South central Russia: A plane flies low. They are coming up on the drop zone, Arcadi announces. Any sign of hostiles? a woman asks. Calling her “Tzarina,” he replies the screens are clear. One man drops from the plane without a parachute. He lands hard but that means nothing to the armored form of Colossus.
Over comm.-link he too calls the woman “Tzarina” and tells her everything’s quiet. No contact yet. Will he stop calling her that? she complains. Bad enough hearing it from Arcadi. He didn’t think she’d be so sensitive, Piotr teases. With the last name of Rasputin she’d think he’d understand, she points out. He cannot make a joke? Only if it’s funny. Now she sounds like Katya, he remarks. Even better, she states sourly. Now he’s comparing her to children!
Looking at the snowy ground, Colossus remarks the quarry isn’t bothering to hide their trail. She warns him to be careful. Remember, his adversaries are also made of armor…
A huge, red, armored form tries to hit him. The Crimson Dynamo. Colossus grabs his oversized arms and throws his foe down with a judo move. The woman informs him that this is the first iteration of the Dynamo armor stolen from state archives by rogue spetznatz operatives out to make their fortune by selling old technology on the global terrorist market.
He’d say someone’s due for retirement, Colossus states as he hits through the armor. A force beam hits him from behind. Are they supposed to be impressed? another armored being mocks. After every battle they can be repaired. He bets, Colossus can’t say the same. Colossus is actually hurt. The newcomer grabs him by the foot, wondering if Colossus would bleed steel blood.
Suddenly, his captor is hit by kinetic energy. The Dynamo threatens that his friends won’t help Colossus. Suddenly, his systems go haywire as someone phases though him, namely Kitty Pryde, joined by Gambit who helped before and lil’ ‘Ro.
Kitty lands in Colossus’ arms. Surprised, he asks what they are doing here. Shouldn’t she be asking the same thing? Kitty teases. What’s all this she hears about Piotr Rasputin, hero of the Russian Republic? His country called. Was he supposed to say no? Who are her friends? Gambit remarks that his clothes may be new, but doesn’t Colossus recognize him? And this young lady is ‘Ro.
Noticing the tension between Piotr and Kitty, ‘Ro asks Remy if those two are gonna kiss. He tells her to mind herself. Kitty’s face is close to Piotr’s as she tells him she missed him. He responds in kind.
Suddenly, the Black Widow, the woman they all nicknamed Tzsarina harumphes. Much as she hates to interrupt the Xavier class reunion, they are here on a mission. Colossus remarks that Kitty and her friends actually helped. Kitty notices the looks passing between Piotr and Natasha and realizes they are a lot more than colleagues.
Let’s tidy up the mess, the Widow commands. Now that they have recovered the prize, she would like to learn who commissioned the theft. Ancient tech like that, one of the men, Yegeni scoffs. Natasha points out that the age of this tech doesn’t make it any less deadly.
Colossus suggests the X-Men might help. Natasha replies she figures they are not here by accident. Not exactly, Kitty replies in Russian. Natasha continues the Winter Guard was on a mission when they heard about Logan’s death. She owes him her life, more than once. She is sorry to have missed his funeral. Kitty replies he’d understand, but when Piotr didn’t show she wanted to make sure everything was alright.
Colossus explains that he will always be available if the X-Men need him but this is his home and his place. Natasha points out Shadowcat isn’t asking him to go back, she wanted to know if he was okay. And she assures Kitty that he is just fine.
Meanwhile at Xavier’s, Rogue comes down for breakfast to find an utterly cluttered sink. Angrily, she stalks through the mansion muttering if it’s too much to asks for that big slug to clean up his mess! Nightcrawler sees her striding by and figures there’s trouble. Keep her temper, he asks.
She heads to the patio where Sabretooth is sitting and asks why he didn’t do his dinner dishes. Why should he? he asks. They live together, that means they all help out, she explains. So why not help him out right now and get him a fresh brew, he asks. Angrily she shoves him into he pool. Not a smart move, Kurt sighs. Sabretooth comes rushing out, attacking her.
Jean joins them. Those two at it again? She sighs. Kurt asks her to use her telepathy to stop them. They’re going to kill each other. Jean is convinced they won’t. Besides, they both need to let off some steam.
She joins Hank in the lab. He tells her she is nicely stepping into Scott’s shoes as a leader. Jean wonders how she could miss it about their collective fate. So much for telepathy revealing all secrets. Not such a surprise, Hank replies. As X-Men, they were always focused on the beginning of the process. Looking for new mutants, helping them adapt to their changing realities. They took for granted that the rest of life would take care of itself. That was naïve of them.
