Utopia, home to the majority of the world’s mutant population. ‘Hey! Hey! Let us in!’ shouts the Young X-Man known as Anole, banging on a door. ‘Uh, kids, we’re kind of busy in here, so -’ the Beast declares as he answers the door, and sees Anole, Loa and Rockslide standing outside. ‘But it’s Mercury! She went missing in the caves!’ Anole exclaims. ‘The ghost got her!’ Loa adds. ‘The ghost. Uh-huh’ Wolverine mutters as Anole, Loa and Rockslide push their way into the control room, where Iceman, Cyclops and the White Queen are also working. ‘It’s serious! He lives in the tunnels! They go for miles. All through the island!’ Anole explains.
Loa adds that they have seen something moving down there. The White Queen assures the kids that the psi-sweeps were clear. ‘There’s nothing down there’ she declares, while Cyclops announces that they do not have time for this. ‘These trade negotiations need all our attention’ he exclaims. ‘I’ll go’ a voice booms. Anole and the other kids turn and look - ‘Negotiations were never my forte!’ exclaims Magneto!
Moments later, Anole and Loa walk behind Rockslide as the trio follow Magneto through a dark cavern. ‘Magneto’s a good guy now. We can totally trust him. Totally’ Rockslide assures his friends, before telling them to stop pushing him. Magneto turns back to the Young X-Men: ‘Tell me…this fiend of yours: it eats children, I suppose?’ he asks. ‘Uh -’ Rockslide utters. ‘Have you tried giving it one?’ Magneto asks. ‘Oh, nobody important, of course. Some squealing sapiens brat ought to do it’ Magneto declares, telling the X-kids that nothing gets rid of monsters like giving them what they want. ‘Is…is he serious?’ Loa asks quietly. Magneto turns away and chuckles to himself.
Holding torches so they can see, Rockslide calls out to Magneto, ‘Uh…it’s this way, man. It’s kind of a maze, so stick close or -’ he begins, before Magneto uses his powers to knock a wall away. ‘Shortcut!’ he tells the three young mutants.
Soon, ‘Oh dear’ Anole gasps as he and the others arrive in another part of the cavern, where several Sentinels are residing. ‘Trespassers!’ one of them booms. ‘Surrender or d - surrender or d - surrender or d -’ another remarks, clearly not functioning correctly. ‘Kill kill kill’ another declares. ‘This is your old stuff?’ Rockslide asks. ‘It rather seems that way, yes. How careless…I’d quite forgotten they were here!’ Magneto admits casually. The Young X-Men begin engaging the defective Sentinels. ‘Well…maybe you wanna lend a hand, huh, now you’ve remembered?’ Anole asks. ‘As a matter of fact…I’d rather not’ Magneto tells him.
Rockslide exclaims that this is a trap. ‘The old dude laid a #$%&#$% trap! I totally said we couldn’t trust him!’ ‘Trust doesn’t enter into it, child’ Magneto replies, telling the youngsters that he has spent long enough fighting their elders to value the strength of their allegiance. ‘You, on the other hand, are the heirs to the future…it’s not unreasonable, I think, to put you through your paces’ Magneto tells them.
Anole, Loa and Rockslide stop battling the Sentinels. Anole pauses, before exclaiming ‘#$%& that!’ The trio stare at Magneto, ‘Good…attitude as well as ability’ the Master of Magnetism remarks. ‘A mutant should never suffer himself to be controlled, children. We’re better than that’ Magneto declares, before exclaiming ‘Deactivate’. The Sentinels do not respond, however. ‘Kill kill kill’ one of them shouts. ‘Voice command not rec - voice command not rec -’ another states. Magneto looks at them, puzzled.
‘Ha! Not so cocky now!’ Rockslide exclaims. ‘Should we help him?’ Loa asks nervously. ‘”As a matter of fact…I’d rather not”!’ Anole laughs, pointing at Magneto. The Master of Magnetism snaps his fingers, and the Sentinels crumble to the ground. ‘This way’ he tells the Young X-Men, who continue to follow him through the tunnel.
