on an unknown island…
While scouting the island, Cyclops explains that he’s got nothing on their scanners or NORAD’s. There are also no heat signatures in the high atmosphere or comm. static. He realizes someone pulled a prank on them. Xavier agrees with that, but finds it a diversionary tactic, realizing it happened to lure them away from New York.
He suggests to Jean that perhaps, if they link minds, they can extend their range sufficiently to find out more. Jean doesn’t think so, claiming she already checked. There is a psychic lockdown on New York City and it’s airtight. She believes all they can do is head back there at warp nine, hoping they’ll be there in time to be of some use.
Baxter Building, New York City…
Rhona attacks Reed, telling him that it’s not like it was before and all different now, confident that this will change everything. Reed is in pain. Rhona explains that she means she was just going to do the old fighting routine and get the Fantastic Four defeated by the X-Men, but now it seems to her that idea was so lame because there’s so much more fun games they could play.
Sue tends to Reed’s wounds, asking him if he’s alright. Rhona continues to reveal that, just for starters, she can hijack the Fantastic Four’s systems out from under them. She believes that could be fun and realizes there must be even more fun things to do she hasn’t even seen yet. However, Reed’s mind is a little bit more slippery than she thought they would be, but she can still freeze Reed’s friends, as that’s not so hard to do.
Ben gets confused. Rhona admits that she doesn’t know what Cerebro would do to a mutant mind or a baseline human. But she doesn’t really care about that, as she got what she wanted. She reveals that her Cerebro unit is more customized and specialized. She notices that Reed is in pain and sarcastically asks if she’s keeping him awake. She hears the approaching soldiers and decides to have a little fun with them. She attacks soldier Harper and he starts to bleed, and the heavy pain in his head causes the poor guy to faint.
Reed doesn’t know what to do. Rhona tells Reed he needs to stop her before she kills someone again. He tends to the fallen soldier. When another soldier asks what happened to Harper, Reed explains they are under attack by Burchill, and she told the soldier to stop breathing and he obeyed. She shut Harper down from the inside. Ben remembers Rhona because she was mad and had a crazy face. He wants to know what she’s got to do with this. Johnny also wants to know what he is supposed to do with the X-Men, as he still hasn’t been able to break through the ice-field. He wants to know if they have to fight the mutants.
Reed doesn’t want to, thinking it would be better to find out what Rhona stole from them. He also doesn’t want to pick a fight with the X-Men. Wolverine uses his claws to break through the ice-field. He faces Ben again, telling the kids that, if they want a piece of him, they can have it, but he warns them that he’s heaving a lousy day. Ben jokes that Logan apparently never learns his lesson. Logan remarks back that he’s still having trouble with it, suggesting that Ben runs it by him one more time. Ben starts fighting again, much to Wolverine’s liking. He dodges it, and kicks Ben into his face and the rocky super-hero falls down.
Logan goes to sit on him and threatens to use his claws on Ben’s neck if he moves even slightly. But suddenly, he feels weird and falls down! Johnny thinks Sue must have attacked Wolverine with an invisible ray gun or something. Sue didn’t. Reed believes that Logan is sick. Ben jokingly agrees with that. Reed approaches Bobby and Kitty, asking how they feel about a truce.
Rhona gets overwhelmed by the fun she is having. She explains to Robbie that it feels like someone is holding the world right up close to her face and can making her see everything all at once. She looks at her Cerbero unit and remarks that, if someone strips away the skin and the shell and that the result is that you can see how it works and how it all fits together with the signal in the wire and the rush in the blood pulse in the heart. She considers all of those things to be the very same thing. She believes that people are just like machines, as she is always aware where they are.
the Bater Building…
Reed is busy making a device and marks it with an “X” insignia. He mentions that he will need a good-sized sample for the scope. Everyone wants to know what they’re going to do about the unavoidable damage. Reed explains he’ll laser-weld it back together again afterwards.
Kitty notices that Bobby is sitting around without wearing his shirt, and sarcastically asks if he’s afraid to catch a chill. He ignores her and just smirks. Reed is impressed that the X-Men’s uniforms shield them from Sentinel-style scanning sweeps. He can see how they work and is impressed by the intelligent data refraction and can even modify it. Kitty asks Reed if he ever had a girlfriend. Reed is startled by that question.
