Mister Sensitive, a servant to the royal family, brings word to Princess Wanda that her sister would like to speak with her. Wanda wants to know what she wants, but Lorna barges into the room first, making her way over to the ornate couch on which her “sister” is sitting, brushing her hair. Princess Wanda gripes about the intrusion, but Lorna cuts her off. She’s worried about their impending fall from power now that dearest daddy is dead.
Listening intently, Princess Wanda mentions that the council is considering disbanding the royal rule completely. She suggests having some of the council members executed. Lorna pretends she likes what she’s hearing and says she may even have a way of breaking this new government up before it starts. “And I should trust you?” Wanda replies with an incredulous look.
A small statue resting atop a nearby column suddenly comes to life, lifting into the air and smashing into the back of Princess Wanda’s head. The statue shatters upon impact and Wanda slumps to the floor, unconscious. With Lorna’s part of the mission complete Blink teleports in with the rest of the gang.
Once inside the room Forge finds the object he was looking for, Magneto’s helmet. Reaching inside he pulls out a curved piece of electronics which he explains to the group was used to scramble telepathy. He hands it over to Wanda and tells her to make sure it stays concealed. Wanda lifts up the back of her hair and asks Forge to clip it on.
The mission the Exiles are about to undertake hinges on something the Panther overheard the last time they were in this reality and Blink verifies one more time if he’s certain of Polaris and Emma’s conversation. Polaris interjects with “evil Polaris” and Panther assures her this will definitely “blow up the apple cart.” Satisfied, Blink grabs Wanda by the shoulder and teleports away. Beast hopes their plan will work. Panther reasons if you really want to bring the chaos go for the women.
Outside, Cyclops and Jean return from a night out on the town. Cyke pulls his car up to the building, but with none of the Morlock valets in sight steps out and around to the passenger side and helps Jean out of the car. Scott tells her he’ll be right up after he parks it.
The Witch, along with Blink, is hiding behind some nearby shrubbery. She decides to make her move and approaches the young lovers asking about their date. Jean says it was nice; they had sushi. Scott walks off and Jean apologizes for not coming around lately, asking Wanda how she’s holding up after her father’s death. Wanda says she’s fine, and not really surprised by the revelations made. Jean says she was, but assures Wanda that Scott can hold things together in Genosha.
After Jean broaches the subject of Scott a concerned look crosses Wanda’s face and she tells Jean there’s something she needs to know about her boyfriend. Wanda places a comforting hand on Jean’s shoulder and breaks the bad news.
An hour later and the Witch and Blink are still hiding outside the building. They wonder what’s taking so long, and decide to go back and wait with the others.
Upstairs, the two lovers are barely clothed as they get ready for bed. Scott can sense something is bothering Jean and offers her a massage, but she declines saying she needs some sleep. As they get into bed Scott asks if something’s wrong and Jean plays it off like she’s still bothered by everything that happened with Magneto. Satisfied with the answer Scott rolls over on to his side and asks Jean to get the light. “Sure. Good night, love,” she responds, and then clicks it off.
The sun is just over the horizon, its light serving as a backdrop to the Egyptian Sphinx, which Scott Summers finds himself now floating toward. Surprised, he finds a hot spring at the top, but not as surprising he also finds a naked Emma Frost already enjoying herself.
Emma wrings out her hair as Scott comes closer, eventually joining her in the warm water. Emma reaches out and removes his ruby quartz glasses, reminding him he has no need for them in her mindscape. Scott says he’s been keeping his guard up lately and Emma coyly asks what else he’s been keeping up.
The two secret lovers embrace and begin to kiss. They are soon interrupted by a furious Jean in her full Phoenix. Jean screams at Scott and asks how long this has been going on. Scott looks scared, but Emma just smiles and asks her why she can’t have him at night. Jean replies that it’s just as real in her mind and Emma knows it.
A fiery blast of energy erupts from Jean’s hands and bathes Emma’s naked body with flames. Emma’s unhurt and reminds Phoenix whose mind it is by pushing her out. Jean goes spinning backward, flying further and further away until she’s gone. Before disappearing she screams that it’s not over.
Off in another building the Exiles stand and watch waiting for any type of sign that things are going their way. When the symbol of the Phoenix suddenly explodes into the night sky they know it’s on. Panther yells into the other room for Wanda to join them and check it out.
Forge, still transfixed by the awesome sight, asks Blink if the Tallus is registering anything. Blink replies there’s a lot going on, but nothing definitive. Suddenly the power goes out over all of Genosha and dozens of mutants go flying/storming out of their rooms/buildings to aid their respective friend’s telepathic call.