Shortly, as they make their way down another cavern, shards of metal begin flicking forward. ‘Uh…Mister Magneto, Sir? Are you doing this?’ Loa asks. ‘No’ Magneto replies. ‘Oh God!’ Rockslide exclaims. ‘What is it?’ Anole asks as they enter another part of the cavern, where a large blue orb sits in the center of the room, bits of metal clanging against it. ‘Old toys’ Magneto replies. The orb breaks, and Mercury falls from It, in liquid metal form. ‘Mercury!’ Loa cries out as she rushes over to her. ‘My feet were in my brain…’ Mercury exclaims. ‘Here’s your ghost, children’ Magneto announces.
‘Chewed cables and antique apparatus. Nothing grows old so fast as the furniture’. Mercury rushes over to Magneto and tells him that she saw something - something alive. ‘Don’t be ridi-’ Magneto begins, before noticing something else in the room. He pauses, before telling the youngsters to leave. ‘Hey!’ Mercury shouts. ‘But -’ Rockslide begins to protest. ‘No arguments. You can totally trust me, remember?’ Magneto exclaims as he magnetically pushes the Young X-Men out of the chamber, and seals the door behind them.
‘Welcome. If this message has been triggered, the security systems of Asteroid M have been compromised. In all probability I am dead. I don’t intend to let that rob me of the last word’ a holographic recording of Magneto, sitting on the throne, announces. ‘I remember you, boy…’ the real Magneto remarks as he walks over to the hologram. ‘I wonder who you are, to have slain the Master of Magnetism’ the recording remarks. ‘An oppressor, perhaps? An enemy of mutantkind? Or just some tawdry apologist, seeking puerile equality?’
The hologram announces that, whoever they are, they will not succeed. ‘The lion shall not lie down with the lamb. The oppressed shall never embrace the oppressor. Crush us or die at our feed, the credo remains!’ ‘”No compromise”!’ Magneto exclaims in unison with the hologram of his younger self. ‘There is no future in integration. Whether I live or die…and whether we must wade through blood to reach it…mutantkind will find its Eden’ the hologram booms. Magneto turns away, and the recording begins once more: ‘Welcome. If this message has been triggered, th-’. Magneto uses his powers to then shut the recording down.
‘There! There he is!’ Loa exclaims as Magneto approaches the Young X-Men. ‘What was that thing?’ Anole asks. ‘Oh…just as you thought. A sad old ghost’ Magneto replies. ‘But...It’s just gone? How did you get rid of it?’ Anole asks. ‘The very way I said I would’ Magneto replies as they make their way out onto a ridge that overlooks Utopia. ‘By giving it what it wanted’.
Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner bids Cyclops good morning over a payphone outside a gas station. Kurt tells Scott that he wanted to let him know that he and Wolverine successfully retrieved Mr MacGuffin’s generous donation and are starting the long drive home. ‘No, he wants a mutant. He said his own lifestyle made him “sympathetic to our persecution”’ Kurt explains, adding that the drive is fine, and that given the current enmity between mutant kind and the US law enforcement, it is best that these trips keep a low profile. Kurt notices Wolverine inside the gas fighting with two men inside, and quickly tells Scott that he will call him later, before hanging up, as Wolverine throws one of the men through a window.
‘Sorry about the delay. Got into a thoughtful exchange about the current political climate’ Wolverine a.k.a. Logan explains to his good friend as they make their way to the gas tanker nearby. ‘Ready to hit the road?’ Wolverine asks. ‘Ja. Let’s’ Kurt replies.
As the two long-time X-Men make their way back to Utopia: ‘Want to play some Spider-Man ad libs?’ Kurt asks. ‘I specifically don’t’ Wolverine tells him.
Later, at a row of urinals: ‘I got one. Psylocke or Domino?’ Logan asks. ‘British or Japanese Psylocke’ Nightcrawler replies.
They take a quick break to look at a strange rabbit like creature with antlers.
‘Who was Paul Bunyan, again?’ Nightcrawler asks as he teleports on to the axe of a large replica statue of Paul Bunyan. ‘Old-school mutant. But they skip that part, usually’ Logan replies as they refuel the tanker at another gas station.
