The Battery, Charleston, South Carolina:
a woman storms down the front steps of a large house, while a red-haired man follows her. 'Matthew, you promised me, you said the words. You were not going to bring your computer on this trip!' the woman shouts. Matthew calls the woman Jules and reminds her that he didn't promise. She asked him not to bring it, but he needed to. 'Completely missing the point of the bed-and-breakfast' Jules tells him as she starts to walk along the sidewalk. 'You go to sleep at 9 PM. You crash every night. When you sleep, I will check my mail. But right now? Look, no computer, no phone, you have my full, undivided attention' Matthew points out. Jules turns back and tells Matthew that the point is that he said he was not going to bring it. Matthew replies that if this is a conversation they are going to have, then he doesn't want to go on this walk. 'You're choosing to ruin a lovely evening away from the kid' Matthew adds. 'I'm choosing?!' Jules retorts.
'Oh my God, please!' Matthew exclaims, while Jules tells him that the computer is a symbol of a larger problem. 'Oh my God' Matthew repeats himself. 'You say you're going to do one thing and then you just decide -' Jules begins, when suddenly, she is struck with green energy and vaporized.
Matthew turns around to see that the bed and breakfast behind him explodes after being fired at, and a large ship hovers overhead, while green weapons fire darts through the air around him. Someone walking nearby is also struck by the green weapons fire, and Matthew looks over to the rubble of the bed and breakfast to see an alien Skrull pointing his weapon towards him. Matthew looks scared. The Skrull grits his teeth, and Matthew goes wide-eyed, however, before the Skrull can fire at him, the Skrull's head is blown off. Matthew looks around at the fires now raging around him, and sees that the large ship overhead has fallen into the rubble of the bed and breakfast, while a voice is projected from another nearby ship: 'Citizens, this is SHIELD Command. We are under Skrull attack. Please stay in your homes. Do not trust anyone!' And Matthew just looks around, forlorn.
The New York law firm of Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk:
Jen sits at her desk, tapping away at her laptop, while speaking on the phone. Her receptionist, Angie Haung, and her monkey Hei Hei sit at a desk across the room. 'This is Jennifer Walters... no, Mr Lowe, you don't have to prove damages, you see?' Jennifer explains, adding that you can't just go into court and say that you made a huge mistake and that Spider-Man annoys you. 'You have to have been – hold on' Jennnifer begins, before noticing a website that has an image of her trying to block a photographer, while an insert has a headshot of a smiling Hercules. 'No. No. I'm here' She-Hulk tells Mr Lowe, before suggesting he take a breath, think about it, and if he still wants to pursue this course of action, of course he can come to her office. 'Listen, I certainly don't mind billing you the hours... it's just I want you to get your money's worth' She-Hulk explains, while a delivery man enters her office, and hands her a small package. 'And how are you today? Good? Great. Me, too. Just peachy' She-Hulk remarks to the delivery man who doesn't answer her. She-Hulk opens the package, and goes wide-eyed.
Madripoor, currently a haven for mutantkind, teeming with mutants going about their lives: Dragoness soars between the skyscrapers, while down on the street, Mindblast, Bliss, Kylun, Outlaw and Razorback can be seen amongst the crowds. 'Dazzler, Mystique is not here. If she is half as smart as we know she is... she is anywhere but on this island' Magneto remarks to Dazzler as they, along with Magik and Emma Frost search for their foe. 'This is her version of a mutant paradise.. .but she knows that we, and SHIELD, are looking for her now' Magneto reminds everyone. Emma adds that if Mystique is here, pesky shapeshifters are hard to point out in a crowd.
'So I should just give up? Is that your professional opinion, Miss Frost?' Dazzler asks, annoyed. Wearing her SHIELD costume, she turns to the other three, as Emma tells Dazzler to be angry, that she should be angry, because Mystique kidnapped her, impersonated her and made Mutant Growth Hormone from her. 'We're here because we want to watch you beat the blue off of her' Emma adds.
Dazzler turns away, so Magik goes over to her and remarks that she can work some spells and reveal someone's true form, but that they would at least have to know if she was in the vicinity. Dazzler turns back to the X-Men, annoyed, light glows around her, which she releases in a rage, causing them to block their eyes. Dazzler collapses to the ground, the last glimmer of light dancing around her.
The secret location of the New Xavier School, where Kitty Pryde is outside in the snow, overseeing a training exercise that her charges, the original X-Men from the past – Marvel Girl, Iceman, Angel and Beast – are undertaking with X-23.
