The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, now:
‘Henry? Henry, hello! It’s Kitty. Why are you not answering us?’ Kitty Pryde calls out as she stands at the door to his lab. Kitty informs Hank that they want to go track Scott down, but gets no response. ‘Come on, Henry, you are freaking us out!’ Kitty calls out. ‘If I phase through the door I’ll blow the circuitry and you’ll be mad at me!’ Kitty warns him, while Bobby “Iceman” Drake appears at her side and asks if he is even in there. ‘He’s not answering’ Kitty points out. Bobby remarks that he doesn’t like the way that Hank has been acting, that something must be off. Kitty phases through the door, and indeed blows the circuitry.
She looks around Hank’s messy lab, as does Bobby who follows her in. ‘What is all this? What is he doing in here?’ Bobby wonders. ‘You’re asking me?’ Kitty replies, while Bobby queries why Hank would have a schematic of his bones. Kitty starts tapping at a computer and remarks that she doesn’t know, and that this is all so high-tech, that it might as well be Mongolian. ‘And I’m, you know, not exactly…’ her voice trails off. ‘Go ahead and say it’ Bobby tells her. ‘I’m a genius too and I don’t know what he’s up to’ Kitty declares. ‘Why do geniuses always have to tell you they’re geniuses?’ Bobby mutters. ‘Don’t be threatened, sweetie. This is weird’ Kitty muses. Bobby asks her what she did, and a bright red light glows from a monitor, with Hank’s face on it. ‘I didn’t do anything’ Kitty exclaims, as a recording of Hank’s voice warns ‘Don’t touch that which doesn’t belong to you, students of the Atom!’
Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, the past:
‘Um…I think I speak for all of us when I say: WHAT?’ the young Bobby Drake of the past exclaims as he stands with his teammates - Scott “Cyclops” Summers, Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey, Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel and Henry McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, as a large furry blue man, claiming to be the Beast of their future, stands before them. ‘I know this is a lot to take in, but -’ the older Hank begins, while Scott declares that he doesn’t understand. ‘I mean, what?’ Bobby mutters, while the younger Hank continues to examine his future self and announces that this is absolutely fascinating on every conceivable level.
The older Beast tells Scott that he is sorry, and that he knows what he said was rather blunt. ‘Scott Summers? This Scott Summers? This Scott right here is going to bring about the mutant apocalypse?’ Bobby asks. ‘I know it’s hard to believe’ the older Hank tells the young X-Men. ‘It’s impossible to believe!’ Bobby declares. Scott smiles and thanks Bobby, but Bobby isn’t finished, as he exclaims ‘I mean look at him. He’s waaaay too boring to bring on an apocalypse’. Jean announces that she is going to call the Professor, but the older Hank tells her not to do that. ‘Read my mind. I give you full permission’ he tells her. ‘Read my mind and you’ll see it all’. Jean looks puzzled. ‘I don’t - I don’t do that’ she quickly points out.
Hank looks somewhat awkward and realizes that Jean doesn’t learn to do that until later. ‘I can read minds?’ Jean asks. ‘Seriously, him?’ Bobby asks, causing Scott to grab him by his suit jacket and tell him to stop it. ‘Let’s say any of this is true, which I am not convinced -’ Angel begins, as Bobby adds ‘I know, right’. Angel continues, asking the future Hank about Professor Xavier from his time. ‘What about us? What about future us? Are we all blue and fuzzy? Bobby inquires. ‘Can’t the Professor - isn’t there something he can do?’ Angel asks. The Beast closes his eyes and hangs his head, before Jean asks him what she would see if she could read his mind. He tells her to come with him, as it is better to show them. ‘She’s a telepath?’ the younger Hank asks.
The future Hank asks Jean to come with him to the present and then she will see what has happened to the X-Men. ‘You will see what you need to do’ he adds, but Jean announces that she doesn’t believe him and goes to get the Professor. This causes the future Hank to reveal that the reason he can’t go to the Professor in his time, is that where he is from, Scott has already killed the Professor. The young X-Men fall silent, broken by Scott who asks ‘How could you say that to me?’ before turning to the past Hank, who quickly exclaims ‘Don’t look at me. I would never endanger the Space-Time Continuum like this. Never. That’s the part that confuses me’. ‘That’s the part?’ Bobby asks, surprised.
‘You come here and say that disgusting thing to me, in front of my friends, and I’m supposed to do what with it?’ Scott asks. The older Hank tells the younger X-Men that he doesn’t expect them to believe him, nor does he ever expect them to forgive him for what he is doing now. He turns to his past self, and promises him, on their mother, that he is at the end of his rope. ‘And I know what I am asking you to do is the ultimate sacrifice. You are going to witness a world of compromise that will rattle you. Your innocence will be lost. But by doing so, you will - I know you will force Scott to face how far he has fallen and save the mutant population from even further disaster’ Hank announces.
