None who lived through it will ever forget humankind’s darkest hour, better known as the Age of Apocalypse. Apocalypse, the mutant war-criminal, and his son, Holocaust, along with the army known as the Infinites, scarred the Earth like no other force seen before, or since for that matter. Looking back at those years, the method to their madness was obvious. Ordinary humans were exterminated. Mutant children, on the other hand, were captured and taken to Sinister, one of the four notorious horsemen of Apocalypse. These children were part of Sinister’s genetic experiments and lived in fear, though died in pain. Those who survive can only imagine the horror that occurred in the walls of the breeding pens.
At the national monument known as “The Pens,” a tour guide leads a group of tourists through. Sorrowfully, the tour guide shows the visitors a room where mutant children were once kept as prisoners when they weren’t being experimented upon. She compares the Pens to the Nazi death camps, as both have been preserved so that there is a reminder that humanity must never sink to such depths of depravity again. The Pens are kept as a warning from history and to honor those who died here. The tour guide tells her group that photography is allowed, but they must all stay in the designated areas. If anyone feels overcome, well, they won’t be the first.
Suddenly, one of the tourists points to a portly man with a bowtie and purple vest, and asks if he is part of the tour. Suddenly, there is a strange humming sound and a tear in reality is opened as Blink, Sabretooth, Mimic, Morph and Namora blink into the reality. Morph is confused as to where he is, but the tour guide takes no time to rush everyone out, as this is not part of the tour. Blink is horrified and calls out to Sabretooth, who also recognizes this place. He isn’t sure if he believes it, but this smells real. The Timebroker smiles and welcomes Blink home. Are happy memories from her childhood flooding back in?
Sabretooth grabs the Timebroker by his shirt and raises him into the air. Blink yells that he has no idea what she went through as a child in the Pens. On the contrary, replies the Timebroker. He knows everything that happened to her in there. Sabretooth asks the small man why he brought them here. Not scared by Sabretooth, the Timebroker tells him that, since they refused to do the last mission, they will be punished. Sabretooth smiles and puts down the Timebroker. This is some punishment. He thought his world was toast, but now the man is showing him that it still exists. This is the best news in ages. Blink, does not respond; she stays silent.
Sabretooth asks the Timebroker about his fellow X-Men. Are they alive too? Mimic puts his hand on Sabretooth to make him stop talking, as they have a new problem. Where is Beak? Annoyed, Sabretooth lowly tells Mimic to get his hand off of him. Namora comes to the Timebroker’s side and recalls how first Heather Hudson disappeared after failing to emerge from a jump. Now Beak is missing. Namora demands to know what happened to her teammates. The Timebroker scowls and informs the Exiles that those two proved themselves very useless and so he removed them from active duty. However, the Exiles should not worry about them, as they are the lucky ones. They should worry about themselves. The Timebroker then snaps his finger and introduces the group to their new teammate. Suddenly, a massive figure teleports in behind the Timebroker: Holocaust!
Holocaust stands confused and asks how he got to the Pens. Morph transforms into Ghost Rider and notices that Holocaust has a flaming skull and bad attitude. Is he another Ghost Rider knock off? Blink stands shocked and tells Morph that Holocaust is something worse. Holocaust hears this and asks Morph why he does not remember him. Sabretooth and Blink do. Does this mean he is finally home? Sabretooth tells everyone to get into defensive positions. Mimic pops his claws, but also reminds Sabretooth that Blink leads them, not him. Blink, though, takes the role of a timid girl and tells the team to just listen to Mr. Creed. Creed tells Blink that she made a smart move.
The Timebroker calls for Holocaust’s attention for a moment. He has some instructions for people in his situation. The Timebroker introduces himself and explains that Holocaust has become unhinged from time. He now has one duty, which is to travel from one reality to the next, mending broken worlds according to his instructions. Arrogantly, Holocaust boasts that he is the son of Apocalypse. Does the Timebroker expect him to obey? He has a better idea. Holocaust decides to mend his own reality by killing some gene-traitors and whoever else gets on his nerve, starting with this so-called Timebroker.
