually am developing an app -' they start, while another shouts 'Can I call you Angel? My problem right now is scale, and I need someone to help me with that. Honestly, I just want your advice' they claim. 'My dad said not to work with mutant investors, but he's done giving me money!' a woman calls out, waving at Warren. Warren holds his phone to his ear and asks Trinary if this can wait, as he has a crowd. 'No!' Trinary shouts as she continues to run down the corridor, with Wind Dancer flying at her side. 'It really can't. Monet tried to scan Sara psychically and Sara was wearing a psychic reflector. Do you know what those do?' Trinary asks 'Tell him it's like someone tried to “Monet” Monet' Wind Dancer suggests. 'I'm sure she reacted terribly to that' Angel replies, as he holds up his phone, while Trinary tells him that she is sending the surveillance footage to him. Warren looks at the recording, which shows Monet switching to her Penance form and lunging at Sara St John. 'Now she does this? With the launch in half an hour?' Angel mutters, before excusing himself from those gathered around him, explaining that something has come up, and he really has to put the fire out.
Down a seemingly empty corridor, Sara St John's high-heels clop against the floor as she runs. 'Voice note – Monet St Croix, X-Corp CXO. The Strucker girl said St Croix was a monster, but I didn't believe her. She tried to read my mind, and when my blockers activated, she turned into a... a beast' the shocked Sara remarks as she records herself. She runs into an office and hides behind a table. 'I believe her now. Yes. I do' Sara mutters, when suddenly, 'Gooood. I knew you were smart' Monet snarls as she enters the room in her Penance form. Sara clutches her handbag and tells Penance to stay back. 'I moved. Then you made a move' Penance explains. 'I didn't -' Sara begins. 'Yessss, you did' Penance snaps. 'Setting a trap is making a move' Penance points out. 'I didn't know you would -' Sara begins, but Penance tells her to be quiet, as she wants to talk honestly. Penance asks Sara if she is feeling honest now – about Fenris and the lab and about Kol's little case.
Penance leaps onto the boardroom table and warns Sara that there is nothing Fenris could have gotten on her during their little panty raid that is worth what it will cost her to work with them. 'Not a few ionospheric buzzwords, not any files, nothing. It's mutant technology. Mutant power. It's nothing you can replicate' Monet declares, reaching forward with her deadly-sharp claws, Penance tells Sara that she is doing her a favor – calling her an “idiot sack of blood” in the process. 'It was a dumb move to trigger this side of me. You might have gotten yourself killed...but my control is impeccable I'm not going to suddenly attack you' Penance announces, while Sara backs up against a wall. 'Fenris are consultants who can do whatever they want. And Noblesse is your competitor who wants to hire them. It's business 101, Monet' Sara declares. Penance responds by shoving her claws into the wall above Sara's head, causing Sara to scream and cover her face. 'You want to do business?' Penance asks. 'Here's a proposal – lose their number' she offers.
'Since you don't have a conscience to tell you this, I will: keep anyone with the last name Strucker off your list' Penance warns Sara, as she begins to revert to her human form. Monet adjusts her tie and tells her: 'Just so you know, you're not making a separate deal with Penance. See? I'm already in a better mood'. Monet then tells Sara to go, and that it is fine. 'Eat our scraps, chase our heels. In twenty minutes, we launch, and all your rush-job slick ionospheric PR will be a great appetizer for the main course: X-Corp's powerful mutant tech'. Monet declares. Picking up her handbag, Sara tells Monet that she thinks she is missing a larger part of her market. 'Krakoa doesn't test as immaculately as you think. There are still so many people who don't like mutants. There are so many mutants who don't like mutants!' Sara points out.
Sarah reaches into her jacket pocket and states that some mutants want to supress their powers and not be special at all. 'And you don't have to let them do that, but someone should' she adds. 'I have to be somewhere else' Monet replies as she looks at her phone, back turned to Sara. 'I thought you'd want to know Noblesse is developing new options for just that customer' Sara reveals. 'This one is a convenient injectable' she claims as she suddenly shoves what she pulled out of her pocket into Monet's neck – some sort of needle. 'Are you – joking? You.... fool...' Monet utters as she collapses to the floor. 'It still has some very unpleasant side effects in mutant trials – paralysis, etc' Sara claims, explaining that they plan to handle those before launch.
Sara leaves the meeting room, closing the door behind her. 'There she is – where's Monet!? Wind Dancer calls out as she and Trinary rush over to Sara, who asks 'Ah! Ladies. You're the X-Corp interns?' 'We are not interns' Trinary retorts. Sara smiles and suggests that they walk together to the next women's Technology TALK – she thinks it is called “SquirrelBoss” with Doreen Green. Trinary tells her that they have a launch to attend, and that their boss is expected. 'Now step aside. Trinary can talk to cell phones, and yours is probably full of gross secrets' Wind Dancer exclaims. But Sara tells the young women that she thinks they misunderstand her. 'I am certainly not trying to stop you from finding where your boss is, but -' she begins, as Trinary and Wind Dancer push past her and enter the room. 'Monet?' Wind Dancer calls out, but all they find is a gaping hole in the ceiling. '- your guess as to her whereabouts is as good as mine' says Sara.