Scott turns away, as Warren asks ‘If he - if he killed Professor X, why don’t you just kill Scott?’ Looking down at the present Scott, the Beast replies that he cannot cross that line. ‘You tell us that Scott killed the Professor. But you won’t tell us what we’ll see when we get where you want to take us?’ Jean asks. The future Beast raises a finger and almost touches Jean’s face, ‘Look at you. I didn’t - I didn’t think it would be this hard’ he remarks. ‘What does that mean?’ Jean asks, while the past Hank continues to watch his future self with interest. The future Beast then turns and leaves the room, telling the young X-Men that he will be outside and that he awaits their decision. Warren, Bobby, Jean and Scott gather around their Hank, as Bobby asks ‘That’s you, Hank?’, to which Hank replies ‘So it would seem’. Bobby asks him if he is freaking out, and Hank exclaims that he just can’t imagine what he has been through.
Outside the mansion, Beast looks back at his old home, then, in agony, keels over. He pulls out a small device, ‘Please…just a little while…’ he utters, when suddenly, the original X-Men, in their team uniforms, rush towards him. ‘Hey, you!’ one of them calls out, before Scott asks how he plans to bring them to meet with terrible future selves. From the small device, a glowing cube materializes, and Hank calls it the Time Cube. He tells the young X-Men that it was invented by Reed Richards and Victor von Doom, and modified by himself for a smoother, more conclusive time travel experience. The cube glows around the Beast and the original X-Men, as Cyclops tells the future Beast ‘So we understand each other. If this is a trap. I blow your head off’. Hank replies that he knows, while Jean looks concerned.
‘Welcome to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning’ the Beast announces as he and the past X-Men materialize in the present. ‘What did you do to the place?’ the past Beast gasps as he and his teammates stare at the futuristic buildings in shock-and-awe. ‘This doesn’t look like the mutant apocalypse. This looks like heaven’ Angel remarks, while Jean points out that this is Charles Xavier’s school, and asks why it is named after her now.
The present Hank looks at the worried Jean, while, inside, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan is teaching a class. Amongst the students are Anole, Bling!, Glob Herman and Kid Omega. An exasperated Logan stands at a blackboard and exclaims ‘NO! What part don’t you understand?’, before telling his students that if a ninja master confronts you on the head, that means that other ninjas are going to attack from the sides and from behind. ‘A ninja master never confronts you unless he himself is the - bait…’ Wolverine suddenly picks up a scent, and looks out the window. He tells the students to talk amongst themselves, then rushes out of the room.
Logan opens the front doors, the Beast turns his head slightly, Wolverine unsheathes his claws and lunges towards the Beast and the original X-Men, while Jean is crying, ‘Why am I here?’, as the present Beast tells her to come inside and he will show her everything. ‘I just need to - to get to my -’ the Beast begins, while Cyclops holds Jean, as Wolverine appears overhead, growling, claws ready to strike the past Cyclops. ‘Stop!’ Jean orders. Holding her hand out, she puts Wolverine in a telekinetic hold. Cyclops then blasts Wolverine with an optic blast, knocking him backwards. ‘Yikes!’ the past Iceman gasps, before creating an ice-slide to catch Wolverine, who slides down it and lands on the ground. Storm, Kitty Pryde and the present Iceman hear the commotion and rush outside. ‘Kitty. Do you see -’ Iceman begins. ‘Yes’ Kitty tells him.
‘Who are all these people?’ the past Angel asks, confused. ‘These - these are the X-Men’ the present Beast announces. Wide-eyed, Kitty Pryde asks Hank ‘What did you do?’ The present Iceman, whose appearance is drastically different to that of his past self, stares at his younger self, then screams, as does the young Iceman who is staring back. The present Bobby turns to Hank and asks him if he is just a big ball of crazy, to which Hank tells him that it was his idea, actually. Suddenly, Hank groans in pain and keels over. ‘What’s wrong with him?’ the past Hank calls out.
Soon, the Beast is laid out on a table in a lab. Storm stands over him while Kitty is at his side, holding a needle. She reports that his breathing and pulse have stabilized, but that she can’t get a read on the rest, that he needs an expert. Iceman and Wolverine stand with the young original X-Men as Iceman declares that they need to get the Beast to a hospital, but Storm asks what a hospital can do, and reveals that she left word with Reed Richards, Tony Stark and Horizon Labs. Leaning close to her friend, Storm asks him what is going on, and whether he can hear her. ‘What’s happening to you? Hank?’ she calls out.
