‘Who dares to summon the dread N’astirh and his N’asteris from this stygian depths of Limbo? What is this babble of swords…and interdimensional journeys?’ The dread N’astirh stands, flanked by his N’asteris on the edge of a cave in the dimension known as Limbo, while the demon known as S’ym stands several feet away, arms folded across his chest as he stands near a very special sword. S’ym informs N’astirh that this sword holds Limbo stable, adding that it is the Darkchilde’s token of dominance.
N’astirh declares that it is more than just a token, but the key that locks limbo to the Darkchilde. ‘That keeps it safe from you…who would steal it for yourself!’ S’ym calls N’astirh “Horse-Face” and boasts that he will rule this dimension and the one beyond as he smashes N’astirh in the face. N’astirh tells S’ym to have a care, and shifting his physical form so that he is bigger than S’ym, N’astirh declares that those who risk what petty power they possess in a play for more chance losing it all!
S’ym tackles N’astirh to the ground, forcing him down hard and boasts that he has gathered enough power already, explaining that each time the Darkchilde takes the sword, his own power grows. S’ym warns N’astirh that if he threatens him or his plans, then he will lose what life he has. N’astirh reminds S’ym that his magicks protect him against S’ym’s transmode virus, but S’ym boasts that his power is greater still.
S’ym declares that it is time to talk journeys and orders N’astirh and his servants to take a trip to Earth where they will find and steal thirteen power-filled babies and bring them to the chosen place - for the performance of S’ym’s dread rite - and the attainment of S’ym’s dread purpose! S’ym points out that the sword has vanished, meaning the Darkchilde took it and left the door unlatched!
S’ym exclaims that another reality beckons and order N’astirh by his power that he will travel there, the vanguard of S’ym’s army. One of N’astirh’s little N’asteris addresses N’astirh as “Mawthur” and asks him if he is going to let S’ym get away with sending them to another reality. ‘You didn’t even try to fight him!’ The little demon exclaims that N’astirh could have won and then they could have stayed. ‘I seen you fight -’ N’astirh calls the demon Crotus and tells him to shut up, revealing that he has his own aspirations concerning this invasion of Earth….
Shortly, on Earth, a man with long grey hair and a long grey beard sits at his desk while reading a copy of Tales from the Crypt when he spies a flash of light out by the old mausoleum nearby. The squat man takes a lantern and leaves his home, treading down a path into the nearby graveyard he wonders what it could be - heat lightning perhaps? Instead though, the man stumbles upon N’astirh and his N’asteris who have arrived on Earth. N’astirh asks Crotus if he can feel the ambient energy of the planet - how it enriches his power - even in this repository of the dead!
N’astirh decides that this is an appropriate base from which to begin their work - safe from the prying eyes of Earth’s natives. ‘Dead lord!’ exclaims the frightened man as he shines his light upon the dwellers of Limbo. N’astirh shields his eyes from the bright light of the lantern as he orders his servants to bring the man to him. The man drops his lantern and begins running for his life - but the N’asteris are fast and drag him back to N’astirh.
‘Pathetic earthling, what is your name?’ N’astirh asks the squat man. ‘Bill’ the man replies in fear. N’astirh replies that this is excellent, as they need a guide, someone who is familiar with this world.
‘But first you must join us!’ N’astirh exclaims, green slobber drooling from his mouth as he holds Bill in his clawed hands. N’astirh exclaims that pieces of Bill - his heart and flesh - already fit the mold, but he must sheer away the rest. Bill screams as N’astirh engulfs him - only to spit him out, now shaped like a demon, still very squat, and wearing his clothes, though they are far too big for him now.
The Bill-demon waddles away from N’astirh who exclaims ‘No word of thanks? To be expected since you can no longer speak!’ N’astirh orders the Bill-demon to join his companions, since henceforth he will serve the N’asteri as one of them. N’astirh declares that he requires thirteen infants of power and purity, and orders his subservants to bring them to him. One of the demons asks “Mawthur” how they will know them. N’astirh explains that their senses will lead them to the children.
‘Like this, “Mawthur”? Have I found one?’ another demon asks holding up a large rat very close to his jagged teeth. ‘Fools! Cretins! Incompetents!’ N’astirh shouts, telling the N’asteris that the ones they seek are human, much like their new friend Bill, only small with large heads and no hair - and round, innocent eyes!
