Utopia, the infirmary:
Glassy-eyed, Emma Frost prepares to smother the unconscious Hope Summers with a pillow. What’s that? she asks to nobody and smiles. Yes, she knows, darling. It’s going to be all right. No need for anyone to be afraid anymore…
Outside in San Francisco, Scott Summers meets the Juggernaut and his acolyte, who triumphantly announces that finally Cyclops understands. He should be with them. The lord of fear only wants his kingdom to expand, to be fertile in the hearts of men. He bears no grudge against mutants. He loves them. They are his preachers. They are just like them. Yeah, hated and feared, point taken, Scott replies wryly. Thanks.
So, the acolyte asks. They abandon San Francisco? It would make sense, Cyclops admits. That moment, Juggernaut is hit by a bolt of red energy and is clearly in pain. No, he doesn’t think so, Scott remarks. He thinks Cyttorak’s changed his mind about that. Thank you, plan 13!
In the Crimson Cosmos, Magik asks her brother Colossus, the new avatar of Cyttorak, if he is ready. He asks for a portal. Kitty reaches out to him but he warns her not to touch him. His skin may sear hers.
As they step through the portal, Colossus recalls Cain Marko, the Juggernaut before him. The destruction he caused, the joy he took in it. He used to wonder how he could do such monstrous things. Now he only wonders how he could ever stop.
Emerging from the teleportation portal, Colossus tackles the Juggernaut with incredible force. Cyclops is astonished at the transformation. The Juggernaut hits Colossus with his hammer. Colossus feels his skull crack but it doesn’t seem to matter. It hurts more than anything he ever felt. He’s left only wanting more. He hits Marko brutally. The building falls. He hears voices inside rise in panic before fading away. He remembers there was a time that things like that seemed to matter. He can’t remember why.
On a roof nearby, Magneto asks Cyclops what he has unleashed. He admits it’s not exactly what they planned. At that moment, Magik teleports herself and Kitty back. She’s going to phase his head into the wall! an angry Kitty greets Scott.
Cyclops apologizes, then asks Illyana what’s happening. She explains Peter stepped in and there is no time to debate the wisdom of their course. They need to get people to safety. They already are, Cyclops replies but what’s the problem? The runes the Juggernaut creates, she explains. As Peter pushes him back along his path, they are folding in on themselves. Think “critical mass!”
The two powerhouses keep on fighting. Marko should be more powerful. He is stronger, faster, more powerful in all ways but one. He cannot stop Colossus. And so, he is pushed back.
Magik teleports herself and Cyclops to a location sixty miles east of San Francisco, the start of Juggernauts’ path, where the two powerhouses are headed at 600 mph. Illyana predicts destruction, but then they see that the Serpent summons the Juggernaut back rather than risk his loss. They have won. Now they must hope they also survive. Colossus keeps on running towards them.
In the infirmary, Emma Frost is pressing the pillow to Hope’s face. “Emma, cease!,” Namor orders as he enters and gently draws her back. Coming back, Emma babbles, “Kill us all, no sweetness, sweetness!” Cease, Namor repeats. “Burn us all up. Burn us right up!”
Namor tells Emma Hope is but a girl and she… If all worldly accoutrements were stripped from her, she would remain a queen. She has nothing to fear from Hope. Emma kisses him, then stops as she recalls matters and what she did.
Touching the mind of that monster… made he want to kill her. Namor agrees. She asks him not to tell anyone. He will not, Namor promises. The killing is one thing, Emma snarks. But to show there’s any petty jealousy beneath her carefully constructed façade is somewhat unseemly. Thank heavens Namor was here. Then she realizes. What is he doing here? She thought he was at war? He was and now, seeing she is safe, to war he will return. If Namor hears a woman he feels for is hurt, he comes to her side. He lets nothing prevent it. Consider this the smallest taste of what he offers her.
Eventually, Colossus has come to a stop. Magik teleports herself, Scott and Kitty to his side. Why didn’t Scott tell him about Illyana? Peter asks. That he would have her bear the burden of this curse? They didn’t know Cyttorak would accept for one, is the reply. But if he did… They wanted to lock the power away from anyone who’d misuse it. Illyana is experienced in this sort of thing. She volunteered. They knew Peter wouldn’t understand. “This sort of thing,” Peter clarifies is demonic possession. Does Scott know what that means? Would he let a demon drag his soul through the fire?
If that’s what it takes, Scott replies. And Peter is in no position to question him. He’s furious with him too! He is not qualified for this. He is, Peter interrupts. He is his sister’s brother. He will be this Juggernaut. He orders Scott to leave them.
Nice work, Kitty tells him. Thanks, he replies. She was being sarcastic, Kitty clarifies. Colossus makes the Juggernaut helmet disappear and asks her not to judge. What would she have done? After everything, would she make Illyana give up more?
She doesn’t know! Maybe the Illyana she knew would have, but the Illyana she knew wouldn’t have risked her friends just to make sure she got her revenge either! Is that his little snowflake? She can’t understand what would drive someone to that? he asks. Of course she can, Kitty shouts. But she wouldn’t have done it. If she really couldn’t have lived without revenge, she’d have killed herself! She wouldn’t be that selfish just because she was hurting! And does he know what? He wouldn’t either! He’d have sacrificed himself rather than asking anyone else because that’s what he does. That’s what he always does. That’s what he did today. And that’s why they can’t be together anymore. It’s great that he’s willing to die for her… but she needs someone who’s willing to at least consider living. Kitty walks away.
She’s sorry, Illyana tries to comfort him, but it will be all right. Oh, Snowflake, he sighs. Does she know what he sees when he looks back? He refers to the devastation around them. He thinks he’s tried to be an artist all his life, but he’s never made anything as beautiful as this. This is what’s inside his head now. Is he all right? He is not sure he would recognize “all right,” even if he had it.
Later in the mayor’s office, Cyclops informs Mayor Sinclair that Marko’s gone back to the Serpent. He assumes he’s been redeployed to another theater. If the theatre is here again, he adds, at least they’ll be ready. They are working with the civilians to restore order. So, they are okay? Sadie asks. Cyclops confirms. That was a close one, she sighs.
Sadie, he begins, he knows she planned to destroy Utopia. She begins to protest but he cuts her off. He understands. He knows it’s her responsibility. And it’s made him realize what’s his. She may notice her body is no longer under her control. Across the street is a citizen of Utopia, a telepath. She’s paralyzed Sadie. If she wanted, she could make it permanent. If she wanted, she could stand her up, walk her to the window and have her throw herself through it. They have dozens of mutants who could do something similar: perhaps an artificially provoked stroke. Perhaps tweak a valve in her heart to manufacture an apparently congenital death. No one will ever know, but she will be dead.
Sadie is released. Cyclops tells her he likes her a lot and she’s been good to them. And they will continue to do everything they can for San Francisco. But they will never be victims again.
As he is about to leave, she asks: The voice’s offer to betray the humans for their safety… Did he consider them? He opens the door. Magneto is waiting for him outside. Of course not, Cyclops replies and leaves.