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The mystery of Penance continues!

As Jubilee demands answers from her old friend Gateway, the old mutant is confronted with sins of his past and Jubilee begins to doubt his involvement in her life as something manipulative rather than accidental.

Monet reveals a more intellectual side to her that even surprises her mentors that connect Penance to something far more tragic than they had anticipated.

After the dangerous clawed creature escapes their infirmary, the team splits up to search for her in the wooded areas of the Xavier property. The search leaves two members of Generation X in grave peril.


Jubilee, abrasive and direct as ever, tries to confront Gateway who sits atop the roof of Generation X's home during a violent storm. Accompanied by her more sensible teammate Synch, the pair approach the silent Aboriginal mutant for answers about Penance, who had injured Banshee's hands after he had tried to touch the mysterious new guest. When Gateway remains silent and provides no clues to his motives, Jubilee angrily prepares to strike Gateway with her umbrella before being stopped by Synch.

Gateway, who was responsible for teleporting the orphaned Jubilee from a Los Angeles mall into the doorstep of the X-Men, has been a mysterious ally since day one. Jubilee once believed his involvement to be fate of some kind, but now has suspicions that Gateway had manipulated her as a pawn in some master plan in his head.

Gateway continues to sit on the rooftop, soaking in the rain and his own regret. He feels alone in every sense and definition of the word as he recalls his decisions that have put him at odds with his moral conscience in an effort of "self-preservation".

Inside, Emma Frost bandages up Banshee's hands from the wounds he attained from lifting the young Penance from the ground. Penance's skin, diamond hard with an apparently untouchable surface, made her transport into the infirmary quite difficult.

Emma gleefully banters with Banshee and proposes she telepathically ease the pain in his mind. Banshee's eerie response about an entrance in his mind even catches the quick-witted Emma off guard.

The pair are then approached by the seemingly all-knowing Monet St. Croix, who has taken up the simple codename of "M". Monet has discovered clues about the creature simply known as Penance and where she came from.

Emma Frost and Banshee are doubtful, considering Emma Frost's experienced telepathic abilities were unable to uncover information from a mental scan she performed on the mutant. Monet insists that it was mere "deductive reasoning" that brought her to her conclusions.

Monet leads the two mentors into the infirmary where she begins to explain herself. Emma Frost smiles condescendingly as she refuses to believe Monet can interpret data from their complex computers and machinery let alone operate it in the first place.

St. Croix insists that the computers were used only to demonstrate her thoughts to others, who may not be able to understand her theories through words alone.

Monet tells Emma to warn her if she goes too fast, which angers her mentor. Banshee lets Monet have the opportunity to explain what she has uncovered. She explains that while Penance arrived by Gateway's mutant abilities, she is certain that she is more closely involved with the mutant they had most recently encountered--the sinister creature known as Emplate. Emplate, who feeds on young mutants bone marrow for sustenance for his own vitality, had no previous records on their computer systems. At first Banshee accuses Emma Frost of holding out information from him, but Monet reveals that it was her who had worked the computer systems in a mere matter of minutes.

Monet continues with her demonstration, comparing the spiked hair of both Emplate and Penance. Monet deducts that since Emplate can absorb mutant abilities from feeding on his victims that he must have fed on Penance long-term, also gaining her physical attributes. The trio deduce that the leather straps on Penance were not part of a costume or for aesthetic purposes but they were used to keep her prisoner.

The two adults watch Penance from afar as she laid unconscious on the infirmary bed. Emma comments that when she scanned her mind it was as if she was but a hollow shell. While the three mutants continue to converse, Penance awakens--her eyes open, alarmed at her location and ready to fight for safety.