Elsewhere, two pairs of round and innocent eyes watch as the lives of four super powered teens are about to be turned upside down. ‘You know why I have to go!’ Russel “Rusty” Collins tells his girlfriend and teammate Sally Blevins a.k.a. Skids. ‘No I don’t!’ Sally replies, ‘You explained it - but it just doesn’t make sense!’ Sally and Rusty have their arms wrapped around each other outside Portsmouth Naval Prison in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Several Naval officers stand nearby, while the mutant super heroes X-Factor - Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman and Beast - stand in the other direction. Sally and Rusty’s friends and teammates Boom-Boom a.k.a. Tabitha Smith and Rictor a.k.a. Julio Estibeen Richter wait with them. The two pairs of round, innocent eyes belong to the faces of Artie Maddicks (the pink one) and the Morlock Leech (the green one).
Rusty reminds Sally that when his flame power first manifested he was in the Navy, and he hurt some people, so he ran away. He adds that if X-Factor hadn’t found him, he thinks he would still be running around. He exclaims that X-Factor helped him, so now it is his turn to help other mutants. ‘I don’t see how your surrendering - and going to prison - will help anybody!’ Sally exclaims. Rusty points out that they were both born with an extra wrinkle in their genetic structure that gives them powers - but when it comes down to it, they are just people, who have the same rights - and duties - as everyone else.
Rusty reminds Sally that there is now the new law - the Mutant Registration Act - that tries to force mutants to register with the government. A law which says that they are dangerous weapons that Uncle Sam needs to keep track of. Rusty declares that he thinks it is a bad law, but that he will surrender to the Navy, after all, he did go AWOL, but he will never sign the petition. One of the Naval officers goes over to the young lovers and tells them that their time is up. He tries to force Rusty along, but an annoyed Rusty tells them to get back, reminding them that he is surrendering voluntarily, and to prove a point, bursts into flames.
The Naval officer quickly moves out of the way while Rusty stands engulfed by the flames. Sally doesn’t move either, standing by her man, she is not harmed by the flames thanks to her force field. Rusty tells the Naval officers that he will come with them when he is ready. The Naval officers are just amazed at how Skids can stand there and the fire doesn’t touch her, but Rusty knows what Sally is doing and tells her to stop shutting him out.
Rusty holds his girlfriend close, assuring her that he doesn’t want to leave her, but points out that they are famous now, so he has a chance to focus publicity on that law and maybe help mutants win this one in court. ‘Maybe I can use what’s happened to me to make life better for mutants everywhere’. Sally agrees, telling Rusty that he made her life better, reminding him that before she met him her force field cut her off from everybody.
The young lovers both drop their respective powers and touch skin-on-skin. ‘You taught me to do this - to touch, to feel! I don’t want to lose you. I love you!’ Sally exclaims. Rusty tells Sally that he loves her too, and points out that he has a good lawyer, so it will all be okay. Rusty then reminds Sally that X-Factor is shipping her and the others off to boarding school, which is almost as bad as prison. ‘How can you make me laugh at a time like this? Can’t you see how miserable I am!’ Sally exclaims.
Rusty notices Artie and Leech approaching him and he asks him what is going on, suggesting that Leech stay back from Artie so as not to cancel out his mutant powers. Artie, who communicates by psychically projecting images into the air shows images of he and Leech waving goodbye, and a broken heart, alongside a four-leaf clover and a horse shoe for good luck. Rusty hugs his two teary-eyed companions, thanking them and telling them that he loves them too - before he is lead off by the Naval officers.
Several days later, Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey telekinetically flies herself carrying Artie and Leech down to a school, and she congratulates Leech for having his damper field in real close without cancelling out her power. The first X-Woman tells the boys that she knows they are a little nervous, but that this is an excellent school with a long waiting list, so they are lucky to be accepted in so quickly. ‘I guess there’s something to be said for being famous public figures, isn’t there?’ Jean remarks.
