Salem Center, West Chester County, home of the X-Men
Magneto’s band of mutants was once able to tide the hatred against their fellow mutants with acts of courage and sacrifice, time and time again, until mutants appeared to be acceptable to be a part of the world. At the school, the X-Men spend a little time in the yards behind the school, and Nightcrawler lays his hand on Mystique. Their attention gets drawn by something else, when a huge shadow appears above them. A nuclear bomb lands on the school and the explosion destroys the whole mansion... and the X-Men!
The Dutchess castle, home of the team formerly known as the Six
The remaining members of the Six watch the horror on the news. The news reporter explains how reports claim that the Friends of Humanity are behind this first act of domestic nuclear terrorism on U.S. soil. It appears that anti-mutant protesters have made a startling return after what people now call the Goblin Queen affair and more attacks on mutants and alleged super heroes are happening as they speak. Everybody starts crying and Havok can’t believe that this is happening here. Brute asks Havok what this means for the X-Men and if they are going to be okay. Alex simply doesn’t know; all they can do is continue listening to the news report.
The news reporter says that president pro tem, Graydon Creed, has now declared the entire county of West Chester as a distaster zone. Experts claim that the device used was particulary clean and low yield and, apparently, whoever triggered this device knew what they were doing. Some people call this a precision nuclear attack. In a surprising move, President Pro Tem Creed has announced full amnesty for Colonel Nicholas Fury and all members of his S.H.I.E.L.D., because they claimed to be mind-controlled by the Goblin Queen.
An exhausted Cerebro suddenly phases through the walls of the castle. Havok tends to him, asking if the X-Men are trully dead. Cerebro, sadly, can only confirm. Cerebro explains that the bio-essence of the X-Men blinked out before Magneto’s failsafe program in Cerebro kicked in and sent him here. But Cerebro also says that the magnetic pulse given off by the bomb has interfered with Cerebro’s own system and he apologizes for his appearance. On the news, the newscaster mentions how proud Fury was to serve the American land again and is now promoted to General.
On television, Fury claims that his and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s main purpose will be the protection of both the mutant and hero populance. Fury considers it his obligation to seek out all those who would be subjected to hate crimes and Fury offers them the full protection of S.H.I.E.L.D. Fury warns every mutant and super powered being not to worry, as they will find them, no matter where they are. The ground starts to shake, and Alex realizing that S.H.I.E.L.D. is there.
Havok orders Brute and Elektra to get Scotty’s things and to meet them at the evacuation tunnel. Alex asks Cerebro if he’s up to it to download the data on their computers consiting mutant locations, and later destroy the master system. Brute asks what’s happening and Alex explains that they are leaving. Scotty cheers his uncle up, telling him not to be afraid and think of it as an adventure. Alex, Bloodstorm and Ice-Man rush to the battle. Alex is content to know who they are up against. Alex believes they have to slow their enemies down to give the others the chance to go to the evacuation tunnels. Bloodstorm confirms to Alex they’ll do whatever he tells them, as they owe him their souls. They would follow Alex even to the dark alleys of the Underworld.
Ice-Man asks if Bloodstorm is speaking metaphorically about the Underworld, but she doesn’t answer him. The heroes make it out of the castle and notice S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Hellicarrier flying above them. Fury orders the mutants to stand down, so they can bring them in to a safer place. Ice-Man doesn’t believe that Fury will bring them someplace safe, neither does Bloodstorm. The S.H.I.E.L.D. troops open fire upon the heroes and they try to fight back and defend themselves. Havok orders Bloodstorm to slow the flow down and she goes in. Bloodstorm orders her goddess to help her and give her the power of the storm. Lightning strikes the Hellicarrier, which crashes, and the soldiers try to get out of the heavy waters that Bloodstorm’s storm creates. Havok believes that should be enough to hold them for a while and the heroes go back to their teammates.
A short time later, when the storm has calmed down a bit, an angry Nick Fury shows up, demanding to know where the mutants have gone. Colonel Dum-Dum Dugan reports to Nick that they have searched the entire island, but the Six are nowhere to be found. Fury orders Dugan to search again. Dum-Dum doesn’t find this mutant hunt part of their mission and wants to fall back. Fury gets even more angry, and tells Dum-Dum to address him as General Fury, not as Nick. Suddenly, Fury takes out his gun and inexplicably shoots a soldier! Fury explains to Dum-Dum that their wartime friendship is over and, if he should ever doubt Fury’s commands again, it won’t be one of Dum-Dum’s nephews who buys it. Fury orders Dum-Dum to search the island again, and this time they better find the mutants.
