‘No, thank you, Wolverine. I don’t think I will join your X-clan. I appreciate the invite, but I’m having visions of being trapped in the belly of a Celestial Gardener - surrounded by strangers from a parallel dimension - hunting for the origin of life. An exhausting expedition I’d just as soon avoid. Ah, how things could’ve been were I not a terrible dolt’ Fantomex thinks to himself as he pilots EVA through an army of Celestial drones inside the Age of Apocalypse. The Celestial drones are managing to break through EVA, Accompanying Fantomex are three natives of this reality - Rogue, Sunfire and Gambit. ‘They just keep coming! They can’t be stopped!’ Rogue exclaims as she punches a drone backwards.
‘Bah! Fight them with heart or we will be overrun!’ Sunfire declares as he unleashes a burst of flaming energy. Gambit charges a playing card with kinetic energy and informs Fantomex that they cannot hold these things back much longer. ‘Suggestions?’ he asks. ‘Guns instead of playing cards’ Fantomex replies as he turns and fires a weapon at a Celestial drone which reaches for Gambit. Fantomex returns to controlling EVA and remarks that he is sure Gambit thought those playing cards were a cute idea. “Oh, look at a me, I’m such a roguish anti-hero, I toss around playing cards” Fantomex mocks, while offering to wager that Gambit has an eight ball tattooed somewhere, too. ‘Gallows humor, mon ami? Can we die in peace without suffering your performance?’ Gambit asks.
EVA moves into the Celestial, and announces that the Life Seed has been detected. ‘If I absorb more damage without time to heal…’ EVA announces, while one drone inside the Celestial utters something indecipherable. Fantomex tells himself that his travelling companions glean intimate secrets about each other, while the sexual tension between Rogue and Gambit was apparent before they left New Atlantis. Fantomex realizes that both are now waiting to see just how damned they are before unburdening themselves. The drone blasts EVA, who announces that rear gravity inversion maw is shattered. ‘I can no longer maintain gravity’ EVA states. ‘Rogue, there are things I must tell you -’ Gambit begins, to which Rogue informs him that he can tell her tonight from the safety of camp, as they are not dead yet.
Fantomex asks EVA that if she must crash, can she direct them towards the Life Seed, before wondering ‘Ah, what is this…fear? Reminds me how infrequently I feel it. Some part of my realizing the truth…that these Celestial drones will overtake us’. EVA plummets downwards, and Fantomex points out that these bruised souls are risking their lives to help them. ‘Please do not let them down!’ Fantomex declares. EVA replies that she will strive to smash into the location of Fantomex’s choosing without detonating or killing too many of their guests. EVA lands an instant later, and informs everyone that the Life Seed is in the chamber beneath her. ‘Let’s not dillydally’ she tells them.
Rogue helps Fantomex up, while Fantomex replies ‘Dillydally? Dear, you crack me up?’ before asking EVA if she can repair. EVA replies that she will need time. ‘Then you will have it!’ Sunfire declares as he takes to the air to challenge a Celestial drone. Rogue remarks that, for once, she is glad for Sunfire’s bottomless confidence. Fantomex sees some sort of control panel and climbs down towards it, while Gambit asks him if his French accent is fake. Fantomex explains that the virtual France he was raised in had imperfect programming. ‘Still more dignified than your mutt Creole, yes?’ Fantomex asks.
Rogue hovers by Sunfire who is still challenging the Celestial drone. Rogue remarks that they cannot take it down, but that they can buy Fantomex and Gambit some time. Sunfire tells her not to dampen his performance with her desperation, while he releases more flame at the drone. Standing before the control panel, Gambit asks Fantomex if he knows how to access Celestial technology. Fantomex replies that before seeing it, he would have said no, but that it is identical to the technology that he has used in The World. ‘A mystery for another time’ he decides as he presses his hand against a panel and suggests they get the Life Seed and go.
Suddenly, the drone strikes at Sunfire, knocking him back. ‘Quickly - tell it to give us another’ Gambit tells Fantomex as he attempts to press the control again. ‘No such luck. There is only the one’ Fantomex replies. As Rogue falls down next to them, and Fantomex mutters ‘Our situation did require another complication to be completely bolloxed’. The drone drops down beside them, ‘And another still’ Fantomex exclaims. Gambit shuffles his deck of cards and tells Fantomex and Rogue to go. ‘There is not defeating these things’ he points out. ‘No! We can -’ Rogue begins, but Gambit interrupts her and tells her to be the sensible one for once in her life. Rogue begins to protest once more, but Fantomex tells her that Gambit is right. ‘No other way we’re getting out of here’ he agrees.
