At a downtown bar, Alex Summers and Pietro Maximoff, know otherwise as Havok and Quicksilver, sit in a booth. Sounds terrible, Alex voices, having been debriefed about X-Factor’s recent encounter with Georgia Dakei and her real father, Memento Mori. Asked if the girl is okay, Pietro replies that she’s as well as can be expected, considering she saw her parents blow up. Asked if he’s sure they’re dead, Pietro offers “reasonable.” But apparently her mother was a practicing mystic, so there’s a possibility they’re somewhere else.
Sensing some hesitation, Alex presses. It’s just… Pietro begins. It’s hard being a kid under even the best of circumstances. Considering this, Alex asks if Pietro is referring to his own daughter now. Luna. No, Pietro replies. Is there anything else? Replying no, he doesn’t think so, Alex then adds that he thinks Pietro’s done. Asked what she means, Alex adds that it seems that, for the time being, Lorna has settled in as leader of this group. She’s holding herself together quite nicely. He doesn’t think she needs to be monitored anymore. He’s finished his job, he then tells Pietro. Good going. Welcome back to the Avengers.
Grabbing his coat, Pietro seems uncertain as to how to reply. Alex begins to ask, but Pietro explains. He doesn’t know that he agrees with him, he voices as he rises to his feet. He believes that Lorna needs… That he’s needed to keep a close eye on her. Well, he disagrees, Alex counters. They need him back on the Avengers. To this, Pietro retorts that the Avengers can wait. He should be headed back.
Reaching out, Alex grabs Pietro by the wrist. The Avengers is the “A” team of supergroups, he reminds him. X-Factor is strictly second fiddle. He doesn’t know that, Pietro replies. He’s pretty sure he does, Alex rejoins. Growing angry, Pietro wrests his wrist from Alex’s grip. What does he mean to the Avengers? he asks. Really mean? To this, Alex begins to reply that Pietro’s a valuable member of… Interrupting, Pietro asks as a person. As an individual. Not as a speedster. But as him. His sister loves him, Pietro begins to reply. Interrupting again, Pietro reminds Alex that he has two sisters. One of them changed the world with a few words. He doesn’t think she… He just thinks Lorna needs him more right now. If it’s all the same to him, he’s staying with X-Factor for the time being.
Then they have a problem, Alex responds. No, he has a problem, Pietro says of Alex. Good-bye, he then adds. He’s done with spying on them from now on. Alex can get his X-Factor news through the media. Incredulous, Alex asks Pietro to be reasonable. Gesturing to the other side of the booth, he suggests that he sit down and they discuss this like two… Alex’s stops mid-sentence, as Quicksilver is gone. Cursing, Alex backhands the dishes on the table, scattering them across the table and startling a nearby waitress.
In the team common area in Serval Industries HQ, Danger regards the skintight team costume she is currently wearing and declares that she looks ridiculous. No she doesn’t, Polaris replies. She look fine. When Danger then points out that she has never worn a uniform, Polaris rejoins that there’s a first time for everything. It looks good on her, Linda Kwan interjects. And it’s perfect for the press conference. They want to show solidarity. Still examining the costume, Danger inquires why. Taken aback, Linda sheepishly offers that it’s what teams do. Asked what makes them a team, Linda replies that they work together in concert for the greater good. To this, Danger replies that for some reason that strikes her as quite sad. With that, she returns and departs, leaving Polaris and Linda looking at each other in confusion.
Meanwhile, in his office, Serval CEO Harrison Snow is deep in thought when he hears his assistant informing Gambit that he’s not available right now. Then he better make himself available, Gambit rejoins. A moment later, Gambit bursts into Snow’s office and demands that they have words, the two of them. Noting that Gambit called him “Snow” and not “Harry,” Snow whimsically surmises that something must have upset him. Snow’s assistant begins to apologize for being unable to stop him, but Snow tells John not to worry about it and to close the door on the way out.
Now alone with Gambit, Snow asks “Remy” if he has an issue with him. To this, Gambit points out that the transport device left him behind. Yes, tragic, Snow replies. They think they ironed out the bug, though. Grimacing, Gambit adds that he find it… coincidental. Still acting innocently, Snow inquires if Gambit is implying that he was left behind on purpose. It occurred to him, Gambit admits. Asked why would that have happened, Gambit asks if Snow is going t’make him say it. He’s afraid so, Snow tells him, because he’s no idea what the problem is. Angela, Gambit voices. His wife? Snow responds, still innocently. How is she a problem? When Gambit again asks if he has to spell it out, Snow replies in the affirmative. Because he’s not making any sense out of the conversation so far.
Leaning against Snow’s desk, Gambit explains that Angela picked him up at a bar. And she seduced him. And Linda saw them in bed together. So he figured one of them told him. Still reacting calmly, Snow surmises that Gambit believes that, in an act of revenge, he left him in the hands of their enemies. The thought crossed his mind, Gambit admits. Now smiling, Snow asks if Gambit enjoyed his time with Angela. When Gambit replies “yeah,” Snow asks if she did with Gambit. Told “of course,” Snow replies with an “all right” and an “off you go.”
