A red behemoth ravages a peaceful settlement, slamming his mighty fists down, while Li Park, the Immortal Iron Fist and the great sorcerer Xun battled it, the elder demon known as Cyttorak, they asked the creature what it wanted: 'Worship me!' came its response. As the heroes leap aside. Mankind would not worship Cyttorak, however, and eventually the creature was banished from Earth. But from the crimson cosmos, Cyttorak thought only of returning to humanity.
And, years later, the demon was drawn to Earth again, like a moth to the fire. He allowed human sorcerers, like Dr Strange, to utilize his power, for Cyttorak craved destruction, but it was not enough. Finally, he found a way for mankind to feel his power once again – while he could not truly return, Cyttorak would have an avatar on Earth, and through this servant, mankind would once more know Cyttorak. They would feel his might and worship him – as Cain Marko touched the crimson gem of Cyttorak, while his step-brother, Charles Xavier, ran towards him, 'Cain, NO!' he shouted.
But Cyttorak's avatars failed him, time and time again. The gem that was his essence was lost. His power squnadered – but even still, Cyttorak thinks of Earth – and today, in Southeast Asia, amongst some ruins, a flash of crimson suddenly bursts upwards.
The sunsets, and as the flash of crimson continues to beam upwards from the ruins, several small boats arrive on the island. The men move from the boats into a few jeeps, which they drive down a narrow road amongst the dense jungle. Arriving at the ruins, they stare at the glowing temple in awe. With their weapons held closely, they move through the dark ruins, until eventually, they see a crimson gem glowing on a platform. One of the men cries out as they are suddenly pulled away. 'God' one of the men utters in his native Thai, before another of the men screams as well. 'Hear my call!' a voice echoes around him.
'AAAHH!' Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin gasps as he sits up his bed at the Jean Grey School in Westchester, New York. 'Hush' a voice tells him. 'What?' Piotr asks. 'Hush. Gonna wake up the whole school. Storm finds out I'm here, all the luck in the world's not going to make a difference' Domino a.k.a. Neena Thurman, huddled under the covers of Piotr's bed, tells him. Colossus looks across his large room to where his easels and art supplies are set up. 'He's back, Neena. I could feel him. I could feel him calling to me' Colossus reports. 'Petey? What are you doing?' Domino asks as she looks up and sees Piotr, sheet wrapped around his waist, standing at one of his easels, painting. 'I felt it. I saw it' Piotr utters. Domino gets out of bed and stands behind Colossus, telling him that she knows they have this whole nonverbal thing going on, but that he is going to have to help her out a little here. 'You saw what?' she asks. 'The Crimson Ruby of Cyttorak' Colossus replies, standing in front of his latest painting – the ruins in the jungle. 'It's back on Earth' Colossus utters.
The next morning, 'Nope. No way' Santo Vaccarro a.k.a. Rockslide declares in the gymnasium, as Bobby “Iceman” Drake, Angelica “Firestar” Jones and Rachel Grey sit on the bleechers before him. 'Oh, come on you big baby! What's the worst that could happen?' Bobby asks. 'I'll die!' Rockslide exclaims. 'He said worst, not best' Firestar points out. 'If this is so safe, then you do it!' Rockslide exclaims.
Nearby, Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner stands with Megan Gwynn a.k.a. Pixie and Wanda Maximoff the Scarlet Witch. 'You said he was indestructible, right?' Wanda asks. 'As far as we know' Nightcrawler replies, to which Pixie protests that Rockslide is going to de. 'See?' Rockslide shouts. Bobby walks over to Rockslide, as Kurt tells Megan that she just needs a confidence booster, and that the lovely Scarlet Witch has come here to help her expand her reportoire of spells. 'But isn't she evi-' Pixie begins, as Kurt interrupts, 'Tut tut! Let's get started! We'll be right here the whole time'. 'I'd do it myself, but I had a big breakfast. You understand' Bobby remarks, before telling Rockslide that he is going to be fine, adding 'You updated all your next-of-kin forms, though, right? I mean, just in case?' Santo frowns and folds his arms, 'Holy crap, Bobby, what spell is she trying to do?' Rockslide asks. 'It's Pixie. She's probably going to try and turn you into a unicorn or something' Bobby points out.
The Scarlet Witch tells Megan to concentrate, to focus on Rockslide and imagine him drifting away. 'Much like the rest of us do' Kurt jokes, while Wanda tells Pixie to cast her spell. 'Mists of Moqrheus, go!' Pixie calls out as she unleashes her energies towards Rockslide. Pixie then covers her mouth and utters 'Oh my God' over and over as the pink energy swirls around Rockslide, and separates him. 'He's fine. I'm sure he's fine. Just a scratch' Kurt assures Megan, while the Scarlet Witch suggests that Pixie may have put a little too much energy into it, as people generally don't explode from sleeping spells. Bobby goes over and picks up Rockslide's head and tells him that he took it like a champ. 'I told you everything would be fine' Bobby adds. 'I hate you' Rockslide mutters. Kurt smiles and suggests they try it again. 'WHAT?' Pixie shouts.
