Murderworld, home of the young rebel-heroes X-Force. At this moment, Samuel “Cannonball” Guthrie is viewing a holo-retrieval program, which causes images from a recent battle to play out before him. One of the images is of his missing teammate Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta, his best friend. Sam recalls that the first words Bobby ever said to him were not kind ones. But, from the uncomfortable beginning, eventually a wonderful friendship was forged. Through good and bad times with the New Mutants, and then X-Force, Sam and Bobby came to depend on each other for so many little things.
Now though, Bobby needs Sam to do one simple, yet nearly impossible favor - to find him - to save him - and bring him home. But Sam has failed his best friend time and again. Sam watches how the Mutant Liberation Front kidnapped National Security Advisor Henry Peter Gyrich, so X-Force mounted a rescue attempt. Although they succeeded in saving the life of a man who hates their very existence, they lost two of their own in the process - Feral defected to the MLF, and Sunspot disappeared when his powers mysteriously interfaced with the teleporter, Locus. They have been missing ever since, and after months of looking for this frustrating needled in a haystack, Sam has become downright desperate.
‘Lord, please let this work’ Sam whispers, before ordering the computer to end the holo-retrieval program. At that moment, Theresa “Siryn” Cassidy enters the chamber, dressed in gym gear and sipping a drink, she asks Sam if he has had any luck finding Bobby, to which Sam replies that he hasn’t even turned on the modified Cerebro yet. Theresa asks her friend if he thinks that running Professor Xavier’s mutant-detection system through Cable’s time-displacement core is going to work, to which Sam admits that he is tossing a prayer to the wind.
Cannonball reminds Siryn that Cable’s time displacement core has been out of power and lying at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean for months now. ‘But maybe - just maybe - I can access its temporal sensory array…’ his voice trails off as Siryn understands where he is going with this and finishes his sentence for him, ‘…using the two in tandem to create a cross-time mutagenic energy signature sweep? Pretty ambitious!’ she exclaims. Cannonball replies that Cable and Xavier both doubted it would work, but since they are in Israel, he decided to give it a shot now.
Siryn reminds Cannonball that Locus could teleport anywhere she had been, or anywhere her target had been. Sam replies that he knows, and exclaims that where Bobby is concerned, that could range from Asgard to outer space, to different time lines all together. ‘But I have faith he’s still alive. I have to!’ Sam exclaims. James “Warpath” Proudstar enters, telling Sam that they all have faith, even if they haven’t always said it. Sam thanks James, before remarking that he didn’t see him come in here, then adds ‘But where Siryn goes, Warpath is soon to follow, huh?’. ‘Who can knock the view?’ Warpath replies.
‘Okay…here goes’ Sam announces as he switches the modified Cerebro on. The computer voice declares that the booster-gain is online, and that temporal sensory access has been initiated. The computer begins its search, then moments later the computer announces that the scan is complete, and the target has been located. ‘That was a lot faster than I expected!’ Cannonball gasps. Warpath frowns and tells Sam that there is a reason why the search was so quick, and that he doesn’t think he is going to like it. ‘Do you see that? Bobby’s here, I mean, on Earth - right now!’ Warpath exclaims. ‘May the Lord have mercy - have a look at where he is!’ Siryn exclaims, wide-eyed as she looks at the map on the computer.
Meanwhile, in Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan, Tabitha “Boomer” Smith has ventured out on a cold night. Standing outside a Chinese restaurant, she reminds herself that she is the one who told the boys that she wanted to be on her own tonight. She mutters that she could have gone to a mosh-pit with Rictor and Shatterstar, but no, instead she has to get all mature-like. Tabby tells herself that things just aren’t the same anymore, and she is finally willing to admit that. She begins noting the recent changes - Cannonball, her boyfriend whom she loves being immortal, Sunspot missing, Moonstar playing both sides of the fence, all the “junk” with Feral, and now Cypher kinda-sorta-not-really being alive again.
‘All that stuff going down has made Tabitha, the Peroxide Fox, start seeing herself a little different, is all’ Boomer admits, looking down the street at some prostitutes, she realizes that this could have been her life. ‘A runaway. Seventeen years old and working the corners. Who woulda helped me out then? Who woulda come to my rescue?’ Tabitha wonders as she approaches a group of street workers, one of whom is being spoken to by a member of Child Watch. ‘Call me, Kelly’ she tells the girl calmly, holding out her card. ‘Yeah, sure’ the young girl replies.