Inside, Cyclops stares at a large projected map of the world, with bright lights popping up in various cities across the planet. He hangs his head, and remembers being empowered by the Phoenix Force, while Charles Xavier called out to him 'Scott... look around you. I'm begging you, son, stop this now'. Cyclops replied 'You are not my father'. Cyclops turns his head, but the memory still haunts him, as Charles raised his voice, 'THAT IS ENOUGH!' he shouted – and Cyclops responded by murdering Charles Xavier.
'Professor?' a voice calls out. 'Are you all right?' Tempus asks as she approaches Cyclops, who seemingly wipes a tear away from under his ruby quartz glasses. 'I'm fine, Ms Bell' Cyclops tells the younger mutant, who asks him if he is sure. Cyclops reminds Tempus that their last “adventure” had him infected with Nanotech Sentinels, and although they have been purged from his system, it has left him feeling a little flush. 'Nanotech? So like really small?' Tempus asks. 'Yes' Cyclops tells her. 'Crazy' Tempus remarks. 'Yes' Cyclops agrees, before Tempus asks him if she can get him something.
'Have you mustered up the courage to tell me what has happened to you?' Cyclops asks. Tempus goes wide-eyed, 'Um – that's not -' she begins, to which Cyclops tells Tempus that she has aged years in the weeks that they have known each other. 'I just – I'm not aging' Tempus replies. 'I know what has happpened to you' Cyclops claims, before informing Tempus that the Stepford Sisters read her mind, and they told him. 'Why would they do that?' Tempus asks, turning away from Cyclops, who tells her that they were scared for her, and thought she needed help. 'This was them trying to help you' Cyclops explains. 'So if you know what happened to me -' Tempus begins. 'I was waiting for you to muster up the courage to ask for help' Cyclops replies. Angrily, Tempus tells Cyclops that ever since she met him she has heard all the stories about how polarizing he is, how people hate him, and she couldn't for the life of her figure out what they were talking about, because she thought he was probably the most interesting person she has ever met. 'Until now. Now I see exactly why you annoy people' Tempus declares, before turning and storming away. 'Eva, sit -' Cyclops begins, until he tells himself that yelling after them never works.
Meanwhile, She-Hulk has arrived at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning in Westchester County. 'Good Lord...' she utters as she stares out at the destruction around her. '...what happened here?' She-Hulk asks as X-Men Storm, Beast, Iceman, Pixie and Rachel Grey, along with Armor and Rockslide and several SHIELD agents are cleaning up the damage. 'Hey, Lady Hulk. You missed all the fun' Iceman remarks as he slides over to She-Hulk. 'We could have used you yesterday' the Beast calls out, while She-Hulk asks if everyone is all right. Storm, Iceman and the Beast gather around She-Hulk, as Iceman begins 'Considering someone hijacked SHIELD then used their Sentinel technology to attack us at our home...' his voice trails off, while the Beast assures She-Hulk that everyone is fine. She-Hulk enquires as to who is in charge of the school now, and Storm reports that it is she. 'Well then, Storm, we need to talk' She-Hulk frowns. 'Are we in trouble, counsellor?' Storm asks. She-Hulk holds up a mobile device with a list on it and reports 'We need to gather the following people for the reading...'. 'Reading of what?' the Beast asks. 'The Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier' She-Hulk replies. Storm, Iceman and the Beast go wide-eyed in shock, while Pixie, Rachel and Armor all stop what they are doing and look over to the others.
Back at the New Xavier School, the Stepford Sisters, Benjamin Deeds, Goldballs, Triage and Hijack are gathered around a large table. 'And they are back' Benjamin calls out as Magik teleports herself, Emma, Dazzler and Magneto into the room. 'How did it go?' Mindee asks. 'Does anyone need healing?' Triage enquires. Emma replies that everyone is in one piece, physically. Cyclops enters the room and calls out 'I take it the hunt was a wash-out'. Dazzler starts to walk away from the group, while Emma remarks that it will be a year before they even get a whiff of Mystique, adding that she has all the money in the world, and is a shape-shifter with a sliding scale morality, so she could literally be anywhere or anyone. Magik adds that Mystique won't be found until she wants to be found. 'And Alison?' Cyclops asks as he sees Dazzler walk up some stairs out of the meeting room. Emma tells him to leave her be. Magneto reports that she is in a fragile state, so they need to be careful with her. 'Is she joining us?' Cyclops enquires. 'Hasn't said' Magik repies. 'Should I talk to her?' Cyclops asks, to which Emma and Magik both exclaim 'No' in unison.
