It’s a miracle, Miles thinks to himself, as he rides to a movie opening in the limo with the rest of X-Statix. Okay, he admits to himself. They live in a world of miracles. An age of miracles. Women teleport. Men levitate. Green blob creatures do whatever it is that green blob creatures do. Mutants once feared are now revered. However, nothing compares to the greatest miracle of all. He, Myles Alfred, one of the marginally less popular members of the group of mutants called X-Statix, and Brandon Cody, aka Nick Blight, from T.V.’s smash teen soap hit, Jail Bait… are in love.
After the limousine arrives at the red carpet, leading to opening of the new movie, Myles steps out to the waiting embrace of Brandon, an image that is quickly immortalized by the dozens of photographs taken. One television reporter informs his viewers that they are at the opening of Brandon Cody’s first movie, Teen Bump! And there is the man himself, with his “special friend,” Myles Alfred – aka Vivisector! How refreshingly Liberal is this? he asks. Answering from the television studio, the anchor tells Frank that it’s as refreshing as a cool wind in a hot place.
Meanwhile, a print reporter gains Myles’ attention, asking him to fur up for them. Other reporters quickly join in on the request, asking to see some hair and claws and for him to do the wolf-man thing. Holding the hands of his boyfriend, Myles suggests another time. This is Brandon’s night, he tells them. He doesn’t want to steal his thunder. Turning to Myles, Brandon disagrees. Telling him that it’s real thoughtful, Brandon tells Myles to not worry about him and to go ahead and give them what they want.
Protesting slightly, Myles retorts that it’s not a circus trick. He uses it for… work. For serious matters. Countering this argument, Brandon begins to apologize that he’s not serious enough for him… When Myles immediately begins to object to this, Brandon presses on, telling Myles that it’s getting embarrassing. Finally relenting, Myles winks and states that, if it’s really that important to him, he’ll fur up. First, he continues, he has to… think angry. An angry thought or emotion… Making a quick mental search, he finally selects one: George W. Bush’s face… Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body…
Now “furred-up” for the both Brandon and the excited paparazzi, Myles’ transformation to Vivisector is complete. Delighted at the ecstatic press, Brandon tells Myles that he just loves it when he goes hairy. Glancing back at Brandon as they walk toward entrance to the theater, Myles says that just as long as that’s not the only thing he loves about him. Deflecting this playful accusation, Brandon tells Myles to “get outta here!”
As the image of this scene flickers across the television screen, a redheaded lab scientist holds up a corked test tube, exclaiming to himself that it’s done! Speaking to the non-present Myles, he says that what he has what he wants. He just might not know it yet! To this, he begins to laugh.
Making his way into the lab, the scientist calls out Professor Xavier’s name, interrupting his study. When the Professor looks up, the man states that he has come to inform him that he shall be terminating his employment with him at his laboratory. There is a private project of his own he should like to explore.
Wheeling himself closer to his assistant, Xavier tells his associate, Dr. Finlay, that he’s always sorry to lose good people. But, he wishes him all the best with whatever it is he’s working on. After a quick thank you to Xavier, Finlay begins to leave. Before he can get far, however, Xavier offers a word of warning. Referring to him as a “young fellow,” Xavier states that he has watched him. The way he works. The way he operates. And he would do well to remember the story of Icarus. Or maybe Hubris. Icarus or Hubris. One of the two.
A little at a loss for words, Finlay thanks the Professor for the advice, stating that he will do that. As a final thought before he leaves, he informs Xavier that he managed to get the coffee machine working, by the way. As Finlay exits, Xavier compliments him, calling him a good man.
Standing with Dr. Finlay on the roof of the X-Statix HQ, Myles Alfred takes in what he has just heard. You’re talking about… some kind of miracle, he says. Well…, replies Findlay, as a scientist he doesn’t believe strictly in miracles but… yes… it’s certainly akin to a miracle. For him. Sitting on the edge of the building, Myles asks if there will be risks. Minimal, Finlay says. He has tested the formula rigorously at none other than Professor’s Xavier’s laboratory.
Finally getting to the grit of the situation, Myles rejoins that he’s sure Finlay isn’t doing this for love. How much will it cost? For him, Finlay counters; nothing. Except the rights to his amazing story on TV and all other media. The contracts, he begins, pulling them from his satchel, are already drawn up. All he has to do is sign. Looking the papers over, Myles swears to himself, asking if it can really be that simple. All he has to do is sign there… take his magic potion… and he’s…
Standing before the cameras, televising his words across the nation, a suited man stands alongside another gentleman and lady, welcoming the viewers to Lacuna and the Stars! Now handed the spotlight, the lady tells the audience that they might have thought that Lacuna was fighting for her life in the hospital. But they’d be wrong. Because tonight… tonight Lacuna is fighting for her life in front of them, her loyal fans! On their cue, two orderlies wheel out the comatose Lacuna, still hooked up to her IV and a machine reading her vitals. The doctors, the woman continues, say that Lacuna is so profoundly comatose that none of medical science’s many wonders can help her.