Holocaust then blasts the Timebroker, leaving nothing left but a crater. Holocaust then turns to Blink and Sabretooth, as he last recalls them trying to kill him and he owes them some payback. Suddenly, the Timebroker reappears in the crater and tells Holocaust that he cannot be killed for he is a figment of the Exiles’ collective unconscious. If he won’t listen to what he is trying to tell him, then the Timebroker will be forced to show him. The Tallus on Sabretooth’s arm begins to glow and emit pink energy, which builds up and shoots into the eyes of all the Exiles.
The team is shown images of the Age of Apocalypse. The Timebroker states that, of all the realities he watches over, this one is most particularly fascinating and dangerous. When Apocalypse took over the world, he unwittingly created a situation that threatened the multiverse. The Timebroker hoped that the situation would have been resolved, once Magneto and his X-Men defeated Apocalypse and the nuclear bombs raining down on his mutant empire seemed to end the threat that he spoke of. However, the bombs never found their mark. They were averted and North America was given a new lease on life. Sinister also survived.
Soon, Magneto and the X-Men will confront Sinister. Their victory will mistakenly doom this world. The effect they unleash will doom universe after universe. The Exiles must stop the X-Men, which means they must kill them. That is their punishment for disobeying orders, although Holocaust will probably enjoy it, which is why he is on the team. As the Timebroker fades away, he tells the “kids” not to mess up or their butts will be on the line too.
Holocaust stands confused. He tells Sabretooth that what the Timebroker said was true, wasn’t it. He doesn’t know why, but he believes him. Sabretooth tells Holocaust that it is all true. They have all been jumping realities and saving them for a while. The bracelet on his arm, the Tallus, is how they keep in touch with the Timebroker and its how they get their missions. Holocaust sees the larger picture and tells Sabretooth that he has seen another reality and knows that they exist. There is more at stake than their old vendettas. They should get moving. They have a job to do. The Exiles stare at Holocaust in shock that he actually wants to join them.
“Just kidding,” says Holocaust, as he unleashes a mighty blast that knocks down all the Exiles. Holocaust laughs at the fact that Sinister thinks he can claim Apocalypse’s throne. If Apocalypse really has fallen, then the world is rightfully his, and Sinister will learn this soon, when Holocaust kills him. Sabretooth tells Holocaust that he isn’t excused as he leaps at the villain. Holocaust flies into the air and tells Sabretooth that he would love to kill him again, but they all heard the Timebroker. The clock is ticking. Holocaust blasts through the ceiling and escapes into the night. Mimic tries to go after him, but Blink refuses to let him go, as Holocaust is more powerful than any one of them alone. Sabretooth wipes blood off his face and tells Mimic that they need to attack all at once.
In the air, Holocaust complains about first being banished to a backwards Earth, where humans and mutants live together in peace, now he is being ordered around by a holographic butler. He has killed millions and deserves more respect. In any case, he is home again and, once Sinister is finished off, he will go after the X-Men, as well as Sabretooth and his new friends. Suddenly, Holocaust senses something, which is very familiar to him. The disturbance is faint, but it is unmistakable to him. Holocaust changes his course and decides to forget about Sinister. This new revelation is much bigger than conquering a mere world.
At a U.S. Air Force post, General Huntley calls a White House secretary and informs that person that they have serious developments to report. An hour ago, two new contacts with energy profiles matching their item appeared. The sensors at the Pens National Monument were tripped by them. A short time later, one of the contacts left the Pens at a high speed and is now heading towards them at the research facility. The general has no idea who knows that they have the item there. Not even the director of Mutant Affairs knows. The general walks to a window and looks down upon the mysterious M’Kraan crystal on the floor below him.
The secretary asks if the contact can be identified, but the general admits that it cannot. It might be an aircraft, or a missile, or perhaps the owner of the item. They do not even know where Apocalypse found the crystal. The general informs the secretary that the missiles are armed and if they are lucky the contact will be an unmanned drone. Suddenly, a worker tells the general that the contact has accelerated through the defense grid and is now upon them.
Holocaust crashes through the room of the chamber of the M’Kraan crystal, sending the studying scientists in different directions. One scientist is knocked over and hears Holocaust mutter the name of the crystal. The scientist is confused, as he did not realize that the crystal had a name. Holocaust picks up the man and accuses him of stealing the crystal from his father, Apocalypse. Upstairs, the general recognizes Holocaust.
Holocaust realizes that the humans found this crystal in Apocalypse’s fortress and knew it was important, but they have no clue what it is, do they? General Huntley walks into the chamber with a detonator in his hand. He tells Holocaust that after a year of probing they have no clue what the crystal does. So, before he kills the mutant, does he care to explain what it does?
