On Muir Isle, somewhere off the coast of Scotland, Nightcrawler is in a battle with the former Acolyte named Spoor. Right now, Nightcrawler is losing. As he holds Nightcrawler down to the ground, Spoor makes light of his past atrocities in killing over a hundred humans. Kurt, who is a devout Christian, wonders aloud how anyone can make light of such heinous acts of cruelty. Spoor laughs at Kurt, telling him that Colossus joined the Acolytes and it won’t be long until the other mutants, including the X-Men, do also. Kurt, enraged, grabs a rock from nearby and raises it above Spoor’s head. He comments that he is tired of zealots like him and he will put an end to at least one zealot now! Spoor,smiling and held down by Nightcrawler’s weight, tells Kurt that, even though he killed all those people, it does not mean he enjoyed it. He then asks Kurt if killing is wrong, shouldn’t killing the killer be wrong also? Kurt, having had enough of Spoor’s mouth smashes the rock to the ground. While he does, though, he wonders why this one mutant is making him act in ways that he never thought possible.
Looking up, Nightcrawler sees Shadowcat staring down at him. It was she, seconds before, who had quickly phased Nightcrawler’s rock, so that he could not strike Spoor. Kurt asks her why he, himself, is acting the way he is? Kitty explains that Moira told her earlier that Spoor is a mutant with the ability to release a psycho-stimulatory pheromone into the air and that, sadly, he is also a mutant with a death wish. Phoenix, who is hovering above the two, asks them why they are worried so much about a killer? Putting the situation into perspective, Nightcrawler uses the Christian axiom, “There but for the grace of God...” Phoenix tells Kurt that her philosophy is there are heroes like themselves, then there is everyone else. Seconds later, Phoenix lifts the three from the ground with her powers, as Kurt asks if she really believes there can be such a simple distinction?
The three members of Excalibur land outside of Moira Mactaggert’s lab, as Phoenix finishes her discussion, saying that she may not believe in her philosophy, but it gets her through the night. When they land, two scientists stand along side of Moira Mactaggert with mechanical bonds, waiting on the team’s return with Spoor. As they lead Spoor away, Moira tells Excalibur that, even though they may not see any change in Spoor, he has made progress since his arrival at her facilities. Shadowcat asks Moira if she feels bad about curing the inmates on her island, just to see them shipped off to jail when they make the same mistakes again. Moira replies to Kitty’s question by telling her that, at one time, she had tried to play God with Magneto and it did not work. She does not plan on playing God again.
With that said, the team hears a mental call from a voice not so unfamiliar. It is Xavier and he replies to Moira’s statement by telling her that not in every circumstance should you try to change people’s mind, but, in some cases, you should. Excalibur looks into the sky to see Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Charles Xavier hovering above them and Xavier replies to them that he needs to speak to them in private so they can help him save one of their own.
Five minutes later, in a meeting area in Moira’s house, the three X-Men sit down to talk to the three members of Excalibur plus Moira. Xavier tells Kitty of his belief that Colossus is not joining the Acolytes out of a right mind. He thinks that a head trauma he had suffered earlier has now somehow made him react in ways he would not normally act. Denying his accusations, Kitty tries not to hear the voices of her friends around her as she phases through the chair she is sitting and into the room below.
While she floats to the floor, she wonders to herself about all the alien technology surrounding her and of how it does not even seem to be related to any Shi’ar technology she knows. Kitty does not have long to ponder her question, though, as Xavier’s astral form follows her, chiding the former X-Man for her childish behavior. Not wanting to hear one of Xavier’s patented lectures, Kitty stops him before he can continue and reminds him that she is no longer a minor, so she deserves to be treated like an adult. Xavier apologizes to her and tells her that he has been under a strain of late and he is probably only hurting the ones closest to him.
