Hong Kong, Victoria Harbor, 2090…
Shakti runs for her life. She thought that she could lose herself. She had begun to feel safe in her anonymity. Now, Shakti knows better. She recalls her father, Dr. Zail Haddad, who has the wealth and resources of a small nation at his command. Now, Shakti believes that it was madness to cross him so publicly. She’d barely escaped his operatives in Prague, Istanbul, Chenaya and in Casablanca. Shakti hopes that she can reach the ferry to Kowloon, so that she might be able to disappear in the back alleys of Tsimshatsui.
She reaches the ferry, but is awaited by Lokjaw! Lokjaw shouts that Shakti was able to get away from him in Morocco, but promises that she won’t be that lucky this time! Shakti recalls what happened three months ago. She led the cyborg into a mosque of the true human jihad, knowing that the genetic fundamentalists would take violent offensive, and the intrusion of the mechanically augmented tracker. Lokjaw grabs Shakti’s arms, and tells her that she is a disappointment to those who have invested so much in her. Lokjaw says that Shakti repays generosity with spite and disdain.
Shakti doesn’t understand why. Because she refuses the role that “the great doctors” had assigned to her? Because she dares to live her own life? Lokjaw explains to Shakti that her father raised her to run his bio-shops. She should be grateful to him. Shakti gets angry, because she knows that, though her father made a fortune by selling flesh by the pound, but she doesn’t want any part of him! Lokjaw tells Shakti that she has no choice and has to come home with him. “No,” Shakti shouts, “Not now, not ever!”
She attacks Lokjaw with a psychic blasts and fears that she will never be free of this kind of situations. Shakti knocks out the human half of the cyborg, but the mechanical half is still running and begins pursuit! Shakti keeps on running and knows that she can’t shut a computer brain down psychically. She runs into a dead end and is trapped.
Suddenly, Lokjaw is attacked from behind by an electric shock and drops into the water. The man responsible for Shakti’s rescue introduces himself as Ryu Kobolt, and reveals the electrical charged blade he used to knock Lokjaw down. Ryu knows that it’s brutal, but it was a necessary evil. He knows that you simply can’t reason with corporate cyborgs: they are programmed to be stubborn.
Shakti is confused why Ryu helped her. Ryu reveals that his employer, Feng Huang, is aware of Shakti’s current plight, and had instructed him to offer Shakti asylum here in the People’s Republic. Shakti wants to know what the so-called Red Birth of the South gains with helping her. Ryu explains that Huang and Shakti’s father compete in the international market. He says that it will enrage Zail to see his daughter given haven by a rival he cannot touch. Ryu knows that it’s a small psychological advantage, but it’s an advantage nonetheless.
Shakti doesn’t want to be anyone’s pawn, but Ryu promises that there will be no obligations if Shakti accepts the offer. He asks Shakti if she isn’t tired of the running. Shakti confirms, and accepts the offer and goes with Ryu.
New Mexico, 2099…
The winged mutant Bloodhawk soars toward his desert home, unaware that he is being watched. Pandora finds Bloodhawk to be magnificent, and informs her partner Memphis that Bloodhawk is within reach.
Memphis says that he sees the mutant. He may be old, but he is not blind. Pandora says that in regard of Memphis’ advanced years, perhaps she should get the impulse cannon. Memphis appreciates the concern, but his aim is still true. Memphis fires electrical shocks at Bloodhawk and hits him! Bloodhawk falls down. Pandora fears that the Architect will not be pleased that they have harmed him. Memphis tells her not to be worried. He tells Pandora to look at the many scars Bloodhawk has over his body: he has survived worse. Memphis tells Bloodhawk that when he gets up, he will be in a better world.
Some time later, Bloodhawk wakes up, but is bounded on a surgery table. He wants to know where he is. Pandora explains to Bloodhawk that he is in the Promised Land. It is a new world in which the sins of the old will be washed away. Pandora also tells Bloodhawk that his restraints are for his own protection. Memphis orders Pandora to stop talking, because he realizes that they won’t win Bloodhawk over by using big words.
Pandora touches Bloodhawk’s head, and says that he will trust her. She can soothe Bloodhawk’s angry soul. Bloodhawk shouts at Pandora to get away from him, but she doesn’t listen. Pandora’s scent is insidious and intoxicates Bloodhawk. Becalmed, his body reverts back to his human form! Bloodhawk wants to know what Pandora did to him.
