A privately owned prison at an undisclosed location:
Tony Stark aka Iron Man visits Cyclops. Nice place he’s got here, Stark jokes. Why is he here? Cyclops greets him calmly. During the Phoenix incident… Stark begins. He was the tech lead. He studied the Phoenix. He tried to blow it up, Scott reminds him.
Only to start with, Tony stresses. Point being, he’s still trying to make sense of it. He’s expanding the lines of attack, research-wise. You won’t control it with science, Cyclops warns. It is not about controlling it, Tony retorts. He just wants to understand. Scott was in possession of the force during a Dark Phoenix event. He survived. Tony wants to try and get readings while everything is still fresh. He’s started thinking about this and he just can’t stop.
Scott points out that he can’t think of a single reason why he’d help him. Tony admits that in the end with Hope, the distorter, everything, he knew it would create mutants. After brief hesitation Scott tells him to get his machine and take as many readings as he wants.
The PEAK in Earth orbit:
Commander Abigail Brand is informed that the orbital surveillance grid has a possible lead on an Extinction Team location. Brand commends her agents for the good work then asks if anyone wants coffee? Sure, an agent agrees hopefully. Brand tells him to make it and she wants hers waiting for her when she gets back.
She enters a private chamber and opens a maximum security channel. Magneto thanks her for another warning. Don’t thank her. The virus is buried in the system now. They’ll receive updates on their position before it goes to anyone hunting them down.
Isn’t she worried they’ll discover how the system has been compromised? he asks. It’s extraterrestrial tech, Brand replies. She acquired it from a guest they had a while back. The robot was… good at this sort of thing. Unless they do something horrifically stupid, they should stay one step ahead. So this is the last he’ll hear from her unless the situation changes.
As grateful as Magneto is, he has to ask why. Half of her is an alien, she replies. Everyone knows that. It’s where she gets her green hair from. But the human half… She takes off her glove and creates energy from her hand. Where she gets this from: mutant.
Why did he think she always went to Scott’s Extinction Team? They need people willing to do whatever it takes to make sure there is a world for their kids. And that’s still them. Kids? Magneto asks. Does Beast know she is so broody? No, he doesn’t. And she’ll come for Magneto herself if he dreams of saying anything!
Hope Summers is diving in the waters beneath Utopia when Namor addresses her strictly. He supposes he did give her permission to see his kingdom whenever she wished. Why now, redhead girl?
She stammers and automatically raises her harpoon defensively. Namor orders her to steady her voice and lower her weapon. She need not fear him.
Still holding onto her harpoon, Hope explains that when Utopia fell a bunch of stuff hit the sea floor. She wants her dad’s records and a jetpack. She loved that jetpack. Namor gives her permission to continue. He believes he saw the device over there.
Is he okay? Hope asks. After everything? It was war, he replies curtly. He did what he had to. She protests that he almost destroyed Wakanda. Her father would have understood, Namor replies. He doesn’t know her dad, she replies angrily. And he taught her the difference between war and a war crime! Namor was always so… how could he?! she bursts out.
At first, Namor is at a loss for words, then announces strictly one does not speak to the king of Atlantis so! Waves of fire towered above him, he recalls. He felt like a single krill lost in endless oceans. Has she ever felt small? He never had. He dislikes it intensely. He swims off.
Storm finds Colossus in a cave in Siberia. Calling out Colossus’ name, she enters to find him inside working on a rock-likeness of his sister, Illyana. Unsurprised, he greets her.
Ororo asks him to come in. He refuses. What has he been doing here? Thinking, he replies, turning human. He is thinking of embracing pacifism. He is also thinking of the opposite. He is thinking and thinking deeply. It is perhaps an endeavor he should have embraced earlier. The heart is a sentimental organ. He trusts it no longer. He smashes Illyana’s likeness.
What happened to him? Storm asks. What happened to them? he retorts. He wishes nothing more than to be left alone. Leave him be or turn him in - the decision is hers. One last word, he tells her as she leaves. If she finds his sister, kill her!
Outside, Ororo mutters that she cannot turn him in. He is another victim. So the goddess comes to the same conclusion as the devil himself, Magneto announces. Peter Rasputin is better off left to his own devices. This was his idea? Ororo asks. Magneto explains Illyana knew where he was; he went to him and found him like this. If Peter is to come in, he’d prefer it to be with people Peter and Magneto trust. Does he still trust them? Ororo asks.
From some distance, hidden, Illyana watches the exchange. After all they went through he trusts her at least to understand. Storm remarks that, according to Peter, Magik is dangerous. Magneto agrees. Same as he. He wishes her farewell.
Still think all of this is glorious? she asks. He thinks it’s regrettable, he admits. For a while, the hero and the villain walked arm in arm. For a purpose grander than themselves. And now that’s over.
He is not a villain, Storm tells him. As he walks toward a teleportation disk he thanks her, but points out their roles are nothing more than how the times choose to cast them.
One week later in prison:
So he was in a gang? Jake asks Scott while he has a tattoo on his arm done. A team, Scott corrects. Since he was fourteen, Jake continues, and he never got ink? He shows off his tattoo, an X-symbol. Scott considers it. Anxiously Jake asks if that school has a problem with ink. Cyclops calms him: there were students whose gifts were powered tattoos.
A guard calls Scott for his next scan. Jake jokes that, if he disappears for this many private liaisons with an international playboy with dubious facial hair, he’s going to get himself a reputation. Wryly, Scott points out he’s already got a reputation. He promises to talk to Jake later.
Jake is on his way back to the cellblock but some other prisoners with knives are already waiting for him. Scott hears the screams and runs to find Jake stabbed by his old foe. Scott quickly kicks him and the guard activates his control collar.
Later, he sits alone in his cell until Wolverine visits him. He didn’t make it, he states, anticipating Scott’s question. Scott swears. This is what he said. Mutant prisoner murder rates dictate separate – Logan tells him not to turn this into a policy debate.
Why the hell is he here? Scott snaps. Logan explains. Tony told him what happened. Logan thought he could do with some talking. Scott replies it’s not needed. Logan disagrees. He knows where Scott is now. He knows where he wants to go next. And before he does something he can‘t take back, he wants Scott to know, he believes him about the professor. Scott wouldn’t kill him deliberately. And he won’t do what he is thinking of. Scott doesn’t reply.
Logan continues. The professor gave him ideals. Gave him patience, kindness and more than he ever deserved. But Scott? He gave him a role model. He showed him how it was possible to be a better man. Even now in the school when he wants to pop his claws through some smarmy kid, he still asks himself: what would Scott Summers do? And he has to tell Scott, whatever he is thinking of now: Scott Summers wouldn’t do. He tells him not to give up. He has to be the better man. Scott thanks him.
Turning away, Logan adds they’ve both damned themselves time and time again. They can’t change the past, but he’ll be double damned if he stands by and lets Scott damn himself some more.
Scott sits alone in his cell, thinking. He takes out the iron filings and draws the word NOW on the ground.
Elsewhere, Magneto puts on his helmet. “Well ladies,” he announces to Danger and Magik, “Villains it is…”