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Third story: Darcie Little Badger (writer), Kyle Charles (artist), Felipe Sobreiero (colorist)Fourth story: Stephen Graham Jones (writer), David Cutler (penciler), Roberto Poggi (inker), Chris Peter (colorist)Virtual Calligraphy's Ariana Maher (letterer), Salena Mahina (designer), Jim Terry & Brian Reber (cover artists), David Mack; Afua Richardson; Jeffrey Veregge (variant cover artists), Sarah Brunstad (editor), Tom Brevoort (executive editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)Special thanks to Angelique Roche
(3rd story)Dani Moonstar and Wolfsbane arrive in Yavapi County to investigate a young mutant who has gone missing following some trouble at a fairground. Moonstar was personally requested by the tribal government that the young mutant belongs to, as during the incident, the sheriff's son was injured, which could lead to more danger for the young mutant. The two friends soon encounter a strange monster-like creature, which Dani assumes to be one of the young mutant's creations, as he has the ability to create monster-like illusions for short periods of time. They soon find the mutant hiding in a cave, and Dani offers him the support of the mutant nation of Krakoa. Unfortunately, the sheriff and his friends appear and attack. Dani, Wolfsbane and the young mutant are able to work together to prevent any more harm from happening. A week later, a celebration is underway as friendly diplomatic ties are established between Krakoa and the young mutant's tribe.
(4th story)Silver Fox and her husband, Trigo are determined to put an end to the suffering of their people and the destruction of their native land by white soldiers. They sneak into a base that has been set up by the soldiers and after Trigo has a vision of a massacre that will take place, they carry out their plan to burn the camp down. A woman there notices them and almost ruins their plan, but they take her out. They find a wolf pup, and Trigo has a vision of Silver Fox's future with the pup – and with Wolverine and Sabretooth, before they set the camp ablaze and leave with the wolf pup, who Silver Fox calls Ootskwiimi.
(3rd story)Yavapai County in Arizona, where a small carnival is taking place. On a small stage, an announcer stands behind several large pumpkins. A small audience sits in front of the stage as the announcer congratulates an elderly woman called Miss Deleon and tells her that her pumpkin is a whopper. 'Yeah, grandma!' a boy calls out from the audience. 'Seriously? She wins every year' another girl mutters as she sits next to a teenage boy. 'She ain't even from here. They're all off the rez. Can't your father do something?' the girl asks the boy. 'Like what? He isn't the county fair king, and they aren't breaking any laws' the boy replies. 'It just ain't right' the girl complains, before remarking that the concert starts in five minutes. 'Ready to go, babe?' she asks the boy. 'Save me a seat. I'll meet up with you' he tells her as he looks over at Miss DeLeon who is putting a cheque into her purse. 'What will you do with five hundred dollars?' her grandson from the audience asks, while another young man pushes the large pumpkin along in a wheelbarrow. 'Truck needs fixing. And you need ice cream' Miss DeLeon responds.
After a short distance, the other young man stops pushing the wheelbarrow, setting it down, he apologizes, and remarks that his arms were going to fall off. Miss DeLeon addresses him as Julian and thanks him for helping with the heavy lifting. 'No, thank you for the gift' Julian replies. 'What are you going to do with her pumpkin? Make a pie for the Hulk?' Miss DeLeon's grandson asks. Julian looks down at the large pumpkin and explains that it will be his greatest creation – a jack-o-lantern glowing with the flames of ten candles. 'Halloween is next month!' Mss DeLeon's grandson exclaims. 'In my heart, it's always -' Julian begins, when suddenly, the teenage boy, who has pulled the bandana around his head down over his mouth, runs past the group, 'Oh, my purse!' Miss DeLeon cries out as the boy grabs it and pushes Julian over. 'Stop!' Miss DeLeon's grandson calls out, grabbing the teenage boy and calling him a thief. 'Don't touch me!' the boy snaps, while Mss DeLeon calls her grandson Lucas and tells him to let go of the other boy.
But, the thief elbows Lucas in the face, drawing blood and knocking him to the ground. 'I told you not to touch me! That's what you get!' the teenage boy snaps. 'Please leave us alone!' Mss DeLeon asks as she tends to her injured grandson. 'Hey!' a voice calls out. 'Don't hurt my family!' Julian exclaims, his arms glowing with dark energy, a strange tentacled creature appears near him, and deformed, winged bats flock around, too, while someone runs nearby and shouts 'He's a mutant!'
