Wakanda, where the Avengers have gathered. Spider-Woman points out that one of the big reasons why the X-Men beat them at every turn is that they know where the Avengers are going to run before they do. The others listen in interest. They can’t win the fight the way it is being fought, she continues. And not because of the Phoenix Force. They can’t win because the X-Men have telepaths and the Avengers don’t.
Before she was an Avenger, she was an agent of SHIELD, and before that an agent of HYDRA – and she has been the victim of enough psychic manipulation to know that all you need to win is psychic manipulation, so whatever the plan they are cooking up is, she recommends doing a Nick Fury first.
A Nick Fury? Captain America asks. Moan about the good old days? Hawkeye suggests. She recommends going for the telepaths first, she explains. Who are the big telepaths on the X-Men? Iron Man looks for intel but Wolverine, who has been quiet so far, replies Emma Frost and Rachel Summers.
Those should be their primary targets, Spider-Woman stresses. They won’t get anywhere near Scott Summers with those two on board. Iron Man remarks that they are a little past getting near Emma Frost. Tell him about her, Hawkeye sighs. He asked her out four times over the years and she shot him down every time. And that was before she was a Phoenix.
That was because she could read his mind, Spider-Woman suggests sweetly. If she could read his mind, she wouldn’t go anywhere near him either. She has no idea how true that is, he laughs.
Iron Man shows an image of Rachel. He can draw her out, Wolverine announces.
Spider-Woman swears. She’s already ruined the score! Black Panther realizes that now that, if they get near Summers, she will read their minds and know she is the target.
So the Avengers need a telepath, Spider-Woman announces. There’s 400 Avengers teams. Do they have a telepath? And if not, why not? Hawkeye asks. Mondragon, Black Panther suggests. Anyone else? Hawkeye quickly suggests. What’s wrong with her? Spider-Woman asks. Anyone else? Hawkeye repeats. Her too? she asks disgusted. He is such a pig! Like she is a nun, he retorts.
Showing hologram images of all known telepaths, Iron Man remarks all the best ones are mutants. They won’t be able to trust them. Cap thinks, then announces he can make a call.
And so, some time later in Indonesia, Chaparanga Beach (the spaceship graveyard):
She’s close! Someone telepathically warns Wolverine as he enters a bar and takes a seat. He knows how this works. She will feel something is different and she will assume Henry McCoy is attempting to use psychic shields against her. He knows how this works, Logan repeats while the other Avengers nervously wait in hiding.
Wolverine takes a slug, and Rachel arrives. Nice psi-shielding, she tells him. She sees Henry made some improvements on his design.
Now? Quicksilver asks. Not yet, he is told. Something is wrong.
Rachel demands to know where Hope is hiding. Don’t make it any harder than it has to be. He kicks the table at her. She forget who the hell she’s talking to?
Now? Thor asks. Wait, she’s not alone, a telepathic voice tells them. Now, Cap insists. It’s not their trap, it’s hers, Logan is told, just as Namor and a group of X-Men reveal themselves.
Rachel accuses Wolverine of letting his personal resentments of Cyclops cloud his judgment. The Phoenix is here to save them! To make certain the future she came from never comes to be! Why would he stand in the way of true utopia?
This was a mistake, a telepathic voice tells Logan. The Phoenix ain’t on their side, Wolverine replies as the other Avengers join him, it’s on its own. And are the ones who’ve lost their damned way. He’s just glad her momma ain’t here to see this. Avengers assemble! he shouts and the battle begins.
Thor swats Namor aside. Xavier warns him telepathically that Thor cannot beat him. Namor has the powers of the Phoenix Force.
Battling Kid Gladiator, Wolverine angrily demands how Xavier didn’t sense Namor before. Rachel was blocking him, comes the reply. He warns the Avengers not to take her lightly.
Well, this got ugly fast, Spider-Woman sighs as she watches the battle. Xavier feared that would happen. She evacuates some kids from the battle zone, stating she is sorry. The kids tell her it’s not her fault. She saved them!
Can they get on with this? she telepathically asks Xavier. Wolverine tells them to wait. Thor has Rachel on the ropes. If “god boy” scores a take-down, they may not have to go through with the whole--
Instead, Rachel psychically slams Thor down. Thor would rather fight women than face the King of Atlantis? Namor mocks. Why is he not surprised?
Scratch that, Logan decides. It’s now or never.
Rachel flies off, tracking her target. The Black Widow is trying to get Hope to safety. The girl protests that she is tired of running and hiding. This is her fight. Rachel takes out the Black Widow and agrees with Hope. It is her fight. She is her sister, she tells her, as a mutant, a fighter and with their mutual history with the Phoenix. Can she borrow her hairbrush? Hope mocks.
Rachel asks her to come with her, then hesitates, sensing something wrong. She’s really improved, “Hope” compliments her. You! Rachel snarls as the image of Hope is replaced by Professor X, who tells her she has grown as a telepath. He could not be more proud of her. He is sorry they are meeting under such… distressing circumstances. But clearly this needs to stop.
Rachel is flabbergasted. Xavier is working with Wolverine? Charles Xavier tells her he’s on the side he’s always been on. On humanity’s side. On the side of what’s best for the mutants. Angrily, Rachel protests. Scott Summers is like a son to him! Telepathically, she warns Namor’s group and urges them to go.
That doesn’t make Scott right, Xavier calmly tells her. He asks her to think of the big picture. He doesn’t want to overpower her or hurt her. She realizes he is there to get her off the grid. Angrily, she lashes out, calling him a traitor to his own people.
Their psychic battle blows their surroundings away. Namor senses things going wrong and runs to help Rachel but before he can Xavier orders all combatants to sleep and they fall down.
He can’t do it, he states calmly. What can’t he do? Spider-Woman asks. He turns around, surprised she is still awake. Psychic shields, pretty good ones, she explains. She had them implanted when she was an agent of SHIELD. They were so close to shutting this down. What can’t he do?
He can’t raise a hand to his students. He can’t fight this fight. He was wrong to come here. Jessica pleads that they need him. The X-Men need him to help them get out from the Phoenix’s influence.
They are grown men and women, he replies. They have made their choice. Jessica tells him this is not his fault. They are grown-ups. But they need him to shut them down. They need his help! He doesn’t have the taste for madness and blood that the rest of them do.
He awakens Captain America to hear this. He was never here. Neither side will remember his ever being here. The battle will play out of its own accord. Please do not call him again. Cap asks him to listen. Sleep, Charles orders. Dream! And consider himself lucky. He had a dream once. And it’s all but dead.