Behold the mutant who knows too much. A mutant whose knowledge is both his gift and his curse, condemning him to a life of imprisonment. Only a handful of people are aware of his existence, let alone of his captivity. In his solitude, the mutant has bided his time, certain of one thing above all others: soon, he will be free!
In Mexico, security guard Esteban Ocampo overviews his good life. His life is one of comfortable routine. Six days a week, he works as an engineer of the Metro Express running from Mexico City to Tula de Allende. The pay is good and the train demands little of his attention, requiring only the occasional systems diagnostic. Mostly, Esteban watches the twenty-four hour Fútbol channel on the Sportsnet. But now, he has come to think of his workday as unswervingly predictable. He is wrong.
Suddenly, a fully charged-up Timothy Michael Fitzgerald stands motionless on the traintracks. Esteban frantically tries to manually override the train’s controls, even though the hurtling transport requires at least another half klik to brake properly. Esteban fails to stop the train and can’t look how the insane man on the tracks is going to be killed. Tim doesn’t think so, but Meanstreak gets the upper hand on business and runs by Tim, getting him off the track and back to the other X-Men.
Meanstreak thought that Tim was getting better again after what happened to him, but this proves him wrong. La Lunática tells Meanstreak not to blame her, because Tim hasn’t been himself after he was brought back to life by the Graverobber. Tim doesn’t understand why his teammates are so worried about him, because he feels better than ever. And more handsome, too. Meanstreak tells Tim to relax, and not to kill himself. The X-Men almost fell apart because their previous leader got insane, and Henri won’t let that happen again.
Luna tells Meanstreak not to be too tough on Tim, because he too spent some time with the crazy Halloween Jack. Tim tells his friends not to worry, because he is on their side. The way Tim acts lately doesn’t reassure Meanstreak. And he doesn’t like this mission either. Luna says that it’s too late to turn back now, because they are indeed at the service tunnel entrance.
Meanstreak doesn’t understand why Tim and Luna don’t find it a little suspicious that a message from a mutant claiming to be held against his will there, also included detailed instructions on how to execute his breakout. Meanstreak suspects this all to be a set-up.
Luna doesn’t understand Henri’s concerns, because she heard that he and Krystalin used to walk through a lot more dangerous missions than this one. Tim agrees, because this is why they agreed to become X-Men in the first place: to rescue mutants in trouble.
Meanstreak says that’s why he has taken the chance that the S.O.S. is genuine. Still, he warns his friends not to be overconfident. They are a long way from Halo City. Now, they are raiding the headquarters of the Quetzalcoatl Corporation, one of the ruling MegaCorps of the Federación des Estados Americanos. And Meanstreak knows that all the diplomatic immunity in the world won’t help them should they be caught.
Nearby, Chairman Belize gets online. A video screen opens in a dark cell, where the mutant named Book is imprisoned. Belize angrily asks Book where the market overviews are he had requested. Belize needs those reports because, in an hour, he has a meeting with Stark-Fujikawa representatives.
Book says that he doesn’t feel well. Belize tells Book not to try his patience, because the doctors have told him that Book’s condition is just fine. Book says that it’s his soul that aches, because he lives his life as a prisoner. Belize tells Book that he lives in a protected environment for his own good. And all the resources of the corporation are at Book’s disposal. Belize knows that Book has more here than he ever had in that hovel in Kingston.
Book agrees, but there he had his freedom. Belize is bored by this conversation and simply wants the reports within the hour. Book refuses to do that. Without warning, the monitor begins to spark and moan, as if possessed. An electrical charge builds and then forces its way out of the monitor, coalescing into a writhing serpent of angry energy and bounds itself around Book, who screams it out from the pain. Belize tells Book not to forget to whom he speaks.
He is Javier Belize, descendant of the Toltec kings who ruled this land, long before Cortez. Belize commands the power of Quetzalcoatl, the plumed Serpent God of the Morning and Evening Star. Book begs Belize to stop the pain. Belize tells Book not to forget that he owes him everything. Without Belize, Book would still be rotting in a cage in Kingston and work for that gambler who had no idea of Book’s true potential. Belize wants Book to remember how it felt squandering one of the world’s most brilliant minds on dog-racing. Belize believes that Book should bow to him for getting him out of that horrible place. Book remembers and begs Belize to forgive him. Book will get the data for Belize.
In Halo City, Xi’an uses his powers in an attempt to heal Victor Ten Eagle’s lost arm. The clinic doctor’s give Victor a metal arm instead. Victor tells Xi’an not to feel bad, because this arm is more than enough for him. Xi’an tells Victor that he should let a genetech take a tissue sample and clone a new limb. Victor angrily says that would require time and they simply don’t have that.
Victor tells Xi’an that the Reverend is dead already and he is lucky that his enemies only made him loose an arm. Victor tells Xi’an that every surviving member of the Lawless is in danger now. The ghosts of the past they had hoped to have buried have come back with a vengeance, and Victor is certain that they are heading for Halo City.