Holocaust is not impressed and notices that the general has no backup. The general tells Holocaust that he is not brave. He just knows that they are both as good as dead. There is an H-bomb under this floor, in case the crystal turned out to be a doomsday device, a gateway to Hell, or anything else bad. He thought he might just get a few answers before pushing the button and killing them all.
Holocaust tells the general that he M’Kraan crystal is a nexus of realities, a place where different universes intersect. Magneto wanted to use the crystal to undo the past and to prevent the Age of Apocalypse. For a time, Holocaust thought that Magneto succeeded. During the last battle, a gene-traitor by the name of X-Man stabbed him with a shard of the crystal, sending them both to an alternate reality where Apocalypse was kept in check.
The general is left in horror, as he realizes that if one learned to utilize the crystal, then every Earth in existence could be conquered. History could be altered to win every battle. Holocaust tells the general that Apocalypse had those goals before Magneto ruined everything. Now, Holocaust has been given a second chance. Holocaust approaches the general, as steam begins to emit from the man’s body. The general wonders what is going on, as Holocaust asks him if that detonator is feeling heavy. Holocaust asks the man if he read about his mutant gift, or did he assume the armor was all to him? He was born with the ability to consume life energy. In fact, he has been snacking on the general since the man walked into the room. He hopes those were the answers the man was looking for. The general falls to the ground, dead.
Holocaust turns to the captive scientist and asks who is next on the menu. The scientist begs Holocaust to wait and informs him that he has information the mutant needs. There was a second contact with a resonance frequency just like his. Holocaust is surprised, and the scientist offers to help him find it if he lets him live. Holocaust tells the scientist that he already knows what is putting out that signal, though he is surprised that he didn’t sense it when Sabretooth’s Tallus was right under his nose.
At the Bureau of Mutant Affairs, Sabretooth approaches the help desk with Mimic and tells the woman there that she is not listening. They need to speak to Magneto immediately. Doesn’t she recognize him? He used to run with the X-Men. The woman, however, tells Sabretooth again that Director Lensherr is occupied right now with a national emergency. Sabretooth can speak to the deputy of Mutant Affairs in the afternoon, once he and his companions pass a security check.
Sabretooth tells the woman that the national emergency she speaks of is why they are there. Waiting could cost them all their lives. If she tells Magneto that Sabretooth and Blink are there, he is sure Magneto won’t mind the interruption. Scared, the woman agrees to call Magneto. Mimic puts his hand on Sabretooth’s back, calling him by his first name, and tells him that they are scaring the wrong people. Angry, Sabretooth tells Mimic that this is the second time today he has tried to hold him back. Next time he loses his hand, and for the record, Mimic can call him Sabretooth, not Victor. It is bad enough that he is cozy with Clarice, but he shouldn’t expect to be best buddies with him.
Morph shape-shifts into a security agent and complains that the Timebroker couldn’t just tell them where Magneto is. Is that too much to ask? Namora, however, fails to understand why they even listen to the Timebroker anymore. Their last mission, to kill Mimic, probably wasn’t a real mission at all. Something has changed. Perhaps the Timebroker has gone insane, but she believes he just wants to watch them squirm, like a child pulling the legs off a starfish, just for the sadistic thrill of it. Morph argues that they cannot just sit around, when he said that the world is in danger. Suddenly, there is an explosion outside.
The civilians outside run in terror, screaming that he is back. The Exiles run outside. Blink tells the group to fan out, but Sabretooth cuts her off and orders Mimic and Namora to hit first. He and Morph will be right behind them. Sabretooth tells Blink to be prepared to teleport Holocaust’s blasts back at him. Standing in front of them is Holocaust, who has just crash-landed at the Bureau of Mutant Affairs.
Holocaust raises his hand to calm the Exiles down and tells them to wait, as he didn’t come to fight this time. He has made a discovery that changes everything for them all. Between them they have the tools to break free of the Timebroker’s control and to gain access to the rest of the multiverse. They just have to combine their pieces. Sabretooth is confused and asks Holocaust what tools he is referring to. Holocaust tells the Exiles that he has the M’Kraan crystal and they have the Tallus. Unless he is mistaken, that is what they need to win back their destinies!