20 years from now:
The Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Outreach, Central Park, New York City. The Institute lies in ruins. Fires blaze and smoke rises towards the skyscrapers of New York, all of which look abandoned, some partially destroyed. A figure wearing a brown cloak walks across the Institute grounds, past the motionless body of Anole. Other bodies are strewn about, too. The figure stops when it comes to the body of Cyclops. 'Hrm. None of this is right' they remark, looking around, they see several more bodies strewn about including Storm, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Beast, Iceman and Shark Girl. 'That old bastard screwed this all up' the figure declares. '... leaving me to clean up his mess' they add as suddenly a surge of blue energy surrounds them and they vanish.
Chicago, Illinois, where an anti-mutant protest is in full-swing:
'No more mutants!' someone shouts. 'Protect HUMAN lives!' another exclaims. 'Mutants are violent, we won't be silent!' a man calls out, as hiding behind a corner, two young children cower, frightened. 'What do we do?' the young boy asks the girl, speaking in French. 'If we go out there, they'll kill us' the girl exclaims. 'Maybe if we wait long enough, they'll -' the boy starts to suggest, when suddenly, a man carrying a sign that reads “no more muties” sees them: 'They're spying on us! Get them!' he shouts. 'No! Please!' the girl pleads in French, while the boy utters 'What are they saying? I don't -' as the man tells the other protestors 'They don't even speak out language!'
Suddenly, a voice inside the children’s heads tells them to duck. 'What?' the girl asks, confused, as a telekinetic force field suddenly appears between the children and the protestors, and the man who found the children is knocked backwards by a large chunk of ice.
'Don't be afraid. We're here to help you' Jean Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl telepathically tells the children as she stands with her other time-displaced teammates, Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops, Warren Worthington a.k.a. Angel, Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast, Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman and the reality-lost Bloodstorm. The young heroes smile at the children, who stare back, perplexed, and Jean telepathically tells them that she has friends who can help them.
Later, at the Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Outreach, in Central Park, New York City, Jean, Cyclops and Bloodstorm are in the infirmary, where Cyclops informs headmistress and leader of the X-Men Kitty Pryde that they found the children in Chicago, that they popped up on Cerebro and they got to them as quick as they could, just as a mob of anti-mutant protestors were about to pounce on them. He adds that they didn't know where else to bring them.
As Dr Cecilia Reyes examines the two gray-skinned children, Kitty asks about the kids' parents, whether they were able to find them, to which Jean tells her that they weren't. Jean explains that the kids don't even know who their parents are, and that they have no memories beyond today. She adds that they are French, as in France French, and they are not sure how they ended up in Chicago. 'Is that what they told you, or -' Kitty begins to ask, frowning, to which Jean frowns back and assures Kitty that she poked around in their heads, with the kids' permission, and there was nothing – their first memories start only moments before her X-Men arrived.
Jean supposes that someone wiped their minds, and whoever did it, if someone did, they did a good job – a great job, as normally there would still be a fragment or two. 'Yet I can't find a trace of anything' Jean reveals. Kitty calls out to Cecilia, who smiles and hands the children green lollipops, before turning to Kitty and telling her that, health-wise, she has no concerns, but that she isn't sure about the memories, so is going to keep them under observation for a while, see if there is some other trauma they might be overlooking. Marvel Girl and Cyclops follow Kitty into the corridor, as Kitty thanks them for bringing the children here, adding that they will make sure they are well taken care of, and once they know who their parents are, they'll reach out to them. Jean asks Kitty to keep her posted, and remarks that it must be scary for the children.
'Thai food, really?' Bloodstorm asks as she sits across from Scott in a booth at a restaurant. Scott smiles as he explains that there wasn't a lot of it around in New York back in his time, or perhaps there was and he just didn't know. 'You do understand that I'm a vampire and there's nothing I can eat here, right?' Bloodstorm asks. Embarrassed, Scott holds the menu up over his face, 'Oh... right... I didn't even... guh...' he utters, before glancing away, 'I wanted to talk to you about – oh God this is tough...' he remarks, as Bloodstorm tells him that she can pretty easily intuit what it is he wants to say: 'There is an attraction between us, yet you have not been outright in addressing it. So you thought that you would bring me on a date and talk. This is a date, correct?' Bloodstorm smiles. 'No. That's not... mean, yeah' Scott replies. He points out that they don't know how much longer they have, and that there has been a lot of talk about them – he and Jean, Hank, Bobby and Warren, going back to the past. 'And if we're going back... I'm worried that starting something... that it could be a mistake. But on the other hand...' Scott's voice trails off.
