Washington DC, where Lorna “Polaris” Dane stands on a building rooftop. The Washington Monument glows under the moon-lit sky. Lorna smiles at a gray-skinned being in front of her, who asks ‘Y’didn’t tell any of yer X-Factor buddies you were coming here, did you?’ Lorna reminds him that he said it was persona, that he said he needed to talk to her, alone. ‘Thanks. I appreciate that’ comes the reply. ‘So - what’s the big emergency? When you called you sounded like it was the end of the world or something’ Lorna exclaims.
Random lights a cigar and tells Polaris that it is not the end of his world, but that it sure looks like the end of hers. With that, he shifts his arm into a massive weapon, much to the shock of Lorna, who asks ‘Random! What are you -’ - but she doesn’t get a chance to finish her sentence, as Random exclaims ‘Say goodnight, Gracie!’ and blasts Polaris at close range - shredding Lorna’s jacket and sending her backwards across the rooftop.
Falling to the ground, Lorna tells herself that she is an idiot, that she just stood there and let Random nail her, like she was some stupid amateur. Polaris is lucky that she managed to magnetically shield herself just enough to block part of Random’s blast, otherwise she would be dead right now. ‘Of course…with the ground coming up so fast - I just might end up in a pine box anyway!’ Lorna tells herself. Polaris decides that she has to clear her head and fast, put on the brakes. Inches from the road below, where a red car with the license plate “Random” is parked.
‘Whew! I like an adrenaline rush as much as the next person - but that really wasn’t fun!’ Lorna tells herself, while wondering what is going on here. Up on the rooftop, Random remarks that that went even easier than he thought, and pulls out a portable phone: ‘Yo…Vera? Put the voucher through, honey - this job’s over!’ Random declares. ‘And your dream boat is coming home’ he adds. Standing over the smoldering edge of the roof and asks Vera to do him a favor: ‘Go through my laser-discs and pull out a couple of John Fords for me, okay? Maybe some Capras too. And yank a few sticks of the old radio stuff - Benny, Welles, Burns ‘n’ Allen - and pizza. I’m definitely in the mood for a - Sicilian?’ Random exclaims, shocked that Polaris flies up beside him: ‘So I’m thinking: why in the world would Random want to kill me?’ Lorna asks.
Polaris points out that there is no great love between Random and X-Factor, but no bad blood either, as he helped them out when they went up against the Acolytes, and did a good job of it, too. ‘So why is he suddenly out for my head?’ Lorna asks, before declaring ‘And then it occurs to me: money. This is the kind of scum-sucking slime who’ll do anything for a buck. Let’s face it, anybody who drives around in a Lamborghini likes the high life’ With that, Lorna uses her magnetic powers to raise Random’s car from the street - up into the air alongside her. Random opens his mouth in shock, ‘That’s my car!’ he gasps. ‘Well - it used to be!’ Lorna exclaims, thrusting the car forward, slamming it into Random, whose morphable form splats around the car.
Elsewhere in Washington, ‘Glad you could make it, Alex - I think it’s time the two of us had a little chat’ Forge exclaims, not looking up from where he is tinkering with some wires, as Alex “Havok” Summers enters the room. Alex tells Forge that he is a little taken aback by this. ‘I mean, all of a sudden Val’s just gone - and we get a notice that you’re our new government liaison and -’ Alex exclaims, to which Forge interrupts, telling Havok that he apologizes for the confusion, and explains that it was time for Val to move on to greener pastures. ‘Seems the new people in the White House thought she was being wasted where she was’ Forge remarks.
‘But - she didn’t even say goodbye!’ Havok exclaims. Still tinkering with the wires, Forge remarks that, as he understands it, after the Camp Hayden mess, Alex and Valerie were not exactly on the best of terms. ‘That’s not the point. We worked together for months’ Alex exclaims. ‘She was one of us -’ he adds. ‘She’s gone’ Forge declares. ‘Where?’ Alex asks, angrily. ‘That’s classified’ Forge tells him. ‘Isn’t it always?’ Alex mutters, declaring that that it seems the US government is allergic to answering questions. ‘Are you?’ Forge asks, turning to Alex for the first time. ‘Excuse me?’ Alex asks. ‘Are you allergic to answering questions?’ Forge states once more. ‘I don’t -’ Alex begins, to which Forge states that, actually, he has got just one question: ‘Why?!’, to which Alex asks him if he cares to be a little more specific.
