From Rahway, Elizabeth and West Orange up to East Rutherford, New Jersey was one giant industrial complex. There is a joke in there but no-one would get it. In the Age of Apocalypse, they call this the Omegaworks Sentinel Assembly, where everything from stealth Mark IXs to Infiltrators to Big Samurais were churned out there. Thanks to Mesmero, it ran as efficiently as the mechanical products it produced. The mutant with the ability to control minds on a mass scale that they say is almost on par with the Shadow King himself. In the world where prosperity was based on survival of the fittest, Mesmero was prince and that’s just how he liked it.
The thrill of the hunt never held and appeal for Mesmero, as life was as simple as a thought for him. He wished it and others obeyed. To keep that life, though, he was going to have to work for it.
In his sentinel factory, the green-skinned Mesmero is controlling a group of mutants as they work on the factory floor building the Samurai units. His attention is caught by a teenage boy and a group of skin-headed girls. The boy holds his arms out and tells Mesmero he comes with outstretched arms and dreams better than his. The grinning boy tells the man to join them and then slowly says Mesmero’s name. Mesmero grins as he recognizes the man as Quentin Quire and tells him he has heard of his clubhouse full of magicians and fortune-tellers. Killgrave told him that Quire tried to recruit her into his cult and they had both laughed about it.
Mesmero suddenly stops talking as he sees a purple skinned woman step forward and recognizes her as Kara Killgrave. She solemnly says to join them and Mesmero angrily asks Quentin what he did to her. The rest of the woman start chanting for him to join them and Quentin sneers, telling him that they are the Overmind and the women are his mind-dolls. The women continue to chant as Quentin says the Overmind underminds.
Elsewhere, the Shadow King monstrous face appears on a giant monitor and he tells Weapon Omega that Quentin Quire has claimed Mesmero as his own. He says the he inspected the boy a few years ago and he was nothing but a mildly talented telepath but now he has somehow created a psychic pyramid scheme. Starting with the most minor of telepaths he fed his own limited skills to increase his power, now he claims both Moondragon and Mesmero. The Shadow Kind continues and says Quire calls his collective the Overmind and, if that isn’t some direct statement to Weapon Omega, then he doesn’t know what is.
Weapon Omega points out that the Shadow King is his chief telepath and that this is his jurisdiction and so he should deal with it. The Shadow King protests slightly and says that his power is expanding in ways he never expected but Weapon Omega tells him that, if he can’t handle it, then maybe Quire should take over his job. In his apartment, the obese human form of the Shadow King tells Weapon Omega he understands and then signs out.
Humanity’s Last Stand:
In the lab, Dr. Moreau readies an injection needle. He tells Jean she will feel a slight twinge, after which she will feel a slight fluttering from the implant if there is any telepathic activity nearby. On the other side of the room, Fiend tells Jean that she will be thankful for the butterfly if she is ever caught in a crowd sweep. She must remember that it’s only a warning system though but she can teach her some mental diversion techniques they use.
Jean takes her up on the offer and says that it’s official now that she has no telepathic abilities anymore. The only thing she does have is a splitting migraine, just in time for her training session with Graydon. Fiend warns her to be careful as there is a reason why they chose Horror Show as his codename. Jean asks if she thinks he would hurt her but Fiend and Dr. Moreau just look at each other in silence.
As Jean fights Graydon, an injured Fiend looks on from the sidelines and gives her fighting tips. Jean lands a well-placed kick to Graydon’s head and he reels back and commends her. He then tells Fiend that a little less chatter would help as people learn from their mistakes. He says that Fiend was right though and Jean has left herself wide open. With that, he grabs her from behind and lifts her in the air but Fiend shouts out more advice to her. Jean flicks her head back and smacks Graydon in the face, causing him to let her go. As he holds his bleeding nose, Fiend tells Jean to pass on kneeing him in the groin as it will only upset the barmaids in the south end.
Graydon comments that Fiend has been teaching Jean some tricks, which he approves of. He then offers to take her for a drink so he can teach her a few of his moves. Jean accepts but only if they can visit the brig first, to which he groans and says that she needs to stop beating this Sabretooth thing to death. She replies that they visit his father or there’s no date, take it or leave it. Before he can answer, Prophet walks in and says he will have to leave it tonight. An opportunity vital to their cause has presented itself in New Apocalypse and he wants Jean to accompany him.
Jean and Prophet walk through the ruined slums of New Apocalypse in disguise, with Jean wearing a long black wig and Prophet without his trademark mask. Jean asks why she was chosen, as even she can tell her butt is being routinely handed to her in training. She hasn’t learned half of what she is being taught, which isn’t even one thousandth of what there is to teach. Prophet simply replies that experience is the best teacher but Jean counters that she isn’t ready for life and death undercover work yet. Prophet says that she was formally the premier telepath in the world and possessor of the Phoenix Force. Powers or not, that makes her an expert in the working mind, same as a concert violinist who has lost the use of his hands. Jean tentatively agrees with him as he says it’s those skills that make her uniquely qualified for this mission. She asks what mission that would be and he gestures to a rundown diner and tells her “Lunch.”
