The call of Cyttorak goes out. It is heard by the strong, like in South America, where an unidentified person in a black costume stabs an AIM operative in the back. It is heard by those filled with rage – with the desire for power, like Katrina van Horn, the woman called Man-Killer, who sits at a bar in Colorado, glass in front of her, a drunk asleep next to her. It is heard in Saudi Arabia by those who Cyttorak felt could be controlled, like Fahd “Jinn” Alireza, whose eyes glow with energy, and in the Sahara Desert, by those who would show this world his power – and among the sand dunes, a cloaked figure extends their arms skyward.
As well as those who knew what to listen for, in Utah, there is another. The sun rises over the hills, a small farm has a paddock filled with flowers], where one man suddenly looks up from where he is potting the flowers, 'Eh?' he asks, as a voice calls out 'Hear me'. 'Cyttorak' the bearded man declares as he gets to his feet. His name is Cain Marko – he has heard the call and he knows that the peace he had found is over.
Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia at the Temple of Cyttorak, several members of the X-Men are engaged in battle with a Cyttorak demon, it's large, multi-limbed body screeches at them. Ororo “Storm” Munroe blasts it with a surge of lightning, while Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier speeds about and creates bursts of brilliant light. Bobby “Iceman” Drake attacks the creature with ice, while Angelica “Firestar” Jones does so with flame. Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner grabs Rachel Grey and teleports her to safety when the creature reaches out for her, while Santo Vaccarro a.k.a. Rockslide asks 'What is this thing?' as the creature grabs him. 'Some kind of guardian... it's protecting the gem!' Storm announces. 'You are doing this wrong, Rockslide' Northstar calls out. 'There's a giant freaking demon crushing me!' Rockslide retorts. 'How is that different than what I said?' Northstar responds.
'Firestar, watch out!' Storm calls out, too late, as Firestar is struck by the creature. Storm orders Iceman to bury this thing, so Iceman unleashes a fury of ice which engulfs the creature. 'So this isn't Cyttorak, right? I just want to be sure...' Bobby asks from his ice-slide. 'Amazing' Nightcrawler utters as he looks up at the creature, struggling against Iceman's attack. 'What, that we still take Bobby on these missions?' Rachel asks her old friend. 'Yes, but also... after everything I've seen in this life... and the last one... moments like this still fill me with awe' Nightcrawler explains.
'...wait... Storm! We've got company!' Rachel calls out urgently, as several men armed with machine guns enter the ruined temple and open fire. 'Kurt!' Rachel exclaims, as Nightcrawler leaps at her and pushes her down. 'As if this were not enough. Talk to me, Rachel' Storm demands. Rachel uses her telepathy to locate the men and informs Storm that thre are eight of them, and that a voice called out to them. 'They're after the gem' she reveals.
'Wonderful. They're using us as a distraction' Storm mutters, before instructing Rockslide to deal with the demon, and telling him that they will be back. 'WHAT?' Rockslide calls out as the creature's large mouth opens wide, showing its many sharp teeth, as it lunges towards Rockslide, bursting free of the ice that Bobby had trapped it in. 'We believe in you, big guy!' Iceman calls out as he slides past Rockslide on an ice-sled.
Nearby, Firestar sits up after being knocked out by the demon. 'Hello? Guys? Where'd everybody go?' Firestar asks as she looks around – only to see Brock Rumlow a.k.a. Crossbones standing nearby, large knife in one hand, machine gun in the other. He is a mercenary and a killer, and he declares 'I'm right here, Red. How about you and I go find a gem now?'
Meanwhile, at the Jean Grey School, in Westchester, New York:
'No. No way. Nope. Never. Ever. Uh-uhn' Megan “Pixie” Gwynn exclaims, arms folded in her room as Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin stands before her. Megan frowns and tells Colossus that she is not teleporting him to Asia, that there is no way she is going to help him do anything. 'Megan, please... I know you and I have had our differences...' Colossus begins, to which Megan asks 'You mean like that time your sister stole part of my soul? And that time you yelled at me and I had to go to Hell to save her?' Colossus ignores her and simply points out that he is pleading and that the X-Men need him. 'If they needed you so bad, why didn't they take you?' Pixie enquires. 'Just do as I say already!' Colossus shouts, slamming his fist into a set of drawers, splintering it. They turn to each other, Megan says nothing before informing Colossus that this is why no one likes him anymore.
