The city at night.
San Francisco. It’s a hellish hellhole straight from the bowels of hell. That’s what crime has turned this city into. Plus, hobos. And fog. But mostly crime.
Are you insane? It didn’t even make the top 51 most dangerous cities in the US list!
Don’t. Don’t’ be that guy. This city has a disease. A disease called crime.
Oh God. Did you just write all this down from the movies?
Shut up and show some respect. My parents died in this alley. Gunned down right in front of me.
A blonde woman runs down a dark alley, chased by several unsavory men, one of whom is wearing a silver demon mask. She promises she doesn’t know anything and won’t tell. She doesn’t want to die! she begs.
But this is where we fight back. The battle for this city’s soul begins here and now. Plus that lady’s about to get seriously mugged
You forgot to say that we’re the cure before. The whole disease thing. We’re the cure!
Cure for what?
Hell yeah, we are! Now let’s do this!
Suddenly, there’s a cry from above. “Hey, jerkfaces!” a muscular masked caped man stands there, beside him a cowled sidekick crouches. “Let the girl go and prepare to get rocked!” the tall one, a somewhat disguised Rockslide, shouts.
Oh dear God, he came up with a catchphrase! sidekick Anole thinks as they jump into action. The two of them were on patrol when they saw the lady being followed by what looked like a street gang. Never heard of a street gang using electrified katanas, but to be fair they didn’t have street gangs in Fairbury, just him the mutant lizard kid. He can’t believe he let Rockslide talk him into this. He hates him. And worse? He hates that he’s enjoying this!
Rockslide, on the other hand, thinks about how awesome this is.
Flashback: Anole’s quarters, Utopia, one week ago:
Rockslide wakes Anole up, at which point Victor announces that he hates him and orders him to go away. Finally, Rockslide throws his bed though the wall (with Victor in it.) What is the matter with him! Victor shouts. It’s two o’ clock in the morning! What is so important that he has to try and kill him? Let’s go fight crime, is the reply.
When Anole calls him an idiot, Santo explains that they came to this school to learn to control their powers or because they were freaks and couldn’t go anywhere. But mostly they came to be X-Men. Big time mutant superheroes. But all their class has ever done here is be on the defensive and it has gotten them killed. They are supposed to be mutant superheroes. They should just go out and do it! So he wants to be like the Young Avengers, Anole states. Those nerds suck, Santo replies. They’re gonna be better! They’ll go on patrol, fight crime, knock some heads together, they’ll be like Daredevil and Moon Knight, the guys who do the real work and score the hot chicks…
So all the X-girls have turned him down, Anole reasons. Look, Santo tells him; San Francisco is their city now, but all they’ve done is bring bad crap down in it. The two of them have the experience. They even saved the X-Men, so let’s go out and save real people. If this is their city, they should protect it.
“I… I…” Victor stutters. He thinks it’s dumb, Santo states. No, actually he thinks that sound pretty freaking cool! He’s in. A moment later he refuses to wear a mask or anything weird. Nothing weird, Santo promises.
“Nothing weird” translates into Santo wearing a hockeymask for his outfit and Anole a hood and a giant fake mustache. Santo promises him he looks badass as they try to sneak off the island.
They run into Wolverine, who is not interested in their secrecy and just tells them to move, adding “nice mustache, Borkowski.” Next they run into Dr. Nemesis. Equally uninterested, he orders them to go away before he amputates something from them. At the quay, they try to assure Namor they are doing nothing. He asks if he gave them permission to speak to him.
So, every night for the last week, they snuck into town to fight crime, having stopped two robberies, a vandal, some tagger and now this. The thugs are confused and decide to run, intent on dealing with the woman later.
When the two heroes attempt to talk to the woman, she runs away screaming. She was gonna ask for his number, Santo decides, revealing a fake mustache under his mask, but Anole’s gross arm scared her off.
In New York City, a strange man with ebony black skin and white hair learns that the woman, Assistant D.A. Moran, escaped due to the interference of two superbeings. He orders his inner demons – men who wear demon masks – to go to San Francisco to find the problem and eliminate it. “Yes, Mr. Negative,” they reply.
San Francisco, an exclusive spa where Emma Frost allows herself to be pampered and massaged. Suddenly, someone cries for security. For what they charge, she would expect these rooms to be soundproofed, Emma remarks annoyed. The manicurist agrees while the masseuse is a bit nervous and whispers if they shouldn’t check. Emma asks what the point of whispering is, when she too is a foot away. Besides, she expects this was nothing but the shouts of a heiress who…
She scans and then announces “oh my!” Emma puts on her robe, announcing this does not come out of her two hours. She gets outside the room to see all women, guests and staff both, heading in one direction with glassy eyes.
A male voice assures them he is all the security they need now. But daddy need all of the money and valuables they have on hand. And the more comely of them should be prepared to leave with their new main man…
The apelike mutant Mandrill is in the process of fondling one brunette, who seems ecstatic at the preferential treatment. Having turned to her diamond form, Emma announces he made the fatal mistake of interrupting her self-indulgence. She will offer him one opportunity to leave without physical conflict. Mostly out of respect for Abby’s fine manicure work.
In a few moments she will beg him to get physical, the Mandrill announces. Was that his attempt to musk her with his super pheromones? she asks bored. She read his mind which, while helpful, was like bathing in excrement. Now before he pours any more of his hormonal glands on these women, let her explain: in this diamond form his powers will have no effect on her whatsoever. But she’s sure he knows what it’s like to be impotent against a woman.
“Kill her!” he orders. Emma throws the attacking women into the pool, which has the added effect of washing off the pheromones. Emma warns them to stay back till this is over.
