They are a team. Wolverine a.k.a. Logan, who declares that they have come too far to get their butts kicked now. Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie, who exclaims ‘You’re the man, Logan!’, while Rogue tells him to ‘Go for it, Shugah!’ Theresa “Siryn” Rourke announces that it is a fine day for winning, to which Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta declares that any day is a fine day for wining. Monet St Croix who goes by the alias “M” frowns and asks if they are going to be through soon, to which Wolverine tells everyone to keep their heads up, as a heavy is stepping up. Remy “Gambit” LeBeau declares that they are prepared to do their duty, while Jubilation Lee, better known as Jubilee, yawns and mutters ‘Like anything’s gonna come my way - as if’.
‘Let’s move, people!’ Cable a.k.a. Nathan Summers orders, before correcting himself: ‘I mean, play ball!’ he shouts as Storm a.k.a. Ororo Munroe steps up to the batting plate, while Caliban crouches behind her as catcher. If they were normal, this would be just another summer picnic. They’d laugh, they’d play…and then they’d go back to work, back to a routine day-to-day life. Unfortunately, routine lives are a luxury this group does not have. These young men and women are mutants - human begins born with wondrous abilities which set them apart from the bulk of humanity. More specifically, this gathering represents the combined rosters of the X-Men, X-Force and Generation X - three different teams, each dedicated to protecting a world that is scared to death of them.
Wolverine prepares to toss the ball, as his team stands ready. Also on the field, at the bases are Henry “Hank” McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, and Angelo Espinosa a.k.a. Skin, who starts to comment: ‘Here we are in the bottom of the ninth - with the Wolvsters ahead of the Stormers, seven to five and Storm herself is stepping up to the plate! Two men on base and no outs - a home run could win the game and the pressure is on! Will the Wolvsters crack? Will Skin and Beast score on Storm’s homer?’ Rogue tells Skin that he is no Mel Allen, while Cannonball urges Wolverine to fan Storm out. Each mutant owes its existence to one Charles Xavier, a peaceful man who - though inadvertently - is responsible for the war they have just been through. His fall has affected every one of them. And now they’re dealing with it as best they can - by coming together.
‘Put it right here, friend Logan! A fast ball and then a sliding curve!’ Caliban urges Wolverine, to which Storm tells Caliban that he he is not supposed to reveal the pitching strategy. ‘I’m sorry, Storm-lady’ Caliban replies. Wolverine stands ready, and asks Cannonball how he is doing on first base. Sam replies that the Beast is taking a wide lead. ‘Pick him off!’ Sam urges. Rogue calls out that Skin is going to try and steal third base, to which Logan replies ‘We’ll see about that, and turns to M, asking her if she is ready on third. ‘Can you handle a triple play?’ Logan enquires. M sighs and replies ‘If I have to’.
‘Is something amiss, Logan? Or do you simply fear my hitting ability?’ Storm shouts. ‘You asked for it ‘Ro!’ Wolverine replies, as he pulls his arm back and throws the ball her way. ‘STEERIKE!’ Cable shouts as Storm misses the ball. ‘Aww, she’s going to strike out!’ Bobby “Iceman” Drake complains as he sits in the bleachers, easting some crisps. ‘I guess you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you, Drake?’ Domino mutters, while Shatterstar exclaims that this is no challenge for a true warrior born. ‘Shouldn’t we be training?’ he asks. Bishop rolls his eyes, while Tabitha “Meltdown” Smith frowns at Iceman and tells Shatterstar to give it a rest. Wolverine throws the ball once more, and Storm misses again. ‘Two strikes, ‘Ro!’ Wolverine tells Storm.
The Beast declares that he has faith in the old girl, and takes a leap, lunging towards the next base. ‘Beast!’ Cannonball calls out. Logan throws the ball towards Sam, ‘Let’s nail him!’ Wolverine declares. As he tosses the ball. ‘That was fast, Logan - but not fast enough!’ the Beast replies as he dives down to the base, just as Sam catches the ball. ‘He’s safe!’ Cable shouts. ‘BOOO! The Ump is blind!’ someone shouts out.