Colossus looks ashamed, and holds his hands up, apologizing, he assures Megan that he was not always like this. 'You see, I was strong. And up until the day I became an X-Man, that was enough. But from then on... I was never strong enough' he explains, adding that he was not strong enough to save the ones he loved from pain and death – his sister, his family, his friends. 'Storm called me weak. The truth is, I am afraid'. Colossus tells Megan that all he wants to do is protect the people he cares about. 'The X-Men need me. I can save them, Megan... but not without your help'. Megan pauses, before asking 'Your sister isn't coming, is she?'
Back in the temple:
'Talk to me, Grey' Northstar calls out as he speeds down a corridor. 'Will!' 'You!' 'Wait!' 'Up!' Nightcrawler shouts in succession as he teleports behind Northstar, who shows no sign of slowing down. Rachel Grey telepathically informs Northstar that there is one contact headed his way. 'Jean-Paul!' Nightcrawler declares as he teleports in front of the speedster, who comes to a stop. 'You are in my way, Wagner' Northstar points out. 'First Storm is mad at me, and now you?' Nightcrawler asks. 'You should not have brought her to the school' Jean-Paul declares. 'What? Who?' Nightcrawler asks. 'The Scarlet Witch, you idiot' Northstar tells his teammate. 'But... she only wanted to help -' Nightcrawler begins, worried. 'She has helped us quite enough, don't you think?' Northstar replies as he speeds off. 'Not everyone is as forgiving as -' he begins, when suddenly, a fist extends in front of him and knocks him to the ground. 'Jean-Paul!' Nightcrawler gasps, while sanding over Northstar is Man-Killer, who tells Nightcrawler that if he knows what is good for him then he will stay down.
In another corridor, Rachel and Bobby have come to a stop, as Rachel reports that something is wrong. She announces that Firestar and Nightcrawler have made contact with their targets and there are gunmen all over the place. 'Let me guess...something worse' Bobby asks. Rachel informs him that there is another presence, and that his thoughts are painful – they burn. 'But that's not what you're worried about, is it?' Bobby asks. Rachel admits that it isn't – that there is someone else and their thoughts are shielded. 'Of course they are. Let's see who's telepathy-resistant? Pretty much everyone. No offense, but what's the point?' Bobby snaps. 'Bobby...' Rachel begins, while Bobby boasts that he remembers back in the day Professor X could just win any fight by showing up. 'Bobby...' Rachel continues as she sees a glare of light emerge behind him. 'Now, it's like everyone's got a helmet or armor or some kind of psychic defenses or -' Bobby continues, before Rachel lunges him, pushing him to the ground. 'Bobby, move!' she shouts. Bobby looks up as Jinn arrives, he grabs Rachel and holds her in the air: 'You...telepath. Where is the stone?' he demands.
Meanwhile, Storm walks down a corridor: 'Not another step, Mohawk...or Red here dies. Followed by you' Crossbones calls out, holding his large knife to Firestar's throat. 'Storm...' Firestar utters. But Storm announces that she does not have time for this and instructs Firestar to deal with Crossbones, before she departs. 'What? Hey...get back here! Get back here or I'll -' Crossbones calls out,. Only for Firestar to finish his sentence: 'Burn?' she asks, as she uses her mutant power to heat up his sword, and extend the heat to his gun, both scalding his hands. 'AAAH!' Crossbones clals out, stepping back, he releases Firestar, who punches him with a flaming fist. 'Want to surrender now, jerk?' she asks him as he falls backwards.
