Somewhere in North Carolina:
'Rictor? Magik?' Guido Carosella a.k.a. Strong Guy calls out as he, Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane, Tabby Smith a.k.a. Boom-Boom and David Alleyne a.k.a. Prodigy race towards the passenger plane that has crashed into a field and exploded – with their friends on board. Firefighters are already on the scene putting the blaze out. 'No, no, no!' Tabby exclaims, while a firefighter notices them approaching and asks 'Are you guys, like, the Avengers or something?' 'Something' Guido replies as he strides towards the blazing remains of the plane, despite the firefighter telling him that it is too hot to go in there. 'Ain't nothing could survive in there' the firefighter mutters as Guido walks into the flames. 'Just let him go' Boom-Boom tells the firefighter. Wolfsbane sniffs the air, and the firefighter asks 'Is she...okay?' Wolfsbane switches into her full wolfen form and runs across the field. 'Oh, for $%&'s sake... Rahney! Come back!' Tabby shouts out as she runs after Wolfsbane, who suddenly comes to a stop near some woods. 'Rahne? What the -' Tabby begins, before she sees Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik huddled next to a tree. 'I couldn't save them. I couldn't save Rictor' she utters.
'Please help me' Illyana asks as she stares out a window in a room at the Xavier Institute, in Central Park, Manhattan. Kitty Pryde goes up behind her good friend and zips up her black dress. 'I got you' Kitty remarks, adding that she never gets to see Illyana all dressed up – so fancy. They look in a full-length mirror and Illyana reveals that the dress is Psylocke's, she borrowed it. 'Well, it looks good on you' Kitty assures her friend. 'It would look better if I were five inches taller... and a ninja' Illyana mutters. As Illyana looks closer at the mirror, she applies some eyeliner, and Kitty tells her that girls with swords can pretty much pull off anything if they commit. 'Whoa, easy on the eyeliner, my chemical romance' Kitty exclaims. Illyana tells Kitty to be nice, and adds that nobody ever taught her how to do this. 'Give it. Now look up' Kitty tells Illyana as she takes the eyeliner. 'Don't poke me' Illyana replies. 'I won't if you look up' Kitty replies, before Illyana tells her friend that it is good to see her.
Kitty starts applying the makeup to Illyana and remarks that she hates that funerals always bring them back together. She asks Illyana if she remembers when they were just two little idiots running around these halls, not trying to get in trouble. 'Who would have thought one day these idiots would be leading teams?' Illyana replies. 'I did' Kitty tells her, adding that Illyana was the bravest, toughest, scariest person here – even Logan was intimidated. Kitty adds that from the first time she met her, she knew she would be a great team leader one day. 'But I'm not' Illyana responds, reminding Kitty that she lost a member of her team – she let him die. Illyana begins to cry, running her makeup. 'But you're still here for your team. When others would be long gone, you stayed. You're here for them. That's a leader' Kitty points out. Illyana wipes her makeup, and admits that she hates all of this. 'Why are you so much better at this than me?' Illyana asks as Kitty wraps her arms around her friend. 'I'm better at everything than you'.
Outside, mourners have come to pay tribute to Rictor. A large, smiling photo of Rictor is placed alongside his coffin, while his former partner, Shatterstar, stands at a podium. He thanks everyone for being here, and adds that hr knows it would mean a lot to Ric. Legion, Dani Moonstar, Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Storm sit in the front row. Rockslide and Beast can be seen sitting behind them. Magik walks towards them, as Shatterstar tells everyone that Ric always said, no matter what, they are a family first, and it is nice to see he was correct. Dani sees Illyana, and motions to the empty seat next to her, telling her that she saved it for her – but Magik keeps on walking, and sits on her own amongst some empty seats nearby. Dani quietly calls out to her again, but someone tells her to let her be. Shatterstar announces that where he is from, there is an expression – the only person who knows you better than family is the one who fights by your side. 'That's why I wanted to ask his friend, family member, team leader, and the person fighting beside him when he died if she would say something' Shatterstar adds, calling out to Magik, who looks up, shocked.
Magik gets up and walks past other mourners including Glob Herman, Mystique, Bishop, Gambit, Prestige and the time-displaced Angel. Magik thanks Shatterstar, who steps aside for her. She stands strong at the podium and announces that seeing them all gathered here, for Ric – Julio – it is overwhelming. Moonstar watches Magik closely as Magik remarks that when you agree to lead a team, you have one job above all else – just to make sure everyone makes it home ok. She begins to cry, makeup runs down her face, she turns away and she utters that she can't do this anymore – any of it. 'I'm so sorry' she adds.