Rogue grabs Fantomex and takes flight, while calling out to Gambit, telling him to hold the drone off and that they will be back for him. Gambit tells her that there is no time for delusions. ‘I will note leave this place’ he concedes, telling Rogue to get home and make something good from all of this. ‘So. Here we are. Standing against a terrible beast to save the true love of my life…there are worse ways to die’ Gambit declares as he releases the deck of kinetically charged cards at the drone, causing a massive explosion. Inside the escaping EVA, Rogue and Sunfire look down at the explosion. ‘Oh God…’ Rogue utters. Sunfire is annoyed: ‘We allow our friend to perish while fleeing like cowards?’ he asks. Rogue tells him that they are doing what they came here to do and points out that Gambit gave them the time to do it. Covering his face, Sunfire boasts that he would have stood in Gambit’s place, taken the burden of sacrifice. Wide-eyed as EVA approaches several more drones, Fantomex tells Sunfire that is good news, as he might get that chance!
Meantime, in The Sky, the prison that hovers over Manhattan, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan, Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock and Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool are in danger, as they, along with this reality’s X-Men, have come to find the teleporter, Gateway. Wolverine holds the bones of the daughter he never had. Her charred remains dominating his senses. A flat note plays in his head and everything goes red - before Wolverine goes berserk, and spins around, attacking his counterpart from this reality, known as Weapon X. Nearby, ‘Kill them all - hold nothing back - the Black Legion must fall!’ Jean Grey orders as she attacks the Orange Hulk. The Blob begins biting chunks out of Wild Child’s arms, while Sabretooth slashes at the Blob’s obese body. ‘Let ‘im go, fat boy!’ Sabretooth warns him.
The Blob flings Wild Child away and slams Sabretooth’s face into the ground, ‘Don’t never stand between me and a meal, stink-pits!’ Blob warns Sabretooth. Weapon X releases a burst of energy from his arm and declares ‘Understand your situation - I am evolved beyond Apocalypse. Leave now or I’ll kill you all’. Wolverine’s thoughts race through his mind - he wants to cut off Weapon X’s head, tear out his jugular and drink the blood. ‘Murderer!’ Wolveirne shouts. Deadpool and this reality’s Nightcrawler come to his aid. ‘In thirty minutes or carnage is free!’ Deadpool remarks.
In the Sentinel that the X-Men converted into their transport, Magneto informs the Silver Samurai that he can no longer hear Jean Grey’s thoughts. The Silver Samurai realizes that the Sentinels stationed on The Sky are turning their attention towards them. ‘They’re aware of our presence!’ Silver Samurai declares. Magneto is shocked when they no longer respond to his commands, and announces that they have stumbled into a trap, as one of the Sentinels attacks them.
Weapon X wraps his one hand around Deadpool’s neck and tells him that there is nothing to be gained from killing him and his friends. ‘Submit and go home’ he commands. Deadpool replies that is reasonable and is totally down for it. ‘But you just killed your daughter. And she’s also the daughter of our Wolverine, sort of, and he’s our boss so that sort of clinches -’ Deadpool is cut short from finishing his sentence when Weapon X throws him into Nightcrawler. ‘You weren’t born of this world - but I will bury you here!’ he boasts.
Wolverine rushes towards Weapon X, when suddenly, everyone stops as a voice resonates through the heads. It is Jean Grey, who hovers over them in a blaze of fiery energy. Weapon X stares up at her and remarks ‘Look at ya. Took control of all of ‘em. Effortless, too, ain’t it? My God I’ve missed you’ he tells her, before asking her to listen to him for a second to give them time to catch up. ‘Listen to you who sent men to slaughter Rogue’s son? Listen to you executioner of billions of humans? Listen to you who brutally murdered my family, my friends!?’ Jean asks, angrily. ‘I had no choice’ Weapon X claims. He points out that if evolution didn’t move forward, the Celestials would have deemed their world a failure, they would have ended them, which is just part of what they do. ‘I ascended to save everything - to save you’.
