Opening the door wide to Emma Frost’s telepathic love nest, Jean Grey-Summers beholds her husband, Scott Summers, sitting shirtless on a bed with Emma Frost, who is sporting red hair and wearing the Dark Phoenix costume. As Scott looks at his wife, his mouth agape, Jean tells Emma that she knew she’d find her husband here in her head.
Rising from the bed, Scott stammers a defense, telling Jean that it’s not real… it’s just thoughts… Stepping past her husband as she tells him to shut up, Jean confronts Emma, who has also risen. When asked if she thinks this is funny, Emma, smiling mischievously, tells Jean that she has to agree, she looks rather good in these old rags of hers. Subsequently mentally transforming the Dark Phoenix costume into her recent, revealing outfit, Emma then adds that she can think herself into something a little more up to date if she’d like.
Reaching out to his wife, Scott repeats that it’s not what she thinks. Not even bothering to turn and face her husband, Jean retorts that it’s exactly what she thinks. Following this statement, Jean emits a flame from her eyes and yells out. Engulfed in telepathic, ephemeral flames Scott finds himself teleported outside Emma Frost’s room, in the physical world. Now in the hallway, Scott finds himself confronted by the four remaining Stepford Cuckoos. All dressed the same in their schoolgirl traveling clothes and all carrying identical suitcases, the four girls, as ever, speak in unison.
Telling Mister Summers that he looks dazed, they then ask if Miss Frost threw him out of her thoughts. She’s like that, they add while Scott runs to the still-open door to the bedroom yelling his wife’s name. As he does so, the four girls tell Scott that they think he’s wasting his time. Pausing at the doorway to regard the girls, he is told by them that she won’t speak to them either. Ms. Grey-Summers, they continue, doesn’t like Miss Frost one bit. It looks like there’s going to be trouble. Punctuating their remark, the door to Emma’s bedroom slams shut.
Turning their back on their former teacher, the Stepford Cuckoos walk down the hall. They tell Mister Summers that they’re glad the school is closed for the summer. Sometime, they say, you can learn too much.
Elsewhere in the mansion, Professor Xavier, sitting at a desk and looking out a giant window pauses in his work. Looking over his shoulder at something he senses in the mansion, the Professor whispers Jean’s name interrogatively. Rhetorically, he asks what she is up to now. Sitting at this workstation in his lab, Hank McCoy, the Beast, also pauses in his work. Sliding his eyes to their side, he too realizes that something is wrong. Still in the hallway, Scott Summers stands alone outside of Emma’s bedroom, yelling through the still-closed door to his wife, telling her to open the door.
On the other side of the door, the room no longer is what it was. Formerly, a lover’s bedroom, it is now Emma’s Spartan quarters. Scott shook off possession by an evil spirit called En Sabah Nur, Jean tells Emma, nothing like that ever happened to him before. She has no right to exploit his confusion. Sitting in a ball-shaped chair and scowling over her computer screen, Emma informs Jean that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Scott came to her in a state of utter desolation, possessed by nothing more than the drab horror or his empty marriage. Among her other achievements, Emma tells Jean, as she continues to refuse looking at her, she’s a qualified sex therapist.
Really, inquires Jean, as flames begin to dance at her fingertips. As the rest of her hair and body begin to likewise combust, Jean tells Emma that she just can’t help running everything, can she? Her "Road to Damascus" moment, the big change of heart when she decided to join the X-Men had absolutely nothing to do with altruism, did it? Not eliciting any response, Jean projects her power to Emma’s chair, spinning it around. Speaking with a deep, booming voice Jean tells Emma to turn around and look at her. Now completely engulfed in flames, which form the Phoenix raptor, Jean’s radiance causes Emma, now on the floor, to cower in fear. Her eyes whitened with rage and radiating with power, Jean tells Emma that it will be just the two of them and the Phoenix.
In the hallway, Professor Xavier and Xorn find Scott still working furiously and futilely to open the door. When the Professor asks what’s happening, Scott replies that he’s done something stupid. Emma and he did something stupid and Jean’s holding the door closed with her telekinesis. Speaking up, Xorn informs the Professor and Scott that he can feel such stress and pain there… like gravity bending space. Addressing Scott as his friend, Xorn innocently asks how they can help.