Suddenly, Piotr enters the gymnasium and calls out to Kurt. 'Piotr! “Sleeping in” yes? You dog, you' Kurt tells his good friend. 'Where is Ororo?' Piotr enquires. 'Where else? The same place she always is these days...' Kurt responds.
Ororo “Storm” Munroe stands in her greenhouse, arms folded, looking unhappy. 'ORORO!' Colossus shouts as he rushes in, only for Storm to turn around and tell him that now is not a good time. Paining in hand, Piotr informs Ororo that the Crimson Ruby ofm Cyttorak is on Earth. Storm pauses, before asking her old friend how he knows this. 'I felt it callig to me. I know where it is' Piotr replies. Storm turns away from Colossus and instructs him to give Rachel the location. 'We'll handle it' she assures him. 'Of course, I'll be ready in -' Colossus begins. 'No. You will stay here' Storm informs Colossus. 'What?' Piotr asks, forlorn. 'Did I stutter?' Storm asks. 'Ororo, what is wrong with you? You'll need me -' Colossus begins, as Storm turns back to him and asks 'To what? Battle the Juggernaut? For all your strength, how many times have you fallen to Cain Marko?', to which Colossus points out that Marko isn't the Juggernaut anymore. Storm tells him that she is aware of that. 'None of you know this like I do' Colossus declares.
'Which is why you're not going' Storm frowns. Colossus goes wide-eyed and declares 'You don't trust me'. 'Can you think of a reason I should?' Storm asks, her eyes flaring up with energy. 'Who do you think you are talking to?' Colossus snaps, reminding Ororo that he is not one of her students, but an X-Man, the same as her. 'No. Not the same. You've lost your way, little brother. And everybody knows it' Storm tells him. 'Is that so?' Colossus asks. 'It is' Storm scowls, reminding Colossus that he was only allowed back into this school on Logan's word that he would never pose a threat to anyone again. 'So that he could watch over you' Storm adds. She continues: 'That he would not let you, the strongest and yet somehow the weakest of us, fall under the spell of Cyclops or Cable or your sister, or Cyttorak, or the Phoenix ever again'. Storm reminds Colossus that Logan is dead, so now that burden falls on her – and she does not want it. 'Ororo...' Colossus begins, but Storm tells him that she does not want to hear it. 'You are not the same as me, because you are not responsible for me. So rather than let you near a magic crystal of unimaginable evil power, a power that corrupted you before...you will stay here... am I understood?' Storm declares.
Colossus returns to his room, where Domino is sitting in front of a mirror, brushing her hair. 'Hey, that was fast. So what's the deal? You're going to go find me a big old ruby?' Domino asks. 'Peter?' she calls out when she gets no response. 'No. I am not going -' Colossus begins, looking at a photograph of he and the X-Men from long ago. 'ANYWHERE!' Colossus shouts as he shifts to his organic steel form and smashes his fist into the wall. 'Ooookay. I'm thinking I should probably leave now' Domino remarks.
Shortly, one of the X-Jets streaks across the sky. Inside, Storm and Rachel Grey sit at the controls, while Nightcrawler tells Storm that Colossus isn't happy. 'Do I look like I care, Kurt?' Storm replies. 'Of course you care, Ororo' Nightcrawler tells her. 'If you wish to stay and coddle him, the door is over there' Storm declares. '...I'm sure Piotr's fine' Kurt mutters, before hjeading back to his seat, he sits down, 'Yikes' he mutters. Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier sits with his laptop, while Firestar looks over at him, and a shirtless Iceman sits behind Firestar. 'So where we going? Huh? Huh? We're not fighting more Wendigo, are we? Because that sucked' Rockslide calls out from the back of the jet. 'Really? The rest of us thought it was a delight' Northstar mutters. Nightcrawler informs the others that Colossus thinks the ruby that gives the Juggernaut his power is back on Earth, and that they have to get to it before anyone else does. 'So whate – whoever gets the rock becomes the Juggernaut? Like, if I pick it up, I'm the Juggernaut?' Rockslide asks. 'Okay. For real. Do not pick up the Ruby' Iceman exclaims.