Kitty changes the subject, wanting to know where Logan is, as he isn’t waiting with them. She wants to know if he’s going to be okay. Reed thinks so. He explains that Rhona hit Wolverine with a retro-virus that mutates every seven seconds. It’s too fast for even Logan’s systems to cope with. But Reed built an antibody and injected Logan with it, which should work fine once Logan wakes up in about a week or so. Kitty doesn’t like having their heaviest hitter sitting on the bench.
At the back, Johnny doesn’t understand why Kitty is talking to Reed while he’s in the room. Sue can’t believe her brother likes Kitty, thinking she’s practically a terrorist and looks cheap. She changes the subject, explaining through a computer hologram that the spike Ben and Johnny can see is where Rhona takes over the computers downstairs. Sue defends it’s not simultaneous and shows on the map where it propagates to and from. She adds that they’ve got a vector and unless Rhona is faking them out, she is nowhere northwest of them.
Johnny mentions that there are a couple of dozen places that are pulling enough power for Rhona to pull her dirty tricks. But he has noticed there’s only one that surges at the right times. Johnny believes that’s where Rhona is hiding. Ben thinks that’s great and just wants to go over there and put Burchill out of business. Professor Storm doesn’t want the team to go anywhere and let the Ultimates handle this. Kitty doesn’t think that will do any good, defending that they defeated them on their own turf.
Sue also doesn’t think that the Ultimates will be able to handle it. She tells him to imagine what Rhona could do if she took over Iron Man’s mind, or even Captain America’s. She is confident that Reed’s plan will give them a chance. And Sue also realizes that Rhona wants the Fantastic Four to find her, so she’ll let them enter close. It has to be them. Franklin doesn’t like the idea, but agrees.
A few moments later, Ben, Reed, Johnny and Iceman are in the Fantasticar. Reed explains that the refraction shields he made should make them immune to Rhona’s psi-powers. He mentions to Johnny that his suit is fireproof, but only up to four hundred degrees and warns he has to keep it under control. Ben jokes that this must be walk-to-work week, since they are flying low. Reed explains to Ben that Rhona can commandeer machines. If she sees them coming, she can shoot them out of the sky using her brain. Bobby smirks that some of them have their own transport. He asks Johnny if he’s in for a race. They go for it. Ben believes that their silent running plan is ruined now. Reed isn’t sure, as Johnny’s powers don’t exactly play well in stealth mode. And anyway, he reminds Ben, that’s what the girls are for.
Elsewhere near the docks, Kitty phases herself and Sue through Rhona’s hideout. She phases through some security machines, hoping that should take them out of business. Sue sarcastically remarks that she thought they were in a hurry. Kitty mentions she’s open for suggestions. Sue smirks that she thought maybe she could make some point-sized invisible force fields inside the machine casings, and then expand them to seven or eight feet in diameter inside of half a second. That might do the job a little faster. She asks Kitty what she thinks.
Rhona thinks that Reed is pathetic for trying to cut her off from the grid. She’s a big girl now and not afraid of the dark.
Up in the air, Bobby notices that Johnny is melting his ice-slide and that makes it a foul. Johnny didn’t thought they were having rules. In that case, he suggests they might as well play Chinese checkers. Bobby suddenly notices a girl standing on a roof. She jumps! Bobby catches her, and asks what’s wrong with the girl. It’s Rhona in disguise, and she mentions to Bobby that she was just pushing his buttons. She uses her powers to make a button on Bobby’s body. She turns it on, and takes over his mind!
Ben smashes through the bunker. He has noticed Burchill has bulkhead doors on every floor apparently. He thinks that maybe her dad is in the business. And if he is, he jokes, he’s going to get a bulk order tomorrow morning. Reed warns Ben to wait, noticing that the stair rail they can see is humming. Ben doesn’t care. Reed thinks that something is coming. Robbie jumps down and attacks! Ben wants to deal with this one. As Robbie is almost above them, Ben quickly knocks him out!
Johnny has noticed that Bobby rescued a little girl and compliments him on the nice catch. Iceman, now completely under Rhona’s control, hears Johnny and fires an ice-fist at him! Johnny falls down and Bobby continues moving towards Rhona’s hideout.
