“Brahma House”, Annapolis, Maryland. ‘Sorry folks - this lecture’s just been cancelled - by order of the United States Government. Haven - you’re under arrest. X-Factor - take her into custody!’ Alex “Havok” Summers orders his teammates after he and Forge burst into the auditorium, where X-Factor, their former Government Liaison - Dr Valerie Cooper - and several civilians are listening to Haven make her speech. ‘Well, you heard the boss man! Let’s -’ Guido “Strong Guy” Carosella begins, until Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris shouts ‘NO!’ ‘No?’ Guido asks, before Lorna asks Alex what he thinks he is doing.
‘Lorna?’ Alex exclaims, remarking that he did not know she was going to be here. ‘When I called the Brownstone, they said you were -’ Alex begins, while Lorna interrupts, ‘- Fending off armored goons who were trying to kill me!’ she exclaims. Alex asks Lorna what she is talking about, to which Lorna exclaims that she doesn’t know what Havok and Forge are up to, or what misinformation about Haven they have been fed by their friends at the Pentagon, but that Haven saved her life. ‘And I can’t just let you -’ she begins, to which this time Alex interrupts: ‘“Let me?” In case you’ve forgotten - I’m in command of this team! If there’s a problem, I’d be happy to discuss it with you - later’ he declares.
Havok continues, telling X-Factor that they have their orders. ‘So move!’ he shouts. Lorna flies over the crowd of civilians making their exit and exclaims ‘Don’t do it! Please!’ to her teammates. Guido wonders how this got so complicated all of a sudden, to which Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair leaps on stage, declaring that there is nothing complicated about it - ‘If Alex says we take this witch in - then that’s just what we do!’ James Madrox the Multiple Man climbs onto the stage, while one of his dupes tells Rahne that he is right behind her. ‘This new age phony’s recruited her last disciple!’
But one of the dupes who is in support of Haven exclaims ‘No, Jamie - you can’t! Haven’s no criminal! She’s our savoir! Our brightest hope! Our -’ the other dupe interrupts him, telling the dupe to do them all a favor. ‘Shut up!’ the real Madrox exclaims. Dr Valerie Cooper stands nearby, while Haven remains calmly on stage. Lorna makes it to Haven before her teammates, and exclaims that if they will not listen to reason, she will try a little force. Guido tells Lorna that he knows she is into this new self-assertive mode, and tells her that he thinks it is very attractive, before asking if she is overdoing it a little. ‘Okay. Just asking’ Guido mutters when Lorna doesn’t answer him.
Havok approaches his lover and exclaims ‘Lorna - for Heaven’s sake - I’ve been in briefings about this woman for days now. She’s an international terrorist! A murderer - many times over!’ Havok reveals. ‘According to who?’ Lorna asks. ‘The same government department that’s been trying to kill me? I’m sure if you saw my file…or your own, for that matter…you’d find it stamped “menace to society: terminate as soon as possible”!’ Lorna exclaims, but Havok tells her that they don’t have time for this right now, and that if there has been a mistake, they will let a court of law decide. ‘But for now -’ he begins, ‘Guilty until proven innocent?’ Lorna asks, before magnetically throwing Havok back away from Haven, ‘I don’t think so!’ Polaris shouts.
Havok asks Polaris if she has lost her mind, or if Haven is controlling her somehow. ‘Oh, so that’s it? If someone disagrees with you, they’re being mind-controlled?’ Lorna asks, before declaring that no one is ever controlling her again. ‘After all I’ve been through…all we’ve been through together…you should know that!’ she tells Alex. A savage Wolfsbane leaps towards Lorna, ‘No ye’ve gone and done it, lassie! I dinna care if Haven’s pulling yuir strings - or if yuir doing this on yuir own!’ Rahne shouts, declaring that the second Polaris turned her magnetic powers against Havok was the second that she signed her own death warrant.
