Danielle Moonstar feels a surge of power - unmistakable power. Unbidden, the gifts granted to her by the goddess Hela manifest. That can only mean one thing, that even here, trapped in a version of the world that has been twisted beyond recognition, she is not just Dani Moonstar of the X-Men, but Dani Moonstar, Valkyrie. Clad in Asgardian attire, her sword glows, as Dani and her teammates in the New Mutants face off against the Transmode-infected Hellions. At the same time, Doug “Cypher” Ramsey has been transformed into a diabolical future version of himself. ‘Take them, Hellions! Take them down! Occupy them long enough for me to overwrite this timeline with my future!’ the True Friend orders. ‘New Mutants! Move! Protect Doug!’ Moonstar orders, while thinking to herself ‘Protect him from himself. A screwed up future version of our friend Doug Ramsey. No matter what we do, we can’t seem to stop this grim destiny from coming true’.
‘He’s throwing our old rivals, the Hellions, against us’ Dani tells herself, knowing that Doug has brought them back from the dead using the Transmode Virus. Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie goes up against his old sparring partner, Haroun-ibn Sallah al-Rashid, alias Jestream, and uppercuts him in the face. Moonstar decides that the Hellions, being dead, are perfect time-travel servants, because being dead they cannot create temporal paradoxes by existing in the same time twice. Bobby “Sunspot” DaCosta and Amara “Magma” Aquilla face off against Buford “Beef” Wilson and Fabian “Bevatron” Marechal-Julbin.
Dani knows that the Hellions are also why her Valkyrie powers have kicked in, as New Mutant ally Clarice Ferguson, better known as Blink, faces off against the luck-powers of Roulette a.k.a. Jenny Stavros. Moonstar is a Valkyrie once more because she is in the presence of the dead, compelled to collect their souls. Marie-Ange Colbert a.k.a. Tarot attacks Nate “X-Man” Grey by creating a large knight to battle him, while in her purple Catseye form, Sharon Smith lunges at the alien New Mutant called Warlock.
‘Fend them off! I have a plan! And you’re not going to like it’ Dani tells her team, before ordering Magma to rip the ground out from under Bevatron. ‘Got it’ Magma exclaims as she ducks a blast of energy that Bevatron fires towards her. Bevatron loses his footing his footing, and Dani leaps up from behind him, she then shoves her sword into him, and Bevatron screams in anguish, before collapsing to the ground, the Transmode infection spilling out of his body. ‘Oh my God! Dani ,you killed him!’ Magma gasps, but Dani explains that she unbound his soul and freed him from the infection that was chaining him to his reanimated corpse. ‘It was a mercy’ Dani adds.
‘No! This is not good at all! She can cut their souls free?’ the True Friend booms, unimpressed, before ordering Roulette to bring them to him, one by one. ‘Yes, True Friend’ Roulette complies, as she throws a bad-luck disc at one of Blink’s portals, teleporting her straight towards the True Friend, who looms over her. ‘Dammit! She jinxed my portal! Blinked me straight to him!’ Clarice complains, while the True Friend tells her that it is time she was overwritten by her future self, before Blink screams, as the True Friend puts her under his control. ‘Dani! He just switched Blink out! She’s fighting for them now!’ Magma alerts Moonstar, while throwing some flames between Blink and herself. ‘I see it!’ Moonstar replies, while telling her team not to let evil Doug touch them, as he will replace them with their future self.
‘Dani! Look out!’ Cannonball cries from above, before he swoops down and tackles Jetstream from behind, as Jetstream tried to grab Dani, but Dani already saw Jetstream and she holds her sword up, as Cannonball gasps ‘Jeez, Dani!’ when he blasts forward, with Jetstream held out front, and the Hellion lands on Dani’s sword. ‘I’ve freed his soul. That’s two of them down!’ Dani exclaims. However, Sam is still propelling himself forward, and he takes Dani with him. ‘We’re spinning out of control. Turn off you afterburners!’ Dani tells him, before they both crash to the ground. At the same time, the True Friend manages to grab hold of Sunspot, ‘You should have listened to Dani and no let me touch you!’ the True Friend exclaims, while Sunspot cries out, as he falls under the True Friend’s touch, although Warlock is nearby, and Bobby manages to tell him to stay back.