Striker-planes search the entire day, even when the night falls, but sadly have to report to Fury that they still can’t find the mutants, or any of their instruments. They’ll continue the search, but hope that their colleagues have better luck than they do. Meanwhile, below in the waters, the Six’ transport vehicle moves at full stealth below the Hudson River. Inside, Brute’s scared that they are going to find them and asks if they can’t go any faster. Havok explains that they have to be very queit and when they continue to move queitly, everything is going to be allright.
Bloodstorm explains that their plane was designed for stealth, but they have to be very careful because it is S.H.I.E.L.D. that they are dealing with, and have to be cautious that nobody has the technology to find them. But nontheless, Bloodstorm realizes that S.H.I.E.L.D. has found them and goes over to immediate action. When S.H.I.E.L.D. fires six heat-seaker up on the Six, Alex orders Bloodstorm to take them out. Bloodstorm explains that it is going to take a moment to do that. Alex says that they don’t have a moment and he goes out of the plane. He orders Bloodstorm to keep moving, while he charges up his plasma-blasts and blasts the seekers by himself! Alex goes back into the ship and tells Bloodstorm to go. But, he’s not sure if they’ve got a place to go. Luckely, Bloodstorm has already thought of that.
One hour later…
Bloodstorm asks permission to land. A voice over the intercom is surprised to hear her, as they believed Bloodstorm to be dead. Bloodstorm jokes she is as much as ever. The voice gives her permission to land, saying that he has missed her. Bloodstorm says she missed him as well, and they land in a base, hidden inside a mountain. Havok asks if this is friend of Bloodstorm and if they can trust him. Bloodstorm explains that he is much more than just that, confirming that she has trusted her life with him on more than just one occassion. Bloodstorm also says that, without him, she wouldn’t even be around today.
Forge shows up from behind and he and Bloodstorm hug intensly. Everybody stares in wonder and Alex is surprised to see Forge. Bloodstorm did not know that Alex and Forge had met. Even Forge doubts if he and Alex have met, but sometimes his memory is not at best. But he does feel like he knows Alex, and the rest of the Six, because Bloodstorm has told him so much about them. But Forge cuts the reunion short, as much has happened and there is much to discuss. Forge claims that the Six have to meet some people, and plans must be made.
Bloodstorm sees at Forge’s actions that there must be something wrong, as she finds it that it’s not for her lover to act like this. Kitty shows up, all dressed in black and wearing a cape, saying that people and things have changed. She greets Ororo, sarcastically asking if she preferes that Kitty calls her Mistress Bloodstorm. Bloodstorm’s surprised to see how much Kitty has changed. Kitty confirms that she has indeed changed, as of from now she is the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club! Kitty explains to Bloodstorm that they thought that she was dead. They even mourned her passing and moved on with their lives. Kitty convinced Forge that Bloodstorm would have wanted it this way.
The few who survived the Goblin Queen’s attack came to her and Forge. Forge explains that Katherine helped pull them together and made them stop fighting among each other. Bloodstorm coolly congratulates Kitty, as she always knew that she was a born leader. Kitty sarcastically replies by saying that it took a potential world war to prove it. She finds it a shame that they didn’t find that one out sooner and coolly asks if Bloodstorm agrees on that. Bloodstorm and Kitty turn away from each other. Forge cuts the awkward situation by saying that there is still much left to do and asks everyone to follow him and meet the others.
Everyone follows and Alex asks Ice-Man if he knows what’s going on here. Ice-Man doesn’t has a clue and jokes to Alex that, when he was under the Goblin Queen’s mind-control, he missed all of his favourite soap opera’s for a few months. But Ice-Man has a feeling that this is going to be so much cooler. Bloodstorm tells Forge that he has brought lots of changes to the Eagle’s Rest since the last time she was here. Forge explains that they had little choice and it simply had to be done. Forge and the others trully believed that they were the last stand against the Goblin Queen, and this is merely one facility he has established; there are much more over the rest of the world.
Forge brings them to a meeting room, where he introduces the people sitting at a table. Forge says that they all known Captain America and introduces them next to Sebastian Shaw, the Black King of the Hellfire Club, and there is also Sunfire, a fellow mutant and a former agent of the Japanese government. Sunfire is there to help them with their cause. Havok apologizes for his ignorance, but asks an explanation to what Forge’s cause is. Shaw explains that their cause is freedom. Shaw’s surprised that Havok can’t see what’s going on. Shaw explains that Graydon Creed is in power and Nick Fury is his general. Shaw fears that together they might achieve what every human is praying for, namely the death of all gifted beings.