Nearby, Scott “Cyclops” Summers and Jean Grey-Summers a.k.a. Phoenix are riding some off-road motorcycles. They approach the baseball pitch and Scott informs everyone that there is a barbecue over at the lake house after the pool party. Jean announces that they are doing chicken and burgers and a whole mess of potato salad and corn on the cob. ‘Sean, Betsy and Emma are back there helping prep -’ Scott begins to call out, to which Gambit replies ‘Ya. Sure. That sounds good’. ‘Uh-huh. S’okay’ Jubilee mutters, neither of them taking their eyes off the ball. ‘We even have rice crispies squares and floating islands -’ Scott calls out, but Jean tells him to forget it, as no one is listening.
Scott and Jean continue on their bikes, with Jean pointing out that they are all still recovering from the battle with Onslaught, and escaping into the game is good for them, as it is a release of sorts. ‘Maybe we should have come over and played’ Scott suggests. ‘Maybe we should have’ Jean agrees. Just then, Storm smiles and shouts ‘Ha!’ as she smacks the ball with the baseball bat. ‘She connects with a blistering line drive -’ Skin exclaims as he begins to commentate once again. Logan dives for the ball in a desperate attempt to snag it, while Gambit runs over to cover Jubilee in right field. ‘Cover? He’s hogging!’ Gambit shouts. ‘And the crowd roars as Skin rounds third’ Angelo boasts. ‘I don’t hear any roaring!’ M frowns, while Beast passes Rogue at second base, and Storm breezes past Cannonball at first base. ‘Fire it home, Remy!’ Sam shouts.
Gambit dives, but misses. ‘The score is seven to six as Skin scores’ Angelo exclaims as he makes it home. The Beast bounds to third base, and Storm passes Rogue at second base. The ball lands in Jubilee’s mitt, and tells Gambit that he gave it a nice try, but he should have left it to her. ‘Take it, Monet!’ Jubilee exclaims as she throws the ball to M, but she is a little too late, as Storm passes Monet, and the Beast makes it home bring the score to a tie. ‘Now this is action!’ Shatterstar exclaims as Skin and the Beast join their team. Skin smiles and remarks that it is going to be a close on. Suddenly, Caliban looks up to the sky, ‘Whu?’ he gasps. ‘What are you -?’ Storm asks him as she slides to home base, and the ball flies towards him.
‘By the goddess!’ Storm gasps as Sentinel appears in the sky over the Xavier Institute. Part of its arm and head are missing, and smoke smoulders from the “wounds”. ‘How did the thing get past mansion’s perimeter sensors?’ Cable wonders. ‘Look at all that battle damage!’ Rogue exclaims as she, Storm, Cannonball and Sunspot fly towards the Sentinel, while Iceman joins them in the air on an ice-sled. ‘Damaged or not, a Sentinel is always a formidable adversary! We need a coordinated plan of attack!’ Storm declares, ordering Rogue and Sunspot to deploy to the Sentinel’s flanks, while she initiates a frontal feint with lightning.
Storm casts forth lightning at the Sentinel, and the action gains the attention of Cyclops and Phoenix, who bring their bikes to a halt. ‘Scott!’ Jean calls out. Scott replies that he sees it. ‘A sentinel!’ he gasps, to which Jean reveals that something is not right about this one, that it is behaving erratically, and they turn their bikes around in the direction of the baseball diamond. ‘It’s still a Sentinel, Jean - a construct completely dedicated to the eradication of mutants!’ Cyclops declares, adding ‘That rates full beam in my book!’ as he unleashes a powerful optic blast at the Sentinel.
