An apartment in Soho, lower Manhattan, towards the end of the summer. ‘Inside, Genejoke,’ voices order, as uniformed men roughly shove two young people into an apartment room. Their days of running and freedom are over!
This is the United States, the young man lying on the ground shouts. The Magistrates have no authority there. The taller, muscular woman protests that they are not taking them back to Genosha. One of the Magistrates addresses her as Mutant 4-8-1-7 and orders her to stop. She finds that she cannot move and, when the man orders her to remove her clothes, she is forced to comply, revealing the Genoshan skinsuit, bonded to her beneath the ordinary clothes. Who does she think she is, the Magistrate scoffs, dressing like a human? She is human, she protests. My name is… is… 4-8-1-7.
What have they done to her, the young man, Phil Moreau, asks. Another Magistrate, who holds Phil by his lapels, explains that the genetic modification process she underwent includes an indoctrination sub-routine, which makes mutants totally obedient to authority. Pity it can’t be used in normal folks, he adds, as he hits Phil in the stomach. The boy sinks to the ground and the Magistrate looks at him with contempt.
Phil had every advantage, his father is the most important man in the country and he betrayed him! He deserves to be on his knees begging for forgiveness. He turns to the Press Gang member named Pipeline, asking if he is ready. Almost, the mutant replies, commending Philip on putting scrambler circuits on his phone to block his signal-link-up. But all they had to do was move to the empty loft upstairs. Soon as his call goes through, the pair of them will get digitized and transmitted home. She to serve her country. He to stand trial for high treason.
Who are they, a voice suddenly announces. The newcomer is a tall, muscular, dark-haired young man, who isn’t wearing a shred of clothing. Grasping the situation, he orders the Magistrates to leave the two youngsters alone! The Magistrates are confused: they scanned the place before and it was empty. They intend to shoot the stranger, but Phil kicks the Magistrate who holds him and tells the man to run. Another Magistrate shoots and slaps Phil with his gun, telling him he has just signed the man’s death warrant. They can’t afford any witnesses. The stranger, however, evades the shots. Jenny Ransome takes the opportunity and starts to choke one Magistrate, preventing him from giving her another order. Then she uses her superhuman strength to toss him at Pipeline and his transmission device. She grabs Phil telling him to get out.
A Magistrate aims at them, thinking to himself what perfect targets they make. However, the stranger grabs him and both oft them halfway fall through the window. Neither are willing to give up – at least not until Phil holds a gun to the Magistrate’s temple.
Later, the stranger is examined at St. Vincent’s hospital, where he learns that he only suffered a flesh wound. Phil thanks him and asks if he has a place to stay. They have room to spare. The man thanks them, admitting that he has nothing. He is as they see him.
In the meantime, two Magistrates are being led away by the police, protesting that they are law officers, doing their jobs. The cop is not impressed and calls them Nazis. The youngsters they attacked have applied for political asylum. They had no right to take them. Even if they did, there are procedures. And they don’t involve felonies, such as attempted kidnapping, attempted murder, battery or breaking and entering. If they want to uphold the law, they’d best start by obeying it. Pipeline states that he is entitled to a phone call. He’ll get it, the police officer replies, like every other common crook.
Hollywood, the abandoned Beale Studios complex isn’t quite that abandoned, the night guard, Gloria, learns, as she finds a young man rummaging through some boxes. Freddie Stanachek greets her and explains that he is packing up the stuff he bought at the closeout auction. He has a pass to be on the lot after hours. Gloria confides that Beal got what he deserved when he went bankrupt. The shame is that a lot of decent people lost their jobs as well. The way of the world, Freddie replies, but he has faith. Easy for him to say, Gloria mocks in a friendly way. Not always, Freddie replies, as he keeps on rummaging. There was the time he had the self-confidence of a gnat, till one special night and one special woman… Ohmygosh, he suddenly exclaims, as he finds a film reel labeled Dazzler: the Movie.
The Malibu Shore. Lila Cheney’s guard, Guido Carsella, has found a naked woman lying on the beach. Believing her to be a junkie, he angrily shouts that this is a private beach and he doesn’t care how strung-out she is. He wipes away the dirt and plants covering her face and suddenly recognizes her as Dazzler. He apologizes to her silent form, as he scoops her up and carries her to the house. Seeing as how she once was a member of Lila’s band, she has free use of her places.