A woman approaches Jean and the boys and as she shakes Jean’s hand she introduces herself as Dr. Gloria Johnson, the headmaster of St. Simons, before introducing her assistant, Lynne Huntington. Jean exclaims that she is delighted to finally meet them both in person, before introducing them to Leech and Artie Maddicks. Gloria and Lynne both kneel down to greet Artie and Leech, and Lynne tells the boys that Jean told them all about how they learned to control their special mutant abilities. ‘And she’s asked us to help you master your “human” ones,’ Gloria adds.
Lynne begins to lead Artie off while Gloria leads Leech in another direction. Lynne tells Artie that if he works as hard with them as he did with X-Factor, then she believes that in no time at all he will be able to speak, to read and write and do math. ‘Won’t that be fun!’ Across the courtyard though, Leech cries ‘No!’, causing Gloria to stop and ask him what is wrong. Artie projects his thoughts, an image of he and Leech together and happy, next to an image of them being separate and sad.
Gloria and Lynne walk over to each other with the boys in tow, and smiling, Gloria declares that it shall be written that Artie and Leech are never to be separated. Jean follows them, smiling, while further back in the courtyard, a wheel-chair bound boy mutters ‘Yuck!’ He thinks to himself that he has been different…a freak…stuck in this dumb wheelchair ever since the accident - when hi mom and dad died, leaving him all alone. Tears forming from behind his eyes, the boy thinks to himself that Artie and Leech are even freakier than he is - even if they do have powers
Less than a mile away is the Phillips Academy, in Exeter, New Hampshire. Bobby “Iceman” Drake creates an ice ramp and Skids, Rictor and Boom-Boom follow on it as he informs his young companions that Warren - Angel - went here as a kid, and he set up a scholarship for mutants kids some time ago, but the three of them will be the first to take advantage of it. ‘Somebody shoulda told Warren not to do us any favors!’ Boom-Boom mutters quietly.
Down below on the campus grounds, students all begin to gather around the ice-sled. ‘Ha! Beats the way most kids arrive at Exeter!’ A jock mutters to a prissy girl standing next to him called Muffy that they will let anyone into the Academy these days. ‘I didn’t realize Affirmative Action applied to mutant urchins!’ Muffy exclaims cruelly. Another boy remarks that his mother will be appalled. ‘Would you just look at those stiffs!’ Sally exclaims to Rictor and Tabitha as she motions to the Academy kids. Rictor whispers to Sally and Tabitha that he would like to wipe the smirks off the other kids faces. ‘Dumb, aren’t they Rictor? Standing under the ice ramp like that!’ Tabitha grins, a time-bomb ready in her hand.
Sally remarks that they are here to get an education, to which Boom-Boom exclaims that she thinks they should give them one! But before she can toss her destructive time-bomb onto the ice-sled, Julio tells Tabitha to let him handle it, and he touches the ice ramp near him. Suddenly, the Academy kids all hear a rumble, then a crackling, and they look up above them - only to see the ice-sled fall down on them. Sally, Julio and Tabitha all walk past, innocently.
A teacher walks over to the students and they greet her, while Sally, Rictor and Boom-Boom all stand innocently. ‘Gosh, how’d that happen? Structural flaw in the ramp?’ Rictor asks. Boom-Boom adds that she saw it coming and was hoping that those poor kids would move. Bobby frowns. ‘Sure you did’ he scolds Boom-Boom, before telling the trio that after this, Exeter can deal with them - ‘If they’ll still have you!’
Meanwhile, back at St. Simons, Lynne sits with Leech and Artie who are drawing. Artie is trying to communicate with her, but Lynne points out that Leech is too close and dampening his power. Leech informs Ms. Huntington that he is not scrambling Artie’s powers, but Artie is trying to say that talk is pictures - so why does he need letters? Suddenly, the wheelchair bound boy zooms past in his chair, exclaiming ‘Ha! They couldn’t make me walk…or learn to read…and I don’t think you should learn to read either!’
Lynne Huntington addresses the boy as Takeshi, but before she can stop him, he asks ‘So what if we’re dyslexic and aphasic - I can build things, like my souped-up double-wheelie-racier-chair!’ Takeshi exclaims that it is the most special chair in the world. He tells Ms. Huntington that Artie can talk with pictures, which is even cooler than being able to talk regularly, or read.