Replying curtly, Scott tells the two that he doesn’t need any more help. He asked Emma to help him and… it turned into some kind of affair. They’ve been telepathically sharing these thoughts and now… and now Jean’s found out. But it’s just thoughts, isn’t it, Scott asks the Professor. It’s… he actually doesn’t know why it feels so wrong… he doesn’t know what’s wrong and what’s right anymore. Comforting his former student, Xavier tells Scott that Jean is undergoing a radical psychic transformation… this "Phoenix potential" she’s accessing has reserves of power on a cosmic scale. They cannot risk angering that power! Growing angry himself, Scott’s power begins to rise, shining brightly behind the red shades of his ruby quartz glasses. Declaring that he doesn’t care about the Phoenix, Scott announces that he’s had enough of this.
On the other side of the door, Emma Frost rises to her feet from the cobblestone road. Sneering, Emma tells Jean to be reasonable. She really doesn’t know her own strength and she can be inclined to shocking violence. Confident in her control of their shared reality, Jean replies that she knows exactly what she is doing. Taking in their surroundings and characteristics of the city, Jean recognizes where they are: Boston.
Angered at this intrusion, Emma yells to Jean that she has no right to come in there uninvited. Raising her voice, she commands Jean to get out of her thoughts. As they walk to the steps of a large mansion, Jean replies that she isn’t in her thoughts anymore… Emma is enfolded in hers. This, Jean asks her, is her memory of where she grew up? As the two walk through the closed front door, like immaterial phantoms, Emma asks Jean what is it to her. Who does she think she is to do this to her? Walking deeper into the house, Jean replies curtly that she is the wife of the man she’s been seducing. Turning suddenly and grabbing Emma by the wrist, Jean tells Emma that, to tell the truth, this memory means nothing to her but it seems pretty important to Emma. To this, Jean wonders aloud why.
Snarling a response, Emma reminds Jean that she left her in a mental hospital the last time she smashed her way into her thoughts. Her pacifist posturing, Emma adds, hides a playground bully. Aflame once again, Jean instructs Emma to shut up. She promises she won’t throw big lightning bolts of psychic electricity at her this time. But, she continues, the fire of the Phoenix burns through lies. The gaze of the Phoenix is like an X-ray tearing through every self-deception. So, Jean concludes, burn, Emma.
Trying futilely to hold Jean back, Emma pleads for her to listen to herself! Don’t do this. Admitting that she’s been having a difficult time recently… everything in her life has changed… Emma tells Jean that she’s trying to be honest with her. Unable to convince Jean with logic, Emma screams in terror for Jean not to hurt her like this. The scream subsided, Emma finds herself, along with Jean, in the parlor of an upscale household, where the family inhabiting the house have congregated. Standing at the end of the parlor the father figure, middle-aged with graying temples, has his back to the rest of the family; a brood-hen mother-figure sitting by herself, a red-bereted young man, sitting behind the parlor’s piano, and three young women sitting together on a couch. Taking in her own memory, Emma finishes her plea in a whisper, asking for Jean not to bring her back here…
Viewing the middle-aged man, Jean asks Emma if that is her father. As if in answering Jean’s question, the father announces that he knows that he’s wasting time with Christian over there, so he suggests they see how the remaining heirs to the throne live up to his expectations. Which of them can he trust to steer their fortunes safely into the future, hmmm?
Focusing his attention on the daughter to his left, a young woman with scant hair, shaved close to the scalp, and wearing leggings that seem to be cut from the Union Jack flag, the father asks her, Cordelia, if it will be her? Should he pass his kingdom into her subtle, dark and devious hands? Moving his eyes to the right, to a slightly older girl with painstakingly maintained hair, make-up and fine clothes, who even now is using a nail file to work on her nails, Mister Frost asks if it should be she, Adrienne. Heartless and brilliant, Frost characterizes, Adrienne seems the obvious choice. Hearing a tsk from the final daughter sitting to the far right, a young girl, bony in appearance and wearing a sleeveless top that only helps to accentuate the flatness of her chest, Mister Frost regards his rebellious little Emma.
The elder, phantom Emma, seeing Jean lean inward for a closer look, crosses her arms and admits with bile that, yes, it’s true… she had cosmetic surgery. What’s it to her? Dismissing the accusation, Jean replies that that’s not what she’s looking at. It’s what’s going on beneath all of this. Walking to Emma’s mother, Jean tells Emma that her mother is barely conscious. She can feel three different prescription tranquilizers. Addiction, Jean adds, seems to run in the family… along with fear of her father.
Nearby, Emma regards her brother, Christian, who, with an innocent smile, is still sitting behind the piano, not a care in the world. Her brother, Emma tells Jean, didn’t stay a user. No, Jean verifies; he went insane. Suddenly, finding herself with Jean in her brother’s padded cell, Emma pleads with Jean to stop this. Undeterred, Jean asks Emma what about her. Suddenly, back in the Frost family parlor, Emma sits atop of the coffee table looking into her past-self’s eyes. Remembering the day, Emma remembers Adrienne gasping as she suddenly learned the horrible truth she’d denied was revealed… second best.
