The USA is in shambles. Washington has been scarred by a bomb blast, the government is decimated. The Southwestern states have taken anti-mutant violence to extreme levels, with human-run militias doing the grunt work and killer Sentinels. Mutants now face total extinction.
In Middle America:
Kitty Pryde has heard the gunshots from the diner and runs towards it. One militia member who is waiting outside tries to stop him. She phases through him and elbows him in the back, then keeps on running.
Ah, there she is, the militia leader smiles. Inside, she sees Jimmy Hudson lying shot on the floor. Grinning, the terrorist explains he was just chatting with her boyfriend. Their kind always sticks together, don’t they? He guesses he is the kind of mutant who isn’t bullet-proof.
Jimmy, Kitty addresses him. The man mocks he is gone. Now! Kitty orders calmly. Jimmy extends his claws and stabs the terrorist closest in the foot.
Rogue and Iceman, who were hiding under the table, jump into action as well. Iceman freezes one of them with his touch. One of the diner guests shouts that he killed that man. Iceman replies that he brought his core temperature down to eighty-six degrees. He’s not dead but he’ll probably wish he was, for at least a week. He orders them down.
Rogue asks what their rules of engagement are here. How far do they take this? Ask Kitty! Bobby suggests. Hitting a militia member, she points out they are regular folk, not Sentinels. They are worse, Kitty shoots back and orders her to put them out of commission.
Rogue grabs the militia member and makes skin contact to see into his mind. Oh my God, she breathes a moment later. How can he live with himself?! And now she has that hate in her head too? She gets ready to hit him, even as he begs. Rogue hesitates. It’s okay, Jimmy Hudson tells her. He’s got it. He breaks the man’s neck.
The other X-Men are shocked. Why did he do that? Iceman demands. Why? Jimmy repeats. “Two to the head,” he snarls, remember? He points at his head. But he didn’t die. And why is that? It’s the same reason all the people here are staring at them like demons. They’ll never stop. They’ll never leave them alone until they find a way to kill them all.
Jimmy storms outside followed by Kitty. Be honest, he demands and tosses her a gun. This is what she had in mind, isn’t it? Rogue asked what the rules of engagement were. He thinks he just defined them for her. They can’t declare war and expect the enemy to automatically surrender. He was after her, he stresses. The one that shot him came looking for her. And Jimmy stood up to him. He’d do it again. He’ll do anything for her.
Later, Jimmy is driving the car. Kitty is very much aware the people in the diner will tell a story that will paint the militia as the innocents. Kitty is holding Rogue, who now has that guy’s horror in her head. And now she has a war…
Kitty orders them to stop. Jimmy drives them off the road. She explains the militia has the make and the plates and the people at the diner can describe them. They go on foot until they can figure something out. Rogue is disturbed when Kitty takes the assault rifle she took from the militia.
Kitty reveals that, before the fight kicked off, she was on the phone with Nomi in New York. Something happened to Johnny. Bobby wants to know more, but the connection was bad. Kitty only knows about a raid. The tunnels were cleared, the kids probably taken into custody. Nomi was free so she maybe has some with her. But Johnny was taken.
Bobby wonders if he is dead. Jimmy muses if they’d be able to tell him apart from a mutant. Would they care? He doesn’t see them being that picky. They don’t know that, Kitty decides. They only know he’s been taken into custody. And she has no way to contact him.
Kitty insists they go on. Rogue protests; they have to help Johnny and the kids. Jimmy points out they have probably been shipped to a camp and suggests a vote.
Despite his personal feelings, Bobby votes for Kitty. She realizes the gun might be overkill but it’s a powerful symbol and reminds them this is real. She realizes Rogue needs a win soon. She is impressed with Bobby’s control back at the diner and his pragmatism about moving forward. Johnny was his best friend. Is, she corrects herself. She wonders about Jimmy. Is all the attention he gives her a bid for power?
They reach an empty building site. Jimmy searches it and comes up with some soda. As it is the weekend, the camp is empty. They spend about thirty hours there eating and resting. Kitty finds a radio and hides it from the others. The news is bad and they don’t need to know that. They steal the car and leave rested and more optimistic.
Five miles from the border, they stop though this stopped feeling like America twenty miles back. Streets are empty, buildings burning. This town harbored mutants is sprayed on a wall. Rogue tells Kitty to put the gun down, she looks ridiculous. Kitty reminds them they are close to the border. They hide from a Nimrod patrol.
Every twenty-seven minutes, a voice pipes out from a car. They patrol the outer perimeter every twenty-seven minutes, the dark-haired girl clarifies and introduces herself as Paige. Paige Guthrie aka Husk. She asks if they escaped from the camp too. She thought she was the only one who got through security.
They get her some new clothes and Kitty tries to debrief her. How many mutants? Kitty asks. In the camp itself are dozens, Paige figures. In the hills surrounding it might be hundreds. They live underground in these cool old military bunkers. That’s where she was before she was picked up.
“Hundreds” is an army, Kitty figures. Paige warns her everyone’s pretty scared. Kitty tells her why they are here. Paige agrees to take her to the guy she knows who seems to be in charge. They head to the mountains where somebody is already expecting them.
Nick Fury welcomes them and asks if they are ready to get to work.