'To hell with that! I'm gonna be the Juggernaut!' Rockslide boasts. 'Why did we bring him again?' Nightcrawler asks. 'In case someone has to get sacrificed' Northstar explains. 'I fought the Juggernaut once' Firestar reveals. 'Welcome to the club' Bobby tells her. 'You all joke about this, but he was... I don't know. Unstoppable' Firestar remarks. 'And yet somehow we stop him every time' Iceman reminds her, before declaring that the deal with Cain Marko, an idiot that was super strong, is that telepaths can ake him down just like that – pop his helmet off and they are done. Bobby's icy breath blows, creating the helmet worn by the Juggernaut. 'And what if someone gets the ruby who isn't susceptible to telepathy? Or magic? Maybe Cain Marko didn't seem so bad, but what if someone truly evil gets hold of the gem?' Firestar asks. 'Killjoy' Rockslide mutters, while Northstar and Nightcrawler frown, but Iceman just smiles, hands behind his head. 'That, Firestar, is exactly why we're going to stop anyone from getting the ruby' Storm announces. 'Including me?' Rockslide asks. 'Especially you' someone tells him as the jet speeds on.
Back at the Jean Grey School, Colossus sits in a darkened corridor, across from the office labeled “Professor Logan”. In front of the door, several candles are lit, and a photo of an older team of X-Men with Wolverine. 'Are you going to break anything else? Dust said you wrecked the Danger Room' Hope Abott a.k.a. Trance asks as her astral form phases through the wall behind Colossus. 'That is what it is for, Trance' Colossus replies. 'We had a class scheduled in there' Trance tells him, but Colossus pauses, before informing her that the other X-Men do not trust him. 'Logan did. But he's gone now. Professor Xavier is gone. My sister and Katya, they have left... I have no one to tell me what to do'. Trance asks Colossus if he can't just figure out what to do on his own, to which Colossus replies that it has been pointed out to him that his decisions have not been the best of late. 'The X-Men need me. I know it. But as I said...' his voice trails off. 'Yeah, they don't trust you. I got it' Trance replies, before Colossus asks 'What would Wolverine do?' Trance points out that Wolverine would team up with a teenage girl and go kill bad guys. Colossus pauses, before thanking Trance, who frowns and continues on her way, 'Yeah, whatever' she mutters.
Southeast Asia, the X-Men make their way through the jungle, and Rockslide complains 'I thought Colossus told you where it was. We've been walking for days'. Rachel tells hi mthat it has been an hour, and that it was an image in Colossus's mind – not Google Maps. 'Well, I hope we're getting closer because... you know... humidity' Bobby remarks. As Storm, Northstar and Firestar hover over the ruins, Kurt teleports up next to Rachel and tells everyone to be thankful they don't have fur. 'Storm and Firestar found something' Rachel reports, and everyone looks up at the ruins, 'Whoa' Rockslide utters. Storm, Firestar and Northstar drop down near the jeeps, where motionless men are strewn. 'We are not the first to arrive' Storm points out, as Rachel announces that there are people in the temple. 'How many?' Storm enquires. Rachel replies that she can't tell, there is too much interference. 'It would seem we missed the party. If you consider ripping people in half a party' Northstar remarks. 'Oh, God!' Firestar exclaims, wide-eyed as they look at the slain men. 'More likely a Juggernaut' Northstar points out.
Soon, Firestar lights up the way as the X-Men make their way through the ruins, 'Has the ruby been taken?' Storm asks. Rachel replies that it hasn't, as she is not picking up anything Juggernaut-y. 'Then what killed those men?' Firestar asks. Nightcrawler points out that they will find out soon enough. 'You love this, don't you?' Bobby tells him. 'A quest to find a magical ruby in a mysterious temple, with brigands and gods and unbeatable foes on all sides? What's not to love?' Kurt responds. 'What “gods”?' Bobby asks. Kurt touches some tchings on the wall, 'Cyttorak, of course' he explains, adding that Cain Marko was but a man, but that he was the chosen avatar of a god, and at some point, surely Cyttorak will join the game, no? 'Well, hopefully not today!' Bobby exclaims. 'I'm sure you're right. Until you're not' Kurt grins, while the shirtless Bobby frowns. Storm tells Kurt that he is not helping, before instructing Northstar to see what he can find. 'Done' Jean-Paul replies, and in an instant, speeds back to his teammates. 'That was fast' one of them points out.
Northstar announces that he has found something. 'The gem?' Storm enquires. 'Not exactly' Northstar points out as he turns around and the others look up at the large crimson demon that has followed him. 'Should someone tell Rockslide to ome in now?' Rachel asks, as the large demon roars at them. 'It can't hurt now, I suppose' Storm frowns.
Back at the Jean Grey School, Pixie is in her room, dancing with some large headphones over her ears, while practising her Morpheus Mists spell. 'Go! Go, mists!' she exclaims, when suddenly, Colossus enters her room and tells her that he needs her to take him somewhere right now. Pixie just rolls her eyes, unimpressed.