Sinister’s World Fair (previously the Palace of Fine Arts), San Francisco:
The X-Men are battling several iterations of Mr. Sinister who informs them that Apocalypse viewed evolution as good in and of itself because he had no understanding of either art or science. What his former partner believed in was red and raw natural selection, whereas Sinister truly believes in evolution. Natural selection is a mechanism. It doesn’t believe in “better” or “worse.” It merely believes in continued being. Whereas Sinister believes in improvement. And improvement requires an aesthete’s eye to judge whether a success is worthy or otherwise. He understands the chain of being and accepts who is at the top and who isn’t.
He tries to prove this by paralyzing the X-Men telepathically again but finds he can’t, as Hope, who is on a roof outside, is still using Emma Frost’s borrowed telepathy to shield her teammates. However, she cannot lock Sinister down. Instead, he contacts her telepathically, suggesting they take the opportunity to chat. A long overdue conversation about nature versus nurture.
Inside the palace the fight continues.
It does so confuse people, Sinister continues to Hope. Both are just determiners. Who cares what’s dominant. Whether genes or society are pressing the buttons, it’s all just programmed. But she has a certain nature everyone is keeping from her. What she is. What she’s for. The knowledge of her specific nature is the missing piece of nurture. And the missing piece of her nurture is one word that describes where she’s from and what she is. Merely knowing the word will place her on the road to fulfilling her potential, whilst simultaneously dooming her entire species. The word is “Phoenix.” How does she feel about that?
She shouts he puts the psycho into psychotherapist. All she wants from him is too shoot him again! To make her point, she teleports inside the palace and shoots the main Sinister. “Thank you!” she tells the corpse.
Another Sinister rises, amused that the girl’s fiery heritage bubbles to the surface. Why won’t he just stop talking! Cyclops announces frustrated, as he tries to blast him. He’s merely sharing truths that disturb him and make him less effective, Sinister points out. Besides, it’s fun!
As his troops capture Cyclops, Sinister continues that Darwin’s formulas are laws and laws are what make them civilized and oppress them. A perfectly replicable life form like the Phalanx has its charm if you rate solely in Darwinian terms. But aesthetically? Oh please, horrific!
The others are captured as well, as Sinister continues he is the Sistine Chapel of evolution. He painted holy frescoes inside himself! He has used the line before! Emma snarls. He tells her to shush, he’s simply wonderful. And they are just nature’s best competition. And now that he has taken everything, he decides they can be cast into history’s compost heap.
“You are but a man!” a mechanical voice announces. “A foolish man”. Metallic cage bars surround the Sinisters as Danger informs them she has been listening as she reconstructed herself. They must know she believes in retaliation. She begins killing them one by one as she informs Sinister he has made himself criminal on a genetic level. They are weeds in life’s garden and will be purged. Welcome to the Danger Room!
Cyclops commends her. Strictly, Danger informs him she wanted to remind them she is not merely here to ferry information from a crazed scientist too squishy for the battlefield.
Magik teleports them outside, where another army of Sinisters is ready for them. “Hello again!” their latest leader greets the X-Men, pointing out the irony. Cyclops had so much trouble uniting his species, while Sinister with him as his map, his magnetic north, managed his without trouble. He points to his head. There is so much of Scott in here, he wouldn’t believe! He begins to order the firing squad.
Emma curses herself as a fool and orders Namor to hold her arm. At last, he boasts. Not affectionately, she snaps, but as in a tourniquet. With the wound secured, she turns to her human form, now able to use her telepathy. She manages to telepathically paralyze the Sinisters. She explains he is using Scott’s mind and no one knows his mind like she does. If he is using Scott’s mind as a map, she knows all the back doors and secret passages. She is sure he has a way of returning the Celestial head to the body, she addresses Sinister, and orders him to do it.
The head rises. The Sinisters begin to melt. To next iteration, they chorus. A new Sinister stands at the top of the stairs, still bloody from the creation engines. He claps his hands. Well, played, he concedes. The X-Men defeated his inferior predecessor; now let’s see if he can guess what they were up to. They set the species to destruction if they ever sent the head winging its way back home, as that would be a sign that they had been defeated. Thankfully, all the lovely data from their failed lives has been gathered and processed…
Scott orders Emma to shut him down, but she finds she can’t.
Gathered, processed and integrated, the new Sinister continues. Overreliance on Summers’ literal brain patterns was a flaw. A few tweaks mitigate that, and tweaking is something the system is built to do. Now he sees the truth. That it’s obvious his earlier self would fail. A mere step toward the perfection of the new him. Sinister is a system! Sinister is a… oh… they know.
The Palace of the Fine Arts is teleported away. Even without the purloined head, it’s a fine headquarters, he announces. Putting aside that it houses his creation engines, it is quite comely. And before he leaves, does Cyclops want to know how his great scheme ends?
Cyclops orders the others to disarm him. Sinister continues Scott will lose every single thing that’s ever mattered to him. Next time they’ll talk, he’ll be more hated than Sinister has ever been. See him around!
Before the X-Men reach him, he takes a gun and shoots himself.
He has decided he dislikes that man, Namor announces gravely. Cyclops contacts Magneto, announcing the head has teleported away.
In Golden Gate Park, Magneto replies it’s made its way home. The Dreaming Celestial is as good as new, which is the good news. They should come swiftly to see the bad.
Magik teleports them to his side and he points at the company: A host of Celestials that has landed. They have to make them understand, Cyclops decides. How is he bearing up? he asks Magneto. Terribly, Magneto replies, but he’s not going to show it on this large a stage. The world is watching! He’d hate to disappoint.
Cyclops turns to Emma, who warns him not to try and send her home. Staring gods in the eye and hoping they’ll blink? It’s a once in a lifetime experience. Almost certainly literally.
The X-Men walk towards the unmoving Celestials. Cyclops addresses them, informing them the planet is under the X-Men’s protection. Their friend, the Dreaming Celestial, is on their planet. That means he is under their protection too. It took longer than he’d have liked, but they stabilized the situation here. It’s over. Everyone’s safe. But if anything else happens, they’ll save their friend again. They protect everyone. That’s kind of the point! What Cyke’s saying is: they should leave, Hope adds.
The X-Men wait nervously. Suddenly, the Dreaming Celestial points upward. The others take their cue from him and leave.
Someone call the Avengers, they’ve just been made obsolete, Hope crows. Magneto looks at the silent crowd that has gathered. He suspects the Avengers would get cheers. It doesn’t matter, Cyclops points out. Note what they are not doing: Throwing bricks, chanting speciecist slurs. Spitting. Nothing they are used to. They’ve seen the nine of them walk out and face down space gods. They are petrified of them. As long as they exist, no none in this crowd will ever touch a mutant again!
So mutankind’s survival and their ascension into the world’s premier super team is entirely inevitable then? Emma asks amused. He wishes, Scott replies glumly. If this was inevitable, they wouldn’t have to work so hard…