Inside, he addresses the sentient house, telling it there’s an emergency. Why didn’t it notify him of Dazzler’s presence? The House apologizes, but its sensors didn’t scan any trespassers. Guido eases her down on a medical pallet, while the house scans Alison, claiming that all its non-sentient systems report nothing there. A fascinating conundrum. Alison is clearly real but, to many of the House’s component elements, she simply doesn’t exist. Can it help her, Guido asks. The House intends to try.
Elsewhere. Light explodes in Callisto’s eyes. Why is he doing this, she demands. Because he hates her, Masque replies, as he snaps another picture. Because she’s strong and tough and smart and the way he can hurt her best is by taking all of that away from her. It won’t work, she retorts. No? Masque asks and shows her a mirror. She’s as broken as the mirror he announces. As Callisto beholds her face in the mirror, she screams, “no,” and Masque begins to cackle evilly.
Back in Soho, the landlord, Mr. Paulus, tells Phil and Jenny that, after last night’s events, he would be well within his rights to ask them to leave. They’re politicals and have enemies. They could come again. On the other hand, he doesn’t like thugs. Also, if he tosses them out, he’ll have an empty building with no tenants. Phil suggests that the building needs a caretaker and their new friend, Peter, needs a job and a place to stay. Is he reliable? Paulus asks. Phil vouches for him. Is he a handyman, Paulus asks. Whatever he doesn’t know, he can learn, Peter replies. Paulus agrees on a trial run for a month. If it works out it’s a deal. Any problem and the three of them are out.
He hopes Phil knows what he’s doing, Peter jokes. They know nothing about him and, if he messes up, they’ll lose their home. They’ve lost worse. Should they start packing then? He doesn’t give his word unless he means it, Peter states. He knew that, Phil replies. It may sound crazy but, in a weird sense, he feels he knows Peter. Have they met before? He doesn’t know, Peter replies, as he stares out of the window. The first moment he remembers is when he saw them there. He knows his name is Peter Nicholas and he has a sense of this city and country, so he must be a New Yorker, but as for the rest…
A billboard with a car advert showing a gorgeous woman holds his interest. The latest “most beautiful woman in the world,” according to the fashion mags, Phil tells him. In this instance, they may be right, Peter admits. It’s only a billboard, Phil replies. Even if the woman does exist, how can the reality even begin to match the fantasy? Wordlessly, Peter looks longingly at the woman once more.
Hollywood, Baron-Fox studios, where Fred Stanachek shows Ginjer Baron and Mr. Fox the movie he found. It’s only a rough cut, he explains. He spent the last two weeks pulling it together out of the raw footage he bought. The sale was legit. He owns both film and rights. Fox admits that Fred has an impressive rep but they are talking a major production here. He wants Baron-Fox to finance the completion, print, distribution and advertising. A lot of money.
Freddie points to the Batman movie as an example. It was hugely successful, even though it was fiction. This movie would be about a real person, Alison Blare, and those stunts of hers aren’t special effects. She transformed sound to light. Plus, it addresses a real crisis in society. The attempts of mutants to find their place in the world. But Dazzler is dead, isn’t she? Ginjer Baron points out. Now the fall of Eric Beale has the makings of a story. Corporate mogul, destroyed by his obsession with Dazzler, but this movie is old news. Without some hook to make the audience take notice, she’ll have to pass.
Back at his car, Freddie looks at a picture of Alison, musing that Beale wasn’t the only one who lost his heart to her. Their moment of glory just wasn’t to be.
Back at Lila’s place, the House asks Alison if it can provide anything. There’s nothing she needs, she replies, other than her memory. She asks who she is and the House transports her to a holographic site, showing her her past. One hologram shows her as part of Lila’s band, still wearing her black wig as a disguise. Mutants aren’t well regarded, the house explains, and those with public superhero personas such as she even less so.
Dazzler was a superhero? Ali asks. The House agrees, but points out that she was a reluctant one. Her final association was with a group of outlaw heroes called the X-Men, who were reportedly slain in Texas some months ago. She was among them. So is she a ghost or an impostor, Ali wonders. What would Dazzler do in a mess like this, she asks. Go cruising, the house replies. Dazzler asks for some clothes and the right direction. Maybe something’ll click and she’ll figure out what she’s doing here.
