Somewhere out West, a diner sits in the middle of nowhere - a middle of nowhere which is about to get some visitors. Inside the diner, a muscular man is preparing things behind the counter, when a bell above the door chimes as the door swings open. ‘Just opening up. Ain’t even got the coffee going’ the man announces without turning around to look at his customers - if you can call the five strange individuals who have entered that. ‘Coffee’s for ladies, cotillions and twelve-step meetings. You got anything stronger?’ the man called Lobe, with a strange metal piece on his head and a large trench-coat asks, adding ‘Actually I kinda know everything and you don’t. Poor us’ he remarks, before addressing the man to his left, with a cowboy hat and scars all over his body as Thug. ‘Yup’ Thug replies.
‘Ain’t afraid of you -’ the muscular diner operator declares, picking Thug up and smashing his head against the counter. ‘Dammit -’ Thug mutters, before the diner operator picks up a large meat clever, ready to use it on Love, when the one called Burst exclaims ‘Purple scorpion strike. Ain’t no thing. Here, check it. Ten! Thousand! Folds! Of pain!’ as he uses his kung-fu skills on the muscular man, smashing him out the side of the diner. Lobe turns to the scantily-clad redhead called Verve. ‘Oui’ she replies, before becoming invisible as the sunlight hits her body, and she walks out of the diner, only letting her gloves be seen, she waves he hands in front of the muscular man, ‘And now, how, do you say, the gloves? She comes off…’ Verve begins. ‘The hell?’ the muscular man asks, before Verve produces an weapon - some sort of whip. ‘Invisible, huh? Well bring it - on?’ the muscular man declares, before Verve uses the whip on him, cutting his face up.
‘You think I gotta see you to kill you? You think I ain’t never killed no muties before?’ he calls out, before muttering ‘Uh-oh’ as the large woman called Bouncing Betty lunges at him - and lands on him, creating a small crater in the sand with the impact. With the muscular man unconscious, Lobe remarks ‘Nice work’ before ordering the others to lead him in the transport, and to notify New York not to feed the predators. ‘We’ll be back in time for dinner and I want my babies nice and hungry…’.
Meanwhile, the sun has just risen on Utopia, the new headquarters and home of the Uncanny X-Men and dozens of other mutants and allies. One such ally, Dr Yuriko Takiguchi sits in bed, watching gulls fly outside his window. Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock enters his room with a tray of food and drink. She bids good morning to the Doctor, before asking him if he is feeling any better today and informing the elderly man that she brought him some nice oranges, a pot of oolong and this morning’s asahi shimbum. Takiguchi replies that it is nice here, and that he would like to stay. Betsy smiles and tells the Doctor that is a lovely thing to say, suggesting to him that if he is up to it later, they can tell Scott and Emma themselves. ‘What do you think?’ she asks him. But Betsy gets no response. ‘…Doctor?’ she calls out, before realizing that the elderly atomic biologist has passed away.
Elsewhere on Utopia, in the conference room, Scott “Cyclops” Summers greets Dr Henry McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, Ororo “Storm” Munroe, Bobby “Iceman” Drake, Emma Frost a.k.a. the White Queen, Namor the Sub-Mariner and Professor Charles Xavier. He tells them that he hasn’t done this before, and remarks that it is a safe bet they will be encountering an awful lot of fix on fail scenarios over the next few days. ‘You guys see me fumbling, or see a problem that needs solving, please speak up…’ he declares. Scott adds that, in the short term, they will need power - more power than what they have got, and sustainable to boot. He tells Hank that they will need some generators, and asks him to wrangle Northstar and Surge to power it up. The Beast just grumbles, while Scott asks Storm if there is something they can do with lightning, before telling her and Iceman that, more importantly, is fresh water.
Cyclops asks Bobby to make the ice and they will melt it, before telling Storm, that there are collectors being built for rain, if she would so oblige. ‘Of course’ Storm replies, before Scott tells her that he knows he has just asked her to summon rain clouds they can harness, but to try and keep a low profile. ‘I don’t want you burning up Wakandan political capital if you don’t have to’ Scott adds, before Namor asks ‘What is “here” exactly, hm? Have you thought about that at all, Summers? This floating rock you’ve sequestered all of your people on. That you’re now transforming into a sustainable living space. In all the fire and fury of these last few days and weeks have you stopped to really ask yourself just what you’ve gotten your people into?’
