London, Republic of Britannia, Sons of Iron headquarters
The bottom of the giant tower which houses the Sons of Iron, and currently the Exiles, explodes with an enormous force. The building collapses killing most of its occupants instantly. The Exiles do what they can, Cat leaping toward Mystiq and keeping him intangible, Gambit erecting a force field protecting those near him, Psylocke using her TK to keep the falling debris at bay and Morph enveloping Nerimani in a large bubble within his body.
Rogue and Colyn were standing on a terrace when the explosion occurred. Thanks to their quick reflexes they both flew upward out of harm’s way. They stare unbelievingly at the carnage down below. “What the devil happened?!” Rogue exclaims. Colyn doesn’t think it was an accident, more like an attack.
Nearby, Morph transforms from bubble to pterodactyl for maneuverability’s sake. While in the air Morph surveys the destruction and notes no other building in the area was damaged. He also spots Gambit and Cat on the ground busy rescuing people. Morph touches down nearby with Nerimani and begins taking care of the injured.
More explosions rock the city and the citizens start to panic. Psylocke emerges from the rubble and joins her friends nearby. She starts barking orders, asking for status reports from her teammates and Nicole Fury.
While above, Rogue asks Colyn if he’s sure it’s an attack. Colyn tells her to check it out for herself. Down on the ground below more buildings are betting blasted, most of the attacks focusing on the Sons and Daughters. Colyn spots an incoming bogey at the last second and barely warns Rogue in time. They’re both hit, but not as bad if Colyn wasn’t paying attention. Their attacker is a winged, blue skinned mutant codenamed Krait (Warren Worthington). He shouts to his teammate Nova to finish them off.
Hypernova (Moira Kinross), legs cradling some debris on the ground below, fires a powerful blast from her outstretched arms. She goes for Colyn first landing a direct hit and sending him smashing through a giant window.
Elsewhere, one of the Sons approaches the Commando, Colony (Samantha Summers). The man/saurian behind the armor stares at the smoking skeletons littering the ground around him, wondering what happened to them. More importantly, though, he places Colony under arrest. Colony refuses and asks him what he’s going to do about it.
The armored hero strikes Colony with his fist, but it goes right through her face. As if he wasn’t surprised enough already, her face basically dissolves into a swarm of beetles. These beetles crawl up his arm and work their way into his armor. Samantha, face re-formed, thanks the Son for the life energy he’s about to give her. Moments later the Son falls over dead. Samantha reaches out her arms and uses her newfound energy to blast some Daughters of the Dragon standing nearby, killing one instantly.
Morph comes on scene and orders the surviving Daughters to look after Nerimani while he takes care of the little powerhouse. Colony turns, confident this bald guy can’t take her down. She immediately fires at Morph and he opens his mouth wide, slowly growing in size as she pours it on. When she’s done he reverts back to normal firing those energies back at her. Colony is pummeled and goes skipping across the ground backwards.
Just as Morph is getting ready to finish the battle he’s nailed by an optic blast. The man behind the blast is Devo (Scott Summers) and he yells for the freak to die. Gambit erects an invisible shield in front of Devo, which redirects his blast causing it to hit the ground where he stands. Devo loses his footing and falls to the ground.
Elsewhere on the battlefield, Psylocke zeros in on the dark and spiky garbed Commando named Black Cloak (Charles Xavier). Psychic katana at the ready, Psylocke tells him it’s time for all the death to end. Black Cloak mocks her and then tries to invade her mind. His psychic form reels back in shock as he can’t seem to penetrate it. Psylocke thanks her twisted brother Jamie for those psychic shields.
Black Cloak readies his spear for Psylocke’s advance, but it turns out he doesn’t need it because Psylocke gets sniped in the back. She falls, the hit causing tremendous pain. She gets back to her feet and runs for cover. The sniper, Warshot (Alex Summers) prepares to fire again, but his brother Devo claims Psylocke’s death for himself.
While back in the air, Rogue makes a beeline for Krait grabbing him by the midsection. She wonders where the devil Sage is when the team needs a telepath. She’s wants to know how everyone else is doing. Distracted, she barely avoids a claw-raking by Krait. Rogue returns the favor with a punch to the midsection and another to the face. She’s worried about Colyn too and is caught off guard by a psychic attack from Black Cloak.
Black Cloak’s psychic form relishes in Rogue’s pain. Rogue tries fighting back and is basically defenseless as Krait goes after her. Black Cloak tells his teammate he can draw blood, but to leave her life to him. And as Black Cloak toys with Rogue he discovers layer after layer of abilities within her consciousness. He’s extremely delighted and so distracted he doesn’t notice Cat as she appears out of the ground and grabs hold of his legs.
Cat begins to drag Black Cloak into the earth below. He quickly releases his hold on Rogue causing her to plummet downward. He instead focuses on Cat, causing her to face a myriad of her alternates. Cat reels back in mental anguish as the identities are too much for her to handle.