For a moment, Gambit struggles to understand. What did he think would happen there, Snow asks Gambit. He’d have a meltdown? Fire him? Pull out a gun and fire a few shots? Gambit beings to reply but Snow interrupts. Angela’s an adult and so is Gambit. He can’t monitor what adults so with their time. Or pass judgments. And he certainly has better things to do than seek revenge. By the way, the press conference is in an hour. Shouldn’t he be in uniform? Almost unsure of himself, Gambit replies that he guesses so. Good, Snow replies and then watches as Gambit departs, entering the elevator in the distance. Once again alone, Harrison Snow smiles.
As Danger passes him in the hallway, Warlock notes that she is wearing a uniform. He then begins to add that “self” has… Self… Regarding Warlock has his thoughts trail, Danger asks if he is all right. He… is fine, Warlock finally replies. Noting that he has never seen her in a uniform, he was going to say… it is… fetching. He likes it. Cocking her head slightly, Danger notes that Warlock is using the personal pronoun. He is… capable of doing so, yes, Warlock replies. It is a… strain, but he can. Asked why he is doing it if it is a strain, Warlock replies that she commented on… his… method of speech, so he is trying to… adapt. Taking a step closer, Danger inquires why would a passing comment from her prompt him to make that effort. Sheepishly, Warlock replies that he does not know.
For a moment, there is silence between the two. Finally, Danger leans forward and kisses a very surprised Warlock on the cheek. Asked why she did that, Danger replies that she believe it is a societal norm when someone has done something intended to be… gracious. As Danger turns to continue on her way, Warlock asks if that was what this was, Danger replies that she believes so. For a moment, Warlock watches in silence as Danger walks away. A smile crossing his face, Warlock gently rubs the cheek Danger kissed and quietly says nice.
Elsewhere in the building, Georgia Dakei stands at the window, regarding goings on at ground level outside. Asked by Cypher what’s so exciting outside, Georgia replies “news trucks.” Coming for the press conference she guesses. Asked if he’s coming down for it, Georgia replies that she’s not a member of the team. She could be if she wanted to be, he informs her. Calling him “Doug,” Georgia replies that, honestly, she doesn’t know what she wants. Two weeks ago, she had a home. A father. Then she lost that, only to acquire a father and a mother. And then she lost both of them. To this, Cypher replies that he feels like it’s his fault. Well, duh, Georgia rejoins. Of course, it’s his fault. He bought X-Factor in to rescue her from something she didn’t need rescuing from. And then her life fell apart. So, yes, she blames him. Of course she blames him.
Considering this, Cypher steps forward and asks if it would help her if she… slapped him or something? With Cypher’s arms wide, demonstrating defenselessness, Georgia takes the opening and delivers a devastating and very audible slap across his left cheek. Caught off guard, Cypher finds himself on the floor. When, to his surprise, Georgia voices an “ow,” Cypher is incredulous. She gets to say “ow?” He thinks he’s the one who gets to say “ow!” When she replies with an “okay,” Cypher indeed offers an ow!
As he rises to his feet, Cypher asks Georgia if that made her feel better. Not really, no, she admits, returning to her post at the window. Sensing nothing more to be done, Cypher moves to leave and apologizes. However, as he reaches the door, Georgia calls his name, giving him pause. Thank you, she tells him. For everything. She should have said that earlier, she admits, but she didn’t and that was wrong. So she said it now. Taken a bit aback, Doug tells Georgia that she’s welcome. Ok then, she voices. Okay.
Standing before the assembled team, Linda Kwan asks if they are all set. As set as they’re every going to be, Polaris replies. Asked by Gambit if she’s sure this is necessary, Linda replies that corporations publicize things. They’re their super hero team. So, naturally, they want to get the word out. Interjecting, Quicksilver asks if she isn’t concerned that they’ll be waving a flag for super villains to come attack the place. To this, Linda points out that they attacked them the other day and they survived, just fine. Quicksilver begins to look for an objection, but Linda interrupts. She came up with this whole team to help the company’s public image. There could be worse time for them to question it, but none are coming to mind. Okay?
For a moment, everyone on the team looks at each other for objection. Sensing none, Polaris speaks for them all. Telling Linda “fine,” she then addresses the others. No name changes, she orders. No one becomes “Fast Guy” or “Machine Girl” or anything. It took them weeks to live it down when Guido decided he was “Strong Guy” during their last press conference.
In short order, Harrison Snow stands behind a podium with a host of cameras pointed at him and numerous media personnel and reporter sitting in chairs before the dais. Addressing them all, Snow announces that he wants to thank them all for coming on this very important day in Serval history. He knows there have been rumors that they have begun their own super hero team. And he’s pleased to say that that is correct. That team is called X-Factor. They do not intend, in this endeavor, to diminish the efforts and endeavors of other super hero teams. They have their purposes and their successes. But they are, for the most part, reactive. They wait for super villains to strike and then fight back. Their team will be taking positive actions, guided by Serval’s endeavors and humanitarian principles.