Transfixed by the cold eyes she had as a youth, Emma tells Jean that this was how her father, after all those years, was finally telling her he cared, in the only way he knew how. He was giving her a chance to shine, an opportunity to prove her worth. So, Emma concludes, she looked him in the eye and said… Completing her older self’s sentence, the youthful Emma tells her father, I think I’ll make it my own way.
Narrating the following memory of her younger self, walking the streets of New York City, Emma tells Jean that she had four hundred dollars in a savings account. She decided to start from the bottom. Suddenly finding herself leading Jean up circular, stone step Emma asks Jean why she is telling her this. She’s not, Jean replies. It’s just happening that way.
A new memory emerges. A slightly older Emma, clad in the all white corset and matching underwear, cape and boot she wore as a member of the Hellfire Club, dances for the amusement of the very same organization. Sitting in shadows beneath torchlight, the only illumination of the room, the four kings and queens watch Emma dance. The Hellfire Club, Emma tells Jean, wanted dancers and, since she could make men see whatever they wanted them to see, her graceless efforts were automatically declared a modern „dance of the seven veils" by mesmerized onlookers at her audition.
Now in another memory, an older Emma is sitting as the club’s White Queen, attended to as a superior and admired by the club’s Black King, Sebastian Shaw. Dear Sebastian, Emma continues, narrating the scene, he thought he was in charge. He thought she was absolutely besotted with him… completely misreading her desire for a brilliant, ruthless father substitute as love. Together, Emma continues, they seized control of the club from Buckman and that old tart, Paris Seville.
Seeing another memory, one of Emma sitting across a small table at an upscale restaurant, Jean rhetorically states that Emma set about building her empire of mutants. Shifting to a later memory, one of the cosmetic surgery that enhanced her breast line, Emma replies that she became exactly what Sebastian wanted… the Ice Queen, the dominatrix from hell… and she watched how he did business. She learned how simple and predictable the desires of men can be. Which, Emma shouts, finally regaining her sense of being, is absolutely none… of… her… business!
Trying to regain control of their telepathic journey, Emma rips apart the telepathic slate, shattering it into shards of memories. Scott, Emma yells at Jean, came to her because he couldn’t talk to Jean about his feelings. Because the truth is she doesn’t know what ordinary feelings are any more. Nearly engulfed in the flames of Jean’s recreated Phoenix raptor, Emma tells Jean that she’s not human at all… is she? What’s in there where she used to be? Speaking deeply, with the voice of the Phoenix, Jean asks Emma if she honestly thinks she can protect herself against this?
As the entire Xavier Institute is engulfed in Jean’s fiery, telepathic power, Jean tells Emma that she can think what she likes but she knows what haunts her every waking hour, so stop hiding from her. Something happened between she and Scott in Hong Kong, Jean tells Emma. Now, Jean bellows to Emma, either she tells her or she’ll make her relive the life of every single child she’s allowed to die. Her head in her hand, Emma sees the horror Jean spoke of in her mind. On a mountain of rubble, Emma sees every student of hers who has died under her watch: the Hellions, students from Genosha and even Sophie of the Stepford Cuckoos. Driven to the breaking point, Emma sobs for Jean to not make her look.
Walking into Scott’s room in Hong Kong, Emma tells Scott that she couldn’t sleep after the traumas of the day. Repositioning his ruby-quartz glasses, Scott Summers sees Emma Frost at his doorway. Leaning against the doorframe, she holds a bottle of wine in one hand and two glasses in the other. Unlike Scott, who is dressed only in his boxer shorts, Emma is wearing her evening gown, replete with a pearl necklace and matching earrings. With a seductive stare, Emma asks Scott to tell her more about the world of chastity.
As Emma pours the wine, Scott protests. None for him; he doesn’t really drink much. Ignoring Scott, Emma asks him to forgive this absolutely appalling "cat pee," it’s not her choice but the bellboy’s. She had no idea life with the X-Men would be so racy… Logan and Domino are making farmyard noises together even as they speak. Sitting down on Scott’s bed and crossing her legs, Emma states that, now, here they are… two souls with so much in common. Toasting her glass, Emma dedicates it to l’amour. Pausing for a moment, Emma looks to the side and excuses herself. She thought this was all real but it’s just a memory. She has to go now.
