Nighttime, in an apartment in San Francisco, Domino is cleaning a large rifle. From a computer screen, Cyclops informs her that Cable is back. He’s bringing them in. Domino asks how Cable is. He’s fine, comes the curt reply. He brought the girl. He adds that there have been losses. Stryker trapped Illyana in Limbo somehow, Pixie’s taken Cannonball and a small team to bring her home… Who did they lose lose? Dom asks impatiently. Ariel and Nightcrawler were K.I.A. comes the reply. The enemy is targeting their teleporters.
From outside the room, Vanisher is eavesdropping. Cyclops continues that Bastion wants to keep Hope in one spot long enough to find her. That’s why Scott needs her to bring the Vanisher to Utopia. If they have to relocate Hope, he is their only option.
At that, Dom hears a crashing noise. She tells Cyclops to hold on.
In the kitchen, Vanisher rifles though things. What is he looking for? Domino asks. His wallet, he replies, grabbing it. Dom holds a gun to his head and informs him he is not running off to this Portuguese brothel, is he? Let her answer that. He is not. He’s going to Utopia to sack up and protect the mutant messiah!
Messiah? he repeats incredulous and flips her the bird. Does he look like he goes to church? He teleports away. Domino manages to him with the gun but too late.
He reappears in Monsato, Portugal, in said brothel. He calls out to his girls to being him some gauze for his bleeding nose. He finds them all slaughtered.
Look at me! comes the order. He wants Vanisher to know who killed him. He’s Steven Lang. Goodbye. Lang’s troops fire at the Vanisher and he is hit several times. Nevertheless he manages to teleport outside. Lying on the ground, dying he just wonders how Bastion knew about his girls.
Unknown to the X-Men, one of their prisoners, Donald Pierce, walks the halls of Utopia free. He contacts Bastion, asking if his intelligence was correct. Bastion affirms that they’ve taken the X-Men’s final teleporter off the board. Then there is no reason for delay, Pierce decides. He must reveal himself. He must clip their wings.
Does he sense hesitation in his voice? Bastion asks. No, comes the calm reply. Though there will be no escape for him, he senses anticipation. If this is to be his final assault on the mutant race, let it end in fire! Pierce smiles.
In the sick bay, the anxious New Mutants are waiting for word about their injured friend Karma. Warlock is dejected, telling his friend Doug, who tries to comfort him, that he cannot stop running shamescript. Sunspot asks what’s wrong with him. Amara explains that he’s in shock. Years ago, he promised that he’d never absorb sentient life. Yesterday, Doug asked him to break that promise. Dani reminds her it was war. Hodge and his men would have killed them all if he hadn’t. Doug read the situation correctly. That’s what he does. Still, she reminds them they got hit hard. Shan lost her leg. Illyana is in Limbo and they’ve lost Sam to the rescue mission. She knows Cable has a reason for retuning now… she just hopes he’s considered the cost!
Roberto snorts. Take it from someone who has worked “with” Cable in the past, whatever his reason for coming back now, how it affects his fellow X-Men is the furthest thing from his mind…
Elsewhere in a lab, Henry McCoy is working. Cyclops tells his old estranged friend he wants him to know he appreciates what Hank is doing. Staying on, helping out. His absence would do harm, Hank replies curtly. He’s afraid the Hippocratic Oath forbids him to leave. Though he admits the scientist in him hopes Scott has though through the cost of his recent crusade.
Putting his hand on Hank’s shoulder, Scott assured him that none of his decisions have been made lightly. There’s too much at stake… He believes that Hope is the key to preserving the mutant race. He knows that this is what Scott believes, Hank replies. And that’s the problem with faith. The stronger it gets, the more people tend to die.
20 miles off the coast of San Francisco, an X-plane lands with the scientists of the X-Club, coming to this oil rig because of some intel Cypher gathered. However the place looks perfectly ordinary. Kavita Rao points out it’s quite unguarded for something so important. Unless its function has no defense, Dr. Nemesis muses. Jeffries informs the others that there is definitely something up here. The machines are hiding something from him.