Speaking back up, the first man states that medical science has all but given up on Lacuna. The doctors have all but given up on Lacuna. But there is one person who has not given up on her. There is one person who has never given up one any of them. Watching this scene from home and trying to deduce the answer, the Anarchist guesses Magneto. Moments after Guy tells him to guess again, they both hear the answer: the Big Guy in the sky!
Now walking over the inert Lacuna, the man tells the audience that he’d like to ask them all at home to pray… to pray for Lacuna. As, one by one, he pulls out the tubes that are keeping her alive. Ceremoniously disconnecting the IV, the man narrates his actions. The first one… and now this bad boy…
Watching this in their HQ, Guy, Tike, Venus, Dead Girl and Doop are aghast. When asked by Guy if this is such a great idea, Dead Girl replies that it’s certainly great television. His own resolve hardened, Guy grasps Venus by the arms, telling her that they can’t just sit there while Lacuna’s lifelines are pulled out. She has to take them to the studio! Finding himself teleported away in Venus’ teleportation field, Tike informs Guy that, if it bothers him that much, they could always change the channels.
Arriving on the scene through the portal, Guy orders the man to get his hands off of her. Too late, Mister Sensitive, he responds. He’s already pulled out every last one of those up-to-date, scientifically infallible tubes out of her… …And I’m alive, Lacuna finishes, beginning to sit herself up.
Immediately, the man and several others in the studio begin to fall to their knees, declaring that it’s a miracle. Noticing the skeptical and incredulous looks on the faces of X-Statix, the man asks why they look so surprised. They think it’s perfectly natural for all of them to have weird mutant powers… but they can’t get their heads around God’s miracle of life. He’s right, Lacuna states, smiling. She’s been saved by the power of prayer. To this, Lacuna thinks aloud that she should do a TV special about it.
Elsewhere, in Finlay’s lab, Myles finds himself strapped to an acutely reclined table, which is in the middle of spinning rings. Random memories jumping into his consciousness, he tells Finlay that he remembers feeling so… worthless. His dad made him feel… subhuman… a monster. Not worthy to be seen in human company… not worthy of being his…
The gyrations finally getting to him, Myles glances over at Finlay, who is seated at a consol, and asks if it is absolutely necessary. Hearing the response that it is, Myles asks if he can’t just swallow that magic potion and be done with it. Walking up to the revolving X-Static, Findlay replies that it’s more complex and subtle than that. The exact science of the compound is contingent upon his psychological blueprint. Every mutant is different. And he supposes that some mutants are more different than others, Myles adds. Have patience, Finlay retorts, studying his notes. This will all be worth it. With gritted teeth, Myles tells Findlay that he prays to the God that he doesn’t believe in that he’s right.
Acidic sweat perspiring from his head in anger, Tike tells Myles that he’s wrong. And what he’s doing is wrong. Recovering from being pushed into the wall, Myles tells Tike that he doesn’t understand. They understand, Guy counters, as he levitates nearby. That taking this cure is giving out the wrong message. Asked by Myles what that is, Guy answers that what they are… their mutanthood, their difference, all of this… is some kind of illness. Joining in on the conversation, Dead Girl finishes the idea: something that should be ashamed of. To this, Venus adds her thoughts, stating that they left that kind of thinking behind. They’re way beyond that, Tike says.
And where would it all end, asks Guy. And eye-bath for Cyclops? A nail file for Wolverine? The Fantastic Four pop a magic pill… and they’re the average four? Still not having risen to his feet, Myles defends himself. He’s not talking about anyone else. This thing might not even work with anyone else. Now growing angry, he asks them to be honest. They talk about being proud to be a mutant but, given the chance, the one that he’s been given… wouldn’t they take it? This “X-gene,” this thing that makes them strong or fast or hairy or telepathic… wouldn’t they be rid of the whole wearisome, sickening weight of being different tomorrow if they had the chance? Asked by Tike what will he be afterwards, just plain old Myles Alfred, Myles points his finger at Tike, exclaiming that that’ll be enough.
Having had enough of his own, Tike suggests that they see and knocks Myles’ glasses off with a slap and grabs his shirt with his fist. Undeterred, Myles spits back to Tike that he’s jealous… because he has the opportunity to be normal… and he doesn’t. Leaning in closely, Tike tells Myles that he is normal. He’s normal Tike Alicar. You can’t get a more normal Tike Alicar than him. When the frightened Myles replies that that’s just semantics, Tike shakes him violently, replying that that’s just the truth. When Myles subsequently raises his hand, which is quickly taking the form of a claw form, and tells Tike to get his hands off of him, Tike quickly responds by throwing acidic sweat on his teammate, asking him what he will do.