Mystiq sees Cat in trouble and curses her for taking off without him. As he rushes over he’s fired upon by Warshot and hit square in the back. With Mystiq down Black Cloak tells Cat her friends can’t save her. However, Gambit uses his power in an offensive manner, destroying the ledge from which the sniper was firing.
Gambit has no time to follow up on his attack as he is now a target. Hypernova fires some energy blasts directed at him. He throws up a shield just in time and she keeps pouring it on. He sees Krait come and join her and worries more trouble is coming his way, but then Krait punches ‘Nova in the back of the head, knocking her out. It turns out it was Mystiq, recovered and in disguise. He picks Hypernova up in his arms and throws her limp body at Black Cloak.
With Cloak down on the ground Gambit once again uses his power offensively and nails him in the face. Cat, severely weakened, tries crawling toward them saying she wishes they would have torn him apart. Mystiq rushes over and grabs her under the arms. He’s having trouble getting a good hold and yells at Cat to focus and get herself fully tangible.
They make their way over to Morph who has Nerimani with him. Gambit tells Morph to take care of her since she’s the one they’re after. He’s blasted off his feet by the latest newcomer, Empress Lilandra. She tells the “monkey-boy” nobody’s going anywhere except to their grave. She does offer some solace, though, promising the Exiles they will get to live long enough to watch her sister, Nerimani, die.
Morph isn’t going to sit still for this and goes after Lilandra. She backhands him and knocks him over. Morph gets right back into it and is punched a few more times for his troubles. Every time he gets a strike in Lilandra manages to dodge it. She finally delivers a kick to the back of his head, taking Morph temporarily out of the fight. She looks over at Nerimani and tells her it’s her turn.
Mystiq leaves Cat to go help, but is fired upon and blasted by another new addition to the battlefield, Madame Hydra. She explains she made an agreement with Lilandra that allows them both to deal with their rival. She looks right at Cat, bringing up how she killed her beloved Wolverine. Sue tells of how his dead body showed such an expression of fear on his face that a part of her was impressed. However, she figured one day Cat would come for her so that’s why she’s there, to kill Cat first.
Sage and Diana are viciously attacked by the multitude of creatures surrounding them. An olive-skinned humanoid with various tentacles for arms wraps Sage within its appendages. The grip is so tight Sage can’t move.
Luckily, a purple-skinned humanoid is charging at them. Sage shifts her weight causing her assailant to miss her and hit the tentacled-one instead. He goes unconscious and Sage is free. With but a moment to survey her surroundings she wonders how long she can stand against such odds.
Sage hears a scream coming from behind her. She turns, it’s Diana. She just got cold-cocked by a metallic entity. Serves her right, Sage thinks, realizing these creatures have no love for Diana if they ever did. She then refocuses her attention on the other creatures still coming at her.
As Sage continues to fight the good fight she begins to reconsider her thoughts from earlier. She knows the easy thing to do would be to leave Diana to her fate, but Diana’s a hero in her twisted way and Sage is better than that. She thinks back to when she was being held prisoner and Storm came to her rescue.
Sage rushes over and takes care of the entities beating on Diana. Diana looks up from the ground at Sage, not knowing what to think. Sage holds out her hand. With a distrustful look on her face, Diana says it doesn’t make sense. Sage tells Diana to watch the left, the two women now back to back, and says she’s trying something radical.
As the creatures come forth Sage and Diana handle them easily. Diana asks what happens after they defeat all these creatures, what will they do about each other. Sage, drop-kicking a light purple humanoid, admits she hasn’t thought that far yet. Diana, facing off against some guy with a helmet and claws for fingers, says she doubts that since thinking is what Sage does.
Sage claims that she’s changed, and still changing. Diana finds that hard to believe. Sage pleads with her to stop arguing, for the sake of the Omniverse they have to find a solution. Diana believes that even if they survive this battle, one of them will have to lose, someone will have to die. Sage just looks at her, which Diana takes as an admission that Sage thinks she should be the dominant personality. Diana takes flight and tells Sage no thanks.
Sage watches as Diana flies away. She doesn’t blame her for her actions, knowing it’s the logical thing for her to do. Sage will just have to find another solution. However, she has bigger problems at the moment as all the entities have only Sage to focus on and they close in.
Sage starts to lose, getting beat on by the creatures. She feels like she’s never had a chance to take stock of what Roma did to her and how all these creatures got there in the first place. As a shimmering visage appears before her she realizes too late that maybe someone else put those creatures there.
That face belongs to none other than Merlyn, prior guardian of the Omniverse and father to Roma. The large, bright image stares hungrily at Sage. He tells her the entities are his doing and when they crush her he will take over her body and through her control the Crystal Palace and reign over the Omniverse once more.