Thirty-nine hours later, Dani Moonstar a.k.a. Mirage and Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane, two longtime friends and members of the New Mutants team have arrived to investigate. 'What's the verdict?' Dani asks, while Wolfsbane examines a stuffed fairground bear that has been torn into shreds. 'Smells like hair gel. But ah can probably track him with this, Dani' Wolfsbane replies. Dani tells her friend that she is brilliant, and remarks that Julian has been gone for two days, which is a long time for a teen to be in the desert. Rahne asks why Kate's Marauders aren't handling this, as mutant rescue is one of their specialities. Dani reveals that it is personal, and explains that Julian's tribal government reached out and tasked her with Julian's protection. 'So we aren't rescuing the lad from human cruelty? What a refreshing change' Rahne comments.
'Yes and no. During the incident, one man got injured' Dani informs Rahne. 'He was the sheriff's son' she adds. 'Och. Say no more' Rahne remarks, while Dani tells her that they need to reach Julian before the police does. As they continue exploring the fairground, they don't notice someone in a black car parked nearby, watching them.
As Dani and Rahne head into the desert, they climb up a ridge and Dani thanks Rahne for the help and company today. 'Someday soon, you and I should visit a fair that hasn't been trashed by monsters. With your aim, you could win all the big teddy bears' Rahne replies, before they hear a strange shrieking noise, and look over to see a strange, horrid creature running towards them. 'That must be one of Julian's monsters! His grandma said they only last a few minutes before vanishing. He must be close' Dani tells Rahne, who switches to her lupine form and announces 'I got 'im!' as she grabs the creature, shoving it into the dirt, she holds it down and asks Dani if she can calm it down. 'I'll try' Dani replies as she touches the creature, while using her power to connect to animals, she tells the creature not to be afraid, and assures it that they won't hurt it'.
Shortly, with the creature calm and under Dani's control, Dani and Rahne ride on its back through the desert. 'This is much nicer than walking' Rahne remarks, before Dani spots a mineshaft ahead, a “danger” sign posted outside of it, Dani supposes that Julian must be sheltering in the abandoned mine. They get off the creature and Dani walks towards the mine, instructing Rahne to keep watch for the sheriff's cronies, while she goes into the mine. 'To state the obvious, there's a lot of shadows in that pit, Dani. Do you remember how tricky it was to control our abilities at Julian's age?' Rahne asks. 'Vividly. That's why he needs us' Dani replies. Standing at the opening to the mine, Dani calls out to Julian, informing him that she is here to help. Suddenly, a deformed bat creature flies out of the mine, then several more, slamming into Dani and knocking her backwards. 'Augh!' Dani calls out. 'Enough! Get! Get!' Dani exclaims, controlling the creatures so that divert around her.
'That's better' Dani remarks as she looks into the cave, holding her phone up to creature a light, she then hears a voice ask 'How did you make them listen? Are you... like me?' Julian enquires as he appears. And soon, Dani and Julian sit on some rocks, with Julian drinking from a bottle as Dani informs him that powers can be multifaceted, and in addition to connecting with animals, she can project somebody's greatest fear – or desire. 'Create illusions inspired by psyches' Dani explains. Julian tells her that is cool, and asks her if she has ever considered opening the world's scariest horror attraction. Dani laughs and tells him that she hasn't, but admits that her powers are cool – now that she can control them, anyway. Dani tells Julian that she wasn't always able to control her powers, and initially, she hurt her family and friends – terribly. 'My powers did worse than a knife to the back. They injured the mind. The soul' Dani explains, before telling Julian that he doesn't have to struggle like she did, as there is a community to support him on the mutant nation of Krakoa.
Julian stands up and tells Dani that he has a community already – his family, his tribe, to which Dani informs him that they are the ones who called her. Julian then apologizes in advance if his next question is personal. 'But I was wondering...' he begins. 'Yes?' Dani encourages him. 'What are you now, Miss Moonstar? Cheyenne or Krakoan?' Julian queries. 'Both' Dani replies, adding that she is sometimes a Valkyrie, a teacher and a connoisseur of black coffee. 'Krakoa isn't about assimilation. I'd raise hell before that happened' Dani declares, assuring Julian that they can be many things – and have many families. Dani sees Rahne approach, and asks her if she is okay. Rahne reports that they were followed, and five people are approaching on foot – they are armed. Dani instructs Julian to take cover in the mine, while she and Rahne handle the sheriff's posse. 'Right' Julian replies, watching as Rahne switches into her lupine form again.
