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Plot Summary

X-23 is kidnapped and interrogated by Captain America and Daredevil in the aftermath of the assassination of presidential candidate Greg Johnson, a mission she carried out during her work with the facility that created her. She relates to them details of her life after she escaped and found her relatives the Kinneys, saving Debbie and Megan Kinney from Kimura. Captain America finally decides to let X-23 go instead of handing her in for prosecution for her crimes, letting her seek her own way to the X-Men.

This story arc served to build on details of X-23's back story, inserting the new character of Kimura into her origin story. Kimura would go on to be one of X-23's arch-nemeses.

Full Plot

Laura is kidnapped and interrogated. In flashback, X-23 is forced by the facility to mirror a hologram program of Weapon X. Dr. Sarah Kinney is shown in the observation booth as she argues frantically with the director, Dr. Martin Sutter, begging him to end the program. X-23 suddenly out-performs the program by improvising and killing her assailant--a simulated Grizzly bear--with her foot claw, which Weapon X does not have. She is shown approaching the simulation of Weapon X and staring at him, as the off-panel voice in the present continues to demand her to answer the question: "Are you X-23?"

She tells them she is not, and another voice says that she is telling the truth, while the first voice says this is not possible. A locket is shown to X-23, with a picture of Dr. Kinney; she tells them that it is her mother. She remembers the day when she killed Sarah (because of the trigger scent). She had stayed with Sarah until she was covered with snow. Helicopters appeared in the distance, and Laura grabbed the dropped book and letter, shoved them back into Sarah's bag, then ran off (returning once to touch Sarah's cheek). The helicopter found her, and she swiftly dealt with the incoming wave of facility personnel; however she couldn't hurt Kimura, who had also shown up. She instead shot down a tree with a gun procured off a fallen facility officer. This caused the ice beneath them to shatter, and both she and Kimura were buried. Laura resurfaced a few moments later, still holding her mother's bag.

In the present an unseen voice asks her: "The girl. Who is she?" as a hand holds up the other side of the locket, with a picture of a teenaged girl. The scene cuts to show Megan Kinney waking up from a nightmare, about her previous experience as a kidnap victim of a serial killer that X-23 had killed. Laura had hidden outside the Kinney's house in San Fransisco, at fourteen years of age, listening to the Kinneys argue about Megan's emotional problems. She continued to shadow the Kinney family for twenty-one days. On the twenty-second day she knocked on their door and introduced herself to Debbie Kinney, who was astonished to see her sister's daughter. X-23's current captors confer about how "This isn't going to work!". Laura continues to reminisce, about how she introduced herself to Megan Kinney, who appeared to have a defiant teenaged nature. Together in Megan's room, Laura asked her why she had drawn so many pictures of the man who kidnapped her. Her cousin began to cry. X-23's captors in the present are revealed to be Captain America and Daredevil (in his Matt Murdock persona).

Deceiving Captain America

Captain America hands Murdock a file detailing X-23's crime: the murder of Greg Johnson, which Murdock reads with his fingers. He asks Laura "Why?" in a small voice. She replies that it was her mission. Captain America goes on to relate his view of the event, which involves his response to a S.H.I.E.L.D. report on a possible threat to candidate Johnson. He arrived too late and saw the carnage that X-23 had left in her wake. He says "I've seen my share of senseless death in my time...but this still affected me. And then I heard crying." He continues to narrate that he found the handicapped girl amongst the mess (Laura) and took her to an ambulance. He later realized his mistake in letting her go when he was told that the center was locked down since the event. He returned to find the ambulance workers dead.