Bloodstorm reaches across the table and takes Scott's hand. She points out that they are both here now, a couple of people displaced from their time, their home universe, who met here in this one. She suggests that they put the future, and past, out of their minds and just focus on the now.
Suddenly: 'Oh my God!' a man shouts, as the diabolical time-pirate known as Ahab bursts through a window, with two savage Hounds at his side, a female Hound and a male. The male Hound has no hair, and a spiked strap wrapped across his eyes and over his head. 'Good evening, Cyclops' Ahab calls out. Ahab raises his harpoon spear and remarks 'My... you are as young as they say, much younger than the last time we met. Not much more than a baby!' before ordering his Hounds to bring Cyclops to him.
'A friend of yours, I take it' Bloodstorm asks. 'Never seen him before. But those Hounds... they look like...' Cyclops's voice trails off, as he tells Blooddstorm that he will keep the Hounds distracted while she gets everyone out of here. 'How chivalrous of you' Bloodstorm responds. 'It's not that! You heard him. Peg-leg wants me!' Scott calls back.
Bloodstorm turns to the civilians in the restaurant and exclaims 'Do as you're instructed, blood bags! Leave out the back exit so that we can deal with this threat' as Cyclops fires an optic blast at the male Hound, and calls out 'All right, pirate man. Not sure who you are or what you want, but -' however, the female Hound grabs him, and despite being gagged, she tells her master that she has him.
'Get... off!' Bloodstorm shouts as she punches the Hound hard, knocking her backwards. 'See? We make a great team' Bloodstorm tells Cyclops as she starts to help him up, when, suddenly Ahab shoves his harpoon through Bloodstorm's chest, before letting her drop into Cyclops' arms.
'BLOODSTORM!' Scott screams, as Ahab reveals that he had his harpoon laced with silver for such occasions. 'The future is lousy with them. The worst of two worlds' Ahab declares. 'You killed her!' Cyclops exclaims, tears streaming down his face. 'Of course I did. You'll be joining her soon enough, Scott Summers. As well as the rest of mutantkind' Ahab responds, before ordering his Hounds to take Cyclops down.
The Hounds leap towards Cyclops, who fires a powerful, wide optic blast at them, which knocks the Hounds and Ahab back through the restaurant and into the street outside. Ahab starts to sit up and points out that it seems Cyclops is more advanced in his training than he had anticipated, something more than the child he appears to be. 'A mistake I won't make again' Ahab vows, before warning Cyclops that he will see him again – and soon – before he and his Hounds vanish in a glow of blue energy. 'No! Don't you run!' Cyclops calls after Ahab, firing an optic blast towards Ahab, but by the time the energy strikes, there is only the road to hit. 'COME BACK HERE AND FIGHT ME!' Cyclops shouts as a fire breaks out in the restaurant behind him. 'Coward!' Cyclops exclaims.
Civilians start to record Cyclops on their mobile phones as he goes back into the restaurant and sees the motionless Bloodstorm, a pool of blood forming around her. He drops to his knees, covers his face, Bloodstorm...I'm so sorry' he utters as he picks her up and walks out of the restaurant while telepathically calling out to Jean, informing her that they have a code blue.
At a theatre:
'Bobby!' Jean's voice resonates in Bobby's head as Bobby reclines in a chair in the dark theater, his thoughts inform Jean that he is watching a play and that it took him months to get these tickets, adding 'Jefferson is about to sign the Declaration of -' but Jean interrupts him, telling him that he needs to get back to the Institute. 'But -' Bobby begins to reply, as Jean informs him that there is a code blue. Bobby gets to his feet and excuses himself as he moves past the other theatergoers. 'What sort of emergency?' he asks Jean, who tells him that it is Bloodstorm, and to hurry.
Bobby slides out of the theater on an ice-slide, unaware that a cloaked figure is watching him from a nearby rooftop. Bobby mutters that he isn't even back in New York for more than a couple of hours before an emergency breaks out, and remembers that back in his time they had some R&R, days even. 'And there was only one of me back then' he adds, deciding that he needs to talk to older Bobby about setting up some sort of Freaky Friday situation, when suddenly, a blast of fiery energy sends him crashing from his ice-slide to the ground. Bobby bounces along the ground before coming to a stop.
