In the study of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, Professor Charles Xavier announces to his opponent, Forge, that his queen is in jeopardy. Forge looks at the chessboard between the two men and realizes that Xavier is correct. However, he believes he can gain the upper hand and moves his knight to his bishop, which is guarding his queen. Xavier moves his queen and declares checkmate. Forge is surprised that he lost and asks Xavier if he used his telepathy to block his awareness. Xavier tells Forge that he knows the answer to that and pushes a panel next to the chessboard, which reveals a hidden psychic dampener that Forge installed.
Forge is surprised that Xavier knew. Xavier tells him that of course he knew and he also knew that he would only need his skill to win. Forge laughs and tells Xavier that, usually, he doesn’t like to lose but, in the best of cases, he can make an exception. Xavier agrees and points out that he can always ask for a rematch. Suddenly, Xavier senses something amiss and turns around as the X-Men enter the room.
Storm uses her powers of lightning to transport a severed Sentinel head to Forge, who once again is surprised. Colossus solemnly tells the two that the Sentinel is a trophy from a battle that has cost them much. Xavier then notices that Colossus is holding the still body of Jean Grey. He asks Storm about what happened and Storm explains that they were attacked by Sentinels at the Hellfire Club. They came through one of Gateway’s portals, chasing the Reaver, Pierce. Another mutant was involved, but he was a stranger, who was not in league with Pierce. In the end, they defeated the Sentinels but the stranger fled and kidnapped the White Queen. However, Jean was killed in the final assault.
Xavier senses that there is no brain activity in Jean, but he still cannot believe that the woman is dead. He is psychically attuned to the X-Men and would have felt her die. He probes further and discovers that there is still a trace of Jean. However, her psyche is displaced. Jean is alive, but not in her body!
Late at night in New York City, Shinobi Shaw sleeps in his bed but is awakened when he hears sounds in his room. He wakes up and sees Fitzroy standing at the foot of his bed with two Sentinels, one holding a severed head. In Fitzroy’s arms is the White Queen. Shinobi cannot recognize the head, but Fitzroy tells him that it is what remains of the “old cyborg.” Shinobi realizes that it is Donald Pierce. The young man tells Fitzroy that it was not necessary to bring the head; he would have taken his word that Pierce was dead. There is no reason for his to drip motor oil on his expensive sheets. Fitzroy explains that he never does anything unnecessarily, but then he moves onto business and tells Shinobi that this means that he has won.
Fitzroy explains that not only has he terminated a member of the Inner Circle or captured a band of Hellions but he has captured the White Queen as a trophy. While Fitzroy gloats, neither he nor Shinobi notices the White Queen stir. However, things are amiss, as the White Queen cracks her eyes and Jean Grey wonders what she has gotten herself into this time! Fitzroy passes the White Queen, inhabited by Jean Grey, to a Sentinel and Fitzroy demands Shinobi’s father’s ring, which will give him leadership of the Upstarts.
Shinobi grins and tells Fitzroy that it will not be that easy. He never agreed to the green-haired man’s version of the game. He will still have to take it. Fitzroy pulls out a knife and tells Shinobi that his Sentinels defeated the X-Men tonight and wonders if Shinobi actually thinks that he has a chance. Fitzroy brings his knife closer and also wonders if the ring has gotten to snug on Shinobi’s finger. Shinobi doesn’t believe that Fitzroy would cut off his finger, but Fitzroy tells him that he would do anything. Shinobi’s scream echoes through the night.
At the mansion, the X-Men gather around Forge, who displays the information he retrieved from the Sentinel onto a monitor. Apparently, the home base is located on an iceberg floating in a field of icebergs. The Sentinels have a homing program that allows them to return to the base from anywhere in the world. However, that part of the circuit was fried when the Sentinel’s head was severed, so he cannot find the data for it. However, they do know the approximate location and they can find it, which means he is going to. Storm tells Forge that she will not interject. Xavier tells his students that he is coming also. Iceman asks the Professor if that is a good idea, but Xavier does not think so. However, he has no choice. With Cerebro, he can find Jean faster than the rest of them. If Jean really transferred her psyche to where he thinks she did, then she may be becoming more attuned to her host. They need to free her before it is too late.
In a hidden base in the Arctic Circle, Fitzroy walks with his servant, Bantam, and three armored henchmen down a corridor. Fitzroy explains to Bantam how he lied to Shinobi about how he defeated the X-Men. In truth, the X-Men only had one casualty. Bantam tells Fitzroy that there will be a next time if he tempers his ambition with patience. Annoyed, Fitzroy reminds Bantam to remember his inferior position before lecturing him.
Suddenly, a portal opens in front of Fitzroy, who is shocked since he did not open it. Two figures in the portal attempt to cross over but, as they do, they merge into one agonizing form and collapse to the floor. Bantam observes this, but Fitzroy points out that they are still alive and of use to him. He grabs the neck of one man and begins to absorb the life essences from the merged figure, noting how he can still sense their distinct life energies, though they are technically one now. Under other circumstance, he could have separated them. Too bad for them, though, that he does not feel like it. Fitzroy turns his faze to Bantam and demands and explanation, as the little man is supposed to prevent his portals from reopening like that.
Bantam apologizes, but Fitzroy grabs him and asks him how he neglected to tell him that this one portal was still open. Bantam explains that his data showed that there was insufficient energy to support the portal. The life energy he used to absorb it should have been expended by now. Fitzroy, angrier than ever, tells Bantam that his calculations are not good enough and throws the man down to the ground. Next time Fitzroy opens a portal into time, he might just use Bantam as the energy source. Bantam rubs his neck and thinks to himself how Fitzroy is a fool. He should be more frugal with his power. One day he will open a portal and who knows what will come out.