Mandrill boasts there is more to Mandrill than his musk. Emma snickers. Man-Drill. How desperately Freudian. No, it’s a type of primate! he protests. She’s never heard of it, she remarks, but then she’s never heard of him either, which is remarkable. You’d think more people would know about a man whose face is identical to his own undercarriage.
“Hey!” he protests. For all she knows he is a great guy! He is robbing defenseless women, Emma points out. Okay, he admits, but why do women like her always blow off guys just because they aren’t “handsome?” Turning to her human form, Emma exclaims that’s droll. He can’t begin to tell her about the slowness of the opposite sex. This entire world has poisoned the brains of little boys like him, thinking they deserve a woman like her. Her face changes to match the Mandrill’s: “Not a woman like me!”
All the woman in the pool suddenly have Mandrill faces. Disgusted, he draws back. Emma continues that insipid sitcoms, lad mags and comic books have men believe that beautiful women should fall in love with every fat, immature, inconsiderate loser, no matter what he looks like.
What has she done? he stutters. He said it himself: he only planned to keep the “comely ones…” Panicked, he throws his loot at her, claiming he didn’t mean it. He meant every bit of it! Emma retorts and the only thing he deserves is a woman just like him!
As he flees, the women thank Emma. But shouldn’t she go after him? It’s her day off, she replies. Besides, she left him with something to think about…
Everywhere the Mandrill turns, he only sees faces like his own….
Doug Ramsey is running through the streets. Less than a minute ago, he saved four score lives. If he hurries and is very lucky, he will save even more.
Each city has its own language and, with his mutant ability that lets him understand language, he can listen to it. But tonight San Francisco has a stutter. She has people who do not belong and they are trying to perform a most onerous act.
He has almost reached the crossing where a man in a trench coat stands in the middle of the street. He wears bombs strapped over a HYDRA uniform. ”Hail HYDRA!” he shouts. “Tonight San Francisco will burn.”
Douglas has already stopped one Hydra bomber, who claimed there were two more and he would never stop them in time. Well, he is here in plenty of time, as long as the bomb doesn’t arm itself… as it just did!
Just like his terrorist compatriot, this radical is wearing a GPS wired bomb, set to detonate when he occupies a specific coordinate. Fortunately, it is a GPS version with a common chip which speaks a common dialect. 0100111001001111! Cypher shouts and the bomb powers down. Douglas hits the HYDRA agent, thinking to himself he saved another hundred lives.
Two cops come closer. Douglas politely greets them and explains there is another man with an explosive device just like him out there somewhere. When the cops then order him to back away, Doug raises his arms to show he is unarmed and introduces himself. He has stopped two of these men and their bombs and there is a third revolutionary in the city. He breaks off, hearing another stutter. The third bomber…
Even with all the people here, scared and confused, they are still a natural part of the city. Their movements create the language of the streets. But that stutter, someone not part of San Francisco’s linguistics.
Cypher runs off and shouts he has run to find the last bomber. He is close by. He suggests they come help.
It’s hard to explain how he can comprehend what the city says. It’s not visual, more aural. A cop runs after him, telling him to come back.
Nearby at a market, a hooded man in a trench coat walks. Cypher runs towards him and again speaks binary to disarm the bomb. He cannot stop HYDRA, the man shouts and draws his knife to attack Doug. He hits his head with the handle and gets ready to stab him. Fortunately, the cop is on him and arrests the agent.
Afterwards, he asks Doug if he is ok. If Doug wants to come with him, they’ll get his name and everything. He expects there are some people at city hall who’d like to thank him. That’s okay, Doug tells him. The city is already thanking him, in her own way, of course. He thinks he is just going to enjoy their conversation.
The roof of the American Museum of Natural History. Batroc the Leaper skillfully enters through the skylight and somersaults down landing in front of a case displaying the huge Josephine Diamond (a gift from Napoleon to his beloved Josephine).
“Fools,” he mutters, displaying a piece of French history like so much costumed jewelry! He reaches though the case, smashing it and grabbing the diamond. No respect, no culture and no security (which is strange, actually). “Zut alors!” he swears as a hand takes the diamond away from him. Holding it securely, Fantomex swings out on his line.
“Son of une chevre!” Batroc swears and follows him over the rooftops, vowing Fantomex has no idea whom he is messing with. Oh, he knows who he is, Fantomex replies. The Leper, Batroc the jumping bunny man, oui? His super power is what? Leaping? Absurd! He has multiple brains, an outboard nervous system and is at least a million times more handsome than him. Which, he’d say, is probably a little more impressive than being “jumping guy,” non?
Adorable, Batroc replies. He thinks he can call him names, talk in clichés and agir comme un fou and then Batroc will get distracted and not kick his head clean off. Of course not, Fantomex replies. He just thinks Batroc is a sissy little jumping girl. Bunny man!
Batroc jumps ahead of him as Fantomex is coming up a roof and grabs the diamond. He sees, Batroc mocks, mister cool with his ennui, so very Sarte. The best he can do is namedrop? Fantomex asks. Call him what he likes, Batroc replies. He is the one with the diamond!
He jumps down and Fantomex follows, only to get kicked in the face. Fantomex kicks back and Batroc drops the diamond. A wild fistfight later, Fantomex grabs the diamond and, holding onto it, crashes though a window. Triumphantly, he holds it up. “I claim this diamond in the name of France and master thieves everywhere!” he announces boldly, until he gets a good look around and sees he is in a police station. He means he will be returning this diamond to the museum. In the name of the X-Men. Sacre bleu.
Peering in through the windows, Batroc smirks. Heh, jerk.