Author's note. Like many people who were eagerly anticipating the live action New Mutants movie, I was extremely disappointed in the final product. I thought the characters were wrong and the film as a whole was sloppy and unfinished. This is a rewrite of the film to try to bring it more in line with the spirit of the comics. I want to keep the overall setup the same, with the team trapped in a facility for mutants, since I think that idea has a lot of potential, but I think it could have worked much better than it did in the final movie. There are parts where some details or dialogue may be changed not because I wanted to change it, but because I'm going largely off of memory for many scenes so there will probably be parts that I don't remember 100% correctly.
Danielle Moonstar was nearly tossed from her bed as the ground shook.
Dani had been having a nightmare which tormented her sleep and kept her tossing and turning, but the reality to which she woke was even worse than her dream had been.
She peered out of her window. The trailer home next to hers was engulfed in flames while a loud rumbling noise reverberated through the entire camp.
"What's going on?" she screamed in terror.
Her father entered the trailer and grabbed her by the arm.
"We have to run!" he yelled at her.
The pure horror on her father's face and in his voice filled Dani with an even greater dread. William Lonestar was a leader in their small community, a pillar of strength and stability not only for Dani but for so many others. If he was panicked, then things were truly dire.
Dani barely had time to grab her necklace before her father was pulling her out of the trailer.
"Don't let go of my hand!" he yelled as they left their mobile home for the last time an entered what could only be described as a hellscape.
A blizzard was raging and fires were blazing in every direction. Everywhere people were in a panic, screaming, running, and honking their car horns, desperate to escape.
Dani and her father had barely gotten forty feet from their trailer when it exploded behind them. She turned around and watched as the only home she had ever known went up in flames.
At that moment, the rumbling noise was replaced by a deep, ear-splitting roar.
Dani wanted to scream, but her voice failed her as a car which had attempted to flee the pandemonium flew over their heads and landed with a sickening crunch, crushing the driver and killing him instantly.
Her father led her out of the camp and into the woods. She found her voice again now that they were seemingly out of immediately danger.
"What's happening?" she begged.
Her father did not answer. Instead he led her to a large tree with a crevice at its base large enough to sit in.
"Here," he instructed her, his voice shaking so much he could barely get the words out. "Hide here."
Dani obeyed without question. The hole was just large enough for one person to sit.
"Stay here," her father commanded. "I have to go help them," he told her.
Dani grabbed his arm. "No, no. Dad please, please don't leave me."
He pulled her into a hug. "Dani, I have to go back."
He didn't have to explain. He was a leader, with a responsibility to the community as a whole, not just to her.
"Stay here," he said, his voice sounding calm for the first time. Now that his daughter was as safe as she could be, he could accept his fate.
Dani huddled in the tree crevice, shivering from both cold and fright as the screams and loud noises from the camp continued.
Something flew through the air and landed in front of Dani, and she beheld her father, his body broken, his eyes staring up at nothing.
Something behind her growled as she raced through the forest and down the hill. As she turned her head to look at what was chasing her, she tripped on a root and began to tumble, rolling down the hill until she finally came to a stop at the bottom.
The last thing she heard as her consciousness faded was a soft but terrifying growl.
The sound of something banging into metal woke Dani up.
Something was in the air vent above her, staring down at her. Dani couldn't get a good look, but whatever was staring at her seemed both human and not at the same time. She lifted up her head and gaped at this strange sight, but as soon as she moved the creature scurried off, moving more like an animal than a person.
Dani tried to rub her head, but her hand would not reach far enough. It was then that she noticed that she was handcuffed to the bed she was lying in.
She looked around. She seemed to be in a hospital room and wearing a white hospital gown, but there was on one else there. She got up and dragged her bed with her, unable to move more than a foot away from it due to the handcuffs.
She looked out of the heavily barred window and saw a church across a large yard. There was still no sign of life anywhere she looked.
Dani moved the bed back to where it was before and glanced around the room. She spotted a security camera pointed directly at her in the corner of the ceiling.
"Hello?" she asked
When there was no response, she pulled the bed towards the doors to the room, only to find them locked shut.
"Open up!" she yelled, pulling frantically on the doors.
An intercom turned on, and Dani heard a female voice tell her to "calm down."