With her head bowed in deep thought, Kitty informs the Xavier that she has not felt particularly close to him since she, Kurt and Rachel left the x-Men to help create Excalibur. And, she continues telling the Professor, it did not seem to bother him at all when he returned from outer space and discovered that they were gone. Xavier informs Kitty that she is mistaken, because whenever one of his students leaves, it always hurts his heart. But, he says, he would not be a good father figure if he did not let his so-called “children” follow their own dreams and desires. Kitty questions his reply, asking if all of his “children” are able to leave, why is Peter the exception? Because he’s the first to opt to join Magneto? Xavier tells Kitty of Colossus’ head trauma that had forced him to not be able to transform from steel to flesh and, because of Illyana’s deteriorating condition, he had to devote his time to her and not to Peter’s, when sadly Peter may have needed him the most. Xavier’s astral form leans towards Kitty. With his arm reaching for her, he apologizes for his mistakes, while asking her to help him fix them, by working with him to save Peter.
Above Earth, on Avalon, Peter receives a video one-way call from Kitty. Though the message is somewhat distorted, he sees Kitty asking him to come to Muir Isle, where she will be waiting alone. She tells Peter that she wants to go to Avalon with him, because she misses him and that she does not want to be without him. Peter turns to Exodus, who was standing next to him when the call was received and requests permission to go to Muir Island and get her as she asked. Exodus asks if she can be trusted and Peter replies that he believes her with all his heart. Standing above a kneeled Colossus, Exodus gives his permission to retrieve his one-time lover, but, before he leaves, Exodus reminds Peter that his heart still needs to only belong to Magneto. Behind Peter, Amelia Vought talks to Exodus about her distrust of Colossus, because of his one time affiliation with Xavier. Exodus tells Vought that Magneto had the same concerns, but he chose to bring Peter along because of his tortured soul and the hope that, one day, Peter could truly severe his ties with the X-Men once and for all. As Vought leaves to take Colossus to Earth, Exodus tells her that she has to bring Colossus back in one hour, alive or dead!
Back on Muir Island, the teams of Excalibur and the X-Men try to comfort Kitty after she gets off the communication to Avalon, but to no avail. She turns to Xavier and asks how she will be paid her thirty pieces of silver, as a stab towards both hers and Xavier’s betrayal of their friend’s trust. As Rachel leaves with Kitty, trying to comfort her friend, she turns back to Cyclops and asks what they are going to do if, after they heal Colossus’ injury, he still chooses Magneto’s ways over theirs? Stumped by the idea, Cyclops turns to Nightcrawler. Their doubts are both illustrated by the expressions in their faces as Cyclops’ responds to her question, telling her that they don’t know what they will do then.
In camp Verde, Arizona, Cable has received the same distress call from Kitty, on Muir Island, to Peter, on Avalon, and he is mad. Cable is angered as, days ago, he was torn apart by the Acolytes’ master, Magneto. He talks to the Professor about how he does not want the rest of X-Force to know where is going, but he is going to finish his revenge on the Acolytes.
Nightcrawler and Cyclops stare in wonder at the great technology that they see surrounding them all around Moira’s labs. Cyclops even tries his optic blast against the resilience of the materials that make up the entire lab with no success; the materials easily hold up against his power. Nightcrawler comments on the irony of how, even in the face of tragedy, there are often such wonders, such miracles, to be found. Kurt is talking about the labs being built, not for the world’s use, but for one woman’s determination to save her son. Now, though, since her son is dead, she is using her facilities to help other misfortunate mutants. Cyclops asks Kurt how the other members of Excalibur are doing? Very soberly, Nightcrawler replies that he does not know if there are any other members to talk about, since recent events have torn the team apart. Nightcrawler clicks a nearby button on the wall and brings up a projection of his six former members.
He explains that Captain Britain and Widget were lost in a chronological wave when they were in route from Rachel’s future. Cerise has decided to return to the Shi’ar where she may be on trial, even now, for trumped up charges. Meggan, since the loss of her lover, Brian, has gone into a catatonic state and Feron has joined her, to help her through her time of need. Kylun has left on the search to find his parents, which was a journey he was on when he met Excalibur, and has now had the chance to resume his search again. Lastly, Micromax has left to pursue a job at the Brand Corporation as head of security.
