Xavier’s Mansion. A roaring noise breaks through the evening. The New Mutants leave their rooms, alerted by the sound from the X-Men’s wing and soon realize that it must come from Shadowcat’s pet dragon Lockheed. They enter the X-Men’s wing to find their teammates Magik, Warlock and Cypher already there. Illyana shows them a small hole in the wall caused by Lockheed. He’s heading for the underground training complex, she explains. They follow in a more conventional way as Cannonball and Cypher – aided by Warlock - fly ahead.
The team’s co-leader, Dani Moonstar, runs outside to check on her flying steed Brightwind and then use the hangar entrance to the complex. However, as she looks back at the mansion, her recently gained deathsight as a valkyrie kicks in and she sees a manifestation of death enveloping the entire mansion. Horrified, she screams.
Three thousand miles eastward and to the north off the coast of Scotland lies Muir Isle, home of Moira MacTaggart’s mutant research center. The middle of the night in New York is early dawn here. Moira’s been up the better part of an hour, forcing herself through her daily training regimen. Now, she relaxes in the shower.
Suddenly, she notices a flash of light outside the shower cubicle. She checks it out to find Illyana Rasputin, brandishing her Soulsword. Illyana curtly informs Moira that she’s left her lover Banshee a note, then drags her into her teleportation circle, and with a blinding flash of light they are in Limbo.
Losing her temper, Moira shouts at Illyana to explain herself. Why has she brought her to this awful place? Illyana checks Xavier’s through a scrying pool and swears. They are stuck. She shifted them in time as well as space. She can’t return them to mansion until she’s left it. Does she frighten Moira? She apologizes, but she can’t help it. She is what Belasco – curse him – made her. And that isn’t very nice.
She apologizes for snatching Moira out from under the shower and conjures up some clothes. The spy leather outfit isn’t Moira’s style but it’s the best Illyana can do. She wields black magic that taints and twists even the most “innocent” of spells. Moira understands and asks about what’s going on at school. Illyana points to the scrying pool to the events that are already familiar to her.
Lockheed, Cannonball, Warlock and Cypher reach the hangar just in time as the X-Men and the surviving Morlocks have reached it as well. Nightcrawler is badly hurt as are many Morlocks, while Shadowcat is stuck as a ghost. They look as though they’ve fought a war! Moira exclaims.
Inside the hangar Sunder collapses and Warlock screams hysterically that he senses multiple injuries. Lifeglows fading. Termination of many entities imminent. Colossus points out that they need a physician. That moment Illyana has caught up with the moment she left and teleports herself and Moira into the hangar. As they arrive so do the others from the main house, the headmaster Magneto, Nurse Friedlander and Officer Corsi and the newest “student” Psylocke.
Moira quickly takes charge, telling Magneto they’ll establish their aid station here in the hangar. Illyana gets a look at her best friend Shadowcat, now locked in permanent phase and unable to speak.
Storm, quickly relates what happened to them. In short a massacre. A band of superpowered assassins calling themselves the Marauders invaded the Morlock tunnels, killing everyone they met. It was nothing less than a planned deliberate attempt to wipe out the Morlocks. And for the most part it has succeeded. Among the X-Men Shadowcat and Nightcrawler are the most critical casualties. They have no idea who these Marauders work for or the purpose of the attack. She left Wolverine behind to bring them a prisoner, so they can learn.
She’s never seen such carnage, Moira admits. The school isn’t equipped to handle this. They have no alternative Storm explains. They can not protect the wounded elsewhere. She means this isn’t over? Moira asks. It has barely begun, comes the ominous reply.
Storm commands the New Mutants to follow Moira’s orders while the X-Men are first to evacuate survivors, then establish a security parameter around the estate. If the Marauders come visiting, she wishes them to have a proper welcome.
Doe she figure any other of her people made it out alive? Callisto asks. It is always good to hope, Storm replies.
Hours, an entire day slips by, as the mutants work non-stop. The huge hangar is filled with the acrid stench of disinfectant and the moans of those in pain. Cubicles are needed, so Sunspot uses his solar powered strength to improvise them. He does not realize this, but he has been crying since this horror began. Cannonball in the meantime transports supplies while Magma and Rogue help with the cubicles.
When Sunspot carries a life support module, his strength fades as he hasn’t recharged too long and he almost drops the module, which is luckily caught by Colossus. Magneto shouts at Roberto that his carelessness would have cost lives, if the module had been lost. Sunspot tries to apologize. Magneto cuts him off, telling him if he can’t be of use, he should stay out of the way of those who can. Bobby stalks off. Sam asks if Magneto isn’t being a little hard on him. Magneto informs him that under the circumstances he has neither time nor patience to salve a child’s wounded pride.
Elsewhere Sunder is panicking because Moira has to amputate his leg. Magneto tries to hold him with restraints created from the ground, but they don’t hold. Moira can’t use any drugs so she asks Karma to possess Sunder. She tries, but the Morlock’s pain is too raw, smashing past her psi-shields the moment her thoughts interface with his. It’s more than she can bear. Psylocke intervenes, telling her to cut loose as she uses part of her telepathy to soothe Karma while simultaneously blanking Sunder’s mind, absorbing his pain.
Karma asks for forgiveness and Betsy assures her there is nothing to forgive. Shan admits to Doug and Warlock that this too much like her homeland Vietnam. She though she’d never see – be part of – such horror again.
Elsewhere, Dani Moonstar is cowering in a corner. Everywhere she turns she sees death images created by her Valkyrie power, telling her who will die. She wants to save those people. But death is too strong. Sam finds her, asking if she’s okay. She tells him there’s no hope for the Morlocks or the New Mutants.