"I'm on my way to you," the voice continued. The intercom turned off, and Dani hear the sound of a very large metal door closing.
As she peaked through the small glass window in the door Dani saw a tall blonde woman in a white doctor's coat approach.
Dani banged on the door. "Where am I? Where's my family?" she demanded.
The woman stopped in front of the door and looked down at Dani with a look of sympathy.
"I know you're scared," she said in a reassuring tone, "but you're safe now. If you let me come in, I'll explain everything."
Dani nodded slowly and began to back away from the door. The latches on the door came undone and the woman stepped into the room.
She closed the door and the latches immediately snapped shut again. "My name is Doctor Emma Frost. It's a pleasure to meet you, Danielle."
Emma nodded at the handcuff. "If you sit down, I'll uncuff you."
Dani sat down on the bed and Emma took out a key to undo the handcuffs.
"What I'm about to tell you is going to be very difficult for you to hear," she explained in a manner which showed she did not want to have to say the words which were to follow.
"An F-5 tornado touched down on your reservation. You were the only survivor."
Dani leaned back and began to shake her head in horror. "No…"
"This was a terrible tragedy," Emma continued, "but…"
"Nonono!" Dani protested, flashing back to the moment she was running through the woods.
"It was growling!" she said loudly. "I could hear it roaring!"
"Sometimes our memories can play tricks on us," Emma said, "especially with such a traumatic event as this. What you heard was the sound of the tornado, nothing more."
Emma put something in Dani's hand. "This is yours, isn't it?"
Dani looked down at the small object, a carving of a bear.
Emma gave Dani a blanket and led her out of the room into the building's lobby, where Dani sat down on a couch and held her knees to her chest while wrapping herself in the blanket.
"Why didn't I die with them?" Dani asked softly.
"Survivor's guilt is a common reaction to this kind of event," Emma assured her. "You didn't do anything to be ashamed of."
"You survived … because you're special," she declared.
Dani stared at her, and Emma smiled.
"Do you know what mutants are?"
Dani nodded, and Emma continued. "Mutation most often occurs at puberty. You might spend the first 13 years of your life relatively normal. And just like that, you come of age and discover your true nature."
"And … what's my true nature?" Dani asked.
Emma took Dani's hand. "That is what we have to figure out together."
"What if you're wrong? What if I'm not a … a mutant?" Dani pressed. "How can you be sure?"
"The man I work for has a way of identifying new mutants the moment their powers first manifest. That's how we found you, and your fellow patients."
Dani's mouth hung open with an unasked question, and Emma smiled. "You're not alone, Danielle."
Emma led Dani into another with of the hospital. "This is a facility for young mutants like yourself. Teens who need a little help and care before they can go on to live productive adult lives."
They arrived at a room that could only be called a cell, with a bunk for a bed and a toilet and sink in the corner. Emma pointed out the change of clothes lying on the bed and the other amenities.
Dani turned to her and asked: "how long do I have to stay here?"
Emma's expression turned serious. "Until we decide you're not dangerous."
"Dangerous to who?" Dani pressed.
"Yourself," Emma said softly. She put her hand on Dani's shoulder. "I know this is a lot to take in. Get some rest, and we'll talk more in the morning."
Dani sat down on the bed, and Emma turned to leave.
"Dr. Frost?" she asked. Emma stopped at the door to the cell and looked back at her. "There's really no one else?"
Emma shook her head. "I'm afraid not. But don't worry. You're in a safe place now. Nothing can hurt you here, I promise."
With that, she closed the door, locking Dani inside her new room for the night.
Dani looked up at the ceiling. There was another camera pointed directly at her, exactly like the one in the room where she first woke up.
The next day, Emma was sitting in a circle of chairs along with four teenagers.
"Yesterday, I asked you to talk about the first time your powers manifested," Emma began. "Is anyone more willing to share today?"
When there was no response, she turned to the person sitting on her right. "Sam?"
Sam Guthrie was a tall boy. His unkempt dirty blonde hair stuck out of his baseball cap and his swollen eye and sling-bound arm attested to the injuries he had received recently.
Rather than respond, Sam simply looked down.
Illyana Rasputin was a short but good-looking girl with long blonde hair. She raised the hand-puppet she was holding, a doll of a small, purple dragon, and shook its head to show her refusal to answer.