Meanwhile, Shakti, La Lunática and Tim stop outside a ghost town near the Kansas-Colorado border. Tim feels like they have been chasing the wind. Luna thinks that Shakti’s sixth sense might have been wrong this time. Maybe her elusive friend doesn’t even exist. Shakti knows that she isn’t imagining things and knows that her friend is out there. Shakti says that the presence of another mutant triggers a response like a Geiger counter on her. Though the mutant kept out of sight, Shakti knows that he is as real as they are.
Tim hopes that the mutant will be worth their effort, since he made them cross two entire states! Shakti believes that after the death of so many at the Death Valley slaughterhouse, it is imperative that a link between the surviving mutant populace is established. And it’s up to the X-Men to make that connection.
Tim thinks that they better split up, so that they find the mutant faster in this big region. Shakti agrees, but warns her friends to watch themselves, because they haven’t determined yet whether or not their quarry even wants to be found. Tim and Luna stay together and find a house.
Luna smells that someone has been inside there recently. Tim knows that Luna has heightened senses, but wants to know how she could possibly know that. Luna reveals that it’s because she is a hunter, and she can smell blood. Tim says that he grew up in a corporate workers territory and always wondered how the executive class lived.
As they move on, Tim doesn’t see that he walks over a security beam and activates the Jarvis 9000 unit! Jarvis says that as a holographic major domo, he is here to serve them. Luna doesn’t know what it is, but Tim guesses that the previous tenants must have forgotten to cut the power reserves when the company left this development. As the two mutants joke about the possibility of living in this house, they get attacked from behind by Ezekiel Boddington.
Ezekiel sees Tim and Luna as his enemies and won’t stop until they are defeated. He also mumbles things about a “temple of abomination.” Tim and Luna aren’t impressed by Ezekiel and quickly defeat the guy, not believing that he is Shakti’s mutant. Tim and Luna walk out of the house, and wonder what Ezekiel meant with the temple of abomination remark. As they think about it, a windborne creature sweeps past them and secures their attention, knowing that they will follow.
Nearby, Shakti too gets bothered by a weird creature, which is caught up in flames. The creature tells Shakti that she is getting warmer and warmer by the second – she is practically red hot!
Shakti thinks that the creature is the mutant they came looking fore, but knows that there is something weird about his presence. Something incomplete. Shakti calls out to the creature and asks who he is and why he has led her here. The creature flies away and says that this is not Shakti’s final destination. She must follow him. Since Shakti has come this far, she won’t let the creature go away that easily and follows him. Shakti meets up with Tim and Luna, who are following their creature as well.
The flame creature meets up with his partner, Zephyr, and informs her that Shakti is theirs. Zephyr asks what they are going to do with Shakti’s partners. The flame creature says that they are not of their concern, and knows that the Architect will deal with them. Luna doesn’t like it and thinks that they are being toyed with. Shakti goes at full speed, but Tim and Luna warn her to stop as the road is on a dead end.
They’ve lost the creatures. Shakti tells the others to look around, and they all see a gigantic palace! And the creatures fly towards it as well. Tim finds it suspicious, because his satellite map indicates that there is nothing in front of them but wide-open plains. Luna believes that the palace could be one of Doom’s secret projects, hidden from statsweep by a stealth field. Shakti doesn’t think so, realizing that if their Latverian President would want them there, he would have been more direct. Luna asks what they are going to do. Shakti notices the creatures heading towards the palace, so she decides to go in as well.
They enter the place, and are surprised to see no guns being pointed at their heads, like usually happens. Tim fears that it might be a trap. That’s good for Luna, she says, because she has felt like being in Halo City for too long already. Shakti says that their arrival is no secret, and believes that they are expected. After a little scouting, the trio finds a small door, but a bright light shines inside it. They decide to check it out, and… find a true Garden of Eden!
The X-Men are speechless and don’t believe that what they are seeing can actually be reality. Shakti is certain that despite they are free to walk around, that they are being monitored. And she is correct.
Suddenly, a hand touches Tim’s shoulder from behind and welcomes his friends in Oasis! The X-Men look around, and recognize… Bloodhawk! Tim is surprised to see him here, let alone in his human form! Bloodhawk cheers that his new friends, Memphis and Pandora, had brought him to this magnificent haven. Bloodhawk finds that the X-Men should be honored to be here as well.
