The giant, kraken-mutant stands waist deep in the icy waters, its beady red gaze fixed on the nearby X-Jet zooming above its territory. All eyes are on Pixie as it doesn’t look like they’re going to escape its grasp. Quickly nixing their idea, she states she wouldn’t be able to get them all out of there in time.
“Psylocke! Blue button!” Storm commands, an obvious last resort to save their hides. Psy hesitates, asking what the blue button does. This serves to annoy Storm who explains it’s an E.M.P. and again orders her to hit it.
Psylocke lifts the plastic cover protecting the circular, blue button, found along the X-Jet’s dashboard. She assumes it’s a Madison Jeffries customization and then, as she slams her palm down on top of it, complains that nobody tells her anything.
The plane is electrified and the proto-beast reels back in pain. The X-Jet escapes unscathed, but has served to make the creature even angrier. It takes off after the annoying, flying pest and all the submerged Colossus can do to keep up is grab onto one of its many tentacles.
Psylocke contacts Colossus and tells him to hold on, that she’s going to try and mentally calm it down, but those on board have another problem. Storm states the jet is using too much fuel. Pixie asks where they can land and Storm says she has a few ideas.
Meanwhile, Psylocke tries contacting the creature. She says its consciousness is weird, but then picks up something that scares her. She hurriedly tells Storm to pull the jet upward and get them out. This sudden jerking movement nearly throws Domino out the open door, but she’s able to keep hold of the wire.
Psylocke telepathically tells Colossus to hold on just seconds before the proto-mutant explodes with a detonation like that of a ten-ton bomb. The X-Jet barely misses getting nailed by the large burst of water erupting from underneath. Colossus, however, isn’t so lucky. He was at ground zero, and, unconscious, sinks toward the sea’s bottom amidst the bits and pieces of proto-mutant floating in the water.
Paris-Orly Airport, Italy
The X-Men have found their landing spot, an airport in Paris in a hangar run by Mossad. Greeting Storm as she exits from the ramp is Sabra who refers to the team leader by her real name. Storm tells her to use code names and Sabra does so with a smile, but explains the hangar is safe and secure. Storm thanks her and Sabra asks how she can help. Shaking hands Storm requests fuel, maintenance and temporary safe harbor, along with a doctor if she has one who can be discreet.
Not much later Colossus is being looked over by a young doctor. From his tests he’s determined Colossus has some temporary deafness from the underwater blast, no brain damage, and is in mild shock, which is why he has been silent. The doctor recommends rest and says their friend will recover just fine.
Psylocke starts to discuss their encounter with the proto-mutant, but Storm cuts her off, thanking the doctor for his work. Sabra dismisses the young man back to the safe house, and he replies with a “Yes, ma'am” and a salute.
“Storm!” Pixie yells from the next room over. When Storm looks in her direction Pixie explains they’ve found another one. Storm’s about to ask Sabra for privacy, but the finely trained Mossad agent knows when she’s not wanted and makes an exit of her own accord, offering help if they should need it again. Before Sabra leaves, Domino stops her to ask if the doctor is available, but he’s not and Domino is disappointed.
The mobile X-Men gather back on the X-Jet for another debrief on their new proto-mutant. Using a holographic display of the Earth Storm points to the eastern portion of the Quebec province. Reports indicate it’s of humanoid appearance and Storm wants to send in Pixie and Psylocke. Domino asks how she knows it’s one of the monsters. Storm’s contact told her “it doesn’t stop.”
Jacques-Cartier National Park, Quebec
Sure enough, the humanoid proto-mutant maintains a straight path, going through trees and rocks like a hot knife through butter, his red pupils staring ever onward toward his southern destination.
Just as the doctor has ordered, Colossus is asleep on his cot. Storm opens the door to his room just a crack and peers at her hurting teammate. Whatever she may have been planning on doing has to wait as she gets word of an incoming call.
Storm descends the steps to find Domino waiting for her. She asks Neena to stay in the cockpit, as she doesn’t want to rely on Madison’s remote piloting unless it’s an emergency. She adds that with these monsters running loose and Colossus down they’ve been sloppy and need to tighten things up. Understood, Domino responds, but before disappearing into the office Storm asks about the call. Domino says it was a blocked number and they’re on hold.
Sitting at her desk, Storm connects the call, assuming it’s Scott, but it’s not. Instead, it’s Dr. Hunter, her friend she gave the proto-mutant DNA sample to. Storm is surprised to receive her call so soon, but Dr. Hunter explains they’ve decoded enough of the sample and wanted to give her a call. She explains the creatures are mutants, but a different species altogether.
Storm wants a better explanation and Dr. Hunter compares it to humans and Neanderthals, and how they were different species of man. Dr. Hunter says she’ll e-mail her the documentation, but wanted to give her the gist of it.
Storm is bothered by the revelation and says she didn’t want it to be this. Hunter asks why and Storm replies she now has to tell Scott. She then asks for the specifics.