Krystalin enters the room, having heard from Sister Luisa and wanted to take a proper goodbye, something they didn’t have a chance to do back in New Mexico. Krystalin notices Victor’s metal arm and, panicking, asks him what happened. Victor calls it nothing and doesn’t want to talk about it. Krystalin tells Victor not to fool her, because she knows that Victor is bottling up a lot of pain he doesn’t want to let out. Victor tells Krystalin that she is a good woman with a noble heart, but she doesn’t know him at all. Victor calls the time they had together to be mutually diverting, but that’s it. He wants her to keep distance from him.
Xi’an explains to Krystalin that Victor is only trying to protect him, since someone is after the former Lawless members. She isn’t safe around either of them. Krystalin says that she can protect herself and offers her help. Victor says that the Lawless’ business is of no concern of her, nor of that of the X-Men. Krystalin agrees to stay out of it, but wants to know who harmed him. Victor asks Krystalin if she has ever heard about the Foolkiller.
Tua de Allende…
The trio of X-Men find a huge gate, and all the security guards seem to have been gassed unconscious. They notice a lock, which opens with the touch of Meanstreak’s hand palm. Luna wants to know how the mutant got a hold on Meanstreak’s palm’s signature, but he doesn’t know that either. The X-Men enter the gate, which quickly closes behind them. A computer voice warns them that there will be zero-gravity in the room now, and the X-Men all begin to float around. The X-Men all float up, and closer to the top of the room they eventually meet the mutant they came to rescue: Book. Book thanks the X-Men for coming.
Book apologizes for the zero-gravity, but he can’t support his body weight comfortably under normal circumstances. But enough with the pleasantries, it’s time for some answers. Tim wants to know why it looks like that Book is being held a prisoner there. Book confirms that he is indeed a prisoner. He explains that, in compensation for his crippling bulk, he was blessed with a great intellect and a photographic memory. There in this place, Book is fed information from around the world. News, weather, entertainment, it all floats into him. By analyzing disparate data, Book can accurately predict everything from market fluctuations to political coups. With the data Book provides, Belize took control of this Corporation.
Tim asks Book if he has psychic powers. Book denies that, describing his powers to be merely perceptive enough to identify and extrapolate connections which others miss. Book says that through his access to the most obscure and guarded databases, he can tell the X-Men things about themselves even they don’t know. For example, Book informs Meanstreak that Alchemax has been using his DNA in attempts to re-create his hyper-accelerated metabolism in animals. For La Lunática, Book knows that she isn’t the only relative of Brimstone Love. And Book tells Tim that the Graverobber didn’t kill him. No, he set Tim free.
The three X-Men don’t believe anything Book tells them. Book says that he gained access to the most protected data sources. He has called them because Halo City will be the nexus for many of the next century’s most crucial events. Book reveals that he is a mutant, and is needed there.
Three armored thugs stop a truck and want to highjack it. They want to go over it quickly, but they find resistance in the form of… Bloodhawk! Bloodhawk drops some bombs on them, and fights his way through the goons. A metal arm smashes through the truck and helps Bloodhawk out. When the dust clears, Bloodhawk takes a closer look at the one who helped him, and recognizes… Metalhead! Metalhead thanks Bloodhawk for the help, saying that he wouldn’t want any harm to come to Rosa nor her baby, who slept through the entire commotion.
Tua de Allende…
The X-Men want to know why Book needed them for his escape, since he arranged everything for them to enter the place, and even some transport for escaping the building. Just as Book wants to tell, the zero-gravity falls out and the X-Men and Book fall on the ground.
An angry Belize enters the room and wants to make Book pay for calling the X-Men there. They try to protect Book, but he tells them not to worry about him, but instead to be cautious of Belize’s Lightning Serpent attacks. Belize quickly deals with both Luna and Meanstreak and only Tim is left standing.
Book tells Tim to be careful and informs the mutant that he has more power inside him than Belize knows. Tim tries to absorb the Serpents inside his body, but can’t do that for some reason. Never has he felt so much magic tricks before. Tim doesn’t know how much longer he can hold on. Book notices Tim struggling and tells him that he is as much a creature of energy as the Serpents are, and that Tim is connected to greater energies than they are.
Tim doesn’t know what Book is talking about, but he feels the energy of the Serpents fading, and the energy is becoming a part of him! Belize doesn’t believe his eyes: no man could survive an absorption like that: Tim should have died. Tim sadistically tells Belize that he has done that, and now he is back.
Book whispers to Tim to cripple Belize as much as he has crippled him. Tim suddenly becomes aware of all the nanotech generations which previously coursed through his body, but are now calling to Tim. All of it. Tim attacks Belize, who says that Tim is stealing his life from him. Not quite, Tim says, but enough to make Belize remember him. Belize collapses.
Luna and Meanstreak get up again, and Luna notices Tim and asks him what he did to Belize. Never before has Luna seen Tim so hungry. Or so feral. Tim doesn’t know what happened either, because, for a moment, it felt like he wasn’t himself anymore.
Tim says that it was like Book said, and that he was tapped into something greater than himself. The X-Men almost forgot about Book in all the commotion, and help him stand up. Book thanks the X-Men for their help. He knew that his faith in the X-Men was justified. Tim doesn’t like the fact that Book seems to know a lot about them.
Tim feels like he has been used. Book asks the X-Men to forgive him for being presumptuous. Book knew that they were his only hope against Belize. Book smiles and hopes that he can repay each of the X-Men once they are in Halo City. He has so very much to do there…