They enter the diner and are sat down by a waitress. Jean whispers that her butterfly implant in her head is buzzing like an electric razor and Prophet asks her what she perceives around her. He gestures to a man reading a newspaper and points out that he isn’t really reading it. Jean looks across and sees the man is holding the newspaper upside down and is staring at the two of them. Jean continues to look around and says the couple arguing in the corner is talking gibberish. She knows psychobabble and that isn’t it. Prophet seems pleased and he tells her to look at the woman over her shoulder and so Jean glances at the large woman sat at the bar. She says the woman has a dog and then corrects herself and says she had a dog.
As Jean suddenly realizes that nothing of what she is seeing is real, the patrons of the diner all get up and leave. All except the large woman, who starts to melt away as she mutters ominous phrases.
Once the illusion has dropped, Jean sees Quentin Quire and the Overmind standing before her. Quire continues to utter nonsense about the future being on the cusp of yesterday and then plainly tells Jean she shouldn’t have come. Prophet tells Quire they seek a conference with him and Jean notes she cannot move. Quire taunts them and says that the Shadow King sends strange puppets to amuse him with. Prophet replies that the Shadow King is afraid and a bounty has been put on Quire’s head. They are not come to kill him, instead they want to become allies against the Shadow King and Weapon Omega.
Quire seems to become angry and he continues to spout nonsense, causing Prophet to repeat his offer of becoming allies. Jean becomes annoyed with Quire, tells him to put another record on and says she used to be like him. Quire uses his telepathic powers to probe Jean’s mind but turns to Prophet and tells him the offering is dry. With Jean under Quire’s influence, Prophet tells the young man she is his charge and Quire is not to hurt her. The women of the Overmind gather around Prophet and hold a knife to his throat, causing him to threaten Quire’s life. Jean tells Prophet he is just a boy and they don’t kill boys, no matter what. Quire yells at Jean that the Overmind have her ashes and that the Phoenix should rise to join them.
Jean is suddenly transported into Quire’s mind and she finds herself in a place full of stairs and doors. Wearing a suit of armor and holding a flaming blue sword, Quire stands before her and declares she is the possessor of the Phoenix Force. Jean corrects him and says she was but he refuses to accept it and says tricks cannot confuse him. She and the Shadow King fear him but he will unify them all… with the Phoenix Force.
Jean tells him her powers and the Phoenix Force has left her, perhaps it is in the universe now. Quire angrily advances on her and tells her it is all lies and the Phoenix will rise from her ashes. Jean calmly tells him it will not and, as he points the sword at her face, she says she is there to help him and she can help him. He will not find what he seeks but she has much more to offer. She has been where he is now and has caused terrible harm. She asks him to go deep into her mind and see the day that all sense left her life.
In the ruins of New Apocalypse, Logan stands on a pile of rubble holding a child version of Apocalypse in one hand with his claws unsheathed on the other. A little way off, Jean screams at him to stop, as he is only a child and they can teach him differently. Logan replies that it is still Apocalypse and they should be thankful that is in a weakened enough form to kill before billions have to die. Jean tries to appeal to him and says that the Apocalypse power will find another vessel and it might be a child again or even a baby. Logan says he will be easier to kill then as he holds the struggling boy up high. He says he loves Jean but she has always been one step shy of doing what is necessary to save the human race.
Erupting into flames, Jean says she did not come back to have him to this and she will kill him if she has to. Logan replies she’d have to but she won’t. When the Celestial ship landed, she refused to come because she knew what she would find. She came back because she knows he is right. With that, Logan kills the boy, spraying blood everywhere as Jean looks on in horror.
Back in the mindscape, Jean is kneeling on the floor with tears in her eyes as Quire stands over her. She tells him Logan corrupted himself and took in the Apocalypse power, turning into Weapon Omega. She could have stopped him but instead she damned him, and now she is still trying to stop him. She says that if she had the Phoenix Force she would use every last ounce of it to release her husband. Quire looks at her and then states that she is not a liar and she is indeed empty. Jean stands up and tells him he is processing too much and that adding more power won’t stop the voices, it will only drive him deeper into madness. She can teach him to calm the voices and be at peace. Quire now points a psychic gun at Jean and contemplates the concept of peace.
In the real world, the Overmind’s grip on Prophet loosens slightly and he swats the hand holding a knife to him away. He reasons Jean must have distracted Quire and he then apologizes and takes out a flick knife, saying he cannot allow him to harm Jean. However, before he can do anything else Quire yells out “Bang!” and then collapses on the floor.
Prophet rushes to him but Jean tells him he is dead. He turned the gun on himself in the mindspace and she was unable to stop him as it was what he wanted. Jean laments that she could have helped him, as well as others, even without her powers. Prophet tells her it is very wise and he is sure she will have the opportunity. As they look at his body, Jean says that Quire’s true powers were his ideas but he conceived them faster than he could their consequences. Prophet says it was too bad as, under different circumstances, Quire would have been a very powerful ally.
Unbeknownst to Jean, Prophet holds a syringe full of Quire’s blood.