Several monitors behind Alex switch on, depicting X-Factor in various states. ‘Why you?’ Forge asks. ‘Why them? What is it about Havok, Polaris, Wolfsbane, Multiple Man and, ahem…Strong Guy, that makes you right for X-Factor?’ Forge tells Havok to explain to him why he shouldn’t give the five of them the boot and start the whole project from scratch. Annoyed, the handsome Alex tells Forge that he doesn’t have to explain anything. ‘Our record stands for itself. You think you can do better - be my guest’ Alex exclaims, adding that Forge best check his arithmetic, as there are six members on the team, not five. ‘Quicksilver -’ Alex begins, while Forge interrupts him: ‘Is on extended leave of absence’.
‘What?’ Alex gasps as a monitor depicting Quicksilver battling Magneto switches on. ‘Who approved that?’ Alex asks. ‘I did’ Forge tells him, to which Alex asks why he was not informed. ‘You’re being informed. Now’ Forge tells him. ‘First Val - now Pietro - I want some answers, Forge, and I want them n-’ Alex exclaims, but Forge interrupts yet again, asking Alex if he is trying to change the subject. ‘I don’t blame you. You probably can’t give me a single reason why you five should be kept on’ ‘Hold on a min-’ Alex begins, to which Forge exclaims, ‘I mean, take the kid…’ ‘Wolfsbane?’ Alex asks. ‘Yes - a sixteen year old girl with serious mental and emotional problems. What possible use could she be to X-Factor?’ Forge asks.
At that moment, on Muir Island, Dr Moira MacTaggert and another scientist enter the quarters where Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair has been staying. ‘Rahne - it’s time for your -’ Moira calls out, but finds the room empty. ‘Ms Sinclair?’ the other scientist asks. ‘She’s gone!’ someone shouts.
Back in Washington, several monitors show various images from Wolfsbane’s history, while Havok tells Forge that, first of all, those “problems” were forced on Wolfsbane by the Genoshan geneticists, which is why Rahne is on Muir Isle, taking steps to undo what the madmen did to her. ‘And second of all?’ Forge asks. ‘That girl is the glue that holds this team together!’ Havok exclaims. ‘Oh, really?’ Forge asks. ‘Yes, really!’ Alex tells him, explaining that the very fact Wolfsbane is from another country allows her to bring a fresh perspective to their problems, makes them see themselves as part of something bigger - a global village as opposed to a narrow American milieu.
“Milieu” Forge exclaims. ‘I like that. But you’ve got to admit, she is a little young…’ Forge remarks, to which Havok declares that Rahne’s youth is a refreshing alternative to the hardened cynicism X-Factor is constantly being bombarded with here in Washington. ‘And yes - that means you!’ Alex adds. Forge ponders Alex’s comments: “Global village?” “Refreshing alternative?” and remarks that he supposes Alex was one of those guys who could really snow their way through a college paper. ‘So how’d I do on this one?’ Alex asks. ‘You passed - so far. But we’ve got a long way to go’ Forge exclaims.
Across town, a large wood water tank comes crashing down as Polaris forces Random through it. ‘WHO, Random? Who wants me dead so badly that they’d pay a maggot like you to do the job?’ Lorna demands to know. As Random slams against the ground, he tells Lorna that she is better off not knowing, as it would only upset her. Water pools around him, while Lorna exclaims ‘Believe you? A bounty-hunter with no moral center - a money-grubbing murderer who turns on his own kind if the price is right?’
Random gets to his feet, and once against holds his large transformed arms up to Polaris - “My own kind?” he snarls. ‘Just because we share a genetic mutation, sweet-cheeks, don’t’ think for a second that you ‘n’ me are the same kind!’ he tells Lorna. ‘You’re looking at a species of one! Only loyalty I’ve got is to myself - and whoever writes the checks!’ Random declares, before suddenly colliding with Polaris. Random smiles as he splattered form moves around Lorna. ‘Tried to repel me with yer magnetic field, huh? Forgot you were dealing with a guy whose mutant power automatically counteracts whatever’s thrown at him’ he exclaims.