Suffering from the lightning and optic attacks, the stricken android behemoth slues like a powerless dirigible, and stumbles backwards into a set of power lines. The resulting fall causes the lines to all come down in spectacular display. The sound that issues from the Sentinel’s synthetic speech generator is distressingly human - resonating with qualities we associate with pain and despair. ‘It’s hurting! It’s…dying’ M calls out. Everyone looks up, shocked, and Cable declares that it cannot hurt and cannot die, as it is a soulless machine. Wolverine reveals that he had a run-in once with a Sentinel that could think to itself.
Standing before the fallen Sentinel, the mutants listen as it speaks to them, announcing that it mean no harm. With several errors in its speech, the Sentinel states that it is an unarmed tactical surveillance and operations drone. The Sentinel begins its story, explaining that the hunter / killer Sentinels were largely self-propelled weapons systems with elaborate training suites, while this unit was dedicated to observe, analyze and transmit intelligence updates to the hunter / killers, and, to that end, this unit was equipped with an upgraded processor and a long range sensor package with which this unit was capable of monitoring all that transpired concerning Onslaught from a high geosynchronous orbit.
The Sentinel reveals that its processors collated all incoming data and built an extrapolation model upon which to overlay progressive tactical scenarios. The Sentinel explains that there should have been infinite variety of time strings projected from this extrapolation, but instead there was a single time string that dominated the projections and the ramifications of that string triggered system warnings in this unit, because of possible Prime Directive violations. The Sentinel announces that it bore witness to the departure of Professor Charles Xavier, he whose psi-signature was part of the entity Onslaught - from these grounds, and his surrender to the authorities.
‘With the deactivation of the Sentinel centralized communication net, this unit was cut off at the outer edge of the atmosphere’ the Sentinel reveals. It explains that it had the time to ponder the extrapolative model and consider the impact on humanity. After exhaustive data checks, the Sentinel opted to override its programming, and notify the very mutants it was dedicated to destroying, because of the Prime Directive violation. ‘Humanity must be warned’ the Sentinel states, as two more parts of its body are set on fire after malfunctioning. The Sentinel falls backwards, and it’s stomach explodes. ‘Darkness? Light receptor failure? System crash! Is this shut down? This unit is afraid -’ the Sentinel states, while Jubilee grabs one of its fingers. Suddenly, the Sentinel’s red eyes fade out, and only darkness remains. Jubilee begins to cry.
The other mutants look at the Sentinel, confused. ‘They gave it an advanced computer to process tactical data and it evolved into a form of cyber-consciousness’ the Beast remarks. He adds that the Sentinel developed a conscience, maybe some unforeseen after-effect of its interface with Onslaught. ‘It wanted to warn us - but about what?’ Hank wonders. Still holding the fallen Sentinel’s finger, Jubilee exclaims that it came down here to help them, but they shot it down. She goes over to Wolverine, who puts his arms around her. ‘Oh, Logan - I was looking right into its eyes when it died!’ Jubilee declares.
‘That thing was a robot that was originally programmed to hunt down mutants - and then it was co-opted by Onslaught to help him destroy the world!’ Cable exclaims. Wolverine frowns and replies that even if it was a machine, it was a machine that knew it was going to die, and was afraid. ‘That hits home with some of us, Cable - it’s called empathy!’ Wolverine snarls. The two men face-off, as Cable boasts that he has seen more real people die than Wolverine can imagine. ‘And you’re lecturing me about empathy? You don’t know the meaning of the word. How much empathy did you have for Tyler when you killed him?’ Cable asks. ‘About as much as he had for me under the circumstances!’ Wolverine retorts, telling Cable that Tyler did try to make Wolverine over into one of his Horsemen to serve Apocalypse.
‘The blood was always between you and me, you didn’t have to bring Tyler into it -’ Cable begins, when suddenly, Cannonball interrupts them: ‘Cable - Sir - I was there! Logan didn’t have a choice!’ Sam exclaims, to which Meltdown shouts that there is always a choice - someone is either a killer or not. ‘It’s not that simple!’ Jubilee begins, while Domino declares that Logan was out of line in dissing on Cable. Suddenly, ‘That’s it! Stop it right there! Time out!’ Cyclops orders as he and Jean arrive on scene. Scott tells the others that there will be no taking sides in this dispute, that this is not the time for divisiveness and internal strife.