Another woman remarks to Dr. Gloria Johnson that Taki was so disappointed when his latest operation failed, and that he has such faith in technology, that it has taken him weeks to snap out of it. Gloria exclaims that this is the first interest Taki has ever shown in of the other kids. Gloria adds that Taki is a bright kid, but she wishes he would get that mountain-sized chip off his shoulder.
Suddenly, Taki’s wheelchair skids and collapses on top of him. Leech approaches Taki, who tells him to get away, calling him a menace and exclaiming that it is all his fault. ‘Look what you did! You screw up everything you get around! Get away from me now!’
While at Exeter, the stuck-up Muffy leads Sally and Boom-Boom to their rooms, and calling Tabitha “Tabby” assures her that she will be comfortable here. ‘Tabby?’ Boom-Boom whispers to Sally, who points out that it is short for Tabitha. Muffy tells Sally and Tabby that Exeter is a very broad-minded school, and they accept people from all walks of life. ‘Just one little boom - right down her back, that’s all I ask!’ Tabby whispers to Sally, who tells her teammate to shush.
Muffy opens the door to Sally and Boom-Boom’s room, telling them that she expects it will be more than adequate considering what they are used to. ‘I understand you lived on a boat…?’ Muffy mumbles. Sally explains that it was a ship - a space ship, when suddenly Muffy thrusts at them their blue school uniforms. ‘Yuck!’ Sally exclaims. ‘Barf city!’ shouts Tabby. Muffy informs Sally and Tabby that they all wear uniforms at the school so no-one need feel inferior.
Muffy begins to leave the room, informing Sally and Tabby that dinner is in half an hour, while mumbling ‘An ice-sled - such an amusing way to travel. Does remarkable things for your hair, doesn’t it?’ Muffy tells Sally and Tabby that they should tidy up before dinner. Angry, Boom-Boom creates a time-bomb, but Sally tells her not to - but it’s too late, Tabby tosses it into the closet. ‘Skids, just look what you made me do!’ she exclaims sarcastically. Horrified, Muffy rushes back into their room and holds up the tattered remains of the dresses. ‘They’re rags!’ Muggy gasps. ‘Such a terrible shame, Muffy…we’ll simply have to wear the rags we have on!’ Boom-Boom exclaims gleefully.
Seven days later, in the dorm for resident students at St. Simon’s Academy. Taki sits in his room, muttering that his uncle shipped him off here, but he doesn’t care, because he is a computer genius inventor. ‘I’m practically a computer myself ya know, so filled up with chips and stuff!’ Taki reveals that the doctors put them into him in an operation, thinking they would focus energy from his nerves to his muscles to help him walk - but theory is one thing, and it’s results that count. ‘And their results sucked pickled eggs!’
Taki sits in the darkness, tinkering at some invention, while Artie stands next to him, and Leech further back in the room. Taki exclaims that he has got the wires clamped, and asks Artie for the pliers. Taki makes it known that this doesn’t mean he likes Artie, just that he is letting him hand his things over - ‘But not Leech!’ however at that moment, Leech walks over, and Taki’s invention begins to go haywire.
‘I knew it!’ Taki shouts as he points a finger accusingly at Leech, ‘My inventions don’t work when you get near - and I feel funny too!’ Taki exclaims that Leech makes him feel funny and tells him to get out, that he doesn’t want him around here. Taki exclaims that this invention will measure the energy fluctuations in the air around them, before turning to Artie and ordering him to get a screwdriver. Artie doesn’t respond, just stares at Leech, then suddenly pokes his tongue out at Taki and walks over to Leech.
Taki turns and declares that he doesn’t care, that he doesn’t need them - ‘I don’t need anybody!’ Leech exclaims that he needs someone, and puts an arm around his best friend Artie. Taki complains that he still feels really funny, and calling Leech “Frog-Face” declares that it must be him. Taki once again tells Leech to keep away from him, while exclaiming ‘Oh man! Look at it! It’s my best invention ever!’ Taki exclaims that there is some really weird energy around here, when suddenly energy is expelled from his contraption and it hits him, knocking him backwards in his wheelchair.
