‘Okay…let’s go!’ Wolverine a.k.a. Logan orders as he drops down through the skylight window of a very large factory, accompanied by two of his X-Men teammates - Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde and Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin. They are not alone however, as the shards of glass that fall to the factory floor are accompanied by several other mutant heroes - five members of the New Mutants team - Danielle “Mirage” Moonstar, Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta, Douglas “Cypher” Ramsey, Amara “Magma” Aquilla and the alien Warlock. The factory is the Techus Automative assembly plant at Mission Bay, San Francisco, and the mutant heroes go to work tearing it apart. Various robots are in the factory, and Wolverine orders everyone that there is to be no one-on-one, that they are only to engage in multiple attackers. ‘Move yourselves!’ he barks.
Sunspot unleashes a blast of energy at one of the robots and remarks that this plant is already taken over, pretty much, to which Magma announces that the police were right to call in the X-Men. ‘We don’t take chances with Nimrod tech. And the local PD saw what the Nimrods did to San Fran’ Magma adds as she blasts one of the robots with a beam of fire. ‘But an auto plant?’ Magma wonders, to which Cypher, as he examines the robot technology, explains that the auto plant is fully automated, with plenty of systems to corrupt and convert, therefore there is manufacturing potential. Doug doubts that they are looking for an intact unit, suggesting that it is probably just a fragment using the plant resources to self-repair and rebuild. ‘And defend itself!’ Magma exclaims as she blasts a robot that was about to attack Cypher, who is still examining the other robot.
Wolverine shoves his claws into another of the robots and declares that even a fragment is dangerous, as reconstructing is what it does. ‘This thing -’ Wolverine begins, but Mirage interrupts, as she releases an arrow from her bow, the arrow snaps off an approaching robot’s arm, and she calls out ‘Spread out, find it and contain it while it’s weak and its capabilities are still incomplete!’ Logan looks at Mirage and remarks ‘Girl gives a lot of orders’. ‘Is she wrong?’ Shadowcat asks her longtime friend as she kicks one of the robots. ‘Never said that. Just I’m supposed to be running this play’ Wolverine replies. With one robot clinging to his neck, Colossus rips the head off of another and informs Wolverine that he prefers Dani. ‘She certainly smells better’ Colossus adds. ‘I heard that’ Wolverine mutters.
Colossus continues, remarking that it is nice to be here with Dani and the others, as it is like the old days, although he wishes that Illyana was here, too. ‘Just get it done. Stop grousing about your sister’ Wolverine replies, before calling out to Moonstar, asking her what the score is. Danielle darts by, dodging another attack, she fires another arrow and calls out ‘Locating the source’. As Sunspot torches another robot that approached Dani, Bobby exclaims ‘Good thing I’m watching your ass, Dani. Wait a second…’. However, Moonstar ignores Bobby’s comment and calls out to Warlock, telling him that she is counting on him to pinpoint the epicenter. ‘Self is trying, self/friend Dani!’ Warlock exclaims, adding that there is malicious code detected throughout this structure.
Warlock explains that the malicious code is confusing him, before announcing ‘There is the code source!’ Kitty looks at Warlock, ‘Oh, you think?’ she asks, but Cypher agrees, and announces that they have found the focus. Up above, a large Nimrod appears. Various machinery and cars are attached to it, as the New Mutants and X-Men race towards the monstrosity. ‘I’d say we’ve got its attention!’ Cypher calls out. Moonstar begins firing a machine gun as she tells the others to de-claw the Nimrod, to blunt its offensive capability. ‘We want it isolated and containable!’ she declares. ‘Yeah. What she said’ Wolverine agrees. Weapons fire is emitted from the Nimrod, while Cypher exclaims ‘Interesting’. Wolverine turns to him and asks him what it is, to which Cypher points out that the personnel decisions Cyclops made for this mission, must be a coincidence, but happens to include everyone who has an emotional tie to Illyana. Colossus looks furious, while Sunspot and Magma turn to Mirage, who hangs her head and whispers ‘Oh, no…’.
