All the X-Men stand in awe, as Hope has just come into her powers and used them to destroy Bastion. Some feel terror at what they have seen, some relief. Watching them from the helicopter, Xavier thinks all of this feels like a dream somehow. His dream. Then it passes. Hope almost falls to the ground, then staggers to what is left of her foster father Cable, his bionic arm. Holding it, she passes out.
She slowly comes to again, in the medlab where she witnesses how Beast resets Colossus’ broken arm in his armored state. Noticing she’s awake, Beast turns to Hope and begins examining her. She’s been out around 30 hours, he tells her. She seems fine. He’ll be back to check on her in a bit.
He turns to Dr. Nemesis who, like the rest of the X-Club members, is busy treating injured X-Men. Nemesis is trying to help fix Archangel but finds that the wings don’t react like biological tissue. He has doubts Warren can heal in this more grim form. Kavita Rao is tending to Iceman who is healing nicely. Karma is a bit less happy, as Madison Jeffries shows her the prosthesis he made for her leg. He said it was going to be sexy, she remarks accusingly. It is sexy, he informs her as he attaches it to her thigh. Every other cybernetic prosthetic that sees this is going to be so jealous! God, he’s weird, she states disgusted. She’s calling him weird, he informs the prosthesis, not it.
It took her much less than a week, didn’t it? someone breaks Hope out of her reverie as she watches all this. It’s Magneto on the bed next to her. What is he talking about? Hope asks confused. He reminds her of their first meeting. She had told him to give her a week. She was joking, Hope points out. There was truth in her jest, it would seem, he states. He heard she obliterated Bastion as if he were a toy. She doesn’t remember, she claims. Is that bad? Does he think she is dangerous?
Ah, come, why would anyone think that? comes the cynical comment from Hellion, now without hands. He’d give his head a good scratch about it but, well, you know. By the way, does she know where he can get a good bidet? Boy, Magneto addresses him with a cool look and orders him to run along. Okay, Hellion replies in a small voice and complies.
Magneto suggests to Hope they should be resting and adds she shouldn’t worry. It’s sometimes quite beneficial to be thought of as dangerous…
Somewhere in a dystopic future.
He’s got him, Hope tells Cable. She thinks this was the last of them. They were setting up an ambush. As soon as Cable walked into the door, they would have opened up on him. Good thing they both prefer the window, Cable remarks and commends her for her work. He then orders her to check the bodies for ammo and water. They are short on both. Both of them get to work scavenging, then leave for the wilderness where they build a fire.
What’s on her mind? Cable asks. Nothing, she’s just tired, she claims. Cable doesn’t believe her. Does she think those raiders are still following them? No, she replies, but he almost died today when that guy turned his gun on him. If he’d been half a second slower, he’d have cut Nathan in two. He wasn’t and he didn’t, Nate replies forcefully and takes her hand. That doesn’t stop her think about it, about walking back across this desert or another desert alone. Not going to happen, he promises. She isn’t getting rid of him that easy.
All residents of Utopia are gathered for Cable’s funeral.
Cyclops begins to read from a speech he’s prepared. My son… Nathan. He can’t go on, clearly overcome with grief.
Hope steps forward and begins to speak. Nathan Christopher Summers was born into a battle. And his life was a war. All the time she knew him he grabbed sleep in ten minute stretches. Ate with his back to a wall. Never sat long enough to make an easy target. They know what she means… He was a soldier. To the last inch and ounce of him, Cable was a soldier. And there are three blessing a soldier prays for. To fight for things that matter – things that are real. To find comrades who he loves and trusts, to fight alongside him and to die on his feet. Her dad got three for three. So don’t cry for him. Nobody needs to cry for Nathan Summers, she states, her own tears belying her words.
Later, she sits alone on a cliff looking down at the ocean. The younger X-Men members are watching her from a distance. Someone should be with her, Trance suggests. But what do they say? Bling asks. What can they say to her? Doesn’t matter what they say, Prodigy announces darkly. He’s assuming they saw what she did. How her power works. Anything they can do, anything any of them can do, she’s already there. It’s like someone made a voodoo doll for the whole mutant race. That’s what Hope is. She’s them. All of them. So whatever they want to say to her, she probably already knows.