Later in the truck, the duo listen to Ira Glass of the This American Life program on the radio. ‘Each week on our program we choose a theme…’. Logan notices Kurt staring out the window, and asks him ‘What gives?’. ‘Hmmm?’ Kurt mumbles. ‘I know when something’s bothering you. This whole time, you’ve either been sulking…or yammering on about everything except whatever’s bothering you’ Logan declares. ‘so, like I said, what gives?’ Kurt doesn’t respond, so Logan calls out to him by his nickname: ‘Elf…?’ Kurt looks down, before looking up at Logan and asks him if he thinks they are doing the right thing.
‘Who’s we?’ Logan asks. ‘Us. The X-Men’ Kurt replies. ‘We’ve taken almost all of mutant kind and segregated ourselves from humanity. In a fortress that used to be Magneto’s. With Magneto. I mean, with all due love and respect for Scott Summers, this is not the dream we’d always fought for’ Kurt declares, adding that in fact, it is a lot like they one they fought against. Logan looks at Kurt, and tells him that the world is a different place than when they started. ‘And while it’s good to have dreams…you still have to wake up to the real world, eventually’.
Crows fly overhead as Logan drives the tanker past a dead animal lying on the road. ‘It ain’t about mutants striving for some best-case scenario anymore. Now it’s just about survival’. Logan reminds Kurt that they have been put in one awful situation after another. ‘All the calls Scotty’s had to make were tough ones. But he took the worst situation we’ve ever been in…and put us in a place where we could stand on our own’. Logan points out that Cyclops has got mutants more unified than ever. ‘We’re finally in a defensible strong-hold, and no humans have to get caught in the crossfire. So, as much as I never thought I’d say this…Scott Summers has my respect. And I’ll gladly follow his lead’.
Logan smirks at Kurt, who goes wide-eyed and looks puzzled, before leaping at Logan, shouting ‘Who are you? Who’s in there? Shadow King? Puppet Master? Mom?’ ‘Whoa? What the -?’ Logan exclaims, telling Kurt to cool it. ‘This is a tanker of gas!’ he exclaims, shoving Kurt off him. ‘Well pardon my…surprise. But since when do you speak so highly of our fearless leader?’ Kurt asks. Logan tells Kurt that all he is saying is that you should have a little more faith in Cyclops. ‘He’s earned it’.
Kurt asks Logan if Scott is aware of these new feelings. ‘Don’t push it, Fuzzy’ Logan retorts, unsheathing his middle claw. Kurt suggests that perhaps a balloon banquet is in order. ‘Can still crash this thing’ Logan tells him. ‘Addressed from you, of course’ Kurt adds. ‘And I could walk away from it’ Logan points out as they approach San Francisco.
Utopia, in one of the maintenance rooms, Iceman a.k.a. Bobby Drake, Madison Jeffries, Surge and Prodigy are confronted by Toad, Dragoness, Litterbug and Bliss. ‘You have to talk to us now, don’t you?’ Toad exclaims. ‘You thought you could ignore us, didn’t you? We know you X-Men are rationing water. But this is now it is now…we control the water. Even if we have to kill you to do it!’ Toad booms. ‘Man, are you guys stupid’ Iceman smirks, while using his powers to add a chill to the air.
Bobby exclaims that, without him, there is no water. He tells the Toad that even he must know that. ‘Unless your mutant power is to be ugly and drink salt water, I’m all you’ve got!’ he exclaims. ‘Enough!’ Litterbug shouts as he jumps at Iceman, but falls to the ground before he reaches him. Toad, Dragoness and Bliss all begin hugging themselves to stay warm. ‘Not…not afraid of you…’ Toad boasts. ‘Can’t feel…where are we?’ Dragoness asks. ‘What the hell is happening?’ Prodigy asks, to which Jeffries explains that Iceman gave them hypothermia.
‘I was feeling generous. If you get a med team down here quick, they might keep their fingers and toes’ Iceman remarks. ‘Not to take their side, but they were probably just scared. Toad requested a meeting with Cyclops a week ago, but he hasn’t been able to fit it in with everything going on’ Prodigy reveals as he crouches beside Toad. Prodigy adds that Cyclops is too busy and that the White Queen is… ‘Well, you know’, and points out that people need reassurance about everything that is going on. Iceman brushes Prodigy off, ‘Pfft! Call me when you’re done with the electrical generators. I’ll come back down and do another round’ he tells everyone as he leaves the room on an ice sled, adding ‘As for Toad and his crew…what could they possible have to be afraid of? This is Utopia, right?’