Artie and Leech go over to Taki who wonders what is going on, as his invention shouldn’t have done that. Taki sees Leech and tells him to get back. ‘See what you made me do!’ Leech begins to leave, when suddenly Taki calls out for him to come back, apologizing and exclaiming that he feels better when Leech is around. Trapped under his wheelchair, Taki holds out a hand. ‘Come back…please’. Artie and Leech help Taki back into his wheelchair and Taki reveals that when Leech backs away from him, he can feel the energy. ‘I guess maybe you can stay with me after all’ he mutters.
Later that night, Artie and Leech are in their room, lying in their beds when they begin to hear scratching and cackling outside. Leech looks over at Artie, then climbs into his friends bed. Artie then projects an image of a saw cutting into a piece of wood, while in Taki’s room, Taki thinks that he feels funny, like that energy, when he hears a scrabbling noise, and looking out the window sees the N’asteris - only he doesn’t know what they are.
His bed is against the window, so Taki opens it and looks up at the demons, who are saying things like ‘Smell them!’ ‘Taste power!’ outside of Artie and Leech’s window. Taki calls out to the demons, telling them to get lost, but when they don’t he wonders if they cannot hear him, before remembering seeing on television, around Christmas, there were supposedly some goblins who stole some babies from a hospital in New York. Taki clambers into his wheelchair, exclaiming that he didn’t believe it, after all, he is a scientist - ‘I still don’t believe it!’
Leaving his room, Taki wonders what the demons are doing here, when he suddenly feels that strange energy again. ‘I don’t know why I’m bothering. I don’t even like kids!’ He wonders what he cares if anything happens to Artie and Leech, when he pushes open their door and sees the demons putting Artie and Leech into sacks. ‘No! Get away from them!’ Taki shouts, when suddenly Crotus leaps over to him, ordering him to shut up. Crotus then discovers that Taki is filled with power and wonders if they should take him with them.
Suddenly, there is a loud zap, and a burst of light as Crotus is shot back from Taki. A puzzled Taki sees a gun that has strangely appeared on his wheelchair and wonders how it got there. ‘What’s going on? Did I do it? Is it cause of the computer chips?’ he wonders. Another demon suggests that they leave Taki, as “Mawthur” says the babies should be little. ‘Is little!’ another demon points out. Taki realizes that he must have don’t it, and wonders how, before realizing that it doesn’t matter.
Suddenly his wheelchair has changed form and is armed with more lazers as he speeds over to the demons in his “Goblin Buster”. What matters, he exclaims, is results - but as the wheelchair approaches Leech, it returns to normal, and Taki falls from it due to the speed. Leech exclaims that Taki is a mutant. ‘Leech...stop powers…close!’ Leech cries out as he is carried away, adding that he is sorry. ‘I’m…what?’ Taki asks. Ione of the demons tells the others to grab him, ‘He be three!’ But another smacks Taki across the room, ‘Mawthur says…should be bald! Leave him!’
Sometime later, Taki wakes from his beating as Lynne Huntington kneels over him, asking him if he is all right. Taki replies that he is fine, and asks what happened. Taki looks around the room, realizing that he is still in Artie and Leech’s room he exclaims that goblins came in the window then stole Artie and Leech. ‘Goblins?’ asks Lynne. A man gets Taki’s wheelchair and motions to one of the beds, pointing out two effigies - small dolls resembling Artie and Leech. The man declares that this is crazy, before remarking that if they know their myths, leaving effigies in place of stolen children is classic goblin behavior! He informs Lynne that he will call the police while she gets Taki back to bed.
Shortly, Lynne sits on the edge of Taki’s bed as he informs her that the goblins had wings and horns and said they weren’t going to take him because he has hair. He declares that he tried to stop them, ramming them with his wheelchair but that they knocked him over and took off without him. Lynne thanks Taki and tells him to try and get some sleep. Lynne leaves Taki’s room, but he sits up in bed and listens to her standing outside the door and talking to some police officers, who tell her that Taki’s story was pretty fanciful and that he is certainly very imaginative.
The police inform Lynne that they tried to phone X-Factor but that all lines into New York are in use. ‘At this time of night?’ Taki thinks to himself, before deciding that something weird is going on here, ‘Who can blame them if they think I’ve popped my cork?!’ Taki thinks that even Lynne didn’t believe him, and that he didn’t even tell her the weirdest part of all. Taki gets into his wheelchair and sneaks from his room deciding that if X-Factor cannot be reached then he could try and ring the big kids, after all, he heard Lynne say they were at Exeter.