Having once again fallen to the ground, Myles exclaims rhetorically that Tike sweated on his face. He almost blinded him! Trying to be the voice of reason and calm, Guy quickly moves to Myles’ side, telling him to come on. He’ll take him to the sick bay. The tears having washed the acid away from his eyes, Myles looks at his clawed hands in anger, stating that he sees… He sees what this is about…
Without further warning, Myles completes his transformation to his feral form, becoming Vivisector in body as well as name. Snarling out in his new form, Myles tells Tike that he got what he wanted. He got him angry enough to make him Vivisector! Hardly worried at the transformation, Tike tells Myles to enjoy it while he can. This is a big part of him. If he gets rid of this, he’s nothing but… Tike’s words fall of deaf ears, as Myles snarls back at Tike, telling him to shut up. He’s not his father! Shut up! Tike’s calm demeanor quickly gives way to a much more worried countenance, as he sees Vivisector pounce on him, slashing his face. Guy’s attempt to break up the situation is also useless, as Myles easily knocks him back.
The hostile situation seems to diffuse, returning to a more customary sense of calm. As Dead Girl looks over his wound, Tike complains that he’s taken most of his face off. Just as well, Dead Girl rejoins, he’s got another one. To this, she quickly calls him “live boy” and asks for him to lighten up. He’d laugh, Tike responds, if his cheek-flesh wouldn’t fall off.
Venus’ calling out Guy’s name draws Tike’s attention to his teammate, who has begun to convulse on the floor. Recognizing it, Tike points out that he’s going into an ultra-sensitive spasm. Knowing what to do, Venus announces that there’s a total sensory shutdown unit in the basement. God bless Xavier, comments Dead Girl. When Tike begins to pick him up, stating that he’ll have to sit in it for a few days, Venus stops him, pointing out that he can’t move him by ordinary means. She’ll have to ‘port him there.
Clearing his throat, the re-humanized Myles tells the group that he’s dreadfully sorry but… this is exactly the kind of thing he’s trying to avoid. Asked by Venus if it means by giving up his birthright, Myles repositions his glasses on the bridge of his nose and tells her if that’s what it takes.
As the paparazzi excitedly takes flash photos from their vantage point outside the front window of Spunky’s, inside things are not as upbeat. Asking what it takes to make him happy, Myles points out to Brandon that there they are, best restaurant in town, beautiful evening… together… Reminding Myles that he told him, Brandon repeats that the first weekend box-office for Teen Bump was abysmal. He’s a failure.
Playing with his wine glass, Myles tells his lover that he is anything but. He was just cutting his teeth on Teen Bump. And he really doesn’t think that screenplay was Coppola’s best work. Now taking the bottle and refilling their glasses, Myles tells Brandon to drink up. They’re celebrating. Asked what they are celebrating, Myles replies that it’s a surprise. He’ll know soon enough.
Pushing the hypodermic needle into Myles’ shoulder, Doctor Findlay tells his patient to sit still. He might feel a little prick. Following his doctor’s orders, Myles remains motionless as he watches with anticipation, while Doctor Findlay presses the plunger, injecting the syringe’s contents into his bloodstream.
The video of his event ended, Lacuna informs her audience that it was taken two hour ago. By now, she continues, Dr. Finlay’s anti-mutant serum should have taken full effect. Now drawing her attention to Myles Alfred, who is sitting on a comforter, with his arms, legs and torso strapped down, Lacuna asks how he feels. Smiling away, Myles replies that he feels… fine… he feels… completely… normal.
Reading from her cue cards, Lacuna continues, telling him that, to test just how normal he is, Dr. Finlay has devised a little experiment. Quite, Finlay states. Standing next to a table of stacked books, the doctor informs the audience that, while working with Myles, he had access to his private library, from which he has taken this small selection. Seeing this, Myles begins to struggles impotently with his bonds, all the while asking Finlay how dare he. He has no right! This is totally outrageous!
Now pouring gasoline over the books in question, Finlay tells the audience that the stack contained annotated Emily Dickinson. Robert Frost. A first edition Ulysses. Don Quixote. Henry David Thoreau, signed and annotated by the author… Now lighting a match, Finlay tells the audience that they get the idea. As they books begin to burn, Myles becomes incensed. Yelling out to Finlay that he’s not a scientist, Myles proclaims him a fascist. He’s a book-burning Nazi!