'Easy, ladies. We aren't here for a tussle' the sheriff calls out, flanked by three other men and a woman, all carrying guns. 'Is the furry one a lady or a dog?' one of the others asks. 'Haha. Shh' another of the men tells his companion. The sheriff introduces himself as Sheriff Tenebaum, and asks Mirage where she is taking the kid. Dani readies a psi-arrow and tells him, respectfully, that is not his concern. 'He almost killed my son. Somebody needs to be held accountable' the sheriff points out. Dani reports that she saw the viral videos, and points out that, technically, a twenty-foot-long tentacle from an undirectional extradimensional portal almost killed his son. 'After your son punched a wee boy in the face' Wolfsbane adds. The female member of the posse asks 'Do you think this is a joke -' when one of the bat creatures flies towards her. 'They're attacking!' she exclaims.
Wolfsbane stands at the ready, and the sheriff and his posse raise their weapons. 'You don't want this fight, ladies. It's tasers, mace and guns against teeth and arrows. Please don't make -' the sheriff begins, before Dani fires her psi-arrow, knocking the taser from the sheriff's hand. 'Ah'm a lady!' Wolfsbane snarls as she leaps at the man who queried her earlier, kicking him in the face as he manages to fire one bullet. Dani then punches another of the posse, throwing him over backwards. 'She has super strength!' one of the posse calls out. 'Sadly, no' Dani remarks, disarming the gun, she explains 'That's just called having skills'. 'Mutie freak! You -' the posse member begins, raising his weapon, he drops to the ground when the creature rushes towards him, screeching. 'Great backup, my friend' Dani tells the creature. Julian emerges from the cave after hearing gunshots, and asks Dani if she is okay. 'Just a... misunderstanding. Everything will be all right' Dani tells him, while Rahne announces that they need to make some calls, as she kneels beside the sheriff and his posse, who have all been handcuffed together.
One week later, a celebration is underway, where Dani and Rahne stand among the locals, as Storm and Nightcrawler, who carries a Krakoan flower, stand with tribe dignitaries, one of whom announces that it is her pleasure to celebrate and promote the friendly diplomatic ties between their peoples. Storm smiles and takes her hand, while Lucas can be heard cheering from the gathered crowd. 'Shh!' his grandmother utters, smiling. Dani tells Rahne that it is official – they are standing on mutant-friendly land. She wonders how many other native nations will follow suit, and whether her people will be among them. 'I hope so!' Rahne tells her friend. Dani adds that she knows this celebration isn't technically a fair, but that she has a present for Rahne to make up for it. She holds up a pink stuffed bear from the fairground, and Rahne tells her that he is perfect. 'Let's go home' Dani suggests as she puts her arm around her friend and they walk away from the celebrations.
(4th story)The Northwest Territories, an unnaturally long lifetime ago, where, twenty-two years earlier, the trappers came through, and brought their pestilence to the Siksikaitsitapi (member of the Blackfoot Confederacy). And then came the soldiers, with their Gatling guns and with more disease. On the snow-covered terrain, several soldiers trek, and come across a sled which is packed with furs. The sled appears abandoned – the trappers are dead – their bodies partially submerged in the snowy ground. 'Well, well, well' one of them grins upon seeing the sled of furs. 'Holy – bet the dirty savages caught 'em out here all alone!' one of the other soldiers declares. They start pulling the sled towards their nearby fort. 'Don't mean all these fine furs to go to waste, does it' another of the soldiers suggests.
Shortly, the sky has darkened, and the sled of furs has been left alone inside the fenced area surrounding the fort. The back of the sled is open, revealing a compartment, which a man and a woman are crawling out of. The woman's name is Silver Fox, and the man is her husband, Trigo – they are not here for a treaty negotiation. Negotiations are over. Silver Fox and Trigo enter the fort, and make their way into some sort of store room or supply room. 'This one' Silver Fox remarks in her native Siksika as she shoves a knife into a bag of flour. The flour spills from the bag and Trigo catches some of it in his hands. He clenches his teeth and groans as he sees some sort of vision – two soldiers in the supply room, one of whom suddenly picks up their axe and buries it into the other soldier's back.
Silver Fox decides that there is no way this fort will survive the winter. She and Trigo make their way into the part of the fort where the soldiers are sleeping, laying in makeshift beds on the floor, bottles of alcohol strewn about them. One soldier suddenly wakes up, 'Wha -' he begins, rubbing his head as he sits up – but Silver Fox sees him and lunges at him, pushing him back to the ground, she holds one hand over his mouth, and brings a knife to his face with her other hand. Silver Fox knows that because the fort will have appeared to have failed due to the weather, the remoteness, the character of the people – there will be no reprisals. 'Did that...?' Silver Fox asks her husband, who touches the blanket one of the soldiers is sleeping under, ands sees a vision of soldiers fighting each other. 'No reinforcements' Trigo smiles at Silver Fox, while blood trickles from his nose.