‘Life is great’ Bobby tells himself as he ice-sleds across Utopia, and his day continues to play out:
9:00AM, Iceman attends a daily status meeting with Cyclops, the White Queen, Wolverine, Psylocke, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Cannonball, Magneto and the Sub-Mariner, whom Bobby makes a joke about.
10:40AM, and Bobby hits on a very unimpressed Dazzler.
2:32PM, Bobby torments two of the X-kids - Anole and Rockslide, reminding them that they will never be as good as the original X-Men.
4:45PM, Bobby eats 14,000 calorie meal to replenish energy spent on making ice to keep all of mutantkind alive - his meal includes bagels, cheese, eggs, toast and bacon.
10:30PM, bed time, and Bobby walks down one of the residential corridors, towards his quarters, when he notices a young woman with spiked ice-blue hair sitting in the hallway. ’Hi, there. Do I know you? Because I’d like to’ the handsome Bobby smiles. ‘I…we fought, once’ the young woman replies. ‘That doesn’t really narrow it down’ Bobby tells her. ‘I called myself Stinger. My name…my name is Wendy’ she reveals. ‘So we fought. Did you come to make it up to me? Because I’d be open to that’ Bobby remarks. ‘I…I don’t know why I came’ Wendy replies, before telling Bobby that she just needed someone to talk to.
‘They’re saying that everyone on this island is going to die’ Wendy remarks. ‘Bo, that’s not true’ Bobby assures her, smiling. ‘Well, I mean most of you will. But historically speaking, the X-Men are going to survive’ Bobby declares, before a tearful Wendy gets up and walks away. ‘Hey! Hey! It was a joke!’ Bobby calls out after her.
The next morning, Bobby’s day plays out once more:
9:00AM, Bobby attends the daily meeting with the core X-Men team, and creates an ice sculpture of the Sub-Mariner kissing a fish. ‘Do you have some kind of death wish, Drake?’ the Sub-Mariner asks. ‘I have no idea what you’re talking about. Except the part where you admitted to that thing with the dolphin, perv’ Bobby replies, leaning back in his chair. ‘That’ll be hard to do with your brain frozen solid. Assuming you have one’ Bobby tells the Sub-Mariner.
Suddenly, the Stepford Cuckoos announce telepathically that there is a situation on the south-eastern shore. ‘Dr. Nemesis and two of the New Mutants are responding, but there’s been a hostage taken…Dr Rao’ the Stepford Cuckoos reveal. Cyclops asks who has Dr Rao, to which the Stepford Cuckoos reply ‘Wendy Sherman’. ‘Who?’ Cyclops asks. ‘Wendy Sherman, former member of the Alliance of Evil. Also known as Stinger’. ‘Oh, no’ Bobby cringes, while the Cuckoos announce that Stinger is asking for Iceman.
At the dock, Stinger has indeed taken hold of Kavita Rao, ‘Get back, do you hear me? Just let me go!’ Stinger exclaims, electrical charge surrounding her, while Doctor Nemesis, and the two New Mutants - Sunspot and Magma - approach her. ‘I’m going to shoot her now’ Doctor Nemesis declares, while Magma tells him that she doesn’t think that is a good idea. ‘It’s not that bad of one, really’ Sunspot adds, when suddenly, Iceman arrives, and tells everyone to stop, that it is okay, they can breathe, before asking what is going on, and what it is that Stinger wants.
‘Wow, I can’t believe they really sent you to negotiate’ Sunspot remarks, worried, while Magma announces that Stinger wants a Blackbird, that she wants off the island. Bobby drops down beside Stinger, and a very worried Kavita. ‘Stinger…Wendy…don’t do this’ Bobby tells her. ‘Go away!’ Wendy shouts. ‘Wendy…we’re not keeping you prisoner here. You can leave anytime you want, you don’t have to do this. You knew that, right?’ Bobby tells her. ‘I…I…I just want to go’ Stinger tells him.