Still fuming at his unfair treatment at the hands of Magneto, Bobby walks into the kitchen, finding a mountain of sandwiches. He’s wondering why Rahne is playing happy homemaker and takes one. Rahne slaps his hands and shouts at him to leave that be. The food is for those downstairs. Bobby has had enough. Turning into Sunspot, he lashes out and kicks at the table with the sandwiches. No less angry, Rahne accuses him of being an egoist, turns into wolf form and is intent on teaching him a lesson.
Downstairs, Dani senses the change in Rahne and announces that Rahne and Bobby are fighting. Dani and Sam hurry to the kitchen and order the kids to break it up. Dani reads them the riot act and reminds them of the people downstairs who need help. The kids apologize. Bobby explains that he wanted to help, more than anything, but Magneto wouldn’t let him. The New Mutants have proved their worth time and time again but everyone keeps treating them like kids. Maybe because some of them keep acting the part, Dani shoots back.
Sam explains that doing something big or small, in public or private isn’t important; it’s the helping that matters. He suggests they clean up and then make a new batch of sandwiches.
On the back porch Warlock sits, clearly anxious, scanning for something though he refuses to tell his best friend Cypher for what.
In the headmaster’s study an agitated Karma sits at the phone, trying again and again to call the apartment she shares with her younger siblings. Neither of them answers the phone.
Suddenly, Illyana teleports in, swearing. Karma asks what wrong and Magik explains she had the idea of teleporting Kitty to Limbo where her sorcery could maybe heal her. Didn’t work though. Kitty’s so far out of phase with reality that Illyana’s teleportation power can’t latch onto her and her lousy sorcery won’t work on Earth. Kitty’s her best friend, and she may have to stand by and watch her die!
She props down on the couch. Shan confides she understands her feeling of helplessness somewhat. She is sick with worry about her siblings. They left school hours ago. They should be home but no one answers the phone. Illyana offers to teleport the two of them to Shan’s apartment to get the kids.
Cypher and Warlock walk in to see the two of them teleporting away. Illyana shouts they’re heading to Shan’s apartment and will be back in a jiff.
Doug and Warlock run into the kitchen to tell the others what’s going on, causing Bobby to accuse Doug of being a tattletale. When he relates what they’ve seen, Dani is furious with worry. Suppose the death images she saw where meant for them?
Manhattan, the lower east side where living isn’t pretty, but it can still be cheap. Illyana teleports them straight into the dark apartment. There are bedrooms at the mansion larger than this place, Illyana remarks. It is small, Shan admits, but it’s home. A family should have its own home, not be permanent guests in someone else’s. She touches a light switch and an explosive goes off.
Back at the mansion, the other New Mutants discuss what to do. Sam tried calling Shan’s place but the operator said the line’s out of order. Dani points out that if things were fine, Illyana would have returned by now. Assuming the worst, how should they respond? Amara asks. Go after them, Dani decides.
Doug suggests telling the X-Men. They ordered the Mutants to stay put. They’ll be disobeying orders. Not merely a tattletale, Bobby mocks, Douglas is a toady to boot. No honor, less guts. Furious Doug is ready to pounce on Roberto (only held back by Warlock), ordering him to take that back or he’ll ram those lying words down his scummy throat. Him and what army? Roberto mocks. Sam orders both of them to behave.
Dani reasons that the X-Men are too busy and shorthanded as it is. It would be unfair to drop that mess on their shoulders as well. Sam agrees with Doug. Dani suggests a vote. And so a little later Magma burns them a pathway to the tunnel that connects Xavier’s complex with the Morlock domain, passing by the X-men’s sentry post.
Sam tells Dani he still thinks it is a mistake. Dani reminds him they voted on it but if they get in trouble with Magneto she will take full responsibility as team leader. It’s not Magneto he’s worried about…
Warlock turns into a car to transport them. He insists they use the tunnels and the car instead of flying them, making the others wonder what’s up with him. Not even his best friend Doug knows the reason.
Reluctantly, the mutants comply, unaware of the fact that they are being watched by Warlock’s murderous father Magus who has finally found the offspring he plans to kill.
A little later, nearby Shan’s apartment, Warlock tells them the coast is clear. Sunspot stakes the way outside. All of the mutant are horrified by the carnage they have seen in the tunnels. Sunspot is torn between wishing he’d never seen this and wanting to find the Marauders and tear out their hearts. Rahne and Doug cower on the ground, unable to cry. Sam wishes they’d stayed at home. Amara decides that they are made of sterner stuff, they will cope.
Suddenly, she hears sirens. It’s the fire brigade. The flames are coming from Shan’s apartment. Dani turns to Warlock, telling him if they are too late it is his fault for not flying them there. She insists to get up there. Won’t find anything there, comes a voice from a back alley. It’s Illyana and Shan, both somewhat injured, though not much.
Illyana explains that the people behind this – probably the Marauders – set a bomb, rigged to the light switch. She jaunted them the instant it blew, but they still got clipped a bit by the blast, Shan worse. Leong and Nga are gone.
Dani orders Rahne to shift to wolf form and find the kids’ scent. Suddenly, Warlock becomes hysterical. He grabs the others and races down the tunnels with them. Eventually, he drops them, deciding that flight doesn’t work and turns into a tank. Again, he decides that there is no success to be had and discorporates into a puddle of goo.
Doug exclaims he’s never seen him like that, not since the night they first met. Dani recalls that that first night Warlock got s crazy telling them about his father.
As if on cue, the walls come alive and tentacles reach for them, all belonging to the Magus. Amongst their race, the Warlock must ever duel the Magus to earn his right to live by slaying his sire. Thus does a Warlock in turn become the Magus and ruler of their technarchy. They are about to learn the price of failure.
No way, Illyana shouts and teleports them away before Magus can infect them with the transmode virus. Magus vows that, wherever they run, he will find them.