Silver Fox doesn't want any more white men polluting her home. She looks at her husband, who tells her 'Don't give ‘em that look. We keep going'. They begin taking things from the supply room, including what appears to be a small deer hung upside down, and drop them into a well. 'You don't have to do this, Trigo' Silver Fox utters, as her husband touches the well, and goes wide-eyed in horror, he cries out in pain, as he sees several people – soldiers and locals – hung by their necks from a gallows. Fire roars, while other soldiers fight locals – and each other. 'This is hurting you too much!' Silver Fox exclaims. She starts to tell Trigo that it isn't worth it, but Trigo, blood running down his face, reminds Silver Fox that they agreed – they follow this until the end, until it is done. 'Very well' Silver Fox agrees, before turning to the small shack cabin where she knows the soldiers keep their guns.
They enter the cabin and find it loaded with guns – which Silver Fox begins to start breaking with her bare hands, while Trigo pours oil from a barrel onto the ground. They start a fire and throw blankets onto the fire. 'Good?' Silver Fox asks Trigo, who touches the cabin where the guns were stored and informs Silver Fox that they eat each other in the end – but get no sustenance from it – only more hunger. 'This is how they are. It's never enough. They always have to have more, until they have it all' Silver Fox remarks. Trigo points out that the bankets will catch fire soon, and so they should go.
But, as Silver Fox and Trigo start to leave the fort, an old woman carrying a pail of water sees them. 'Hey! Where are you two -' she calls out, dropping the pail when Silver Fox rushes towards her, telling her to shush. 'We're just leaving – you don't have to -' Silver Fox begins, 'Ah! HELP -' the woman screams, so Silver Fox breaks her neck, and the old woman drops to the snow. 'She was just going for water...' Silver Fox begins, but Trigo tells her to come on. Suddenly, Silver Fox notices a blanket in the snow, and realizes that the woman dropped it. She picks the blanket up, and discovers a small pup wrapped in the blanket. She asks Trigo to touch the pup, and he does – but what he sees is two soldiers eating the pup after roasting it on a fire. 'No' Silver Fox utters. 'They don't get to hurt you too'.
Looking at the sled of furs, Silver Fox knows this isn't the first time the soldiers have done this. She asks Trigo to hold the pup for a second, and places the pup in her husband's arms, despite him protesting. Trigo then sees that this may be the last time the soldiers try anything, and unwittingly, he sees Silver Fox playing with the pup – now a grown wolf, and man with long claws, who announces that the wolf has hydrophobia, as the wolf backs him and Silver Fox into a corner, knowing he would never hurt them on purpose. And, had the wolf lived long enough, he could have barked when Silver Fox needed it the most – when another man with claws and sharp teeth dropped by.
'No! I don't want to see. I didn't see' Trigo exclaims as he throws the pup back into Silver Fox's arms. 'But -' Silver Fox begins, although Trigo tells her that it is time to go, time to move on. While the fire blazes behind them, Silver Fox and Trigo set out into the night, trudging through the snow. Trigo says nothing, while Silver Fox huddles the pup close. 'Sweet little one. What will I call you? How about... Ootskiwiimi' she suggests.
(3rd story)Mirage, Wolfsbane (both New Mutants)Nightcrawler, Storm
JulianMiss DeLeonLucasSheriff TenenbaumSheriff Tenebaunm's sonLocalsPosse
(4th story)Silver FoxTrigo
SoldiersBodies of trappersWoman
(in flash forward)Silver FoxWolverineSabretooth
The other stories in this issue are:
First story: The Watcher
Second story: Hitting Back, starring Echo
The first story is brief, and features the Watcher discussing Indigenous American tribes and the heroes from those tribes. Several X-related characters are referenced and are depicted with headshots: Thunderbird, Warpath, Shaman, Talisman, Snowbird, Moonstar, Forge, Silver Fox and Risque.
(4th story)Ootskwiimi translates to “blue”.
The flash forwards that Trigo sees were chronicled in flashbacks in Wolverine (2nd series) #47, where Ootskwiimi contracted rabies, and Wolverine (2nd series) #10, where Silver Fox was murdered by Sabretooth.