At that moment, in a meeting room on Utopia, home of the X-Men, New Mutants and almost every other powered mutant on the planet. ‘You put the world in great danger, for the sake of a personal vendetta’ Scott “Cyclops” Summers tells Illyana “Magik” Rasputin, who calmly replies that there was certainly a risk of reality being erased, but that it was a cause she has been fighting for as long as she can remember. Magik explains that it was entirely bound up in her relationship with the realm of Limbo, and the necessity defied her. ‘An obsession!’ Cyclops declares. ‘Yes, in the sense of a consuming passion’ Illyana replies, before explaining ‘They were things that we might regard as gods. It’s not an exact word, but it’ll do. Evil daemonic gods, who were at the core of every bad thing that ever happened to me. They had to be destroyed’.
‘That’s the point. The Elder Gods were a fundamental, eschatological threat. And you engaged with that threat personally’ Scott points out. Magik replies that she was uniquely placed to do so. ‘You moved on it independently. You manipulated the hell out of the X-Men. You used us. You also risked, and came close to destroying, all reality!’ Cyclops reminds the young mutant. Magik replies that she understands the stakes were high, to which Scott asks her if she understands how reckless her plan was. ‘You were so single-minded in your desire to annihilate the elder gods, everything became subservient to that need. Your friends. Your family. The X-Men. The world. Everything!’
‘And I did it. It was worthwhile!’ Illyana declares as she and Scott sit as far away from each other as possible at a large round table. ‘Do you expect…I don’t know…a reprimand? Probation?’ Scott enquires, before asking Illyana if she understands how risky having her around is for them all. ‘You don’t believe we should regard you as a risk?’ he asks. But Magik replies ‘Not at all. I’m done with it. I’m finished. I won’t ever do anything like that again, because there’s nothing left to do’. She adds that she destroyed them and did what she set out to do. ‘With no regrets’ Scott states.
‘None. I’m sorry for the danger I put everyone in, but I don’t regret it’ Illyana replies, adding that it had to be done. ‘So…you’d do it again?’ Scott asks. But Magik replies that she explained she doesn’t have to, as it is over, she has closure. ‘I represent no further harm to the world or the X-Men’ Magik announces, before revealing that all she would like to do is live a normal life now, to become familiar with this remnant of soul that she possesses. Magik tells Cyclops that she appreciates it will be hard for him to trust her, adding that it will be difficult to believe that if she has been this reckless once, she will not again.
Magik assures Cyclops that she is done with it, and it is finished. ‘You need to understand that the circumstances will not arise again’. Scott tells Illyana that he believes she believes that, but informs her it is hard, as he has seen too many people chewed up by obsessions and quests - even when they are done they stay damaged. ‘That’s not me, but I can understand why you’d find it difficult to accept that anyone could find closure after they’d been as far as me’ Magik replies. ‘Yes. And that’s why we need to restrain you’ Scott tells her. ‘I see that. As a leader, that’s the only option you have’ Magik replies.
Scott almost smiles as he tells Illyana that he is glad she appreciates the situation. ‘I’m glad no one had to get hurt’ he adds as standing behind Magik are several other senior X-Men and residents of Utopia - the White Queen, Storm, Rogue, Dazzler, Iceman, Psylocke, Magneto, the Sub-Mariner, Gambit, Northstar, Domino, Warpath, Husk, Madison Jeffries and Doctor Nemesis.
Later, in the infirmary, Danielle approaches her teammate Xi’an Coy Manh a.k.a. Karma, who is sitting with the now grown “Inferno Baby” whom she met in Limbo, called Facecannon. Several children’s blocks are laid out on the table before them, and Karma’s thoughts are projected to Face: ‘Ready for the next one? Triangle…’ she tells Face. ‘Hi’ Mirage calls out as she greets Karma. ‘You brought Face to Utopia’ Mirage remarks as she sees Facecannon playing with the block. Karma gets up and walks over to her friend, explaining that Face is going to take a lot of care. ‘Just connecting is hard’ she reveals. ‘And supervision. He’s - he’s potentially very dangerous, Shan’ Mirage reminds her friend. ‘It’s not just up to you to save him’ she adds. Karma replies that she knows, but that right now, Face needs her. ‘And Sam need you’ Karma points out as Mirage walks further into the infirmary.