Tim isn’t sure, but thinks that Bloodhawk doesn’t sound like his usual self. Pandora agrees, and comforts the others by explaining that, in his short time here, Lemuel has profoundly changed. She says that he is no longer a misanthropic outcast, driven by rage. She knows that the Oasis has finally given him peace. Tim is surprised to find out that Bloodhawk’s real name is “Lemuel.”
Luna too is startled to see Bloodhawk in this state. She remembered their last meeting, when he almost killed her. Now, she is more afraid that he is going to give her a hug! Shakti explains to Pandora that two mutants have led them here, and senses that Memphis is one too. She wants to know if everyone in Oasis is a mutant. Memphis declaims that statement, and explains that they’ve got lab rats, like Pandora, dynastics, norms, and even a couple of cyborgs. But Memphis doesn’t want to explain everything. He wants to give those honors to the one who build this place: the Architect!
The Architect, dressed in full battle armor, proudly descends some stairs and happily greets the X-Men, as he has been waiting for them. The Architect apologizes for the rather cryptic means of bringing them to Oasis, but he knew that Shakti would not ignore the mystery posed by Zephyr and Inferno. Shakti realizes that the Architect seems to know a lot about her, but she has no clue who he is. The Architect takes off his helmet, and says that he has taken great pains to keep the Oasis’ construction and existence secret, and claims that he could not risk revealing himself until they met face to face.
Shakti can’t believe it: it’s Ryu Kobolt! Ryu confirms that he is indeed the one, though a little bit older than the last time he and Shakti met. Shakti is confused, because she believed that Ryu was dead. Ryu and Shakti shake hands, and Ryu says that he is as surprised as she is to be still alive. They both remember their final hour together. Shakti asked Ryu why he always pushes her away when they get close. She knew that he feels the same way about her as she does about him.
Ryu apologized, because he thought that there was no future for them together. He found out that he had a rare degenerative disease, which slowly consumes his body and, at the same time, destroys his nervous system. Shakti thinks that the brilliant doctors Feng Huang has at his service might have a solution, but Ryu knew that there is no cure. Shakti suggested they beat this together. She knew that they could. Ryu didn’t want to do that and left Hong Kong that same night. His last words to Shakti were that she was an incredible woman and that he didn’t want her to waste her love on a dead man.
Shakti grieved a long time over Ryu, and he can’t imagine how she must feel now. Ryu explains that he might as well had been dead the night he left. He says that, without Shakti, he had lost all reason to live. Ryu reveals that, if it weren’t for Memphis, he would have never found his way back. Ryu explains that, after he left Hong Kong, he wandered the world wearing a death wish on his sleeve. He ended up on Hellrock, a toxic hell hole off the Atlantic coast, and the lone human combatant in Deathstryke’s Mutroid Arena. Ryu says that, if his chemically mutated opponents didn’t kill him, the poisoned atmosphere surely would. He wanted to die.
Ryu remembers that, luckily for him, Memphis was then running black market trade to the island. Ryu found out that Memphis was a mutant with enormous environmental adaptability, so he couldn’t be affected by the mutagenic ether, which turned men into mutroids. Memphis rescued Ryu from the mutroids, and convinced him to leave the island before he was irrevocably transformed. Ryu’s exit angered the mutroid promoters whose freakish fighters Ryu had killed.
Memphis kept them at bay with a small wall of lightning, which is Memphis’ secondary mutation. Ryu know realizes that it wasn’t from the mutroids that Memphis rescued him from. No, Memphis rescued Ryu from himself. Soon afterwards, Ryu learned that Memphis survived the terrible camps of the Purge, where thousands of mutants were intervened and killed. Memphis stops Ryu, and tells him that their new friends don’t want to know his past. The Architect calls Memphis too modest, realizing that without the old man, Oasis wouldn’t even exist. Ryu says that Memphis taught him that through the horrors of the world may have cast a long shadow, but that they cannot surrender to it.