Cyclops turns to Cable and Wolverine and tells them that they both know better than this. ‘Taking our sorrows and frustrations out on one another is the worst thing we can do’ he remarks. Jean agrees, and asks ‘Haven’t we lost too much already? Is this the final legacy of Charles Xavier? All his plans and hopes - his dream - going up in smoke because one tiny fragment of his dark side gained ascendancy and spread the poison of disunity and mistrust?’ Rogue hangs her head and declares that the Professor would want them to stick together, not let their problems split them all up.
Storm remarks that Charles was the one they depended on, the shoulder they cries upon. ‘Parent, teacher, big brother…spiritual leader and positive role model…all rolled into one’. She adds that there may have been more they could have done for him, and suggests that they should not have allowed him to go with Valerie Cooper. ‘But if we truly value all he’s taught us…we can only approach his absence as he did his own culpability for Onslaught - head on’ Storm declares.
Everyone looks at Caliban when he suddenly speaks up: ‘Um - lady - not Caliban’s place to say Storm Lady is wrong, but Caliban has to say it!’ Caliban declares that he is not a psi-talent, nor is he very smart, but that he knows one thing. ‘Caliban knows that Professor Xavier knows that we all love him. Caliban thinks maybe Professor Xavier is more smart and more kind than we can know. Maybe he knows something he can’t tell us. Maybe he went off for us’ Caliban suggests. The simple mutant remarks that maybe they are not smart enough and good enough to understand. ‘Caliban talk too much. Caliban stupid. Caliban go away’ he mutters, as he puts his hands in his pockets and begins to leave the group.
Storm puts a hand on Caliban’s shoulder and tells him to never say that he is stupid. ‘Sometimes you can see through the clutter that obscures the truth for most of us. That is a brilliance of sorts - a brilliance to be admired’ Storm declares. ‘Well said, Caliban!’ Cable congratulates,. ‘Brilliant, no less!’ Meltdown exclaims as she climbs onto Caliban’s shoulders. ‘What do you have to say for yourself? Shatterstar asks. Caliban just smiles and asks if they can go swimming now.
Soon, at the mansion pool, ‘Poolside at the mansion, take one, rolling!’ Cannonball jokes as he holds up a camera. ‘Give the boy a camcorder and he thinks he’s Francis Ford Guthrie’ the Beast exclaims as he tips some cans of drink into a large bucket, which Iceman promptly fills with ice. ‘Neat trick, guys - getting Iceman to use his power to cool the drinks. What else can you do?’ someone calls out. ‘Trick? Bobby’s got a good one. Give me the camera’ the Beast replies as he takes the camera and films Iceman tugging at Cannonball’s shorts and putting ice cubes down his pants. ‘Hey! Whu -!’ Cannonball exclaims. ‘Better than a wedgie - I call it a fridgie!’ Bobby jokes. Iceman smiles and gives a “thumbs up” sign as Cannonball blasts into the air due to the cold of the ice. ‘Gimme that back!’ Sam calls out as he blasts back down towards the Beast.
‘Poolside at the mansion, take two’ Cannonball declares as he approaches Jubilee and M, laying about on some recliners by the poolside, with their teammate Paige Guthrie a.k.a. Husk, Cannonball’s younger sister. ‘Any comments for posterity, M?’ Sam asks. M just waves her hand without even looking at Sam, telling to go someplace else. Sam turns to his sister, who asks him to get out of her un, as he is casting a shadow on her tan. ‘Jubilee? Oh, no! Don’t do it, Jubilee!’ Sam calls out, but it’s too late, as Jubilee releases a blast of plasma energy, knocking Sam backwards.
