The morning sun reawakens Wolverine, letting him know that he has survived to another day. Wolverine hangs chained upon a giant wooden X. Donald Pierce, the former White King of the Hellfire Club, tortures the bound X-Man. In an euphoria of gloating Pierce reintroduces to Wolverine the rest of the Reavers: Cole, Reese and Macon, former Hellfire Commandos; Lady Deathstrike, a long time foe of Wolverine; and finally the last of the original Reavers, Pretty Boy, Bonebreaker and Skullbuster. Wolverine mocks Pierce, who promptly slaps Wolverine in anger. Immediately, Pierce realizes that it was Wolverine's intention to make him lose control. Vowing not to let Wolverine have another victory, no matter how small, Pierce and the Reavers return to town.
Later Cole, Reese and Macon search from building to building. Reese, having spotted something earlier, is convinced that the Reavers are not alone in town. Macon and Cole try to convince Reese that this is impossible, as the X-Men's invisibility has been rendered moot thanks to their own sensors. Still not convinced, Reese calls off the search. As the trio leaves their latest searched cabin, Jubilee crawls out of her hiding place in the vent. Jubilee watches the three cyborgs walk away, wondering whom these people are, why one of the X-Men is bound in the street, where the rest of the X-Men are, and what is happening in general.
(dreamtime / fever dream)
Out in the street Wolverine continues to hang from his wooden X. Baking in the sun and drenched in his own sweat, Wolverine begins to hallucinate. Gateway appears before him, swinging his bullroarer. Behind Gateway appears one of his teleportation portals, from which emerges the X-Men team, as last Wolverine left them: Rogue, Psylocke, Longshot, Wolverine himself, Colossus, Dazzler, Storm and Havok. Immediately, Rogue, Longshot and Wolverine fade. Next Wolverine witnesses Havok blasting Storm in the back with his plasma powers. Havok begs for forgiveness, and receives it from Colossus, who now cradles the charred body of Storm. Wolverine begins to doubt his own sanity and wonders aloud if the Reavers are playing with his head. A second Psylocke emerges from one of the buildings, this one half-human half-cyborg.
The new Psylocke informs Wolverine of what happened while he was gone. After Rogue and Longshot left, Storm was killed, leaving only four X-Men when the Reavers came. Psylocke asks Wolverine where he was when the team needed a leader but gives him no time to answer. From her own fingernails she produces Wolverine-like claws and guts the nearby Gateway. Next she begins to claw her own face, tearing herself apart. Underneath all of the outside wrapping of Psylocke, Sabretooth is revealed. Sabretooth replays a new vision for Wolverine, that of his return to the base.
After being unable to contact Gateway for teleportation back home, Wolverine drove a jeep across the desert. After returning to base, Wolverine walked into the saloon, only to be ambushed. Taking the X-Man by surprise, Pierce and his Reavers made short work of Wolverine. Pierce dragged the battered Wolverine into the street and chained him upon a giant wooden X. With his prey bound, Pierce took out a whip.
(dreamtime / fever dream)
Wolverine looks back upon Sabretooth, who now wears the mask of Ogun, Wolverine's old master. Sabretooth/Ogun poses a quandary to Wolverine: if he killed his old friend and master, Ogun, to save his teammate Killy Pryde, Shadowcat, then why did he abandon his team when they needed him most? Now fully adopting the form of Ogun, Wolverine's phantom draws a sword and cuts Wolverine loose from his bonds. After falling to the ground, Wolverine is helped up, not by Psylocke, Sabretooth or Ogun, but by Shadowcat. Shadowcat helps Wolverine stumble to Gateway's hill, where they both see the light from one of Gateway's portals. After they arrive at the hill, Wolverine and Shadowcat witness the return of Colossus, Dazzler, Havok and Psylocke. Wolverine tries to warn his teammates about the Reavers' ambush, but Shadowcat explains that none of what they are witnessing is real. Trapped in a fever dream, Wolverine can do nothing to change events that have already happened.
The newly returned X-Men begin to talk about their situation unaware that from the town below the Reavers are closing in on their position. Havok states that with Rogue zapped through the Siege Perilous, Longshot gone, Wolverine missing, and Storm dead, the X-Men hardly qualify as a team. Tired of fighting for Xavier's dream, Havok says that the time has come for the X-Men to call it quits. Wolverine watches on in disbelief. Havok continues with his line of reasoning, saying that they were fools to turn down Roma's offer for a new life. Colossus and Dazzler seem swayed by the argument.
