Kuryk, Kazakhstan, near the Caspian Sea
two years ago
A lone vehicle makes its way to an isolated group of white, tented facilities, a cloud of sand kicking up from its rear. When it reaches the dig site, a suspected black plague-era mass grave, a figure carrying a briefcase and sporting a blue-tooth steps out and makes his way toward the entrance.
Adjusting his tie at the zippered door, David Michael Gray asks for a report. The scientist inside says he just finished with the samples and has discerned it’s not the plague, just trace elements. However, he did have a major find. As David unzips the entrance he asks for clarification. His scientist says he found mutant DNA.
Once inside David presses the sterilize button and a cloud of gas fills the room. He begins undressing, sarcastically reminding his scientist he was hired to harvest and weaponize plague bacterium. He doesn’t care about mutant DNA, he can look that up online. Not DNA like this, the scientist replies excitedly.
David, now in a full hazmat suit, wants a better explanation and he’s told there’s an accepted theory of when the X-gene first appeared, but this DNA he’s found proves them wrong. The scientist claims he’s looking at mutant DNA that predates all of that.
As David makes his way to the testing area he asks if his scientist has the samples. I just ran the tests, he’s told. Documented, David asks, and his scientist says his notes are impeccable and he was just about to back up the data to the home servers.
Now David has entered the neighboring room, a long glass window separating the two men. The scientist gives a friendly wave as he holds onto his tablet PC in the other. David places his suitcase on the long table and opens it, telling his employee to hold off on the data back-up, citing security protocols.
This takes the scientist aback, as he’s maintained the strictest security in all his endeavors. I know you have, David responds, before removing his pistol and aiming it at the scientist’s face. One quick squeeze and a bullet enters the scientist’s forehead and lodges in his brain, a quick spurt of blood exiting through the newly created hole between his eyes.
David Michael Gray, a gen-biologist and black market weapons manufacturer, drops off the grid.
Pixie is alone and streaking across the sky. She approaches what she refers to as point five and teleports reappearing over the Kara Sea, in the Arctic Ocean. She’s freezing and immediately initiates point four.
Where she once flew, a pinkish flash is all that remains, but she reappears fifty miles off New Zealand. A calm nighttime sky greets her here. She smiles and starts for point three, the Rocky Mountains in the western part of the United States.
Once there, Pixie enacts point two, and immediately appears above the Andaman Sea. Unfortunately, it’s monsoon season and she is caught in a huge downpour. She tells the team she’s inbound and vaguely threatens Storm if the rain is her doing.
Pixie’s last jaunt is to the south Atlantic, where she teleports smack dab in the middle of the X-Men’s mobile HQ. She hits the metal floor with her head and lets out a yelp of pain. Storm is there waiting for her and asks what exactly she meant by her threat.
Pixie plays it off like it’s no big deal. As she wrings out her sopping, wet hair she says it was just a bit of rain. Colossus comes over to pat her on the back, congratulating her on a fantastic job, criss-crossing across the globe and returning inside a moving target.
Standing back up with a smile Pixie says the psychic transponders they’ve been seeding the atmosphere with help with the blind jumps. She compares it to flying on instruments. Pixie then asks for someone to give her a tour of the place.
At some point later, Domino leaves the cockpit of the plane for a team briefing. She contacts Jeffries who slaves the controls to his remote station and course-corrects as per Piotr’s request. As she exits through the door she hears one of her teammates ask how the ship remains in the air.
The answer is Madison Jeffries, who designed the ship to use the ionosphere particles to power the ramjets. Basically, they’re told, every so often the ship rises to 300,000 feet to load up, and then essentially glides for hours. They jokingly call themselves Madison’s guinea pigs.
Once Domino joins the team Colossus begins the debrief. Using a holographic map display Piotr hones in on the northwest suburbs of Grozny. He says they’re already en route, four hours out, but contacts on the ground have reported a “monster attack” consistent with mutant behavior.
Psylocke, sitting comfortably in a chair, questions what help they’ll be if they’re four hours out. Colossus meant the plane was four hours out, but using a Chechen transponder they dropped last month Pixie can get them there in four seconds. The plane will meet them later, he finishes.
The next thing Colossus does is bring up footage of the attack. Everyone stares transfixed at the holographic carnage. Only one person isn’t focused, and that’s Pixie. She’s worried about what Piotr just said. “I can do what, now?”
Buildings everywhere are smoking and destroyed. A reddish-brown, dog-like beast is the source of the destruction. The creature has half a dozen metallic devices attached to its skin, which are oozing greenish fluid. It doesn’t look healthy, but it continues its march through the city.
The X-Men are on the ground and Colossus takes the lead, charging the beast. He takes a running leap and delivers a crushing blow to the monster’s face. It collapses to the ground.
The X-Men gather around the immobile creature. Colossus fearfully asks if it’s dead. Psylocke reaches into the creature’s mind and acknowledges it has died, but she doesn’t think Piotr killed it as its entire nervous system is compromised, as if it was rotting from the inside. She can’t understand how it could have been alive in the first place.
Then, the creature’s body starts to rapidly decompose. It’s happening quickly so Colossus suggests they get a sample to send to Scott. Storm agrees and asks him to do it, saying she will make sure they get it tested.