‘What’s your name?’ Kelly asks. ‘What’s the difference?’ the girl replies, looking at the card. ‘Maybe because a friendship has to start somewhere’ Kelly replies, adding that first names seem like a good bet. ‘Child Watch Organization? Huh? Over on Bleecker, right?’ the girl asks. Kelly tells the girls that it is a place she can come to for help, if she would like. Suddenly, one of the other hookers shouts ‘Jimmy D ain’t gonna like you talking with her, Pris!’. Annoyed, Kelly shouts back ‘Leave her alone, okay!?’. Suddenly, Pris begins to run from Kelly, ‘She’s right - he would get mad - sorry - I - I - gotta go!’ she calls back, her shoes falling from her feet as she runs, dropping Kelly’s card in the process. ‘Don’t listen to them - wait!’ cries Kelly, but her call goes unheeded.
Kelly gives the older prostitutes who laughed at her a few choice words, then leaves in search of another soul to try and save on this night. Boomer goes over and picks up Kelly’s Child Watch card. ‘Hmmm, okay, Boomer, you wanna start acting like an adult…then start by acting responsibly!’ Tabitha tells herself, vowing that this poor girl, Pris, is going to get some help tonight.
Meanwhile, at the Limelight nightclub on Sixth and Twentieth, where the bass is up about ten levels higher than it needs to be. The sights and sounds, a mixture of energy and chaos. For Julio “Rictor” Richter and his teammate and friend Shatterstar, this night out on the town elicits completely different responses. ‘Is this great or what?’ Rictor asks his friend in the middle of the dance floor. ‘Or what’ replies Shatterstar, not dancing. ‘WHAT?’ Rictor shouts back. ‘Exactly’ Shatterstar replies. Rictor asks Shatterstar what he said again, but Shatterstar just mumbles ‘Never mind’.
With plenty of attractions around them, Julio tells Shatterstar that he has to start loosening up. ‘Let’s start partying!’ he exclaims. Frowning, Shatterstar replies that he might, were it not for the fact that this place reminds him far too much of his home world. ‘What?’ Julio calls back. ‘Nothing’ Shatterstar replies as the extra-dimensional warrior watches his friend slide up to some women as if it were by second nature. Standing in the middle of the madness that young adults call fun, Shatterstar wonders once more why he always feels as if he cannot fit in.
Shatterstar knows the current song being playing as he has seen it on the television - the Beastie Boys “Sabotage”. It is a loud song, primitive - conflicted - and Shatterstar likes it. He watches Rictor dance with a woman and remembers how he left his planet because he yearned for freedom - but he wonders, having found that freedom on Earth why it is he still feels like a slave? He wonders what it will take to make him whole? Suddenly, Shatterstar steps backwards and bumps into a long-haired girl, causing her to drop her drink. Shatterstar spins around, ‘Hey, you spilled my -’ the girl is about to say “drink”, but her face breaks into a smile when she sees Shatterstar. ‘We dance now!’ she exclaims.
‘But I don’t -’ Shatterstar begins to protest. ‘Now - or I eat you alive right here in front of everyone!’ the girl replies, pressing her face to Shatterstar. Merging into the mosh pit of dancers, the girl shouts that her name is Stecky, and asks her new friend what his is. Shatterstar tells Stecky that there is no need to shout, as he can hear her clearly. Rictor notices Shatterstar with the girl, ‘Go for it, dude!’ he calls out in encouragement. ‘So, what’s yours?’ Stecky asks again, rubbing her fingers across Shatterstar’s suit. ‘Uhm…Shatter - uhm…Gaveedra. That is my name’ Shatterstar replies.
‘Cool. You got an accent. Where’re you from?’ Stecky asks. Shatterstar tenses up and looks very nervous, ‘Uh…that would be…uhm…your hand…uh…hard to explain!’ Shatterstar mumbles, stuttering, before running from Stecky and the crowd, apologizing as he exclaims that he has to leave now. ‘HEY!’ Stecky shouts, annoyed, while Rictor sees his friend leave, he calls out to him. And Shatterstar wonders what will it take to make him come alive for the first time in his life.