‘You’re doing fine, Sam! Just keep stepping back like you’re doing’ Jubilee tells him. ‘Back? But isn’t the - the pool back there?’ he asks. ‘Du-uh’ Jubilee tells him, as Sam galls into the pool. He bobs to the surface and places the camcorder on the ground, remarking that he hopes the camcorder casing is water-proof, when suddenly, a football bounces off his head. ‘Interference! Foreign body on the water polo court!’ Shatterstar calls out as he and Caliban make waves, leaping towards Cannonball, who just frowns: ‘Shoot! Who’s he calling a foreigner? I was born here - he’s the one from another dimension!’
Joseph helps pull Sam from the water, and asks him if he wants to join Rogue and Gambit at their table for some iced tea. ‘Thanks, Magne - er…Joseph. But I think I had better go dry off the camera’ Sam replies, correcting himself before calling Joseph “Magneto”. Rogue tells Joseph that she thinks Sam is spooked. ‘You don’t remember it, but Sam was one of the kids you trained…when you were still Magneto’ Rogue tells him. Joseph smiles at Rogue and suggests that Sam is simply intimidated by beauty and poise. ‘Awww -’ Rogue utters. Sitting under a umbrella nearby, Gambit frowns and mutters something in French, before Joseph sits back down and asks if anyone would care for more iced tea. He gets to his feet and walks back towards the pool house.
‘You know that the worst of Magneto might still be deep inside that one…and remember what just a little bit of that did to Professor Xavier’ Gambit tells Rogue, who replies that everybody is different, and that some people can change. ‘Not that one, chere. Everything about that one run clean to the bone’ Gambit replies. An instant later, Joseph arrives with more iced tea, and Storm and Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock are with him. They all sit down at the table, and Joseph asks ‘Now, where were we?’, while, in the pool, Caliban and Shatterstar are both still struggling with each other for possession of the ball.
Betsy lifts up her shades and announces that the ether around this table is charged with rather tense vibration. Rogue asks if they don’t have a right to be tense, after all they have been through with Onslaught. Betsy places her hands together and replies that it was more of a personal bio-rhythm. Joseph stands up and asks if they should have a toast. Gambit stands up and raises his glass: ‘Here’s to us…and those like us!’ he exclaims. Rogue, Betsy and Storm raise their glasses also, and they all shout ‘Darn few left!’ Someone announces that Sean and Emma have arrived, and indeed the White Queen a.k.a. Emma Frost and Sean “Banshee” Cassidy cycle to the poolside area. ‘Food’s on!’ Sean calls out, while Emma tells everyone to get to the lake for barbecue. ‘All right!’ shout Caliban, Shatterstar, Sunspot and Skin as they leap from the pool.
Later, at the lake house, ‘Okay, who wants their burgers - uh - well done?’ Cyclops calls out as he stands at the barbecue, engulfed in flames. Jean smiles and tells Scott that he has to run the propane flame down a bit, to which Scott asks what ever happened to real charcoal and started fluid. ‘Bad for the ecology!’ Jean tells him, before asking him since when has he ever been opposed to new technology. Sean and Emma smile as they carry bowls of salad past Scott and Jean.
Nearby, ‘Twenty serving eighteen - game point!’ Siryn exclaims as she serves the ping-pong ball as she and Domino face off against Husk and M in a game of table tennis. ‘You know, everything’s going to change now…things can’t go on the way they’ve been going’ Husk remarks as she hit’s the ball towards Domino, who slams it back and shouts ‘You can say that again, sister. All you little kiddies up in Massachusetts are going to have to do some growing up ASAP. Things are getting hot for mutants right now!’ Unimpressed, M frowns and hit’s the ball back with casual ease, assuring Domino that they can handle it. ‘But can you handle this slice?’ Domino asks as she returns the ball. ‘Please’ M replies, exasperated, she hits the ball back. ‘Bother!’ Siryn exclaims when she hit’s the ball, but it bounces off the side of the table, and lands in the potato salad at the table where several of the boys are eating.