As the sun comes up over the horizon Domino pays a visit to Storm, who has the tube containing the DNA sample running through her fingers, held in front of her face. She asks Domino who’s flying the plane and she says Colossus, but Jeffries is also online just in case.
The reason for Domino’s visit is she wants to know what happened back in Grozny. Storm doesn’t turn to look at Domino, her gaze fixed on the sample. “You were there,” she responds. That’s not what Domino wants to hear. Some of them were puking or freaking out over what happened and now Storm’s just sitting there with the sample acting like she knows what it is.
Getting up from her chair Storm walks away from Domino stating she doesn’t know what it is, but is pretty sure she knows someone who can tell her. Domino guesses they’re heading back to Utopia then, to brief Scott. Storm doesn’t think so, explaining it will just distract him. She tells Domino to get Pixie for her.
Pixie and Storm appear directly above the ground of a large grassy plain. Grabbing her head Pixie asks why the transponder was so low. Storm tells her they don’t always have the luxury of a leisurely arrival and tells her to think of it as a training exercise. Pixie says if she’s just training to be their taxi she thinks she’s on the wrong team. Storm assures her what she’s planning the team for wouldn’t work if she weren’t on the team. Her teleportation was only one reason why she was brought on.
Their discussion is ended with the approach of a jeep. Storm is eager to introduce Pixie to someone, a supporter she calls her. Out of the jeep steps a young woman, Dr. Hunter, a grad student from an unofficial support group. The young woman approaches Storm and takes her hand, saying it’s an honor to finally meet her.
Storm is just as pleased, thankful Dr. Hunter had a camp nearby. She asks Dr. Hunter if she can help them. Opening a container to house the DNA sample Hunter says she can. She doesn’t fully understand why Storm would trust them, but Storm says she knows of her work and that of Mutantes Sans Frontieres.
Placing the mutant sample into Dr. Hunter’s case Storm says she likes that they work under the radar. That, and the fact they serve no political ideology or special interest group, and their work in anthropology and bio-advancement is stunning makes them the perfect choice. She also believes they wouldn’t sell their findings to any outside organization. “Am I wrong?” she asks.
Humbled, the young woman can’t bring her eyes to meet Storm. Dr. Hunter says she just wants to help. Storm tells her to run what tests she can and keep the sample secure and that they’ll be in touch.
They turn to leave, but the young lady calls out to Pixie, asking if that’s in fact who she is. A bit tentatively, Pixie admits it’s her. Hunter smiles and says it’s an honor to finally meet her. The young lady then gets back into her jeep and drives off.
Both Pixie and Storm take to the air, Pixie asking if it was a good idea to give a sample to someone Storm doesn’t really know. Storm says she knows what Dr. Hunter does and what she believes in, and actually, she thinks this is the best idea she’s had in a long time. She then asks Pixie to do her thing as she now has to go lie to Scott Summers.
Some of the crew are hanging about, having some coffee, but Storm is in the comms room having a video chat with Cyclops. Apparently, the conversation isn’t going well for Storm who pleads with Scott to give her and her team some leeway in order to operate effectively. She doesn’t want to be micro-managed.
Trying to play it down, Scott says he just wants updates, some face to face visits. He asks her how many times she’s blown him off. Storm says they stop where needed and she writes terrific briefs.
Scott lets it go and asks about Grozny. Storm says social media got the word out, but the government has shut it down so the story is largely contained. Scott asks after the “monster.” Storm describes it and how it was taken out with one punch from Colossus.
This is surprising to Cyclops, but Storm, with no disregard to Colossus, says the creature seemed to be on its last leg and after it died it completely dissolved. Scott wants to know if she collected any tissue samples. She lies and says it wasn’t possible. There’s a pause, and then Storm suggests he send a group out there to collect soil samples to bring back to Utopia.
Relax, Scott tells her, saying he was just curious, as she should have been. He asks if there were any clues at all, but she says there were none. Something grabs Cyclops’ attention and he tells her to stand by. He’s picking up reports from the sub warning nets in the North Sea. Storm is surprised they were able to hack the SOSUS warning nets, but Cyclops ignores her saying they have another “monster” sighting.
A kraken-like creature is at the bottom of the sea. Colossus is down there with it, very close in fact. He steadies himself then pushes off from the sea floor flying toward the monster like an organic-steeled torpedo. Psylocke is watching him telepathically and lets him know they’re almost there.
She’s not lying. The X-Jet is nearly there and Domino has her body halfway out an open hatch on the side of the plane. She has a large rifle in her hands, and she thinks what she’s being asked to do is absurd. Storm orders her to take the shot and Domino does as she’s told.
The round of ammunition opens up midair into some sort of spinning propeller. It makes contact with the water’s surface and goes below, striking the creature in the head. All this does is serve to make it angry, its speed of travel increasing to eighty knots.
Pixie jokes all Domino’s done is make the thing angry, but Storm wants them to can it and keep track of the creature. Pixie doesn’t think it will be all that hard as the furious creature bursts through the water’s surface and smacks the X-Jet with one of its tentacles.