He coaxes them into “talking.” The machinery withdraws and inside there is something red. A moment later, a red field emerges from it and surrounds the rig. Appropriately, Nemesis swears.
Back at Utopia, Cable and Hope enter the mess hall and draw the stares of most present, mostly students. She’s not hungry, Hope insists. Cable strictly reminds her she hasn’t slept in 24 hours, she doesn’t know if she’s hungry or not. She eats, then sleeps.
And then maybe she could have a moment of his time, Dani Moonstar calls over, once he’s put the girl to bed. Not missing her angry tone, Hope steps in front of Cable and asks her what she just said. Cable addresses Dani directly, asking what is on her mind. She replies that her team took it rough, covering for him out there. And they both know it’s not for the first time. Cable thanks her. But that’s not what Dani is looking for. She just wants to know if his new hobby is worth the trouble.
Is she trying to say something to her? Hope demands. Dani ignores her and points into Cable’s face over Hope’s head. She wants him to tell her he knows what he is doing! Hope grabs her hand and orders her to get her finger out of his face. Dani grabs her by the cloak. Didn’t Cable teach her not to touch someone unless she’s ready to… Hope hits her in the face. In response, Dani kicks her in the stomach and Hope falls backwards on a table.
The catfight’s on, until Cyclops comes running in, ordering them to break it up. The two young women ignore Scott and Cable tells him to let them go. While Dani shoves Hope into the wall, Cyclops orders Nathan to get out of his way. Cable does anything but, reminding Scott he isn’t Hope’s father. Neither is Cable. She makes her own way now (which currently consists of biting Dani in the arm)! Angrily, Cyclops reminds Cable Hope could get hurt. Cable agrees, but she’s not going to find her place with him keeping her in a bubble. If he can’t handle that, Cable can make it really easy for him. He has one jump left. Push him on this and he will take Hope so far into the future no one will find them. Cyclops shoots back Cable forgets who put him in charge of Hope in the first…
Both arguments are broken up when a booming nose shakes the cafeteria. Fuel explosion! Cabel announces. The Blackbirds, Cyclops realizes.
The X-Men – Namor, Magma, and X- 23 first, race into the hangar to find all their planes destroyed. My oh my oh my, Donald Pierce announces as he steps out of the conflagration. He didn’t miss the funeral, did he?
Take him apart, Namor orders. X-23 lunges at Pierce with her claws, next Namor tears off his left cybernetic arm. Cyclops and Wolverine have joined them. So this is how it ends, Pierce mutters. Surrounded by smoke and genetic filth. He can admit without shame that he is disappointed he won’t be here to witness their extinction. He becomes louder. But they should not think that he regrets what he sacrificed here today. Bastion comes for them and when he does, when they see the light of his future fire raining down on their benighted “race,” know that his cleansing light burns with but a fraction of Pierce’s profound hatred for… Thankfully, Cyclops’ optic blast takes him down.
Their enemies have trapped them here, Scott realizes and orders the others to get the fires out and prepare for an attack.
Elsewhere, on the oil rig, Dr. Rao tries to reach Cyclops, while Jeffies wonders why the values in the device keep changing. Nemesis has accessed some manner of root menu and runs a translation cycle. In a few moments… Oh, he says. They see a timer only seconds away from the end of the countdown. They should probably run, Nemesis suggests, and they do.
Meanwhile, as the others are still working on saving the hangar, Cable asks the pensive Hope if she is hurt. No, she replies. He tells her she handled herself well. She shouldn’t be here, Hope interrupts him. Coming here was a mistake. What is she talking about? he asks. She told him she was ready. She said she knew. She was sick of running, Hope admits. She was tired of fighting. She was tired of eating rats. When she said she was ready, she lied.