Psylocke wakes up in a strange place, believing she has dreamed the previous night’s events. She suddenly realizes that everything was real. The X-Men got sucked into some sort of magical black hole, flung across the cosmos, and now…? She leaps from the bed, still wearing her blue costume and sprints to a gap in the wall. She looks out to see a man dressed in ancient garb hovering there, using four wings on his back. Behind him and below, a city square sprawls out before her, like an ancient Aztec market place.
The man introduces herself as the First Fallen. Betsy conjures up her psychic katana and replies that she knows who he is, and she won’t go down without a fight. He replies that she misunderstands. She isn’t there for combat. She has crossed the great divide to be offered salvation. Betsy is skeptical, and asks where her friends are. The First Fallen seems surprised that she enquires as to the whereabouts of her friends before her own brother. Regardless, he tells her he’ll take her to them.
Betsy follows cautiously, thinking that he seems more Dalai Lama than devil. The Watcher did say that he was the opposite of the Phoenix. Could it really be that he’s not the threat they feared? It wouldn’t be the first time Jamie and his mates were dead wrong.
Elsewhere in the city, Bishop, Cannonball, Marvel Girl and Nightcrawler are being persuaded by Amina Synge of the FourSaken that the city they see around them is what they were trying to bring to their world. Paradise, peace, perfection: heaven on Earth. The people they see around them already know such things. Their worlds no longer suffer war and pettiness. They could have been like that, too, had it not been for the interfering X-Men.
Kurt responds angrily by reminding Amina that they stole the souls of innocents to perform their ritual. Besides, adds Bishop, Jamie warned the X-Men about them in the first place. They want to blame someone? Start with him. Amina places her arm on Jamie’s shoulder. He’s out of sorts and Amina says he hasn’t been right in the head since last they parted ways. Rachel says that Betsy told them about that. She said they got lost in the desert - swallowed by a sandstorm. She said her brother was the only survivor, and the guilt drove him nuts. Ned replies that, as usual, Betsy only had half the story.
Ned informs them that it was day seven of the Trans-Sahara Rallye. They entered the contest to share Jamie’s success on the international racing circuit, and it was just a spot of fun. But, Jamie hadn’t told them about some of the other dealings he’d had in the region. His gambling losses had landed him in hot water with gunrunners and slave dealers, and they weren’t the sort who’d let you skip out on a debt then take a junket across their territory. However, more arcane forces were at work in the hinterlands.
When they first saw him, the First Fallen first spoke in their heads. He told them that they were every bit as special as they’d always fancied themselves, and they could usher in a golden age if they’d only embrace the power that already dwelt within them. Jamie ran right back into the arms of the bandits, who tortured him for weeks. He only got free when the trauma brought out his gift for mucking about with reality. It’s a pity, Ned feels, that Jamie lacked the stones to stand his ground. He might have realized his power without losing his mind. The First Fallen showed Ned how to call down the lightning, Godfrey how to gain command over machines and Amina to call forth her pets. But, they still needed their missing piece to fulfill their task.
Amina hugs the shaking Jamie and tells the X-Men that he could have opened the door to the First Fallen all by himself, but he needed them to help him focus. Kurt thinks they’re too selfish to think about anyone else. Ned is affronted, and getting right into Kurt’s face, replies that he’ll see to it that Kurt isn’t around for their new age. Bishop pulls a weapon on Ned, and even though he knows it won’t kill him, it’ll make him feel a lot better.
Bishop pulls the trigger, but the gun simply clicks without releasing a round. Ned them attempts to pump Bishop full of electricity, but his power fails to work. Rachel also notices that her telekinesis isn’t working, and Sam cannot blast. The locals smile, as they witness the failures to summon powers in their city. Jamie laughs maniacally; informing them that none of them can raise a hand in anger in this land of milk and honey.
The First Fallen accompanies Psylocke through the streets, and the people bow as they pass. She asks the First Fallen where they are, exactly. He informs her that they’re in the Singing City. Existence is as simple here as it is satisfying. Betsy takes a look at the alien populace, and wonders why she woke up separated from the other X-Men. And where did these people come from? How many worlds has the First Fallen claimed or ‘rewarded’ or whatever?
Soon, they come to the street where the X-Men and the FourSaken are having their minor confrontation. Betsy appears pleased that they seem to be getting on like a house on fire. The First Fallen assures her that there is no conflict here. Godfrey likes the sound of that, and Amina seems to appreciate the idea of being young and beautiful forever.
Betsy asks Kurt what his read on this is. Kurt says that, if Satan wanted to tempt you, he would not show up with horns and a pitchfork. There must be a catch. The First Fallen replies that the only ‘catch’ is that his offer must be accepted willingly, and so far Jamie Braddock has resisted. The FourSaken ask Jamie what’s wrong, and tell him he’d be daft not to want a slice of heaven. Betsy understands that her brother realizes that this is a fool’s bargain. He sees something the others do not.
Betsy turns to Bishop and says she’s surprised he didn’t attack them. Bishop informs her that something about the place short-circuits violence. None of them can so much as throw a punch. Betsy isn’t so sure about that. As Amina tries to talk Jamie around, Betsy summons her psi-sword. She has a few questions. The First Fallen insists he has nothing to hide.