Namor continues, asking if this place is a refugee camp, a reservation, a hotel, a hostel, a fortress or a compound. ‘Or a sovereign state?’ he adds. ‘Or a prison’ the Beast remarks. ‘Hank’ Xavier remarks, but Cyclops hangs his head, ‘Hank, I appreciate the resounding vote of confidence, I really do. But the truth is I don’t know what we are, and I don’t know what the world outside thinks of us. I just…I don’t know’ Cyclops announces. ‘You don’t know?’ Namor retorts. ‘No. I’m pretty much making things up at this point’ Cyclops admits. Scott declares that he wishes he was the guy with the ironclad strategy and roadmap, but all he has is a plan. ‘And I’m improvising and adapting as conditions on the ground demand. I’m not really used to operating from this…perspective’ he adds.
Scott declares that for the time being it is moment-to-moment, but what he does know is that right now they are safe - no one will dare move against them, at least today. ‘We’ll make the rest up as we go along’. The White Queen, stuck in her diamond-hard form, tells Cyclops that he is efficient, she will give him that one, and that with everyone in one place at one time they will be much easier to hunt and kill when the enemy does make a move. ‘We ought to call it Westchester West, really. We could use the children’s corpses as ballast if we -’ she brings, when suddenly, an annoyed Storm interrupts, ‘Why are you even here, Frost?’ Ororo asks, pointing out that sitting at this table means you are needed in a leadership position. ‘And if you can’t even keep your own morale up how can you help your own people?’
‘And how high is morale in Wakanda today, your highness?’ Emma snaps back. Both women get up and move towards each other. ‘How dare you -’ Storm begins. ‘How dare -’ Emma retorts, before Cyclops attempts to intervene - ‘Ladies, ladies -’ he calls out, when suddenly, a tearful Psylocke stands in the doorway, announcing that she doesn’t mean to interrupt, ‘But…something happened’.
Moments later, Cyclops, Psylocke, Beast, Xavier and the White Queen have assembled in a lab, along with X-Club members Madison Jeffries, Dr Kavita Rao and Doctor Nemesis. ‘…and then he just stopped talking’ Psylocke explains, concluding her re-telling of events. ‘…we had a game of bridge to finish this evening…’ Kavita remarks, while Jeffries looks at what Takiguchi is lying in and remarks that it looks like he was put in a hollowed-out torpedo. ‘Think that’s what it is. Hard to tell. Lots of strangeness going on here…’ Doctor Nemesis replies. ‘Aw, man…’Cyclops mutters. Doctor Nemesis remarks that between the time travel and the attacks and every other damn thing that has happened, the old man’s heart just stopped. ‘And as he was actually older than dirt, that shouldn’t really surprise anybody’ he adds.
Everyone hangs their heads as the Beast quotes May God be between you and all the empty spaces you walk. Cyclops remarks that he doesn’t want to be morbid, but they will need to figure out what to do with the body, which causes the Beast to glance at him in an annoyed fashion.
Later, Cyclops and Xavier walk down the stairs that lead down the side of Utopia to the dock, and Xavier tells Scott that he was not at his most empathetic back then. ‘Empathy seems to be at a premium these days, Charles’ Cyclops replies, adding that he doesn’t mean to be disrespectful, but that too much empathy slows down the decision making. Xavier tells Scott not to let this rob him of his humanity. ‘You’re better than that’ he tells him, to which Cyclops replies that his humanity is firmly in check, but a fact is a fact, and the fact is they have a human corpse taking up space on a piece of forgotten science fiction they have forced up from Davy Jones’ locker. ‘And while I planned for an awful lot, bringing embalming fluid slipped my mind’ Cyclops mutters as he approaches the boat.
‘No jetpack this time?’ Xavier asks, to which Scott tells him that the jetpack is to be saved for big entrances. ‘Besides, we’re trying to convince the US we’re not a bigger threat than Castro - we can settle for the unspectacular’. ‘Well good - that boat seats two and I want to join you. I have to clear my name’ Charles remarks. ‘Absolutely not. Sorry. No’ Cyclops tells Xavier, who replies ‘I don’t need to ask your permission to -’ but Scott interrupts, ‘This time you do’ he tells him. ‘The whole world thinks you’re not on our side right now and that makes you a hidden asst. If things go off the rails I need you as an ace in the hole’ Cyclops explains.
‘Scott…not to be disrespectful…but they all have a rather…overzealous picture of you…in their minds. You’re the man that’s led a spontaneous mutant secession movement and very well might be marshalling an attack force. Maybe having the nice old bald guy by your side to smooth feathers isn’t the worst piece of strategy, hm?’ Xavier remarks, before asking Scott how he knows they won’t kill him the moment he gets off the boat. ‘Because I’m the man that’s led a spontaneous mutant secession movement and very well might be marshalling an attack force’ Cyclops retorts sternly, adding that if they kill him, they will think they have to kill all mutants. ‘And they’re probably right’.
