Alaska, years ago:
A small private plane is under attack by a Shi’ar spaceship. The two kids aboard, Scott and Alex Summers, panic. Their mother Katherine tells them to unbuckle and come with her. When the boys are hysterical, their father Christopher, piloting the plane, orders them to do what their mother says. Katherine straps the parachute onto Scott and tells him to hold onto Alex for dear life. Isn’t she coming? he asks. It’s the only parachute, she tells them. Chris cries he can’t hold it. She hugs the boys and tells them she loves them. They cry her name as she pushes them out. As the parachute opens Scott tells the crying Alex he has him. He looks up to see their parents’ plane exploding.
End of flashback
Someone calls his name and Scott Summers wakes up… to find his father sitting next to him, asking if he is all right. Scott can’t believe it at first, then they hug.
Disgusted, Rocket Raccoon asks what they are doing. Some fathers hug and care about their kids, Star-Lord explains. Not theirs. But, you know, some… at least that’s what he’s heard.
Talking of a father of the non-hugging variety… Planet Spartax:
King J-son is informed by an advisor about word from the Shi’ar quadrant. They have extracted a young girl from the planet Earth and are setting their tribunal in motion. Already, J-son mutters, to his advisor’s surprise. He tells him to keep going. They have learned the name of the Earth girl is Jean Grey who, as the king may know, was at one time or another possessed by the Phoenix Force. Their data shows that Jean Grey is dead and has been for some time. So this news intel must be false.
Damned Shi’ar and their religious precision! J-son swears. He didn’t think it was going to happen so quickly. Has the Earth responded? They don’t believe they even know. The extraction happened covertly. Why does everyone put him in these positions? J-son rants. They said no one touches Earth! They said!
The advisor continues he is bringing this to him and not their collective affairs council because…. He hesitates, J-son’s son and his Guardians… How does he do it? J-son snarls. How does his son always find a way to put himself in the middle of everything?
The advisor asks for orders. The thing is he was going to leave this alone, J-son sighs. He was going to turn a blind eye to this business and let the Shi’ar have their little production. And now he can’t.
The Imperial Guard is at training. Manta asks Gladiator about the ship which hasn’t been heard from since. What did he think was going to happen? she asks. Put himself in their positions. If someone from another system came and took one of his Imperial Guard, would he not follow the trail to the ends of the earth? Gladiator replies a ship goes missing in the vastness of the galaxy. That does not mean it has anything to do with this.
It is the X-Men, Flashfire insists. Smasher points out Earthers do not have the technological capacity to travel this far this fast. They don’t know what those barbarians can do, Electron retorts. They stole one of them and they are coming to get her.
Gladiator doesn’t believe they have the power or wherewithal to reach them in time to stop what is about to happen. They won’t join them as galactic travelers for many generations to come.
Oracle repeats he stole one of the X-Men’s founding members. He has declared war on them. Which means, he has declared war on the mutant population of Earth. They will come for her.
Gladiator doesn’t believe that. And if they come they are ready. He was telling an untruth, Oracle accuses him. He made a difficult decision and he stands by it, but he does not know the outcome and he does not know the consequences. And he does not know if he has it within him to do what he will have to do next.
Get out of his mind, he orders. She didn’t read his mind, she replies. She doesn’t have to read his thoughts to see them. Everyone can see them.
It is time. Make sure the tribunal is ready, he orders. Who in the galaxy will want to miss this? Plutonia wonders.
On the outskirts of the Shi’ar Empire, Cyclops is still reeling from the revelation. Corsair jokes Scott is the one who traveled through time. Comparatively, his story of alien abduction, prison break and now space pirates is a little more conventional.
He thought he died, Scott bursts out. He knows. Corsair trails off. This is so odd. The two of them have been through this already. They reunited. Made their peace with the past. Well, him and the older Scott.