Betsy motions to the people around them. There are people from dozens of worlds there, and she has to wonder just how big the place is. Can he really have billions and billions of souls here living the simple life? She hasn’t seen more than four of any particular race. Does this mean that his invitation is open only to his FourSaken?
The First Fallen is surprised by her deduction. He knew there was something extraordinary about her when he couldn’t read her mind, but she’s exceeded his expectations. He tells her that she is correct. Only the FourSaken are given life eternal. Rachel asks what about the rest of humanity. What about the others on the worlds that these people came from?
The X-Men are onto something. The people listen intently, as the First Fallen replies that once four are preserved, the rest become redundant. His mission, he explains, is to maintain perfection. It is a question of quality, not quantity. He assures them that the human race shall live on in the thoughts and memories of their four exemplars. In his peaceable kingdom, there is nothing they can do to prevent it. “Guess again!” snaps Psylocke, as she leaps at the hovering would-be god and brings down her psi-sword into the First Fallen’s head. Jamie has made her immune to any tampering, even by those who can alter reality. Therefore, she’s the only one who can mount such an attack.
Her psi-sword cuts the First Fallen’s psionic influence suddenly, and all the happy campers in the city snap out of their bliss. Half a second later, they realize that they’ve been had, and their mood changes dramatically. Betsy forces the First Fallen to the ground, maintaining her psi-sword’s hold. The First Fallen screams for her to get it out of him. Betsy realizes that this probably isn’t the First Fallen speaking. Somehow, she thinks it’s the body’s real owner speaking for the first time in eons. The FourSaken feel their powers returning, as do the X-Men. Betsy asks Rachel to take a look in the First Fallen’s mind and to link them all in. She does so, and reads the secret history of the First Fallen.
It began billions of years ago on one of the first planets to develop civilization. A king was offering a prayer to preserve the glory of his people and was answered by the essence of endless, changeless perfection. This nameless force, appearing in a black humanoid form with glowing red eyes, attacked the king and took over his body. He then sent four of the king’s people to paradise while the rest froze in their tracks where they remain to this day. Since then, other cultures rose and some prayed for eternal glory. This essentially doomed their worlds to a fate literally worse than death.
The king, his mind now temporarily in control of his own body again, begs Betsy to kill him before it takes him again. Ned charges himself up and is willing to do the job for her, but Jamie tries to stop him, pointing out that Betsy has it contained. Ned takes no chances and pulverizes the king’s body with a massive electrical charge. Psylocke is thrown away from the king, and the nameless force is released. It spirals upwards and calls them ungrateful apes. The skies cloud over in an ominous display of power. The force tells them that their little monkey minds cannot grasp what they demolish. All his patience; his efforts - all for them! “Reject me and suffer.”
The force takes retribution on Ned, killing him, forcing Betsy to use her psi-sword to protect her and Jamie from its wrath. She doesn’t know how long she can keep the thing at bay, and she asks him to get them out of there. The X-Men rush to join her, but Jamie opens a portal back to Earth through which they inadvertently run. The remaining FourSaken follow them. Jamie tells his sister that he may not be able to stop this situation from unraveling, but he can tie up a few loose ends.
Betsy orders him to follow, and to tell the X-Men she loved them. “Tell ‘em yourself!” replies Jamie, and he clicks his fingers. Before Betsy can protest, she finds herself swallowed by the portal, which shuts behind her. Everyone screams for a brief eternity, falling across the Milky Way, only to end up (where else?) in New York City, back at Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park.
They land with a thump, and Betsy gets up immediately, rushing back to the portal. “Jamie, no!” she screams, but the portal closes as Kurt holds her back. Amina is furious, and calls Psylocke a stupid cow. She left the man she loves back there. Bishop aims his gun at her, and reminds her and Godfrey that they should be thankful that they’re still alive. Godfrey takes Amina by the shoulders and ushers her away. He feels it’s time they found something else to do with their lives.
The X-Men are left alone. Kurt asks Betsy what happened back there. He was under the impression that Jamie intended her to be the secret weapon against the First Fallen. Betsy replies that he did, but at the last minute, she doesn’t think he could just sacrifice her like a pawn. Cannonball reckons her brother just sacrificed himself to save the world. He never really knew him, but he’ll remember that much about him. They take a moment to comprehend just what Jamie has actually done for them, before Kurt says they should check in with the Xavier Institute.
Bishop’s phone rings and he answers it. On the other end is Storm, who is currently in Kenya. She informs him that she’s been on a walkabout and has discovered some very disturbing things. Many small villages in the countryside there were protected by mutant guardians. On M-Day, most of them were rendered powerless and a local warlord has had them rounded up or killed.
She has learned that his name is Colonel Shetani. He operates out of Turkana, which is where she is now. Storm feels that she may have the power to bring this man to justice, but there are too many innocents living nearby. She cannot exactly bring a hurricane down on her enemy. Is there any chance her teammates could help stop this evil without destroying half the city? Bishop grins, and tells her that they’ll be with her in hours.
Below Storm’s hotel room, two men are conducing surveillance on her. An instrument determines that she is a powerful mutant, and his partner contacts headquarters, informing them that Storm is at the N’bingi Hotel. The communications operator informs Colonel Shetani that they have confirmed the source of the mutant energy signature. Shetani orders him to launch the predators and call out everyone in the city. This is the battle he has waited a lifetime for.