Ryu thanks Memphis for showing him that humanity can be saved, if they were only given a second chance. That’s how Oasis was born. Ryu reveals that in secret, he assembled a small group of visionaries, engineers and geneticists, who committed to undoing the mistakes of the past and building a better future. With their resources and expertise, Ryu and his friends created a self-sustaining environment, which is designed to house a community of radically and genetically diverse men and woman. He says that a geothermal power station will supply the Oasis with clean energy for centuries. He has build hydroponic farms, which produce nonsynthetic grain and vegetables that are free from chemical contamination. Oasis and its inhabitants are prepared to outlast the politics and strife that are destroying the present.
Shakti is overwhelmed. Ryu knows that she is skeptical as well and understands it. He asks Shakti that she and her friends take some time to look around and see all that they have accomplished themselves. And, in the end, Ryu hopes that the X-Men will realize that they belong there.
Some time later, Tim and Luna have already walked around a bit. Tim realizes that a community of humans, mutants and degens working together is everything that the X-Men have been trying to accomplish. But now he feels that a kingdom like this feels too good to be true. He wants to know why. Luna says that’s because Tim knows to well how the real world works. Luna also knows that nothing is what it seems to be. She wants to find out something that’s wrong with the place.
They find a closed door and try to open it, but access is denied. Pandora and Bloodhawk show up and ask Tim and Luna to respect the few boundaries the Oasis has. Tim asks Bloodhawk if this place is really true, because he is the last person Tim expected to find in a contained environment. Bloodhawk is certain that Oasis is sincere, and that the Architect offers the only hope for humanity, and he is fortunate to be at his side. Luna angrily shouts at Bloodhawk and asks him where his fire is. He used to be a warrior! The state he is in now finds Luna pathetic.
Bloodhawk orders Luna not to talk to him like that. This attitude suits Luna better. Pandora holds Bloodhawk back and asks him to remain calm. She knows that Luna is only trying to provoke Lemuel. She knows that there is no need for violence. Pandora realizes that the outside world has made Tim and Luna the hard persons they are today. If they feel the Architect’s generosity, Pandora says, nothing can be done for them. Bloodhawk agrees and walks away together with Pandora.
Tim thinks that Bloodhawk is in love with the woman. Luna doesn’t think so, and tells Tim that he wouldn’t have noticed it without special senses, but Luna felt that, when Pandora touched Bloodhawk, her body scent changed dramatically. Pandora has Bloodhawk under some sort of pheromonal control. Tim thinks it’s for the best that they tell Shakti that there is trouble in paradise.
Meanwhile, Shakti is alone with the Architect. He sees that Shakti is upset. Shakti says that she is, because for ten years, she thought that the man she loved was dead. She swore that no one would ever get that close to her ever again. It would hurt too much. No, Shakti says, she isn’t upset. She’s angry. Ryu tells Shakti that he never meant to hurt her. He claims to have thought about her a lot.
Shakti doesn’t believe that, and wants to know why Ryu didn’t contact her and let her know that he found a cure. Ryu says that’s because he hasn’t found a cure. The disease is still inside his body. He reveals that his right arm and both legs were replaced by cybernetics, and that the armor her wears regulates his damaged nervous system. Ryu has only bought a few years and devoted them to Oasis. Shakti agrees that it’s an amazing accomplishment, and is glad to see Ryu again, but she can’t be a part of this. Her loyalties are to the X-Men.
Ryu shows Shakti the plans he made. He is certain that, once the cleansing has been completed, the X-Men will no longer be needed. He says that the citizens of Oasis herald a new humanity that is free of radical distinction. Shakti doesn’t like the sound of “cleansing.” Ryu doesn’t like it either, but finds it to be a necessary evil. He believes that the Earth can’t support the weight of ten billion people. He has armed a half dozen harbinger omega missiles with a short-lived but lethal retrovirus. Ryu adds that, there in the Oasis, his people will be safe from the virus, and will be cryogenetically frozen in the sublevels. He says that while they sleep, the Earth will have time to heal from wounds inflicted by commerce and wars.
Shakti thinks that the disease has infected Ryu’s brain. She knows that he can’t be true about his plan. Ryu is. Shakti can’t allow that to happen and attacks Ryu! Ryu isn’t harmed by the attack, because, during his mercenary he had enough telepathic attacks, and took advantage of the knowledge to install psychic dampers into his armor. He fights back and defeats Shakti with a single slap. Ryu regrets for having to do it but, nonetheless, brings Shakti to the suspension chambers and puts her into one. He activates it and, when Shakti awakes, he hopes that she will know that he was right about it all.