With a calm and satisfied demeanor, in start contrast to Myles’ nearly uncontainable rage, Finlay tells the audience that, as they can see, thought Myles is angry, there is no sign of the Vivisector. No fur! No claw! Behold! The Vivisector has been exorcised!
From his sensory shutdown unit and surrounded by the rest of the team, Guy Smith watches the Lacuna show disheartened. In his own posh home, Brandon Cody asks the televised Myles what has he done. In the Alfred residence, Myles’ mother attempts to tell her husband that she’s sure that Myles is doing this to please him. He should invite him to his birthday party. He is his son. That, the elder Alfred begins through his pipe-clenching teeth, refusing to look up from his book, is a matter of opinion.
As Brandon packs, Myles closes his eyes in disappointment, clutching his own torso for comfort. He thought he’d be pleased, he tells his ex-boyfriend. Pleased? Brandon rejoins. Pleased that he’d lost his special thing? It was a curse, Myles counters. It made him rich and famous, Brandon retorts. It got them into the best places. Photographed by the best magazines. It made him a star.
Beginning to get an implication, Myles asks Brandon if that was the only reason he was with him. Because an extreme case of lycanthropy made him a star? Deflecting the accusation, Brandon asks Myles what else is he going to cure? His sexuality? Maybe he thinks that’s a curse too. Lowering his head, Myles replies that the two things are completely different… The two things, Brandon interrupts, were what made him him. Take away one, might as well take away the other.
His eyes still downcast, Myles states that he sees. Now that he’s not Vivisector anymore, being on his arm isn’t going the way it did. He’s not going to get his face in the same magazines. His packing complete, Brandon stops at the door with his suitcase and asks Myles if he thinks he’s that shallow. Not waiting for an answer, Brandon leaves, telling Myles goodbye. Realizing that he has gone too far, Myles calls out to his ex, exclaiming that he didn’t mean it! He was upset. He… Brandon!
Speaking reluctantly, Doop informs Myles of the group’s decision. Taken aback, Myles asks for confirmation of what he’s just heard: he has to move out of X-Statix Tower? Levitating on the other side of the room, Guy points out to Myles that he’s not in the team any more, so he can’t live there. Even more shocked at this revelation, Myles asks wide-eyed who said anything about him not being in the team? He doesn’t remember a plebiscite voting him out.
Walking up to him, cornering him against the wall containing the pictures of their fallen teammates, Venus reminds him that he’s taken the cure. When asked “so” by Myles, Tike speaks up, pointing out that this is a team of mutants. Get it? He ain’t a mutant. He’s normal. But he still has exceptional mental powers, Myles defends. His knowledge of modern American literature might prove invaluable. Patting his ex-teammate on the back, Guy tells Myles that he’s sorry. He can keep the monogrammed bedsheets.
Thinking of different options, Myles asks about if he doesn’t get involved in the fighting but he’s their chronicler. He’ll keep the official record of X-Statix. Glancing up the floating Doop, who makes an obscene gesture at Myles, Guy reminds Myles that they’ve got him for that. Doop is visual, Myles counters. He’ll be words. People ain’t interested in words, Tike quickly states.
Suddenly, beeping chimes fill the room from everyone’s watches. When Guy announces that they have a mission, Tike asks where. Newfoundland, Guy answers. Mutated loggers are on the rampage again. Moving the team into action, Tike orders Venus to “take it to the bridge.” As she activates her portal, Venus tells Myles so long and wishes him good luck with the memoirs. As his ex-teammates fade from his location, Myles tells them not to worry about him. He’ll… be just fine.
As the television audience watches the team fighting the mutated loggers in the Canadian forests, the narrator tells his audience that this is live footage of X-Statix giving their latest performance. Now down to just Mister Sensitive, Venus Dee Milo, Dead Girl, the Anarchist and Doop, the narrator says, how are they ever going to replace Vivisector?
They won’t have to, Doctor Finlay says, sitting on his living room couch with his girlfriend, Polly. Because there will be a new Vivisector. Him. Dr. Alex Finlay. Standing up and taking his Polly’s hand, Finlay tells her that mutant is the new common. Different is the new normal. And Myles didn’t suspect, she asks, that what he took out of him… he can put into himself? Like a lot of overeducated people, Alex replies, Myles is really quite stupid. Now producing an empty syringe and a filled test tube, Alex states that, when he’s in X-Statix, they’re going to be in every magazine, on every TV show. Stick with him, he tells her, and her acting career’s gonna rocket.
Eyeing the tube with a delighted grin, Polly states that it’s a miracle. Well, Alex Finlay, replies, as a scientist, he doesn’t strictly believe in miracles. But… yes… it’ll certainly be like a miracle.