Cyclops, wanting to offer comforting words to Nightcrawler, places his hand on Kurt’s shoulder and tells him that “mutant” is just another word for change. He tells him also that, in their line of work, they have to be able to accept change as it comes. Nightcrawler turns to Cyclops and tells him that he has always been the leader of the X-Men, so he has not had to watch his entire team dissolve before his own eyes. Cyclops, denying Kurt’s words, tells him that, when he was with the original X-Men, there was more than one occasion the team was faced with being torn apart. Cyclops walks Kurt from the room, telling him that he believes that Kurt is a great leader and he is sure Kurt will lead the Excalibur team through this time of trial.
Elsewhere on the Island, Phoenix sits on a cliff, holding a teke-shield above her head, to keep the rain off of herself. She thinks that Kurt only put her on perimeter patrol, not because of her awe inspiring powers, because she acts like a child every time Scott and Jean come around. Rachel thinks of her parents… Scott and Jean… not really being her parents. Her actually her parents were a Scott and Jean from another timeline.
Interrupting her thoughts, Jean walks behind Rachel, telling her that her teke-shield will keep the rain off, but she still may catch a cold out here in such foul weather. Rachel does not even turn to see her approach, as she asks why does she care? Jean stands behind Rachel and asks her if she really hates her as much as she sounds like she does? Rachel bows her head, telling Jean that she loves her because, in a way, she and Scott are the closest things to parents she will ever have.
Jean tells Rachel that when she came out of her cocoon like state, after the Fantastic Four found her, she was not thrilled to find that she had a teenage daughter from another timeline. That was her selfishness, she goes on to say, and she should have not made it Rachel’s problem. Caressing Rachel’s hair, Jean apologizes for her actions. Changing the subject, Jean admits that this is not why she came up there. She’s about to do something that may or may not have a profound effect on her life. If it works out, Jean tells Rachel, she stands a really good chance of being born sometime in the immediate future. Realizing what Jean is saying, Rachel, smiling greatly, begins to tell Jean of her happiness in this revelation when Xavier interrupts, telling Jean that Colossus is nearing so he needs her help. Standing to their feet, Rachel places her hand on Jean’s shoulder and tells her “Go get them, Mom.” “Mom, huh?” replies Jean, considering the title.
Within the minute, everyone has taken his or her place, while Kitty sits in the rain awaiting her Colossus’ return. She thinks, as she waits, of her first trip to Xavier’s mansion and how she only had two goals in mind: one was to become an X-Man and the other was to marry Peter Rasputin. In Xavier’s hiding place, he and Jean discuss his lack of strength since using the psionic exo-skeleton earlier, when they fought Magneto. Asking Jean to stop talking, he sends out the warning to the other members of his team, telling them that Colossus has now arrived.
Kitty sits on the ground, awaiting Colossus’ arrival, when a yellowish-pink fog appears out of nowhere, carrying her friend to Earth. Kitty thinks to herself of how Cyclops was right in predicting that Vought would transport Colossus to Earth herself. Kitty turns to look at Peter and, as she does, she is shocked to see the anger on Peter’s face. Kitty tells Peter that he had not changed, because he came when she called him just like he always has. Peter, grimacing above his one-time friend, tells her that he has not changed a bit, but it is the world around him that has changed. He finishes by telling her that he is glad that she has seen fit to be with him on Avalon. Xavier’s dream is now too weak, he says, but Magneto’s dream is still strong.
At the same moment, on the far side of Muir Isle, Cable scales the side of the rock face after being accidentally teleported by the Professor not onto the island itself, but just outside of it, in the water below. The Professor apologizes for its mistake and tells Cable that the electro-magnetic disturbance, caused by Magneto days ago, is still messing up his computer program. As Cable scales the cliff he asks for a read on any hostiles near his position, but the Professor tells Cable that the disturbance will not allow it to even do that for him, as of yet. With that said, Cable, who till now was psi-blind to any psi on the planet, hears a voice in his head, telling him that if he wanted to know of any hostiles he could have just asked her. As Cable ponders aloud who the psi may be, a giant fire claw picks him up and brings him to the top of the cliff. The wielder of the fire claw, and also the psi, is none other than Rachel herself, the Phoenix.
Cable recognizes Phoenix’s power signature just in time to pull his gun from his holster. Rachel tells him that he does not have to call her Phoenix; he can call her Rachel Summers. She tells him that, since they are probably going to end up slugging it out for the next twenty minutes, he does not have to be so formal. Cable, taken aback at the name “Summers,” asks Rachel why does she think that that name should means something to him. Gritting through the rain falling about them and string down the barrel of Cable’s gun, Rachel replies that, maybe, it is because it does.
