A blonde young man sits chained in a cell, a snake with the Roman numeral VII for seven adorns his upper arm. So, mon ami, another prisoner asks as he draws on his cigarette, what’s he in for? Does the term “solitary” mean anything to him? the first man asks. Light? the smoker with the French accent and the red eyes asks and lights the cigarette with the energy coming from his hands. Nice trick, the blond man admits as the other hands him the cigarette.
He doesn’t do tricks, the red-eyed man assures him. Oh, then how did he get out of the shackles? the blond asks. Maybe he just ain’t as dangerous as he is, the second suggests. Maybe, the blond considers and inhales. But he doubts it. Way he hears it, the red-eyed man remarks with a smirk, he’s been here a while. That depends, the other replies. Does a year and a half count as a while. You spend enough time in a South American prison, time doesn’t mean what it used to.
The door creaks, an one-eyed man smoking a cigar, peers inside. Which one of them is Cole Cash? he demands. De ugly one, the redeyed guy quips. That don’t narrow it down much. Cash gets a choice. Come with him, do this job and he’s free. Stay here and rot. Not much of a choice, comes the reply. Darn he noticed. And so Cole Cash leaves with Nick Fury, leaving Remy le Beau behind.
As they leave in a car, Cole asks what makes him so special. Those soldiers are practically shaking in their boots. And ‘cause he’s driving him out of a three hundred years to life sentence. Maybe he’s a long loss uncle, comes the gruff reply. What’s it matter to him?
In the jungle, they are attacked. There is a sudden explosion. Rebels! Cole shouts. Not quite, Fury replies calmly. He’s been here for a while, Cole insists, as more people fire at the car. Trust him, they are rebels. The gunmen come running towards them. Trust him, Fury replies, they ain’t. . As if on cue they transform into Brood Warriors. Death to the humans! they cry. What the hell is that? Cole asks. Told ya, Fury quips.
Fury suggests he stop gaping and start shooting. And soon they are embroiled in battle. When things start looking bad, Fury hits the pedal, asking if Cole gets airsick. In a jeep? Cole deadpans. No. How’s about a hovercraft? Fury asks as the car flies up in the air. He’ll let him know. But he can tell him this much - their friends here can fly too. Not a problem, Fury retorts and Cole soon sees why as someone is knocking them out of the sky.
Not someone, Fury corrects, something. In the old day they called it the cavalry, nowadays it’s called SHIELD.
Above them they see the Helicarrier. It’s called SHIELD, Fury continues. It stands for the Supreme Headquarters of something something something. In words of one syllable: They are the good guys. Let him correct that. If you’er an innocent country being stomped on by some tinplated despot? Or if some raving loon has got a death ray pointed at yet head? Or if things are just plain SNAFUed? Then they are the good guys. But get in their way – they are as bad as it gets.
And the floating bathtub? Cole asks, as they land. The eggheads call it a helicarrier. He’s always been too embarrassed to ask what that means.
A petite, pretty blonde awaits them, asking if their mission was a success. Fury introduces this “walking sexual discrimination suit waiting to happen” as Ms. Honeygate. If everyone’s done spraying their scent, she remarks, can they get to work?
Work? Cole asks. Saving the world, comes the reply. Welcome to SHIELD, Cole Cash. Here’s hopin’ ya survive the experience.
Madripoor, Eagle’s nest, the south-east Asian estate of Warren Worthington. In the back yard, Iceman and Angel are fooling around. Warren tells Iceman their fearless leader is going to be torqued at him for icing this up. He was planning on using the courtyard for a training session. What do they need to train for? Bobby boasts. Besides old-since-birth Summers isn’t fearless, he‘s humorless. Not to mention, he’s depressed because of Jean.
Before he can finish the sentence, Cyclops’ optic blast throws him off his iceramp. Can it, Cyclops orders curtly. What in the name of his aching icecubes was that for? he protests. Scott reminds him this is no time for games. With Professor X gone, they need to train harder than ever before.
Oh please, Bobby retorts, this isn’t about training, it’s about Scott pretending he hasn’t made the biggest mistake of his life. By letting Jean leave for that modeling in Australia. Without even saying good-bye. Is he done? Good, then get back to work, comes the reply.
In a convertible to the airport sit Jean Grey and the driver Hank McCoy. Annoyed, she asks him why he is trying to make her late. Steering with his feet, Hank plays innocent. Why would he do that? Because he’s her friend, maybe? she suggests. Because he’s holding out hope that at the last possible second her on-again off-again boyfriend is going to pull his head out of his visor long enough to understand how much she loves him? How it’s okay for all of them to have a life outside of being mutants? Hank is taking that job at Rand, her modeling career is taking off.
