Hope has set up a rifle and shoots at a Sinister clone who, dressed as a Victorian soldier, is about to stab a tourist with his bayonet. After shooting him in the head, Hope trains the weapon on the next would-be victim but then pauses in wonder, admitting to herself this is really one hell of a view. She refers to her fellow X-Men battling Victorian-style troops that are all looking like Mister Sinister.
Agent Brand calls Cyclops from the space station Peak to order him to wrap this up. There is a Celestial problem! They know, Cyclops replies as he blasts apart a Sinister unit. Magneto is the only thing holding the Dreaming Celestial together! He’s exerting himself. The second he can’t, San Francisco is dust! So shut up and let them get the Celestial’s head back!
That’s not the problem! Brand insists. They are picking up signals approaching Earth. At least a dozen of them. The rest of the Celestials! Hell! Scott states. Yeah, that’s what SWORD’s analysts said too, Brand agrees.
“Good sir”, a horse riding Sinister addresses Scott. His majesty Sinister invites him to converse with his royal person on the matter of their mutual annihilation by hands Celestial. He suggests an armistice. He has drinks prepared in the rotunda. Would they join him? Stop shooting and they will be there, Cyclops replies. The Sinister leaves.
It’s a trap, Namor announces. Cyclops agrees, but it is also a ceasefire, giving the city time to evacuate the area. Namor sarcastically remarks he begins to understand the reason for the X-Men. It’s not “Xavier” or the “X-gene”. The X is a target pasted on their backs. He is catching on, Cyclops agrees.
And so the team enters the giant park-like area which Sinister has transformed. Emma chides a Sinister to stop picking her pockets for valuables. She is her valuables! Scott suggests she return to Utopia in her state. She scoffs it’s a proverbial flesh wound. She can’t feel anything as long as she is in diamond form. She reminds him she is invulnerable to psychic attacks which is the real threat here. He wants his expert on telepathic warfare close at hand. She adds Colossus should wear his delightful hat. Everyone else will have to make do with the X-lab’s telepathy shield which she is assured is getting better on a weekly basis.
Any chance of an ace up their sleeve? Scott asks. Emma suggests she’ll have a word with Hope. Good work, he tells her. Would it hurt for an occasional “good work, oh shining resplendent sun of my life?” she sighs. The sun is pallid compared with… Namor begins. Emma cuts him off. Not the time!
While she talks with Hope, Cyclops turns to Danger, asking if there are any findings from the X-Lab. Danger informs him the blood sample from the Sinister doppelgangers are somewhat unusual. The genetic structure is an extrapolation from DNA. There is thousands of times more genetic content and no sign of any junk DNA. And every one of them is identical… they are all the same! Including the horses. Genetically speaking, they are clones. They are just expressing it in different ways. They walk in a kingdom of him.
The main Sinister welcomes them, sitting on a throne attended by several soldiers and servant-like clones. Cyclops asks what the hell he thinks he is doing. For lifetimes, he studied him and his, Sinister replies, and one day he had all he needed… enough theory. Enough research. This is him putting it all in practice. The man who was Nathaniel Essex had a vision…
When he was a boy in London on a blessed, sunny Sunday he went south of the Thames to Greenwich Park. And he saw it: so endless and beautiful – people walking the paths preordained for them. Everyone knowing their place, and the sanctity and purity in that. A clock made by God. And God – as they all know - is an Englishman. For an afternoon, it was heaven on Earth.
And when he became Sinister, he thought wouldn’t it be nice, if that was all there was. And he decided he would make Earth a heaven. Essex made himself into a new species. The rules for his heaven rest inside the sacristy of each cell. Essex made a better him and when he died, it was activated. He became him. He is quite simply the closest thing to perfect that there’s ever been. He is the auto-creating Frankenstein. He is the monster looking in the mirror and admiring the handsome jawline he’s wrought.