Magik sits slumped over on some steps, as the mourners begin to mingle after the ceremony finishes. 'I've been looking for you, little one' Colossus calls out to his sister as he approaches her with two glasses of wine. 'You found me' Magik replies. Colossus tells her that he thought she might want a drink. 'Got one' Illyana smiles, holding up a half-empty bottle of spirits. She turns away and frowns, while Colossus places the wine glasses down on a ledge, and tells his sister that she is ever resourceful, before asking her how she is. 'Not in the mood for this, Piotr' Illyana replies, to which Piotr tells her that is why it is important. “It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone” Piotr quotes. 'You're quoting Steinbeck at me?' Illyana frowns. Piotr points out that he never knows what to say to her, so he found someone who did. 'Do not be angry about that' he asks her.
As he takes the bottle from his sister and drinks from it, Piotr asks Illyana if she wants to tell him what happened. 'Not really' Illyana replies. 'Would you?' Piotr asks, telling Illyana that he wants to hear the story from her. Moonstar and Shatterstar are nearby and watch Illyana, who explains that they were on a plane, she killed the pilot, but couldn't get to Rictor in time. She teleported herself out, the plane went down and that's the end of Rictor's story. 'Mine keeps going for some reason' Illyana mutters. Piotr asks Illyana what she was doing on the plane, and Illyana tells him that it was a mission. 'It's good to talk, sister. Even when it hurts. Especially when...' Piotr's voice trails off, as Illyana tells him that she isn't the strongest X-Man, or the fastest or the smartest. 'That is not how we measure ourselves' Piotr reminds her. 'Of course it is' Illyana replies, before getting to her feet and declaring that they can color it any way they want, put it in a fancy dress, but at the end of the day, they are soldiers. 'I always thought I was the one who kept their head when $%#& went wrong. Because all I've ever known is #$&% going wrong, Piotr. So I thought I was the one you trust in a crisis' Illyana exclaims, causing others nearby to watch her as she storms away.
'You are' Piotr calls out after his sister, 'Tell that to Rictor' Illyana mutters as she walks past Moonstar and Shatterstar. 'Illyana, wait!' Colossus calls out, but Illyana doesn't answer him – instead she starts to run towards Wolfsbane who has lashed out at Strong Guy.
'He was mah son, Guido! How could ye?' she shrieks as she slashes away at him. 'Rahne, please!' Guido calls back. 'Break it up, both of you!' Magik orders, coming between the two fo them. 'I'm sorry, Rahney! I'm so sorry...' Guido utters. 'Get him out of here' Magik tells Nightcrawler and Fantomex who go over to Strong Guy. Magik then turns to Wolfsbane: 'You! What was that?' she asks. 'Ye damn well know! He killed mah boy!' Wolfsbane snarls. 'He wasn't himself. You know that, Rahne. He had lost his soul!' Magik reminds Wolfsbane, who bares her fangs at Magik as they stare each other down, 'And ye went and got it back fer him, didn'tcha? And then... and then ye put him on a team with me? Don't ya even care about that? About any of us?' Wolfsbane roars.
Sunspot and Maggott go over to Wolfsbane, and Sunspot puts a hand on her shoulder, telling to back off before she says something she might regret. 'No wonder you let Rictor die!' Wolfsbane snarls. 'Or not' Sunspot mumbles. 'Heavy is the head that wears the crown, they say' Wolfsbane declares. 'I've worn crowns before. It never felt like this' Magik replies. Moonstar approaches Magik and tells her that she is sorry, that she knows none of this is easy. 'You handled that very well' she adds, 'Even if your earlier speech... left something to be desired'. 'Yeah, well, you know me, Dani' Magik mutters. They enter the mansion, and Dani asks Illyana to answer her one thing. 'I asked Shan and she got all weird on me. I don't understand what you were doing' Dani remarks. 'Of course she did' Illyana mutters, to which Dani asks her what that means.
Dani follows Illyana into a living room, where Shatterstar is sitting by himself on a sofa. 'It's her brother' Illyana explains. 'Leong?' Dani enquires. 'No. The other one. Tran' Illyana clarifies, to which Dani points out that he is dead. 'And when did things like that ever matter to people like us?' Illyana asks, reminding Dani that Shan killed Tran years ago, and that she always said she had no choice, that he was evil. 'i'm not sure it works like that, but go on...' Dani replies, before Illyana asks Dani if she knows why Shan chose the codename Karma. 'Of course. The darkness and the light' Dani replies. 'Yes. The yin and the yang. His soul has been trapped in her body' Illyana reveals. 'I know all this -' Dani begins, before Illyana interrupts, informing her that now Tran is free. 'What do you mean? His soul escaped? How?' Dani asks. 'How the hell should I know?' Illyana responds, to which Dani asks where Tran has been.