How positively loquacious of her, he remarks. And here they say he’s the one with the way with wayward words in their dysfunctional family. While those are nice sentiments, to be certain, he was merely having trouble reading Madripooreese.
Good, Jean states forcefully, because it’s not going to happen. She is certainly a Marvel Girl, he remarks as they reach the airport. Because for all her vast mental powers she, like most people in love, can’t see what’s right in front of her face. He points to Angel, carrying Cyclops.
Did he miss anything? Scott asks. Hamming it up, Hank asks if Cyclops was making an attempt at humor. Who would have thought he’d live that long?
Jean is happy to see him. Oh Warren, you’re here too, Angel states dramatically. How sweet of you to put aside your own crush in order to help out your buddy. I’m so happy I could hug you both! While Jean hugs Scott, Hank remarks Angel has realized nobody’s listening to him, right?
Soon, after the newcomers have changed to streetwear… Angel takes Jean aside, suggesting he fuel the Worthington jet and he flies her down personally to her modeling job Down Under. They can spend their time together away from all this and declare their unspoken love for each other. That’s very tempting, Jean admits. But she doesn’t love him. Give it time, Warren suggests. She knows him since ninth grade, Jean reminds him. If it hasn’t happened yet…
Um, Jean remarks, giving Warren a pointed look. He supposes they want a moment alone, Warren remarks. And who says all that thin air is bad for you, Scott jokes. He takes Jean’s luggage to see her to the gate. So, they both state. He guesses he’ll see her when she gets back, he states. Doesn’t he mean to say he’ll miss her? Jean asks. Yes. With all his heart? Yes. Well, she is glad they had this talk. See you, Scott waves after her, chastising himself to tell her. He thinks that he loves her. She loves him too, she sends back. In the plane, Jean wonders whether she should get off…
On the Heli-carrier Fury briefs Cole about SHIELD. It’s a top-secret organization of international spies. So how come he never heard of them? Cole wisecracks. Fury tells him to shut up and listen. Most of the time they are slugging out with terrorists, an occasional pan-dimensional rifts, but this time it is different. Right now it looks like they are staring eye to eye with an invasion from outer space!
Life is tough, Cole replies. What does any of this have to do with him? Everything, comes the reply. He thinks Fury drafted him into SHIELD on account of his fashion sense? What Colonel Fury is saying the petite blonde adds, turning to a gun arsenal, is if Cole agrees to take the case he’ll have the finest array of support technology available anywhere on Earth. Nah, what said is what he said, Fury states gruffly. If he says no? Cole asks. No ain’t on his menu, comes the reply.
Ms. Honeywell assures him they’ll provide him with weapons so state-of-the-art that they haven’t even been named yet. Great, he retorts, so he takes it, none of them have been field-tested yet. Against the aliens? No. But the pen works. So it writes? he asks. No, but it makes a great laser.
Is that a mask? he asks. Among other things. It’s more like armament wear. The tunic and trenchcoat are made of Kevlar armor. The mask works as an airborne toxin inhibitor, an infra-red night vision locator, an octagon 360-degree microscopic receptor and analyzer. All that and he’ll fit right in at Mardi Gras, he deadpans. So why him? Two reasons, Fury replies. One because they got it on good authority that he rates real high in the psi department. Two, they don’t expect him to come back. He’s 100% expendable. She’d appreciate though if he brought back the laser pen. It’s a prototype, Miss Honeywell adds.
On the plane, Jean tries to read while the captain greets the passengers, telling them if there is anything they can do to make the trip more enjoyable, please notify their flight attendant. Here’s a suggestion, a gruesome voice hisses. He can start by dying. Jean is startled, suddenly finding herself surrounded y reptilian, vicious beings.
What are they? she asks. Calling her “Agent Maslow,” one of them orders her not to feign ignorance. For months Maslow scoured the globe in search of evidence of the Brood’s unholy alliance with the Daemonites. Agent Maslow will never get anywhere near the Heaven’s Gate!
Jean snaps out of it, realizing this was something between a dream and a psionic assault. The way the creature was talking to her, was almost like it wasn’t’ talking to her at all.
A flight attendant asks her if she is okay. She’s fine Jean claims, but then notices a nervous sweating man nearby. She realizes that his panicked thoughts were intruding on her own. So who is this Agent Maslow? Who are these aliens that are after him? And why does she suddenly feel she’s not going to have much time for modeling on this trip?
