A very weakened Charles Xavier and David Haller’s telekinetic persona, Jack Wayne, are climbing the mountain that’s leading up to the black dome that imprisons David’s self. Xavier is barely managing and finally slips, though Wayne telekinetically catches him in time. The two men take a break on a ledge. Xavier bemoans that every time they look, the mountain becomes higher and more impossible to climb. The Arab controls the mindscape, Jack explains and he isn’t just going to let them waltz in, so things are just going to get worse. Xavier admits that he doesn’t quite understand: Jack is the telekinetic, therefore he should be able to manipulate the physical aspects of this reality. He can, up to a point, Jack admits but, as a telepath, the Arab has access to David’s thoughts and they make up the rules in this place. Here, David is God and the Arab is his master.
Suddenly, voices call out to them. It’s the New Mutants, Gaby Haller, Moira MacTaggert and David’s pyrokinetic persona, Cyndi, on a ledge beneath them. As they join the men, the Mutants mention that they had reached the foot of the mountain after dark. When they woke up, though, they found themselves up here.
Suddenly, aircrafts target them, but Cyndi and Wayne quickly use their powers to get rid of them. Wayne smashes the plane against the mountain trying to harm their foe – to no avail. Instead, the falling debris threatens the mutants. As Dani sarcastically comments on Wayne’s “smart move,” Wayne shields them and tells her not to “fret, Hiawatha”. Dani takes an immediate dislike to him; he reminds her of those racist heroes in the old Westerns that shot every Indian in sight. Charitably, she tries to remind herself that he’s the Professor’s friend, so he can’t be all bad.
Xavier criticizes Jack in a more polite manner, reminding him that they are now working together as a team, so they have to pool their resources. Jack agrees, whereas Cyndi states she is bored out of her mind. Rahne asks Moira whether Jack is Xavier’s friend, because her wolfen senses tell her that he is untrustworthy. Moira wonders whether to trust Charles’ telepathy or Rahne’s senses, when a gust of wind springs up out of nowhere almost sweeping them off the ledge. The gale intensifies and to make matters worse spikes grow out of the mountain…
In “reality” on Magneto’s island in the Bermuda Triangle, Lee Forrester is doing her morning swim. Nearing the island, she notices one of its alien statues: a human couple draped worshipfully at the feet of their non-human master. Suddenly, she realizes the implications have become personal after last night. After all, Magneto has never made any secret about his beliefs that humans were inferior to “Homo Superior.” She is broken out of her reverie when a breakfast tray with a rose is levitated in front of her and Magneto joins her.
Noticing that Lee is being polite rather than cordial, he asks what’s the matter. She tells him she wants to be left alone and tries to jump into the water, but Magneto magnetically freezes her and brings her back. He wants to know the reason for her anger. Has this anything to do with the events of last night? She points out what he just did and asks whether she had any more choice last night. Taken aback, Magneto assures her that he would never use his powers to coerce or harm her. Lee doesn’t buy it and reminds him that he is the avowed enemy of humankind. Well, she is human, she shouts.
Magneto tells her that his wife, Magda, had the same look on her face. He had used his powers to save the two of them from a marauding secret police patrol. When she saw those powers, she ran from him in terror. He never saw her again, until far later he learned that she had borne his children. He begs Lee to not run from him in terror too. He can’t bear to be alone again and he is sick at heart at the realization of what he has become. His outstretched hand ignored, he finally walks away.
On the Astral Plane in David’ brain, the situation is getting more and more desperate, as, in no particular order, the heroes are running out of room. Rahne is catching a cold and Cyndi is coming on to the embarrassed Doug. Jack liberates a large flat piece of metal and uses it as a platform for the others to stand on as he levitates them all into the air away from the spikes. However, he warns Xavier that he is not strong enough to fly them to the mountaintop in that weather. That won’t be necessary, Xavier assures him and then turns to Dani, informing her that she will spearhead the attack. Dani’s unsure, her powers failed against the other beings here, after all. But, unlike her previous foes, the Arab is sentient and therefore vulnerable to her powers, Xavier points out.
The Arab boy, Jemail Karami, stands guard atop the dome, heavily armed. He knows they are coming to destroy him, but that knowledge doesn’t help, as Danielle and Xavier strike at him with their combined psychic strength. As Jemail screams in agony, the entire mindscape goes topsy-turvy reflecting his pain. Wayne finds himself unable to keep the platform steady as the mutants drop off, though Dani suspects he isn’t exactly trying hard. Surprised, the mutants find that they were only a few feet above the ground instead of miles, as they had thought. The entire mountain was an illusion. “Jemmy” faked them – particularly Wayne – out again, Cyndi smirks. Wayne seems to find it hard to hang on to his usual good mood as he warns Cyndi what happened to others who pushed their luck too far with him. Cyndi sarcastically replies that she is really afraid and Rahne silently thinks to herself that the girl should be.