At that moment, at the X-Corp stage, a clock times down to the launch, while Angel stands on the stage and phones Monet, telling her that it is 4:58 and he is here alone. He informs her that Madrox said the tech was ready to go online at 5, and that he just has to hit start. Angel adds that Madrox said there were some earlier issues, but that now it is fine. 'Look, I know it's been you and me looking to fill this board, and we've been in the center of this from the beginning. But... these are competitive seats, M. If you can't show up -' Angel starts to say, before an announcer reports that the time is 5:00 PM, meaning it is time for happy hour and evening entertainment, courtesy of their Vibranium-tier sponsor, X-Corp. Angel tells Monet that he has to go, and hangs up the phone. Angel quietly tells himself that he never prays, because that seems silly from someone who looks like him, but that he will give anything for this to work. 'Amen' he ends his little prayer.
Angel smiles as he looks out to the crowd gathered before him. 'Hello and good evening, Technology TALKS Ten!' Angel calls out. The crowd cheers for him, and Angel thanks them. He states that the world needs more bandwidth, that the lanes of the information super-highway have been expanded in limited leaps forward, small but mighty steps forward on the road to a better future. 'As mutants, we learn early that you don't always manifest something when you want it. Sometimes, the power you can hardly imagine comes when you most need it' Angel remarks, before smiling and pointing upwards as he tells everyone to look up.
'That's our cue. For the launch!' Madrox calls out within the X-Corp HQ.
'... Look up!' Angel calls out again. But when nothing happens, he starts to tell the crowd 'Shortly, ah, very shortly, you will see -'. At that moment, Trinary and Wind Dancer appears on the stage and walk over to Angel. 'Where's Monet if she's not here?' Wind Dancer asks. 'What's happening?' Trinary whispers. She looks up and utters 'Omigod, it's not working!' Angel tells her to stay calm and to get him Madrox. 'I'd like him to explain why X-Corp's most crucial launch just publicly failed' Angel exclaims.
Inside his lab within the X-Corp HQ, Madrox hangs his head as he slumps to the floor.
Outside the Roxxon Biotech Plant in Missouri. 'We checked with Monet and Warren, right?' a Madrox dupe asks as Madrox and four of his dupes stand on a hillside overlooking the Roxxon facility. 'Don't worry about them. And with our lab gone, it's been a while since I've done something like this' Jamie Madrox replies. 'Plus, it'll benefit X-Corp when we expose Roxxon's bad practices' a dupe suggests. 'Exactly' Madrox replies.
The group then splits off, with Madrox and one dupe making their way across the rooftop of the facility. Their mission is to acquire evidence of unethical mutant trials. 'Maybe this will get us other job offers. It's good to have more options' Madrox suggests. 'You make the decisions, man' the dupe replies.
Several dupes make their way into the Roxxon facility, with the mission if shutting down the distribution plant. 'Why aren't we going through the truck entrance?' one of them asks as they climb down a rung ladder into some large pod-like area. 'You can if you want to be greeted by armed guards' one of the other dupes suggests. Another opens a hatch, which causes another to mutter 'If I knew we were going swimming, I would have brought my speedo'. 'Someone slept during the mission briefing' the one opening the hatch complains.
Another dupe is on a mission to liberate the mutants, making his way through a ventilation duct, his clunking can be heard by several Roxxon guards who look up at the ceiling above them – and suddenly, several dupes fall into the guardsroom, landing on the guards. 'Oh, hey, that's my old barber' one of the dupes remarks as several of them look at monitors depicting the prisoners within the facility.
Madrox and his dupe take down a Roxxon guard, and Madrox puts the guard's vest and cap on. 'Cha-ching!' he smiles as he holds up the guard's access cards. 'Getting this?' Madrox asks his dupe as they make their way into another part of the facility where scientists can be seen working – one of them injecting something into a test subject, possibly a mutant, whose body is partly deformed. The dupe starts to take photos and tells Madrox that the whole world is going to know about this. 'Hey! Who let you in here?' one of the scientists calls out when they see Madrox and his dupe. 'Okay. We got what we came for!' the dupe points out throwing a large cabinet down a staircase and blocking the guards from climbing the steps and reaching them.
The dupes in the control room leave the room and march down the corridor, where they come across more guards. 'You know what time it is...it's CLOBBERIN' time for you!' one of the dupes jokes as they confront the guards and begin to free the prisoners in cells that line the corridor. 'Mutants are freed!' one of the dupes exclaims.
The other group of dupes swim through the water system, planting several bombs as they go. 'We're the Roxxon pool cleaners!' one of them jokes as they emerge from the water and encounter two large guards who appear not to be human. 'PILE ON!' one of the dupes exclaims as a dozen or so dupes leap at the large men. 'Keep at it, dupes!' one of the dupes calls out. More bombs are placed throughout the facility, and one of the dupes contacts Madrox Prime and the dupe with him and reports that the bombs are set. 'Let's go!' the dupe replies as Madrox and the dupes escape the Roxxon facility, and watch as the bombs explode.
'Let's speed up construction of Madrox's new lab' Monet St Croix suggests to Angel as they watch the footage that Madrox sent them. Angel smiles back.