Seattle, Washington, at an M-Pox crisis center:
Guards stand in front of the center to keep the protesters at bay. They carry signs that read “Mutants = Disease,” “No Mutants, No M-Pox,” “Don't bring sickness” and so on. Among the protesters stand Max Eisenhardt a.k.a. Erik Lehnsherr, better known simply as Magneto, and Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock. Betsy telepathically tells Magneto that she knows what he is thinking, but that he needs to try and keep himself in check. 'We don't need the attention right now' she points out, explaining that she can tweak the surface thoughts of everyone in the crowd so long as they are distracted, meaning they can't see them. 'Maybe they should, Elizabeth' Magneto replies. 'Maybe' Psylocke agrees, before reminding him that they are not here to terrorize these people. Magneto remarks that he hasn't abandoned those ideals, it is more like he has put them on hold. 'Please, don't try to joke' Betsy tells him, pointing out that it only makes him sound even barmier than usual. 'Who's joking?' Magneto asks.
They walk past the guards and enter a tent, where Betsy sees a young mutant, and calls out to him, 'Christopher Muse... Triage... we need you to come with us'. Without looking up, Triage replies 'Not now. Can't you see I'm busy?' as his hand waves over a mutant on a table before him, and cures of her of the M-Pox disease covering her body.
Sweat pours down Triage's face, then he rubs his eyes and turns to Psylocke, 'Now... you were saying?' he asks. 'The... the M-Pox... you cured it!' Betsy exclaims. But Triage hangs his head and tells her not to be too impressed, as it is only temporary. He reveals that he can heal the symptoms, but that eventually they come back. He looks at Magneto, and tells him that he thought he was dead or something. 'But here you are'. Triage tells them that he doesn't know what they want with him, but that he is done – done with the X-Men. 'I'm all for helping mutants... but I'll do it in my own way' Triage declares. As other mutants lay in beds nearby, Triage tells Magneto and Betsy that he thinks they can both see this is where someone with his gifts is needed.
Magneto informs Triage that they are not here to recruit him. 'But you will come with us' he declares. 'What? You're kidnapping me?' Triage asks. 'That is an option' Magneto warns him. Suddenly, Betsy informs Magneto that they are here – she is picking up three of them – the Dark Riders! Indeed, outside, Barrage, Harddrive and Hurricane have materialized. 'What's going on? Who are the Dark Riders?' Triage asks. 'Didn't we tell you? All mutant healers have been marked for death. You're next' Betsy declares. Magneto peers out the tent and informs Betsy that he will deal with the Dark Riders. Betsy reminds him to keep them alive – at least for a bit. 'I'll see what I can do... but I make no promises' Magneto responds.
Barrage remarks that their quarry is nearby, and instructs Hurricane to flush him out. Hurricane raises his hands and creates a mighty storm, which whips through the crisis center. 'What is this?' one o the protesters asks. '– the mutants?' another of them suggests, as their anti-mutant billboards and blown from their grasp, and one woman covers her eyes and screams. Suddenly, 'Oh my God!' another protester declares as Magneto appears above them. 'He's come or us!' a man cries out.
Magneto smirks, as Betsy telepathically tells him 'You're enjoying this, aren't you, Erik? You enjoy scaring the spit out of anyone watching'. She tells him to keep his eyes on the prize. Magneto surrounds himself in a force field and asks Betsy if she is reading his thoughts. 'I'm allowing you to maintain telepathic contact. But take advantage of my cooperation... and I'll cast you out so forcibly you'll have a nosebleed for a week'. Betsy responds by telling Magneto not to worry about her, as she wouldn't dream of digging too deeply in that brain of his. 'Just do your job... and keep them busy long enough for me to get a fix on their thoughts'.
Magneto rips up some concrete with metal bars through it and uses it to deflect an attack from Barrage. 'Make it quick, won't you?' Magneto declares. Betsy announces that the Dark Riders have been trained to resist psychic intrusion, so as long as they are fighting Magneto, as long as they are distracted, she can breach their defenses. Triage uses his power to temporarily heal another patient. 'I'm going to help you' he tells them, while Betsy concentrates hard, enters the minds of the three Dark Riders as they unleash their powers against Magneto, who holds them back with a force field. Betsy reports that their minds are all twisted with propaganda and brainwashing. 'They think they're on some holy crusade...but I've got everything we need. They're all yours' Betsy assures Magneto, who smiles, then sends shards of metal towards all three of the Dark Riders, causing Harddrive to scream as he is struck in the neck. 'Hardrive... port us out!' Barrage orders. Magneto's attack ends, and Barrage goes over to Hurricane who has been struck in the stomach, while Harddrive lies on the ground. 'I...can...I can try' he utters, and an instant later, they vanish.
