The Exiles find themselves on the cargo deck of the Shi’Ar flagship. All but Blink recognise the events in the main hall below as the Trial of Phoenix. Mimic wonders if they have traveled back in time, something which the Timebroker did not mention in their mission description, but the Tallus states that they are still within the same year as they were in the other world; apparently this is a slower moving timeline. After the first shock of witnessing the historic event in person, Mimic alerts Blink to teleport them away; he fears that Wolverine’s keen senses might recognize them; surely the counterparts of some teammembers are known to him.
The team emerges in the ship’s alien garden center and they fins some strong smelling plants to cover their scents. Clarice learns from the Tallus what their mission in this world will be. Half of the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard were recently killed when a star went supernova, and the X-Men will win the duel over the fate of Phoenix, who will not need to sacrifice her life. Yet the Exiles have to make sure that she dies. The team is shocked to hear this, but then they try to cool down by stating, that it does not matter that much, it isn’t the real Jean, only the Phoenix Force posing as her, so they aren’t as emotionally attached. Sadly Blink objects. According to the Tallus this is the real Jean Grey they are talking about, actually that is what went wrong in this reality; here Jean was not replaced by it – she became the Phoenix Force. Mimic really is upset, he refuses to believe this revelation as it contradicts the events of his jhomeworld. Thunderbird and Morph are somewhat more reasonable, the shapshifter suggests to fill the X-Men in on their dilemma, while Proudstar wants to know what happens if Jean survives. The Tallus feeds Blink with the information that then Jean will evolve into a dark demigod that destroys the entire milky way. Nocturne cries out that she won’t help to kill the woman who helped to raise her on the say-so of tsome strange device and the rest of the team agree. Suddenly red energy erupts from the Tallus and enters the eyes of the Exiles minds. It shows them images of Jean transforming into Dark Phoenix, killing the X-men and destroying earth within the next nine days. Now they understand that it has to be done, there is no other choice – Jean Grey has to die.
Disguised in case off run-ins with the X-Men the Exiles present themselves to Lilandra, claiming to be warriors from a distant part of space. The Shi’Ar Empress gratefully accepts and the Exiles receive private quarters to rest and prepare for the duel with the X-Men. While Proudstar prefers to admire the beauty of the alien nature in the ship‘s garden, Morph spends some time with the newest member Sunfire. Mariko explains that the ripples in time altered her reality to such degree that instead of flame her powers manifested as uncontrollable atomic radiation.
The remaining three discuss the situation. Nocturne asks if Mimic already fought this battle on his own world, but Calvin mentions to have been a members of the Defenders at that time. Talia then says that she needs some time for herself, but before she leaves Mimic reminds her to not sneak around to get a look at father Nightcrawler’s counterpart. Blink tries to comfort Calvin, she can only imagine it has to bve for them to do be forced into this situation. Mimic states that she will have to lead the team. At first Clarice turns him down, since he was the X-men’s leader in his world and would better qualify for the job, but his reasons are better. Both this and the scenario in their last mission showed how emotionally attached they all are, only Blink‘s reality seems so different that she has not as many problems, and of course she is the only one to “hear“ the Tallus. Clarice is not sure about it, but agrees to sleep on it, and leaves for her quarters.
Only a few seconds later the door opens again and Wolverine greets Mimic. Apparently he mistakes him for his own world’s Mimic and wonders why Rankin is here and bothered to mask his scent with the alien nectar. However he did his job too well, and Logan wanted to know who so obviously was trying to mask his presence. Mimic knows that Wolverine will not be satisfied before knowing the reason for his presence and also that he would never allow Jean to be killed, so his only option is surprise attack and fight. During the battle he displyas the powers of Cyclops, Colossus and Wolverine'’ claws, but as they are made of steely bone, Logan has no problems to cut them short.
At the same time, Morph and Mariko continue their conversation while entering a hot bathing tub. They wonder which Horsemen of Apocalypse Thunderbird was in his timeline. Mariko is amazed how easily Morph is able to deal with their strange situation, but of course he makes a joke out of it, explaining that he is already in this caper for two days longer than her. He goes on to reveal that the Mariko he knew was Wolverine’s girlfriend, which kind of surprises her, though she can’t help but find him attractive.
At the battleside Logan and Mimic are still at it. Calvin notes how much they are alike. Both love foreign culture, both have excellent singing voices that they keep quiet about, both love beer and both secretly love the same woman – Jean Grey. Now Mimic is forced to fight a man he considers more than a friend to kill the woman of both their dreams. Outside Nocturne and Thunderbird hear the sound of battle and quickly rush to aid, but as they enter Mimic‘s room, he has already rendered Wolverine unconscious.