X-23 continues to narrate her time in San Fransisco with her relatives. Megan demanded Laura tell her mother about the kidnapping, because she couldn't remember it herself, and wanted to know why her mother had been concealing the event from her. Debbie was upset and sorry about Megan, and apologized to Laura. She then offered her niece some of her daughter's clothes, but apologized for the Gothic style of the outfits (which Laura appeared to like, explaining her later tastes for the style). Laura told Debbie that she would follow Megan to school by tracking her scent. In reality, the trail led to the wharf, where she imparted the story of her creation very briefly to her cousin. They then headed toward school, where Laura got into various situations with her odd blunt, clinical manner and dangerous knowledge of how to kill people. She got them sent to the principal's office twice in one afternoon and then got them suspended. Laura and Megan took off for a joy ride in the Principal's car. This continued into a museum trip, a movie at the theater, an amusement park, a pet store, Tiffany's jewelry store (where Laura bought Megan several pieces), a Dazzler concert, and ended with them talking more about Laura's past on the wharf. They returned to Megan's home, where Debbie was very angry and chewed them out for not telling her where they were. Megan and Debbie shared a bonding moment and Megan apologized to her mother "for everything", having changed her mind after hearing Laura's tale of having to kill her own mother. She promised that things would be better. Captain America says "But they weren't...were they?" Laura answers "No", then details how her aunt's boyfriend, Desmond, was actually a facility operative. Laura tells them "They were going to make me kill Megan."

Laura and Megan

Murdock questions Laura about the trigger scent. She describes the three-year training process, consumed with experiences of different forms of water torture (with trigger scent in place of water). She killed a dog without a second thought on the first trigger-scent trial. Murdock expresses disbelief, but Captain America asks if this scent was used on all her missions. Laura explains how it was only used in instances when the facility did not trust her to kill the target, or if the target was considered exceptional. She goes on to reminisce about killing a man with the ability to become invisible: DiLorenzo ( Fade), on a job for Wilson Fisk ( Kingpin). Captain America tells her he knew about DiLorenzo, and tells her that the man had a wife and child that disappeared. He asks her if she had anything to do with this, and Laura looks like she is in pain when she says "Yes".

Captain America prods her to continue with the San Fransisco story. Laura explains how she and Megan were out on the streets when Megan received a call on the phone that Debbie was sick and that they should pick up some cold medicine. Megan asked if Laura had some money; she explained that she had one hundred forty-seven thousand six hundred and ninety-two dollars. Megan was astonished and asked whether she could borrow money from Laura, who replied that she could, but that it was at Megan's house. Just then Laura saw Wolverine and the other X-men (when Professor Charles Xavier announced to the world that he is a mutant) on a TV in an electronics store window. She stopped, and was mesmerized by the man she was replicated from. Megan said that they had to go home and get cash.

At the Kinney house, Desmond brought tea to Debbie. He came downstairs just as Megan opened the door on him, spilling the tea on his front. It became apparent that the tea was laced with trigger scent and Desmond began to panic. Megan touched Desmond to comfort him, transferring the scent onto herself. Laura entered a blind rage. Captain America asks her if she killed Megan and Debbie, while Murdock reminds him that she was acting under the influence of a controlling substance. Rogers replies that he knows but he needs to uncover the story, and that the judgment on X-23 is up to someone else. He asks Laura to continue narrating. Desmond yelled on the phone for Kimura as he ran away, but X-23 reached him first and slaughtered him mercilessly while Megan looked on, horrified and begging her to stop. Scared by the screaming downstairs, Debbie spilled the tea on her front, just about to drink it. Megan suddenly remembered Laura's explanation of how trigger scent worked, and realized that the scent is in the tea. She ran upstairs for her mother, as Laura became aware that Megan was covered in the scent. She demanded to know if Debbie drank the tea; she responded that she did not. Megan grabbed her hand, ran to the bathroom with her mother in tow, then shoved her into the bath tub and started the shower just as Laura appeared to kill them.

Kimura

The water washed away the trigger scent just in time, and Laura smelled the air as her eyes cleared, but the trouble wasn't over. Kimura had just arrived. Captain America interrupts to ask Laura who is Kimura, a woman she has now mentioned twice. When Laura was twelve years old, she first met the woman five days after her claws were laced with Adamantium. She narrates how Dr. Rice instructed her to kill Kimura, and how she had failed, as the woman's skin was indestructible. Laura was then punished for her failure with a brutal beating in which Kimura broke her nose and kicked her in the stomach multiple times. She was told that Kimura was now her handler, and would punish her if she failed a mission or disobeyed an order. She relates how Kimura did punish her, on many different occasions (Kimura is seen appearing in many scenes shown in Innocence Lost). Captain America asks if Kimura is a mutant too, but Laura says that the facility designed her. Steve asks her to continue the San Fransisco story. She details how she took Megan and Debbie to the basement and burst a water pipe, so they would not show up on heat detectors. Then she details how she dealt with the arriving Facility personnel, and how Kimura found her and broke her neck. Kimura taunted her and handcuffed their wrists together, then dragged her downstairs and after speaking to Laura's relatives (while holding a crossbow at Megan), she fired her weapon. Laura cut the arrow in half before it could reach her cousin, then began to try to escape, but discovered that the cuffs were Adamantium and that her claws couldn't cut through them. X-23 tried to beat Kimura off with physical violence but failed, and the woman taunted her, starting to put her finger through Megan's chest, over her heart. Laura cut off her hand to escape the cuff, then attached Kimura to a water pipe with the empty cuff. As Laura gave her cousin instructions to pack a bag in three minutes and leave the house, Kimura threatened that: "I'll kill you! There's nowhere you can run I won't find you! You think you've saved her?! You're wrong! Megan is dead! Debbie is dead! Everyone you love will die! And I'll be the one that kills them!". Laura, in the present, says that Kimura was telling the truth, and how she couldn't let that happen. Murdock asks what happened, Rogers says "I'll tell you what she did".