'Show yourself!' he shouts. 'Or are you just going to shoot at me from the shadows like some sort of -' Bobby asks, before being knocked back into a clothing store as more blasts are fired at him. 'I guess that answers that' Bobby decides as he quickly throws up an ice-shield in front of him to defect some of the weapons fire – but one shot strikes him in the back, knocking him into a rack of clothes, he falls to the floor.
'Get up' a voice calls out. 'Wait...' Bobby utters, in shock, before he realizes that the voice is coming from Nathan Summers a.k.a. Cable. 'Tell me that it's not you shooting at me' Bobby asks. Cable extends his hand and tells Bobby that they need to get him out of here. 'Who the hell is that?' Bobby asks as he and Cable duck behind a corner as more fiery blasts are shot at them. Cable tells Bobby that he will cover him, while Bobby should make a break for it, but Bobby tells Cable that he isn't running and leaving him here. 'It's important that you get back to the mansion. The future depends on it' Cable announces. 'That's... it's just not happening' Bobby replies, as he creates some ice golems to keep their attacker distracted, suggesting that he and Cable can then find out who their attacker is – before a dart is shot into Bobby's neck, knocking him out with a surge of energy.
The Xavier Institute for Mutant Education and Outreach, shortly after:
'Scott, I'm so sorry, I -' Marvel Girl utters as she runs into the corridor as Cyclops rushes inside, 'Is Bloodstorm -' Angel asks, as Cyclops asks where Rachel Grey is. 'RACHEL? I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME!' Cyclops shouts, opening a door to a living area, with Marvel Girl and Angel following him. 'Scott, what's -' Rachel Grey a.k.a. Prestige asks, as Cyclops announces that Bloodstorm was killed – killed by a man who had two Hounds with him – with the same stripes on their faces as Rachel. 'Who is he? Where do I find that bastard?' Scott shouts, causing Rachel to step backwards. Wide-eyed she asks what the man looked like. 'Like some sort of techo-pirate. Purple, peg leg, spear' Cyclops tells her. 'It can't be' Rachel utters, hanging her head. 'You know who it is?' Marvel Girl asks her, and Rachel tells her that it is Ahab. Rachel explains that Ahab is the one that did this to her, turned her into a Hound, kept her prisoner and tortured her, forced her to help him hunt down other mutants.
Rachel suddenly realizes that would explain why her facial markings were back. 'I thought I'd beaten it... he's not supposed to be here... he's -' Rachel remarks, as Cyclops, tears streaming down under his glasses, exclaims 'Well, he is. He tried to kill me. Bloodstorm got in the way and... just tell me... how do I find him?'
He is unaware that the two strange rescued children are observing from a nearby doorway. 'Are you talking about Bobby?' the Beast asks as he joins the others in the corridor, informing them that Bobby hasn't checked in yet, and he can't raise him. 'Is he okay?' Beast asks.
Back in the alleyway:
'Bobby!' Cable calls out to Bobby, who convulses on the ground, unable to get up thanks to the dart that is stuck in his neck. Cable reaches out for Bobby and tells him that it is okay – but as he tries to take hold of Bobby, an explosion knocks him backwards. 'You're too slow, old man' the figure obscured by the brown cloak declares as they move in closer. 'How...?' Cable asks as the mystery assailant raises their weapon towards Cable, who frowns and remarks 'You're wrong' as he suddenly grabs a handful of clothes and throws them at the mystery assailant, covering their face, and enabling Cable to lunge forward and grab them, forcing them to the ground. 'They needed them to see. Needed to see what they became so that they could...so they could go back with that knowledge and be better. So we could be better!' Cable exclaims as he grabs the assailant's large gun and tosses it away. 'It was a risk worth taking' Cable adds.
Back at the Xavier Institute:
'I can't find Bobby anywhere' Marvel Girl announces as she uses Cerebro to try and find her teammate. Cyclops, Beast and Angel are with her, as are Kitty Pryde and Prestige. Marvel Girl adds that there was a blip – and then nothing. 'Is he -' Kitty begins to ask, but Marvel Girl interrupts her and explains that she doesn't know, adding that it is like he just went offline – she can't see him anymore.
