In Halo City, Krystalin and Shakti guard over Shakti’s now-comatose father, who lies in the medcenter. Krystalin says that she hates medcenters. Shakti too, because she grew up with them. Shakti remembers that the only time that she saw her father was when he was working.
Shakti doesn’t know if her father is ever going to wake up or not. Krystalin knows that Shakti and her dad weren’t exactly close, but it must be tough for Shakti to see her father like this. Shakti calls it more ironic. She knows that her father would send a comatose patient to the organ banks without a second thought. Zail represents everything Shakti despises. And still, she wishes that their lives would have been differently. Morphine enters the room and tells Shakti not to waste her tears on her old man, because he wouldn’t do it for her.
Morphine knew Zail, and how he saw most of humanity as meat to be slaughtered. Morphine tells Shakti that she better feels lucky that her father didn’t kill her as well, because he saw how useful she could be for his plans when he found out that she was a mutant.
Shakti can’t believe the nerve Morphine has for coming there, because her father’s condition is his fault. Shakti attacks Halo City’s boss with a psychic blast and takes over control over his body. After Morphine realizes his mistake and asks Shakti to give him his body back, Shakti does and angrily leaves. Krystalin calls Morphine to be a true jerk. Morphine laughs, saying that is what he’s good at. With Shakti gone, Morphine asks Krystalin if she has voted yet. As Shakti walks through the hospital rooms, she sees on several television sets the commercials for Halo City’s upcoming elections.
Shakti continues her walk undisturbed, but knows that a mutant has been following her since the past two blocks. She doesn’t recognize his presence, but that is not unusual, since there are so many mutants in Halo City now, and Shakti doesn’t know all of them. Suddenly, a voice greets Shakti. She takes a look below her, and sees Billy the Kid! Shakti recognizes Billy from what Krystalin told her, and how she had to rescue him for the Free Radicals. But Krystalin didn’t mention that Billy was a mutant.
Billy confirms that he truly is a mutant, despite the fact that some people write his talents off as a genetic predisposition. But Billy didn’t come there for a DNA analyses. No, he came here to make Shakti an offer she can’t refuse. Not that she has a choice, either. Billy throws a teleportation disk into Shakti’s hand, and the touch makes her vanish!
Meanwhile, over the New Pacific Chanel, a ship filled with people rides over the ocean, heading towards Halo City. Clarion and Nostromo are two of many. Nostromo can’t hold herself anymore, because there are too many people around her, and he isn’t good with people. Clarion cheers his friend up and tells him to hold on, because they have made it so far and can’t give up now. The ship arrives, and the gates of Halo City open. Nostromo thinks that this is wrong, and that they shouldn’t be there. Heck, Nostromo thinks that he shouldn’t even be alive!
Clarion reminds his friend that none of that was his fault. And he should forget about it too, because their past is now behind them. The only thing Clarion knows is that they have gotten a second chance in life, and that they don’t have to hide anymore.
Nostromo agrees, and happily jumps off the ship. Clarion is sure that things will go smoothly from now on: no more being chased, or having to scrounge for food. But then, suddenly, another new arrival of Halo City steals Clarion’s bag.
Suddenly, the wind changes and someone runs by real quick and stops the thief and hangs him up on a water pole. The mystery helper runs back to Halo City and gives Clarion his bag back. It’s Meanstreak, and Clarion recognizes him from the reports Gunnar Heywood sent back to Transverse City. Meanstreak apologizes because he can’t stay at the same place for too long, as Halo City is a big place and he needs to protect it. Clarion thanks Meanstreak for the help and the X-Man takes off.
Elsewhere, Shakti arrives in a dark place. She feels a little nauseous, but a familiar sounding voice informs Shakti that it is a normal side effect from the teleportation and promises that it will pass. Shakti wants to know where she is, but her kidnapper simply says that she is somewhere below the city and that the exact location isn’t important now. Shakti can’t believe it, but her kidnapper is none other than… Doom!
Shakti thought that Doom had died after Herod attack him at the White House. But she isn’t too surprised to find out otherwise, knowing what the man is capable off. Doom explains that he had counted on an attack on his life, and had thought off a back-up escape plan. And it worked.
Shakti wants to know why Doom is even still in the United States. Doom simply says that he will deal with Herod in due time. But for the present, he is more interested in Halo City. Doom says that the city has provided him both resources and security to rebuild his armor, and to plan his retaliation.
However, Doom finds that to be none of Shakti’s concern. He has brought her there for a reason. Doom explains that he did not create Halo City to be a haven for the mutant class out of purely Egalitarian motives. Doom says that since the first atomic bombs were detonated in the middle of the last century, the proliferation of Homo superior upon this planet began growing exponentially.
Doom continues and shows Shakti pictures of various 20th century mutants on his computer screens. Doom says that each successive mutant generation has produced certain individuals whose actions accords of the 30’s to the genocidal purge that followed, twenty first century America has defined itself by its response to the mutant presence.
