On the steps of the Xavier Institute, Emma Frost has been “escorted” back to the school grounds in the steely grip of one of the newly re-designed O*N*E Sentinels. And she is not pleased. Still within the Sentinel’s claw-like grasp, Frost tells Dr. Valerie Cooper that she is the school’s headmistress and the Sentinel has retrieved her like she was a truant schoolgirl. Cooper reminds Emma that no mutant is allowed to leave the estate without informing the O*N*E officials responsible for overseeing the “protective custody” established at Xavier’s following M-Day.
Emma asks if there’s a human pilot inside the Sentinel as she can’t pick up any type of consciousness. Val tells her that they are psi-shielded and this is standard on all the new models. Emma responds that she didn’t answer her question and Valerie reluctantly acknowledges that there are still human pilots inside.
She then gets back to her original questioning. She demands to know where Cyclops and the others have gone and if they are with the 198. Emma tells her that she has no idea and Valerie tells her she’s not stupid and knows that Emma is in constant psionic contact with her paramour, Scott Summers. Emma tells Dr. Cooper that if she thinks that she would betray the man she loves so that the Sentinels can hunt him down then she’s not just stupid, she’s crossed a line and joined the monsters.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Illinois Cyclops and his team take a break and contact Captain America. He is battered and receiving medical attention from the Night Nurse, one of his allies in the fight against the new Superhuman Registration Act. Cap tells Cyclops it’s not a good time and curtly asks what he wants. Cyclops tells Cap he needs his help and Cap makes it clear that this secure channel is for superhumans who want to join his cause and that he doesn’t have time to talk Cyclops down off the fence. Cyclops tells Cap he isn’t on the fence anymore since he witnessed people he respects trying to free mutants who had been caged at the Institute. He asks Cap if he knows there the 198 are because he’s trying to help them before Bishop and the O*N*E Sentinels get to them.
As Cyclops makes his plea to Captain America, Iceman notices some birds nearby taking flight. They were spooked by something and the X-Men realize that something is coming. A new-fangled Sentinel emerges from the trees and orders the X-Men to surrender. Iceman cockily says that there’s never been a Sentinel that the X-Men couldn’t take down but Cyclops urges caution as they don’t know the capabilities of these new Sentinels.
Iceman ices up its head and this seems to stagger it. But the effect is only momentary as the Sentinel easily breaks it away. The pilot, Jake Slayton asks smugly “Is that it?” and unleashes a barrage of weapon fire at the X-Men while asking his superiors to downgrade these X-Men’s threat level to “Pushover”.
The four original X-Men are staggered by the attack and the Beast suggests a strategic retreat. Cyclops orders them to the X-Rover and tells Iceman to use their “Fire and Ice” maneuver. Bobby send s beam of ice at the Sentinels face once more and Cyclops pulverizes it with his blast right in front of the Sentinel’s head creating a cloud of frosty snow. The Sentinel pilot tells them this is a futile effort given its sensor capacity which includes thermal, sonar, radar and a genetic lock on their power signatures but when the cloud clears, he is surprised to find them complete gone.
Inside the X-Rover, Beast reports that they managed to lose the Sentinel thanks to Forge’s “red herring” jammer signal. Iceman doesn’t see a cause for celebration and asks how they can help the 198 if they can’t defeat a single Sentinel. Cyclops says they’ll handle that when they have to but first they have to find the 198. He says that Cap has shared a list of SHIELD bases passed on to him by Nick Fury, a list that he also gave to Domino. He believes that Domino and the 198 are holed up in an abandonment government storehouse in Nevada.
In the aforementioned base, Shatterstar wonders if the 198’s situation has improved, given that they went from the “concentration camp” at Xavier’s to being stuck underground. Domino replies that Caliban likes it and Shatterstar reminds her that he spent most of his life in the sewers. Domino tells him they didn’t have a ton of option and at least here there is security and rations. They discuss the set-up a bit further and Shatterstar notes that it’s unwise strategically to only have a single way out. Domino tells him it’s too late for second thoughts and that it’s up to X-Force to provide them with protection for the moment and let fate work the rest out. She has faith that things will turn out the best for her as they almost always have. At the same moment, Caliban is exploring the underground corridors of the base and to his dismay discovers a highly secured area marked as dangerous.
In a secured, O*N*E facility, Johnny Dee is in a foul mood. He complains to his “brother” about the situation they are in now that Lorelei has seen the “dolls” they can create. He curses at his “brother” calling him a filthy freak and telling him that now his mutant friends won’t allow him anywhere near them.
General Lazer enters and is surprised to hear a mutant use the term “freak” with such venom. Johnny corrects him, explaining that he’s not a mutant himself but his “brother” is. They are two distinct minds and personalities. Lazer suggests that maybe it’s his brother he should be addressing and asks if it has a name. Johnny replies that he’s just a drooling idiot and doesn’t need a name. He insists upon continuing to serve as his “brother’s” spokesman and assures Lazer that he’ll make him do it if he chooses to. The vicious looking creature adjoined to Johnny’s torso hisses its displeasure.