Illyana folds her arms and looks at Dani as she explains that so far Tran has been to the Hatchi Corporation offices in Hanoi, a hurricane relief center in Alabama, a cemetery in Paris, and Arctic research facility – and this plane. Dani asks Illyana what her plan is, and Illyana reveals that was going to send him to Limbo. 'That's it? You didn't try to talk to him? To figure out how to help him get his life back or whatever he wants?' Dani asks. Illyana narrows her eyes and tells Dani that right now, it seems Tran just wants to hurt Shan, as he attacked her company, her team, her friends – except Dani, oddly. 'What do you mean?' Dani asks. 'You're one of Shan's closest friends. You're also a Valkyrie. Who better to be tracking this lost soul than you?' Illyana asks. 'And?' Dani asks. 'Where were you, Dani?' Illyana declares. Dani asks her what she is talkinga bout, so Illyana starts waving a finger at Dani and asking her why she wasn't with them, why she wasn't leading the team.
Dani tells Illyana that she is sorry, that she knows she feels responsible for what happened to Rictor. 'I am responsible. Where were you?' Illyana retorts. 'All that matters is that I'm trying to help you now. I wanted to know -' Dani begins, but Illyana interrupts her again: 'What our plans were. Funny that you care so much now, no?' Illyana asks, while Shatterstar and Kitty look on, concerned. Rogue approaches them and tells Magik that she is causing a scene again. 'A scene? No... this is a scene!' Magik exclaims as she produces her Soulsword and holds it towards the surprised Dani, until Kitty steps between them, 'I was just trying to help' Dani declares, while Kitty asks Illyana what she is doing, as it's Dani. 'She's not supposed to be here!' Illyana exclaims. 'Of course she is. She's one of us' Kitty replies. 'I don't know where you went, Dani. But I know you aren't here for me' Illyana exclaims as she shoves her Soulsword through Kitty and Dani in one strike, as their eyes glow red, and Shatterstar and the others around them begin to grin, their eyes red, too. 'You're very impressive, Illyana' a strange voice comes from Kitty. It's Tran.
Suddenly, Magik finds herself back on the plane. 'No' she utters as she holds her Soulsword towards the pilot who Tran has possessed. I see why my sister picked you to try and catch me. Thank you for the insights into your plan' Tran grins, before leaving the body of the pilot, he tells Illyana that he hopes she understands why he needs her dead now.
Rictor enters the cockpit and tells Magik that he has good news – the passengers all suddenly snapped out of it. 'Did you do... holy $#!&. Magik, did you kill the $#!&!#& pilot?' Rictor gasps, wide-eyed. Magik rushes over to him and wraps her arms around him, telling him that she is so glad he isn't dead. 'Ummm, yeah... me, too. But why are you touching me?' Rictor replies, confused. Rictor then tells Magik that they are going to crash, and that she needs to fix this. 'I don't know how to fly a plane!' Magik exclaims. 'How hard can it be?' Rictor asks her. 'So you do it' Magik tells him. 'I don't know how to fly a plane!' Rictor replies. He grabs the levers on the control panel and tries to pull the plane up, declaring that it isn't working. He tells Magik that if she has some trick up her sleeve, then now would be a real good time – before a large stepping disc materializes, and swallows the plane – just before it crashes into a field.
Nine days later: 'This is our third time through this grid, Shan' Prodigy tells Karma as they sit in a helicopter that darts over a field. David tells Karma that he appreciates her perseverance, but points out that it has been more than a week, so it might be time to be realistic. The pilot suddenly interrupts David and informs Karma that they are getting a report that there is a downed aircraft around 35 miles north of here, in the water. 'Divers found it?' Karma asks, but the pilot explains that the report says the plane just crashed down a few minutes ago. As the chopper arrives over the water, 'It's them! How is this -' Prodigy begins, as they look out the chopper window and see Magik and Rictor standing on the plane wing as the plane floats in the water. Passengers stand near them, or float in lifeboats. Karma informs Prodigy that Magik's powers don't always work linearly, so she must have teleported them through space and time. 'I assume this mean you want me to tell the second team to stand down?' Prodigy asks. Karma instructs him to keep the second team on standby, as she has some questions for their dear Ms Rasputin.
Meanwhile, in Canterbury, Connecticut: 'We messed him up!' one of the bullies exclaims as he and other kids stand around Warlock, who they have kicked, punched and stomped on, on the porch of the cabin in the woods where Warlock has been residing. 'Why do this, selfstranger?' Warlock asks, looking up at the boy called Christian. 'Ha! He likes you, Christian!' one of the bullies exclaims. 'Yeah, well, I don't like him!' Christian replies. Warlock reaches out and grabs Christian, asking him why he harmed/damaged him. 'Hey! Lemme go, freak!' Christian exclaims. Warlock looks Christian in the eye and remarks that he did no transgressions to him. 'Lemme go...' Christian utters. 'Please -' Christian begins, when suddenly, energy crackles from Christian's eyes, and blasts forward – straight through Warlock who begins to seemingly short-circuit, 'Warlock is sorry -' Warlock utters as Christian drops to his knees – and Warlock is reduced to a pile of ashes!