Back in another part of the temple ruins, 'Ouch' Rockslide utters as he is knocked to the ground by the Cyttorak demon. He gets up and grabs it by its mouth as it roars at him. 'Can you stop trying to eat me already? You're making me look bad in front of the other X-Men...who left me behind to die' Rockslide tells the demon. He grits his teeth and looks angy, 'Just...get...OFF!' Rockslide booms as he slams the demon to the ground. But the demon gets back up, although it doesn't move towards Rockslide, it stares at him – although it appears to have no eyes. 'Aw, yeah, how you like me now?' Rockslide asks. 'You are strong' the demon utters. 'That's right I – wait. You talk?' Rockslide responds. The demon moves ever so closer and tells Rockslide that he has potential – potential to serve the great Crimson Lord Cyttorak. 'Really?' Rockslide asks. 'To show the world his power. To rain down chaos and destruction and -' the demon begins, as Rockslide remarks 'That sounds amazing – wait, what about this?' 'What about what?' the demon asks, when suddnely, there is an explosion, and the demon turns away from Rockslide, hissing. But, Rockslide re-forms himself, laughing, he exclaims 'I just blew up in your face!'
Elsewhere, Rachel Grey struggles against Jinn, she tells him that his thoughts burn, to which Jinn informs her that he has no wish to kill her, that he has come for Cyttorak's stone. 'And I will not be denied -' he begins, when suddenly, 'Gey away from her!' Bobby shouts as he starts to freeze Jinn in a solid block of ice. Calling her “Ray”, Bobby asks her if she is all right. 'Yeah, I -' Rachel begins, to which Bobby interrupts: 'I told you! He's got fire mntal shields or something, right?' Bobby asks, but Rachel tells him to shut up and explains that Jinn is some kind of ancient genie. 'Psylocke ran into him a while back and -' Rachel starts to say, before Jinn bursts free from the block of ice, 'ENOUGH!' he booms, flaming energy whirling around him. 'I didn't want this, you fools!' he shouts as he casts a burst of flame towards Iceman. 'Good... to... know...' Bobby responds, blocking the fire with his own ice.
Down another corridor, the being in the white cloak walks, protected by several henchmen armed with machine guns. 'There's motion in the tunnels ahead' one of them announces. 'Deal with it' comes the response from the cloaked figure. 'This isn't what I signed up for' the henchman protests. 'You will be rewarded beyond anything you can imagine when I obtain the stone' the cloaked figure declares. 'We'd better be, or -' the henchman begins, when suddenly, several smaller Cyttorak demons hiss and emerge from the corridor. The annoyed henchman starts to fire his gun, but one of the demons leaps onto him and pushes him back. 'Rachel! Talk to me!' Storm calls out from nearby, but Rachel telepathically replies that she is a little busy right now. 'Kill anything that moves' the cloaked figure instructs the henchmen. 'Rachel!' Storm shouts, coming to a sudden stop as bullets are fired at her. 'It's some chick! Are we -' one of the henchmen calls out, before one of the smaller Cyttorak demons takes him out. Storm looks around and sees several of the smaller demons 'Logan...how I wish you were here to kill a lot of things for me' Storm utters. 'But you're not' she reminds herself, before casting forth a large field of electrical energy, striking as many of the demons down as she can.
'Stay down!' Jinn tells Iceman, who collapses to the ground, his ice melted. Rachel steps between Jinn and Bobby, who gets to his feet and ices up once more. 'Jinn! Jinn, right? You don't want this! The stone, it's not just power... you become a slave to Cyttorak! We've seen it happen!' Rachel declares. 'Their wills were weak' Jinn replies. 'I'll show you weak! I mean – you know what I mean!' Bobby exclaims, when suddnely, Northstar is thrown through the corridor wall. Bobby and Rachel turn to see Man-Killer holding Nightcrawler by his neck. 'Okay, wait. Is she the new Juggernaut?' Bobby asks. 'Not...yet...meet...Man-Killer' Nightcrawler manages to utter between breaths. 'What is this? Who are you people?' Man-Killer snarls. 'Okay, that's it. I'm freezing everybody' Iceman begins, when suddnely, Rachel announces that something is happening. 'A teleporter is – oh, no. He's coming for the stone' she declares. 'Who?' Bobby asks. 'Cain Marko' Rachel reveals, and suddnely, courtesy of the Vanisher, a now shaven Cain Marko, armed with various weapons, appears in the temple. Rachel, Bobby, Nightcrawler, Jinn and Man-KIller stare at Marko, while the Vanisher, at Marko's feet, asks 'Can I go now?'