Sunset on Utopia. Somewhere at the beach, Colossus and Kitty Pryde are having a picnic, as far as that’s possible, with Kitty still being stuck in her “spacesuit” to be solid. Does he know what this is? Kitty asks. Nice, he guesses. She agrees, but she was thinking unusual. “Nice” is unusual for them. They don’t often get a chance for “nice.” They should make more time for it. She urges him to eat. Don’t let her being intangible stop him. She’ll just get on with being a cheap date. And… Kitty notices he’s staring transfixed at something behind her. Some kind of enormous fight is happening behind her, isn’t it? she asks. Da, Piotr confirms.
As Namor the Sub-Mariner is slugged away by a giant machine, Piotr turns to his armored form and hits the creature. Annoyed Namor huffs that he had the machine well in hand and needed no assistance. Save it for hitting on mermaids! Kitty snaps. What is that? A returned relic, he explains. Commander Kran has been investigating the sealed battle-Aquaria for tools that can help secure Atlantis against its enemies. This troublesome machine is one; a killer driven by a simple intelligence: reactivated and rampant. It is inspired by the mantis shrimp, the tiny tanks of the depths that—
She watches Nature Channel too, Kitty interrupts. So it’s some kind of robot? Then maybe she can actually be useful. Colossus is hit back. Got a fastball for her? Kitty asks. Colossus smiles and throws her up at the machine. Kitty loses the suit and phases through the robot, which moments later begins to break down.
Together? Colossus asks Namor. He may have that honor, he is told, and together they strike and the machine falls.
No “Imperius Rex?” Colossus asks. “Imperius Rex” is generally reserved for before battle is joined, Namor lectures him. Now is the time for savoring the simple satisfaction of a blow well struck and total victory against all that opposes them.
Not speaking a word, Kitty gets out of the ocean. Is she still…? Namor begins. No change, he is told. Stepping into the water, Namor offers whatever help his people can provide. Despite the line about the mermaids.
Piotr and Kitty try to touch hands. She will be all right again, he promises. They have to believe.
Why can’t she stop phasing? he later asks Dr. Kavita Rao in the X-Lab. Dr. Rao compares it to a muscle cramp from her extended phasing of the Breakworld bullet. At the moment, they are prescribing a course of meditation, psionic therapy and generally staying calm as therapy. He’s sure Kitty will try, Piotr agrees. So, this is just a matter of time? They’ve got high hopes, Kavita replies evasively. Deception isn’t the best way to keep any of them calm, he points out.
She admits that mutants in relation to their powers possess a phenotype of one. Kitty’s power is unique. This could be her new norm. They don’t know enough about how phasing works. Until that changes, she doubts they’ll be able to really grasp the problem. She’s sorry.
In another part of the lab, Magneto addresses Dr. Nemesis, who is crouched over a machine, asking about results from the Breakworld bullet samples. It’s essential he understand this. Hasn’t even started yet, Nemesis tells him. It’s been months, Magneto point out. Does he know what he likes? Nemesis asks. Saving lives and killing Nazis. Know what he doesn’t care about one jot? Metallurgy. Reminds him of metalwork and that’s what they got the stupid school kids to do when men of the future were busy rewriting the laws of physics.
Now, while there’s a distinct lack of Nazis to kill, he’s busy with the Plague aftermath, mutated mutations, vampires, demon possessees, more vampires, annoying Limbo godlings and a new generation of freaky X-kids to prod with science sticks. Very busy! No time for Magneto’s foolish space tin. Now leave him alone and scuttle off to complain to the one-eyed dictator. He’s saving lives! Shout if he sees a Nazi!
The Peak: the orbital headquarters of SWORD, Earth’s extraterrestrial defense agency:
A certain prisoner, Unit, and the X-Men’s sometimes ally Abigail Brand stand on different sides of a maximum plus security cell.
She doesn’t relish the idea of begging for help. Unit suggests that the delightful X-Men solved the problem before. They could solve it again. It’s no crime to ask for help when you need it. She asks him for help again and again. Yes, but he only patronizes her and they’ll patronize her and do that infuriating looking down the nose spandex hero thing.
An alert status advance is announced: T-minus 2 hours to attack threshold.
Sounds like a certain young lady has an important decision to make. Pride is a terrible vice. Swallow it, Unit suggests. She doesn’t take ethical pointers from genocidal maniacs, she shoots back. Please, he replies, he is not genocidal, he despises genocide. He’s merely committed the odd one or two. He suggests she pick up the phone. It’ll be good for them all to catch up. They do get on fabulously.
Magneto is complaining to Cyclops, who admits he’s with Nemesis here. They got so many other critical problems – not least Kitty – why is debris of what she got herself stuck inside so crucially important? Because he doesn’t understand it, Magneto replies. He doesn’t understand how people can watch reality TV, Scott retorts. It doesn’t mean he prioritizes a sociological study into it. The metal’s nature is so unique, he could recognize it across light years, Magneto points out. Intangible, Kitty survived in it for months. He is the master of magnetism. He knows all metals. He doesn’t know this. And in the long run that makes it either a problem or an opportunity for them all.
