Japan, 17 hours from now:
A man kneels on a cliff facing the ocean. Betsy Braddock aka Psylocke stands behind him. For so long, she muses her life has been out of her own control. Chaos and serendipity, wrapped in insanity. She has suffered, she has lost. Make it quick! the man orders. Not just her life, but her very soul. Her self. She creates a psychic dagger and slams it into his head. Dead, he falls into the ocean. But no longer. Now she knows who she is.
Utopia, just off the coast of the continental United States:
In a remote corner of the island, which the mutant Sack has claimed for his own. He has taken hostages, namely Trance, Dust and Anole. The other New X-Men try to stop him. Will she zap him already? Rockslide impatiently asks Surge who hesitates, afraid that she will harm her teammates who are imprisoned in the slimy substance Sack emits. They have to do something, Mercury insists. On her mark, Surge announces, Mercury is to cut air holes for the hostages and Pixie is to get them to the Science Team. And? Rockslide asks. And then Rockslide and Gentle punch the guy right in his namesake, she finishes.
However, they don’t even get the chance to attack, as Psylocke and Dazzler arrive on a motor bike. Dazzler blinds Sack and Psylocke takes telepathic control, allowing the New X-Men to free their friends.
Addressing them as “students,” Betsy lectures the New X-Men that Sack nearly killed three of them. And she can see in his mind he would do it again. She walks up to him and gets into his mind. Aloud, she wonders if they shouldn’t kill him to avoid a future tragedy. She can turn his mind right off like a switch...
Mercury angrily shouts that X-Men don’t kill. Ah, an idealist, Betsy remarks mockingly. Very well, then they can take him to the cell block. She’d rather not touch him. Surge angrily remarks they could have handled him. She knows, Betsy replies, not caring. Their plan was sound. But she was bored.
She and Dazzler drive off on the bike. Any other cages they can rattle here on Utopia? Betsy asks. She almost feels like an X-Man again. Alison remarks she has been avoiding this for too long. Claiming she isn’t avoiding anything, Betsy avoids the issue further, by suggesting they have dinner in the city. Please don’t make her say it, Alison replies. The whole she-knows-what. The b-o-d-y.
Betsy feels like killing her friend but complies. The point of contention being the disposition of her dead body, her original body which recently she was forced to inhabit by the Red Queen. Until Dazzler burned half of its face off, freeing her.
Well, this is disturbing, Betsy announces, as she looks at it. Personally, she thinks Psylocke has never looked better, Emma Frost, in her diamond form bitches. Alison snarls back Emma is lucky she is stuck in that diamond form, otherwise she would have a matching complexion and Dazzler wouldn’t feel half as bad about it!
Betsy isn’t that bothered. She knows Alison doing this wasn’t personal and Emma’s wit is amusing enough.
Cyclops addresses Dr. Nemesis who announces the body is a match, right down to the DNA. There was an old scan that McCoy did a while back. The body’s real. The hair color isn’t.
Betsy thinks to herself that’s her former body on the table. She should have some connection. But all she has are memories of another life. What does she want to do? Scott asks her. She doesn’t answer that she wants to scream.
However, a little later, she is ready to take a plane to bring he body back to Japan. Scott offers that Pixie could teleport her, but she isn’t interested. She could use the time, she explains. A lot has changed. She has to remember what “normal” is. Change is the only normal now, he retorts. Then adds he is glad she’s back. So, please, try not to disappear again. She’ll do her best, she promises.
In the cockpit, she finds someone is already waiting for her; Wolverine and his beer. Thought he’d catch a ride, he offers by way of explanation. As she preps the plane, she asks if that’s it or is he keeping an eye on her. He trusts her more than most, he admits grudgingly. He’s got some business in Japan. Nothing more. What kind of business? Betsy inquires, only to be told it’s nothing she wants to know about. He hasn’t changed a bit.
Wolverine offers to fly, then immediately falls asleep. No problem for Betsy, as a lifetime ago she was a pilot for a living, flying charter planes. But those memories belong to someone else, it seem to her, because she can’t feel them. She can’t match herself up with who that other person is. The person she was before the insanity began.
Fighter planes cut her off as she reaches Japan. The military orders them to land. Surrounded by the fighters, Betsy does so, figuring she’d rather talk herself through this than attempt to renew her passport. Anything she should know about the X-Men’s activities here? she wants to ask her partner, only to find he has already stealthily disappeared.
Psylocke exits the pane to find herself surrounded by armed troops. She asks what the problem is and is told that the X-Men are not welcome in Japan. Mutation was purged from Japan after M-Day. The few exceptions work for the Japanese government.
Betsy tries to explain why she is here but is interrupted by the sergeant, who explains they see the chaos and strife mutants are causing in America. They have their island. Stay on it! An older man, the police chief, bursts out that he knows that woman’s face. Her name is Kwannon! She is an assassin, a known criminal!
She’s also saved the world on live television, Betsy thinks to herself, but that was a different life, a different body, a different face. So much for simple.