Compared to the mutant genome, Dr. Hunter explains it’s a variation on that, cruder and less-evolved. However, the sample she got was flawed, bio-engineered and not very well. She says the DNA strands were damaged and was not surprised it died. In fact, she’s bewildered that it was even alive at all.
The most disturbing part of that information is that the creature was created in a lab. Storm asks Hunter who could be capable of this and where would they have gotten samples of ancient mutant DNA. Hunter assumes a dig site, something completely coincidental.
Hunter then asks if Storm knew of these early mutants and Storm gives her a terse “No.” She asks if any of her peers would know, but Storm assures her she would have been told. Computer models Hunter’s people ran estimate the DNA to be about 700 years old, but she says another sample or the dig site itself could help narrow it down even more.
The two women discuss the proto-mutants being dispatched near populated areas and Storm wonders if they’re being used as weapons. Dr. Hunter admits it’s a possibility, though only someone truly horrific would use sentient beings like this.
This prompts Storm to ask if whoever’s behind this could create something that would affect current mutant DNA, a weapon designed to target them. Unfortunately, Dr. Hunter figures whoever’s behind this has been working on this DNA for years and there’s no telling what they know or what they’re up to. She tells Storm to assume the worst.
secret lab of David Michael Gray
The man being discussed, David Michael Gray, is busy running tests on another batch of samples. He marks some boxes on a paper attached to his clipboard and then pulls down his medical mask below his face, revealing a malevolent grin. Attached to the ceiling on either side of him are at least a dozen tubes filled with developing proto-mutants.
Pixie and Psylocke have arrived in Canada, but figure the creature is a couple dozen miles away. As they hang out and wait for its arrival Pixie asks what Psylocke sensed from the “squid monster.” It’s hard to say, Psylocke replies, saying the creature was ancient and primitive, but was more scared than aggressive. She thinks it was in a state of fear, but then it was just gone. Looking off into the distance, Psylocke says nothing deserves to go out like that.
Pixie asks if the creature was sentient, but then a telepathic signal from Storm comes in. She wants to hold a meeting and wants Pixie back on the jet. She also tells Psylocke to wait there for the target and listen in.
The meeting takes place in the cockpit between the three X-ladies, Colossus still in recovery. Storm’s basically told them she still wants to keep this from Scott. Domino doesn’t like that idea and asks why. Storm says if Dr. Hunter is right about everything who she should tell, Scott or Logan, or both. Domino emphatically agrees on the latter, saying the entire world should know.
Maybe not the world…, Pixie pipes in and Storm agrees, saying it would cause chaos. Also, Storm’s concerned it would start a global hunt for ancient mutant DNA, most likely for nefarious purposes. Domino backpedals, agreeing it should just be the mutant community then, after all it is their history.
And with that, Storm has a problem. She sees this as something that could divide the two groups even further, possibly with a resolution that’s not so neat. Pixie thinks she’s nuts for thinking that and Domino adds her thoughts, that Storm doesn’t trust Cyclops. Storm says there’s a Scott she knows and trusts and one she doesn’t, and she doesn’t know which one she’d be dealing with.
This revelation still sticks in Domino’s craw. She brings up the scientists Storm contacted to test the DNA, referring to them as groupies. She asks Storm if she trusts them. Storm says she does, that they’re a neutral third party and will keep their information safe without prejudice.
Finally, Psylocke puts in her two cents all the way from Canada, agreeing with Storm saying she wouldn’t want these innocent creatures being manipulated by their internal disagreements. Storm tells the others that Psylocke agrees with her.
Domino wants to know what Ororo has told Scott, if anything. She asks Storm if she’s been lying to Scott. Storm wouldn’t categorize it as a lie, but a newly arrived Colossus solemnly disagrees, calling it a betrayal.
Psylocke is taking a nice siesta on the floor of the lush forest. Her eyes suddenly open and she bolts upright. She gets into a low, hunkering ninja pose and says aloud that it’s coming.
Psylocke connects with Storm, but her team leader says she’s in the middle of something. Psylocke says it’s urgent, that she’s connected with the proto-mutant. She says it’s pumping out telepathic waves, strong and powerful. When Psy pauses a moment Storm worriedly asks what’s happening. With a shocked expression on her face Psylocke says it’s everything they think it is and more. She says it feels like them.
That’s when the proto-mutant appears through the trees. It walks right by Psylocke not paying her any attention at first, but then a brief sideways glance comes her way. With sweat beads appearing on her face Psylocke reports back that she knows where it comes from.
Then, possibly panicked by Psylocke, the proto-mutant begins enlarging in size. Soon it’s chest rises above the tops of the trees. Psylocke takes off in a dead sprint after him. She tells Storm she’s in pursuit of the creature and could use some back-up. About 12,000km in front of them is Quebec City, a population of 516,622, and the proto-mutant is headed straight for it.