On a TV news program, a reporter says it has now been a week since the unprecedented PR effort by British mutants appreciably changed national opinion and brought the downfall of a Middle Eastern dictator. The woman asks how Britain’s “X-day” affected the mutant issue on the global scale.
She says their correspondent was lucky enough to put his questions to a prominent member of the mutant underground. The screen flashes to show Cyclops being interviewed by a journalist. Cyclops tells him it was a good thing but he is not sure who coordinated it. He points out that positive spin isn’t enough, as there will always be those whose hatred eclipses all sense, even that of the majority opinion.
The journalist asks if he is referring to the previous days attack at Washington DC. The one that left members of the pro-mutant “genethics” lobby severely beaten and comatose near a graffiti tag marked “the X-beast will eat itself.” Cyclops say he is and also to the dozen or so less newsworthy hate crimes each day. It’s a pattern he has seen before and it’s why his team will never give up, for every step forward there is always a step back. Speaking into the camera, Cyclops says that for every isolated bubble of mutant popularity there is always a backlash. There is one thing he has learned after years of fighting for his people and that is, given the chance, things will always slip back to where they began.
Elsewhere, David says there is percussion in his brain. A beat behind all things. A helicopter lands on a barren landscape. The occupants inside it suddenly fall asleep except for a middle aged woman. She gets out of the helicopter and sees David in the distance, standing before a huge building. She nervously calls out to him and says that she thought the place was abandoned. Not turning round to her, he clicks his fingers and tells her he was just remembering out loud. He puts things back to the way they were and the building disappears, only to be replaced by a pile of rubble. Calling her “Ambassador Haller,” he welcomes her to Muir Island. Then he tags on the end that it is nice to see his mother.
Still nervous, she stutters that she sent a car to the MOD as soon as she heard. But they said he was already gone and that he put coordinates on the wall. David tells his mother that she is prattling and that she doesn’t have to be nervous. He then leads her into the ruins of research base. As they make their way through the ruined corridors, David tells her he imagines the question she is wondering is “why here?” After years of precisely zero contact between the lovely mammy and the poor, lonely son why would he chose the venue for their lovely reunion as the place where she deserted him. The answer is he has something to show her.
But en route he will tell her a funny story. It begins not long ago with the said lonely son having an emotional psychotic breakdown. He asks her how any loser reacts to the feeling of universal hostility. He answers for her and says that they withdraw into a more comfortable version of reality. His brain created a bubble universe which contained an alternate timeline where mutants had been persecuted to the point of extinction and they were all holed up in one place. It was a desperate world where his buggered psyche dragged every nearby mutant to a single thoughtless end. He asks his mother who she thinks he chose to fill the role of his comfort and support. He says he chose a dead scientist named Moira MacTaggert. The very woman who ran the facility on the island and whose tender care his mother handed him to.
They finally reach a derelict room which contains smashed up equipment and a hospital bed. Gabrielle starts to say she doesn’t understand, so David decides to help her. He created an illusion in the room that depicts him strapped to the hospital bed when he was younger. His childhood home was a bed with restraints and his favorite meal was a coma inducing IV. His favorite memory was that one special time when an entire week went by without a single person digging into his skull. Yet when it came down to it and it was left to pluck a mother figure out of the ether, his mind chose the woman who caused him so much pain instead of his own mother. Gabrielle looks quietly down at the floor and so David turns to her and asks where she has been.
Still looking at the floor she begins to tell him that she thought he was dead but he cuts her off and swears at her. He tells her in this world that doesn’t fly and that she needs to try harder. She thinks for a few seconds and then looks up at him. She tells him that four days ago she successfully negotiated a secret exchange of a captured Mossad agent for seventeen Chechen prisoners via mobile renditioning centers in Wales. The locals thought they were filming an episode of Doctor Who. Three days ago, she stopped a respected British newspaper from running a piece about Israeli settlers in Palestinian territories. She had gently reminded the editor of the newspaper she had photos of him from his recent trip to Amsterdam. Two days ago, she attended the London opening of the circus of unification, bringing together Jewish and Muslim performers. This moved a mid-tier member of the Royal family to tears. Yesterday she did nothing. She had a bath, drank a glass of wine and watched a bad film. Real things, dreadful things, beautiful things, mundane things but all things she understands.
She reaches out to David and nervously says that he comes from another world of costumes and powers. A world where you are a hero or a villain or nothing in between. A world where people won’t stay dead. His father’s world. Gabrielle says that it scares her and she doesn’t understand it. She corrects herself and says that it’s more that she doesn’t believe it. In fact, the one and only thing she knows about that world is that it doesn’t need her. She lost David the moment Charles learned he was his. David is speechless for a few seconds and then asks her if it ever occurred to her that he might prefer her world over his father’s. Gabrielle is shocked by what David just said. Taking it in, she apologizes and hugs him, telling him again and again that she is sorry.
