Rachel Summers, the newest X-Man, and New Mutant Amara Aquilla aka Magma are on a tour of New York, currently enjoying the view from the Statue of Liberty. Both of them are strangers in a strange land. Magma comes from a hidden civilization that still lives like in first century Rome, while Rachel is a refugee from a future that has gone horribly bad for mutants. In her mind’s eye, she sees lower Manhattan burning…
Aboard a ship, she was sent out as a Hound, dressed in black and with a tattooed black mask, and ordered to find mutant refugees. She responded as trained, eager to please and gave away the three refugees – a woman and two children. She felt no remorse as they were killed, but a piece of her soul died with them. Later, she was praised by the sergeant as he’d praise an obedient animal.
In the present:
Rachel quietly weeps, thinking of the many whose death she caused. Amara asks her if anything is wrong. Forcing herself to smile, Rachel lies that she got a speck in her eye. Amara doesn’t know how to help and changes the subject. Pointing to a large cruise ship in the harbor, she asks if that’s the liner Ororo’s is on. Rachel confirms.
On the Liner Norway, the present X-Men, Professor X, Nightcrawler (dressed in a tux), Colossus and Rogue, as well as Illyana Rasputin and Lockheed have gathered to see Ororo off in style. The professor assures her they will miss her and feels sad Kitty and Wolverine aren’t here. Kurt suggests she could wait till their return from Japan. Ororo replies she is having a hard enough time bidding them all farewell. If she had to face Kitty, she fears she would never go and she must.
Kurt announces enough with the long faces and pops the champagne. Xavier asks her if she is sure she has made the right decision. Of course not, she admits, but without her powers she is of little use to the team and she cannot assume they will spontaneously regenerate. She must rebuild her life and the best place for that is Africa where she grew to womanhood. Xavier understands and wishes he could do more. As they have to leave, she hugs them all and asks Nightcrawler to give Kitty her love. He tells her to do that herself when she returns.
In the meantime, in lower Manhattan, Rachel and Amara are going shopping.
Not too far away, Jamie Rodriguez notices two colleagues busy with his locker. He chases them away and realizes that the necklace he found was calling to them. The thing again tries to influence him, promising him power. He resists its siren call and slams the locker shut, realizing the locket is evil. He decides to get rid of it tonight.
In the meantime, after they have both gotten some new outfits, Rachel has taken Amara to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art and an exhibition about ancient Rome. For Amara, it’s like coming home, though she confesses her family villa in Nova Roma isn’t anywhere near as grand. The two girls chat and Rachel tells her about the history of the Caesars after Amara’s ancestors left the republic. Amara is reminded that, if it hadn’t been for the New Mutants, Nova Roma would also have become a dictatorship, she and her father would have died. Rachel tries to cheer her up. Amara admits she is homesick. So is Rachel, she silently admits, but unlike Amara she has nowhere she can return to.
Sensing a familiar thought pattern, Rachel runs outside. She stops on the sidewalk, seeing a limousine pass by. The woman inside didn’t sense Rachel who hid her own PSI-patterns.
Impatient, Amara demands an explanation. Rachel apologizes, explaining she heard a familiar mental voice belonging to a mutant who very nearly killed her called Selene. When she senses her agitation, Rachel instinctively reads Amara’s mind to lean she knows Selene from Nova Roma. Amara snarls at her to stay out of her mind. Rachel apologizes. Amara explains that Selene killed her mother. Her life belongs to Amara!
The two girls give chase and follow the limo to an elegant venerable mansion. They find the servants’ entrance and sneak inside. Rachel has a bad feeling though. She has never seen so many alarms in one place. In addition, the building is crammed with psionic baffles and most people in this era don’t even believe in telepaths. Amara tells her to go if she wishes. She is a warrior and a Roman. They do not let their murdered dead go unavenged.
Rifling through a wardrobe she finds French maid outfits and tosses one at Rachel. Rachel gulps when she sees the costume’s collar. She swore never to wear one again. It’s easy for Amara to pretend to be a slave, she figures. She never was one.
Despite her misgivings, they change into the ridiculously short dresses with equally ludicrous high heels none too soon, as a butler enters and tells them he needs them. Rachel notes that she wasn’t aware of him being nearby. She cannot count on her telepathy in this building.
At the same moment, in the secret catacombs beneath the mansion, Friedrich von Roehm presents his protégé Selene in the outfit of the Black Queen as a candidate for the Inner Circle to the Black King, Sebastian Shaw. Shaw remarks that Selene certainly looks the part but the title of Black Queen must be earned.
That will be her pleasure, Selene replies and uses her power over inanimate objects to create a giant fist from the ground that traps Shaw. He breaks free, aware that his escape was a very near thing. Does she know of his weakness against more passive kinds of attacks?
In the meantime, Selene has repaired Shaw’s throne and, as he notices, has made herself comfortable on it. Selene explains she has absolute control over all forms of inorganic matter. Would he like another demonstration? He declines. Selene explains that among her people on such an occasion it is customary to present the host with a gift. Be patient, she will soon return with hers. She disappears into thin air.