‘Forget? How could I forget something I didn’t know - until now!’ Lorna exclaims as she uses her magnetic power to thrust Random against a brick wall. Lorna suggests to Random that if he wants to stay in this business, he had better learn to keep his big mouth shut. ‘Pulled me toward you, huh - so my powere’d send me flying the other way - right into the wall!’ Random exclaims as his splattered form begins to reshape itself. ‘I learn fast!’ Lorna exclaims, to which Random boasts that he does also. ‘See…there’s a reason they call me Random’ he announces.
‘Anything you throw at me, I come up with a way t’beat it. Y’can’t predict me. Y’can’t pin me down!’ Random declares. ‘So whadda I care if you know what makes me tick? You’ll never be able to stop me - and there’s no way on Earth -’ Random begins, while Lorna grins wickedly: ‘Keep talking, Rambo’ she remarks. ‘ - you can pull the same trick on me - twice?’ Random continues, only for his car to come careening down the side of the wall - as Lorna smashes it into him. ‘Oh…man! Again with the car! It’s bad enough you wrecked it - but do you have to rub it in?’ Random asks.
Back in Forge’s lab, Close-ups of Madrox and Strong Guy appear on the monitors as Forge asks Havok to tell him about these two - the “Abbot and Costello” of the mutant world. ‘I didn’t know having a sense of humor was a crime’ Alex replies. ‘A sense of humor is one thing…immaturity is quite another. I mean…”Strong Guy”!’ Forge replies. ‘That’s his style. Ironic. Post modern’ Alex explains. ‘Adolescent’ Forge tells him as they look at a monitor depicting Strong Guy lifting a massive boulder above his head. ‘Besides, he is strong. I don’t think we’ve yet gauged the limits of his ability to absorb kinetic energy’ Alex explains.
‘So, he’s got muscles. Where’s his sense of commitment?’ Forge asks. Alex exclaims that Guido has proven himself to all of the team time and time again. ‘Even before he joined the team - during his involvement in the “Shadow King” affair- his commitment to Professor Xavier’s cause has been clear and strong’ Havok exclaims. Forge tells Havok that he is stretching it a little on that last point, but admits he cannot argue with Carosella’s raw power, or his bravery. ‘Well…good -’ Alex begins, to which Forge tells him not to get cocky, and defies him to explain Madrox to him. ‘Jamie? Well, ah, he’s-’ Alex begins. ‘Got you - didn’t I?’ Forge asks. ‘Just let me collect my thoughts!’ Havok exclaims.
Meanwhile, in Georgetown, a note sitting beside a phone reads “Alex call Logan back”, while the phone rings - and James Madrox the Multiple Man answers. ‘Uh…hello? Could you speak up, please? It’s hard to hear you -’ he states, while on the other end of the phone is Guido, grinning as he is sitting at a bar in a nightclub, surrounded by several cheerleaders. ‘I said it’s Guido - and I’m down here at “Gran’ma’s bar ‘n’ grill” with…well…you - and several dozen nubile cheerleaders!’ Guido exclaims. He tells Madrox that the girls were saying how disappointed that there are only two of them, ‘And your dupe here says -’ Guido begins, before the Madrox dupe calls out “Not to worry, ladies ! They don’t call me Multiple Man for nothing!”
Guido asks Jamie if he wants to whip up a few more dupes, ‘And hang out with me ‘n’ you… ‘n’ you ‘n’ you?’ Guido remarks that he knows Jamie has been a little depressed lately, ‘But hiding in your room isn’t gonna -’ Guido begins, while Madrox - actually a dupe - suddenly looks back into the darkened room at the real Multiple Man, telling Guido that he appreciates the sentiment, ‘But he - I - we’re not in the best of moods right now’. Sitting in the darkness, the true Madrox sternly exclaims ‘Hang up the bloody phone!’ Nervously, the dupe tells Guido that he has to go now, and hangs the phone up. The dupe turns to the real Madrox and remarks ‘That was Guido, he -’ the dupe begins, to which Madrox prime exclaims ‘Shut up, Jamie!’ ‘Whatever you say - Jamie’ the dupe replies.
