The Ustordinsky Collective in Russia, winter:
A teenage Piotr Rasputin steps outside to look for his sister Illyana. The animals lie in the snow frozen. Next to them, a dying Nightcrawler asks him if he sees that this is the end. What has he done with Illyana? Piotr demands. It wasn’t him, Nightcrawler groans. It was the Inhumans — and Cyclops. They doomed them all! They will pay the penalty of eternal destruction. Away from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power.
Piotr doesn’t understand and enters the barn. He finds he is a grown-up again, surrounded by greenish mists. He doesn’t understand, until he hears a weak voice calling him. It’s his sister, crying for help. She is trapped in a cocoon, like the ones the Inhumans undergoing Terrigenesis are in. He tears it open.
Inside he finds his sister, partially changed and dying. She groans that the Terrigen Mist hurts and begs him to make it stop. He cradles her and promises it will be all right. She whispers goodbye and dies in his arms. Horrified, he cries out her name.
Until he awakes, chained and hanging from the ceiling head down in one of Mr. Sinister’ labs. Sinister greets him. He and the Marauders are gathered around the bed of a visible mutant whom Sinister is treating. The mutant is frightened. Sinister informs him he is privileged to be involved in his work. After all, he is hardly a mutant of note… but if this works, he will be the savior of his species. The mutant screams as he is injected with something.
Sinister addresses Colossus. If he’ll just be patient for a moment, this requires his full attention. He adds he has been spending time with an old friend of his. He refers to Nightcrawler, who is currently in a giant tube. Unfortunately, he is not much of a conversationalist. His mind does not seem to be what it was.
“Do not be afraid of those that kill the body but cannot kill the soul!” Nightcrawler announces. “Rather be afraid of those who can destroy both body and soul in hell.”
He isn’t afraid of death, Sinister remarks, but Nightcrawler should be. Mutantkind is on the brink. Fortunately, he is here to save it.
The “patient” has been put into another tube and Sinister releases the Terrigen Mist into it.
As the victim begins to change, Colossus shouts at Sinister to stop it. What is he doing to him? Sinister replies he is subjecting him to a massive dose of Terrigen. Brutal but essential. Inhumanity is thriving while mutants are dying, so he has been trying to make a genetically superior mutant. A mutant that can withstand the Terrigen Mist and the evolutionary war that seems to be raging. But does he know what he has discovered? The only way to make a better mutant was to make them part Inhuman. Or at least he’s been trying. Unfortunately, so far he has been unable to make Inhuman and mutant DNA coexist.
He turns to the unconscious Magik. She seems to be made of sterner stuff. He’ll try her next. Furious, Colossus cries his sister’s name.
X-Haven in Limbo:
Currently, the X-Men are battling the demons of Limbo breaking in. Noticing new arrivals, Marvel Girl and Old Man Logan, Storm pointedly wonders what Jean said to him to change his mind that she didn’t. She said: “hey, old man, wanna come to hell and fight a bunch of demons?” and he said: “Sure, Jeannie, that sounds like a great idea!” Storm shoots back he loves this and he knows it. He admits it feel good to stretch the old claws.
Iceman holds back demons with an iceshield, while Anole tries to get the kids to safety. Anole tells Iceman he’s been meaning to talk to him about stuff, Iceman reminds him this is not the time. Anole agrees and rejoins the fight.
Forge informs Iceman the defense shield is ready but they need to get as many of those demons as possible out first or they will be stuck inside the shield with them. Jean telekinetically shoves them out and Forge switches the shield on.
The fight is over. Iceman notices Logan. Close one, eh, grandpa? Hope he didn’t forget his arthritis medication. He’s gonna be sore in the morning after that workout, Logan growls. More seriously, Bobby admits it’s good to have him back. Good to see him too, Logan admits, mollified.
Cerebra announces they should turn their attention to Magik, Colossus and Nightcrawler. They have their last recorded location in Manhattan but she is unable to currently locate them. Just bring him close, he’ll track them, Logan offers. But he ain’t going anywhere with that thing, he refers to Cerebra. Storm assures him Cerebra is an ally. Her outer casing may be a Sentinel-- He ain’t. Going anywhere. With that thing! he stresses. Cerebra harumphes. Forge tells her to teleport them to Manhattan. He’ll fix her wounded circuits later.
Logan points out it’s been so long. He needs something from one of them to get the scent. Looking at Nightcrawler’s severed tail, Forge admits he has just the thing.
Soon Cerebra, who stays back, teleports Logan, Jean, Storm and Iceman to Manhattan. People become panicked when they see them. So it’s like that again, huh? Logan mumbles. It’s like that, Storm repeats.
Logan asks Jean if she’s okay. She assures him she’s fine, and he? Iceman laughs they got a cute father daughter thing going now. Or more like grandfather-daughter, right? Wait, it is a grandfather daughter thing? right? Because if not, that’s just creepy. They all ignore him and Logan follows the scent. He warns them there is something else too. Something old, something evil…
As Sinister considers what to do with Magik, one of his Marauders, Chimera, suggests killing her. She is too dangerous. Colossus screams his protest but, pumped full of power dampener serum, he can do nothing.
Sinister considers that Chimera is right. He doesn’t trust magic… it is unnatural. And frankly, they should be thanking him for making them part of his experiments. He is after all merely looking out for mutantkind. He is looking out for himself as he always has, Colossus scoffs. Sinister admits his goals are not altruistic, but they will be mutually beneficial. Now he just needs to decide which of them to slice into next.
Suddenly, the tips of three claws appear from the front of his chest, as behind him Logan announces he is the only one here doing any slicing.
The Marauders are astonished as they hadn’t seen the X-Men. Because she didn’t want them to, Marvel Girl announces. Was kind of nice overhearing their boss’s nefarious villain monologue, Iceman opines. Bit of a diva though, isn’t he?
Chimera hits Storm and orders the Marauders to take them. Storm wipes her mouth, hits back harder with a bolt of lightning and orders the X-Men to kick their asses.
Aries and Coda are focusing on Logan, who orders Iceman to cover him. He’s going for Pete but he needs a lift. Iceman creates an iceslide to go above the villains and suggests Logan don’t slip. Logan slides over them and slices off the surprised Colossus’ chains.
Azimuth, the creepy girl, is facing Storm and Jean. She announces Sinister is trying to help them. He wants to keep them safe from the Terrigen. Storm replies there is no help with Sinister. He’ll use her and discard her. It’s not too late. Let them help her!
Azimuth’s mouth gapes open and begins to pull them in. She’s seen what Cyclops did. She doesn’t want their kind of help!
Storm tries to pull Jean away but loses her hold on her. Jean flies toward Azimuth and searches for her mind which seems far away. Finally, she finds it and telepathically orders her to sleep, which shuts off her power.
All the Marauders are down and Colossus can finally free Illyana. The other prisoner, Nightcrawler, doesn’t react to their presence. He begins to quote: “Now there were leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another: ‘Why do we just sit there until we die?’”
Don’t thy see what he is doing here? Sinister groans. He is trying to make them better. He is trying to perfect them. If they will not listen, he will have to show them… He opens a vessel full of Terrigen and a shape begins to step out. It is true, most of his specimen have failed so far. But there was one… who just would not die. It is a partially mutated Scott Summers...