The jig is up and the Exiles are captured. Phoenix holds Blink aloft, upside down, mentally keeping her teleportation powers in check. Angel has Polaris in his grip with one arm snug around her waist and the other braced across her neck. The group of X-Men the two ladies were flirting with moments earlier fared no better, now encased in a solid wall of ice thanks to their teammate Iceman.
The leader of the snatch and grab team, Cyclops, lets the Exiles know they’ve already captured the rest of their team and know of their plan. Phoenix doesn’t look pleased when she states their goal of bringing down Magneto. Asking if they’re self-loathing, Beast wants to know why they’d try and sabotage a world where mutants are united. Iceman, the brash youth he is, calls them a bunch of douches.
A moderately sized statue of a of a harp-playing angel comes flying in out of nowhere and clocks Beast on the shoulder, breaking into two pieces, with the top section hitting him in the face. His glasses snap in half as he lets out a surprised grunt. The man behind the sneak attack is Juggernaut and he demands to know what Cyclops is doing messing with his boys.
Cyke removes his ruby quartz shades and blasts Juggy in the right shoulder, his way of telling Cain to back off. Scott explains they were trying to deal with saboteurs and his punks were in the way.
With the group momentarily focused elsewhere Polaris tells Blink to ‘port them out. Blink says she can’t, that Phoenix has her powers in check at the moment; though she thinks she can end this whole problem if they’d just let her speak. That’s not about to happen anytime soon, though.
Phoenix separates a chunk of ice containing Sabretooth and levitates it in the air. She comments that leaving him on ice wouldn’t be such a bad thing since they were supposed to bring in Wolverine alive. The White Queen, momentarily immobilized, tells Jean to release her hold on her. This leads to a verbal cat fight with Jean telling Emma to keep her mind stuffed in that peroxide head of hers.
BRRSSHH a bent, steel girder comes crashing to the ground in the center of all the commotion. “Enough!” Magneto exclaims as he hovers a few feet above the ground. His hands aglow, rippling with magnetic energy, he chides them for the constant fighting reminding them they are one nation now, strong together. He asks how they can expect to stand against the humans if they can’t even have a simple celebration that erupts into a fight. He commands them to stand down.
The petty bickering continues with Iceman and Juggernaut. Magneto ignores it and approaches Jean, confused as to why she’s holding his daughter frozen against her will. Jean explains she’s not his daughter, at least not on their world, and that she’s actually part of a team hailing from another dimension who believe they need to overthrow him to save the planet.
Magneto appears intrigued and asks where his real daughters are. Blink finally gets a word in and explains they’re safe, miles out in the jungle. Magneto begs to differ on their safety and orders Emma to retrieve the exact location from Blink’s mind and then input it into Cain’s brain so he can secure them.
Within seconds her task is complete, but Blink wants more. She pleads with Emma to search her mind further for the truth. Iceman cuts her off with an iceball to the face. He warns her to stop trying to influence them. Cyclops reasserts control and orders them sent to holding room.
Four of the Exiles find themselves locked up in a concrete room. Beast is wrapped around the chest and arms half a dozen times with iron chains, which hang suspended from the ceiling. He’s also sporting a spiked collar. Blink and Panther are merely shackled about the wrists and chained to the wall, though Blink, too, has a mechanical collar clamped around her neck. Forge, on the other hand, is attached to a circular magnetic plate, his robotic limbs stuck to its surface with the others bolted down.
Emma and Kurt stand in the center of the room, a room which the Panther describes as a dungeon. Emma reasons he’s the one trying to destroy their society so he shouldn’t expect posh amenities.
Blink tries ‘porting free, but gets about five feet before spasming in the air and falling to the concrete floor. Kurt kneels down beside her and explains the collar she’s wearing has a needle in her neck that sends a frequency to her brain and when she tries teleporting it causes her to lose focus and drains her of her powers. Helping her back into her chains, Nightcrawler adds that a teleport outside the walls would cause her to pass out and fall to her death. He smiles, adding he contributed to the design of it.
Emma figures she might as well tell Beast his collar does something similar, draining his powers and making him weak. She also advises him to stay away from the electromagnet holding Forge otherwise he’ll be uncomfortably stuck to it all day. “You guys suck,” Beast retorts. When Emma comments that their Henry has a more impressive vocabulary Beast responds with a, “Double-suck.”