In another part of the Institute grounds, Skin and Husk play a friendly game of Scrabble. As Skin begins to take a lead, Husk places blame on trying to play the board game with Skin while simultaneously studying for quantum physics. Skin thinks that the young Guthrie from Kentucky is only trying to put a veil over her country roots to merely appear cultured and intelligent. The two exchange spelled out insults with their Scrabble pieces as Jonothan Starsmore, nowc codenamed "Chamber", comments from the window. The shadowy mutant stands in the rain commenting on the apir's maturity level, but the two brush him off for his own rather bizarre behavior and he walks off.

The rest of the team, minus Monet St. Croix and Chamber, join the pair in the recreational cottage. Banshee looks over their Scrabble game and teases Skin over spelling "bxlomrmlezq".

Suddenly, alarms begin to sound off. Emma notices its coming from the infirmary and that it must be Penance. Everyone runs to the medical center and notice the walls have been torn through and destroyed. Banshee alerts the team to stand back, but Monet is confident that Penance is gone. While Jubilee believes that there were others like her who broke her out, Monet observes from careful calculations that the lacerations were uniformly the same as Penance's.

Elsewhere, Penance defensively hides behind the trees and shrubbery, ready to attack to prevent capture into an existence similar to what she has lived through.

Banshee leads the team and instructs they split into two different factions. The rain continues to pour down as he decides he and Husk will take one end while the rest of the team take the other. Skin insists on staying put at the mansion in case Penance returns, but Banshee refuses his offer. Emma sides with her student and telepathically communicates to Sean that she'll explain why its a wise move later. As Sean concedes, Jubilee notes that Chamber had wandered off alone in the woods.

In the west side of the forest, Chamber searches for Penance. The two similarly are alone and have closed off others from themselves. He waits, believing that she will come to him.

On the other side of the woods, Husk and Banshee begin their search. Husk is so eager to prove herself that she overlooks blatant clues to her whereabouts. Banshee notices claw marks on a nearby tree. Banshee touches over it and pricks his finger, knowing that the dangerous young girl causes destruction even when she doesn't intend to.

Paige admires her mentor's quick mind and wisdom and begins to doubt herself. She realizes that no matter how hard she prepares herself, it is only experience that brings the kind of preparedness her teacher has attained.

On another end of the woods Emma Frost and M take a different route in finding Penance. Monet, using her incredible strength, has been bulldozing trees out of their path. Monet condescendingly exchanges words with Emma, who wants to know what provoked her attitude towards her. Emma believes it was her invasion into her head at the airport last issue, but Monet nonchalantly brushes it off and says she doesn't know Emma Frost enough to make an assessment quite yet. Emma notes in her head a dislike for her student, mostly because she can't manipulate someone so confident with not only herself but her mutant abilities as well.

During Emma's internal monologue, she nearly trips and falls from a branch of a tree before Monet catches her. As they land Monet notes what she doesn't like about her headmistress--her lack of interest in other's privacy and her attire--but assures Frost that her opinion of her needs time to truly form. The two get word from Skin that Banshee and Husk have found a lead, so they head towards their direction.


In Monaco, Monet St. Croix's father, Cartier St. Croix, sits comfortably in a hut. The quite well-off former corporate president--said to be an "eccentric" man--is targeted by an unknown assailant in an armored suit. As he points his weapon from a distance, his arm seems to be sliced off for no apparent reason. Luckily for him it was only his metal glove, but the strange occurrence leaves him bewildered.

End of Interlude

Penance's trail has just gone cold. Banshee and Husk continue to investigate but even find her footprints have disappeared. They reason through potential abilities she may have, but come up empty. Husk then notices a hole nearby and claws from beneath the earth begin to emerge from the muddy pits. Banshee realizes that while they had been following her, she had been doing the exact same to them.

Husk is grabbed from the surface and Banshee chases after his student. He thinks to himself that he had been too focused on appearing the wise instructor that he, like his eager student, did not catch the obvious.

He finds Husk laying inside the burrowed hole, injured from her encounter with Penance. She catches him by surprise and stabs him with her long, red claws as well. She places her claws into his mouth, seemingly leaving him without options as utilizing his mutant powers could bring his life to an end.

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