But before Rahne can harm Lorna, Guido grabs his feral teammate and pulls her back, asking ‘What’s with you women lately? Somebody been injecting you with massive doses of testosterone?’ Rahne warns Guido to let go of her, but Guido reminds her that they are her teammates and tells her to calm down. Suddenly, ‘This is getting out of hand!’ Polaris booms, knocking Guido and Wolfsbane back with a surge of magnetic energy. ‘Oh? And blowing us across the room is supposed to help?’ Guido asks as he and Rahne land in the seats. The Madrox dupe tells Lorna that he is with her on this one. ‘No one so much as touches Haven, or -’ he begins, while the other dupe exclaims ‘I don’t want to punch myself in the nose, Jamie-boy, but if I have to -’, although he is interrupted by Haven, who shouts ‘Enough!’
Haven declares that it is not her intention to set them against each other, to see this devolve into mindless violence. Forge creeps up behind Haven as she explains that she wanted them to meet as allies, as friends. She tells them that she is sure they will, at another time, in another place. ‘But for now, I must -’ she begins, until Forge places his large gun up against Haven’s back, telling her that what she is going to do is surrender. ‘Ah…Forge. Wielding another of his extraordinary inventions’ Haven remarks, before asking what it does: ‘Reduce me in size? Nullify my powers? Turn me into a newt?’ Forge tells her that if she wants to find out, then she can resist arrest. Haven replies that she has no intention of resisting a man who could prove so important to her cause - a man she admire and respects. A gem on Haven’s forehead lights up and her eyes begin to glow as she exclaims ‘So, for now, I’ll simply say - goodbye’.
And with that, Haven transforms into her striking gold costume, power emanates from her hands, and X-Factor find themselves plunged into darkness as Haven vanishes. ‘Uh…could somebody please tell me what just happened?’ Strong Guy asks. ‘One second she was there - and the next - vanished - as if she’d never been!’ Wolfsbane declares. But Forge explains that it felt more like they were the ones who vanished. ‘As if for a split second…we simply’ he begins, while Madrox and his dupes complete the sentence: ‘Ceased to exist!’ Forge declares that they have plenty to talk about and suggests they do it right now, in his office at the Pentagon.
Sitting around a table, Lorna tells Alex, Guido, Wolfsbane and Forge that she is sorry if she got carried away with herself. ‘The last time I want to do is hurt any of you - but I’d to it again under similar circumstances’. Havok suggests they tone it down a notch, pointing out that they have been under a lot of pressure lately, Lorna especially. ‘The Kennedy Center bombing…Illyana’s death…the Genoshan situation…and now these assassination attempts’. Alex declares that he totally understands why Lorna reacted the way she did, pointing out that if Haven had saved his life, he probably would have done the same thing. ‘Now that’s reassuring!’ Guido exclaims.
Lorna explains that Professor Xavier sent her to that lecture as his personal representative. ‘I could have talked to Haven…gotten information that would have helped us understand what she -’ Lorna begins, until Wolfsbane interrupts. Pointing a hairy finger at Lorna, Rahne tells her to save her lies for fools who would believe them. ‘Ye turned against us tonight, Lorna! Worse, ye turned against the man ye claim to love!’ Rahne exclaims. ‘I always knew ye were toying with Alex! Just using him for your own -’ Rahne begins, before Lorna tells her to wait a minute. ‘How dare you even suggest that I -’ she exclaims, before Guido shouts ‘Will everyone please PIPE DOWN!’
Standing up, Guido exclaims that now that he has got their attention, they should all sit in their assigned seats like nice little boys and girls and have Uncle Forge take the floor. Guido declares that since they have no idea what this is really about, they should all zip their lips and Forge can explain who this Haven person is, and why everyone’s so hot to get their mitts on her. ‘Well said, Carosella’ Forge declares as he stands up. Guido thanks Forge, who adds ‘And to think that I wanted to throw you off the team’. ‘Yes, well, I - you WHAT?’ Guido exclaims, before Forge asks X-Factor to turn their attention to the monitor.
An image of Haven appears on screen, and Forge introduces her as Radha Dastoor, who was born in New Delhi, India in 1952. He explains that she is the daughter of a highly respected Indian diplomat, and was educated here at some of the United States’ top universities. Forge announces that in the mid 1970’s after experiencing what she claimed was a divine vision, Dastoor began publishing books - new age tracts, really - under the name of Haven, and proceeded to travel the world, lecturing on spiritual subjects, founding several charitable organisations and attracting a devoted group of followers. Forge remarks that in recent years, Dastoor has shifted her attention away from charity work, and onto the so-called “mutant problem” - a problem she claims to have the solution to.
