The Massachusetts Academy, an exclusive boarding school in Snow Valley – the morning after. Outside, several students stand behind the barricades of the recently destroyed Proudstar Hall, while in the secret complex beneath the campus, one of the school headmasters, Sean Cassidy, a.k.a. the former X-Man Banshee and one of the special students of the school – Everett “Synch” Thomas are conversing about last night. Synch asks Sean how they managed to explain the explosion of Proudstar Hall in the middle of the dance to everyone. Sean informs Everett that Emma explained it as a gas leak and used her telepathy to convince the fire chief of it.
Everett asks Sean if that if cool with him that Emma used her telepathy on normal civilians. Sean tells Everett that he asked himself the same question, but thinks that in this case, it is the lesser of two evils, especially as they could not let people know the building blew up because they train mutants at the school, and one of their enemies attacked. Everett sees Sean’s point. As they enter the infirmary, Sean informs Everett that Emplate – the enemy – has been asleep for hours, but it is time to see if he feels like talking.
However, upon looking around the room, they see a gaping hole in the wall! Sean sees that Emplate is still there, but that Penance is gone. Synch asks the older man how it could be, as they freed Nicole and Claudette St. Croix from the Penance body, which would mean it was just an empty shell. Sean replies that he does not know, but Synch points to her obvious escape route, and Sean opens a telepathic channel to Emma so that he can let her know what is going on.
The “Emma” is of course Emma Frost, a.k.a. the White Queen, a powerful telepath and Sean’s co-headmaster, who is currently jogging through Academy grounds. She looks up when Sean says into her mind ‘We’ve got a situation here’ and informs her that Penance has escaped and by the looks of things she has run off into the woods. Emma sees something come out of the woods and asks Sean if he just said “into the woods”. Sean replies that he did and asks her why, to which Emma, startled by the wounded student, coughing, bleeding and ripped stumble out of the woods asking for help, and she tells Sean that the situation just got worse.
Elsewhere on the campus, sitting by a fountain is the beautiful Monet St. Croix, with her younger twin sisters, Claudette and Nicole. Nicole remarks that it feels so good to talk again, to which Monet tells her jokingly that she hasn’t stopped talking! Nicole reminds Monet that she knows what being trapped in the Penance body was like, ‘very uncool’ and adds that she cannot imagine what it was like for Claudette, since she is autistic. Monet tells the girls that the most important thing is that none of them are prisoner of the horrid body anymore.
Suddenly, someone says ‘Is there a St. Croix family reunion and no one told me?’ Nicole runs over to the voice when she sees that it is her father and leaps into his arms. Ambassador St. Croix smiles and tells Monet that her headmaster, Sean Cassidy called him late last night and told him Emplate was here and that his ‘little girls’ have come back to him. He is about to ask Monet how she is when his attention is drawn to Emma Frost who runs past them.
Monet wonders what is going on and, manages to stop Emma before she gets any further away. Monet excuses herself and asks Emma what the matter is. Emma tells Monet that she didn’t see her there before turning to Ambassador St. Croix, and mentioning that Sean told her he was coming, referring to her running outfit she regrets that she is not more presentable. Ambassador St. Croix tells her to think nothing of it, and Emma starts on her destination again, telling the Ambassador that they should have dinner later, but for now she must be going. Monet starts to say something, but Emma cuts her off, telling her to enjoy her visit with her family, as this is nothing that she needs to concern herself with. Monet narrows her eyes, as she has the feeling something big is going on, and regrets that Emma’s telepathy is more powerful than her own is, otherwise she would read her mind and find out!
In the communications room, Banshee and Emma have assembled Synch and the remaining members of Generation X, the mutant teens who they train at the Academy, Jubilee, Paige “Husk” Guthrie, Angelo Espinosa a.k.a. Skin and Jonothan Starsmore, also known as Chamber. Banshee has just finished informing everyone of what they know about the new Penance, ending with the fact she has gone into the woods. Jubilation asks what happened to the kid that Penance cut up, and Sean informs her that Tom Corsi, Sean’s friend and a teacher at the school, rang the kids’ parents and took him to the hospital.
Skin asks what about the other kids – are they safe while Penance is still out there? Banshee tells the Latino student that he asked a good question, and reveals that he wants to evacuate the school in case Penance comes back onto the campus. Emma disagrees, reason being that Proudstar Hall had just blown up the previous night and if they evacuate the school it would worry a lot of parents – and put the school under a microscope. Emma declares that they cannot risk the investigation uncovering the fact that they train mutants at the Academy.
Husk asks why they are all being so quick to assume that “Penny” would hurt anyone, and in defense of Penance tells her friends that she would never do that. Banshee tells Paige that this is not the “Penny” that they used to know and that they have absolutely no way of knowing what they are dealing with at the moment. Sternly, he declares that as far as they know, Penance is the enemy.
