London, a day that starts much like any other for Excalibur. Masked robbers are holding a bank and the people in it hostage. Enter Juggernaut, Dazzler and Nocturne, amused by the gangsters’ naivete, trying to pull this caper in their hometown.
Dazzler informs the goons that Juggernaut used to follow their line of work. Makes him kind of cranky when it isn’t done well. And you really don’t want to make Juggernaut cranky, adds Nocturne.
Not impressed, one of the gangsters fires a weapon at Juggernaut. The impact hurls him through the wall of the building and into the waiting arms of Captain Britain. Concerned, he asks about his teammate’s health and Cain informs him curtly that he’s taken worse. Looks like these slugs are packing dangerous hardware. They better get back inside. The girls may need their help.
Inside, the “girls” actually handle things fine on their own. As Nocturne uses martial arts moves to disable several goons, she remarks that she and Dazzler are doing them a favour. Cause if they made Juggy angry, he’ll want some payback. They can feel free to thank them later.
Dazzler can’t match her teammate’s fighting skills. Instead, she uses her power to control light to coalesce it into a blade stronger than steel. With it, she disables an opponent. Another one fires at her and she creates a light shield to block it. Just as she takes out one man, she is shot in the back by the woman they believed to be a hostage. She exults that she just killed a superhero. Angrily, Captain Britain tosses her at Juggernaut’s feet and advises her to start praying.
Cap orders Nocturne to check on Alison while he secures the rest of the gang. As T.J. complies, Cap quickly makes short work of the men’s hardware, by literally stripping them of it (and everything else they are wearing).
Meanwhile, down on the underground vault level, Sage elegantly dispatches of the rest of the robber crew without even breaking a sweat. Pete Wisdom claps in applause, remarking that he would have pitched in if it looked like she needed help.
A little later, the hospital staff find Dazzler fine and angry at all that attention. Captain Britain sternly reminds her that she was dead. Again.
So she got better, Alison shrugs. Their friend from the hospital agrees with her, but points out that this is the third time this has happened, so she’d like to run a complete set of exams on Alison. Which means at least a night in Royal Victoria Hospital. She thought she was her friend, Ali moans. A friend who hopes so see her live a very long life the doctor agrees.
Royal Hospital, the following day. Nocturne enters, dancing to the music from her iPod to where the others are already waiting. Pete asks her to have a heart. This is a hospital. Why does he think she’s wearing headphones, she retorts. Get better ones, he suggests.
Nocturne stays in the hospital room with Al and the doctor. While she fiddles with her headphones, she suddenly finds she can’t control her motions anymore. The iPod falls. She cries out for the others that something is wrong before falling. Alison runs to her side and T.J can just mumble that something is wrong with her head.
The doctor makes a crash call to Holland four. Down in the Lobby, the others realize that this refers to Ali’s room. As they run up, they see hospital staff getting in front of them. What they see is not as expected, an injured Ali, but a panicked Talia who can’t feel her arms or legs.
She cries out in fear, believing she is going to die. The members of Excalibur watch helplessly as T.J. is transported away, the staff asking whether they can tell them anything about possible physical differences of Nocturne’s, considering her different looks.
Ali tells the others that she doesn’t understand what happens and their doctor friend explains that she believes Nocturne has suffered a stroke. Given the fact that she appears s different from anyone else, they need all the information Excalibur can give them about her physiology. They might also try prayer.
A little later, Cain finds Alison crying on a couch. She confides that she pretty much thought that was her new shtick. Drop dead, get rushed to the hospital, get better. Talia was the one she counted on to save her. What the hell is happening? Life pure and simple, he tries to comfort her.
Elsewhere, Sage phones the Xavier Institute’s headmistress, Emma Frost, asking for Nightcrawler. Emma just replies that this isn’t possible. Uncharacteristically upset, Sage shouts that T.J had a stroke and may die. Emma explains that Kurt Wagner isn’t on Earth. Charles Xavier took him, Rachel and a team of X-Men to help save the Shi’ar. They’ve had no contact since. She’s sorry.
Pete asks whether Talia isn’t a bit young for something like this. Sage explains to him and the others that a stroke involves a blockage of one of the blood vessels to the brain. It’s more common with age, but can actually occur any time. The fact that Nocturne is from an alternate Earth somewhat complicates matters.
Brian suggests contacting the group she belonged to or perhaps her home dimension. Wisdom sensibly asks how they could do that. Brian swears a being so helpless. After all they’ve been through, to lose one of their own like this… Hey! Cain protests. They ain’t lost anyone yet! Nocturne’s a fighter. She ain’t gonna quit and she ain’t gonna get beat. His teammates don’t reply.
Nocturne’s dream / memory
She dreams of her past. Talia knew from the beginning she was going to be a superhero. Considering that her father is Kurt Wagner, Nightcrawler of the X-Men, and her mother Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch of the Avengers, it’s in her blood. But in all her dreams, her wildest fantasies she never considered herself among the casualties.
She recalls being stranded on an alternate Earth where she met Blink and the rest of the motley crew that was to become the dimension-travelling Exiles, whose job was to protect the structural integrity of all the worlds and dimensions. She fell in love with one of her teammates, Thunderbird. Only to learn the hard way that victory sometimes came at a terrible price, as her lover sacrificed himself.
In time, it became her turn to move on. She didn’t go home, though, part of her wondering if she ever would. Her new home is officially listed as Earth 616. It even has a Nightcrawler… who isn’t married to the Scarlet Witch, but in every other way that matters is a perfect match for her father. And the longer she stayed, the more she began to wonder if her placement there was no accident. But those were all thoughts from another time. Right now, there is too much going on inside her head.
She awakes slowly, realizing she is still alive. Brightness hurting her eyes, she blinks and slowly takes in her surroundings, a hospital room with get-well-cards and gifts, a huge window showing her the Thames outside and Sage sitting in her room. T.J feels tired and about to go back to sleep, but first she wants to see.
She is confused, as she finds she can barely move, her body feels all wrong and she can’t find the words to describe the medical equipment hooked up to her. Her left leg is hard to move and her right doesn’t move at all. Talia panics, trying to shout for help, but the words that come out are gibberish. The doctor comes in, glad to see she’s awake, as are her friends. However, Talia herself is horrified at the fact that she can’t talk properly and can’t even recall her friends’ names.