Charles tells Scott that he is gambling with lives. ‘I never taught you human life was an acceptable collateral’. ‘You never taught me…any of this stuff, Charles. You had a dream; I have a plan. And - and just the tiniest bit of faith that I’m not going to get us all killed’. Scott climbs into the boat as he tells the Professor to trust him. ‘I might not have the moment-to-moment down but…everything’s going to be okay in the end’. Charles looks at Scott and asks ‘You call this okay? This isn’t okay, Scott’, to which Cyclops tells him that it is not the end, before speeding away in the boat.
Meanwhile, in Marin, at Graymalkin Industries, the former headquarters of the Uncanny X-Men, the facility has barriers placed around the outside, and security officers patrolling the entrance points, with some construction workers hanging around also. Suddenly, inside the complex, Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner teleports in with the White Queen and Danger. Nightcrawler tells the White Queen that he will wait here because teleporting this far knocks the wind out of him, and asks her to be fast. ‘Fast as we can, darling’ Emma replies casually, to which the robotic Danger tells Emma that she does not understand why she has been brought here. ‘Because loose lips sink ships’ Emma replies. ‘Ships?’ Danger asks. ‘Figure of speech’ Emma explains, telling Danger that she doesn’t want anyone to hear them talking.
Making their way through a dark part of Graymalkin, Danger remarks that this is what she does not understand. ‘You would risk capture and imprisonment - if not worse - to what gain? So you and I would be able to converse freely?’. Entering Cell Block X, Emma tells Danger that some secrets require risk. James “Warpath” Proudstar glances up from a book, and asks his former mentor if his shift is up. Emma doesn’t respond, instead she continues walking down the cell block, and explains to Danger that when they became the de facto presence of mutant law and order in the Bay area, certain threats presented themselves as being inappropriate for civilian detention. ‘We did what we could’ she adds.
‘But what we could ultimately meant power dampeners and dropping our fellow mutants into plexiglass boxes’ Emma reveals, confessing that she could not care less for these mutants, but the vibe in their little society tends towards the belief that this may ultimately be “cruel and unusual”. ‘Again: I do not understand’ Danger states. Coming to a stop outside one of the plexiglass cells, the White Queen informs Danger that these are dangerous, ruthless, flawed souls that would do the world great harm were they ever free, ‘That we even have them must remain a secret’ Emma tells Danger, before adding that someone asked the question if they could be redeemed.
‘You, Danger. With your sentience, your nascent…consciousness…could you - would you - help them?’ Emma asks, explaining that they are moving them to Utopia. ‘We’ll take care of their physical selves, their physical imprisonment. But you…on your journey to learn more about humanity…you could create a prison of the mind. A rehabilitation reality’ Emma remarks, telling Danger that the thought is, her association with them can show her the very best of what humanity has to offer. Standing in front of the plexiglass cell which contains Sebastian Shaw, Danger remarks ‘And working with your captives…trying to rehabilitate them…will allow me to study the worst. I accept. You have your warden’.
Back on Utopia, Angel, Beast, Doctor Nemesis, Kavita and Jefrries are standing around the body of Takiguchi. Angel asks if they will fly him back home, to which Doctor Nemesis replies that he doesn’t think Takiguchi considered Japan home anymore, before Jeffries points out that as it is an old missile shell, they could sink it, burial at sea. Dabbing her eyes with a tissue, Kavita asks ‘Is that all there is? Dropped off the edge of a rock in the ocean? It’s wrong. It feels wrong’. Hank adjusts his own glasses as he declares that it is wrong. ‘He was one of us. One of our own. He doesn’t belong in Japan anymore than he does in California. He belongs with us’. Hank declares that they will do it here, to which Jeffries points out there is a blast furnace in sublevel 7, which vents to the surface grates on the southwest side. ‘I’m on it…’ Doctor Nemesis remarks as he leaves the room.
Meanwhile, outside City Hall in San Francisco, a crowd has gathered, while one reporter announces that several unconfirmed reports have Scott Summers, leader of the so-called X-Men, arriving moments ago for an impromptu meeting with Mayor Sinclair.
Inside the Mayor’s office, Sadie Sinclair tells Scott that he really just torpedoed the hell out of her workday. ‘Little leak to the press seemed my best insurance against…well, against anything’ Cyclops replies, hands behind his back. ‘So? You here to sponsor me in this year’s Bay to Breakers Run or are we actually going to talk to one another?’ Sadie asks. Scott replies that they have food but need more. ‘And we’ll need it daily most times’ he adds. ‘Fresh water and plumbing we have. And if I know Madison Jeffries it’ll even be up to code by the time he’s done with it all’. Scott declares that they will need medical supplies, services, and he would like to have a satellite guy out so he can catch a Mets game from time to time.