As David holds her, tears run down his face. Without effort it happens, just like in San Francisco with the Darwin’s Martyrs. He is so overwhelmed and drowned in emotion he draws them into him. They stop hugging and Gabrielle looks around to see she is now inside David’s mind. He apologizes and tells her it’s nothing to be afraid of. He offers to take her back but she tells him she wants to understand. Looking at the strange people and creatures lurking around she asks what they are. David tells her they are the lesser personalities and starts to identify them for her. He says there are hundreds of them and mostly they behave themselves as he can subdue them and use their powers.
All the while they have been inside his mind, there has been a clanging noise ringing out. Out of one of the speakers on the wall, David’s voice whispers not to ask about the noise. Gabrielle turns to David and tells him she can hear his thoughts and then asks what the clanging noise is. He shows her to the Professor Xavier personality he had caged away. It is clanging its shackles together to make the din. Gabrielle stares in shock and asks if it is really him. The gold-skinned Xavier tells her there has been a much mistake. David chips in and says that it is some part of his father, or a kind of ghost. Ultimately he doesn’t know.
Gabrielle thinks for a second and then leans down to Xavier. Xavier says that she used to call him Charlie but she says there was a time when he first learned David was his son. In that moment, he looked at her and said something secret directly into her mind. She asks him that if he’s really Xavier then he could tell her what he said. The Xavier personality looks to the floor in silence. Gabrielle walks away in annoyance and calls him a faker. She asks David to get her out of there and so David returns her back to Muir Island.
He asks his mother what his father had said to her. Gabrielle tells him that when Xavier heard he had a son he said thank you. David is stunned for a few moments and then he hugs his mother. Unbeknownst to him though, a red dot appears on the side of his temple. He leans away from his mother and the red dot is now on his mother’s temple. She asks him if he is okay and he smiles and says that for the first time in a long time he can honestly say he’s…
Before he can finish his sentence, a loud boom is heard and Gabrielle is flung sideways with blood pouring out her head. As blood drips down his face, David stands there in stunned silence. A little way off on the roof of the facility’s ruins, President Abdi and Al-Thahab Al-Aswad are crouched down. Al-Thahab Al-Aswad has an arm-mounted gun with smoke pouring out the barrel. The president yells at his bodyguard that they have tracked David for three days as he was the abomination who unseated him. Al-Thahab Al-Aswad tells him that David moved.
In a trance like state, David reaches his arm out and injects one of his lesser personalities in the neck. In the real world, his hand starts to glow with energy as Al-Thahab Al-Aswad says he is going for a second shot. David feels a beat in his blood and his head. A beat to drown out all the things and numb the world. A beat ringing from edge to edge of his crumpled, shriveled, useless soul. With that, he unleashes a huge energy blast at the two assassins and vaporizes the flesh off their bones.
With that personality used up, he goes off to find a healer amongst the numerous others running around in his head. In the real world, he leans down at his mother’s side, with a look of trauma on his face. He tells her to stay still as he searches for a healer. Bleeding profusely from the head, his mother weakly tells him to stop. There’s no coming back and no reversible death in her world.
In his mind, the Xavier personality laughs loudly as David kneels on the floor trying to block him out. The needles on his fingers whip around and shoot out in all directions.
With Gabrielle’s last breath, she tells him to let it lie. He looks at his mother’s lifeless body and then starts to glow with a white light.
(Jean Grey School for Higher Learning)
David appears on the lawn of the school with such a force that all the windows of the building explode outwards. Moments later, the X-Men burst out on to the lawn, ready for action. David is sat crossed legged on the floor. Seeing him, Wolverine angrily rushes over but David uses his powers and says that nobody is there. All the X-Men and students turn around whilst saying that nobody is there. Only Blindfold remains and she sits down next to David. He is sat in front of the monument to Xavier in silence.
Blindfold says that she guesses the meeting with his mother didn’t go exactly as planned. He calmly tells her she is dead and that it’s fine. Blindfold looks at him and he says he obviously isn’t fine as he’s broken. He barely knew her and he is probably in shock but the biggest thing he is feeling right now is delight at having exploded her killers. Blindfold starts to speak but he continues and says he has regret for not doing it sooner and guilt for wondering if his father would be ashamed. Blindfold says that he can’t keep living in his father’s shadow.
David asks how he could not. Looking at the statue, he says he looks saintly, beloved and knowing. At least with his mother, there was a moment and they tied up the questions. David says he doesn’t know if he would have held his father tight or punched him in the nose if he knew his father was leaving him. But it would have been one or the other. He starts to freak out and says that he wasn’t there. Looking up again, he tells Blindfold that he must sound like a whiney brat as she has also had a parent taken away from her. Blindfold hugs him and he says it’s time he manned up and administered a little filial justice.
Elsewhere, Cyclops and his team are finishing destroying a Sentinel. Cyclops asks if they heard that and Emma asks what he is talking about. Listening for a few seconds, Cyclops tells them he thought he heard drums.