‘Sam?’ Dani calls out as she reaches the room where Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie is recuperating. Sam looks up and sees Danielle, greeting her, he tells her that he did not expect to see her for a while. Mirage explains that she was supposed to report to Cyclops, but that Colossus cut in line. Sam tells her that he heard what happened this morning with Illyana. ‘I’m guessing Peter was mad’ Sam remarks, to which Danielle tells him that there has been some shouting. As he sits up in bed, Sam asks Dani if she found the Nimrod fragment. Mirage replies that she found it, contained it and brought it back here for full disassembly. ‘It was feisty, but it was weak’ she adds. ‘Job done’ Cannonball points out. ‘Job done’ Dani agrees.
Standing over Sam, Danielle tells him that this feels like she is visiting him in jail. ‘My choice. It was my choice’ Sam assures her, explaining that he requested a bed in the secure ward, and requested psychiatric observation, as he wants to be well again. ‘You will be’ Mirage assures him. Sam hangs his head, and replies ‘Yes. So I’m doing the right thing’. Mirage tells Cannonball that he made the second generation X-Men what they are today. ‘Your leadership’ she adds. ‘From freshmen to graduates. It feels wrong to be in the field without you in charge’. Motioning to his wounds, Sam asks Dani if he looks like he could lead anything. ‘Everything with Limbo. The whole Legion reality thing…I’m a mess. I need time to heal’.
Sam tells Dani that he thinks he was the leader the team needed while they matured, and that was the role he fulfilled. ‘I had to hold us together while we grew up. Now we need a different kind of leader to do a different kind of thing’ Sam explains. ‘But - Sam, I have this bad feeling there is no team anymore’ Dani replies. ‘No Illyana. No Shan. No you’ Dani points out, adding that she thinks this is why Cyclops wants to see her. ‘I think he’s going to break us up and reassign us’. After a slight struggle, Sam stands up and points out that is Cyclops’s call. Just tell me…whatever happens from here, do I still get to do this sometimes?’ Sam asks. ‘Do wh-’ Danielle begins, but doesn’t get to finish her sentence as Sam leans in and kisses her, wrapping his arms around her. ‘Yeah. Oh yeah’ Dani replies as they break, and she smiles. ‘Okay then’ Sam tells her, before they kiss once again.
Shortly, ‘This is not over, Scott!’ Colossus booms as he storms out of Scott’s office, leaving the door lying broken off its hinges on the floor. ‘Uh, knock knock’ Dani announces as she raps her knuckles on the door frame. Scott looks up from his computer and asks Dani to come in. ‘Good job with the Nimrod’ he adds. Mirage thanks Cyclops, before remarking ‘Is Colossus -’, but Scott cuts her off, assuring her that Colossus is fine, that he will come around. Scott looks at Mirage and explains that, for now, there is no alternative to keeping Illyana under permanent arrest. Mirage replies that she understands. ‘Good’ Cyclops remarks, before Mirage announces that she also understands why Cyclops is dissolving the team. ‘You do, huh?’ Scott asks.
Mirage replies that it is the sensible choice, as Sam is too badly damaged to take on any formal role, and despite her calm protestations, Illyana is a massive potential threat, while Karma wants to step down to come to terms with her injury and to support Face. Looking through some files, Scott tells Danielle that seeing as she understands all of those things so completely, it may surprise her to learn that he is not dissolving the team. ‘I understand them. I didn’t say I liked any of them. Wait. What?’ Dani exclaims, surprised.