Taki reminds himself that he has only seen the big kids on TV, but he knows they will be used to this stuff, so they will believe him…he hopes. Taki manages to get through to the other Academy and introduces himself as Takeshi Matsuya and exclaims that he urgently needs to talk to Skids about some goblins. Muffy is on the other end of the phone and replies that practical jokes are the lowest form of wit - especially at three-thirty in the morning. She adds that the dorm phone will be off the hook for the rest of the night and bids Taki a good night.
Taki changes his clothing and sneaks out of the Academy, deciding that all there is left to do is to wheel over to the older kids Academy, even though it is over a mile away. He supposes that when he gets there, he will throw rocks at their windows, before realizing that he doesn’t even know which is the girls dorm. He wonders why he is bothering, as he hates kids, before realizing that, right now, he hates grown ups even more, for they should have listened to him but didn’t. ‘Fanciful imagination!’ he mocks.
Suddenly, Taki wonders what he is doing, after all, he is a mutant, and he can make his wheelchair into anything he wants! Excitedly, he transforms his regular mode of transport into a copter - but it doesn’t do anything, it just sits there. He wonders why he isn’t moving, before realizing that he must need a power source. He supposes that a small generator might work, and boasts that he sure is lucky he is an inventor genius.
Taki’s copter takes off, and he boasts that a mile is nothing, before exclaiming that he is a mutant like Artie and Leech, that he can make his wheelchair take him anywhere, make it do anything. ‘I never have to feel alone again!’ he shouts.
Approaching the other Academy, Taki spots what he thinks might be the girls dorm, as there is lace on the curtains, and even if it isn’t, then hopefully whoever it is can tell him where the girls dorm is. ‘Hey, Skids! Skids of X-Factor!’ Taki shouts loudly. ‘Are you in there?!’ Sally and Tabby open their window and Sally calls out ‘Yeah, I’m Skids - what’s going on?’ other girls in the dorm all being poking their heads out of their own windows too as they watch the commotion.
Taki lowers a rope ladder from his copter as he informs the girls that Artie and Leech got kidnapped by goblins, before informing them that he is also a mutant and explaining that the police could not contact X-Factor, so that is why he is coming to them. ‘X-Factor’s off saving the world or something - that’s why they stuck us here!’ Boom-Boom informs him.
Suddenly, a woman pokes her head out of another room with a phone in her hand, ‘Police? I’m calling to report a disturbance on campus!’ she exclaims while pointing at Skids who is climbing up Taki’s rope ladder. Taki tells the girls to hurry and assures them that his copter can hold more than one person. Tabby tells Sally to wait for her, ‘If you’re cutting classes, I’m cutting classes!’. However Boom-Boom’s added weight causes the copter to topple, and Skids almost falls out of it. ‘What kinda crummy helicopter is this anyway? Doesn’t it have any lift?’ Tabby shouts.
Rictor pokes his head out of a nearby window, it seems he overheard the recent conversation and asks his roommate, Ed, to take notes in class for him. Ed replies that he will, before asking Rictor if he can help. Julio jumps out of the window and grabs the rope ladder, thanking his roommate for the offer, before pointing out that they will be lucky if the copter can carry them as it is.
Several police officers arrive and standing under the ladder tell Julio that they knows this is summer, but stunts like this can land them in hospital - or jail! ‘Tell me about it!’ Rictor mutters in reply, before asking Taki if this cannot go any higher. Taki explains that they cannot take four of them, as he cannot generate the power for it! Tabby grins and tells Rictor that if she were him, she would climb, fast. With that, she drops a time-bomb down at the police officers.
Rictor safely makes it up the ladder and Taki asks what those were. Tabby replies that they are energy pellets, her “time-bombs”, explaining that she makes them, they’re her power. Taki informs his new companions that he is going to dump the generator, as they have better ways to use their mass. Down below, someone cries ‘Get back! It’s gonna crash!’, while Tabby asks Taki if he is crazy. Calling Tabby “Motor-Mouth”, Taki points out that her time-bombs release energy, so she should just pop one of them into the compartment and then everyone needs to brace themselves.