Lazer asks how it works and at first Johnny asks why he should help him knowing that Lazer will never let him go. Lazer tells him that is true but at this point he is all that Johnny has and making him happy should be a priority. This would lead him to make Johnny’s new life there comfortable. Should he become upset, however, he vows to bury Johnny in a cell so deep he’ll never see the sun or breathe fresh air again. Lazer repeats his question and Johnny concedes that the general makes a persuasive argument.
He explains that with the replicas he can control the actions of the original, feel what they feel and see what they see. Lazer indicates that he’s figured this out but does not get how these dolls are made. Johnny tells him that all it takes is a minute DNA sample, skin cells, sweat, hair or blood is sufficient. The DNA is ingested by his “brother’” who metabolizes it in his “stomach” producing a pod which contains the miniature duplicate. Lazer warns Dee never to touch him and Johnny assures him he’s not stupid. He tells him that if he wants his own Hulk to control all it would take is a sample of Hulk DNA. Lazer regrets that he doesn’t have that but realizes that he does possess the DNA of others.
Cut to Cyclops, who “zones out” for a moment as the X-Men make their way to the military base that now serves as refuge to the 198. Scott was staring intently at the view screen with the map to the 198’s secret location when Iceman snapped him out of it. As they make their way, Beast notes that the stretch of land ahead would be perfect for an ambush.
At O*N*E’s Sentinel base in New Mexico, Val Cooper receives a diagnostic report on the new “Shrapnel” Sentinel that assures her that its sensors are functioning properly. This is following the X-Men’s disappearance after a brief scuffle with the new Sentinel.
Nearby, Bishop is speaking with Sabra who has been asked by the Israeli government to assist the US in their efforts to enforce their new Superhuman Registration Act. Sara notes that she did not realize this would mean going up against the X-Men and Bishop makes it clear that the X-Men are more than just four individuals. Sabra points out that he’s the only X-Man who is actively pursuing the 198. He begins to question Sabra’s dedication to their mission and she replies that she is there at the request of her government and will do what is asked of her. In exchange, Israel will get the intelligence and surveillance technology they need to implement a similar registration measure of their own. She notes that the climate in Israel is far too volatile for unsupervised superhuman activity. She assures Bishop that she has no doubts.
Bishop then turns to the O*N*E’s other international recruit, Micromax who is representing British interests and asks if he has any reservations. He notes that the new Sentinel looks mean and he’s glad it’s on their side before adding that he’s a good government operative and will keep any personal doubts he may have to himself, just like Bishop.
Their dialogue is interrupted by Val Cooper who has news that the President is considering full pardons for all the escaped mutants due to pressure surrounding the civil rights implications of their recent detainment. She notes that once this goes through, the 198 will be treated like any other superhuman under the new policies outlined by the Superhuman Registration Act. Bishop tells Val that it sounds to him like she doesn’t want them to find the 198. She replies honestly that it would make things a lot simpler if they didn’t locate them until after the President had changed the current policies.
At that moment, General Lazer calls to tell them he has found the 198’s secret headquarters. When Bishop asks how he knows this, Lazer smiles and says he has his methods. Johnny Dee sits at the table with one a “voodoo pawn” of Cyclops.
At that moment, Cyclops is trying to convince Domino to trust him and let him and the other X-Men present into their secured bunker. Domino finally relents and is about to let them in when Archangel retains form his recon flight and announces that they’ve been found. In seconds, the X-Men are surrounded by an assault squad that includes Bishop, Sabra, Micromax, three of the newly-issued Sentinels, and dozens of O*N*E troops.
Bishop tells them to listen up and fills them in on the President’s proposal for full amnesty for the 198. He asks that they all just calm down and sit things out until the President makes his announcement. General Lazer is outraged that Bishop is not acting to bring the 198 in immediately but Bishop makes it clear that this is his call and they’re going to wait for word from the President. Lazer is not content to let mutants simply be licensed and regulated.
As he rants, Johnny Dee notes the incredible untapped power levels that Cyclops continuously holds in check. Lazer orders Johnny to take control of Cyclops and unleash his full power against Bishop. Johnny tells Lazer that this will probably kill them both and Lazer tells him to do it! Cyclops calls out Bishop’s name and unleashes an unchecked power beam at Bishop’s chest. Bishop tells him that if he’s determined to throw down like this then to keep it coming and power him up. But he quickly realizes that Cyclops’ energy output is too much for him. He cries out in pain as his ability to absorb Cyclops’ energy is exceeded and it begins to burn out his system. Everyone watches in horror and surprise and Cyclops continues to bombard Bishop with energy.