‘Basically I need provisions for a hotel that’s got 228 - sorry, 227 people staying in it as of this morning. And I’d like to assure my people that they’re bot criminals, they’re welcome in the city any time, and they won’t get put in camps anytime soon’ Scott adds. ‘Scott, “camps” -? No one has said - on any level - you’re not criminals. There hasn’t been a peep about charges against anyone involved with your…exodus…at a federal, state or even local level. Now I’m not exactly eager to road-test that but…as far as I know, you are not wanted’ Sadie declares. ‘You got that right’ Cyclops replies.
Annoyed, Sadie tells Scott that his comment was a cheap shot, and disrespectful to her and the risks she has taken to support him and mutant kind ever since they arrived. Scott sits down and tells Sadie that she is right. He apologizes to her and tells her that he is tired. Sadie kneels beside Scott and tells him that this is virgin territory for all of them. She tells him that none of them have ever had to executed day-to-day at this level. ‘This book we’re in hasn’t been written yet’ she adds, before telling Scott, off the record, that she doesn’t think his people are in any danger, but that she is not eager to say it out loud in front of the cameras and test the theory. Sadie advises Scott to tread carefully too, at least for the time being.
‘So the question is: How long can you keep this up?’ Sadie enquires, before asking Scott what his next move is. ‘Right now? Right now I go home and tell folks that we don’t seem to be criminals and probably don’t need to be expecting arrest. Then I’m going to try to sleep for a couple of hours before having to wake up and deal with every single dumb damn problem under the sun simultaneously’ Cyclops replies.
Later, at Utopia, several of the residents including - Beast, Storm, Xavier, Colossus, Wolverine, Northstar, Dazzler, Angel, Psylocke, Nightcrawler, Cannonball, Namor, Jeffries, Doctor Nemesis, Kavita, Armor, Rockslide, X-23 and Pixie -- stand outside the furnace grate, while the Beast quotes: ‘Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump…for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed’. ‘…it was that, or the Beatles, so I went with that’ Hank tells everyone, before remarking that he was concerned about how culturally sensitive reading a Judeo-Christian passage at the funeral for a man he assumed to be Buddhist, at least in his youth, would be.
The Beast continues, explaining that it occurred to him that the good Doctor would not have thought that to be about resurrection, but rather the mystery, for he was a man of science, unparalleled in his field, and one of the brightest minds the Beast has ever encountered. ‘And our world is much darker for his passing’ the Beast adds, before bidding goodbye to Doctor Takiguchi - ‘It was an honor to work at your side…and a thrill to see your mind in action. May you have mercy on all the mysteries you’re sure to encounter’. The Beast asks everyone to join him in a moment of silence for all they have lost. Xavier notices Cyclops standing nearby - but Scott leaves before joining the Beast in his moment of silence.
Watching the funerary proceedings from a window overlooking Utopia, Emma Frost hugs herself as Cyclops enters the room. ‘Was it nice? It looked nice from up here’ she remarks, but Cyclops replies that he couldn’t hear. ‘Well. Surely it’s only a matter of time before someone else gets killed. Maybe you can hear that one’ the White Queen declares, to which Cyclops asks ‘What the hell is wrong with you? This morning in the meeting you were - and now you’re - you’re -’ he begins, before Emma explains that she is just saying what is on her mind. ‘Because openness and communication are important’. ‘Hey, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this but I’m hanging on by a thread here, Emma’ Cyclops tells his lover.
‘Maybe a little touch of sympathy - or compassion - instead of this ice queen crap of yours -’ Scott begins to shout, but Emma interrupts him, ‘I can’t, darling. I’m not saying I don’t want to. I’m saying, Scott - I can’t’ Emma declares, assuring him that these aren’t the stomp-my-boyfriend’s-heart-in-his-hour-of-need games of a schoolgirl. ‘This state I’m trapped in - I’m keeping this sliver of the Void in my head, Scott. This form - my diamond state - isn’t tremendously conductive to staying in touch with one’s feelings’ Emma explains. The White Queen assures Cyclops that she would love to hold his hand and let him cry on her shoulder and tell him that everything is going to be okay, ‘But I’m rather busy containing a splinter of absolute evil -’ but she is interrupted by a blinding flash outside.
‘No’ Cyclops utters, gazing out the window as he and Emma set their eyes upon Magneto! The Master of Magnetism hovers over Utopia and remarks ‘Well, well, well. My old home. Love what you’ve done with the place…’.