‘You’re doing it wrong!’ the past Hank calls out, pushing Kitty aside. ‘We’re not like you. Our circulatory system isn’t quite the same as normal humans’ he snaps. ‘I know’ Kitty tells him. ‘You know’ the past Hank mutters, while Kitty explains that the fur is in the way. ‘Give it here - I’m a doctor’ the past Hank tells Kitty. Taking the needle, he puts it into his future self’s hand. ‘You’re 12 years old!’ Kitty snaps. ‘It’s my arm’ the past Beast points out. ‘Okay. This is just too weird’ Kitty mutters, while Iceman turns to his past self and shouts ‘Okay: Me! Exactly what did our Hank say to you and why are you all here now?’ Young Bobby looks at his future self and replies ‘He didn’t say anything about me turning into…you!’, while the past Cyclops declares ‘He said I need to confront myself or the mutant population was going to destroy itself’.
‘If Scott…’ the present Hank whispers. ‘Hank?’ Storm asks. ‘…could see what he has become…’ Hank continues. ‘Bobby, what did you do?’ Kitty asks. ‘What did I do?’ Bobby exclaims. Storm turns to Logan, who frowns and orders ‘Little X-Men, outside, now!’
Shortly, in a living area: ‘Okay, you all listen up. Hank’s obviously going through a thing and not thinking straight. So we’re gonna figure out how to put ya back where ya belong and forget this thing ever -’ Wolverine begins, until Jean orders ‘Sleep’. Wolverine tells her that she knows that mind stuff doesn’t work on him - and instant later though, Wolverine falls to the floor, face down, butt up. ‘Jeannie?’ the past Angel asks, surprised. The past Bobby is squatting on the sofa while he and his teammates look at Wolverine. ‘He was about to tell us we were going to go back to our time even though he was really thinking that Hank McCoy is a hero for doing this’ Jean tells her friends. ‘You could read his thoughts?’ the young Scott asks.
‘I could! I could do it, Scott’ Jean tells him. ‘Blue Hank was right’ Scott tells her. ‘You have no idea how this feels!’ Jean exclaims. They watch a television, showing a recording of the current Cyclops. ‘I can’t believe this. I kill Charles Xavier?’ Scott remarks. ‘Not to mention I’m dead!’ Jean points out. ‘This can’t be how it ends for us’ Scott tells his friends. ‘You think I want to be dead and dating a homicidal mutant terrorist?’ Jean asks. ‘But on the bright side, TV sets are much nicer in the future’ the young Bobby remarks. ‘Not as nice as I thought they’d be, but still’ he adds. ‘Do we know who the guy on the floor is?’ Angel enquires.
‘This is Wolverine. He runs the school. And the rest of his thoughts are…pretty disgusting’ Jean reveals. ‘A headmaster with claws?’ Bobby asks, while Jean adds that Wolverine hates Cyclops. Angel tells his friends that he thinks they should go back, and adds that he doesn’t even want to know what happened to him. Jean looks at Warren and remarks that she wishes she was strong enough to pick up everything, but that she is not there yet. Warren asks her if she thinks this is real, and Jean replies ‘Oh yeah’. Warren tells everyone that they should definitely go back. ‘We wake up blue furry Hank and we get him to send us back’ Warren suggests. But the young Hank announces ‘He won’t do it. I’m - he’s dying. Did you see me in there? Think about it - why on Earth would I risk the entire structure of reality?’ he asks.
‘Why would I torture you and show you a world where you’ve died and everyone hates your guts unless I wanted just one more chance?’ Hank asks his friends. ‘Just one last chance to make things right’. Scott announces that he wants to see his present self, and Jean tells him that according to the others, his current self is running around the country and gathering new mutants for some kind of revolution. ‘Revolution? No, we - I want peace between the humans and the mutants. I want peace with every fiber of my being. I really want to know how this could be’ he tells his friends. The young Bobby suggests that if the present Cyclops is looking for mutants, then perhaps they should, too. They turn to the television monitor, where a reporter announces that word has come in from the campus of the Dallas university, confirming another new mutant. Cyclops then looks at his friends.
‘Listen, you guys, we need to…’ Kitty calls out as she enters the room, but all she finds is Wolverine on the floor. ‘Uh-oh’ Kitty mutters.
Outside, a Blackbird jet rises from the school, and inside, the young X-Men look worried. Bobby asks Hank if he is sure he knows how to fly this version, as it looks fancier than theirs. ‘Please, this is me we’re talking about. But I really think I should stay back and try to help myself’ Hank tells the others, only Jean points out that they won’t let him, and reveals that an expert is on the way. ‘And this is what you wanted to do’ she reminds him. ‘Last chance, guys. We can turn around now and not crack the Space-Time Continuum…’ Warren remarks, but no one looks at him, they remain silent, until Hank exclaims ‘Okay then…seat belts’ and the Blackbird flies onwards into the air. Kitty, Storm and Wolverine rush out, and look up. ‘Uh-oh…’ Kitty mutters, while Wolverine shouts: ‘It was her. It was really her. Jeannie…’.