Meanwhile, Bloodhawk sits alone in the Atrium, thinking about a lot of things. Memphis approaches him and tells Bloodhawk that people are looking for him. Bloodhawk says that he needed to have some free space, because he can’t think straight when he is with Pandora. Memphis has found that out too. Bloodhawk is confused if he truly belongs in Oasis. Memphis tells Bloodhawk that he is needed in the Oasis, and is to be one of the Father’s of the new humanity. Bloodhawk knows all that, since Pandora has told him that several times, but he can’t shake the feeling that he has changed somehow.
Memphis agrees, because he went through the same thing. He says that sometimes, it’s best that you don’t think about it. Bloodhawk reveals that he has no love for mankind, since it continues to destroy and defile the Earth. He doesn’t see how a virus that destroys indiscriminately be just. Memphis again explains that he has lived through the Purge and believes that justice doesn’t exist. He reveals that he has watched everyone he cared about get killed in the name of racial purity, and one that’s been repeated since the dawn of man.
Memphis thinks that maybe it’s time that the human race was put out of its self-inflicted misery. Bloodhawk asks Memphis if he truly believes that the Architect’s plan will work. Pandora shows up and informs the two men that the Architect is ready for the final stage of his plan. She and Bloodhawk take off together, and Pandora warns Memphis not to have second thoughts about it, because he to might not survive the attack. As they are gone, Memphis whispers that he will survive. He always does. It’s his curse.
At the same time, Tim and Luna try to enter the suspension chamber, but the access is once more denied. Tim channels the door’s electric current back, and so the two mutants are able to enter the place. They wander around and find hundreds of people trapped inside the chambers, and Shakti as well! Luna reads that Shakti has only been inside for twenty minutes, so she sees no harm into setting her free. Luna smashes the chamber and gets Shakti out, but then they get attacked by Zephyr, Inferno and Kragg!
After some heavy fighting, the creatures decide that they’ve had enough of it and want to finish the battle. They gather around each other, and transform into Triumvirate! Tim and Luna try to find a way to win the battle but see none. The Architect commands Triumvirate to kill them both, since they have decided not to join him. Bloodhawk overhears the battle sounds and as he sees his friends fighting he decides to help them out. The Architect is furious about it and attacks Bloodhawk and strikes him with his electrical charged blade!
Bloodhawk survives the attack, but Ryu wants to try a second time and kill the mutant. Shakti tries to stop the fighting and to bring Ryu back to his senses. He doesn’t want to listen to her reason, nor to Memphis’. Memphis won’t allow Ryu to complete his plan and attacks his friend, and damages his armor in the process. Ryu is sad to see Memphis having turned against him. Shakti notices the opening in his armor and uses a psychic blast to bring Ryu down.
Shakti asks Ryu to stop his plan, if he ever truly cared for her. Ryu says that he can’t, since he already activated the missiles. Memphis tells Bloodhawk to fly him to the missile silo. Bloodhawk does, and asks Memphis if he is going to dismantle the warheads. Memphis knows that would take too long, so he is going to detonate them before they leave the Oasis. Bloodhawk calls that suicide, but Memphis is sure that Bloodhawk will be able to escape the blast before it hits. Memphis himself might die, but perhaps his mutant powers will save him once more.
Memphis isn’t afraid to die. Bloodhawk drops him off and takes off. Memphis prays to the Lord to justify the bad things by doing the thing he is going to now. He uses his powers and destroys the warheads. The X-Men try to escape as well. Luna wonders what to do about the humans inside the suspension chambers, but Shakti says, since they were willing to sacrifice their lives for the Oasis, they wouldn’t be able to get them out anyway. The Architect remains inside as well and cries when he sees his perfect world destroyed. The X-Men make it out in time and see Oasis collapses.
Shakti finds it a shame, because she truly wanted a place where there would be no fear or racism. Luna knows that will never happen. Shakti doesn’t agree, and thinks of it as a dream worth having. And even if Ryu’s obsession warped it beyond recognition, it’s still worth fighting for. Tim, Luna and Bloodhawk gather around Shakti, and proudly agree with her.
“The fate of the architect is the strangest of all. How often he expends his whole soul, his whole heart and passion, to produce buildings into which he himself may never enter.” - Johann Wolfgang van Goethe, 1808.