Back at Forge’s lab, Forge is busy with his device that he is working on, while Alex exclaims ‘Well, let me see…Jamie…he’s…um -’ ‘Irresponsible?’ Forge asks. ‘Unreliable?’ ‘Unpredictable?’ ‘There’s more if you want to hear it. Uh…hand me that screwdriver, will you?’ Forge exclaims. ‘Yeah, sure’ Alex replies as he passes Forge the screwdriver, while a monitor depicts a recording of Senator Kelly making a speech - with Multiple Man making “shadow puppets” behind him, and Valerie Cooper looking on in horror.
Alex tells Forge that Jamie is not like that all. ‘Well…he is. Sometimes, but there are as many sides to him as there are - uh…do you think you could get that slide off the screen? It’s…distracting me’ Alex declares. Forge tells Havok to face it - that Madrox is a waste of space, before asking him if he can pass him the soldering gun. ‘That’s it!’ Alex snaps. ‘What’s it?’ Forge asks. Havok exclaims that if Jamie were here, he could get Forge the soldering gun, the screwdriver, run out for burgers and sing a four-part harmony. ‘He can do anything! For Heaven’s sake, he’s a one man army!’ Forge slides out from underneath the device he has been working on while Havok exclaims ‘Think of the money our department saves on paying one salary for an unlimited number of operatives! Why we -’, but he is interrupted by Forge who declares that he is convinced. He sighs, and remarks that he really thought he had Havok for a minute.
At that moment, ‘We’ve fought our way across the city, Random - when are you going to give it up?’ Lorna exclaims as she blocks another of Random’s attacks. ‘Ever occur to you that maybe I want this thing t’get a little protracted? That maybe the people who hired me want me to test the extent of your magnetic powers - before I waste you?’ Random asks. Lorna tells Random that he is talking too much again, when he should be keeping his eyes open, as she uses a nearby park bench, turning it into liquid metal, which she wraps around Random. ‘Not bad, not bad! Wrapping this park bench around me is a pretty good trick!’ Random exclaims.
‘No trick! No joke! I’m dead serious!’ Polaris exclaims, warning Random that he is going to be plain dead if he doesn’t tell her who put him up to this. Random tells Polaris that she is too much of a goody two shoes to kill anybody, but that if she really wants to know, it was Uncle Sam who hired him. ‘The government? Impossible!’ Lorna exclaims. Random smiles as he tells Polaris that he knew she was naive, but that he didn’t think she was stupid. He tells Lorna that just because she has been on “Donahue” and had her face on the cover of “Rolling Stone” does not mean that half the people in this country do not still blame mutants for everything from unemployment to AIDS.
Random adds that they all know how much politicians like to please their constituents. ‘Who, blast it? Which government agency is behind this?’ Lorna demands. ‘Gee, its seems to have -’ Random begins, before Lorna increases the tightness of the metal wrapped around him. ‘- slipped my mind!’ Random concludes. ‘Oh, really? Well slip on THIS!’ Lorna shouts as she drops Random’s car on him - for a third time! Lorna brushes her hands together and suggests to Random that he can tell the twits that hired him that they can expect the same. ‘Again with the @#$% car!’ Random mutters as he seeps out from under the ruined car, while Polaris takes flight.
Back in Forge’s lab, an image of Polaris appears on the monitor, while Forge remarks that Lorna Dane is a beautiful woman, and possibly the most powerful member of the team. ‘But I haven’t got a clue why she’s with us. Lorna Dane has walked away from Xavier’s fight too many times to count. How do we know - that she won’t do it again?’ Forge exclaims. Havok tells Forge that if he had his mind - his soul - messed with as often as Lorna has, then he would need some time to himself also. ‘It hasn’t been easy for her - but she’s got more courage than anyone I’ve ever known. She keeps coming back’ Alex declares.
