New York City, early morning. A whole parade of police cars patrols the streets. Finally, officers announce an emergency and order everyone off the streets and to remain calm. A huge, red-haired man asks a police officer what the trouble is. Ain’t he heard, the cop replies. Juggernaut’s back in town! And Cain Marko grins…
He turns towards a crowd having gathered around a news reporter who is indeed talking about the Juggernaut, who was sighted on the Staten Island ferry less than an hour ago. The reporter continues that this couldn’t have happened at a worse time: the height of the morning rush hour in one of the most densely crowded working neighborhoods in New York City. At present, authorities have no idea of the villain’s objective.
While footage of the Juggernaut’s fights with the X-Men, the Hulk and Spider-Man is shown, the reporter Mick Travis goes into the Juggernaut’s known history. In his career, many so-called super-heroes have tried to capture him, without success. He clashed most often with the mutant X-Men and the rampaging Hulk. Most recently in midtown Manhattan, he tangled with the X-Men and Spider Man.
The reporter notes that both the X-Men and Spider-Man are often denounced as villains but they always seem more than ready to protect the people. He hopes today isn’t the day they decide people are no longer worth the effort.
Grinning, Cain walks away.
In Westchester, the same report wakes Nightcrawler, who is still tired after watching “the Crimson Pirate” at 2 am. When he hears the name Juggernaut, he is startled, then decides to hide under the cover, figuring someone else should handle it.
Kitty Pryde solves the problem of the annoying alarm clock by phasing her hand through it.
In his room, Colossus stretches. He was hurt during the battle with the Hellions and aches everywhere, meaning he couldn’t sleep. He’d like to talk with the Professor but he was summoned to Muir Isle the moment they returned from Cheyenne Mountain. Colossus muses he’s been off his game for months and he isn’t sure how to solve it. When he hears the news, he powers up. He has been looking forward to a rematch with the Juggernaut. This time, they will see who is the better man!
Rachel sits in her room, cradling a picture of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor and broods, thinking of all the people she lost. Like Ishmael in Moby Dick, she is alone to tell the tale. She’s all alone and this present isn’t her past. Here Jean Grey died years ago, meaning Rachel will never be born.
Rogue is taking a shower, listening to the radio – a song by Nazgul – and doesn’t care about the Juggernaut problem. The X-Men have earned a day off!
Wolverine is out on his early morning run. He jogged ten miles easily. He’s in good shape despite almost dying twice this year. He wonders if his mind and spirit heal as easily. They’ve taken some heavy hits. Nigtcrawler is having a hard time cutting it as boss. He ain’t a natural like Cyclops and Storm. He’s too scared of failure. But he’s the best they got right now. He isn’t doing that badly either. None of the others – Wolverine included – are near capable of handling the responsibility. Kitty’s got potential but is too young.
Inside the house, he hears the radio. He calls Kurt from outside his room. Wrong address, nobody home! Kurt replies. Juggy’s their kinda trouble, Logan reminds him.
Kurt teleports into the hallway and accuses him of being a sadistic brute. They are in no shape for this. Logan points out they are all there is. Do they have to? Kurt sulks. No, Logan points out. They never have to. Kurt sighs and asks for coffee. Logan offers to wake the others.
Kenya, East Africa, on the great sprawling veldt that lies below Mount Kilimanjaro, where a safari has paused at a modest bush station. Most of the party is outside, discussing the scarce game and the drought. Inside one of the members, a blond man named Andreas, asks the owner, a young woman, if she runs the place by herself. Since her husband’s death, the woman replies who clearly grates at his patronizing manner.
He touches her hip, remarking his sister is also a widow. Sometimes she misses Jan terribly. Is she lonely too? She demands he let her go. He refuses. Standing in the doorway, Ororo suggests he do as he is told.
Two of the guards turn up and Andreas orders them to deal with her. He is busy. Ororo turns around and hits the two men across the faces with her walking stick. That moment, Andreas tackles her from behind. They both stumble outside.
One of the women wants to interfere but the blonde, Andreas’s sister, tells her not to. This may prove amusing. Not for Andreas, though, as Ororo quickly wins the battle.
Seeing that, the blonde aims her rifle at Ororo, who throws her knife, making her drop the rifle. Ororo takes the rifle and points out she could have killed both siblings but refuses to soil her homecoming with their blood. She suggests they do not press their luck and orders them to leave.
Once they are gone, she warns the young woman they may return. Getting a good look at her hair since the shawl came loose, the woman recognizes her as Ororo and sinks down in front of her calling her “goddess.”
In Manhattan at the First United National Bank, Cain Marko waits as an ordinary customer. Elsewhere in the lobby stand Kitty and Rachel, who watch what he does. When Kitty complains, Rachel reminds her to speak telepathically only. Kitty apologizes. She isn’t used to working with a telepath. The professor barely did much fieldwork and Phoenix was before her time. She instantly apologizes for mentioning Jean. Rachel tells her no harm done.
Kitty informs Nightcrawler, who is on the roof with Rogue, that it seems to be ordinary business. Kurt tells them to keep watching. If Marko behaves himself, they’ll leave him in peace.
Wolverine and Colossus are in the alley beneath. No sign of Juggy’s partner, Black Tom, or any goons. The situation looks legit. Thank Heaven for small favors! Nightcrawler sighs.