‘Do you really? You came to me…why?’ Bobby points out. ‘Of everyone on this island, why come to me? I’m like the worst person in the world to talk to’ Wendy cries again, reminding Iceman that he is an X-Man - one of the originals. ‘You’re a hero. I just…I just needed to know…I heard that the humans were going to bomb the island. That…that…I needed to hear it from you. That everything was going to be okay’ Stinger exclaims, electrical energy still charging.
Bobby drops his ice-form, and reaches out to Wendy, telling her that she is not alone, that everyone is scared. ‘But I promise…everything is going to be okay’. Bobby pulls Wendy away from Kavita. ‘I remember you, you know. I liked you, even though you were trying to kill us. You seemed like a lot of fun’. Powered down, Wendy falls into Bobby’s arms. ‘Oh, God…I’m sorry…I’m so sorry…’.
Life returns to “normal” on Utopia. Rockslide, Pixie, Loa, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Jeffries mill about outside. Bobby visits Toad in the medlab, where Doctor Nemesis is looking after him.
My name is Iceman. I’m an X-Man. One of the originals. This isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing, but Scott and Hank are too busy. Warren isn’t himself these days. And Jean…Jean is dead.
So I make jokes. It’s easier to be glib. To blow it all off. I make ice and jokes, that’s what I do. But if it helps, I’ll tell people what they want to hear. What they need to hear. I don’t tell anyone that I think we’re living in the last days of mutantkind. That I don’t actually believe there’s hope or us. I think people prefer the jokes.
And Iceman’s day ends by going on a picnic with Stinger.
There is an old Russian saying: “The nest is the eggs, not the sticks”. It means that home isn’t a place, it’s a family. it means home is the people you care about and the history you share with them. Namor tells Cyclops that, as a courtesy, he is informing him that he is going to break his friend’s neck. ‘Bobby…’ Cyclops mumbles.
Somewhere on Utopia, Colossus is busy working on something, armed with a large piece of equipment, he seems to be writing something. ‘Very impressive, old friend’ Nightcrawler remarks as he appears out of the shadows. ‘Kind words, Kurt. But these hands are clumsier than they used to be’ Colossus replies. ‘Nonsense!’ Kurt exclaims, adding that it is nice to see someone working on something that isn’t rigged to explode or set off a siren. ‘How long have you been up here, though?’ Kurt asks while Colossus hides what he has been working on by pulling a large cloth over it. ‘Long enough that I’m out of neodymium’ Piotr replies. Kurt tosses Piotr a small vial and tells him that he will bring him some on his next pass. ‘Then come outside with me?’ Kurt asks. ‘It’s a harsh terrain, in may ways, but there is a stark beauty to the place’ he adds, before teleporting away, while Colossus thanks him for the canister.
Colossus tells himself that everyone he cares about is here, and yet there is something about this place which makes him uneasy and restless. ‘At first I thought it was the remnant magnetism affecting me, making my nerves vibrate…but it’s more than that. The place has a dark history. The shadows are full of strangers’.
Suddenly, Piotr feels somebody else in the room. ‘Kurt?’ he calls out, but gets no answer. ‘Who’s there?’ he calls out. ‘Hello, Piotr’ replies Colossus’ sister, Magik as she steps out of the shadows. ‘Illyana? Forgive me. I thought -’ Colossus begins, grinning from ear-to-ear, until his sister interrupts him, telling him that she is here to ask a favor. Colossus puts a hand on his sister’s shoulder, but Illyana looks to the ground. ‘Of course, Snowflake. You know I’d do anything for you’ Colossus tells her. ‘It isn’t for me!’ Magik responds, before opening at Stepping Disk that teleports the two of them away….
…. to a barren part of Utopia, where several of Magik’s fellow New Mutants - Cannonball, Sunspot, Magma and Karma - are waiting. ‘Morning!’ Sunspot smiles. Cannonball thanks Piotr for coming, adding that he knows how busy he is. ‘What are you working on up there, anyhow?’ Sunspot asks. ‘I can see the sparks from all the way down here!’ Bobby adds. ‘Can we get on with this, please?’ Magik asks, annoyed. ‘Illyana -’ Cannonball begins, but Magik cuts Sam off: ‘You wanted me to bring him. I brought him’ she points out. Colossus tells Sam that it is all right, and asks what he needs.