But a laboratory prototype is one thing. To produce himself on an industrial scale required Celestial fire to power his creation engines. So he took what he needed and it works as well as he knew it would. As each new clone brother emerges from his creation engines, it looks at its peers and surroundings and instantly knows its place and takes it. The Sistine Chapel lies in the smallest part of him. And if he’s not perfect yet, he’s the closest to perfection they have ever met.
Cyclops informs him he needs to return the head. The Celestials are coming and when they arrive the X-Men cannot predict what…
They’ll scourge the Earth, Sinister informs them off-handedly. The Dreaming Celestial has been interfered with in a profound way. They’ll see the tiny rodents surrounding it as problematic, burn them up and hope evolution brings them something a little politer next time. Not their problem. They will survive, and it gets the also-runs out of the way of the real competition. His species versus Scott’s.
Why did he bring them here? Cyclops asks. Can’t he guess? Sinister asks. If she were to speculate, she’d say he’s being an inexcusable egotist looking for an excuse to gloat, Storm comments. His colonial pet is right, Sinister tells Scott. He is an egomaniac. And arrogance is only a failing if misplaced. He wanted to show them what they helped make. And, of course, it is a trap.
Hive-minds with him sitting on top and directing everything as a monarch should. Enough power to strip through the petty defenses the X-Men’s small club of small geniuses put together. Their minds? No longer theirs.
Colossus proves immune thanks to the Juggernaut helmet. Aware of this, Sinister orders Cyclops to shatter it with his optic blast. And soon Colossus kneels before him.
Exempt are Emma in her diamond form and Danger. Which of them wishes to go first? Sinister asks. Her, Emma points at Danger. Sinister’s weapons blast Danger apart.
Any last words? one of the troops asks Emma. “Abdicate” she replies. Given the codeword, Hope automatically copies Emma’s diamond form which makes her telepathy-resistant, then copies Magik’s power to teleport out.
Sinister ventures that, before coming here, Hope borrowed Emma’s power to create an implanted codeword response which upon hearing made her tap Emma’s power again, automatically taking her telepathy invulnerable diamond form. He commends Emma on the elegance of the design. That said, “Abdicate” was a risky choice…
He babbles on, then, thanks the unmoving Scott. Oh yes, he has to thank Scott, His family was the first of pure-bred mutants. Sinister’s lengthy study of his lineage gave him the inside to make him. He has made himself a king from Summers’ pretty little mind. After all, isn’t that what Scott was always trying to do? Isn’t this what his latest idea is about? To become mutant royalty? His first mate was the highest genetic quality bride available. When she died, he found himself the best replacement available. Not quite the same class, of course, but good enough to house his seed.
She has had enough, Emma seethes. He shushes her, it’s a compliment! The future is psionic! It’s all about the breeding. The only truth. They are nothing compared to the machinations of their genes. Their genes are all that matters. They are no better than them and their only destiny lies coiled within. Their genes aspired to make mutants kings of the Earth but Sinister is their usurper! And free will is just a pretty little lie you tell yourself, something you can only believe because of holes in their science. You think: “he is wrong. I’m not like that.” Yet Sinister has predicted every action they have taken. If you know nature and nurture, there is no room for anything else. Scott is the proof of his theory. Allow him one last moment to admire the lovely view… He steps outside. It’s time for him to be shot…
One moment, later Sinister is shot through the head, courtesy of Hope’s rifle. She has set up on an adjacent roof. What kind of idiot actually puts a target on his forehead, she wonders.
Briefly, telepathic control is down. Scott begins to give an order, when a new Sinister begins to speak. With only Cyclops speaking his name, Colossus does crushes Sinister’s skull.
Finishing his predecessor’s sentence, a new Sinister informs Scott he hasn’t understood at all. Cyclops tries to shoot him with an optic blast but two guards deflect it with their swords. He can’t kill him because there is no “him,” Sinister explains. Sinister is a system. Sinister is a species. Everything is Sinister. And if you are not Sinister, your time is over!