(New York City, underground)
In the depths of New York’s underground system, a new group of underground dwellers is setting up an ambush. Masque is the leader of the pack and, as Litterbug lays the charges against the tunnel walls, Masque becomes agitated that he can’t understand what Litterbug is saying. Bliss asks Masque not to antagonize him. Erg checks one of the explosive devices and asks for a little assurance that they aren’t going to kill their targets with this much explosive. They have orders not to kill them. They used to be with them, after all. Masque assures him that they won’t be killed. The prophecy says they’ve both got a part to play.
In a nearby tunnel, Caliban walks alongside Leech, who lights the way with a torch. Caliban can sense that their people have been there recently; whatever is left of them. He knows that they are afraid, so they come home to hide. They are no longer mutants, but they are still Morlocks. Leech doesn’t want them to be scared. He used to be so scared in the tunnels. Caliban remembers. He then senses that something in wrong, but is unable to do anything as the wall next to them explodes, throwing both of them across the tunnel. He manages to get himself between the explosion and Leech, and pays the price. As he lies bleeding and semi-conscious, Bliss appears and she tells Leech to go with her. She assures him that Caliban will be all right.
Leech asks what’s happened. Bliss tells him he is in shock, and takes a hold of him. She then apologizes, before her mouth opens up and a second head emerges, biting Leech on the neck. Leech falls unconscious, and Bliss carries him away. As Caliban tries to pick himself up, Masque informs him that the kid is their problem now. They won’t hurt Leech, as they’ve got bigger problems, like seeing exactly how strong his powers really are theses days. As he moves in, Caliban reminds Masque that they are friends, but Masque replies that they ain’t, and they’re never gonna be friends again. Masque’s hand moves maliciously towards his old comrade.
(the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, the next day)
A Sentinel stands guard over the mansion, as inside Nightcrawler meets with Charles Xavier. He asks Charles if he is certain that he’s ready to use Cerebra, as he and Beast haven’t completed all the tests on his restored telepathy yet. Charles says he is fine, and that he is strong as he ever was… maybe stronger. Kurt admits that it’s the ‘maybe stronger’ part which worries him a little. Charles replies that he’s had quite enough of this with Henry, and he disagreed with his concerns, too. The fact is, he adds, there is work to be done, and he’s not going to sit on the sidelines any longer. Kurt knows that he must be worrying about Lilandra and the others out in Shi’ar space, but he tells Charles that it’s not his fault that he was separated from them. “I brought you all out there. Of course it’s my fault,” replies Charles.
Kurt reminds him that they are X-Men. They know the risks. He has little fear for their friends. They’ve made their decision and, until they see them again, he will keep them in his prayers. He fears more for those who would stand against them. Charles admits that the tone of Alex’s voice implies that he means business. “War changes us all, Charles,” replies Kurt. Charles holds Cerebra’s helmet in his hands and says that this isn’t about that. It’s about him forgetting for an instant how much control it takes not to constantly overhear people’s thoughts. He was without his powers for months, but it felt like years. Today, he overheard something he’s sure he wasn’t meant to.
He then informs Kurt that Magneto is alive and Valerie Cooper and the O*N*E are trying to help S.H.I.E.L.D. locate him. There have already been two sightings this week. Kurt is surprised that Val let this thought out around Charles. Charles informs Kurt that she thought Eric’s name for just a split second. He had to dig for the rest. Kurt is surprised at this behavior. Charles tries to defend his actions by asking Kurt if he wants to see Eric in their hands, or see what happens when S.H.I.E.L.D. attempts to capture him. If he is alive, or repowered, they need to find him. Magneto’s dream of the future nearly destroyed mutantkind. For everyone’s sake, it needs to be mutants who find him.
Charles activates Cerebra and soon finds cause for concern. However, it’s not Magneto. It’s something else. He stands and leaves the room, asking Kurt to tell Henry to prepare the medical bay while he makes a call. He then asks Kurt to find Warpath. Someone is looking for him.
(the woods on the institute’s grounds)
Warpath is engaging in a training exercise with Hepzibah, throwing his knives for her to catch. Her unusual speech pattern seems to entertain him, reminding him of Yoda in the Star Wars series. She tells him that if she’s going to be stuck on Earth for long, she wants to fit in - as much as someone like her can. James reminds her that she doesn’t have to be stuck there. Someone the professor knows must have a way to get her back to Shi’ar space. Hepzibah replies that there is nothing left for her there but death. She is tired of seeking revenge. It buys nothing but blood.
She picks some flowers next to a tree and smells their scent. James nervously struggles to tell her that he’ll listen if she needs to talk about anything, but she stands and wanders off, saying that there is nothing to talk about. Dead is dead. “You clearly haven’t been around the X-Men that often,” jests her companion. Hepzibah tells him that he has been good company. Maybe she and Cyclops will talk about his father one day. For now, though, she’ll grieve in her own way.