Forge continues, explaining that Haven maintains that mutants and men aren’t opposing forces, doomed to eternal struggle, but part of the same human race, and that the mutations they have been seeing so frequently in recent decades are the first step in an evolutionary leap that, in seven hundred years, will transform entire species and usher in a golden age on Earth. Forge adds that according to Dastoor’s “divine” vision, the golden age will be preceded by the Mahapralaya - a series of extraordinary disasters, both natural and man-made, in which the majority of the world’s population will perish, leaving behind the seeds of what she calls the New Humanity.
Various disaster images appear on screen as Forge explains that the problem is, Dastoor does not want to wait seven hundred years, and that she believes if these disasters are brought about now, the arrival of the golden age and the birth of the New Humanity will be hastened. ‘And that’s what her organization has dedicated itself to: global chaos on a scale we’ve never seen before’ Forge remarks, revealing that Haven’s operatives are fanning the flames of political unrest in an alarming number of countries - including riots, revolts, and in some cases, full-scale war.
Forge adds that what is worse, it appears Haven’s scientists have had some success in effecting changes in weather patterns and other natural phenomena, creating devastating earthquakes, famines, floods - a host of plagues to, as she sees it, purify the world. Puzzled, Guido asks Forge if he is sure about this. Forge replies that their intelligence also indicates that Haven was behind the bombing at the Kennedy Center the other night. ‘I’ll bet she assassinated JFK…kidnapped Judge Crater…and sank the Lusitania for good measure!’ Polaris exclaims, throwing her chair up into the air with a magnetic surge.
‘Come on, Forge - not even Oliver Stone would buy into this garbage! Alex - don’t tell me you believe these paranoid “global conspiracy” theories!’ Lorna exclaims. ‘But the intelligence data -’ Havok begins, until Lorna interrupts, telling him it was amassed by the same people who have been lying to them all along. ‘Honey…I know Haven saved your life, but -’ Alex begins, as Lorna declares that it is not just that, and explains that she felt something from Haven. ‘A depth of soul - a quality of being that can’t be faked’ she explains.
‘Who am I supposed to trust? The government that thinks I’m expendable - or the woman who saved me from them?’ Lorna asks. Alex looks thoughtful, while Forge tells Polaris that he does not blame her for being angry, but that to dismiss their entire government because of the actions of a few renegades is absurd. ‘As absurd as trying to blame a woman who bathed lepers in Calcutta for all the ills of the world?’ Polaris asks. Forge announces that he did not believe it at first either, but that he has been in briefings on this for weeks now, and has personally interviewed the field agents and gone over the data. ‘Haven’s a dangerous one!’ Forge declares.
Havok declares that X-Factor has been elected to take Haven down, and goes over to Lorna, putting his arms around her, he tells her that he loves, respects and depends on her. That without her input and intuition he is lost. ‘That’s why I need you to clear your head…put aside the emotional turmoil of the past few days and -’, but Lorna interrupts: ‘And what? March off and arrest Haven on the say-so of some mutaphobic bureaucrats?’ Havok replies that he is not saying that at all, to which Lorna asks him ‘Then what are you saying?’ Alex tells Lorna to look over the files and to listen to Forge’s full report. ‘If you’re not convinced - then X-Factor walks away from this whole mess’ Alex announces. ‘Just like that?’ Lorna asks. ‘Just like that’ Alex tells her. Lorna smiles and asks to take a look at the files.
Elsewhere in Washington, Multiple Man hangs his head as he follows his dupes, remarking that he still thinks they should have gone to that briefing. ‘Why…so this yutz here can embarrass us again?’ the aggressive dupe replies, telling the other dupe that he cannot believe him, siding with Lorna against the team. ‘Well, what’d you expect me to do? Just stand by and let them take Haven away?’ he asks. ‘As a matter of fact…yes! That’s exactly what you should’ve done!’ the first dupe declares. ‘How can you be me…and be so blind? That woman is our best hope!’ the second dupe declares.