As Rahne shakes herself, soaking Doug and Dani in the process, the adults discuss the dome in front of them. Xavier surmises that, like the mountain, most of the threats they faced were illusionary. Their foe has limits, it seems. What about the dome, Jack interrupts. He has tried again and again to tear into it – unsuccessfully. They may be at the front door now, but how to get inside? Doug shares his wisdom with them, proving that, indeed, everything you need to know you can learn from Star Trek. In on particular episode of the classic show, the crew tried to shoot a ship, only to find that their weapons at full power had no effect on their foe. But, actually, the phasers were working all along, but their foes were telepaths and didn’t let the crew perceive the damage. Most perceptive, Xavier agrees. They, too, are facing a telepath and the dome is a barrier only if they let it, he states and simply walks straight through the black wall as though it were air.
Blackness inside, broken by shards displaying memories and thoughts linked by energy streams into patterns of logic or emotion that even Charles does not yet comprehend. He does understand though that the clusters should be more complex in a boy of David’s age. His memories and development ended when he was traumatized. Charles muses sadly that this lost time can never be regained and rails against this unfair fate. The others, in the meantime, have followed, led by Jack, who has regained his swagger. So is this where he, Cyndi and the other psi-selves will end up, he asks.
Xavier asks them to be careful not to damage the crystals or their layout. Enough damage has already been done. Rahne, in the meantime, addresses Dani via their psi-link and tells her of her suspicions regarding Jack Wayne. Dani admits she can’t stand him either, but Rahne insists it’s more. He isn’t just unlikeable but means to do them harm. Dani argues that the professor would have seen through that with his telepathy, but then again… Could Jack be fooling him? What if Xavier’s powers aren’t working properly?
Jack rallies them. The Arab is now cornered which makes him more dangerous than ever. It’s kill or be killed, he insists. Gaby cries out in wonder as she sees a memory picture of herself, young David and a woman (possibly Moira?). She notices in wonder how much love the crystal radiates and Charles bitterly thinks to himself that the love is all for her. She never gave him the chance to be a father to David. Did she think him such a monster?
Dani wonders if Charles could help her visit her own head like this sometime. She would love to revisit memories of her dead grandfather. Sometimes it’s so hard to remember him. She urges herself to stay focused on the job or the Arab will make sure she ends up as dead as Black Eagle. Trouble is, she’s growing more and more convinced that Jack is the danger.
Doug shakes his head in disbelief. Cyndi, grasping his arm, tells him that if you’ve seen one head you’ve seen them all and then hints that her would be lots more fun. Does he want to play there?
Rahne alerts them to some crystals, which are broken into tiny shards, splinters, which, as Douglas experiences, can slice them if they don’t pay attention. Jack explains that this is the Arab’s doing: he’s trying to destroy David’s consciousness, so he can take over. Xavier is not quite convinced anymore. This damage may have been caused by the initial trauma. What’s strange is that many of the crystal chains seem to have been repaired and that could only be accomplished by a telepath, but the only telepath present is Jemail. Why would he be trying to help David if he hates him so, instead of doing what Jack suggested: just shatter all crystals and take over the boy’s body. Something doesn’t add up. His train of thought is interrupted as Moira shouts a warning.
Out of the darkness, a more complex crystal clutter rushes towards them, with Jemail in the center. The two psychic bodies collide and crash and only Jack – protecting himself and himself alone –escapes unhurt from the onslaught. Doug tries to help Cyndi to his own surprise, while Gaby finds herself face to face with the nightmarish memories of what happened to David all those years ago: she relives the memories of that terrorist attack: how nine years ago the terrorist team crashed their apartment and murdered Daniel Shomron. The same would have happened to David had the incident not catalysed his latent psi-powers. In a split-second, he incinerated their minds, but at the same time merged with them, feeling their deaths. The trauma shattered his psyche and the terrorist leader, Jemail, was sucked into the void that used to be David’s psyche.
Egged on by Jack, the furious Gaby attacks Jemail, senselessly beating at him until Xavier grabs her arm, shouting that nobody will kill or be killed. Gaby shouts a warning as crystal shards are flying towards him. Rahne jumps at him and shoves him out of the way unharmed. Nevertheless, Charles screams in agony leaving Rahne puzzled as another wave of crystals flies towards them crashing into both of them. Nobody left but the two of them, Jack states to the unconscious Jemail, and that won’t be for long. He brandishes his knife.
Back in reality; the New York City chapter of the Hellfire Club to be more exact. Manuel de la Rocha, AKA Empath, has revenge on his mind. To that end, he has set up a meeting with a lady – a representative of the “Gladiators.” The woman asks him disdainfully whether he has a reason for this meeting; her time is too valuable to waste with boys. Empath, as usual, blusters that nobody addresses a de la Rocha in that manner. His companion is not impressed: she knows that the White Queen took away his access to his empathic powers. Manuel wants revenge, he admits, against her and against Charles Xavier. He hands her two pictures and the dossiers of Magma and Sunspot. Those are two of Xavier’s New Mutants, he explains. He offers them to the Gladiators as potential combatants. In spite of herself, the woman is intrigued and promises to pass these suggestions to her employer. Should he accept, Manuel will be suitably rewarded. Manuel clenches his fists: he only wishes he could be present to see them slaughter each other in the arena. That can be arranged, the woman hints and smiles cryptically.