Colossus points out that Kurt sounds afraid. Lot to be afraid of, Logan agrees. Peter should know; he fought him. And would very much like to do so again. Peter announces. Logan tells him to be patient. Only a fool picks a scrap when there’s no need. He’s glad Kurt has more smarts than that.
Suddenly, with a blinding light, the slick metallic form of Nimrod appears in the bank. He announces it is his duty to deal with the criminals at large in here. His scanners reveal three primary targets, Juggernaut, Rachel and Kitty. He tells them they’ve been judged enemies of humanity. The sentence is death!
He blasts at them. Juggernaut’s clothes are disintegrated and reveal his Juggernaut costume underneath. Furious, Marko warns him he has made a big mistake!
The girls were only protected from the blast by Rachel’s telekinetic shield. Both have no idea who he is and why he knows them. As Nimrod keeps up the attack Rachel warns she can no longer uphold her shield and Kitty phases them through the floor into the main vault.
She jokes she could be one heckuva thief or spy. Modesty Pryde, Kitty Bond. She notices Rachel is pale. The other girl senses the panic of the people upstairs. Kitty asks her to alert Nightcrawler and try and calm the crowd. Make them follows Kitty’s lead as Kitty opens the doors and lets them out.
Kitty wonders if Nimrod is a cop. Since that Cheyenne Mountain fiasco, the X-Men are wanted by the feds. Maybe the smart play is to head for the hills. Those two bozos look like they can take care of themselves.
Juggernaut has finally put on his helmet and is ready to attack. A force beam punches him through the walls outside onto a construction site. And even Juggernaut must admit he’s never been hit so hard. He thought only the Hulk could pull such a stunt.
Nimrod lands next to him. He hit Juggernaut to this isolated place where he can dispose of him without danger to civilians. They weren’t in any danger till Nimrod showed up! Juggernaut snarls. He grabs a girder, which Nimrod disintegrates.
Marko realizes Nimrod is trying to kill him. Of course, Nimrod agrees and levitates several metal girders under which he buries him. Moments later, a furious Juggernaut emerges.
The X-Men arrive that moment. Colossus wonders if they shouldn’t help with the Juggernaut’s capture. Kurt points out the armored paladin attacked Kitty and Rachel as well. He tries to teleport himself and Colossus closer. Seeing them teleport, Nimrod expects them with a blast that takes both of them out.
Wolverine demands a fastball special of Rogue. He is smashed against a forcefield. He lands with such force he is stunned instantly insensible.
Nimrod takes off Juggernaut’s helmet to the villain’s surprise. Then he attacks him with a tight beam ultra high frequency sonic, against which even Juggernaut’s skullcap proves no defense.
Shadowcat runs over to her fallen friends. Nimrod fires a plasma bolt at her. She phases though it and wonders how many powers he has. She wonders if he is wearing battle armor and hopes to disrupt it with her phasing power. Nimrod’s energy field deflects her away even as she realizes that he is a robot. The nerve shock has paralyzed her body and phasing power. Luckily, Rogue catches her.
Rachel decides to intervene. She places a telekinetic shield around her unconscious teammates and drops most of the skyscraper’s girders on Nimrod.
Rogue is surprised. She figures that, when the chips are down, Ray can be as ruthless as Wolverine. Kitty wonders if they should celebrate about a girl their age killing. With a supreme effort, she lolls her head against Rogue’s, allowing her to transfer her knowledge and powers to Rogue.
Rogue immediately understands Kitty’s plan. She lays the girl down next to her teammates and quickly absorbs the powers of Nightcrawler and Colossus as well, turning into a strange amalgam of all of them.
Nimrod shakes free of the rubble with the captured Juggernaut. Rogue slams a girder across his head. Nimrod is surprised as he doesn’t recognize this mutant who is manifesting several abilities and identities.
Rogue uses the moment of surprise to grab his arm and teleport away with it. The strain hurts her too, but she pays no attention, instead using the robot’s vulnerability to strike again. And she shatters him.
Unfortunately, he instantly reforms and the part of Rogue that is Kitty is quite impressed. However, Nirmod teleports away. She realizes they were lucky. But he will be back.
Juggernaut coughs and moans but slowly regains his bearings and asks where the shiny sleazeball is. Do they plan on picking up where he left up? Angrily, Rogue reminds him they saved his butt. They ain’t the law and this wasn’t their fault. She suggests he vamoose before the Avengers show. Don’t say ‘thanks’ or anything, she snarls when he turns away. Jerk!
Only then does she realize that an audience has gathered. She phases herself and Rachel into the wreckage and they get the others. She decides they’ll use the Morlock Tunnels to return.
And then? Rachel asks. Rogue angrily snaps they did their best, like they always do, and only made things worse for themselves, as usual. And given the chance they’d do it again! Every lousy time!
Moscow in the headquarters of the KGB:
Colonel Vashzin is informed by one of his employees, Sasha, about the X-Men’s fight against Nimrod. All media depict them as criminals who helped Juggernaut escape. Vashzin wants to know who Nimrod is and demands a complete analysis. He wonders what the Americans are up to. The X-Men have risked their lives on countless occasions to defend both the United States and the entire planet. Why suddenly turn on them? Washington seems bound to prove Magneto right; that humans will always fear mutants.
Sasha points out that, if the Americans deprive themselves of a major strategic asset, that can only be good for Russia. Vashzin is not convinced. They are fast approaching a crossroads, and he fears that somewhere somehow the decision has been made to turn them irrevocably towards Armageddon…