At her hideout, Rhona claims that boys’ minds smell like a locker room. She never knew they were so afraid of losing face so she hooked on status. She believes it’s kind of sad and thinks that maybe she should redecorate a little. As she keeps talking, Rhona doesn’t seem to notice Kitty phasing behind her. Rhona continues to say that everyone is afraid and messed up inside, like life forces them into weird shapes. She’s getting sick of it and of all the misery and excuses.
Kitty tries to phase through Rhona’s head, but she suddenly notices the young X-Man. She turns around and tells Kitty she could scramble her circuits with her ghostly little fingers, but she won’t let her try it. Instead, she uses Cerebro to take over Kitty’s mind as well! Sue appears and tries to attack Rhona, but she gets spotted as well and knocked against the wall.
Rhona goes to Ben and Reed. Ben asks her if she’s going to pull her little-girl-lost routine again, because that’s one of his favorites. Rhona claims she won’t, wanting to try out something different. But Ben can stop her if he heard this one before. She enters Ben’s head and learns he is a slow learner. She mentions she can control machines as well as minds and all she has to do is turn Ben’s shields off. She does and now fully controls Ben’s mind, and makes him grab Reed tightly. Now she thinks it might be fun if all of the heroes fight to the death. All of the mind-controlled heroes agrees.
Rhona mentions that death is where it crashes, and where it stops meaning anything. She thinks it’s vile and that every life ends on the same bum note. She doesn’t understand why people even try to make their lives work if they know they’re going to die sometime. She stops talking, angrily demanding to know if Reed is making her have these doubts. Reed, in pain due to Ben’s strong arms, corrects Rhona that it’s her own doing. She said that her mind was expanding to touch everything. All he did was steal an idea from her. He put a virus into the buffers of the psi-shields.
Rhona is startled that Reed spiked Cerebro, but Reed claims he didn’t. Instead, he enhanced the helmet so it would work faster, and move Rhona past knowledge and understanding to perfect empathy. Rhona freaks out. Reed smirks that now it isn’t so easy to hate anyone anymore. Rhona angrily pushes Cerebro off her head and orders Reed to shut up. Reed tells her she ends up seeing everyone’s point of view right now, almost like God does.
Rhona screams for control and runs towards Robbie. He gets up. She orders him to set off the pocket nukes and to go down with the ship. She wants the X-Men and the Fantastic Four torched and dead. Robbie does as ordered and logs in the activation codes for the nukes into the computer. Reed tries to stop Robbie using his powers, but fails. As the door almost closes, a hand holds it back. It’s Wolverine! Logan smirks that Reed may be a bagful of ugly, but he’s still a sight for his sore eyes as he thought he missed the fight. He snikts out his claws.
With Cerebro down, everyone turns back to normal... Johnny feels like someone stepped on his brain. Kitty warns that Rohna is getting away in her plane and wants to chase her. Logan tells her not to sweat it, as he’s got things covered. He shows a secondary fuel line and once Rhone hits the reheat well, things will go kaboom. Rhona makes her ship leave at top speed, and then it explodes entirely! Logan wants to know if anyone knows any good prayers.
The Baxter Building, the next day…
Reed gives Wolverine a bag with all of the pieces of Cerebro in it. Logan thanks him for it, but Reed warns him to remember to disinfect the virtual memory before he reconnects any of this stuff to the system. Logan promises he’ll bear that in mind. Lumpkin angrily wants to know if anyone is going to charge the mutants for breaking into this place. Professor Storm is actually grateful that the X-Men did that under these circumstances. Johnny asks Kitty, if she ever wants to go to the movies with him, she just needs to call. Kitty kindly thanks him for the offer, but mentions she is seeing someone right now. And she doesn’t think Johnny’s sister likes her very much.
Iceman, Shadowcat and Wolverine walk back to Logan’s car. Logan is glad to be out of that place, as he always gets antsy hanging around that many security soldiers. Kitty wants to make sure if Logan is feeling fine. They enter his car, and Logan smiles that is feeling fine now. Bobby and Kitty joke, wanting to know if they’re back home yet, because Kitty needs to go to the bathroom. Logan warns them to cut it out, not wanting to come to the backseat and kill them both.
They make it to the freeway. The other X-Men catch up with them and Jean contacts Logan, asking if everything’s okay. Logan confirms it is, joking if Jean didn’t trust them to mind the shop. He jokes that he’ll race Jean home.