Outside the New Xavier school:
Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl are still lying on the ground outside, enjoying being back on Earth. Cyclops sits a bit apart from them. Beast wonders where Angel and Laura got to. Does he need them to draw him a picture? Bobby asks. It’s none of their business, Jean reminds them. Says the psychic who can read their minds, Bobby points out. Don’t gang up on her, Jean jokes.
Hey, Nosy Grey, what is Cyclops thinking? Bobby asks. Ignoring Hank’s protests, Jean informs them Scott’s thinking he really missed them. Bobby tells Hank Scott is psychically emoting. That’s as close as they’ll ever get to real emotions from him.
Suddenly, a shadow falls across them. A helicarrier, accompanied by smaller jets, hovers over the school. They realize it’s SHIELD and wonder if they should run.
Magik teleports in, swinging her sword. She tells them they are getting out of here. Maria Hill asks them not to, she is alone and unarmed. The X-Men are suspicious. Holding her hands up, Hill reveals she needs their help.
He thought this was a secret hidden school, Bobby muses. How did she even know they were here. She reminds him she is the director of the biggest secret peacekeeping taskforce in the world. She mastered satellite spy programs in sixth grade. He thought they had a thing blocking that. They do, she agrees. That’s how she knew where to look: “Hey, what’s that thing blocking our satellites?”
Beast asks why they haven’t knocked down their door. Because even she needs cause. And she’s not bending backwards to go to war with the X-Men, no matter what older Scott Summers thinks. Jean announces she is telling the truth. Magik tells Hill she has five seconds before she teleports the kids out of here.
Hill announces she has a big mutant problem: Utopia. What’s Utopia? Bobby asks. Hill explains that it’s the abandoned mutant headquarters off the coast of San Francisco. It used to be the center of the X-Men universe. But this changed. There were some off the charts disturbances detected on the island, so she sent a SHIELD alpha squad to look into it. They have not returned. The footage they have shows mutant activity. It’s a mutant problem. Good mutants bad mutants - she doesn’t know. And it feels to her like they can’t afford another mutant problem. It feels to her like they are one mutant problem away from something really bad happening.
So instead of sending SHIELD over there, she was thinking maybe some of them would go there and settle it all down. What do they say?
It’s a trap Iceman! bursts out. Hill remarks that, if she wanted to trap them, she’d go over there and lock the door to their prison-like school. The end. Trapped.
Jean ascertains Hill is telling the truth. Angel and X-23 join them. Magik announces they’ll handle it and warns Hill not to follow them. She teleports them away.
The next moment, they reappear on Utopia. Bit of a fixer-upper, Hank jokes. Who knocked it all over? Depends who they ask? Illyana replies. Some say the Avengers, some say the X-Men.
X-23 volunteers to track on the ground. She tells Angel to take to the sky and Jean to scan for thoughts. No need, baby Wolverine, a new voice announces, they are right here.
Who sent them? Masque demands. Boom Boom repeats they know who it was. Karma remarks she can’t believe who they sent. What is she doing here? she addresses Magik. And what the hell did she bring with her? Magik retorts what are they doing here? Minding their own business, Karma replies and repeats her question. They were attacked, Random adds. And now they are here, Boom Boom points out.
Magik suggest they accompany them and they’ll clear this all up with SHIELD. Absurd, Masque scoffs. Boom Boom asks if she is insane. Oh, she forgot. She kind of actually is. Random shouts they came here to live in peace. But they knew they wouldn’t let them, Boom Boom adds. They are not bothering anyone, they point out. And look, here they are, Karma accuses Magik.
Random explains he made a deal with the rest of the group. They don’t retaliate, they don’t fight back, until the other side makes a move. And they did. They sent Magik’s group here. They sent mutants to hurt them.
Jean telepathically orders all the Utopians to sleep and they fall down. She explains, they are not fighting other mutants. Not if they don’t have to. But she wants to look into what they are talking about.
Suddenly, Scott fires an optic blast at Jean, then at Magik. Iceman erects a shield against the next blast. Cyclops shouts this isn’t him. Somebody knock him out! Beast complies with a foot in Scott’s face.
A moment later, X-23 snarls and goes for Angel, even as she fights the urge. Beast figures it may be something in the air, maybe a compound. Magik moans, it’s Karma. She can control you. Jean uses her new power aspect at Karma and takes her out. Laura has returned to her senses and apologizes to Iceman, who she tried to cut before. Magik continues that Karma can possess your body. Jean wryly remarks she’d be fascinated if her head wasn’t throbbing from being blasted in the face by Scott. A furious Laura asks which one she is going to carve her initials into.
Suddenly, Boom Boom attacks with several of her timebombs, although the X-Men easily defend themselves. Get off their lawn! Boom Boom shouts enraged. Jean puts all the Utopians to sleep.
The astral plane:
Karma awakes in a bed. Jean is also in the room. Karma identifies her and Jean asks if she knows her. She knew her, Xi’an corrects. She realizes they are in her head and warns she can get out of this. Jean assures her she just wants to talk, not fight. Karma points out neither does she. They attacked pretty quickly, Jean remarks. Karma explains they are scared and have just had it. Everything in their lives is a fight, a slap in the face, it just never ends! Jean asks Xi’an to show her. Xi’an is reluctant but finally agrees. Jean looks into her memories.
She sees Xi’an as a child in Vietnam with her parents, her twin Tranh and her younger siblings Leong and Nga. She sees her as leader of the earliest incarnation of the New Mutants, sees her fall prey to the Shadow King and her obesity afterwards. She sees her becoming a teacher at Xavier’s, training with Emma Frost, losing hers leg and finally leaving the school with some others after Xavier’s death and deciding to return to Utopia.
Everybody is awake again. Here’s what she thinks needs to happen, Jean announces.
A little later, Magik and the young X-Men explain to SHIELD that they got away. One of them must have been a teleporter. However, they did recover their missing SHIELD agents.
Really, Hill states unimpressed. Jean continues and asks why those Utopians couldn’t simply live there? Why were they under attack? Cyclops adds. Why, after all they have been through, is no mutant safe from attack? Beast demands. How come the Avengers can set up shop everywhere they want and everyone is cool with it? Angel asks. But with mutants it’s always: hit first, ask questions later, X-23 agrees. It’s enough to make people a little paranoid, is Iceman’s parting shot as Magik teleports them away.
They were lying an agent remarks. Not about the last part, Hill muses.
The Utopians have been brought to outside the new Xavier School and try to figure out where they are. The X-Men join them and explain they are off the hook. Magik explains this is their new home. In the middle of nowhere? Jeffries wonders. As opposed to where they were before? Angel points out.
Jean tells them this is the new Xavier school for very gifted mutants who have nowhere else to go. Angel points out almost no one knows they are here. There has been some turnovers lately, some vacancies. It is by far the nicest converted torture chamber he’s ever been in, Iceman promises. It has a Danger Room, Beast points out. With some of their powers, they can really turn it to the next level. They lead them inside.
Jean and Laura remain behind. What? Laura asks. Jean admits Beast was right. These mutants have been through hell. All of them have been through hell. Why is it still like this for them? What are they doing wrong? What can they change?