Roberto Da Costa was a strong, good-looking Afro-Latino boy with a confident posture, but he simply twiddled his thumbs in response.
Rahne Sinclair was a small girl with short red hair and a diminutive posture. Alone of the four, she shook her head to show her unwillingness to answer.
"Look," Emma said, not trying to hide her frustration, "we've been over this before. We can't help you if you don't talk to us."
"Who's us?" Illyana asked in a Russian accent. She opened and closed the mouth of her dragon puppet twice.
Emma narrowed her eyes as she looked at Illyana. "All of us here," she said in a calmer tone. "The point of this program is for you to open up not just to me, but to your peers and help each other."
She turned to Rahne. "Why don't you start?"
Rahne opened her mouth. "I … "
She stopped as the door opened with a creak and Dani walked in.
Emma smiled. "Please join us, Danielle."
She addressed the group. "Everyone, this is our newest patient, Danielle Moonstar."
Roberto chuckled. He stopped as Dani glared at him and Emma raised an eyebrow.
"Oh," he said, looking between them. "You were serious."
"Let's try to make Danielle feel at home," Emma said as Dani took the last extra seat.
Dani glanced around the room. Sam nodded at her to acknowledge her existence. Illyana was not paying attention and was pretending that her dragon puppet was talking to her. Roberto grinned at her. And Rahne was staring at her intently.
"Rahne, would you care to start?" Emma asked.
Rahne looked startled and looked away from Dani.
"Oh, right," she said in a thick Scottish accent. "I was 13. I remember running through the woods."
"And how did you feel?" Emma asked.
"Free," Rahne answered, "like I'd never felt so free in my whole life." She took a deep breath before continuing. "But guilty too."
"And why did you feel guilty?" Emma asked.
Rahne looked down. "Because I knew it was wrong. I went to Reverend Craig to see if he could pray it out of me. He asked me to show him, so I … changed."
She stopped, the memories too painful to continue.
"And what did Reverend Craig do then?" Emma pressed.
Rahne closed her eyes. "He beat me half to death. He said I as a witch, that I was going to hell."
Illyana suddenly stood up angrily and began to walk out.
"Thank you for volunteering, Illyana," Emma said.
"Volunteering for what?" Illyana asked.
"To show Danielle around."
Illyana rolled her eyes at Dani. "And why do I have to?"
"Because I'm asking you to," Emma answered.
Illyana scoffed and motioned for Dani to follow her.
"See you later, girls!" Roberto yelled after them as they left.
Dani followed closely behind Illyana.
"How long have you been here?" she asked as they waked down a flight of stairs. "Are there any other doctors here? Why aren't you saying anything?"
Illyana stopped at the bottom of the staircase and held the dragon doll to her ear.
"You're right, Lockheed," she told the doll. "She does talk a lot."
Dani gaped at her with an expression of complete bewilderment.
Illyana led her to the front door, which like most of the rooms in the hospital was bolted shut.
"Dr. Fro-ost!" Illyana called out, motioning with her free hand at the nearest security camera.
The latches came undone and Illyana made a gesture similar to a salute before pushing the doors open.
As soon as they were outside Illyana began to quickly list off the sites.
"Main building," she said, gesturing behind them. She pointed to their right. "The chapel, if you're into that sort of thing. And this is the garden. That just about covers it."
"Gee, thanks for the tour," Dani said sarcastically.
Illyana turned around to face Dani. "So, what's your power?"
"I don't know," Dani answered.
Illyana looked disappointed for a moment and turned her attention to the stone angel statue in the center of the garden. She found a can of purple spray-paint next to the statue and began to spray the bottom of the stone structure.
Dani continued to stare at her.
"Are all mutants like …" she began.
Illyana looked up at her. "Like what?"
"Like you," Dani finished.
For the first time, Illyana grinned, baring her teeth like a predator on the hunt. "There is no one like me."
Dani looked to the side and rolled her eyes. "That's for sure."
Her eyes began to scan the grounds. "Where are we?"
"Nowhere," Illyana answered, focusing again on her 'art.' "Dr. Frost says the nearest town is 20 miles away, but she could be lying."
"There's no fence," Dani observed.