Below, on the ground, Miss Honeywell explains to Cole that his contact is on the plane, an agent named… He’s read the dossier, Cole cuts her off. What he wants to know is what a nice quiet, well-toned but repressed babe like her is doing knee-deep in this cloak and dagger crap? She hints that she’s always been a lot smarter than she looks. A regular savant, huh? he asks. That’s one way of putting it, she agrees. That explains the how but not the why, he insists. She explains that the operative Cole and Maslow are supposed to free… she has a personal interest in making sure she gets out alive. Family? Cole asks. He turns around again to see she’s gone.
Great, he mutters as he grabs his gear and gets moving. He thought he put all this behind him when he left Team 7. Part of him is telling him he should leave this to people who actually enjoy this stuff. But there is something else, tugging at the back of his brain, telling him this about more than saving the world. About saving his own world. Crazy as it sounds, he feels like he’s off to meet his …destiny.
The plane has landed. At the airport, Jean addresses Agent Maslow, who asks her not to talk to him.
In the crowd, Cole recognizes Maslow from the picture. He wonders though how come Maslow is attracting attention to himself by hitting on the hottest redhead Cole’s ever seen. So he’s made him, chances are somebody else has too.
An elderly couple in the crowd believes Jean to be Maslow’s contact. Drawing futuristic weapons, they decide to kill them both.
Cole cries out a warning. Jean is taken by surprise and so unable to use her telekinetic power to protect Maslow, who is hit several times. Yo Ma and Pa Kettle, Cole addresses the couple as he tackles the man, he hopes they’ve got more up their sleeves than a handful of weapons!
Unfortunately they do. They transform into reptile-like beings. Yeuuck, Cole swears, isn’t anybody what they’re supposed to be anymore? The creature tackling him down mocks him, calling him a fool and goads him with the truth… it is one of the warriors of the Brood, a forward scout for their race, determined to destroy all human life in this sector. But when they arrived, they discovered another race was already there… the Daemonites. Rather than fight they decided to… Cole tells him to slow down, he has to get a pen to write it all down.
Meanwhile, Jean cradles the dying Maslow. She tells him she can’t save his life, but she can help him deliver the intelligence he’s gathered. He has to open his mind to her freely and trust her. He begs her to stop them. The mental transferred complete, Jean vows, gladly.
With her psychic powers, she attacks the aliens around Cole and now they turn their attention on her, overpowering Jean. Interested they note, she seems to be some kind of mutant. Perhaps they should bring her to the head geneticist who has proved so useful to their plans.
Cole decides he has to help, no matter how much he may hate to do this. He shouts in agony as raw psionic power pours out of him, killing the aliens. Not again! he moans. Got to stop the rush! Tore apart the team. Won’t let it destroy me!
Jean reaches out to him and pulls his mind back together. Looking up, Cole weakly states she’s an angel. Thank you, Jean replies, but actually she’s a mutant. But actually comes a policeman’s voice, they are under arrest. But actually they are not, Jean replies, snaps her fingers and mentally freezes the cops. She and Cole walk out.
Less than twenty miles away, off the coast of Sidney. A nice house. Somebody gets a radio transmission from the merc called Pike, who informs him that those halfbreeds (and he doesn’t mean that in a derogatory way), half Brood half Daemonites he spliced together, turns out they are getting antsy, difficult to control. Instead of staying out of the public eye, they just tried to take out some human SHIELD agents at the airport.
And Pike is telling him that because…? the other man asks. Why, mister? Because he’s been employed to see to it nothing happens to foul up tonight, Pike reminds him. Then do your job, comes the reply. That was instructional, Pike scoffs. Anything else he can do for him, Mister? Yes. Stop calling me Mister, Mister Sinister orders.
From a hotel room, Jean, now dressed in her Marvel Girl costume, calls Xavier’s but only gets the answering machine. She gives a brief account of what happened and asks the X-Men to come… And Scott, hurry! she adds, looking at Cole.
So was he home? Cole asks, while she finishes bandaging his injuries. Who he? Jean asks. Her boyfriend he, Cole specifies while he winces. What makes him think she has a boyfriend? Didn’t he tell her – he’s a mindreader. Not the way he hit those aliens with that psionic sledgehammer, he‘s not, Jean retorts. Which reminds her, thanks for saving her life earlier. Cheater he calls her and touches her chin. He was about to thank her for saving his life. Go ahead, she tells him after a pause.
Cole kisses her for a long time, but finally breaks it off. She wasn’t kissing back. She’s sorry, Jean tells him. Her boyfriend is a very lucky guy. Tell him that when he meets him, she suggest. Sometimes he forgets. Jean turns away. Wait. They can still save the world, right? he asks. Yes, they can still save the world, Jean agrees.