‘You too, Warlock. Self / friend’ the True Friend exclaims, turning his attention to Warlock, he wraps some tentacles around him, while Dani gets to her feet and tells Warlock to break free. ‘Self…cannot!’ Warlock shouts, so Moonstar cuts the tentacles trapping him, but too late, as Warlock just disintegrates.
Moonstar leaps towards the True Friend, who reveals that Warlock has no future self, ‘In the future, he is me’ the True Friend explains. ‘Damn you -’ Dani begins, but she screams as the True Friend shoves a tentacle through her stomach. ‘You won’t have me! You won’t - I -’ Moonstar begins as her form begins to change, but, suddenly, she realizes that she is somewhere else. ‘Smells wrong. Feels wrong. I’ve changed places…times even’ she tells herself. Moonstar realizes that she is covered in what the True Friend calls Locktech, and it crawls over her, starts getting inside her, but she fights it, using her might, she forces the Locktech out of her, and appears normal once more, in her Valkyrie attire. ‘GET OFF ME!’ she screams, before deciding that she has to find a way out of here. She holds her sword out and starts to cut her way through the black and yellow that seems to surround everything.
Suddenly a voice calls out, ‘Dani?’ and she turns, to see Sunspot and the others, ‘Oh my God, Bobby? All of you!’ Dani gasps as she sees them all wearing Hellion costumes, all trapped in the black and yellow Transmode. ‘You came. You finally came. We’ve been waiting for so long, Dani. Waiting for you!’ Sunspot states. Bevatron tells Dani that they are here to take her to him, that he is waiting for her. ‘He’s your True Friend’ Bevatron promises. Dani hangs her head and supposes that she has come this far, so she had better see him - face-to-face. Sunspot motions in the direction, telling Dani that the travel veins will transport them to the True Friend. They enter the travel veins and Dani sees that everything is covered by the Locktech and controlled by it, as if hr used the Warlock techno-virus to take over the whole world. ‘Is this the future?’ she wonders. ‘Is this the future Doug makes for us?’
Suddenly Dani asks ‘What on Earth -?’ as literally everything is covered in the Locktech and huge tentacles billow up into the air. ‘No, Dani. Not on Earth at all’ Sunspot tells her. Moonstar turns to him and asks him what he means. Sunspot tells her to look through the enclosing membrane that protects their world, and she does, seeing the Earth above her, covered in blackness and flames. ‘That’s the Earth? Dead! We’re on the moon?’ Dani exclaims. Sunspot explains that it is their home now, the perfect closed system, hermetically sealed and controlled by the True Friend for the good of all. Dani finds herself in another strange surrounding, with pink all around, and blue and green balls floating past. ‘Where is this?’ Dani enquires. ‘It’s my inner cortex. The place that runs the world. The mind that runs the human race’ a voice calls out. ‘Doug?’ Dani asks. The True Friend’s face drops down on some tentacles, and a body starts to form from it.
‘You’ve enslaved everyone, Doug!’ Moonstar tells him, but the True Friend claims that he has taken charge, that he had to, as the New Mutants forced it on him. ‘What? How?’ Dani asks. ‘You defeated me. I ran the future…this future…benevolently, as a kind custodian. But Sam and Shan rejected that. They fled back to your era. They warned you. And you stopped me’ he reminds her, adding that this is the replacement future, the future where he takes full control. Arms outstretched, the True Friend explains that his first act was to absorb the bastardized timeline that the New Mutants were stranded in, and that he is currently overwriting its reality with this future. ‘My future is consuming that past, making this a certainty. Your Douglas must now become me’ the True Friend adds.