Colossus holds Kitty close to him. He tells her that he knows what the Acolytes did under Fabian’s rule was horrible, but now, under Exodus, they will no longer commit such heinous crimes. Kitty cannot even look at Peter as the rain beats down on the two of them and she tells him that he talks of Magneto as his personal savior. Peter replies to Kitty’s words, saying he knows Magneto is flesh and blood, but his ways could have saved his mother, father, and sister from the pain they endured, just for either being different or birthing mutants. Peter caresses Kitty’s cheek as he tells her that both of them have tried Xavier’s ways and now it is time for them to try Magneto’s. Kitty, still not able to look at Peter in the eyes, tells him that the dream has not failed him, only the reality has.
Near the two former lovers, Jean and Xavier argue on Jean’s slow reaction in psi-attacking Colossus. Jean tells Xavier that, even though Peter has changed sides, she knows that Peter could never harm Kitty.
Colossus now almost understanding, tells Kitty that she does not want to come with him to Avalon. She confirms his worries by phasing Peter and not allowing him to move as Cyclops and Nightcrawler teleport in and place restraints on Peter’s arms. In the shackles, Peter cannot move or even speak, but in his eyes the look of betrayal will haunt Kitty’s dreams for the rest of her life.
Not far away, atop the cliff, Rachel tries to protect herself from the barrage of attacks Cable unleashes on her. While he attacks, he tells her that he is going to punish Colossus for betraying Xavier’s dream and bring him to justice just like he would any other Acolyte he could get his hands on. Rachel is cornered in front of a rock cliff, as Cable blasts a ton of rocks down on Phoenix’s head. The Professor asks if the rockslide was necessary, seeing how he was already winning the fight? In reply, Cable reminds the Professor of the full extent of Rachel’s powers; how a ton of rocks will only slow her down for a second, which he finds that he was right. Phoenix, surprising even herself, tried a trick in which she pushed herself ten seconds into the future, just missing being crushed by the rocks. She tells this to Cable as she hurdles through the air to attack him. She also tells Cable that she can hear the Professor telling him the same thing she had just said about her time jumping ability. In mid-flight Phoenix shocks not only herself but Cable as well, when, inexplicably, her lower torso turns into the shape of Captain Britain’s.
Meanwhile, in the lab on Muir Isle, Kitty holds Peter’s head, as he is strapped on a table with the rest of his one-time allies surrounding him. Xavier informs Kitty that she needs to keep a hold of Peter long enough for her to use her abilities to turn Colossus’ armor more malleable, so that Cyclops can use his power as a scalpel and repair Colossus’ injury. As Xavier talks of his plans to help Peter, Kurt thinks to himself of how great this facility is. He thinks that it is wonderful that a place exists on Earth, just to help mutants and not to exploit them. He also thinks that this place may need protectors to help guard it, in case people, who do not agree with Moira’s motives, attack it. Moira commands Cyclops to fire his blast through a machine that allows him to focus them to help Peter. The optic blast seems to be working as an alarm goes off near Moira, alerting her that Vought has arrived to pick up Peter. Kurt volunteers to go check out what she and her friends are up to and give time for the rest of them to finish with Peter.
Back with Rachel and Cable, the Professor’s internal program is sent haywire as he tries to ascertain what is going on with Rachel’s recent metamorphosis. Cable demands the Professor to snap out of his sensor malfunction so he can tell him what is happening. The Professor comes back online, telling Cable that, as far as he can tell, Rachel is co-opting her space in the time continuum with another being. Cable catches Rachel, as she mutters incoherently of him being the Askani’son and how she needs his help. Collapsing in his arms, she morphs back to her original form and does not remember what just happened to her. Cable tells her that they need to sit down and figure out what just happened.
Rachel, sitting up, tells him that she would be glad to… just after he stops seeing double. Catching Cable off guard, she psi-blasts him, knocking him unconscious. She apologizes to the Professor for having to knock Cable out, but she just picked up a distress thought from her friend, Nightcrawler, and she must go help him. The Professor accepts her apology and she asks it what is the strong connection that she feels towards Cable? The Professor explains that there are to many variables to analyze before it can truly answer her question.