Forge asks Havok to answer the question: ‘How do we know she won’t walk out on us?’ he asks. ‘Didn’t’ you watch the press conference the other day?’ Havok asks. ‘You mean the one I specifically ordered you not to take part in?’ Forge points out. ‘Yeah…that one’ Alex replies as he tells Forge that Lorna has grown and matured. ‘Sometimes I think she’s more committed to Xavier’s dream than Xavier is!’ Havok declares, adding that nothing would ever make her turn her back on it. ‘Gotcha’ Forge exclaims.
‘Polaris’ll be out there on the front lines long after you’ve gone running home with your tail between your legs!’ Havok exclaims. ‘I’m convinced’ Forge replies. ‘She’s one of a kind!’ Alex shouts. ‘Absolutely’ Forge replies nonchalantly as he continues to busy himself with his equipment. Havok begins to start emitting solar energy and declares that he will not have Forge - or anyone - question Polaris’ value to this team. ‘Do you hear me, Forge? Do you HEAR me?’ Alex shouts. ‘Loud and clear: you’re crazy about her. Love’s a precious commodity, Alex’ Forge remarks, adding that it slips away all too easily. ‘Make sure to do everything in your power to hang on to it. ‘Uh…yeah. Right. Will do’ Alex exclaims as he powers down.
Forge pulls from his contraption two flutes of champagne and holds them up. ‘You mean you’re out of questions?’ Alex asks. ‘Yup’ Forge smiles. ‘But you didn’t ask about me’ Havok points out. Forge tells him that he didn’t have to, as he knows a good leader when he sees one. ‘I’ll be happy to take the heat for you’ Forge tells Havok. “Take the heat?” Alex asks. Forge tells him that is the good news - ‘From, now on, you’re calling the shots for X-Factor. You do anything you find prudent and necessary to help the cause of mutants here and abroad’ Forge declares. ‘But the bureaucrats -’ Alex begins ‘- are my concern’ Forge tells him. ‘But -’ Alex begins to protect, ‘Shut up and drink, will you?’ Forge exclaims ‘To what?’ Alex asks. ‘What do you think?’ Forge tells him, before both men raise their glasses and exclaim ‘To X-Factor!’
Later, at Georgetown. ‘And you just left him - in a puddle?’ Alex asks Lorna, who puts a strawberry dipped in whipped cream into her mouth, and replies ‘Yup’. ‘Under his car?’ Alex asks. ‘Like the world’s biggest wad of silly putty’ Lorna grins, while Havok asks her why she didn’t bring Random in. Lorna dips another strawberry in whipped cream and replies that, truthfully, she was feeling so smug that it did not even occur to her. ‘For Heaven’s sake, he tried to kill yo, Lorna!’ Alex exclaims, boasting that he will find that walking slime bucket, and when he does - ‘I think we’d be better off trying to find out who hired him and why’ Lorna suggests.
‘But Random -’ Alex begins, while Lorna explains that, at the very end, she had the weirdest feeling that Random was almost rooting for her, like he wanted her to win. Alex tells Lorna that he knows she likes to see the best in everyone, ‘But don’t you think this is carrying thins a little too far?’ he asks her. Lorna flies across the living room, ‘Wanna know what I think? I think I’m sick to death of this whole topic!’ Lorna exclaims as she lands on Alex, pushing him onto the sofa, telling him that the only thing she wants to discuss is them.
‘But I didn’t even tell you what happened with Forge -’ Alex begins, to which Lorna strokes his face and tells him that he can tell her tomorrow’. Kiss me tonight’ Lorna tells him. They kiss passionately, and one of them reaches back to switch the lamp off, plunging the room into darkness. ‘Oh Lorna - Lorna - LORNA!’ Alex exclaims. There is a growling noise, and Lorna tells Alex that she loves it when he growls like that - but they both look up in the darkness - as the growling continues. ‘YOU?!’ Alex and Lorna gasp in horror.
Wolfsbane steps into full view, tears streaming from her eyes, he teeth bared, and her body in full wolfen form. ‘Aye, it’s me! It’s Rahne!’ she snarls. ‘But you’re supposed to be -’ someone begins. ‘- on Muir Isle? I tried to stay there, Alex: I tried! But the pull on muh heart…on muh soul…is too strong! I’ve got t’be with ye, Alex! I’ve got t’have ye! And may the Lord help anyone who gets in muh way!’….