Steve Rogers details how Laura blew up the Kinneys' house by breaking a gas pipe downstairs, then turning on a light bulb. He notes that Kimura was not amongst the twenty-seven bodies in the wreckage (on Laura's questioning). Murdock asks what happened to Megan and Debbie. Laura explains she drove them to a hotel, and how Debbie had told her that she had saved their entire family, including Sarah. At the hotel, Laura cut out Debbie's and Megan's pictures and put them in the fake passports Dr. Kinney had procured for herself and her daughter. Megan took some of the unused photos. At the Washington US/Canada border, Megan asked why Laura was saying goodbye, and why she was not coming with them. Debbie understood right away, but Megan didn't. Megan was distraught, and asked how Laura will find them. As Laura turned to go, Megan stopped her and presented her with the locket containing a picture of Sarah and a picture of herself. Laura thanked them and left, crying, as she narrates "And that's the last time I saw them."

Wolverine meets his Clone

Murdock asks where she went next, and if it was to find Wolverine, to which Laura replies "Yes". He then examines Laura's possessions--the Pinocchio book and Laura's mother's letter, and asks her what they are because he cannot read (he is blind). Laura says the blood washed the words of the letter away. Rogers demands for her to continue the narrative. Laura describes tracking Wolverine for a while, then how she confronted him when he left the school one night and camped out near the New York US/Canadian border. Logan informed her that he'd caught her scent an hour ago, and then Laura initiated a violent fight. She surprised him with her ingenuity when she threw dirt into the wounds she cut, to hold them open so that they couldn't heal. He let her gain the upper hand, and asked her what was her problem. On Wolverine pushing her to explain, she shouted: "We are weapons! We must be stopped! We must be destroyed!". Wolverine told her to kill him, but that he wouldn't let her kill herself. He went on to tell her that she didn't choose this life, and that she had no choice anyway. He explained that her mother sent him a copy of the letter she'd written to Laura, and that by the time he'd received it, Laura was gone. She imparted how her mother was dead, and that she was forced to kill her. Wolverine gave her his copy of the letter, and told her she had to make a choice: do what the facility wanted her to do, or do what her mother wanted her to do: find her humanity. He offered her a place at the institute, which Laura was hesitant to accept, thinking the facility would find her there. Then helicopters came, carrying Captain America; he caught Laura and took her away for interrogation.

The next day Daredevil came in after a hard day's work, to a ringing phone. He tells Captain America he should have left her with Wolverine. Rogers is astonished, but Murdock tells him that it is the best chance she will have at a normal life. If they turn her in, the Government will use her as a weapon. He holds up the copy of Sarah's letter and reminds Rogers that it absolves Laura of everything, that she is actually the victim here. Rogers doesn't believe him at first, and takes X-23 to turn her in to the authorities, but has a change of heart when they are outside the S.H.I.E.L.D. substation in Washington, D.C. He takes Laura to a Greyhound bus station instead and tells her to find the X-Men.

Laura leaves on the bus, watching a little boy with his mother and smiling. The mother shows the boy pictures of an Eagle's claw and asks him what it is; he replies "Talon." This suggests that Talon might have been planned as a codename for Laura initially (this plan never came to fruition, as she is still known as X-23). Laura then begins to read her mother's letter, she cries quietly to herself.

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