Meanwhile, in Israel’s Negev Desert, X-Force leaders Cable a.k.a. Nathan Summers and Domino have joined up with the X-Men at the request of Professor Xavier, a man who does not make requests often, and is not often denied. Cyclops, Archangel and Xavier stand nearby a communications dock, where Cable tells Cannonball that things here are a little more complicated than he expected, so he doesn’t think he can send Domino back to Murderworld with the PACRAT right now. ‘I don’t know if you get what I’m saying, sir - we found Bobby!’ Sam replies urgently.
Cable tells Sam that he understands, but that the situation here requires their presence. ‘Because without us, the world as we know it might be ending!’. Cable asks what good it would do to rescue DaCosta if there is nothing left to bring him home to. ‘Things are that bad?’ Sam asks. ‘Probably worse than that, I’m afraid’ Cable replies. ‘Fine. Okay’ Sam mumbles, adding that they will figure out a way to get to the North Atlantic, and thinks that he might put in a call to Moira MacTaggert or Forge.
Siryn, now wearing her costume, and Warpath are still nearby, and Cable tells Sam that if the situation improves they will come back as soon as - but suddenly, the monitor goes blank, ‘We lost him?’ Sam asks, before there is an explosion, destroying the monitor and the other computers around it. Theresa calls out to Sam, who replies that he is fine, that he protected himself with a blast field. ‘But I’d love to know why the systems just up and exploded on us!’ he exclaims, before, suddenly, a peculiar noise is heard JKCHEEEEEEEEE.
Warpath tells his friends that the sound is really familiar. Sam agrees, ‘I’ll never forget the last rime we heard it!’ he exclaims as a blinding white light fills the room and green energy swirls around. Warpath declares that they were fighting the Mutant Liberation Front on the island in the Bermuda, when Sunspot disappeared. ‘Along with that time-hopping freak called - LOCUS!’ James shouts as the sultry teleporter appears in the room. Sporting a new grey and white costume, along with a odd white half-mask down the center of her face, and still hiding her identity with large red glasses. Locus has her long blonde hair out in a ponytail, with some bizarre decorations tied underneath.
‘X-Force? Oh great! Gone for as long as I was and look where I end up! Not that I’m complaining mind you, boys and girls, beggars can’t be choosers you know - but ever since DaCosta abandoned me, I’ve had nothing but a mad on for you dudes!’ Locus exclaims as she lands on the ground, her teleport signature fading around her. ‘What did you say? Abandoned you?’ Sam asks, referring to Bobby. He then asks Locus what happened, and where she and Bobby had been for the last six months. ‘Only six months we been gone? Don’t time fly when you’re out of time?’ Locus replies.
Warpath tells Locus to speak English, to which Locus replies ‘English? Sure, if you wanna be dull about it. How about D’Barian? Or better yet, Shi’ar?’. She grins as she spouts off something in Shi’ar - hjkttel fath’eech. Chalell fomahtt, arriffell! Cannonball tells Locus that she Is acting four scoops short of an ice cream cone, and as Locus begins tinkering with the computers, he asks her what she is doing. Locus explains that her teleportation passages always have a way of screwing up comm-systems for a day or two, unless she uses her own electromagnetic field flex to realign the array. Locus adds that if she is back, then that means ‘Berto is too, but she needs to confirm it.
Cannonball tells Locus that they can do that for her, explaining that five minutes before she showed up, they found that Sunspot had been here on Earth all along. ‘Yeah, so you think’ Locus replies, not elaborating any further, before asking if they have a location lock. ‘Great. We have to stop him now, funkadrones! Before it’s too late!’ Locus exclaims. ‘Too late for what?’ Theresa asks. James tells Locus to rewind and play back the last few minutes on thirty-three RPM’s.
Locus’ teleport signature fires up, the white light, the green energy beams and the screeching noise as she exclaims ‘Oh, way cool! A reference to record albums! You have no idea how bummed out I was when I found out CD’s had become obsolete by the turn of the century!’. Locus then calls Warpath “Pridewalker” and tells him that, actually, they don’t have the time to spare. ‘What did you call me?’ James asks quietly, while Sam tells Locus to hang on, that they cannot let her just up and take them away, but it’s too late, as Cannonball, Siryn and Warpath are teleported away by Locus.