However, the True Friend admits that Dani is an anomaly, as her Valkyrie powers offer her some immunity from his control. He reveals that he cannot bring himself to harm her, because she is the one human he has ever truly loved. He extends a tentacle and brushes it across her face. Images of dead Dani’s appear around the True Friend as he explains that in every other iteration of reality, in every other possible timeline, Dani has died and has love has been unrequited. ‘I have brought you here so that it can never happen again’ the True Friend states. ‘I have brought you here so that we can be together in this perfect future’. But Dani tells the True Friend that Doug would never do this, not the Doug she knows. ‘He wouldn’t ruin the world in some insane effort to save it. And he wouldn’t do it in the name of love’ she adds.
The True Friend throws his head back and laughs, ‘I don’t think you realize just how much he loved you. He -’ the True Friend begins, when suddenly, he cries out in agony, and Moonstar sees Doug, the real Doug, as the future overlaps the past, Cypher is trying to take control. ‘Doug! Fight him! Fight the future!’ Dani encourages. The True Friend tells Doug to stop, that he doesn’t understand anything and wouldn’t know the first thing to do with these powers and capabilities. ‘Let me find out for myself!’ Doug retorts as he tries to pull away from the True Friend. ‘I can’t make a much worse job of it that you!’ Doug points out. Dani tells Doug to control the Locktech, as that is how the True Friend commands everything. ‘Take the system down!’ she calls out.
Moonstar falls to her knees as a cascading effect follows, and the struggle between the present and future Doug Ramseys starts to tear this place apart. She doesn’t know how much more the moon can take, while Doug glows above her and announces that he has him, for a moment. Doug, in control of the True Friend, tells Dani that he refuses to be ruled by his past, by the Re-Animator or the alien black box - and he refuses to be ruled by this future. He asks her to end this now, while there is still a chance. Dani looks at Doug, he appears half as his present self and half as the True Friend. ‘Only you can do it. End it! END ME!’ Doug shouts. ‘Damn you, Doug. That was why you did this, wasn’t it? That was the real reason you sent the Hellions after us. You knew the dead would activate my Valkyrie power. And make me the only person who could do this’ Dani thinks to herself, as she shoves her sword into Cypher / The True Friend.
Energy bursts forth from Doug, while Dani knows that he was planning how to kill his future self for a very long time, that he buried the idea in his own mind so he would make the right choices. ‘You always were so very smart’ Dani thinks to herself. The energy pours over their friends who are nearby, ‘You’ve killed the future…to save the past’ Dani tells herself, before there is a large surge of white energy, and Cypher whispers ‘Thank you’.
‘Yyaaaahh!’ Doug screams as he sits up in bed. Dani is sitting at his side, while the Beast stands nearby. Dr Strange holds glowing hands out over Cypher and tells him to be calm, and that all is well. ‘where am I?’ Doug asks. The Silver Surfer is also in the room, as Dani tells Doug that he is in Westchester, at the Jean Grey School, and that Dr Strange has just finished performing mystical surgery on him. Dani smiles as she informs Doug that Dr Strange has removed that interdimensional entity from his mind and banished it. The Beast asks Dr Strange if everything checks out, and Strange confirms that everything is back in order. ‘Reality as we knew it…and as we would wish it…is restored’ he announces.
Dr Strange tells everyone to be aware that all of those who were present in the fractured future will remember fragments of it for some time - a temporal hangover, if you will. Cypher looks at Dani and tells her that he doesn’t know what happened, or what he did - or didn’t do. Dani kisses Cypher on his cheek and tells him to relax, as he needs rest. But Doug gets up and looks out the window, while Dani tells him that he saved the now by giving everything in the then. Gazing out the window, they see Karma alive, and sitting outside with Face, while Sunspot, Warlock, X-Man and Magma are fine, and are outside with Iceman and Kid Gladiator. ‘Self / friend!’ Warlock calls out. ‘Hey, Doug!’ Karma exclaims, waving up at the window, she asks him if he is coming to join them. Tears begin to form in Doug’s eyes, while Dani smiles and remarks ‘And they all lived happily ever after. All of them’.