Psylocke brings forth the Siege Perilous in its amulet form. Quickly, it grows to its portal size and Psylocke steps before it, beckoning her teammates to enter. Colossus goes first, hugging Psylocke and asking if they will ever meet again in their new lives. After answering that anything is possible, Psylocke escorts Colossus through the portal. Dazzler approaches next, but is confused by Colossus' ease and lack of mentioning of his sister, Illyana. After a few words of encouragement from Psylocke, Dazzler too walks through the Siege Perilous. From below, the Reavers see the light from the portal and speed up their pace of their approach. Back on the hill Havok begins to have second thoughts. While his words from before were from the heart, his actions now seem like a betrayal. Psylocke allays Havok's fears with a telepathic nudge. Psylocke kisses Havok fully as he disappears from this reality through the Siege Perilous.
Psylocke, now alone, turns to face the Reavers, who have arrived on the hill. They call out with rage to the "psi-witch", asking where the X-Men went. With a smile, Psylocke tells the Reavers that the X-Men are where they cannot be touched. As the portal closes around her, Psylocke states that the Reavers will kill no X-Men today. Before the Reavers the Siege Perilous resumes its amulet form, leaving the cyborgs alone.
(dreamtime / fever dream)
Wolverine cries in rage, realizing that the actions of the X-Men he just witnessed were not of their own accord, but at the telepathic behest of Psylocke. The smiling form of Shadowcat congratulates Wolverine for his accurate deduction. However, when Wolverine turns to look at his former teammate, he sees not the image of Shadowcat, but the tooth-filled smile of the alien Brood-Queen. The Brood-Queen opens her deadly maw and chomps down upon Wolverine, bringing darkness.
Wolverine snaps back to reality. Through his sweat filled eyes he sees Donald Pierce, with wooden stakes in hand. Dozens of yards away Jubilee peeks around the corner of a building. Her thoughts are filled with horror and her eyes are filled with tears as she watches Pierce crucify Wolverine on his wooden X. Having finished his gruesome task Pierce curses Wolverine at his lack of screams. Once again the mutant has won a small victory. Pierce's rage is interrupted as Bonebreaker informs his leader of an approaching storm. As he has never scanned a storm that powerful, Bonebreaker recommends going inside. Pierce agrees, thinking that the elements will further torture Wolverine. In one last attempt to break his foe's spirit, Pierce holds out the Siege Perilous in its amulet form and crushes it. He tells Wolverine that he won't be following his friends and that they will be unable to come back.
(dreamtime / fever dream)
After Pierce has left, Wolverine is again visited by visions of friends. Storm, Jean Grey, Mariko and Carol Danvers appear before Wolverine, urging him not to give up. Wolverine tells them all to shut up. Convinced that they are nothing but ghosts and phantoms, he tells them that it is over and that he is done. Suddenly before Wolverine stands Storm, not as he remembers her, but as a young girl wearing the adult Storm's loose fitting costume. The young Storm tells Wolverine that if it is true that he is done, then so is she. The young Storm's statement is punctuated by a powerful bolt of lightening followed by a torrential downpour. Wolverine laughs, wondering if Storm is indeed now a goddess and the tempest now raging is a sign of her anger.
Inside and dry, the Reavers listen to the weather report, speaking of a global storm. The storm is bringing torrential rains, hurricane-force winds, and floods with the worst of it centered around the city of Cairo, Illinois.
Outside, Jubilee cautiously approaches the crucified Wolverine. Torn between her wish to help the wounded X-Man and her concern for her own safety, Jubilee weighs the consequences of helping someone whose name she doesn't even know. From the wounded Wolverine arises a terrible scream, unleashing the berserker in his soul. With this power of spirit, Wolverine manages to pull his right arm free from its nailed position on the wooden X. With equal strength of will, Wolverine pulls his left arm free followed by both of his legs. Now without support, Wolverine falls to the ground.
Jubilee stares in amazement, still unsure of what she should do. To her surprise, the wounded but now freed man looks directly at her... and asks for help.