Emma suggests to Cyclops that he go talk to, thank and welcome back their long-lost student Hijack, whom he rudely kicked off the team. 'Have you done that?' she asks him. 'No' Cyclops replies. 'Why don't you do that, then?' Emma tells him, suggesting that he show the students what it looks like when he admits that he was wrong about something. Cyclops turns to Magneto and asks him if he is staying or if he is going to disappear and do whatever the hell it is he does when he is not here. 'Deal with your students, Mr Summers' Magneto replies as he walks away. Cyclops walks towards Hijack and addresses him. 'Oh, you do see me?' Hijack replies, adding that he thought invisibility was added to his power set. 'I kicked you off the team because -' Cyclops begins, but Hijack interrupts him, remarking that he knows why he was kicked off the team, and that Cyclops was right. 'I was – this is a pattern with me. I do whatever the hell I want and – I'm shocked when my life isn't what I hoped it would be' he explains, adding that Cyclops was right. 'But, and please hear me... you were also right to invite me in the first place. I want in' Hijack announces, adding that if it isn't here, then he will go to that other school that isn't hidden in the Canadian woods or wherever the hell they are.
'Stop. You saved our lives without even the slightest hesitation... you pushed yourself and your powers and you revealed a sophistication that is both promising and a little scary' Cyclops announces. 'You mean I'm more powerful than both of us thought I was? Yeah? Well, I'm more than a little scared' Hijack admits. Cyclops extends a hand and asks Hijack to accept his invitation to rejoin this group. 'Hell yeah. I need your help' Hijack smiles as he and Cyclops shake hands. 'And we need yours. Welcome back, X-Man' Cyclops smiles.
'That's a lovely moment...' Celeste begins. 'Be nice' Emma tells her charge, before Celeste asks who is going to deal with the pop star having a mental breakdown in the bathroom?
Inside the large bathroom, Dazzler stares into a mirror. Her eyes are dirty with mascara-stained tears. She frowns at the image staring back at her – a proud Dazzler, Agent of SHIELD. She scowls, and sees another image, famous pop star Dazzler, and narrows her eyes. Another image, of Dazzler in her classic silver jumpsuit, and another image still, of performing on stage. She hangs her head, then glances over at some scissors on the sink. She steps back slightly from the basin, then looks up at the mirror, the wretched image of herself staring back.
And, in Newberry, California, a red-haired man walks down a sidewalk, past a grocery store, when someone calls out to him: 'Matthew?' 'Um -' Matthew begins, hands in pockets. 'It's me... Alana' the woman smiles as she approaches him. 'I know' Matthew replies. 'How are you? Are you living here now? Jeff and I – we just moved here' Alana reveals. 'Um...' Matthew begins. Alana tells Matthew that she was really hoping he would keep in touch. 'Yeah -' Matthew begins, turning away as Alana takes him by his arm. 'I called' Alanda adds. 'I know, I just didn't -' Matthew starts to reply, as Alana states 'She was my sister. That makes you my brother no matter what. You know?' But Matthew doesn't look at Alana and tells her that he doesn't want to talk about this. 'You just disappeared' Alanda points out. 'It was good seeing you' Matthew states. 'No. No, Matthew, I just want to talk to you' Alanda calls out. Matthew asks her to leave him alone, but Alana tells him that this isn't right, and that he needs to talk to her. 'I said no!' Matthew shouts, when suddenly, energy radiates from him seemingly destroying everything around him, he looks on in shock.
Back at the Jean Grey School:
'So, what's in the will?' Iceman asks. 'First thing's first, Bobby...' She-Hulk replies, and soon, they go into an office, where She-Hulk sits at a desk, and tells the X-Men that she knows this is a delicate question and one she would not normally have to ask, but that they are the X-Men and they don't do normal. 'It appears not' the Beast remarks, before She-Hulk asks, to the best of their knowledge, if Xavier is really dead. 'I only ask because we both know that “dead” and “dead” dead...' her voice trails off, as Storm and the Beast look at each other, and Storm reports that Charles is gone. 'It's a valid question, though' the Beast admits. 'Valid question?' Storm asks. 'Legally speaking' the Beast points out. Iceman tells She-Hulk to just read this thing so they can get on with their lives. 'I hate this kind of stuff. I just hate it' he complains. She-Hulk informs the X-Men that it stipulates that everyone named in the will be present for the reading of the will. 'Of course' the Beast tells her. 'No' Storm utters, covering her face. 'Who?' Iceman asks. 'Scott Summers' She-Hulk announces, asking the X-Men if they know where he is – because they really need him here – right now!