'This is my fault. If Ahab's here, it's because of me' Rachel remarks, but Kitty tells her friend that it is not her fault. Marvel Girl continues to use Cerebro and informs the others that Bobby wasn't alone, that there are two others, one of them has some sort of psi-shield, she can sense they are there, but not who they are, as if they were a void. Cyclops leans into Marvel Girl and asks her if it is Ahab, but she tells him that she doesn't know, before revealing that the other oner is Cable. Beast asks Marvel Girl if she can see the other person through Cable's eyes, to which Marvel Girl offers to try, adding that Cable is not very perceptive to people poking around in his head. 'Someone killed Bloodstorm. We can only pray that they haven't killed Bobby' Beast declares, telling Marvel Girl that this ranks as an exception.
Back in the alley:
'Listen to you... rationalizing your future!' the mystery assailant exclaims as they reveal a small gun, and shoot Cable with it, blasting him at close range and knocking him back. Cable crawls towards the weapon he took from the attacker earlier, 'Look at you. You got old. Soft. Weak' the mystery assailant declares as they reach the weapon before Cable does. 'You're making a mistake...' Cable utters, while the assailant tells him that he has outlived his usefulness. 'Cable... YOU'RE RELIEVED OF YOUR DUTY!' the mystery assailant announces as they fire two powerful weapons at Cable, point-blank close range, no mercy. They then toss the larger weapon aside and start to walk away. 'Old fool... you really should have seen that coming' the mystery assailant remarks.
'UNGGGH!' Marvel Girl screams as she stands up, a psychic backlash knocking the others aside as she falls to the platform Cerebro sits on. Cyclops asks Jean what happened and if she is okay, but as Jean removes Cerebro, she utters 'No. It's Cable... he's dead'.
The mystery assailant goes back into the alleyway where the motionless Iceman lays. They pick Bobby up and throw him over their shoulder. 'Body-slide. By two' the mystery assailant remarks, before they vanish with Bobby.
'How...' Cyclops utters as he sits beside Cable's body. The Beast puts his arms around Marvel Girl while Kitty tells Rachel that she is so sorry. 'Tell me it’s not true... please...' Rachel gasps as she moves past Angel to get closer to Cable's body. 'No... NATHAN!' Rachel screams as she throws her arms around her brother's body. Cyclops tells Rachel that he is sorry, but that time is not on their side. He asks her if this was Ahab, if it was him who did this. Still hugging Cable's body, Rachel tells Cyclops that she doesn't think so, adding that she doesn't know how to put it into words, but that she doesn't sense Ahab here. 'I would feel him, I'm sure. This feels different. Like -' Rachel begins, interrupted by the arrival of two new arrivals – the present day Jean Grey and Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler.
'Jean...' the present day Jean Grey calls out to her younger self. She goes over to her and puts a hand on her face, revealing that she could hear her psychic scream 3,000 feet under the ocean, and that they followed as quickly as they could. 'Is it true? Is Cable...?' Jean's voice trails off, as her younger self replies 'I'm afraid so'. Jean Grey turns and looks down at Cable's body. 'My son...' she whispers.
'Mein Gott' Nightcrawler gasps as he goes over to Cyclops, who announces that they got Bloodstorm, that he was there, but couldn't stop them. Nightcrawler tells Cyclops not to worry, and that this will not go unanswered. 'And now Bobby's gone. God what's going on?' Marvel Girl wonders, covering her face. Jean Grey tells her that she doesn't know, and vows that whoever killed her son will pay for it. 'They...he...was using a psi-shield, so they're smart enough to know to protect themselves from us. But that doesn't mean we won't find them' Jean declares, before announcing that she can track Bobby to this spot, but then his trail ends here, as she steps out to where Bobby's body was last seen. Jean tells the others that they are looking for a teleporter, and Cyclops tells her that Ahab teleported away earlier.
'It won't happen again. He’s going to pay for what he's done' Jean Grey promises, before Rachel tells everyone that what happened here was not Ahab. 'Then he's working with someone. More Hounds?' Cyclops suggests, but Rachel reveals that Ahab's Hounds don't go anywhere without him. Kitty tells the other X-Men that she refuses to believe that two attacks and two dead X-Men in the space of hours is a coincidence. 'If it's not Ahab... then who?' Kitty wonders.
An undisclosed location, where five stasis tanks are lined up – Bobby is inside one of them. The mystery assailant touches a panel that seems to be monitoring Bobby's vitals, before they remove their cloak and walk over to a series of computer monitors. 'One down...' he remarks as he taps at a keyboard. '... four to go' he declares, stepping into the light he is revealed to be a younger version of Cable!