After the ceremony, Cyclops takes Rogue aside. Does he really want to have that conversation now? she asks. Why not? he retorts. It’s never going to be more relevant. Because of Rogue, they could be burying Hope. What Hope said about Cable, Rogue states, she wanted that for herself too. Not to die hiding in a hole. To be with the people who were dying on her account. All of which makes perfect sense, Cyclops agrees, except that Kurt’s death, Nathan’s death, only mean anything if she lives! He thought Rogue understood that, he also thought she could work as part of a team. She always worked as…
Rogue begins to protest. Please, Cyclops scoffs. She made a decision that blew their whole strategy a mile high. And she made it alone. Hope responds to her and trusts her, so he needs Rogue to stay here and help her cope with all of this. But after what she did he has to see her as the worst kind of loose cannon. She’s off the combat rooster until he tells her different, and don’t hold your breath, he advises.
Wolverine sits on the floor in Nightcrawler’s room, already having gone through several beers. Leave him alone, he orders when the door opens. She can’t do that, Storm replies and enters. What is he doing? He explains he came down here all lit up. Had it in his head that people were going to come and take his stuff. He nearly killed one of the students, thinking they were taking something like a damn souvenir. They were leaving a candle making a shrine. He keeps saying Kurt was the only one who treated him like he wasn’t some kind of animal but he died… knowing that’s exactly what Logan is.
Was he wrong? Storm demands simply. No, comes the reply. She walks up to a framed picture, showing better times. Herself, Kurt, Logan, Scott and Jean laughing. She spoke with Scott about X-Force. He said, he ordered Wolverine to do it. He took full responsibility. She laughed at him and at the thought that anyone could make Wolverine do something. She feels old, she sighs. Every time she feels like she’s cried all the tears she has to cry, there he is again. She is taking this picture. He may try and kill her if he likes. Isn’t that what he does now? He hunts down their enemies and murders them before they can act against the X-Men. This is what X-Force does, correct? Because right now he only thing that’s separating him from their enemies is semantics. Tell her she is wrong, she orders.
She isn’t, he replies, but she wasn’t exactly there, was she. Does she want to judge them from upon her throne? Go ahead. But X-Force was out there trying to prevent all this. Trying to prevent genocide any way they could. If that makes them the bad guys, he’ll take the heat for that.
Storm sits down opposite him, reminding him that X-Men don’t kill. That line may have blurred over the years, but what he and Scott did here… and involving Rahne and James and Laura… He didn’t want that, Logan replies. He didn’t even want Summers involved. The thought of him killing people like that… That’s not him. That’s Wolverine… and she knows what? If he had to do it all over again he would kill more of them. Because maybe if he had killed more of them, Kurt would still be alive.
She’s sorry to hear that. Because that means this could very well be the last drink they will ever share together.
Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco:
She’s out! Logan tells Laura Kinney aka X-23. Is she being punished? his sort of teenage clone asks, uncomprehending. No, he protests. She doesn’t understand. It’s over, Logan states, and even if it weren’t he’s not putting her through any of that again.
But Cyclops ordered her to… she begins. She doesn’t take orders anymore, he tells her. He never should have let her be a part of X-Force. Cyclops used her. He used her. What they did to her was no different than the facility or Weapon X or whoever the &%$% bastards were that made her. She makes her own decisions now and there’s only one question she has to ask herself: What does she want?
Laura doesn’t understand. What does she want? He asks. She wants him to tell her what to do. He refuses. What does she want? She doesn’t know! she shouts. She doesn’t know! That’s a start, he tells her. She wants orders. She wants a mission. Give them to herself for once!
Cyclops tells Wolverine that they all came and talked to him individually, the old crew, Storm, Colossus, Iceman… Professor Xavier could see in his thoughts that he didn’t regret anything X-Force did. And he looked at Scott like he was seeing a stranger. Storm laughed at him and asked what he thought Jean would think about X-Force. And Hank… he’s not coming back.