The Blackbird reaches the base and, onboard, Xavier tells the team that there is a psychic blockade around the base. He cannot even read Jean’s normal telepathic emanations, though he is certain that, to save herself, Jean transferred her psyche into the White Queen. Forge comments on how Jean wouldn’t like to be there and Xavier agrees, though Jean would not have tried it if Emma Frost were not dead herself. Oddly, though, comments Xavier, he would have felt Emma die just like he would have felt Jean die if she truly died.
Inside, a Sentinel warns Fitzroy, who stands in front of the chained Hellions, that the Blackbird is approaching. Fitzroy disregards it and does not believe that the Hellions would be rescued by anyone, so that shouldn’t interrupt breakfast. The assassin sent after Frost earlier asks him not to refer to humans as breakfast. Fitzroy tells the mysterious woman that attitudes like that are why she will never rise to the top of the Upstarts, like he has. He then grabs Tarot by the neck and begins to absorb her life force. Tarot begs for him to stop, because he is killing her. However, the vampiric Fitzroy tells her that her essence will continue to live inside of him, until he uses the energy to open another portal into time. He then uses her energy with the forces of the two he absorbed earlier to open a portal into time. Three men step out of the portal.
Fitzroy welcomes Kroeger, Stylles and Burke and hopes that they had a pleasant trip. Kroeger tells him that the ride was not pleasant at all, but Burke tells him to be quiet, because now they are free. Fitzroy reminds them of the pact they entered into in exchange for their freedom. Kroeger refuses and tells Fitzroy that he is too much of a child. Kroeger is now free and in charge of himself. If Fitzroy tries to stop him, then he will beat him down like he did last time. Fitzroy grins and tells Kroeger that he has him at a disadvantage and tells him to go through the portal, since it has shifted its point of origin. Kroeger goes through but, as he does, his body is ripped to shreds by temporal energy. Fitzroy explains to Burke and Stylles that his portals are one way. Any attempt to pass through again and the portal will extract the necessary life force to support it.
Fitzroy excuses himself and goes over to the unconscious Emma Frost to “refresh” himself. However, before he can touch her, the woman awakens and tells him that he will not feed on her today. She then uses her telekinesis to escape from the two guards holding her, who are surprised at the telekinetic manifestation. Fitzroy is also confused, as Emma is only a telepath. Fitzroy has not time to wait for answers and decides to discover Frost’s secrets on the autopsy table.
In the Blackbird, Xavier senses Jean and realizes that she is under attack. Storm, Archangel, Colossus and Iceman exit the jet. Storm orders the three men to fall back, since she will need to unleash the fury of nature’s powers to breach the base’s shield. Storm unleashes her lightning and tells Colossus to be ready.
Inside, Jean easily uses her telekinesis to block her attackers, but wonders how long she can keep this up. Fitzroy is still in disbelief over the new power manifestation, but is caught off guard by a tremor. The Sentinel who warned Fitzroy earlier tells him that the jet it mentioned earlier has deployed mutants to attack the facility. Colossus crashes through the ceiling and Fitzroy realizes that the X-Men are here. Archangel grabs Emma and tells Jean that he has her. Jean is relieved that the X-Men know what happened. Iceman and Colossus battle against Fitzroy’s henchmen and Colossus tells Jean that her real body is in cryogenic storage on board the Blackbird.
Fitzroy is terrified and cannot understand how his handpicked mercenaries could be losing. Behind him, Bantam reminds Fitzroy that the Sentinels did try to warn him. Annoyed by the irreverence, Fitzroy kills Bantam by absorbing his life energy as Forge enters the base in a hovercraft. Archangel places Emma Frost into a containment pod aboard the craft for safety purposes, in case it is not the real Jean after all. Archangel reminds Forge that the Professor senses Jean’s psyche in Frost, so they must protect her at all cost.
Elsewhere, Colossus tells Iceman that it was information from a Sentinel which led them to the Arctic Circle base, but he wonders where the other Sentinels are. Iceman looks to his side and tells Colossus that they are joining them now. Fitzroy arrives with his Sentinels and orders them to destroy the X-Men. Forge escapes as Storm arrives. The four X-Men attack the Sentinels and easily destroy them. Again, Fitzroy is shocked, this time to see his advanced Sentinels being destroyed.
The Sentinels may be a failure, but Fitzroy refuses to give up. He returns to the Hellions and drain the life forces from all his captives, while the X-Men are occupied by the Sentinels. As Fitzroy absorbs his last two Hellions, he is amazed at the power inside of him. With all the energy he needs, Fitzroy opens a massive temporal portal. From the portal, an army of mutants from the future emerges and Fitzroy reminds them all about the oath they swore to him. Against the X-Men, there is no hope of survival.
The X-Men battle the mutants. Storm scares some with her lightning, as she tells Fitzroy that it is the second time this day that he has set himself against them. Just as before, he shall not be successful. Archangel is confused, however, and wonders what Fitzroy meant when he called the army “denizens of the future.” Colossus lifts one mutant and throws him. He tells Archangel that there will be time in the future to ask their questions. Right now, they need to lower the number of villains before the X-Men are overwhelmed. Iceman tells Colossus that it won’t be a problem, because, even though the bad guys look tough, they are weak against his ice.
Fitzroy grins once again and tells Iceman that the night is full of surprises. Before he can continue, though, something catches his eye. From the portal behind him, gunfire comes out and destroys the two Sentinels guarding the portal. Three men, all wearing blue and gold uniforms with Xs on them, emerge from the portal, one of whom orders the others to grab the young Fitzroy, because he wants him alive. A large man lifts Fitzroy into the air. Fitzroy does not believe that Bishop is truly there, but the man tells him that it is so and, in case it has slipped his attention, he reminds the man that his game just got a whole lot deadlier.