Wanda finally rejoins the rest of her teammates and asks what’s happening. “Mutant War!” Panther replies and guesses this will accomplish their mission. Getting a reading on the Tallus Blink says there’s now a 97% chance of success.
Suddenly the wall overlooking the chaos comes crashing inward. Beast reacts quickly and snatches a big section, holding it over his head shielding everyone. As the smoke clears Panther asks if that was a missile. No, the newly arrived Banshee replies, saying he was just clearing his throat. Emma’s with him as well and is displeased with seeing the Exiles again. She swears if they’re trying to protect “her” they’d better leave.
Polaris asks who Emma’s referring to. She doesn’t answer, making her way toward Princess Wanda’s bed chamber. There she finds the princess strewn over the couch rubbing her aching head. Teeth clenched in anger, Emma accuses her of ruining things with Scott and whole mutant alliance. She claims to have seen Wanda in Grey’s head as the one who tipped her off. “What – are you talking--,” but the princess doesn’t have time to finish her question as Emma turns to diamond and karate chops her in the neck, snapping it and killing her instantly.
The Exiles are shocked at this display of barbarism, especially Beast, but Blink states that their job is done, order is restored. They walk somberly through the teleportation rift that immediately appears.
The Exiles reappear in another world, their transition not as bad as prior ones, though Panther looks like he’s ready to hurl. As they take in their Victorian era settings Forge wonders out loud what everyone else is thinking, what screwed up Earth are they on now.
That’s when Morph arrives on horseback and tells them it’s the most messed up one of all, one where nobody’s freaked out about anything and there’s no conflict, an Earth he found a while back and dubbed Earth Chill. Getting straight to the point Forge asks what the mission is. Smiling, Morph replies they have the next 36 hours to relax and eat delicious food. They also have the best rooms in the cabana rented out, all covered. Polaris is happy to hear it, but tells Morph she wants some answers. Morph says he’ll give it a shot.
The group relocates for a nice meal. About mid-course the questions begin, starting with Forge. “If you can move us in and out of time, why not just fix some of these realities that way? Grab a key person out…”
Morph (in Master Po form again) tells him that’s a wise, but stupid question. He uses their last mission as an example. They thought unseating Magneto would have fixed everything, but it wasn’t enough, and gives them props for pitting the telepaths against each other.
When an Exile points out they’re now at war with each other Morph explains that was what needed to happen, they needed to break up and leave Genosha because the humans were about to nuke them out of existence. They saved mutantdom, Morph cheers.
Forge keeps the questions rolling, asking about the mechanics behind it all, how they know what realities need saving. Polaris interjects, asking how they even know what the right thing to do is. Morph tells them he doesn’t really know, though he thought he used to. And with that he fades out telling them they have another 22 hours of R&R before he picks them up again.
The Exiles feel more confused than before, but before they leave the outdoor banquet table Blink asks Beast how he managed to defeat Cerebro. Hank tells her to substitute “smash” for “solve” and then apologizes for not telling them about his fading intelligence as it could have gotten them killed. Forge agrees they need to all be honest with each other and then heads off to get some sleep. Polaris stretches back in her chair, yawning, and seconds his motion.
A day later
The Exiles are enjoying some time out on a boat in the ocean with some of the locals. Panther climbs atop the mast and does a quadruple backwards flip into the cool, icy water. Some of the girls scattered about on rafts applaud his acrobatic prowess.
The rest of the team remains on deck, Blink wondering if Panther realizes he can’t take any of the girls with him when they leave. The Witch is surprised by this and Blink says she thinks the Tallus only allows the six chosen “agents” to move through the Multiverse. She then compliments Wanda on the way she dealt with yesterday. Wanda asks what she means and Blink replies it must have been hard seeing herself die. Wanda agrees, pausing a moment before saying she felt lucky.
Picking up on the conversation, Beast, knowing they can never go back to their home worlds without screwing things up, wonders if they found a similar world if they could just retire there. A downtrodden Forge says that wouldn’t work with him. He wants his wife Storm and not some other version. Polaris points out that the Polaris from their last mission was just like her and suggests he may find a similar Storm that may garner a spark.
Panther, now flirting with a buxom beauty, turns to tell his team to can all the business talk and just relax. When he looks back at his lady friend her head is replaced by Morph’s smirking face and Panther lets out a surprised, “Nyahg!” Morph tells everyone they’ve got an hour and they need to head back and suit up.