Shakti wants Doom to tell her something she doesn’t know. Doom asks Shakti if she is familiar with the Seldon/Dixon Futurity Model. Shakti is, and explains that it is a sort of a mathematical tarot – a statistical framework for foretelling future events. As Shakti recalls, their predictions were only slightly more accurate than those of Infonet holophysics.
Doom reveals that he has used their work as a basis for his own probability system. Shakti wants to know if Doom built it before or after Herod’s attack. Doom says that there will always be unknown variables. To rely on statistical prognostication would be foolish, he says, but to ignore its possibility would also be unwise.
Shakti asks if Doom’s calculations are correct, this generation has produced a young mutant of messianic potential, someone who could change the relationship between man and mutant forever. Doom confirms, but also knows that mutant will come to Halo City, if he shouldn’t already be there.
Shakti doesn’t understand why Doom tells all this to her, and not to Xi’an or Morphine. Doom says that’s because Xi’an is emotionally damaged, and Morphine is morally crippled. Shakti, however, has in Doom’s eyes a heightened sensitivity that will lead her to the mutant. Doom is certain that without proper guidance, this mutant could bring about destruction on an apocalyptic scale. And he will not allow that to happen. Shakti doesn’t know what to think of all this.
Halo City’s “Screamtown”…
Clarion and Nostromo walk through the streets. Clarion informs that a lot of the kids have made this part of the city their own. Clarion wants to camp there for the night and look for a real place tomorrow. Nostromo isn’t sure if they will be safe here. They notice that everyone is looking at them.
Trinity says that’s because everybody knows that they are new around there. Trinity introduces himself, and tells the two newcomers that they will need a lot of hardware to get around in this place. Trinity notices Nostromo’s metal arms and is impressed by them. But Nostromo doesn’t really want to talk about them.
Suddenly, loud roars of bikes are heard. Trinity takes off, warning Clarion and Nostromo to better follow her example, because the Wild Boys are in town! The Wild Boys quickly surround them and tease them because they are new. Dorian, the Wild Boys’ leader, proudly introduces himself and warns the newcomers to be careful when they are around his group. Wullf has a bad feeling about this, and can convince Dorian to move along and not to waste their time with these two.
Dorian commands Shiv to attack them, and he does. Clarion and Nostromo try to tell them not to, because they too are mutants, just like the Wild Boys. But they aren’t interested in that. Clarion tells Nostromo not to worry, because he will absorb the roar of the bikes, and shift it into pure solid energy!
The ears of the Wild Boys are in pain, but try to get a grip on themselves and to attack again. Nostromo takes one of their bikes, and adapts the bike’s control system so that he can control the bike by himself. Clarion gets up and they drive away. Clarion didn’t know that Nostromo could do such a thing. Nostromo didn’t know it either, and says that it seems that his body adapts to adversity by becoming more machinelike. Nostromo says that it’s like what happened when his arms got crushed. Nostromo knows that he is losing his humanity by the minute. That’s his curse.
But Nostromo drives in an alley with a dead end. Trash and Dorian see that and drive after them, but their bikes seem to be out of control! They crash and faint. Shakti has rescued the two using her psychic powers and took the Wild Boy’s bodies over. Shakti tells the two young mutants to go to the shelter a kilometer away from there, and she promises to join them there shortly.
Later, the Halo City election is over, and Morphine has lost. He isn’t too happy about it and complains, not understanding why. The X-Men tell him that he shouldn’t have made a deal with Herod. But since Morphine now doesn’t run the city anymore, he also has no leverage with the X-Men anymore either. Morphine takes off and angrily promises that he will be back. They can count on that.
Shakti enters the room, and the X-Men are glad too see that she’s fine, because Shakti hadn’t been answering the comlink on her X-badge all day. Shakti explains to her friends why. She says that, since so many mutants are in Halo City now, they will need guidance. And she wants to be the one giving it to them.
The X-Men are surprised that Shakti is actually leaving the group. Tim gives Shakti his blessing, but makes it clear to her that Shakti can quit the protectorate if she wants, but there will always be a place within the X-Men for her.
Later, Morphine gets shot and an arrow is stuck in his back. He falls down on the ground and is crippled from the horrible pain. Doom appears in front of Morphine, telling him that he won’t die, but Doom doesn’t like the idea that Morphine has betrayed his trust. Doom says that he won’t kill Morphine and will give him a second chance, like all creatures on this planet deserves. But Doom promises Morphine that he will be watching him.
Doom teleports away and leaves Morphine alone. Morphine gets up and tries to recover from the pain. Morphine remembers something from the data he stole from Doom’s Washington office. Morphine knows all about the so-called mutant messiah, and he plans to find him first.
Shakti gets approached by Sister Nicholas, whom she has asked for help on the holo phone. Shakti thanks the Sister for coming. Nicholas agrees with Shakti’s concern about the many mutants in Halo City who need guidance. Shakti is glad to provide it, especially when several of these mutants might have the power to level the city.
Nicholas says that’s true. She says that the combination of raging adolescent hormones and extra normal mutation is a volatile mix. Nicholas opens a door, using a special key card, and tells Shakti that she will have her hands full with these kids! Shakti takes a closer look, and sees several young mutants “playfully” fighting each other…