Ororo has gone to a ballet performance with Stevie Hunter, filling in for Kitty,
who's currently suffering from flu. Wonders why she has taken such a dislike to Stevie, but her musings are interrupted by the arrival of Miss Locke, servant of Arcade, in their box. Storm attacks, revealing her powers
to Stevie, but Miss Locke reveals that she has infected both with a contact
poison, and they will die without her antidote.
Miss Locke explains that Arcade is being held prisoner by Dr Doom, after his
dealings with the Toad. She wishes the X-Men to free Arcade, and make sure Doom
never bothers them again. To ensure their cooperation, she has kidnapped Jean's
parents, Moira MacTaggert, Candy Southern, Amanda Sefton and Illyana Rasputin,
holding them in Murderworld. As she explains, Storm slips into unconsciousness.
When she awakes, Storm notices that Stevie has also been taken, and quickly
flies off to check on Miss Locke's other claims. She heads first to Amanda's
apartment, to discover no one home, and Arcade's card left on the pillow. She
next heads 60 miles up the Hudson river to the Greys', to discover them also
gone, and a note left by Miss Locke detailing the location of Doom. With a few
thoughts for Jean,whose face she sees in the holempathic matrix crystal she heads off to find Xavier. As id sensing her thoughts, the representation of Jean in the crystal frowns.
Professor X's first move is to contact the Beast, in order to get access to the
Avengers' files on Doom. Wolverine argues that it's impossible to protect
everyone you care about all the time, and says they should just trash
Murderworld and Miss Locke, and let everyone know the X-Men can't be
blackmailed. Storm agrees, but says they can't abandon the hostages. She
explains her plan...
In the Rio Diablo, Alex Summers and Lorna Dane work to repair a broken windmill,
when they are interrupted by an astral image of Professor X, requesting they
meet a private plane sent to fetch them. Reluctantly, they accept.
The Professor turns next to Bobby Drake, just finishing his term paper, and then to
Sean Cassidy; who, following Moira's kidnapping, is already on the way. The
strain of doing so leaves him incapable of finding Scott, as a disruption in
the Earth's magnetic field has made astral projection more difficult. This can
only mean one thing - Magneto.
Scott is washed ashore on an island somewhere in the Caribbean. He was stranded
after diving overboard in a freak storm to rescue Aleytis Forrester, his
captain. He groggily opens his eyes to reveal his ruby-quartz glasses are
missing, and his optic blasts gouge into the sand. He uses a makeshift
blindfold ripped from his shirt to hold his eyes permanently closed, just
before Lee finds him.
The X-Men plan to split into two teams in order to defeat Miss Locke. Storm,
Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Colossus and Angel plan to head to Doom's, and
hopefully get Arcade without a fight, while Havok, Polaris, Iceman and Banshee
go to Murderworld to rescue the hostages. After saying goodbye to Kitty (who
still has the flu), Storm's team sets off in the recently repaired Blackbird.
While Storm brazenly enters Doom's castle, and prepares to discuss the surrender
of Arcade over lunch, Nightcrawler teleports onto one of the castle parapets,
surprising and defeating the guards easily, and allowing Angel to bring over
his teammates. The four of them head to Arcade's cell, only to find it empty,
and to have a group of Doom's guards arrive dressed in battle suits designed to
defeat the Fantastic Four. One of them blasts Wolverine, and Colossus’ attempt
to strike back with an improvised mace does absolutely no damage.
Meanwhile, Storm is having dinner with Doctor Doom, and finds herself oddly
drawn to the charismatic villain. Doom, however, has been monitoring the other
X-Men, and knows Storm's purpose is purely to distract him.
Back in the dungeon, Angel immobilises one of their opponents, allowing
Wolverine to attack, while Nightcrawler tricks another two into shooting each
other by teleporting out of the way. Their final opponent flees, much to the
displeasure of the watching Doom. He introduces his other 'guest' to Storm:
Arcade. Realising she's been tricked, Storm lashes out, but she is no match for
Doom. He throws a small globe at her, which, upon impact, quickly turns her
body into solid chrome.
Storm's fellow X-Men arrive, but Doom easily dispatches three of them with an
energy blast. Colossus is unharmed, but a neural disruptor disrupts the motor
functions of his body, taking the young Russian out as well. Doom informs them
that they have entered the lion's den, and they will not leave it alive...