Back in Greenwich Village, the rain begins to pour down, and the young prostitute, Priscilla Cole, tries to find shelter from the coming storm. But like so many other difficult things in life, a safe haven is hard to find. Sitting in a stoop and hugging herself for warmth, a cat approaches Priscilla, who tells that cat she is sorry, but has nothing for her. ‘Hey you!’ a voice suddenly shouts from behind Pris. Instantly, Pris gets up and runs away, ‘Yeah, better run you trash!’ an angry man waving a newspaper shouts. ‘Stay away from the homes of decent people!’ he bellows.
Her bare feet splash through puddles, nowhere to run to, no one to turn to for help. Priscilla has learned that in this life, nobody cares. But she’s not the only one running - Boomer tracks her, easily keeping pace. Boomer wonders who would have ever expected her to be in the excellent physical condition she is in now. Boomer has learned that life has a habit of throwing ball curves, and it’s all a matter of learning how to hit them. ‘You know the running has to stop eventually, don’t you?’ Tabitha tells Pris, who has leaned against a wall. ‘Huh? What? Leave me alone, girl’ Pris snaps back, her mascara smeared around her eyes from the rain, or the crying.
Tabby introduces herself and holds up the Child Watch card, telling Pris that she would like to help her. ‘The card? You work for Child Watch?’ Pris asks. Tabitha replies that she doesn’t, but that she thinks Child Watch is just what Pris needs right now. ‘You got no idea what I need’ Pris replies. Boomer just smiles and replies ‘You’d be surprised. I’ve been there myself’. She is about to say something else, when Locus’ teleport signal hovers above them, and the screeching noise can he heard. ‘Oh no…not now…’ Tabby mumbles.
Locus, Sam, Terry and James appear, ‘Ah, the Village! Just like it used to be! Wish we could stop and shop. Hmmm…the antique boutiques just a few blocks away…’ Locus exclaims, while Warpath mumbles ‘Don’t ask, Boomer. Please’. Boomer doesn’t, instead she calls out to Priscilla, who has used this opportunity to make her getaway. Boomer calls out to her, asking her not to leave, while Sam tells his girlfriend that to say they have something going down would be an understatement.
Boomer replies that she doesn’t care about that, exclaiming that this girl needs some help tonight. Warpath informs Boomer that they found Sunspot, and that seemed to help Locus come back to this time, adding that she told them they have to get to Bobby before he makes some sort of terrible mistake. Boomer sighs. ‘Great choice. Save our friend or save one lost little girl’. She then announces that she knows where Rictor and Shatterstar went, and suggests they go get them.
A few blocks away, the ran continues to pour down, and Rictor walks over to Shatterstar, asking him if there is something he wants to talk about. ‘I don’t think you would understand’ Shatterstar replies. ‘Try me!’ Rictor tells him. Shatterstar explains that he has never been with someone - in that way. Rictor tells his friend that is nothing to be ashamed of, ‘I mean, I talk a good game, but I never hit a home run either’ Julio admits. Shatterstar replies that he isn’t making himself clear, ‘Until tonight, I had never even felt such stirrings within me’.
Thunder booms and lightning cracks as Rictor reminds Shatterstar that he is not from this planet, ‘So maybe, you know - that’s normal’ Rictor suggests, before cautiously asking Shatterstar if he has what it takes. Shatterstar replies that he was bio-engineered to simulate physical human interaction, but that no one ever bothered to instill the emotional requirements which he has learned are attached to such actions. ‘Okay, that’s cool’ Rictor tells his friend, offering to work it out together. ‘I mean, it’s all social stuff, right? You can learn that’.
Suddenly, Locus’ teleport signature and “theme song” can be seen and heard, and Shatterstar exclaims that this is familiar, and troubling. He adds that he is without his weapons. ‘Dude, you are a weapon!’ Rictor assures his friend, when suddenly, Warpath appears, ‘Catch guys!’ he exclaims as he tosses his teammates a bag filled with their uniforms and Shatterstar’s weapons. Rictor asks what is going on, to which James replies that they will tell him on the way. ‘Step inside, it’s an interesting trip’ someone remarks as Locus’ portal remains open.
Rictor asks Shatterstar if he is going to be okay with tonight - with the girl and the talk the two of them just had. ‘”Okay”?’ Shatterstar replies. ‘Of course I will be. What other choice do I have?’ he asks, before telling Rictor to come along, as their friend needs them, they then enter the portal.
