Forge’s workshop, Baltimore, Maryland, 3:27 AM [EST]:
Xavier telepathically scans the minds in the area Forge suggested to find Mystique, but so far has come up with nothing. How does one find a woman who could be anywhere or anyone on the planet, he wonders frustrated. The same way mankind has always managed to do the impossible, the mutant inventor, Forge, replies… with a little invention. One of his, Xavier asks curiously as Forge reaches for something. Actually, a guy named Bell built that one, Forge quips and shows Xavier a phone. He continues, reminding Charles that he used to work for the government and still has a few friends there. One of them works the graveyard shift at a Pentagon ops room. Xavier nervously reminds him of the sensitive nature of this matter and his connection to it, but Forge calms him that this guy values discretion.
Forge reaches the person he spoke of, David, asks him to go secure and reminds him of the favor David owes him for that holodeck in his basement complete with a Marina Sirtis program Forge constructed for him. He wants to know if they have any intelligence on Raven Darkholme aka Mystique. Forge suddenly becomes agitated when he hears the other man’s reply. Finishing the conversation, he turns to Xavier, reminding him once more that Mystique is not to be trusted and that he should reconsider. Xavier interrupts him and wants to know what is going on. Someone has beaten them to the punch, Forge replies. They got a lock on Mystique earlier tonight. Where, Xavier asks grimly.
Westlake Apartment Complex, Washington D.C: 3:29 [EST]
The subject of the two men’s conversation finds herself surrounded by several heavily armed soldiers, guns trained on her. Mystique seems to find the situation funny as she asks, mock-embarrassed, whether this is about all those Miles Davis songs she downloaded off Kazaa. The commander sharply tells her to shut up, raising the visor that hid part of his face. He tells her that, on behalf of the Executive Enforcement branch of the Department of Homeland security, he is placing her under arrest. She will be granted a swift trial but, if she refuses, they are authorized to terminate her with extreme prejudice. Well, at least the “human” admits to being prejudiced, she spits. He warns her not to shift out of her true form. She tells him this isn’t her true form, as she shifts into a cute eight-year-old little girl. This is.
The commander angrily orders one of his men, Jackson, to shoot her, but the soldier has scruples. She is just a kid, he protests. Somewhat unsure, the commander states that according to her file she is actually old. The girl runs toward him, suddenly punching him with unexpected force. Hasn’t anyone told them it’s rude to talk about a girl’s age? She jumps at him and grabs his helmet and the soldier finds she is unexpectedly heavy, as her weight stays constant throughout her changes. He throws her off and orders his men to kill her, only to stare into the face of a double of his – giving the same order. The soldiers are confused: who’s the real deal?
One of the two commanders orders Jackson to shoot them both – he is wearing armor, she isn’t, so the bullets will only kill her. The other commander protests, convincing the men and Jackson follows the order shooting at both of them.
Both shout out in pain, but only one of them sinks to the ground. Jackson asks if the other commander is all right. He’ll …live… the commander replies and asks if Jackson has ever been shot with his vest on. The pain is so bad that most men pass out… Then how is it he’s still conscious, Jackson wonders. The commander looks up at him, his eyes suddenly glowing yellow. Because he shifted all his vital organs into his lower extremities he replies, only to turn into Mystique who throws a gun into Jackson’s face, followed by a back-flip out the window.
She lands hard and finds that she bleeds from the wounds the bullets left. She tries to force herself to run, knowing she needs time to heal, finally sinking to her knees and mumbling “hide, Raven. Can’t let… papa… find you…” She faints and the soldiers find her unconscious form, which has shifted to blend in with the pavement.
Department of Homeland Security Mobile Justice Unit, restricted US Airspace, 4:36 [EST]
Mystique regains consciousness and finds herself strapped into some sort of high-tech chair and surrounded by heavily armed guards. They are joined by a young man in civilian clothes who tells her she needn’t bother thinking about escape, as they are 20,000 feet up. He introduces himself as Johnny Kitano, special magistrate for Homo Superior crimes against humanity and tells her with a grin that, in layman’s terms, he’s her judge, jury and – fingers crossed – executioner.
She notes that he is Japanese – Japanese-American, he corrects – and reminds him that sixty years ago the country he is working for probably put his grand-parents into internment camps. Enraged, he tells her that his grandparents owned a hardware store and started a neighborhood food drive. She on the other hand led a group called the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. That was an ironic name, she scoffs. They weren’t fighting people’s perception of mutants but their oppression and systematic extermination. Kitano doesn’t buy it. She’s really just a sociopath pretending to be a civil rights crusader.
Mystique angrily reminds him that she got a presidential pardon for any past “crimes” she committed, when she agreed to help the government capture Magneto. To underscore her point, she turns into the master of magnetism. Unimpressed, Kitano tells her the look suits her. After all, she is an extremist lunatic like Magneto was. Her service to the country didn’t change that. And, of course, she eventually violated the terms of her pardon when she resumed her outlaw activities, when she blew up buildings and assassinated innocents. Mystique protests that that is a lie. She may not be a saint, but she never killed anybody who wasn’t trying to do the same thing to her kind.
It sure looks like her on the hours of surveillance tape they have, Kitano remarks caustically. Mystique argues that she can change her shape in the blink of an eye. Why would she look like herself when doing something illegal? There are so many shape-shifters, illusionists and masters of disguise around. Somebody has probably been impersonating her for the last few months and has been framing her.
Nice try, Kitano tells her, but he doesn’t have to prove her guilt. She was once on the CIA payroll and the current administration wants him to eliminate potential liabilities before they come back to haunt them. Like their boys Noriega, Hussein and Bin Laden did? Mystique snorts. She continues telling him that she refuses to beg for her life. They both know how this little kangaroo court ends, so cut to the chase already.
With a smirk, Kitano mentions several means of execution and why they might be ineffective in Mystique’s case. Old-fashioned electrocution is the best way to go. Any last words? Mystique whispers something. Kitano comes closer asking her to speak up. Mystique defiantly spits in his face and repeats “Burn in hell, gene thrash.”
Wiping away the spittle, Kitano tells her that he knows she believes him to hate mutants, but he doesn’t. Just the ones who don’t know their place, she replies bitterly. No, Kitano replies and an electric charge builds up in his palm, he hates mutants who give hard-working decent mutants like him a bad name. Mystique, for once, is at a loss for words. Kitano’s charged up hand closes in on her and he asks that may God have mercy on her soul. “I wouldn’t count on it,” she whispers.
Suddenly, a voice interjects: “That’s enough” and tells Kitano to step away from her. It’s Magneto! The guards rush at him, but Magneto tells them to step down and takes them out. He turns to Kitano, telling him that the iron in his blood is turning heavy and he is getting sleepy. Kitano sinks down. Magneto uses the controls to free Mystique, cuts off her question and orders her to accompany him. Outside the flying fortress, a jet is waiting for them. Inside, Mystique tells him that she doesn’t want to seem ungrateful, but why would he save her? Curtly, he tells he to sit down and adds that, should she attempt to harm him, she will be ejected from the craft. Mystique is surprised: it almost sounds as though he were afraid of her. He can’t be Magneto. Nor does he have his powers, “Magneto” agrees, but he simulated them convincingly enough.
The charade was necessary to protect his true identity… With those words Charles Xavier removes his helmet. As Mystique cries out “Xavier” in astonishment, he sternly corrects her: “That’s professor to you. Now take your seat. Class is about to begin.”