‘Sorry. May we have our ball back, please?’ M asks as she goes over to the boys. ‘Why, certainly’ Shatterstar replies as he picks the ball out of the potato salad. ‘Oh, yuck!’ M complains. Cannonball takes the ball from Shatterstar, asking him where his manners are. ‘You can’t hand it to the lady in that condition’ Sam remarks as he slurps the salad from the ball, putting it in his mouth to make sure he gets all of the salad, and then shooting it up from his mouth, he catches it by sticking his hand behind his back. ‘There ya go, milady - all washed off and ready for your delicate fingers’ Sam tells M, who is not very impressed. ‘EEEEYUGHK!’ she exclaims as she takes the ball, dripping with Cannonball’s spit. This causes Sunspot and Shatterstar to burst into a fit of laughter, but Caliban shakes his head, remarking that he doesn’t get it.
Sunspot turns to Cannonball and asks his friend how it feels to be the junior member of the A-team. ‘Sort of like being blade-polisher for the vid-gladiators?’ Shatterstar enquires. Cannonball replies that he likes it just fine, as it is a chance to learn from the pros. ‘Scott is a terrific leadership example, Beasr is the smartest guy I’ve ever met and Wolverine - well, he really is the best at what he does’ Sam declares, while Wolverine stands nearby, leaning against a fence, beer in one hand, his hat pulled down over his face. Shatterstar whispers that Cannonball was there at the big showdown between Genesis, who used to be Cable’s adopted son, Tyler, and Wolverine. ‘What went down out there? Did he like - go completely animal?’ Shatterstar asks.
Cannonball replies that he doesn’t see where Wolverine had much choice. He explains that Genesis was hunting Wolverine down like a dog, sicced his Dark Riders on him, and this after an aborted attempt to infuse the adamantium back into Wolverine. ‘Still, even hurting like he was, and reverted to a feral state -’ Cannonball begins, when Caliban suddenly gets his attention: ‘It’s friend-Cable!’ Caliban declares. They watch as Cable approaches Wolverine and tells him that he was out of line back there with the Sentinel. ‘I’m sorry’ Cable announces. ‘There’s no more to say, Cable’ Wolverine replies, grabbing Cable by the wrist. Logan points out that there has been ad blood between the two of them for a long time. ‘That incident way back when…well, I’m just saying I’m sorry and that’s water under the bridge as far as I’m concerned’ Logan declares.
Wolverine tells Cable that he is sorry about his son, Tyler, too. ‘I know there ain’t no many words that can put a thing like that right…’ Wolverine remarks, before knocking back his beer, and wiping his mouth. Cable leans on the fence beside Wolverine and tells him that he appreciates the fact he did not try to rationalize what he did. ‘I understand you had no choice’ Cable remarks, before telling Wolverine that he must realize that there is no assuaging this sort of thing. ‘Maybe we’ll never quite be friends - but I promise that you need never fear to turn your back to me while we are still on the same side’ Cable tells him. The men clink their beer bottles together, and Wolverine tells him that is as good as it gets, before they both knock back their drinks.
‘I cannot believe I’m taking part in this Banshee!’ Emma shouts, before informing everyone that it is time to change into their costumes. ‘Aw, Emma - we haven’t even started on the floating islands!’ someone complains.
Shortly, ‘Let’s move it! We don’t have much time! You know the drill - big guys in the back!’ Cyclops shouts as the sun sets over the Xavier Institute, and dimly lit figures, all with prominent “Xs” on their costumes converge on the same point. ‘And here I am having a bad hair day! Am I a mess!’ Meltdown complains to Cable, who replies that he has never seen an x-lady with so much as a single hair out of place. Everett “Synch” Thomas and Husk smile at this, while Bobby stands behind the Beast, asking him if he can get that contraption to work. ‘Not if you keep bothering me, Bobby’ Hank replies, while Cyclops tells everyone who cal fly that he wants a nice vee formation overhead, and that they should coordinate the timing with Beast.
