Big Sur, California, several months ago: The New Mutants had come to rescue their kidnapped teammate, Dani Moonstar, from the terrorist Viper’s clutches. Viper activated the explosives hidden in the cliff-perched estate meaning to kill the mutants. They all fell towards the rocks and waves below. Cannonball ignited his powers, trying to help the others, but the explosion combined with the darkness disoriented him and he fell into the ocean. Roberto turned into his Sunspot form, smashing the boulders around him trying to save himself and Karma. Wolfsbane turned into her transitional form, her agility saving her from harm while Danielle was just plain lucky. Unlike Karma. She and Sunspot fell into the ocean where Roberto lost his hold on her. He cried out her name, but then saw his teammate, Cannonball, close to drowning. So, Roberto hauled him ashore before going back to look for Karma – in vain. The New Mutants – and later the X-Men – searched for their missing friend, but without any success.
Sunspot stands at the shore of Big Sur, reminiscing about that awful night. He also remembers the death of his girlfriend, Juliana... because of him, he believes, Juliana died. Because of his failure to save Shan at Big Sur, she became a monster. His friend, Cannonball, crash-lands in the sand beside him and tells him it’s time to catch the plane. Noticing Roberto’s mood, he assure him that what happened wasn’t his fault. He’d like to believe that, the younger boy answers somberly, but he cannot forget Shan’s cry of anguish that night, when they were separated. He keeps seeing Shan as she was and as she is now and he is sick at heart. She deserved better, he continues as Sam carries him away. They all do. He is with the team until they learn the truth about Karma and deal with her, but afterwards…
A day or so later, on a westward bound plane, the New Mutants have gathered in their private cabin, discussing this caper. Sam predicts half-seriously that the professor is going to kill them for this. Roberto stingily asks whether their friend isn’t worth it. Doug, in the meantime, use his computer skills trying to find out things. He repeats what they know so far; they know that Karma ran the Gladiators that one half of the team tackled with. And that she framed her uncle Nguyen Ngoc Coy, a crimeboss, for everything she did. Coy claims to be as astounded by her transformation as her former teammates. He hasn’t heard of her or seen her in months. Fortunately, Doug continues, there aren’t too many people of her size and habits, so, using various international computer networks plus the contacts Coy gave them, he has managed to track her down.
Rahne sadly looks at some photos asking the others whether this task shouldn’t be left to Xavier and the X-Men. They owe Xavier nothing, Roberto replies bitterly. As a telepath, Xavier must have known of Shan’s survival, but he never told the others. If that’s true, Doug points out. Is he calling him a liar, Roberto asks aggressively. Doug tells him Xavier probably had good reason. What good reason, Bobby shouts. Why didn’t he send the X-Men to save or stop Karma? Who knows how many innocents Karma has killed or had murdered? Something changed her and made her evil and Xavier let it happen. Danielle calmly interjects that she wants proof first, both of Xavier knowing and of this creature actually being Shan. She is and she isn’t, Sam replies. She’s gained about five hundred pounds in weight, but it was her face. And she possessed people just like Shan used to.
Rahne reminisces that she and Shan were the first New Mutants. Rahne was so afraid at the time, away from home and faced with her powers, but Shan befriended her and helped her. She can’t believe Shan willingly became evil. Somebody must have done that to her. Having heard the outburst he stewardess enters. Dani shows her an illusion of the New Mutants in bed and asleep.
The next morning, the plane arrives at its destination, the Pacific island nation of Madripoor. Doug dryly informs them that the island is Earth’s version of Mos Eisley spaceport: a modern day Tortuga, a haven of world-class pirates and other assorted crooks. No extradition – the island is the perfect neutral zone where enemies can hang out without being hassled by each other or international cops. Roberto taunts Doug somewhat and then asks Dani how they’ll get past immigration without any visa. Amara creates a diversion with a minor earthquake, complete with mini-volcano, and the mutants slip through in the confusion. Then Warlock turns into a helicopter and flies them away.