Havok’s confused, as he thought that human/mutant relationships were improving again better than anybody could ever hope. Shaw finds Alex a fool for being so naive, as that can’t possibly be true after what happened to Magneto and the X-Men. Shaw doesn’t believe the media reports about this simply being a terrorist attack. He knows that the human race hates them. The humans know that the mutans will replace them as the dominant species on the planet. Once, the humans used them, but thanks to the Goblin Queen’s attack, they now fear them. But the Goblin Queen is simply the excuse for their moves. Captain America knows that Shaw is right. Cap says that he was approached by Fury to join S.H.I.E.L.D. and participate in their mutant hunt. Fury wanted Cap to betray his own teammates, but Cap wouldn’t do that and was turned into a traitor on some charges. Cap explains that some of his teammates did not share his vision and decided to join Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.
Shaw thinks this all as a world-wide conspiricy and asks Sunfire what he thinks of it. Sunfire agrees and explains that his government has made it very clear what they plan to do with mutants and other powered beings. They are making relocation camps even as they speak, and Sunfire has come to find any way to stop it. Forge has thought of an idea and again asks everybody to follow him. Forge takes them to his lab and introduces them to Cerebro Mark XIII, the next generation in psionic personality computers! Forge explains that he and Magneto had spoken about it for years after Forge created Cerebro, who is based on an idealistic college professor. Cerebro gets a little confused and asks Forge what he means that he “created” him.
Forge’s a bit surprised, as he thought Magneto had told Cerebro this. Cerebro hesistates, but confirms to his creator that Magneto hadn’t told him. Forge explains that the original meaning in Cerebro’s creation was that he had to locate mutants through the detection of their brain patterns. Forge now notices how Cerebro has evolved into so much more he could ever hope for as Cerebro has developed all the characteristics of a living entity. Forge fears that at the same time, this is also Cerebro’s failing. Cerebro has become all too human and too willing to become friendly with the subjects he was originally meant to just study.
Forge knows that Cerebro Mark XIII won’t show such failure. When activated, Mark XIII will immediatly establish a link with all the living mutant brains on the planet and will be able to categorize all their potential powers, cross-checking them with as a potential trait and determine a risk factor. Havok stll doesn’t understand how this will help improve the human/mutant relationship. Forge explains that, by this, he can tell the government who they can trust and not. Alex asks what will happen to those who can’t be trusted and to the other super-powered beings, but Forge hasn’t thought about that. Shaw grows angry and says that the Hellfire Club won’t stand for this, as it hurts mutant rights. Sunfire turns back. Alex notices this and asks Sunfire what’s wrong with him.
Sunfire doesn’t find this arguing necesary and begs them to forgive him. This is not what Sunfire wanted. He explains that he is a mutant and has been shunned all of his life. His life got meaning when he became a warrior for his emperor, but he has obligations to his family who go above anything else and Sunfire won’t ashame them. Sunfire apologizes, but all of them must be killed and the machine destroyed. Sunfire explains that they are all around and want them dead. Sunfire again apologizes and unleashes a fire blast to the heroes. Havok dodges the attack just in time and Cap says that he’ll help Alex and Ice-Man out, while Bloodstorm and Brute lead everyone else outside to safety.
Alex asks if Cap’s got any ideas on how to hit Sunfire, but Cap believes that they’ll just have to hit him, hard and fast! Sunfire shoots another fireblast and Cap protects everybody with his shield. Ice-Man agrees with the plan and they go for it. Alex realizes that they will only have one shot in succeeding, so they attack all together. Sunfire can dodge Havok’s and Ice-Man’s blasts, but he can’t withstand Cap’s shield, which strikes in Sunfire’s stomach, hitting him real hard.
Ice-Man quickly freezes Sunfire up in an ice-igloo and Havok asks Sunfire who hired him.
Sunfire apologizes but he can’t tell them. Sunfire can only tell them not to trust anybody, as they are everywhere. Sunfire powers up again and Ice-Man’s iglo can’t stand the heat and it melts. Sunfire orders the heroes to run away, as he has brought shame upon his family and this rest only one honorable thing left to do for him, namely kill himself. Sunfire unleashes a power blast, killing both him and the entire base. The Six and the others escape just in time in two separate planes and head into different directions. Havok asks Bloodstorm what has become of Forge. Bloodstorm reveals that he has went together with Kitty and Shaw. Alex apologizes, as he could see Forge meant a lot to Bloodstorm. Bloodstorm confirms he meant a whole lot more to her than Alex could possible imagine.
Alex asks Cap if they can drop him of somewhere. Cap was thinking; since Alex is rebuilding the Six, maybe he can join them. Besides, Cap has no place else to go and help saving mutants from Fury seems like a good plan to him. Alex agrees and welcomes Captain America into the Six. Alex notices Cerebro staring sadly, and asks if he’s all right. Cerebro says he is, but he has a funny feeling. It’s like a part of him has died and has reborn into something truly evil.
At the destroyed base, a weird, angry looking thing arises from the ashes, and tries to stand up.