Tabby does as she is told, but the copter just falls to the ground - until the time-bomb explodes, then the copter blasts off into the air, with a new design able to hold all four easier. ‘Who needs wings when you’ve got rockets!’ Taki exclaims. Sally remarks that they have almost everyone now. ‘Almost?’ Taki asks, to which Sally replies that they have to go and get Rusty. Taki asks what they need him for, to which Sally explains that he is their leader, he will know what to do, adding that he has even had military experience. Taki asks where Rusty is, and Sally informs him that he is at the Portsmouth Naval prison, which is not too far from here.
Shortly, the jet arrives at the prison and Sally asks Taki if he can made the jet hover over the building so they can listen and find out where the cells are. ‘You mean he’s in prison?’ Taki asks. ‘Sure, don’t you read the papers?’ Sally replies, before telling him to shush. The jet hovers by an office, where two Naval soldiers are remaking that the “mutant kid” is well behaved and seems to have adjusted to prison life. ‘Just as well - I hear the administration’s going to make an example of him!’ another officer exclaims.
The first replies that he heard that too, ‘They’re gonna throw away the key!’ he declares. ‘Oh no! They can’t! We gotta get him outta here!’ Sally gasps. ‘Uh…that’s against the law…isn’t it?’ Taki asks. Tabby declares that it is, but they are all minors, and have to think of what is best for Artie and Leech! With that, she tosses a time-bomb at the building, causing the officers to be knocked off their feet as the wall around them bursts open.
Taki transforms the copter into a tank and the former wards of X-Factor, still dressed in their nightwear, rush into action. ‘It’s an invasion!’ one of the officers cries. ‘Guards!’ shouts another. Sally tells her friends to remember their teamwork and warns Boom-Boom to make sure no one gets hurt. ‘Don’t tell me - tell them!’ Tabby replies as a group of Naval officers enter the room with weapons. ‘Halt!’ one of them orders, until Rictor claps his hands together, creating a seismic shock and knocking the officers back.
Sally protects herself from a barrage of bullets thanks to her force field, while she calls out for Rusty. ‘Yo! Rus-tay!’ Tabby and Rictor shout in unison. Sally tells Taki to keep plowing ahead and trying to find Rusty’s cell while she extends her force field to shield everyone as much as she can. But entering the cell block, Sally sees that there are hundreds of cells, but begins calling out to Rusty, asking him where he is. Rusty eventually calls out, not realizing it is his girlfriend and teammates, he is shocked when he sees them.
Rusty asks his friends what they are doing here, ‘Was it you making that racket? Why aren’t you at school? He asks. Sally tells her lover that they are getting him out of here, to which Rusty asks if they are all bucking for their own cell, pointing out that it is a federal offense. ’See!’ mumbles Taki. Rusty declares that he has got to “face the music”, reminding his friends that this is a voluntary act of protest. Rusty declares that he will not register as a mutant, but that he is willing to be held accountable for his crime so long as it is judged under human law!
‘Skids, don’t you see? We cant let them treat us like…aliens or something!’ Rusty exclaims. ‘We’re humans, born with special gifts!’ There is a loud BOOM as Boom-Boom tosses a time-bomb against Rusty’s cell as she exclaims ‘We sure are…and we’re using them! Now!’ Rictor pulls Rusty into the tank, but Rusty protests, asking his friends if they didn’t hear what he said. ‘Yeah we heard all right - you haven’t shut up!’ Julio exclaims, before telling Rusty that he should listen for a change. ‘You think we’re doing this for you?’
Sally tells Rusty that Artie and Leech have been kidnapped. ‘By goblins!’ Taki adds. ‘What!?’ exclaims Rusty. Suddenly, the soldiers enter the cell block, well armed. ‘There they are! Fire when ready!’ one of them orders. Rusty agrees to go with his teammates, but points out that this will make it a whole lot harder for other mutants to get a square deal. ‘Not to be a pessimist, Rusty, but I don’t think a square deal is exactly what they had in mind!’ Sally exclaims as she blocks the bullets fired by the soldiers.
Taki forces the tank out of the cell and transforms it into a jet once more as the group take off into the sky. Sally declares that she doesn’t care about a square deal for mutant kind right now, she is more worried about Artie and Leech. ‘All right, I’m convinced!’ Rusty assures his girlfriend, before asking how they are going to find them….