Psylocke telepathically influences the two leading officials, the police chief and the sergeant, who then order their men to stand down and let her through. She asks them if somebody could lend her a hand with the coffin and get her a car. So, soon she is in a big limousine with a police escort. Not quite the funeral march through London she always imagined for herself, but the police escort is a nice touch, she decides.
Soon she waits for the men to transport the coffin to the tomb at a graveyard. She thinks to herself that this is where she belongs: at rest, at peace, alone, then she despises herself for the self-pity. Nevertheless, part of her envies her body right now. But then again even death is not an escape.
She feels something amiss. A moment later, the pallbearers are torn apart by ninja weaponry as members of the Hand materialize and attack. She senses that they have some kind of defense against telepathy. She doesn’t care why they are here but just attacks, which is what they want, but then so does she. She wants something to fight, to hurt, to keep her mind occupied.
She notes that one of her opponents misses her on purpose. Something isn’t right. They are not trying to kill her. Too late she realizes it’s her body they are after, whether this makes sense or not (after all they could have taken it before). Helplessly, she witnesses as one Hand member burns her body before her eyes, then welcomes her back to Japan. Matsu’o Tsurabaya sends his regards. They disappear and she stares at the ugly remains of her body, paralyzed.
This is who she was. A last link to her life. Gone. A life that was ripped away from her along time ago by one man. A man she thought she had made her peace with. She was wrong. Whatever mercy she had left in her burned away with that body. Whatever vestiges of Elizabeth Braddock would spare him are gone. She unsheathes her Katana and announces that Matsu’o Tsurabaya is going to die!
Hope asks Cable to hold still while she extracts a bullet out of his back using a pair of tweezers. As she pulls it out of the blood-soaked wound, she lets out a groan of disgust. “Why do you get shot so much?” she asks.
Ignoring her question, Cable reminds her to flush his wounds. Hope asks that he stop rushing her. They have to rush, Cable insists. That sniper is still lurking outside and, soon, he’ll bring friends. They got lucky once; Cable doesn’t want to test their luck again.
Suddenly, Hope splashes the disinfectant liquid on Cable’s back. The abrupt pain stops him mid-sentence. He swears the disinfectant hurts worse than the bullet. Wincing, Hope apologizes, but Cable tells her it isn’t her fault. She’s doing fine. He asks her to pack the wound so they can get going.
After she finishes, Cable pulls on his blue, sleeveless shirt over his flesh and organic torso. He still faces forward, with Hope at his back. She gently rests her hand on his shoulder and speaks his name. Cable turns and, while looking at her out of the corner of his eye, asks what she wants. Nothing, she tells him.
Cable stands. They need to go, he says. Hope closes her eyes. He’s been that way since mom died, Hope thinks. Like she can’t hug me, so he won’t either.
Continuing his diatribe, Cable reminds Hope to stay behind him—all the way behind him. Hope consents.
Together, they leave the bombed-out remains of an old concrete building just as the sun begins to set. Nathan’s protected me since I was a little baby, Hope ponders as they sneak to the corner. Now we’re a team. When they reach the edge of the building, Cable crouches down and pulls a small mirror out of his pocket. He explains to Hope that it’s a set of eyes for them. Propping it on the end of a stick, he pushes the mirror beyond the corner and angles it to create a line of sight to a nearby rooftop—the former location of the sniper. He explains this to Hope. It makes her wonder why they’re a team.
Cable tells Hope the shooter is still on the roof—meaning he has the advantage of high ground. When he asks Hope if she understands, she says she does. With his angle, the wind speed and his limited range, Cable estimates the sniper has, at best, a five percent chance of scoring a headshot. Hope concurs. Continuing, Cable adds that the sniper is a B-plus shooter. He had all the time in the world earlier, but went for a torso shot. Cable declares he’s going to force his hand. “Count on him being a B-plus all the way,” he adds.
Hope asks what he means by that but, as soon as she asks, Cable steps out from behind the corner and into the sniper’s line of fire. Take the shot, he says while staring in the sniper’s direction.
The crack of gunfire roars through the street. Cable takes the bullet in the shoulder, falling backward. As soon as he hits the ground, however, he lifts his gun, smiles and takes aim at the sniper. “Got you,” he says. He fires three bullets in succession; each of them tears a hole through the sniper’s body at critical points.
Shortly thereafter, Cable and Hope search for another shelter. Hope marvels at Cable for taking a bullet for her; he takes lots of bullets for her. He goes without food for her, always gives her the last swallow of water and stays up all night watching her.
“You mind?” Cable asks her when they reach a safe spot. He gestures toward the wound in his arm. “Your fingers are more nimble.”
With a solemn look on her face, Hope agrees to help and pulls out her extraction tools. She still doesn’t know why Cable does so much for her—but now isn’t the time to bring it up. Nathan’s hurt, she thinks as she begins to work, and like I said, we’re a team.