Cyclops tells Moonstar that her team an extraordinary thing and survived it, too. ‘Damn near miracle. Says a lot about you all’ Scott points out, adding that he is not about to disband a valuable resource, and that he wants to task them with something that is really important to him. ‘That’s why I’m here? Can I go outside and come back in again?’ Dani asks, but Cyclops just asks her if she needs time to consider taking over as leader, or whether they can discuss her team’s remit. ‘Me? You want - me, lead the team?’ Mirage asks, surprised. Scott tells her that from what Logan has said, she leads the team already.
Scott taps at his laptop computer and looks at the screen behind him, where several images have appeared - Blink, Selene, Nimrod, Bastion, Stryker and Lobe and his group. ‘The X-Men have had the world thrown at them these last few years. One crisis has blurred into the next. There’s never enough time to draw a line under anything. Too many loose ends. Never enough closure’ Scott declares. ‘Illyana found closure’ Mirage points out. ‘Maybe that’s the positive lesson I’m taking from recent events’ Scott replies, before informing Danielle that he wants her team to start clearing up all of the X-Men’s unfinished business. ‘Once a week, we could wash your car and take out the trash, too’ Mirage replies.
‘I’m serious’ Scott declares. ‘I know that about you’ Mirage tells him. Scott tells Danielle that the Nimrod they dealt with today is the perfect example of unfinished business. ‘Sooner or later, one of the loose ends we keep leaving behind is going to…’ his voice trails off, ‘Bite us on the proverbial?’ Mirage asks. ‘Yes. And that’s if we’re lucky’ Scott tells her. Examining the screen, Dani asks him where he wants her team to start. ‘Here. First priority…find X-Man. Find Nate Grey’ Cyclops announces as an image of the powerful mutant appears on the screen. ‘And do what exactly?’ Mirage asks. ‘Bring him home’ Scott tells her.
Meanwhile, in Manhattan, rain pours down and lightning crackles in the night sky. Inside an apartment building, one apartment room has its lights on. This young man’s nights are not spent sleeping. His days are spent trying to plot a route out of this world. He doesn’t like it here. Here doesn’t like him. Papers are strewn across his apartment floor, while a lamp shines on a noticeboard, where he is drawing something on a piece of paper. His name is Nate Grey. He was born on another Earth, this one does not suit him. It is scared of him. He is the quintessence of everything mutant that this world is afraid of. Nate draws what appears to be a map, as he sits under the light of his lamp.
Since HAMMER fell, Nate has been lying low, trying to discover a way, any way, out of - suddenly, there is a knock at his door. Nate gets up and races to the door. ‘You don’t have to do this’ he says to the people standing at his door - Iron Man and the Thing, who lunge Nate, knocking him to the floor. Nate blasts Iron Man back with a surge of energy, and manages to toss the Thing out a window, causing the wind to blow inside, as Spider-Woman creeps up at Nate from behind him, holding him down while Valkyrie rushes to him. Nate unleashes energy in both directions, keeping the women off of him, he flies out the broken window and into the night.
Thunder continues to crackle down around him, and he soon lands on some train tracks - but the mighty Thor appears overhead. Every few days when something like this happens, Nate sees the truth - ‘No!’ he calls out. Thor brings his hammer down, but misses. It is hard to see, because the truth is so elusive. But every now and then, Nate Grey gets a flash of it, and he remembers. ‘No. Not right’ Nate tells himself - and indeed, the illusion around him fades. He remembers what is real and what isn’t. What’s hard truth and what’s just a woven lie. ‘Not right!’ Nate exclaims again.
For in fact, Nate is hooked up to various monitors. Tubes are stuck all over him, as heis trapped inside the abandoned HAMMER headquarters in New York. He screams in agony, and he is reminded just how difficult escape is ever going to be - while down below the hideous and revolting Sugar Man rubs his hands - all of them - together, and grins wickedly as his tongue darts around: ‘Must you scream, Nathan? I’m trying to work here!’ the creature exclaims in delight….