Shaw’s assistant Tessa also has suspicions about Selene. Shaw asks if Selene is a teleporter. Tessa explains that she created a momentary trance effect, then slipped away before they recovered their wits. Will he accept Selene? she asks bluntly. He fears he has no alternative.
In the meantime, Rachel has served someone upstairs. Outside, the door she almost breaks down laughing about those people, then is surprised that she is still able to laugh.
The next moment, she slams down her tray on Selene, who tried to sneak up on her, then hits her with a telekinetic blast. Rachel runs towards the stunned woman to find her features changing to those of Amara. That moment, the real Selene surprises Rachel from behind and places her under her power as she did Amara.
Soon, she returns to Shaw, bringing both the girl on leashes. She offers them to Shaw to do with as he will. Tessa immediately notices Rachel’s resemblance to Jean Grey and wonder if she is related and possibly possesses the power of Phoenix. She silently urges Shaw to take the gift and use it to destroy Selene.
Rachel is trapped in her own mind. She is in a nightmare scenario, wearing her “Maori” slave mask and the studded uniform of a hound. She howls in despair, fearing that her desperate flight to the past and her new life have been illusions. She’s too scared to think and escape but then stops herself, refusing to be a slave. She denies the prison and focuses on being herself, creating a fancy superhero outfit to go with it. Selene may have sunk her hooks deep into Rachel, but a part of her is still herself. She figures the moment she tries to wrest control over her body Selene will strike.
She recalls that she never broke the psilink with Amara she established at the museum and wonders if she can shift her consciousness into Amara’s skull without alerting Selene.
She does so and appears in a lovely Roman hall with Amara, dressed as a Roman warrior, kneeling at the feet of the statue of Selene. Amara angrily curses her for not belonging and strikes at her with her sword.
Rachel defends herself with a TK shield. She taunts Amara who reacts with causing an earthquake that shakes the palace apart. Rachel read in her mind that when she fought Selene in Nova Roma Selene drained her lifeforce, but contact with the earth restored Amara and broke Selene’s hold on her. She’s praying this is making history repeat itself.
Transforming into Magma, Amara tears out of Rachel’s grip. ”You dare lay hands on a daughter of Rome”, she shouts, “you dare lay claim to my thoughts! I warned you what would happen!” But instead of Rachel, she fires her lava blast at Selene’s statue.
And as the image of the demon huntress is destroyed, so too is her control over Amara and both girls wake up in their own bodies. However, the tremors Amara caused are real. Tessa worries that her earthquake may tear apart the building. Shaw spits at Selene to deal with her.
If she can, Amara taunts her, if she dares! Rachel realizes that the quakes are even worse than on the psychic plane and hopes no innocents were harmed. Yet, if Amara back down, Selene could enslave her again. She sends out an SOS to Professor X and tries to stagger Selene with a psibolt.
Selene reacts with making the ground come alive and trap the girls, intent on killing them. At that moment, Nightcrawler teleports in and teleports her away.
Magma breaks free, demanding Selene be returned. A moment later, Colossus and Rogue break in through the wall and Professor X manifests in his astral form. He warns Shaw that the X-Men will oblige if he wants to continue this battle.
Shaw asks about Selene. She is upstairs and, thanks to a nerve pinch by Nightcrawler, unconscious. Amara demands her. Xavier refuses and tells her that his students do not kill. If she wishes to remain with them, she must accept that. Cowed, Amara agrees.
While Colossus frees Rachel, Shaw informs Xavier that abducting his brats wasn’t his idea. The Hellfire Club has no quarrel with the X-Men. If they wish to leave, that’s fine with him.
Later, in the foyer, Rachel complains they can’t get outside dressed like that, especially herself and Amara in their maid outfits. Who’d notice in New York? Rogue shrugs. She’d really rather not find out, Rachel replies primly and tries one of her mother’s favorite stunts, transforming their clothes into every day clothes. After that, she sinks down, exhausted.
Amara asks the Professor how the X-Men found them. Rachel figures he heard her telepathic mayday. Not exactly, he replies. As they step outside they see why: earthquake damage. Somberly, Amara wonders what all that damage was for. Selene lives, her mother is unavenged and Selene is at liberty to spread her evil. Rachel tries to comfort her, figuring it will be a long time till she steps out of line and then they’ll be waiting and ready to nail her once and for all!
Later, Jaime Rodriguez is waiting in the subway, intent on destroying the necklace this night. Hammer the gems and melt down the gold. He tries to distract himself with his watchman listening to a news show about “Dazzler – the movie.” The clearly biased commenter rants against mutants in the worst way.
Jaime doesn’t notice the man sneaking up behind him, as he takes a knife and stabs Jaime in the back. The man takes out the necklace and screams in pain as fire engulfs him. Kulan Gath is free again after countless centuries to make the world his…