Suddenly, ‘If that new age nutcase is our last hope - then three cheers for hopelessness!’ the first dupe shouts, when suddenly, the real Jamie steps forward and tells both his dupes to stop it. He tells them that he has had his head fill of all their ridiculous arguments, and asks if the past few weeks haven’t been hard enough. ‘Exposing ourselves to the Legacy Virus that killed Illyana…that whole bloody mess with Mellancamp - we actually killed him!’ Madrox declares that he has been so sick, so scared, so confused, but all he gets from the two of them is constant chatter - a stream of ideas and opinions and philosophies - all of it contrary and utterly useless.
‘Not just you two…but all of you!’ Jamie exclaims as he starts smacking his hands together, creating more and more dupes. ‘Every stray thought…ever unconscious fear - every single voice in my head - and you’ve all got form and shape and substance - and you just won’t go away!’ Jamie asks them why won’t they leave him alone and let him die in peace. One of the dupes steps forward: ‘Hey, Jamie - you know better than that. It’s not like you can just chase us away. We are you. Face it, buddy…no matter where you go - there we’ll be’.
‘Maybe so. But that doesn’t mean that I have to look at you’ Jamie replies, before telling his dupes to get re-absorbed back into his psyche where they belong. All of the newly created dupes do - but when the aggressive and the agreeable dupe attempt to, they just bonk their heads together. ‘What’s going on? I tried to pull you in -’ Jamie exclaims, rubbing his head. ‘But we’re still here!’ the dupes exclaim. ‘Could be - you don’t really wanna be a lone right now’ one of them suggests, before they both follow Jamie as he carries on. ‘Yeah - could be’ he mumbles.
Georgetown, thirty minutes later, inside a limo, Guido sips a martini, while Rahne lounges on the seat. Guido tells Rahne that he doesn’t know about her, but he sure loves these government perks. Guido adds that it is no wonder that all those senators and congressmen get hopelessly corrupted. ‘I mean…who’d wanna five this up? Limos…free drinks? Sycophants…PAC money!’ he declares that it is all that is noblest in the American dream. ‘Did ye say something, Guido?’ Rahne asks. ‘You mean I’m going to all the trouble of being inordinately witty - and you’re not even paying attention?’ Strong Guy asks.
Rahne explains that she was thinking about Haven. ‘What if she’s right?’ Rahne asks. ‘About mutants and men being the same species? Sounds plausible to me’ Guido tells her. Rahne explains that she was thinking more about the golden age Haven says is coming. ‘And a nice thought it is - but religious whackos have been predicting the same kind of thing since the dawn of time -’ Guido begins, but Rahne quickly tells him that religion is not something to be mocked, and adds that she doesn’t believe that people who have faith in something bigger than themselves are “whackos”. Guido sips his martini and tells Rahne that he meant no offense.
The limo comes to a halt and Guido assures Rahne that he has nothing against God, that he is sure God is a perfectly swell fellow, but that he has run into too many people who use their religion as an excuse to squash any group they’re afraid of. ‘I was raised by a man who thought I was the spawn of the Devil - so unfortunately I know just what ye mean’ Rahne exclaims as she leaps from the limo. Guido finishes off his martini and exclaims that after Alex and Lorna are done pouring over those files, they will have enough information on Haven to make an informed decision about this.
‘Hey - thanks for getting the door, driver’ Guido exclaims, before handing the driver a five dollar bill. ‘Five measly bucks? On your salary? Geez -’ the driver begins, while Guido exclaims ‘That voice!’ and looks up to see Random! The mercenary has a cigar in his mouth and exclaims that he knew Guido would be a lousy tipper. ‘So ye’ve come back, have ye - ye murdering swine!’ Wolfsbane exclaims as she lunges at Random, tearing off his jacket. ‘Hey - hey - watch the material!’ Random declares. Guido calls Random a money-hungry scuzzball and asks him if somebody paid him to hit X-Factor, too. ‘“Murdering swine?” “Money-hungry scuzzball”? I’m beginning to think you two ain’t happy to see me!’ Random exclaims. Rahne tells him that he is beginning to think right, and bites down on his arm.