Nightcrawler ‘bamfs’ outside of the castle, jokingly whistling to himself as he teases the Acolytes. Vought tells Kurt that his sarcasm is surprising, because she expected the leader of Excalibur to act more mature. She explains that she is Vought, a sort of ancestor to anyone that wears an X on them. Also that her friends with her are Katu, who is Inuin and Unuscione, who can project a psionic exo-skin. “Danke”, exclaims Kurt as she finishes her roll call of the present Acolyte members. Thanks for what, Vought asks? For giving me the courtesy of knowing whom I am going to beat into submission, Kurt exclaims back.
Xavier mentally asks Peter to trigger his transformation from steel to skin, but Peter worries about his injury. Xavier mentally explains to Peter that his injury has been healed, but he does not want to commandeer his thoughts because it would to big of a strain to Peter’s system. Peter does as Xavier asks, releasing all his pent-up energy, sending the machines around Peter into overload. Cyclops commands Kitty to stay away from Peter so the energies do not hurt her, but she tells him she will just phase, because nothing will allow her to leave Peter’s side. She tells Cyclops she wants to know if Peter is “all right”, and Peter replies to her that his body is fine, but his heart may never be okay again.
Kitty reaches for Peter to help him stand, as she tells him that he cannot mean all the bad things he says about his life. He tells her that he does, because if he did not keep his heart as hard and as cold as his armored skin, then he would have to take the responsibility for Illyana’s death on his own shoulders. Kitty tells Peter that Illyana’s death was not his fault, because he could not control the legacy virus’ path, anymore then anyone else could. Curled up in a ball, laying on the floor, Peter clutches to Kitty as he cries, saying that he should have been there for her, in her time of need. Kitty holds Peter, as she explains that he was there in her heart all along.
Outside, Cyclops and Phoenix have now made there way to Kurt’s side to help him battle the Acolytes. Vought explains to them that she had only come to Earth to reclaim Peter, not to fight them, but if she has too she will bring every Acolyte on Avalon to Earth to reclaim one of their own. Nightcrawler asks Vought if they could trade Spoor for Peter? Replying to his question, She declines his offer, saying that Spoor allowed himself to get captured, but Rasputin came here in good faith and he should be able to leave if he so wishes.
Peter, walking onto the scene, agrees with Vought’s explanation, as Nightcrawler is shocked to hear his one time friend behind him. They turn to see Peter, surrounded by Kitty, Jean Grey, and Charles Xavier. Peter is in his flesh form and explains to the others that they should no longer fight. He says that he will go with them back to Avalon, not to continue with the blood and violence of the Acolytes, but to hopefully show them that Xavier’s and Magneto’s goals are very similar, except in their execution. Vought tells Peter that they will welcome any light he can shine on them about their lord and savior Magneto.
Peter turns to Xavier, telling him that he does not blame Xavier for Illyana’s death, but he does believe that the X-Men could do more to help mutant kind than what they do now. He next turns his attention to Kitty. As he begins to say something, she places her fingers on his mouth and kisses him goodbye. He walks away and, as Vought transports him away, he transforms back into steel.
At sunset, the X-Men, as well as Excalibur, stand outside, near the Blackbird. Cyclops tells Kurt that they will drop them off in England on their way back. Kurt, turning down Cyclops’ offer, tells him that, if Moira will have them, the Excalibur team would like to stay as permanent residents on Muir Isle. He, Rachel and kitty have discussed it and feel that Excalibur might function best as an extension of Moira’s work on Muir Island. Looking to Moira for a response, Kurt clarifies that this is the plan… if the “good doctor” will have them. With a smile, Moira replies that she would be honored.
When Cyclops asks what prompted this decision, Kitty replies that when they helped Peter, instead of fighting him, they realized the strength of the team. Taking over the explanation, Rachel adds that they are hoping to stop a problem before it becomes a disaster. As she brings her two teammates together, under the protective and loving embrace of her telekinetic Phoenix talons, Rachel exclaims that now, more than ever, the world needs the New Excalibur!