‘Ascended? Into what? Another Apocalypse? Another mass murderer?’ Jean asks. Weapon X replies that he serves a natural cosmic force for evolution. ‘There is no right, no wrong. Manmade concepts just don’t apply’ Weapon X explains. He adds that he clears the dead branches to make room for healthier stock. ‘You are not the man I loved!’ Jean shouts. ‘I’ve taken a few steps above him’ Weapon X replies, adding that the Celestials did not intend for humanity to be the final stage. ‘Humanity has to go’ he declares. He reveals that the culling is almost done, that humanity is all but wiped out. ‘There is no undoing it’ he claims. ‘But with your power. The power of Phoenix, our world might be reborn’ Weapon X tells Jean. ‘Help me rebuild’ he asks her, extending his hand.
Jean drops down to the ground and slowly walks towards him as he says ‘Save your friends. End this way. We can be together’. Jean drops the Phoenix energy, and reaches out to him, convinced. But she frowns, and turns away. ‘No’ she declares, before powering up once more, and releasing energy that flows over Weapon X. ‘I will not rebuild life atop a graveyard of your making!’ she tells Weapon X. But Weapon X forces himself through the energy, ‘You will change your mind. Trust me!’ he declares as he smacks Jean in the head, knocking her out. He picks her up, and a teleport signal begins, while Weapon X calls out to the others, telling them that it is time to choose - either they are part of building the new world, or they will be demolished with the old.
Soon, Weapon X arrives back at his complex. ‘Welcome home. Your splendor graces us all’ a stone-like figure resembling Storm calls out. Carrying Jean Grey still, Weapon X addresses the stone-like figure as Orordius and reminds her that she knows he is not a fan of that “royal” talk. He tells Orordius to ready the Death Seed, announcing that his bride is ready to join them.
Back inside The Sky, Wolverine, Betsy, Fantomex, Sabretooth, Wild Child and Nightcrawler become surrounded by the rest of the Black Legion. ‘We ain’t gonna leave Jeannie with that son of a bitch’ Wolverine declares. Nightcrawler agrees and asks what they are going to do. ‘First, kill these people. Second, we go get Jeannie. Third…you’re all coming back home with us!’ Wolverine announces, as the heroes engage the Black Legion in combat. But as this happens, Iceman, who survived being squashed by the Blob, races from The Sky, ‘This wasn’t part of the deal. Deal is lopsided enough - but this…I’m outa here!’ he announces as he jumps from The Sky, and rises away on an ice-sled.
Wolverine finds Gateway and tells him that they need his help. ‘You got a couple of portals in you?’ he asks. ‘I…I’ll try…’ Gateway replies. Wolverine’s thoughts call out to Betsy, who tells him that she will be right with him. Suddenly, the Blob races towards an outer wall, telepathically possessed by Betsy, he shouts ‘Oh, no! I’m not in control of my sexy body! Do your worst, telepath! Ain’t nothing can hurt -’ but he runs straight through the wall, and off the side of The Sky. Betsy kicks Iron Ghost in the face, while Sabretooth takes on Beta Red. Wolverine’s thoughts call out to Betsy, reminding her that this is not their fight. ‘Jean’s in trouble. You and Creed get over here - we’re leaving’ he tells her.
Betsy tells her former Exiles teammate that Gateway is conscious and that Jean needs them. ‘Come’ Betsy calls out. ‘Gutting me one last pig’ Sabretooth tells her as he slices up Beta Red. They arrive at the hole in the wall that the Blob caused, and Nightcrawler asks ‘Does hopeless mean the same thing in your world? Because this plan, it is hopeless’. Suddenly, a voice calls out ‘Not entirely. Perhaps I can help to choose a more cheerful adjective?’ Wolverine stares at the new arrival and remarks ‘Was wondering’ if you’d show’.
At his base, Weapon X stands over Jean Grey, who lies motionless on a table. He is about to stab her with the Death Seed, and declares ‘I’m sorry, but this will hurt, Jeannie’. Suddenly, ‘Long as we’re spreading around hurt…I got some to share!’ Wolverine exclaims as a portal opens and he, Betsy, Deadpool, Nightcrawler, Sabretooth and Wild Child drop down, courtesy of Gateway. ‘Hot Wolverine-on-Wolverine action!’ Deadpool exclaims.