"No, no fence," Illyana agreed. "Fences couldn't keep mutants inside."
Dani took a deep breath and darted forward, running as fast as she could across the grounds. She was so focused on reaching her freedom that she did not hear what Illyana said as she ran past her or notice a four-legged creature running in pace with her far to the side.
She had run the length of a football when she suddenly slammed into something face-first and fell on her back.
Dani moaned in pain. She slowly raised her hand and wiped her nose, which was bleeding from the unexpected impact. She looked up. There was nothing there, only a few hundred feet between her and the woods.
That nothing had nearly broken her nose.
Dani slowly pushed herself to her feet and put her hand to the invisible wall. As soon as she touched it, the barrier began to glow a yellow-orange color, revealing its existence.
She heard Illyana's voice behind her. "I told you, didn't I? Fences can't keep mutants in. So they had to find another way."
Dani turned to look at Illyana in horror as she laid out the truth of her situation.
"This isn't a hospital. It's a cage. And now you're trapped in it with the rest of us."
Dani had a million questions, but her first one was "why?"
Illyana did not answer. She stared past Dani with narrow eyes focused on the woods beyond the barrier.
Dani looked in the direction Illyana was staring at. Far off in the woods, something was looking back at them and growling lightly, but it was too far away and obscured by the trees for Dani to see or hear.
"What are you looking at?" Dani asked. Illyana did not seem to hear her.
"Hello? What's wrong with you?" Dani demanded. She reached out to grab her, but her hand only grabbed air.
For as Dani reached out, Illyana fell straight down as if the earth had swallowed her whole.
Dani looked all around, but Illyana was nowhere to be seen. She collapsed to her knees and screamed.
Dani knelt there all alone for some time until the bell began to ring at the chapel, marking the turn of the hour. She picked herself up and slowly made her way to the source of the sound.
Tears began to flow down Dani's cheeks as she stared up at the large clock on the chapel's façade.
"Dad, you're in heaven, while I'm stuck here in hell."
She climbed to the top of the chapel, where she kicked out several of the wooden planks from the chapel clock and climbed out onto the ledge.
Dani looked down. It was a drop of over 50 feet. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
"What are you doing up here?"
Dani gasped and nearly fell. She turned her head to see Rahne peaking out from the new hole in the clock.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you." Rahne looked down. "Wow. We are really high up. A fall from here would mess you up pretty badly."
"It would kill me instantly," Dani responded in a surprisingly calm tone. "I wouldn't feel a thing."
"I want to get out of this place too," Rahne said. "But not like this."
Dani began to cry again. "My home is gone. Everyone I've ever known is dead. This is the only way I can see them again."
"Y'know," Rahne said, "where I'm from, suicide is considered a one-way ticket to hell. That's always scared me out of trying it."
"I don't want to be here!" Dani yelled. "I want to be with my family…"
"Did you ever think, maybe you're alive for a reason?"
"I'm all alone. There's nobody left."
"Well, that's mean," Rahne said, causing Dani to stare at her. "There are two people up here. I'm not nobody."
She smiled and held out her hand. "It's going to get better. I promise."
Dani looked down one more time before taking her hand. Rahne pulled her back inside the chapel and smiled.
"Let's live a little longer, Danielle Moonstar."
Emma was waiting for them when they approached the main entrance.
"And where have you two been?"
Dani began to answer, but Rahne cut her off. "I was just showing her the chapel."
"Thank you, Rahne." Emma turned to Dani. "Suicide is not part of our program. I'd appreciate it if you at least gave us a chance to help you before considering that option."
"How'd you know?" Dani asked.
Emma pointed to a camera on the wall of the building. "We monitor you at all times, for your own safety."
She turned to Rahne. "Can I trust you to keep her out of trouble for the rest of the day?"
"Good. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a private session to get to."
Emma passed Roberto and Sam in the hall.
"Two guys, three girls, one of them a hot blonde, I think I'm starting to like it here," Roberto said.
"I guess you would," Sam responded in a thick Kentucky accent.
"You wanna go play a board game or something?"
"No. I gotta practice."
Illyana was staring out of the window when Emma entered the room. Emma gestured a chair which was placed next to a machine.
"Please, have a seat."
Illyana sat down and Emma began to attach the device to her right arm and several of her fingers.