They found each other? Scott asks. Are they good? Of course they are. Both Scott and his brother. In fact, Alex traveled with him for a-- And mom? Scott asks. Corsair looks down. That happened a long time ago. It’s why he never came back to Earth. The boys had found their way to Xavier and—
At least he found his father, Hank tries to cheer Scott up. The odds on that alone are mathematically--
Corsair continues. Last he heard, Scott had settled down and the older him-- This time travelling adventure is a new twist he wasn’t ready for.
Scott gets up and asks to be excused. He’s just having a really weird day.
Raza tells Corsair not to follow. But X-23 does. She finds him crying in a storage room, assuring her that he is fine. They should get back to it, he sates listlessly. They are out here for a reason. Out here in space, she states. With a talking raccoon and a tree. And his dad, he adds. Can she believe it? No. She doesn’t usually do these, but he seems to need it. She hugs him and after a few moments he gives in.
Jean Grey awakes to find herself back in the telepathic conference room with Oracle again. Oracle asks if she remembers her name. This isn’t real, Jean mutters. She is in her head, Oracle agrees. This is an illusion to steady Jean. She is still in her prison, Jean states. Oracle corrects her. She is being moved to the hall of the imperium tribunals. Today she will be judged.
No lawyer, no trial, Jean sighs. She will be her counsel, Oracle reveals. She doesn’t even know her, Jean replies. She knows that’s not true, Oracle points out. She tells her to keep her words short. Don’t let her young heart betray her best interests. Listen, watch and try not to react too emotionally. She will want to react according to her ways, but the Shi’ar do not respond favorably to demonstrative displays. But she is going to see some things that will upset her.
All of this is upsetting, Jean protests. Oracle tells her to be brave and smart. Don’t let these commanding men of power rattle her. If she is innocent, be innocent. She is innocent! Jean shouts. She will have to be more convincing than that, Oracle replies and the illusion fades. Be strong, her time is now, Oracle tells her.
Jean looks around to find herself in a giant hall on a dais as Gladiator announces the imperium tribunal will now be silent, for they are about to begin. The huge hall is filled with all kinds of alien races.
Gladiator announces they are here for the most important of decisions. And all arguments will be heard. The Earther Jean Grey is here to stand and face her accusers. She is here to pay for her crimes. She is here to answer for her acts of genocide!
The Guardians’ ship and the Starjammer are now deep in the heart of the Shi’ar Empire. Kitty is talking to Star-Lord. And they just live out here? she wonders. As opposed to where? Peter asks. It’s just a different way of life, is all. He introduces himself properly since they never officially said ‘hello’. He asks what the name Kitty stands for and if she is in charge of these kids. Kitty thanks him. This is insanely cool of them. Peter admits he is still steaming they didn’t get to Earth ten minutes sooner. She could have slept in her own bed tonight. She just hopes Jean is still -- Oy vey, she mutters.
Does Corsair see this? Peter asks via comm, namely, a fleet of ships surrounding Chandilar. What did he think they were going to see, once they got to the Shi’ar throneworld? Corsair asks. Not every ship in the empire, Peter retorts. He doesn’t think they fly just in. He assumes this galactic power can see through their cloak. Corsair suggest they leave their ships, sneak aboard one of the outlying ships. Peter thinks it’s too risky but has another idea.
Back at the trial, Gladiator shows a recording of past events: a first class Shi’ar imperial battle cruiser on its last day of existence. The ship was stationed on the far side of the D’Bari system. He shows them the healthy star suddenly bursting into supernova, killing the entire population of the planet orbiting the star.
Recordings from the battle cruiser show the captain and the science officer trying to piece the situation together. And then they found themselves under attack. The following is the final broadcast to their former empress Lilandra:
The recording shows Captain Juber asking Lilandra if she can see it. Namely the Phoenix raptor closing in on the now helpless ship for the kill.
A star system dead, Gladiator summarizes. Millions and millions of souls dead. Good and noble Shi’ar warriors dead. What say she? he demands of Jean who looks on in horror. How does she plead?