With that, Snow introduces Linda Kwan, his head of promotion, who came up with the team. Taking the podium, Linda thanks Harrison. Then, addressing the ladies and gentleman of the audience, she asks in turn introduces the leader of X-Factor, Lorna Dane, aka Polaris. Linda then elaborates that Lorna is a team veteran and served with X-Factor back when it was a part of the government. Descending from within the building and onto the dais, Polaris takes the podium. She tells the audience that she wants to say how great it is to see them all, and she’s looking forward to leading X-Factor to new and great adventures. Let her introduce the rest of the team…
As Polaris introduces each one, the members step forward on the dais, cameras flashing from the photos being taken. Pietro Maximoff, or Quicksilver… Remy Lebeau, aka Gambit… Douglas Ramsey, or Cypher… Warlock… and last but not least… Danger… Technically, Polaris explains, Warlock and Danger aren’t mutants, but they remain valued members of the team. Everyone on their team has long experience in dealing with all the many problems that superteams have encountered. And she is confident that they will find X-Factor prepared for…
Suddenly, Polaris is interrupted by a heckler, demanding to know why they have a criminal on the team. Regarding the interrupting individual, clad in a long trench coat and hood obscuring his identity, Polaris ask the meaning. Quicksilver is a criminal, the heckler yells. A brute, an assailant, and a murderer. And he should know… because he did it to him. Him and his friends, and who knows who else. Well, Pietro, doesn’t he have anything to say? With that, the newcomer sheds her coat and hood, revealing her identity. Fatale. He remembers her, doesn’t he? she asks.
In reply, Quicksilver notes that he remembers that X-Factor saved her life. Her life and the lives of her friends. Recently, yes, Fatale admits. But before that, he endangered them. He nearly killed them and he did kill others. And he did other things as well! Committed crimes… and blamed it on the Skrulls.
As Polaris calls on security from the dais, Fatale continues. On the Skrulls! she reiterates. That’s how he got the Avengers to take him in! He thinks she wouldn’t find out? What lies did he tell X-Factor, huh? Now being grabbed by a security agent, Fatale yells to Quicksilver that he can shove her around all he wants, can’t he? Because she doesn’t have powers anymore! He’s enjoying this? she asks. He getting off on it? He’s a criminal! He should be tried but instead he go Scott Free. And the rest of them have to go on with their lives. He started off as a super villain and that’s all he is! That’s all!
In silence, Quicksilver takes in Fatale’s words. As she is being taken away, he suddenly yells for the guard to let her go. When the guard does not immediately comply, Quicksilver repeats the order more emphatically. A moment later, Fatale finds herself released and a host of camera flashes taking images of the speedster at the podium.
She’s right, Quicksilver announces at the microphone. About everything. He’s everything she says he is. He’s done terrible things in his life, he continues. Awful things. And he told everyone that it was a Skrull who was responsible, rather than him. But that was a lie. He’s not going to go into detail as to the specifics, he continues, because he doesn’t think it’s necessary. Not at this juncture. But this woman and her friends… He tried to restore her powers using materials that he stole from his family. His former family. And it went horribly wrong. He did thinks to her and others that he can never make up for.
Continuing, Quicksilver notes that, in this world, so many people do things and then try to get out of owning up to them. They issue denials. The refuse responsibility. And he, who fancies himself so much better than everyone else, did the exact same thing. He was wrong. He can never make up for what he did to her and the others, he tells Fatale. He can’t. And he can never make up to anyone for lying to them. If they wish to punish him for his crimes, well… They know where to find him. He’ll be in his room if they need him.
With that, Quicksilver turns and departs, leaving the rest of the team on the dais and the reporters on the floor. Not sure what else to say, Polaris asks… “any questions?”
Upstairs, Quicksilver reclines in his chair, sitting in silence. Hearing a knock at the door, Pietro sees Linda enter. It’s been a few hours since the press conference ended, he tells her. She’s the first person to come by. The rest of the crew felt he’d want to be alone, she explains. Asked why she is there, Linda announces that there’s someone who wants to see him. That’s to be expected, Pietro replies in a resigned manner. Captain America? he asks. Medusa? No, no… Linda replies. No one like that.
Pietro begins to voice that he can’t say he’s interested in seeing anyone else, but stops in mid-sentence. Cursing slightly, he asks the youth if her mother knows she’s there. “Uh-uh,” Luna replies negatively. Asked what she’s doing there, Luna explains that she saw his press conference. Again, Pietro searches for what to say next, only to find his daughter racing toward him. For a moment, she clutches his leg and then looks up to her father. She’s so proud of him, she tells him. For owning up to what he did. That stuff she said about never respecting him again… Forget she said that… Forget it… Kneeling, Pietro takes his daughter in his arms, hugging her tightly. It’s forgotten, he tells her.