Later, in the woods surrounding the Massachusetts Academy, Emma leads the group through the woods, followed by Synch, Skin, Chamber, Paige, Jubilee and Sean brings up the rear. Everett asks why they have to guess whether or not Penance did this, and suggests that it could have been a bear. He then asks Emma why she didn’t just pull an image out of the head of the kid who was attacked. Emma replies that she tried, but that the kids head was too jumbled from the fear, shock and pain he was in, adding that this Penance is as immune to her psi-scans as the predecessor.
Everett declares that he is trying to use his synchronistic aura as a beacon like he has done before, as it lets him “sense” mutants nearby, but regrets that Penance is either out of range or immune to his aura. Angelo grumbles that he is not cut out for ‘this Davy Crockett crap’ and that he is too far away from cars and blacktop and buildings – ‘the forest doesn’t work for me!’ Suddenly he screams when a set of claws reach for his face – but it is not a set of claws, merely a branch held out by Chamber, joking to Skin that the big bad forest almost got him. Angelo snaps back that he liked it better when Chamber did not have a sense of humor.
Emma raises her voice and tells the boys that this is not a camping trip and they need to stop fooling around look sharp. Jubilee puts one hand on her hip and says ‘You tell ‘em Emma! When I was with the X-Men –’ Banshee puts a hand over Jubilee’s mouth as she launches into another one of her “When I was wit the X-Men” stories and tells her that now is not the time, before ushering everyone along the path.
Back on campus, Monet asks her father if he is going to see Marius. Ambassador St. Croix replies that he is and reveals that that is the other reason he came, as he finally needs to make peace with his son. Bluntly, Monet asks her father if she needs to remind him that his son killed her mother and imprisoned her ‘inside that horrible Penance body’, not to mention the countless other atrocities he has committed. ‘He’s not “Marius” anymore. He’s Emplate’. She adds.
The Ambassador closes his eyes and tells Monet that he is still his son and reminds her that he would not turn his back on her, or any of them, but that he has neglected Marius for too long. He reminds Monet that he belongs to Xavier’s Mutant Underground after all, and should know that not all mutants can control their powers. ‘I’m ashamed of myself’ he finally says before Monet folds her arms and informs her father that it is too late for him to be close to his children and that Marius isn't his son anymore, but a viscous creature who does not deserve human compassion.
Back in the woods, near a cliff, Sean tells everyone that he thinks it might be a good idea if they all split up as they can cover more ground that way whilst keeping in tough via Emma’s telepathy. Just then, rocks begin to fall down the cliff, a rockslide is occurring! Synch synchs up with Banshee’s sonic scream and together they use the power to shatter rocks, while Chamber does the same with his bio-blast, just in time to save Jubilee too. Husk changes into a stone form so she can shatter the rocks physically, while Skin grabs Emma and stretching a finger and latching it on to a nearby tree as if it were a rope he pulls himself and her away, asking if he can call her “Jane”. ‘I thought you didn’t like the forest!’ Emma exclaims while clinging to him. Jubilee uses her fireworks to shatter rocks and jokes that Sean and Synch have a ‘regular duet going on over there!’ When the dust clears, Sean congratulates everyone on a good job and remarks that it goes without saying: ‘that rockslide was no accident!’
In the infirmary, Monet St. Croix stands back from where her evil brother lies, while her father stands right next to him and wonders how his son would have turned out had he not pushed him away. Monet tells her father not to do this to himself, and the creepy voice belonging to Emplate says ‘Yeah, I’m liable to break into tears’. Monet and the Ambassador are taken aback when they hear him, and as he opens his red eyes, Emplate tells Monet that he is weak, and reminds her that she knows he feeds on the genetic material of other mutants.
Emplate suggests to Monet that she fetches him a snack – ‘perhaps one of those oddly colored boys…I believe their names are Artie and Leech, they’re nice bite-size portions’. Monet leans towards Emplate and yelling, she calls him a monster and tells him to shut his mouth, adding that he is lucky they are keeping him alive. The Ambassador puts a hand on Monet’s shoulder and asks her to calm down, and declaring that it is not Marius’ fault. Emplate narrows his eyes at Monet and sarcastically tells her to listen to their wise and gentle father. Emplate tells his father that he knows he has been carrying around a lot of baggage and declares that it might help him if he finally learned what exactly happened to the St. Croix children’s mother.
(Flashback, predating Uncanny X-Men #316 and other flashbacks featuring Monet and the Twins)
Marius and his mother were the only ones home that after noon, as the Ambassador was out that day with the girls…his favorites. Marius started to feel weird, his palms itched and his stomach began to feel like it turning inside out, he thought he might vomit. His mother tried to help, and Marius could tell that she was very terrified by the time he started convulsing, but she still stayed with him.
They sat on the floor, and the convulsions within Marius eventually stopped – but he started to hunger. To this day he still does not know what happened – but for the first time in his life, he knew what would make him complete…and he killed his mother – Monet’s mother – by draining her energies.
Emplate still looks up at his family and snarls that he does not like to make a habit of agreeing with Monet, but he needs to confess that she is right about one thing. ‘I'm not your son. Marius…is dead’ he says to the Ambassador.