Elsewhere, in the North Atlantic, screams cut across the desolate landscape of the Ani-Mator’s Island. Usually, the chattering of the genetically-transformed animals who live here still dominates the still cold air. This night though, the sounds heard are most definitely human - or perhaps more accurately, inhuman - Richard “Wildside” Gill screams as someone throws fire on him. His Mutant Liberation Front teammates - the only ones that are left - Michael “Forearm” McCain and Danielle Moonstar run across the island terrain. ‘Wildside’s down!’ Forearm informs Dani, urging her to keep moving.
‘Mike - behind you!’ Dani calls out to her teammate, but it’s too late, as the solar energy flame smacks into him. Danielle, the former co-leader of the New Mutants, can only watch in horror as Forearm goes down. He was after all the only member of the Mutant Liberation Front she felt comfortable calling a friend. Now, Dani has to abandon him, leaving him face down on the rocky shoal, without a clue as to whether he is dead or alive. This is a reflection of the constant struggle Danielle has faced since joining the terrorist faction in order to betray them.
Dani, formerly code-named Mirage, wonders if the lives of the few should be sacrificed if it saves the lives of the many. The MLF’s leader, Reignfire believes the answer is yes, and has proven himself a firm believer in practising what he preaches, as he fires numerous energy bolts at Moonstar, who in turn uses her great agility to save herself. Dani sees her horse, Darkwind, up ahead and races to him, hoping to get to him in time so that he can fly her away - but Reignfire has figured out Dani’s plan, and casts a massive burst of solar energy towards Darkwind. ‘No, by the Great Bear! No!’ Dani whispers as her horse is brutally slain before her very eyes.
Dani keels over, ‘Darkwind…my horse…you killed him!’ Dani gasps, clearly shocked, she stops running, ‘There’s nothing left of you is there? It’s hopeless…I can’t defeat you alone…’ she whispers, hanging her head, when, suddenly, ‘Dani, girl…that’s always been your mistake…you’ve never been alone!’ comes a familiar voice as someone takes her hand and pulls her to her feet. ‘Sam? X-Force? Locus? But how!?’ Dani exclaims. The team stands ready, Dani once again reunited with her friends as Sam tells her that they will fill her in as soon as they take out the trash.
‘Reignfire - we wanna know what you’ve done with Roberto DaCosta!’ Sam shouts assertively. Reignfire hovers over the heroes, and tells Sam that his naive charm wore out its welcome with him some months ago. Grinning, Reignfire exclaims that the answer to where Sunspot has been since he disappeared months ago should have been quite clear to them all, had they been capable of accepting the obvious. Cannonball tells Reignfire to stop talking in riddles, while Danielle tells Sam that he doesn’t understand.
Reignfire interrupts Danielle before she can say anything else, declaring that perhaps he will shed the dark light of truth on things. ‘Dear Lord, no…’ Sam whispers, as Reignfire begins to remove his helmet, remarking that God was not involved in what he has been forced to do - or the reasons why he has undertaken the miserable task of setting this planet right. ‘But it can’t be - I mean Sunspot was with us on the mission where we fought you!’ Cannonball exclaims. Reignfire replies that time has a habit of pulling the rug out from under the feet of anyone wearing an “X” on their belt.
His helmet removed, Reignfire grins wickedly, his eyes flash red and exclaims ‘It is me. Reignfire is and has always been Roberto DaCosta!’. ‘Bobby - how - why?’ gasps Cannonball. Reignfire readies a solar flare and replies that things cannot continue going the way they have. ‘The world is coming to an end, soon, old friend - and I refuse to simply stand by and watch -’ Suddenly, Reignfire is interrupted, as his solar flare crystallizes then explodes, while a strange noise flows around them, the crystal then begins covering Reignfire’s body. ‘What’s going on here? What kind of a trick is this?’ he demands, angrily.
Boomer calls out to Sam as Reignfire’s crystal body begins shattering. Then the others are all effected, the noise continues to ebb, and Sam exclaims that this is what Cable told him about. ‘They were trying to stop the end of the world!’ he gasps as his teammates all shatter around him. Cable and the others were in Israel to try and stop the end of the world. They failed. At least, in their desperate attempts to save this world…but others may be aborning….