Later, the mutants are relaxing at a seaside café. Doug tries to apologize for needling Roberto earlier but Sunspot brushes his apology aside. The others note that his fuse has been getting shorter and shorter ever since they ran into the Beyonder. A limousine accompanied by guards on motorcycles passes them by and Doug identifies it as belonging to Karma. According to his computer data banks, she owns the whole mountain behind them with a villa on top. Dani decides that they’ll wait until nightfall and then make their move. Doug and Warlock will stay behind as backup, while the others attack the villa. The teenagers are unaware that they are being watched and that Karma is being informed of their moves as they are speaking.
At night, the New Mutants slowly and carefully work their way through the vegetation surrounding Karma’s mansion. Back at the beach, Warlock tries to cheer up Douglas by turning into different shapes, but Doug is too busy sulking. He tells his alien friend that he is worried about the others and wishes he were with them. A nasty voice tells them that can be easily arranged. Doug zones out and Warlock several times cries out “Alarm” hysterically.
The others, in the meantime, are nearing the building, which is surrounded by armed guards. Mirage orders Wolfsbane to scout out the opposition. Magma is to soften the compound up with some quakes. Sam and Roberto are to attack and she and Illyana will mop up the rest. She stresses that they are now in public and should use codenames. Cannonball attacks and notices that, far from ordinary mercenaries, their foes are actually Gladiators, whom Karma hired as bodyguards after the operation was smashed. Cannonball smashes through a wall, allowing the others entrance to the mansion. Sunspot is only happy dishing out some payback for the times he was forced to fight in the Gladiators’ arena.
Illyana pitches in by teleporting in a pet demon from Limbo to give them a hand, while Mirage uses her fear images to confuse the mercs. Suddenly, Rahne excitedly mindtells Dani that she has Karma’s scent and hurries inside the mansion, over Dani’s orders. Dani angrily follows with Magma in tow. She tells Magma that it’s those solo stunts, however well-intentioned they are – that give them the most grief. Rahne is a lot more immature than the rest of them and even more in danger of being possessed. They look around, unaware that Wolfsbane has snuck up on them. She jumps at Dani who hurts her head falling. She feebly asks the others to stop Rahne, only to se that the others have completely zoned out. They are possessed.
Child’s play, Karma boasts through Rahne’s transitional form. Even though their accursed mentor, Xavier, taught them well to resist psychic attacks. Nobody is his equal as a telepath, save for her, Karma continues. She will take great pleasure in destroying him. She finally appears physically, greeting Dani in a mocking voice. Karma tells her that the New Mutants will be the instruments of her vengeance once she’s broken heir wills. She hopes they will resist. She wants this to hurt.
Dani still cries out her denial until she realizes she is safe in Illyana’s magical domain Limbo. Illyana explains that her mind is closed to telepaths and apparently also highly resistant, though not immune, to Karma’s power. She was able to resist long enough to grab Dani, though she couldn’t get anyone else. Dani tells her how filthy inside she feels. She’d never dreamed Shan capable of such cruelty and evil. They have to get back and save the others.
The team supreme, Illyana jokes, reminding her of the last time the two of them had to save the entire team from the Hellions. Only this time they should bring reinforcements. She gestures and teleports S’ym and a few other demons in. What are they going to do to Karma, she asks. Leave her to the demons? That wouldn’t make them better than her, Dani replies. They have to take her alive if they can.
However, when they return to the villa they are in for a surprise. Karma and her prisoners are gone, the place is stripped bare, the mercenaries are killed (as well as Illyana’s critter). Dani takes a good look at the corpses figuring out how they were killed: the evidence points towards their teammates being the murderers. Illyana denies this, stressing that Karma did this using the kids. Dani blames herself: she was so sure they could handle this. Illyana is about to give her a pep talk, when S’ym interrupts telling them the police have arrived. Illyana wonders what brought them here, but is willing to talk to them.