The Sentinel standing guard picks up something; a possible intruder at three o’clock, moving fast. The pilot asks if anyone is getting a reading. It’s definitely a mutant. He asks for a check to be run on the database for his mutant signature. Warpath leaps into action, asking Hepzibah to stay back while he deals with this. Hepzibah follows regardless, and James asks her to steer clear of the Sentinels.
As the mutant approaches, the Sentinel orders him to stop as he is trespassing. “Stop where you are or we will stop you.” James picks up the mutant’s scent and recognizes it. He asks Hepzibah once again to stay behind and then makes a run for the Sentinel. As the pilot warns the mutant once more, James makes his way straight past it and cradles the trespasser. The pilot warns Warpath to stay out of this. It’s an unidentified threat. James replies that it isn’t. It’s a friend of his. Lying on the ground, as weak and feeble as he ever was, is Caliban. Caliban thought he would never make it there, and James cradles him, assuring him that he’s going to be okay.
The Sentinel’s pilot calls control and informs them that the intruder appears to be Caliban. However, something’s been done to him. Orders? His boss replies that they have visual scanning. He then tells the pilot to take the subject into custody for examination. He’s got residual mutant energy radiating out of him. Something’s wrong and they need to find out what.
The pilot then orders Warpath to stand back, as he must take Caliban into custody. James stands up and says the hell he will. He raises his dagger and warns the Sentinel that he’ll his cut his hand off and beat him to death with it if he even tries to touch him. Nightcrawler then teleports in and tells James that it will not be necessary. The pilot informs control that he has a situation. They reply that he doesn’t even know the half of it. The pilot turns and sees Storm approaching, and she isn’t happy. She tells him to inform his masters that Caliban is under the protection of the X-Men, and if that isn’t good enough, then he’s under her protection… either as a temporary member of the Fantastic Four, or as the Queen of Wakanda. Or, she adds, perhaps the Office of National Emergency would prefer a diplomatic incident?
Dr. Valerie Cooper visits Charles Xavier and reminds him that he knows the rules. Mutant problems outside the institute are their domain. Someone bad, she’s guessing, did something to Caliban and her people need to investigate. Charles assures her that anything he learns will be passed onto the O*N*E. But, he insists that they care for Caliban. He’s one of theirs. Valerie asks if he’s trying to get into her head, because that would not only be stupid, it would be a federal offense. Charles assures her that all he’s trying to do is prevent a bad situation from getting worse. He asks her to give him the latitude to do that. Val considers his request for a moment, and then demands a report by o six hundred, and she wants the whole story. A possible mutant terrorist running around out there isn’t going to do any of them any favors with the government.
Charles then makes his way to the medical bay where Caliban has been taken. Hank is running tests on him and he informs Charles that Caliban is stabilizing. As near as he can figure, Caliban was exhausted and running on empty. James asks what’s happened to him. Why does he look like that? Hank doesn’t know. They’ll have to ask Caliban when he comes around. Charles thinks it is the Morlocks who have done this to him. Storm asks if that’s why he called her. Charles informs her that he felt Caliban approaching earlier while using Cerebra. His thoughts were a cacophony of fear… frantic and panicked. At the heart of them, he saw the Morlocks and, in particular, Masque. Masque’s secondary mutation was stronger than any of them realized. He did this to Caliban. Unfortunately, Caliban can’t tell them why.
James tells everyone that Caliban was looking for them. He told him that before he went away. He guesses he found them. Ororo says that they will find them, too, once Caliban wakes up. Charles tells her that he thinks the Morlocks, whatever is left of them after M-Day, are up to something. To hurt Caliban like this, it must be serious. They need to find out what it is and stop them. Whoever does that will have to be someone they fear; someone who can make them listen. Storm replies that they haven’t listened to her for a long time, but she will find a way.
James tells Ororo that he’s learned one thing over the years, and that is that there isn’t anyone who won’t listen to her when she wants them to. Ororo replies that she needs to call T’Challa and let him know she won’t be making it back to the Baxter Building for a few days.
(New York City)
In a dark derelict building, Bliss places a power dampener around Leech’s neck and assures him that they aren’t going to hurt him. She tells Masque that what they’re doing is cruel. How would he feel with a dampener around his neck? Masque answers by asking if she’d like her powers to be taken away by the brat. It ain’t permanent, he adds. It’s only until they make him see the larger task at hand. Erg wants to show him the book, but Masque tells him not to even think about it. He’s a pup. A kid can’t understand the words of a prophet. Few can.
Skids takes a sip out of a can and says, “But you’re one of them, eh, Masque?” Masque tells her that if she doesn’t want to be a part of the mission then she can go back to the others. He isn’t going to wait for the future. He’s going to make it happen his way.
Erg asks what happens next. Where does the book say they go? Masque’s hands begin to play with leech’s face and he starts to scream. “Next,” replies Masque, “we find Magneto, and Leech here’s gonna make sure he don’t kill us all, before we tell him there’s still hope for mutantkind to rule the world.”