Muir Isle, Scotland, Moira MacTaggert’s research center:
Moira tells David Haller not to be nervous, as he is strapped into the mutant detection system, Cerebro. The unit is designed to be most effective when used by a telepath and he is the only one they have. She hopes he will be able to locate the X-Men or at least her missing bodyguard, Callisto. Watching from some distance away, along with Banshee, Forge scoffs that he’ll be impressed if this works. Is he afraid that he might succeed where his techno-toys failed? David mocks him. Moira tells him to focus his concentration.
A moment later, she screams, as they are all caught in some psychic backlash. Forge manages to pull himself up to see the face of Amahl Farouk manifesting over the boy and recognizes him as the being he met and fought in his spirit dream. The face announces the words ‘Storm’ and ‘Cairo.’ Realizing that something about this feels wrong, Forge passes out.
Peter Nicholas takes out the thrash when, suddenly, a panicked woman runs into him. He helps her up, only to find it’s the woman from the billboard. He introduces himself and asks if someone’s chasing her. Is she in trouble? As she turns away, he at least wants to know her name. What he doesn’t know can’t hurt him, she replies cryptically, as she gets into a limo. Noticing her look of desperation, Peter vows they will meet again.
Later upstairs, Philip tells him the woman has the right idea. Drop-dead gorgeous women tend to attract powerful friends. He should be smart and not interfere. Suppose he had take that attitude the night they met, Peter replies. He can’t get her face out of his mind. Philip gently makes fun of him, as he looks through Peter’s sketchbook. These are really good he announces, only to be shocked a moment later, as he finds a sketch of Jenny Ransome, the way she looked before she underwent genetic modification. How could Peter have known? It’s how he sees her, Peter replies. Why are those Magistrates after them. They’re enemies of the state of an island paradise called Genosha, Phil answers.
On said island, Genegineer Moreau, Phil’s father stares out of his office’s window. He learns from Chief Magistrate Anderson that their attempt to retrieve Phil and Jenny failed, due to an unforeseen circumstance. The state president’s on his back over this, he angrily announces. The American ambassador is on his. An awkward situation is quickly turning intolerable.
She’s not pleased either, Anderson reminds Moreau. Two of her Magistrates, plus Pipeline of the Press Gang are in a New York City jail. The state president requires a more “diplomatic” resolution to this mess. That’ll only make things worse, Anderson scoffs. Moreau agrees. He thereby authorizes Anderson to use the entire Press Gang to apprehend the fugitives. Including his son, she asks. Especially Philip, he insists. Nobody is above the law, no matter how high his station. Justice may ultimately be tempered with mercy but, first and foremost, justice must be served!
A in-club in Venice, California.
Freddie Stanachek is there with some friends but, so far, he is not impressed. He intends to leave when, suddenly, he notices Alison at the bar. He walks up to her and tells her she looks as though she’s not having much fun. And she supposes he can change that, she retorts coolly. Doesn’t she remember him, he asks. Should she? Alison asks back. Probably not, Freddie amends; it was a while ago. He didn’t mean to bother her. Warmer, Alison tells him that he’s the first person there who hasn’t looked her over like a piece of fresh meat. Would she like to go somewhere more civilized, he asks. Ali agrees and Freddie introduces himself as Fred Stanachek, adding that she’s Alison Blaire. Actually, Ali tells him, she’s her evil twin, Skippy.
They adjourn to Hoel’s, a classic basement bistro Jazz club, where Fred reveals himself to be a regular player with the house band and rather good at that. Fred asks if she wants to join them and sing. Hesitant at first, Dazzler begins to sing and moves the entire crowd. As if on cue, robbers enter the club, demanding credit cards and jewelry of the guests. One of them sees Ali glow and draws her closer for a kiss. Instead, she zaps him with laser beams from her eyes and proceeds to melt the next guy’s weapon. It is her, Freddie realizes, somehow miraculously back from the dead and he can make her a star.
Reporters are quick to come to the crime scene and Alison Blaire’s return makes the news. The anchorwoman also mentions that Dazzler has apparently become invisible to all forms of audio-visual recording.
In a room, the walls of which are covered with pictures of Dazzler, Eric Beale rejoices that Dazzler has survived, so he can kill her himself.