Random tells Rahne that he hates to disappoint her, but that the second her fangs touched his skin, it shifted to a substance hard enough to resist her fangs. ‘In other words, anything you dish out, I can -’ Random begins, until Guido punches him in the face, causing his malleable form to splatter about. ‘Yeah, we know the whole story: your body naturally creates the perfect defense against whatever’s coming at you!’ Guido declares, before punching Random again, adding that he bets that if they keep coming at him fast enough and hard enough, and break his concentration, Random won’t have time to put up his perfect defense.
Wolfsbane declares that she may have a few bones to pick with Polaris, but that Lorna is still one of their own, still part of her family. ‘And nobody gets away with hurting muh family!’ Rahne exclaims as she slashes her way at Random, who suddenly calls out to Carosella, telling him to get his dog off of him. ‘I surrender!’ Random shouts. ‘You what?’ Guido gasps as he pulls the savage Wolfsbane back. ‘I said…I surrender!’ Random exclaims, throwing his arms into the air. ‘But - why?’ Guido asks him. Random announces that the guys that hired him to take out Polaris just tried to take him out, came busting into his house in the middle of the night.
Random lights up another cigarette and smiles as he declares that as far as he is concerned, that is an open declaration of war. He adds that it is him against the enemy - to the death. ‘And you know the old saying: “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”!’ Random asks his “friends” what they say - ‘Wanna pool our resources - and take those twerps down a peg?’ Wolfsbane struggles to get at Random while Strong Guy continues to hold her back. He asks Random to give him a minute to think it over, to which Random tells him to take his time.
Meanwhile, in the mountains of Northern California. A temple of sorts is built into the mountain, and inside, Haven tells her guest that she is glad they chose to come with her. ‘How could I not? From the moment I read your book, I knew you were the one’ Haven’s visitor replies. Guards stand around the temple as Haven’s guest exclaims ‘The bridge between man and mutant. The doorway to a future I’ve only dreamed of!’ Haven tells her visitor that if they are sincere in their desire to join her - ‘And to be frank, I have yet to fully trust you -’ Haven adds, before emphasizing that their work will not be easy, or particularly pleasant.
Haven’s guest replies that they know, and as Haven sits on her throne, in a room full of mist, Haven tells her guest that they can’t know, not the way that she knows. ‘The blood…the suffering…the sacrifice. Your heart torn to shreds. Your nights haunted and sleepless. Haven’s guest asks her why she goes on, to which Haven replies ‘Because he speaks to me. He shows me humankind’s glorious destiny. A destiny worth any sacrifice’. Haven continues, ‘My life, your life…ten thousand lives are insignificant when compared to the unstained purity of the golden age to come’. Haven’s guest asks who this “he” is that speaks to her, to which Haven declares that there will be time for that later, but that now, it is time for the Pralaya.
‘Are you prepared?’ Haven asks as she gets up from her throne and approaches her guest. ‘I am’ the guest replies, before kneeling in front of Haven, who asks ‘Do you understand the risks?’ ‘I do’ the guest replies. Haven declares that all who follow her must experience the Pralaya, as it is the only way they can understand the enormity of their work, and share in the suffering they are unleashing in the world. ‘The Mahapralaya - the great dissolution, the great destruction - must precede the golden age that will transform humanity as a whole - but each individual soul must experience a personal Pralaya. An utter annihilation of self. A private journey into oblivion!’ Haven explains.
Haven stands over her guest and touches her guest’s head, explaining that only then can the soul be reborn as the seed of the New Humanity that will redeem this planet. ‘I warn you again that there is no gaurantee you will return from this journey. Some have entered oblivion’s realm - and been lost forever!’ Haven declares. ‘Other’s have returned with bodies broken…minds shattered -’ her eyes glow red, while her guest shouts ‘I said do it!’ And with that, Haven’s guest vanishes. ‘It’s done’ Haven declares. Haven’s eyes continue to glow, then she looks surprised as her guest re-materializes at her feet, before the glow subsides, and Haven asks her guest ‘You have made the voyage into nothingness - and back again?’
‘Y-y-yes’ Haven’s guest replies. Haven smiles as she asks her guest if they are one now, with her vision and with her cause. ‘Yes!’ Haven’s guest replies, and Haven removes her hands from her guest’s head, welcoming her guest not as a follower, but as her equal and friend. ‘Join with me, now and forever - Valerie Cooper!’…Haven declares, as she helps the glamorous and smiling Valerie to her feet….