They are interrupted by Danger, who informs Scott of a call from SWORD. Space CIA, he explains to Magneto. Very secret. Very annoying. Give Agent Brand a channel, he asks Danger.
A hologram transmission of Abby Band appears. She gets to the point as usual. They need their muscle in orbit, she orders Scott, stat! They have a problem. Will brief in transit. Two words: Breakworld. That’s one word, Scott corrects her. It’s two words in most alien languages, she lectures him. Why should they trust her? Scott asks. He knows she doesn’t like asking for help, Brand points out. She doesn’t like asking for anything. Help her. This is urgent. And bring his heavy hitters, especially Magneto. Now that they’ve got him out from beneath the table they don’t even need to do the secret organization thing and keep it quiet. Okay, he agrees.
Soon, a high performance SWORD interception prototype, the Stiletto Zero, lands on Utopia as their transport. Guess that’ll do, Scott, admits and promises they are on their way. He tells Magneto that they can continue that in transit and asks Danger to assemble the Breakworld team minus Armor, but including Danger. If he has to suffer Brand, they all do.
Not much later Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto, Danger, Wolverine Colossus and Shadowcat are en route. She is absolutely not dressed for space, Emma complains. Trust Ms. Sensible Flats to fail to grasp that a trip into orbit requires a little preparation. This is not a zero-g outfit! Patience, Scott suggests. She can be mean to Brand in person soon enough.
Soon enough, they land on the Falchion One, the SWORD flagship. Brand greets them by sarcastically thanking them for the total mess they dumped on her. A very “Agent Brand way” to greet someone she is asking a favor from, Scott remarks. She wasn’t speaking to him, she corrects. She was speaking to tall, shiny and Soviet. She is very out of touch, Colossus remarks, and what is she speaking of? By cutting off their leader’s arm, he preempted any gradual transformation, she tells him. His word was law. But he wouldn’t stay! And he wouldn’t leave SWORD in charge! They could only do so much in an advisory capacity.
They are their own people, Piotr points out. He was not going to rule them or let any other do it in his name. It is their planet. This isn’t a job he gets to enjoy from the moral high ground. And thinking like that leads to… it’ll be easier to show them, Brand announces. This way.
While she leads them through the hallways Scott asks how she knew about Magneto before yesterday. They notice little things like a bullet being dragged across the cosmos to Earth, she replies wryly, but blue, furry and frisky had already let it drop. Right, Scott replies. He doesn’t see Hank around. Didn’t it work out? Beast working at SWORD? Brand asks. It’s an ongoing relationship. What about her and him? Scott inquires. If she wanted to share her intimates with a work-obsessed emotional shut-in, she’d start talking to the mirror! Brand snaps. Let’s go and save the world!
Brand explains the huge spaceship hovering in front of them. It’s the Resplendent Celestial Slaughter, flagship of the first Breakworld armada. It’s an all purpose colony ship–cum–colony Annihilator. It could contain tens of thousands of Breakworld warriors. It has the range to take out their defenses from the edge of the solar system and the firepower to burn up entire countries at a time. It’s on course for Earth.
What’s it doing here? Cyclops demands and Colossus wonders what has happened to Breakworld. They went isolationist when Aghanne’s less crazy followers tried to rebuild their civilization into something less gut-rippy, Brand explains. SWORD’s eyes on the ground are only reporting irregularly. Last set were talking “civil disturbance.” That’s probably some kind of warrior-code euphemism for open war. What’s going on? Best guess: some manner of conservative military coup.
First action: make sure the extraterrestrial influences who brought them down never have a chance to do it again. Problem one: the bad economy makes space defense no longer a priority. They don’t have enough firepower to take it on… but their stealth engines could get them aboard. Problem two: they haven’t the manpower for a boarding action against a shipload of warriors looking for revenge against the soft pinky ones. So… superheroes to the rescue? Say yes.
He says they get this planetary-ballbuster out of their lives, Wolverine suggests and Cyclops agrees. Good, Brand announces. Boarding torpedoes are prepped to go. He wasn’t talking about the spaceship, Wolverine smirks. But considering they are in the neighborhood, they may as well lend a hand.
Several small vessels are sent from the Peak, including one with Brand and the X-Men aboard. This is a decapitation strike, Brand announces to everyone and gives orders what to do. Cyclops explains that this team is under his control. Including her. Surprisingly, she agrees. Cyclops announces that they take the bridge and the command and seize control of the vessel Does everyone understand?
All the X-Men get ready as Danger, piloting their craft, rams the spaceship. Inside, they get ready to fight but, before Cyclops can give an order, Shadowcat tells him to stop. This isn’t right! None of the Breakworlders react aggressively.
Correct, the one-armed man in the command chair agrees. But few things are now. “Powerlord Kruun?” Colossus asks surprised. Just Kruun, the other man corrects him. The “Powerlord” went when Colossus took his arm.
What is he playing at? Cyclops demands. They can’t just wander unannounced into Earth space in a war ship. They come in a decommissioned vessel, Kruun stresses, because warships are all that Breakworld has.
He kneels down in front of Colossus, as do the others. They are political refugees. They look for asylum. Will their powerlord give it to them?