High above the Massachusetts Academy, Banshee streaks down, hoping that despite the tenseness of the forest that he may be able to spot Penance. However, he suddenly comes by a truck, overturned on a road nearby, and swooping down to investigate he finds no sign of a driver, and examining the trailer he concludes that something must have broken out of it, and judging by the claw marks, something wild. He telepathically contacts Emma and informs her that he has found something that makes him believe that “pegged” the whole situation wrong.
From her location in the woods, Emma calmly replies that she is listening, and asks Sean to go ahead – until a huge, furry wild beast lunges out at Emma and the kids. It grabs Husk and tosses her to one side, while the other kids ready themselves for battle. Chamber is about to release a bio blast on the creature, when suddenly another rustle in the bushes startles the kids – and they see Penance leap out and smash into the creature, attacking it and protecting Generation X.
None of the kids can get a clear shot in, when Synch realizes that the creature before them looks like Sasquatch! Skin asks ‘who?’ and Emma informs him that Sasquatch is Dr. Walter Langkowski, of Alpha Flight, whom they met while he and Jono were in Los Angeles. However she is not picking up anything resembling human thoughts from him.
Jubilee tends to Husk, and as she starts to come around, declares that she will be okay. ‘Momma?’ says Paige wearily. Penance is trapped in the Sasquatch’s hand, but scratches her way free and fights ferociously with him, eventually drawing a lot of blood from the creature and causing him to fall to the ground. Emma probes deeper into the mind of the creature, but still finds no human consciousness and declares that it is almost as if he is truly an animal.
Banshee, carrying an armed soldier suddenly drops into the scene and declares that the soldier he found is part of some top-secret military detachment. Sean informs everyone that they were taking the Sasquatch to Boston where they were going to examine him in a fancy new lab, but on the way their truck got wrecked and the beast escaped. ‘You mean this isn't Dr. Langkowski, it’s a real Sasquatch?’ asks Jubes before exclaiming that it was probably scared and wanted to go home.
Emma smiles at the soldier and asks him how many other soldiers are in the woods. The lieutenant replies that there is a detachment of six. Emma puts her hands on the soldiers’ face and telepathically implants into his mind that he never found the creature and is going to call off the mission because the beast is long gone. ‘Yes…Ma’am…’ the soldier replies. The soldier walks off into the woods, and Jubilee asks now that Emma put the ‘telepathic whammy on G.I.Joe over there…what do we do with fluffy here?’ Sean smirks and proclaims that he knows just the person to call!
Later, Banshee, Emma and the kids stand near an Omni-Jet into which Department H soldiers are leading the real Sasquatch into, while Banshee talks to four of Alpha Flight, Canada’s premiere super heroes – Guardian, Snowbird, Puck and the “other” Sasquatch – Dr. Walter Langkowski. Sean tells them that he appreciates them making the trip down here, as he figured they of all people would have the creatures’ best interests at heart. Sean informs them that they know the creature didn’t intentionally hurt the student, just that he was scared and needs to be taken back to his homeland.
Guardian tells Sean that it is their pleasure, ‘Alpha Flight is always glad to help!’ Banshee declares that he has a question for Dr. Langkowski: ‘I thought you were one of a kind, how are there two of you? Walt steps forward and tells Sean that it is actually kind of complicated, but basically the creature is a real Sasquatch, ‘the kind of thing you read about in the tabloids’, while “Sasquatch” is his own codename and he is really inhabiting the body of Tanaraq and ancient mystical beast. Banshee looks at Sasquatch blankly and says ‘Um, whatever you say’.
As Alpha Flight enter their aircraft, Banshee thanks Sasquatch and tells him that he owes him one. Walt shouts back to Sean that he can buy him a beer next time he is south of the border. Sean, Emma and the kids watch as Alpha Flight leaves and Skin says ‘So that’s Alpha Flight huh? I thought a fight always breaks out when they show up’.
Everybody turns their attention back to Penance and Jubilee asks what they are going to do with her. Emma tells her that it is a good question, and just like the other Penance, her mind is still blocked from Emma’s telepathic probes. Banshee wonders if they can even make Penance go with them, would she want to, adding that the Academy is a school, not a prison. Penance scratches something into a tree, and reading it, everybody smiles…for it says “Home” and they all walk back through the woods, to the Academy.
Outside Kirby Hall, Monet walks over to her sullen father and tells him that she is sorry about earlier, adding that she knows this must be hard for him and she shouldn’t have made it any worse. She declares that she was out of line when she said it was too late for him to be close to his children, that it is not true. The Ambassador doesn’t look at Monet when he says this, but tells her that he hopes she is right, because he has come up with a way to prove to her that he loves her, and reminding Monet of all the times she told him how many times she would rather attend a school somewhere else, he is finally listening. ‘I’m withdrawing you from the Massachusetts Academy’ he says, much to Monet’s horror.