59 minutes later
The team is back in uniform waiting around just outside the city. Morph shows up in 70’s pimp style clothes, sporting a gold chain with a large dollar sign emblem, knuckle rings with his name spelled out and a cane with the head of a duck at the top. The next mission, he tells them, takes them to a world that never progressed past 1974, but needs some help getting moving or they won’t be able to repel a Skrull invasion. Morph asks if everyone is ready and a few team members have a devious smirk on their face. Panther places a device that resembles a mini-Tallus on Blink’s Tallus just before Morph Zoops them out of there. When Morph arrives at the intended destination he finds himself completely alone.
The Exiles, however, appear in the middle of the tall grass where Morph has taken them on several occasions. Blink is confused, but doesn’t have much time to ponder things as Panther knocks her out with a successful application of the Wakandan nerve pinch. As Blink falls on her face Polaris congratulates Panther on his successful application of the device Forge created. Forge proclaims that it worked, that it was able to reroute the signal the Tallus received just before the teleportation and focus the time shift to the place the signal originated. He looks up at the giant, pink crystalline structure in front of them and says that’s where it came from.
So whatever’s been sending them on missions is inside, Beast asks. Polaris says it’s time to get some answers and they start walking up the long, tall stairway. Panther states they’re off to see the wizard and Beast says he knew Panther was going to say that.
Meanwhile, Blink starts to regain consciousness. Morph conveniently pops his head in at this time and asks why Blink left the team alone. She tells him she was jumped. Morph assumes they’re somehow onto her. Funny thing is, he continues, Heather can’t get a trace on them, which means they’re somewhere in the Panoptichron. When Morph looks up the long set of stairs in front of them he notes he’s never seen this entrance before. Blink says she’ll find them and tells Morph to connect through her once she does. Morph wishes her luck locating them in the infinite interior of the Palace.
Inside, the remainder of the Exiles is running down a long stretch of crystalline tunnel. They’re both amazed at the breadth of the structure and the fact that there’s nothing in it. As if on cue Panther spies a window and the team heads over to see what’s happening outside. There, they see what looks like a different team of Exiles with an Impossible Man Timebroker.
Forge draws everyone’s attention to another window where a Mojo Timebroker seems to be talking to a roster of villains as his final mission words are, “…and once there, you will kill the ruling body!” Panther says they’re definitely a better looking team than that.
Wanda looks out another window and sees another team comprised solely of Wolverines. This is insane, Polaris exclaims, wondering how many teams there are exactly. Right then, Blink appears and answers her, “apparently a lot.” She then thanks them for finally stopping as she’s already teleported to dozens of different places looking for them.
Angry, the Exiles’ resident teleporter readies two more shards and tells her teammates not to even think about jumping her again. Polaris isn’t impressed and uses her magnetic prowess to rip the shards from Blink’s hands. Blink, not looking as confident now, explains she wasn’t intending on attacking them.
It’s at this point Blink decides to come clean. She knows the jig is up and wants to explain her side. Beast asks if she was ever planning on telling them. Blink describes how she was going to stick around until she felt they were ready and then fake her own death and have a new member appointed the team. However, and Blink says this with some uncertainty, she’s not sure she would have been allowed to go at all.
Suddenly, the Tallus comes to life and begins pulling them to the control room. Something doesn’t seem right, Blink exclaims, as they’re all ripped from their location.
The Exiles reappear smack dab in the middle of the Control room where Heather, Nocturne and Morph are waiting for them. “Pay no attention to those good-looking heroes behind the curtain!” Morph jokes, but Panther calls foul as he already rocked a Wizard of Oz joke.
Polaris spots the Timebroker (Morph) and asks who the rest of the gang is. We’re the original Exiles, Nocturne answers. Beast demands some sort of resolution about this whole Exiles thing upon threat of cracking skulls. Heather promises to be as forthright as she can, but first wants to know how Forge managed to subvert the teleportation. Bringing up a holographic video from his arm he tells Heather to watch their conversation from when Blink wasn’t around. Heather observes as Polaris and Forge voice their concerns over Blink’s honesty and Forge lays out his plan to intercept the next transmission and follow it back to its source.
Clever, Heather tells Forge, and adds that they did the same exact thing, though not as quickly. Then she goes into the history of how the Exiles came to be. She brings up a picture of the original Timebroker on a holographic monitor and explains that it all started with a group of bugs who discovered the palace and accidentally messed things up.