Don’t think it’s gonna stop there, Logan warns him. What does he think will happen once the Avengers find out? They’ll deal with it, Cyclops replies, but whatever happens as of right now it’s a new day. And X-Force isn’t a part of it. Did he miss a meeting or something? Logan scoffs. Last time he looked, there are even less mutants alive now than there were a week ago. And Scott’s little messiah…
Don’t put this on her! Cyclops orders. The world is changing. Osborn is gone. The Avengers are back and the X-Men can stand for something again. Mutantkind is going to survive! They took everything that Bastion had thrown at them and made it through.
Not all of them, Wolverine reminds him… After some silence, Scott muses that maybe the Avengers will come and arrest them. That would be funny. Actually, he’d go to jail with a smile on his face. Because he’d do it all again. Because of what they did here, he knows, that somehow they are going to survive. The X-Men will go on and he doesn’t want X-Force to be a part of this future.
Fine, it’s done, Wolverine agrees and suggests he get some sleep. He looks like /&%$. Relieved, Cyclops thanks him. Wolverine tells him he’ll stay behind. He has some stuff to burn here.
With Cyclops gone, he walks to another room in the complex, apologizing that the conversation went on longer than he thought it would. Went different than he thought it would, too, so here’s the deal: This is X-Force, there’s only one rule: No one can know! he announces to Archangel, Psylocke, Deadpool and Fantomex.
Iceman enters Scott’s office calling out to him. Scott apologizes. He was just writing a letter to Kurt’s sister. Condolences. Was she his sister or girlfriend? Iceman wonders. It’s complicated Scott replies, rubbing his eyes. Are the Avengers this complicated? Iceman asks. Probably not, Scott admits. Does he think they are hiring? Probably not. Hesitantly, Bobby remarks there is more trouble. Hank is leaving….
About to leave in the hangar, Beast asks Namor who is carrying a heavy load if he needs a paw. Namor scoffs. The day he needs help from the likes of Beast’s kind is the day he is no longer fit to rule the Seven Seas. And why exactly is Namor deigning to grace “his kind” with his presence? Hank asks. He confesses he’s rather been dying to ask why he’s taking up with mutants her on Summers’ isle. Why should he care? Namor asks simply. He’s leaving. Humor him, Hank suggests. No, he doesn’t think he shall, Namor replies. What kind of man turns his back on his people? Certainly not one he wishes to “humor.” The kind with a clean conscience, Beast replies. Sleep well. He takes off in his vessel.
Cyclops and Iceman look after their old friend while Namor suggests they are better off without him. He knows of what he speaks. In an army… They are an army now? Bobby asks. In an army, Namor continues undeterred, a general has no need for pacifists. He’s known him since he was a kid, Cyclops points out. And now he is a man, Namor replies simply. New playground, Summers, new playmates.
Angel joins them with a basket ball. The kids have started a bonfire at the end of the island and everybody seem to be trying to blow off a little steam. He thought about getting a game going… Does Namor know basketball? He tosses the ball at Namor and explains that he needs to get the ball through the hoop. Instead, Namor fires it through the plate behind it. Scott takes a raincheck and goes looking for Emma and Hope.
He finds Emma in her diamond form, a little apart from the others who are gathered around the bonfire. Diamond form? he asks. She needed a break from feeling so much And she’s fresh out of Ativan. How’s she holding up? he asks, referring to Hope. Her father’s dead, people died trying to save her life and everyone around her hates her on sight or expects her to turn water into wine, Emma enumerates. So, not great.
They were right, weren’t they? Scott asks. Were they right? It doesn’t matter now, she replies. All that matters is tomorrow. Thanks for the help, he replies sarcastically. He’ll be sure to include that bit about tomorrow in his letter to Kurt’s sister. He walks off.
Emma is pensive, then looks at the fire again. She sees Hope smiling and a Phoenix raptor forming in the flames. Her mind flies back to some time ago when she was saved by what seemed to be Jean Grey, telling her: “Well then, little spirit. Prepare.”
“Scott!” she calls out quietly, then runs off to the surprise of the students who haven’t seen anything amiss.
She runs into his office, shouting that she saw something. However, Scott stands in his office transfixed. Quiet, he tells her. He looks at the globe display. Cerebra shows five new mutant lights all over the globe.
“They were right,” he announces with a smile.