The moment she shows her face, the police open fire. Dani pulls Magik aside and she teleports them to Limbo. They realize now that Karma framed them, for the murders. If they show their faces in Madripoor, they’ll be shot on sight. Dani tells Illyana that Karma has another place in Cairo according to Doug’s research. They can beat her there. Illyana can’t believe she is hearing this. It’s too dangerous teleporting that far. Dani reasonably points out that they’ll have to use Illyana’s power either way, whether they go to Egypt or return to the USA. At least in Cairo they’ll be of some use. Illyana tells her that they are going to regret this, but she has no better idea, so they teleport…
…surpisingly ending up where they wanted do. Unfortunately, not “when” they wanted to. They are in ancient Egypt. Illyana angrily tells Dani that she knew it. They’ve shifted into the far past. Travelling through time is as difficult for her as travelling far distances. She fears they may never get home. Some guards notice them and intend to arrest them. The girls run and Illyana finds that the big jaunt “drained her psychic batteries.” They are stuck until she recovers her strength. Suddenly, an arm reaches for them from behind a curtain and a female voice tells them to come this way. Wondering how the woman spoke English, the girls run into the doorway and stumble down the stairs, to end up at the feet of the woman
She tells them not to be afraid. She has created false images of them whom the guards are now chasing. The girls gasp as they look up at her: save for her Egyptian clothes and make-up, their saviour bears an uncanny resemblance to the X-Man Storm, including the blue eyes and white hair. She introduces herself as Ashake and tells them that she sees the face of her granddaughter many times removed in their memories. She is pleased to know that even in that far future the line of their blood still runs true. In Ororo’s name, she welcomes them. She adds that, like Illyana, she walks the shadow path. When she sensed her kindred soul tumbling through time, she drew her back. Sorcery also taught her their tongue. She tells them to rest – they will talk later.
The following day, Dani is still dejected. Ashake tells Illyana that her friends has to get through that herself, tell them good-bye and sends them away with a guiding spell.
The girls find themselves in what seems to be the near future, figuring that Ashake’s spell was off a bit. From a rooftop, they see a panicked couple running for their lives. They are stopped in their tracks as a mini volcano appears before them. The woman begs her partner not to let them take her: she’d rather die. The shaking man draws a weapon. They are attacked and flattened by Cannonball and Sunspot. Wolfsbane joins the fray, tearing them apart. Suddenly, she hesitates as her psi-link with Dani activates, something she hasn’t felt in years. Dani, in the meantime, lives through Rahne’ emotions. The four older mutants, looking and acting terribly decadent and cruel, mockingly greet their former teammates, telling them that they will either join them or die. “Neither,” Illyana replies and whisks herself and Dani away.
They end up on the same rooftop, finally in the right time. Dani cries out her denial and rage. Illyana finds herself envying her friend for the ability to grieve like that. But Illyana has to keep her heart locked tight to protect it from the evil in her soul. Part of her wanted to stay with the future mutants. Breezily, she turns to Dani and asks her if she has any more bright ideas? Dani vents on her, telling her she tried her best, but how can they defeat such a power? This is the Hellions caper all over again and they have no idea whether they saw the future or a future. Can Illyana tell her how to change the future? It’s Illyana’s turn to become angry. She can make the power work, but everything else about it is a mystery she snarls back. And Dani has no right to yell at her. None of this would have happened, they wouldn’t have seen that horrible future, if Dani hadn’t made her use that power in the first place!
A voice interjects their row, telling them that then they could have allowed their friends to proceed to their doom, while they remained in blissful ignorance and with a clear consciousness. Would that have been preferable? The girls first believe that it is Ashake, but then realize that it is the former X-Man, Storm. Ororo explains that Warlock found her. Being alien, he is immune to Karma’s power, so he followed the others here and, when he sensed their arrival, led Storm to them. Ororo tells the girls that she knows something of their foe. Their enemy is a match for the best of heroes, far deadlier than they could ever hope to be. But she’ll stay anyway, won’t she, Illyana asks. Then so will they. She holds out her hand to Mirage and Dani grasps it, as do the other two.