Bobby points out that Cyclops put them in charge of getting the garden started, and Sam explains that they have been having trouble getting things off the ground, so to speak. ‘I see. So you need me to pulverize the rock?’ Colossus asks. ‘Actually, we’re just having a little bit of technical difficulty’ Sam replies, while Colossus picks up a piece of the hard dirt. ‘Oh, spit it out already’ Magik exclaims, rolling her eyes. ‘They need you to teach them to drive that thing!’ Magik announces, pointing at the large bulldozer behind them. Magma explains that Sam gave it a try, and Sam adds that it is a long way from a John Deere.
Colossus climbs into the bulldozer and remarks that they had a few communal machines about this size on the Ust-Ordynski. ‘Do you remember, Snowflake?’ he asks his sister. Sam, Bobby, Amara and Shan watch, while Illyana stands with her arms folded as Colossus explains that the joystick operates the tilt, and the control on the left elevates the blade. ‘See?’ he asks as dust sprays up into the air when the bulldozer starts up. ‘Look at that. Like riding a bike, eh?’ Bobby exclaims. ‘A bike that could chop you into little pieces, yes’ Colossus replies.
Piotr tells the New Mutants that he used to give Illyana rides on a machine not so different than this when she was a little girl. ‘A harvester. Do you remember, Snowflake?’ Colossus asks, smiling. ‘You called it the big mouth and I used to keep you on my lap. We would ride up and down the furrows together’ Piotr reveals. ‘And the grain, when the blade hit the stalks, it would send these particles in the air. And you would laugh and call them Snowflakes. Which is how you got your nickname…’.
Moments later, Colossus and Magik are once more in the deserted room Colossus was working in earlier. ‘Huh?’ he asks. ‘Thanks for the tutorial’ Illyana replies as she begins to leave. ‘Wait. I’m sorry. I just…I miss you’ Colossus tells his sister. Illyana spins around and tells Piotr that he misses the past. ‘That’s not true’ Colossus tells her, their hands touching. ‘Listen to yourself for once. All you do anymore is remember!’ Magik exclaims. ‘And all you do is forget, little sister. Why though? Why are you so determined to forget your own history? Where you came from? Who you are?’ Colossus asks.
Magik frowns as she tells her brother that she is not that person anymore. ‘Don’t you get it? Snowflake is dead. Young, happy Piotr sitting on big mouth is dead. This place isn’t Magneto’s anymore. It’s ours. You’re stuck, Piotr. Stuck in your memories’ Illyana declares. ‘That’s not true’ Colossus tells her. ‘Oh, really?’ Illyana asks, pulling the large cloth away from Colossus’ work, revealing a large X statue, with the names of the dead engraved in it.
‘Take a tip from your little sister. You want to be happy again? You want to live again? You need to learn to forget’ Magik exclaims. Colossus stares ahead at his monument to the dead. Several names can be seen - Jean Grey. Sean Cassidy. John Proudstar. Rusty Collins. Angelo Espinosa. ‘Take care, Piotr’ Magik exclaims, before teleporting away. ‘Goodbye, Snowflake’ Colossus whispers, frowning.
At that moment, Kurt teleports back into the room. ‘Piotr? Were you talking to someone?’ Kurt asks. ‘No, Kurt. Just myself’ Colossus replies, while Nightcrawler announces that he brought two canisters, just in case, and places them on a cabinet. ‘Thanks. I think I’m ready for that walk, though’ Colossus replies as he looks at his memorial and leaves with Kurt, thinking to himself ‘There is an old Russian saying: “The nest is the eggs, not the sticks”. And maybe that means that home isn’t about the place or history. It’s not about the past. Maybe it means that home is about the present, what’s in front of you. And planning for what’s to come. I’m not sure anymore. I haven’t lived in Russia for a long, long time’. And one final name can be seen on the monument: Kitty Pryde.