Evening. And the two of them, dressed up, enter the Luxury Cruiser called Heaven’s Wave. The term is not much to go on, Cole remarks. But it was the dominant thought in agent Maslow’s mind, she explains. And it’s the name of this ship hosting this fundraiser. Too bad Maslow didn’t leave them tickets at the door, he remarks. He did a great job of talking them through those bouncers, Jean admits. Quit the grifter, isn’t he? She thinks? Thinking is the second best thing she does, Jean assures him. He won’t ask, Cole sighs.
But what does she think of all these international movers and shakers in one place? She thinks if a race of body swappers wanted to insinuate themselves into ever corner of the globe, this would be the place to do it. Cole’s instincts agree. There is a booming noise and the lights go off. Good instincts, Jean states wryly.
Amidst the smoke a costumed and armed man appears, introducing himself as Pike. On behalf of the Brood / Daemonite alliance, he’d like to thank all of them for their donation this evening. The life they give tonight – that is their own – will go a long way to providing a pleasant home for some disadvantaged young Hybrid. Now he’s sure they are all in a rush to get started. Jeeves? A harmless Butler turns into a hybrid and Pike orders him to get these people updeck to be prepared for the incubation process. The hybrids obey.
Jean and Cole, in the meantime, have taken off and are getting to their outfits which they have stashed outside the ship. Jean telekinetically lowers them. How do they get back inside? she wonders. With this, he tells her and gets his pen. Using the laser, he creates an entrance.
Pike informs Sinister that everything is ready. Sinister orders him to bring them down one at a time.
Elsewhere on the ship, Cole tells Jean that she doesn’t have to do this. It isn’t her fight. From what she understands, he was drafted. Technically, it’s not his fight either. No, but it was not his fight first. Ready, they decide.
They find the junction box, Cole cuts the electricity. The next moment, they are attacked by Hybrid. Cole fires at them, apologizing to Jean he is not used to covering someone’s back. He usually works on his own. Her? She usually works with four other guys. Well, maybe someday she’ll be secure and good enough to strike out on her own, he patronizes her.
One of the creatures makes its getaway and they follow. It leaves through a hydraulic door that shuts after it. Jean orders Cole to stand back. Why? he asks. She can’t possibly be hiding a key anywhere inside that miniskirt. The one thing she does better than thinking is this, Jean replies and telekinetically blasts the door apart.
What exactly do those four other guys have to do when she’s around? he asks. Maybe someday he’ll be secure and good enough to be part of a team, then he’ll know for himself, she retorts. It’s going to have to be a pretty big team, he deadpans, seeing the army of hybrids on the other side.
Run? Jean suggests. Running works, he replies, getting off some shots. The next moment, they are stopped by a biokinetic blast courtesy of Pike, who easily takes out Cole with a kick that takes Cole through the wall. Knocked in the chamber beyond, Cole lands in a certain lab where Sinister is currently experimenting on his shackled prisoner, Coda warrior turned SHIELD agent, Zealot.
Zealot suggests Sinister surrender. She can sense the redhead is a mutant. Yes, and they do so love to travel in groups, don’t they? Sinister agrees wryly. He crouches next to the unconscious Jean Grey, taking a cell sample.
While he and Pike are busy with Jean, Zealot roughly kicks Cole, ordering him to get up. She berates him for being useless. Is he going to continue to kneel before her or at least try to help? They didn’t have a gag anywhere? he mutters.
Pike suddenly noticed their interaction, warning Sinister. Zealot is the last person he wants running free around here. Hearing a very familiar noise, Sinister tells him he begs to differ. He recognizes the sound of that optic blast. Before Pike can ask what an optic blast is, Jean takes him out with a telekinetic blast. Sinister slides into the shadows while Jean is busy with Pike and the Hybrids, pleased that his identity remains secret for today. He was right, he muses a moment later when an optic blast is fired.
Seeing the four X-Men, Cole asks Jean to tell him those are the other four guys on her team. Let’s just say they are not the Beatles, Angel quips.
Cyclops orders Cole to drop the gun. Unwilling to be ordered around, Cole warns him he had a bad day and points the gun at Cyke. It just got worse, Scott warns him. That moment, Cole’s gun backfires and Scott’s optic blast is deflected courtesy of a pissed-off Marvel Girl. Men! she and Zealot state derisively.
Later, the X-Men fly off. So who’s her friend? Scott asks Jean who looks down pensively. Just some guy, she states.
Down on the ship, Zealot remarks that, if he is through mooning over that woman who is certainly too smart and too in love to even bother giving him a second look, perhaps they can commence with his training. She senses great power in him. If he agrees, she will begin teaching him to best control that power. But the lessons will be… rigorous. He will have not time to waste thinking about pleasures of the flesh.
With her around, he doesn’t think that will ever pop into his head, he promises. What is that supposed to mean? she asks coldly. Read my mind, he tells her. All the best babes can.