Forge asks about the Witch and Polaris. Kurt tells him they’re being detained in a plastic room with thick acrylic doors and then adds that no one is being hurt. Panther wants to know if they’ll get a chance to plead their case. Why would they want to hear their nonsense concerning Magneto, Emma snides. It might just save their world, Forge explains. Yelling at Frost, Blink asks Emma to check inside her head for the truth, for the information she has and the information she picked up from Toad.
Emma walks toward the teleporter and bends over, leaning in toward Blink’s head. If she gets any information she doesn’t mention it, only saying she doesn’t see that it would make a difference. She tells Kurt to follow her out. The Elf then tells the Exiles he’ll see them at their trial.
This leaves the four wayward mutants some time to come up with a plan. Panther jokes that they must be making the Timebroker proud. Beast adds to the levity saying it’s not over yet, then immediately after admits that it’s over. Forge doesn’t buy it. He explains that although he can’t touch the machinery in the room he can still gleam some insight from them. He asks Blink if she can muster enough power to teleport outside. She doesn’t see where he’s going with this other than her death, but he asks her again. Yes, she responds, but reminds him she’ll pass out and crack her head open on the pavement below. That’s why you send him, Forge replies, referring to the Panther.
The Wakandan prince is confused, but Forge just ignores him. He tells Blink that Panther can handle whatever he’s thrown in to. Blink immediately warms to the idea and praises Forge for his ingenuity. She turns to her acrobatic teammate and tells him he better be worth the hangover. Blink asks if he’s ready and Panther suddenly finds himself hanging in midair.
The Panther plummets, until finally connecting with an outside wall. He bounces off and angles himself toward a window ledge. Grabbing hold of it he flips himself, slowing his descent and gaining his bearings. On the next floor he snags another window ledge and this time holds on.
After pulling himself up Panther decides it’s time for some sneaking around. He enters through the window and hits an immediate jackpot, Blob and Havok discussing whether or not Magneto has the hots for Frost. Havok thinks it’s why he had Moira start dressing like her.
Creeping along, Panther spies Toad as he stumbles drunkenly through an empty hallway. Holding his hand to his aching head Mortimer says to no one in particular how much he hates it when women try to get him drunk.
Elsewhere, Panther comes across Polaris and the White Queen mid-discussion. Polaris asks the latter if she had any good dreams the night before. Emma shushes her and tells her yes, that she thinks he wanted to make up for the confrontation last night. Someone should make it up to her, Polaris responds, since she was the one stumbling around among the vines with her half-sister most of the night. Emma suggests heading to the basement and hosing her doppelganger down to relieve some stress. Polaris laughs at the thought of it.
Now that Panther has the general whereabouts of his missing teammates he searches for a means to get to the basement. He finds one in the form of a laundry chute and jumps right in.
In the much-discussed holding cell the two faux princesses are pleading with their guard, Havok, for some food, or at the very least some water that doesn’t taste like rust. Havok is not amused, standing there arms folded. He complains they’re more demanding than the real princesses. Just as he’s threatening them with a plasma blast Panther shows up and smashes his head into the plastic wall, knocking the poor guy out.
Panther steps in front of the electronic lock box and punches in the code, setting his teammates free. Their next stop is to bust out the rest of them.
Elsewhere in the building, Cyclops and Phoenix begin rallying the troops for an impromptu meeting called by Magneto. He wants to step up his plans and go over them with everyone. As everyone starts trickling out Emma asks Jean for a quick word. When the two are alone Emma questions Jean to see if she’s ever pried her way inside Magneto’s mind. Jean admits she tried a couple of times early on when she wasn’t sure if she could trust him, but couldn’t gain entry. Emma says she had attempted it before too with the same results, but then tried about an hour ago. Just as she’s about to go over what she found, Cyclops yells for all available X-Men to get in there immediately.
Out in the hallway it’s total bedlam. All the Exiles are free and attacking Magneto. Magneto proves more than a match for them tossing Forge away like a used napkin. Then there’s Blink who can’t get her teleport shard anywhere near him. Beast also tries to get his meat hooks on him, but Juggernaut bars his path and the two start scrapping.
Cyclops who’s just arrived fires an optic blast their way, but it’s basically returned to sender courtesy of the Witch’s energy manipulating power, blasting apart the tile at his feet. She apologizes to Cyclops telling him there’s something he needs to see.