Nocturne steps in at this point and adds that team members died, were replaced or returned home as the missions carried on. One of the new Exiles is excited that they can return home, but Nocturne says they were wrong about that.
Meanwhile, the Tallus is still going wonky, repeatedly broadcasting random signals. Blink interrupts the little history lesson to let everyone know, but they ignore her complaints and continue on.
Panther wants to know if they were being prepped to take their place. Morph says most of them were already retired, and were in fact recently pulled back. Nocturne then leads them all to the stasis wall to give them a visual on the latest, most confusing turn of events.
Inside the stasis wall is the prior incarnation of Exiles, sans Morph. He explains he woke up one morning to find them all in stasis and soon after Heather, Nocturne and Blink appeared. Despite all their efforts, they couldn’t free them from the wall and soon after the Tallus appeared and spoke to them as if it had a mind of its own. The Witch looks at the golden object attached to Blink’s wrist and is taken aback by the giant eye now staring at them through the ruby lens.
Just then the ceiling starts to tear itself apart. The Exiles stare upward through the gaping hole where the ceiling once was. Panther thinks they broke something, but a resounding “No” fills the cavernous room.
There’s more turbulence as the flooring morphs into the shape of a hand and rises from the ground carrying the Exiles along with it. The booming voice explains they awakened her when they teleported within the Panoptichron itself, closing a loop and allowing her to assert her presence once more.
The entire crystalline area is now metamorphed into a gigantic humanoid shape. “I have been here for infinity… and yet… no time at all,” the being announces. The Exiles are unsure what to do. When the creature opens its mouth and brings its hand upward Morph yells out it’s going to eat them. Instead, a human-sized figure steps out from the orifice to address them as she once was, a being called Kang.
Beast instantly recognizes her as a time-traveler and conqueror from his reality. Kang is not offended by this, but explains she was a respected scientist from her world who went into her reality’s past and prevented her Earth’s apocalypse.
Blink and Heather have questions, namely is she the one who summoned them and made them, in turn, summon a new team of Exiles. Kang admits it was she, but cautions that everything she says is correct and at the same time not. Forge is happy for some answers finally, but Beast is worried his head is going to hurt.
Kang warns that although she gives them answers, they’re fleeting. Referencing her time travel story from earlier Kang recounts that she created two timelines from her actions and although she returned to the one she fixed, the other apocalyptic reality still existed. Meddling in time, Kang explains, only fragments it.
A representation of dozens of Earths looped together appears. Kang explains each time she tried to affect things she only created more fragments, and other Kangs also did this, and an infinite loop was growing geometrically. As Kang travelled across the Multiverse she saw how things drastically changed, and although she was cautious in her undertakings other Kangs didn’t hold back.
Forge asks how she could know if she was really the first, not just the product of another divergence. Kang admits that’s equally likely, but will stick to her origin as all other Kangs have.
Instead of explaining further, Kang connects all of them to the Panoptichron so they know what she knows. She states that her paradigm could fall as others grow and replace ones close to it. Kang has determined the safest way to engage in this battle of existences was to use agents from her end of the loop who were unhinged from time.
The information download completes, and with all the knowledge simmering in their heads the Exiles realize why they can never return to their native realities. Looking at the figures in the wall Forge adds that staying in the eye of time eventually causes you to join the structure, become a part of it. Nocturne states that they thought they could heal their friends or hold their enemies within the wall, but all they were doing was speeding up the process of immersion. Morph points out Proteus was absorbed from his consciousness first, leaving him unaffected for the time being.
Kang explains that Proteus’ presence within the wall is what drew her back from the collective, where she discovered her Exiles were missing and summarily searched Morph’s mind for the best Exiles to restart the program, which is where the three ladies came from.
Blink says shortly after she arrived she scanned for some good prospects at the behest of the Tallus/Kang that she could guide into becoming Exiles. Morph says it was Heather’s idea to take people right before their death.
Forge starts manipulating the Panoptichron systems to see what’s happening in his homeworld. A scene of his reality emerges. It’s his funeral. He watches as Cyclops leads the X-Men in a eulogy, a statue of Forge erected behind him. Forge starts running an analysis and determines Kang is right, that if he returned the results would be disastrous. The world would place their faith in him to save them again instead of working on how to defend themselves. Panther watches this world’s version of his father console the widowed Storm. “Oh, not cool, dad,” Panther remarks staring at his “father” putting the moves on her during the funeral.