Everyone attacks in a predictable fashion. At a snail’s pace to Weapon X’ss eyes. The moment sticks in time. As Wolverine lunges at Weapon X, who stops his attack with enough time to give him a wink. Betsy deals with Orordius, putting her to sleep, while Nightcrawler teleports towards Weapon X, his sword ready - only Weapon X knows where he will arrive before Nightcrawler even teleports - and he slices him apart with his claws, while his other arm turns to Deadpool. Someone screams for Deadpool to move, but it is too late. ‘Holy sh-’ Deadpool begins, before his head is blasted apart. ‘He lacks the time to react’ Weapon X tells himself, before Betsy moves on to stage three, taking command of his mind. ‘You will stop this - NOW!’ Betsy orders, but her plan fails, and she is knocked aside as Weapon X breaks free from her control.
Wolverine picks up Jean and tries to shake her to consciousness, telling her that they are in trouble. Weapon X sees that Wolverine has his back turned to him, thinking Jean can save them. He unleashes a burst of energy from his arm, while thinking to himself that Jean cannot save them, as the energy strikes Wolverine. Weapon X turns to Orordius and asks where his wife is. Orordius replies that she revived, and Jean was gone. She offers to scan the base, pointing out that they cannot have gotten far. ‘Enough!’ Weapon X shouts, punching Orordius in the face so hard that her jaw breaks off. But it is not Orordius who falls to the floor, it is Fantomex. ‘End this duplicity’ Weapon X commands. ‘Broken through misdirection’ Fantomex explains as he adjusts his jaw.
Under Betsy’s telepathic thrall, Gateway opens a portal, and Wolverine prepares to help Jean into it. ‘Stop! You can’t have her - she’s mine!’ Weapon X shouts. ‘Not anymore, Bub. Ain’t how this goes down’ Wolverine tells him, while his thoughts reach out to Betsy, telling her that it is time to go, and asking where the others are. ‘On their way’ Betsy replies, and on cue, Sunfire and Rogue race towards Weapon X. ‘Betrayer! Suffer your retribution at the atomic hands of Sunfire!’ he booms. ‘I can’t believe it was you, Logan. You’ve broken my heart, angel’ Rogue tells Weapon X, who claims that he has saved their world from Celestial judgement. ‘Saved you all!’ he shouts.
Betsy turns to Fantomex who is helping Nightcrawler and asks him ‘What are you doing? You have the Life Seeds! Use one on him!’ Fantomex replies that there was only one seed, so if they use it now, they will not have one to use on Warren. Jean has revived and tells Wolverine to take the seed, to save his world. Wolverine tells her that he will not leave her stranded with this, not after all she has been through. ‘Listen to me - this is our fight. I can see what you’d sacrifice for me, but -’ Jean begins, however Wolverine interrupts her, ‘No way in hell are we leaving you alone while we have the thing that can drop this chump!’ Wolverine declares. ‘Take that son of a bitch down!’ Logan orders, to which Fantomex, holding the Life Seed, tells him that his emotions are clouding his judgment. Betsy tells Logan that if this is what Warren is becoming, they cannot afford to give away the cure.
‘She is mine - you do not get her!’ Weapon X declares as he shoves his claws into Sunfire’s chest. Power radiates around Jean Grey as she tells Wolverine that his gesture is very noble, but that it is not his fault. She lifts the four interlopers into the air, while Wolverine tells her to put her down. ‘Don’t you dare make this call for me!’ he declares. Jean tells him that she will not leave her world to what her husband has become. Weapon X tosses Nightcrawler aside and moves towards Rogue as he shouts ‘Jean is my bride - my death! You will not take her from!’ Jean tells Wolverine that she can hear his teammates’ true desires, explaining that they want to go back and save his world. ‘So do you’ she adds.
But Wolverine replies’ No! I won’t let you die again! I’m not going to abandon you, Jeannie!’ Jean looks away as she tells Wolverine that he is going to abandon her because she is not his Jeannie. ‘I’m his’ she adds, staring at Weapon X. ‘NO!’ Logan shouts, while Jean bids him goodbye, as she uses her power to tear apart the fabric of space and time. Everything goes white, and Jean can be heard whispering ‘Save your world….
An instant later, X-Force are returned to the headquarters in their true reality. ‘No! Son of a bitch! All we’ve been through - everything - for nothing’ Wolverine utters. Suddenly, ‘Not for nothing…you brought me the Life Seed!’ Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Archangel declares as he stands over X-Force, his appearance hidden in shadows, but what can be seen, he has clearly changed. At his side is a large armored being, and McCoy, the Dark Beast. Behind them are the Final Horsemen….