Jean points out Charles couldn’t find an answer and he’s been searching for years. Hank admits he may be arrogant but he’s not Charles. He actually relishes the idea of succeeding where folks like Reed Richards and Tony Stark fail. They are all rooting for him, Jean assures him.
In his office, Xavier is sharing a bottle of whiskey with Nick Fury, who tells him that he got word from Vazhin (his Russian counterpart) that the X-Men are on site. Xavier muses it’s strange not to be in telepathic contact with them. The primal rage is too much for him.
So it’s easier to sit on the sidelines and feel sorry for himself, Fury challenges. Is that the real reason he chose to bail on combat and fly rescues instead during the war? He got to play the hero but didn’t have to do anything nasty, take any responsibility? Of course not, Xavier replies, he was bent on saving lives, not taking them. Really? Fury asks. Xavier admits he doesn’t know. Of course he does, Fury replies and pours another glass. He made a choice. Maybe the wrong choice bur for the best of reasons, to spare his kids pain while he tried his damnedest to save them. He can feel a little guilty. Anything more than that is self indulgence. Get over it! Get back to work! These kids need him now more than ever.
He wouldn’t understand, Xavier replies. To raise them and then lose them like Colossus is hard. So is killing people! Nick retorts. So is sending them to their death! Responsibility and powers walk hand in hand with grief. Means either learn to live with it and maybe make things better. Or turn his back and run away and truly leave his kids abandoned and alone. Is that his legacy? Colossus made his choice. Scott found the courage to face his past and his shame and do what was necessary to set things right. That wasn’t easy and it didn’t come from nowhere. Charles helped teach him that. He taught them all. So maybe now they get to teach him. Logan used to talk like that, Xavier muses. Perhaps it’s well past time he listened!
South central Russia:
The three X-Men are brough by the Winter Guard to its secret complex. Kitty explains that the border South forms a shallow wedge between Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. The highlands make an ideal place to keep a watchful eye on neighbors. Peter’s family’s farm is just north to the side of the Ural, that’s where his sister Illyana lives now.
‘Ro remarks she doesn’t feel welcome here. They are strangers in a secret installation, Gambit points out. Better get used to it. So much for their green light from Moscow, Kitty figures. Why so glum? Gambit asks her. He figured she’d be happy to see her friend. So did she. Are she and he…? Gambit begins. She asks him not to go there. It was a long time ago. She was just a kid. And now she’s all grown up? he teases. Feels like that, she replies glumly.
They are led to a brightly lit room with a set table. The Black Widow and Colossus are already waiting and welcome them. The Widow asks them to sit down. To have some dinner. Both to talk and to thank them for their help this morning.
Happened to be in the neighborhood. Seemed natural to lend a hand, Remy replies. She can see why Interpol holds him in such high regard, the Widow remarks. What name is he going by this week: LeBeau or Picard? Friends call him Remy, he replies smoothly.
’Ro figures with his flirting the poor woman will be charmed in no time. Kitty is less sure. Can’t fool her, ‘Ro replies smugly. Like she doesn’t want the widow to buy Gambit’s smooth moves. Leaving Peter for Kitty. Yeah, right, Kitty scoffs.
Gambit kisses Natasha’s hand and she is charmed. Peter and Kitty are less so. Touching Peter’s face, Natasha continues that her heart is spoken for quite to her surprise. Peter wants to explain to Kitty who tells him there is nothing to explain. She couldn’t be happier for him.
Gambit tells ‘Ro to put that look away and the thoughts behind this. It’s like everywhere Kitty turns someone she counted on isn’t there anymore. She needed Rasputin as an anchor but the boy only has eyes for the Widow.
About a thousand miles west on the site of what was once known as the Ust-Ordinsky collective, Colossus’ young sister Illyana leaves the school bus to walk home. She wonders why the guard’s car is standing there in the open, unaware that the men are unconscious.
Suddenly, a big black limousine brakes next to her. The man inside asks if she is Illyana Nikovna Rasputin and asks her to join him. She must be freezing. Illyana replies she’s not supposed to go with strangers. Surely her mother wouldn’t want her to catch a cold, he replies. Illyana finds she can’t resist and enters the car. The driver promises her that a glorious destiny awaits her. The time has come for the rebirth of Magik!