Repeating her statement that she has to go now, Emma holds her head and she curls in a fetal position on the floor of her quarters. In tears, she looks up at the looming Jean and tells her she has no right to judge her. She loved those children. She wanted them to be independent and strong and… Emma’s words are interrupted by the impact of Scott Summers’ optic blasts, which have ripped asunder the door into the room.
Finally able to gain entrance, Scott strides into the room and tells his wife that she’s out of line. If she wants to know what happened between Emma and he in Hong Kong… read his mind.
So anyway, Scott continues, sitting atop his bed in his Hong Kong hotel room with Emma, this bad guy, En Sabah Nur, wound up worming his way into his thoughts… Even when he threw him off, he couldn’t stop thinking all this awful stuff. People like Jean and the Professor just shrug this kind of thing off like it’s some kind of occupational hazard. It’s hard to talk to them, he admits.
Grinning at Scott’s innocence, Emma notes that only he could use the words "bad guy" to describe a murderous, disembodied consciousness. Returning to the table for a refill of wine, Emma sums up Scott’s narration. All he’s saying, Emma summarizes, is that some mind monster put a lot of dirty thoughts in his head and he’s embarrassed in case his telepathic wife sees what he’s really thinking about her? Oh Scott, she laughs, how ordinary! Returning to the bed with the refilled glasses and the bottle, Emma slides across the bed on her stomach. Seductively, she asks why he can’t just give up his place on the Olympic suffering team and relax with some wine and adultery? Holding his hand out in punctuation, Scott informs her that he’s serious about the whole celibacy thing. It’s Jean or nothing.
His point made, Scott storms out of the room, refusing to say a word. Her hair still aflame with rage, Jean is unconvinced. They were thinking about it… she tells the Professor. They were thinking about it the whole time! Holding Jean back, Xavier tells her that he is hoping that this is only jet lag. "The Phoenix has come back to disinfect the planet…" he reminds her, Those were her words earlier. What does that mean? What can this force make her do next?
Storming out of the room after her husband, Jean tells Xavier, addressing him as Charles, that she doesn’t need lectures. Scott, she reminds him, is her husband. Resolute, she passes the newly arrived Beast, who unsuccessfully tries to stop her. Watching the departing Jean, Xorn admits to the others that he’s not sure he understands this turmoil. Having just arrived himself, Logan tells Xorn that he’ll just get used to it. Summers took the bike he’s been working on for months and he knows he’s going to wreck it. Trying to make light of the situation, Xavier hopes aloud that this is not the search for Cyclops again…
Standing back in the now very open doorway to Emma’s room, Logan softly calls out to Emma, asking if she is okay. Propping herself against her desk, her back to Logan, Emma replies that, yes, she is fine and thanks him. Running her fingers through her hair, Emma tells Logan that Jean had a little rummage around in her mind and knocked a few things over. She can do that… Emma continues. Jean’s more than just a telepath… she sees right through them and gets to decide whether they’re innocent or guilty. Turning toward Logan, Emma reveals her tear-soaked face, which has caused her mascara to run. Now comforted by Logan, she admits that she hates this awful place and these ugly, repressed people.
Placing his arm on Emma’s shoulder, Logan tells her that it’s not so bad… but she shoulda known better than to get between Jeannie and Slim, trust him. Still, he admits… nice try. Turning away again, Emma replies that she knows. She knows he lies beside her at night without touching her… she knows Jean sees what Scott’s thinking and despises him for his weakness… she knows Jean’s so pure and their love is so special…
Turning back to Logan and burying her face in his embrace, Emma tells Logan that she’s so shallow… and spiteful… and… manipulative. She knows because Jean saw right through her. She saw the truth and she had no defense… and she knows too. Lowering her voice to a whisper, Emma asks Logan why did she allow herself to become so stupid and vulnerable? Why did she have to fall in love with Scott bloody Summers?
Walking through the halls of the mansion, Hank McCoy sings to himself from the opera Orfeo ed Euridice in the original Italian. Arriving at his destination, Hank raps his knuckle against the door in a knock with his free hand, his other occupied with holding a book, a bottle of wine and a small bouquet of roses. Calling out to Emma, Hank tells the occupant, in French, that it is he… the Beast! Hearing no response, Hank opens the door with caution he calls out to Emma, telling her that Logan said she was pretty down so he brought that book he was telling her about and…
Hank’s words are cut short by what he sees. He barely manages a weak oh, my as he drops his gifts. On the floor of Emma’s room is her costume, which seems to contain the shattered body of Emma Frost’s diamond form.