Panther checks his world next and discovers his father came out of retirement to avenge him and kill Klaw once and for all. The Witch asks what would happen if he returned. Panther says it wouldn’t be too bad, but his sister, Sh’ri, is on course to become the greatest Panther ever and he doesn’t want to mess that up.
Beast is next and the system determines there’s only a 3.46% chance of derailing his world if he goes back, but there’s no point as the only person he’d want to see is gone. He says this as he watches the Avengers hold a funeral for Wonder Man. Panther isn’t quite sure what he means, but then catches on. Beast points out he never really rambled on about women. Hank starts to cry and Panther tells him to let it out, but he says he’s not crying about Simon, but for his mind. Connected to the Panoptichron has restored it to what it once was.
Polaris is pleased and asks Hanks for help in determining the course for her world. Turns out her death brought Magneto over to the side of the heroes and now her world is 200 times more solid than if she remained.
Kang interrupts their “what could’ve been” moments and redirects the Exiles to their reason for existence, to defend her end of the Multiverse. Kang says it’s imperative to continue to recruit Exiles as her Kang counterparts keep defending their own paradigms and even send their own Exiles to sabotage hers.
Blink remembers tangling with one of those villainous teams and says she’ll have no problem staying behind and training new teams now that she knows what’s really happening. Nocturne agrees with her sentiments. Heather and Morph put their hands into the middle, Morph’s hand resembling the orange, rockiness of Thing’s, with the other two. Morph says they’ll call themselves the Fantastic Exiles, but receives a cool response and guesses maybe not.
Kang asks the newest batch if they’re willing to continue on. With the alternatives being oblivion or messing up their homeworlds Polaris speaks for them all when she says they’re locked in. Beast warns Kang she can’t stay too long in the Panoptichron if things are to run smoothly. Kang agrees to spend time back in her homeworld, though she will make a change.
The new team of Exiles is shocked to suddenly find Talluses attached to each of their wrists. Kang explains this way they’ll all have an extension of her with them at all times and it should also help keep her from being absorbed again. “I’m flossin’” Panther quips, impressed with his new gear.
Before disappearing in a bright flash of light Kang says she will go ahead and examine the next Earth in danger of falling from the paradigm. As soon as Kang leaves the Crystal Palace begins to reassert itself. Heather says she’ll start running some searches to find the best candidates who are about to die. Forge tells her to make one of them a teleporter since that’ll give them an enormous edge. Blink thanks him for the compliment.
Nocturne volunteers to go with Forge and the gang while Blink breaks in the next group. She asks Heather to send word to Thunderbird that she’ll be back soon. Panther starts putting the moves on Nocturne, but Beast asks him to at least wait until they’re on their first mission.
At the controls, Heather starts running her search on a good teleporter. She tells Morph he can do the explanations. He smiles and says how much he loves telling distraught heroes they can never go home again. Also, Blink and Polaris make amends, each apologizing for their earlier actions, before they head off.
Nocturne tells the crew they’re on their way to Earth 9744 and just like that they disappear. The Exiles reemerge in a world where the Savage Land spread across the entire globe. Polaris says Kang is still assimilating the data and suggests they stay put until they determine what needs to be done. Panther says it reminds him of Wakanda.
Forge spots Beast bend over on the ground, stick in hand drawing something. Being a genius himself he guesses Hank can’t wait to start using his brain again. Beast agrees he’s very preoccupied with all this new information. Nocturne restates how it all started with the Timebroker, then it turned out to be the bugs, then it was an older couple who was behind it all. And now it’s Kang, Beast continues, but adds that she won’t be the last version. Forge asks what he means and Beast says while he was connected to the Panoptichron he realized the Multiverse is a potentially infinite series of loops.
On the ground Hank has drawn a set of circles, each one within another. He draws a line bisecting one of them and explains while they defend their part of the loop to keep people like themselves in existence they change the structure in another direction, and when they change a later point in the circle they change the beginning point as well. Beast reveals that as they change more and more eventually Kang won’t be the guiding force anymore, just like the others before her.
The Witch asks what the point of all this is. Beast says you can only deal with what you’re given at the moment. Polaris suddenly realizes they never looked in on her reality. The Witch says she can’t go back so why bother.
Just then the Exiles receive their mission status; they must save a furry guy named Moonboy. The group takes off running. Wanda stays back a bit, still focused on Polaris’ comments. They think she’s dead in her reality anyway because Emma Frost killed “her”; the image of Emma cracking the neck of the Witch fills her mind. With nothing left to lose she takes off after the team wondering what the rest of reality has to offer her. “Go Exiles!” she yells, leaping into the air.