Back in David’s brain, Jack is about to stab the helpless Jemail. Doug jumps at him from behind, trying to tackle him. He doesn’t even get close, as Jack telekinetically tosses him away. Doug’s act gave Dani enough time to react. She no longer believes that Jack is trying to save them and uses her powers on him, manifesting his deepest fear: it turns out to be Xavier as a loving father to David, the young child that he was. The mere sight sends Jack cringing into the shadows. Dani addresses Moira, telling her that she senses through her rapport that Rahne is badly off. The same goes for the professor, Moira states. They need to be restored to their physical bodies soon or they’ll die. That can only be accomplished by a telepath, Dani reasons and turns towards Jemail.
Gaby tries to stop her but Doug asks her to let Dani act. She knows what she’s doing. Dani wishes she had as much confidence in herself as Doug seems to have. She gently uses her power on Jemail, trying to coax him out of his slumber by drawing on his happy memories. She is successful, as Jemail awakes and accusingly shouts what have they done? Had she not attacked him, none of that would have happened. Calmer, after her explanation, they talk. He explains that he finally learned English by studying Doug’s consciousness. While Cypher’s language talent was teaching him Arabic, Jemail learned English – it just took him longer to assimilate. He continues, stating that this is a disaster. He spent years trying to separate elements from his self from David’s and then repairing the damage to David. Gaby incredulously interjects: Jemail was trying to heal her son?!
Jemail explains that he hated David, at first, for condemning him to this fate worse than death. He points at the slumbering forms of young David, Tom Corsi and Sharon Friedlander, then continues. As he regained his sense of self-identity, he found that he had inherited David’s telepathy. The first mind he read was, of course, David’s. As he learned what a gentle innocent soul David was and explored the mind of his mother and others, he became more and more enlightened. Hate could not withstand that, so he resolved to put things right and began to collect and reintegrate David’s psi-selves. Some resisted and one, in particular, proved to be dangerously hostile. Worse, it was a race against time: David’s abilities were starting to manifest in the “real world.” Jemail had to finish his work before everything slipped out of control. He was so close, but now it is too late. Jemail fears he has to assume permanent control over David’s body to prevent further harm.
Not necessarily, Dani replies. The Professor may be unconscious, but couldn’t the work be done with the help of a telekinetic to shunt the crystals into their proper places? In other words: could Jemail work in tandem with Jack? Possibly, Jemail agrees, but does Dani trust him? No more than she trusts Jemail, she replies. She hopes that their mutual hatred will keep them honest. Dani then slaps Jack awake and threatens him. With his usual cocky grin, Jack replies it’ll be his pleasure to help.
Much later, Xavier awakes to reality, greeted by Gaby, Dani and a smiling Moira. Moira tells him that he’d been unconscious for a fortnight, except for one semi psychotic episode when he started thrashing and screaming. Charles silently remembers and, worse, the reason for that. Douglas fills him in on what happened: how Dani, Jemail and Jack worked together to restore order to David’s mind and, once that was done, restored the psyches to their rightful bodies. Dani went last and the strain on her body was nearly fatal. Xavier commends Dani’s behavior and telepathically thanks her for saving his son.
Later, when he has recovered enough to walk, Xavier joins Gaby, who sits beside a playing David. Both father and son are extremely shy at this, their first meeting, as they greet each other formally, clearly at a lack for words. Suddenly, David’s manner changes and, with self-assurance, he announces, “what’s the problem already?! You’re the mind-king, Charley-boy, ain’t like you to be tongue-tied.” It is the voice and mannerisms of Jack Wayne, Xavier realizes. Wayne is replaced by the sullen voice and the mannerism of Cyndi, announcing that they are both lame and the real world is totally dull. Finally, Jemail surfaces and apologizes. Jack must have somehow arranged matters to ensure his and Cyndi’s survival. He has failed. Xavier assures him that he has nothing to be ashamed of; he did his best. Finally, David is back and father and son hug as the boy asks whether he will stay with them forever. Xavier promises he’ll never lose him.
Later, Gaby and Xavier take a stroll outside and discuss David. He’s better, Xavier states, but not cured. And he wonders if he ever will be. Does Gaby remember his mindscape? Jemail’s memories might have set the props but David “wrote the script.” Deep down inside, he’s confused and angry and feels abandoned by his parents when he needed them most. Cyndi, who is, after all, but a part of him, described it best when she claimed “They say they love you, but when it’s a choice between your lives or theirs, you get the chop every time.” They both blame themselves, but guilt doesn’t do any good. Xavier concludes. He promises Gaby to try and help, but wonders to himself, why bother. The entire universe may well be doomed, after all.
He then tells himself to shape up. If he truly believed things were that hopeless he should have killed himself and all he cared for to spare them the horror to come. But he is too stubborn to acknowledge defeat while there is yet a chance. But the odds for survival are slim, for the psychic force that felled him in David’s mind was his detecting the approach to their solar system of the Beyonder.