Beast has the camera ready on a tripod and announces that it is counting down. ‘Ten seconds, everyone!’ he shouts. The mutants bustle for a place, ‘Positions!’ Icemans shouts, while several figures take to the air, reflected by the fading sun. Suddenly, ‘Speaking of flying - look who showed up! Gateway! Where did he come from?’ someone asks. Hank suggests that perhaps their enigmatic Aborigine teleporter will open his mouth and tell them - but apparently, not today. An instant later, everyone smiles for the camera, and they are joined by Generation X’s Chamber, Mondo, Artie Maddick and Leech.
They are outcasts. Shunned, if not hunted down by humanity because of their genetic differences. The past few weeks have, in all likelihood, been the most trying ever for each one of them. Everything they believe in has been challenged. Many they looked up to have perished. Or, in the case of Charles Xavier, the man who brought this disparate group together, fell from grace. Still, they persevere…drawing strength from each other…gaining hope that despite today’s horrors, a brighter tomorrow remains.
With the photo over, Gateway levitates away from the group, though Wolverine follows him, ‘Hey! Don’t sop and say hello, bub!’ Logan calls out, but the Beast reminds Wolverine that Gateway has his own agenda. ‘Yeah. Tell me about it. I kinda doubt he showed up just for the group photo’ Wolverine replies, as the sun fades and the moon shines down over the Xavier Institute. Banshee tells everyone to gather around, for now that dusk is upon thme, they have special entertainment prepared. ‘Jubilee, Meltdown, Sunspot and Cannonball, front and center!’ Sean exclaims. ‘TA-DAAAA!’ the young mutants declare as they step forward. Sunspot has ropes tied around his arms, while Meltdown bows and tries to push past Jubilee, ‘Outta my way, Lee’ she exclaims. ‘Don’t tempt me, Smith’ Jubilee snaps back.
‘And now, for your edification and pleasure’ Cannonball declares, as he creates a blast field high into the sky, and Sunspot uses the ropes to pull Jubilee and Meltdown into the air with him. The young women proceed to unleash their similar plasma powers, both in the style of fireworks. ‘Now that’s what I can all fireworks display’ Wolverine remarks as everyone looks up, smiling. Gambit even suggests that it is better than the Fourth of July. Jean steps forward and announces that now comes the time for something a bit more serious. She points out that they have all been through a trying and traumatic time and are in need of some healing. Jean remarks that Logan has been going through a personal trial and recovery, and that there was something he mentioned ot her about his own road back that struck home with her. ‘He told me that in the martial arts, before and after each practice session, all the participants sit in meditation to clear their minds’ Jean explains.
Cable stands with Jean and announces that what the two of them are proposing is a mind-meld imposed by them, which would be pretty much superficial. Cable remarks that it would be a “feel-god” mind meld, a joining of spirits, if you will, so no dark secrets would be open to all, and that if there are those among the group who are hesitant or have misgivings, he and Jean understand if they do not wish to participate. ‘No hesitation’ someone calls out. ‘Long as you keep it superficial’ Gambit warns Cable. ‘Nothing to hide…’ Storm begins. ‘Nothing to hide’ Cyclops declares, before suggesting they proceed. He turns to Jean and Cable, and Jean asks everyone to join hands, with Cable explaining that it is a symbolic gesture more than anything else.
Everyone clasps hands with the persons next to them, and at first there is nothing, then, a cool gentle wafting like a wind out of the east. It is a breeze bearing an astonishing babble of disparate thoughts and emotions, all adrift in confusion, like conversations at a noisy party. And then, the individual voices give way to an underlying chorus thrumming in some mental harmony, singing a bright chord, a major fifth of the mind-waves, reminding one and all of the tie that binds them together. The chord rises and decays, leaving an after-tone reverberating with an ethereal sensation of well-being, like the fleeting embrace of an old friend long unseen, or a lover’s touch dimly recalled, brushing feather-like against the consciousness - and fading away to an unnatural quiet.
Jean thanks everyone for sharing, and suggests they all adjourn to the mansion. Everyone follows Cyclops and Phoenix, as Jean whispers to Scott ‘Things will never be the same again, will they?’ Cyclops replies that they never are, but that tomorrow is another day….