"It's a polygraph," Emma answered. "A lie detector."
Illyana nodded and looked at her fingers. "Do you do this with all your patients?"
"No. There's no need with the others. You, on the other hand, present several unique problems."
When she had finished setting up the machine Emma sat down herself near the results.
"I'm going to ask you a control question. I want you to lie to make sure that the machine is working properly.
"Are you the president of the United States?"
"Yes," Illyana said. "I'm also the empress of Russia and the King of France."
Emma glanced down at the results, which showed that Illyana was indeed lying.
"Well, your majesty, would you care to tell me your real name?"
Illyana looked at her in surprise. "Illyana Nikolievna Rasputina, same as it's always been."
Emma frowned as the polygraph detected no lie.
"Are you a ghost, Miss Rasputin?"
Illyana reached up and poked her cheek twice with her finger. "I seem real enough."
"Then why does it seem that you don't exist?"
Illyana leaned her head back. "What does that even mean?"
"Every person has a record of their existence. A birth certificate. A social security number. Medical records. School transcripts. Accounts in their name. Every person on earth has a line of documents proving they exist. Everyone except for you.
"My superior and I have been searching for your records. But despite all his resources, there's nothing to be found. It's as if you just popped into existence one day. Now why is that?"
Illyana titled her head and looked up at Emma. "What sort of resources does this superior of yours have?"
Emma grinned. "Nice try, but I am the one asking the questions."
Illyana assumed a more relaxed pose and smiled back. "All the documents which 'prove my existence' are out there. You and your superior are just not looking in the right places."
The polygraph continued to show that she was telling the truth.
"And where should we be looking?"
Illyana gave her a wicked half-grin. "I've never looked for them myself."
Emma looked down at the polygraph results again and frowned. "Very well. It seems we'll just have to try a little harder. At least I can say you're not here under an alias."
Illyana raised the hand which was attached to the polygraph. "Maybe next time you can be the one strapped to the machine. I'd like to find out if you're a ghost."
Rahne and Dani watched as Sam walked into the basketball court and attached a harness to himself. The harness was connected by a thick metal chain to a large concrete block.
Dani could not believe her eyes as Sam's arms began to vibrate faster than she could see. Soon his entire body was vibrating, and within seconds, he took off.
"Holy shit. I thought he just exploded," Dani exclaimed as Sam flew in circles over their heads.
"That's his thing," Rahne explained. "He blasts off like a cannonball."
Sam hit the ground a few times, causing Rahne to wince. "He's not so good at the landing part though."
"Is this practice?" Dani asked.
"He works the hardest of anyone here to get his power under control. But sometimes, it just seems like he's just trying to hurt himself."
Rahne and Dani entered the cafeteria when dinnertime came. Roberto was preparing the food, bopping his head back and forth as he listened to a song on his headset.
Sam was already eating, looking glum as he sat alone and attempted to eat with just his fork.
"Sam comes from a small town in Kentucky," Rahne said. "He had to drop out of school to work in the mines with his dad in order to support his family."
"Wow," Dani said. "Poor guy."
"I know. And then there's Roberto," Rahne said in a derisive tone as they went to get their food.
"Hello, ladies," Roberto said, still bopping his head as he handed them their food trays.
"His family's like the richest in Brazil," Rahne explained as they walked about. "He was living like a king before he came here. Something must have gone really wrong, so his parents sent him here to be cured."
"Is there a cure for being an asshole?" Dani asked. "Maybe he's just crazy."
Rahne shook her head. She glanced at Illyana, who was sitting in a corner and talking to her puppet again.
"No. Crazy is having the power to leave here whenever you want and choosing to stay."
As curfew approached, Rahne led Dani back to her room.
"I really enjoyed spending the day with you, Dani, but we're not supposed to be in each other's rooms. So, good night."
"Wait," Dani called out as Rahne turned to leave. "Why does she watch us all the time?"
"For our own good," Rahne answered. "To make sure we don't do what you almost did today or any other self-destructive behavior."
"Dr. Frost is trying to help us. If you follow the treatment you'll get out of here. Maybe even before the rest of us."
Dani smiled and nodded as Rahne turned around began to walk towards her own room.
"Thank you for everything today."