Polaris takes her cue and tries using her magnetic prowess to remove Magneto’s helmet, but he’s much stronger and it doesn’t budge. Panther sneaks up on him from behind and kicks him in the back of the head, giving it just enough of a nudge for Polaris to snatch it right off. Before he can summon it back Beast grabs it with his hand and crushes it. He then takes his other hand and wraps it around Magneto’s neck, lifting him into the air.
The X-Men aren’t just going to stand idly by. Emma tells Beast to put him down otherwise she’ll just make him do it. Blink pleads with her to wait a moment and asks her to peer inside Magneto’s mind and see what it is he doesn’t want them to know.
Magneto orders her to kill the Exiles, but that doesn’t sit right with Jean or Emma. Suspicions raised, the two telepaths agree to do some digging to discover if there’s any truth behind the conspiracy theory. Magneto argues that he’s leader and he wants these people taken down. Phoenix and the White Queen are even more by his ravings that they jump right in, downloading their discoveries to the entire city.
Forge data log, Entry X-1-B
What the two telepaths find contradicts known history. It was true that Magneto and Xavier were close friends, but it was Magneto’s infatuation with Moira that led him to allow Xavier to die at the hands of the Sentinels, which in turn escalated things with the X-Men and baseline humans to their current status.
Needless to say many are upset at these revelations. Jean lets loose with a psychic attack that fries Magneto’s mind and knocks him out. Moira walks away crying and Beast puts a comforting hand on her shoulder, expressing his sorrow over the bomb just dropped on them.
Emma turns to Blink and asks how things should have happened. Blink says she’s not sure how that applies, but guesses they would have defeated the Sentinels and had the program shut down. Forge adds they wouldn’t have been at war with the Homo sapiens.
The ever stalwart Cyclops determines they need to form a council to discuss how to proceed. He believes the important thing is to make sure their mutant alliance is still strong. Juggy agrees.
Before things can progress, though, the Tallus comes to life and tells Blink the temporal stability isn’t resolved and to abort the mission. A pink flash of energy appears behind them and Panther takes the cue that that’s their ticket out of there. “But that never- -that can’t be!” Blink says catching herself midsentence. You can’t win them all, Panther opines.
Cyclops doesn’t like where this is going. Seeing as how these troublesome mutants have information that could be useful to them he orders the X-Men to hold them. Acting on pure reflex Polaris tosses the armored-up Colossus at his teammates, delaying their advance. Beast follows that up by punching through a pillar and collapsing a section of the hallway. The Exiles rush for the exit, Blink shouting that they don’t understand. Her cries fall on deaf ears as she follows her teammates through the portal.
The Exiles wind up in a completely different landscape, the desert. The portal behind them vanishes with a ZWIPP leaving the team to ponder what’s next. Polaris jokes that a change of clothes would have been nice, and the Witch adds that if she had taken some of her duplicate’s clothes her chest would have probably frozen off.
Blink doesn’t see how they can be so casual about how everything ended. Panther points out they helped them discover that Magneto was a creep and now he’s deposed. Quite frankly, Panther’s impressed with what they’ve accomplished so far. Blink argues that the Tallus says they’re still headed for disaster, that they didn’t fix anything.
Forge walks up to Blink and suggests she might be overthinking it, that maybe it takes time to register a corrected reality. Blink starts to argue the point, but once again catches herself before revealing how much she actually knows. She restates that her impression was that it would register right away.
The Exiles stop arguing and begin exploring the vast, barren area. When the Witch wonders aloud why the Tallus dropped them off in the middle of nowhere Panther thinks maybe they have to clean up all the rocks. He then tells Beast to get started. “Hah” Hank retorts with sarcasm.
Forge pauses for a moment and pops the techno-binoculars out of his robotic forearm. He spies a city off in the distance, quite an advanced one too. Blink points out they were dropped right outside the action last time. Her words trigger Panther’s memory of how they were all puking in the bushes following their prior jaunt; he comments how grateful he is that this time he’s not heaving.
Scratching her head Blink wonders why the teleport changed this time. The rest of the group ignores her query and head off in the direction of the city. A lizard resting nearby takes in the whole scene, though this is no ordinary lizard. Sporting camera lenses for eyes it paints the scene for an audience of three.
The sensors were right, Ultron exclaims, viewing the organic life forms appearing along the perimeter. Vision is pleased as it will save them some time collecting them. Ultron wonders if the life forms truly believe they stand a chance at assailing the city. M-51 stretches out his arms, palms up, stating that it doesn’t matter because the end result will be the same.