'Magneto. Contact with the Riders has been lost. Are they dead?' Betsy asks via their telepathic link. 'Not yet' Magneto tells her. 'You shut me out' Betsy declares as Magneto returns to the tent. 'Consider it a kindness' Magneto suggests, informing Betsy that she does not want to know his thoughts at the moment. He turns to Triage and tells him that, as Psylocke mentioned, they need him to come with them, unaware that a small camera nearby is recording them. “Come with me if you want to live” Triage quotes. 'Yeah... I've seen the movie. But I'm not just leaving these people. I'm needed here' Triage declares.
Magneto assures Triage that the Dark Riders will not forget their quest to assassinate him, and next time, they will come in greater numbers. 'They will cut through your patients in order to get to you'. Triage stands on the protesters signs that lay strewn on the ground and hangs his head. Magneto tells him that he can give him a few minutes, to heal those he can, but that then they must leave this place. 'These killers...you're going to stop them? You're going to protect the healers?' Triage asks. 'You'll protect us so we can get back to doing something good with our powers?' he enquires. 'That's the plan, Christopher. But the Riders have a head start. Right now, we're just trying to head them off... before they reach their next targets' Betsy explains.
At that moment, a temple in Tibet, where the glamorous Monet St Croix descends:
She enters the temple, 'Hello?' she calls out, before introducing herself and announcing that she is here with a warning. 'I know who you are. And I know of the grim tidings that have brought you before me' a voice responds from within the darkened temple. 'While I appreciate your concern... I hope you will also respect my wishes when I say... I have no intention of leaving this place'.
Monet approaches the man sitting in the temple with a mask over his face and address him as Shen Xorn. 'I understand your desire for isolation... but there are agencies at work... people who are coming after any mutant who has the power to heal. And that includes you' Monet explains. Xorn informs Monet that it is not isolation which he desires, and that her company, as fleeting as it may be, is most welcome. 'Pardon me, but I'm not sure you grasp the gravity of the situation... our people are dying' Monet declares. Monet explains that Terrigen Mists are sweeping across the world, and when mutants are exposed to these vapors, they are done for. 'If that wasn't bad enough, someone is gunning for healers like yourself. I'm not sure how you can be so -' Monet begins. Xorn interrupts her: 'Tea?'
A teapot and two cups float towards them, as Xorn reveals that he has been here for so long, and his meditations require a great deal of time. 'But – I must admit – the loneliness is sometimes a bit much'. Monet holds her cup as the teapot pours the drink into it, and she tells Xorn that is all the more reason for him to come with her, suggesting he use it as an opportunity to socialize, while they protect him. Xorn holds the teacup and tells Monet that he hopes she does not think him rude for not drinking in front o her, explaining that she might find it unsettling, just like he might find the world beyond these walls disconcerting and troubling. He adds that although he might not be as safe here, in seclusion, he thinks the rest of the world would be much safer indeed, at least until his meditations are complete. 'If the mists find me here, so be it' Xorn declares, adding that if these hunters that Monet warns him about come for him, then perhaps he will offer them tea. 'In any case... I am prepared for the ate that lies before me' Xorn announces.
The Blackbird jet streaks through the air, inside, Magneto, Betsy and Triage apparently unaware a small camera-like device has been stuck to the jet. Triage asks Magneto to tell him about the Dark Riders, and why they want him dead. 'Not just you, Christopher, all mutant healers' Magneto replies, explaining that the Riders are a militant band of Inhumans and mutants, terrorists who have long believed in survival o the fittest, and as far as they are concerned, the right to survive is earned only through trial and tribulation. Piloting the jet, Betsy listens as Magneto adds that it is likely the Dark Riders see the Terrigen Mists, the dangers to mutantkind, as the natural order, and those with the power to heal are decidedly unnatural. 'Once upon a time, they followed the teachings of... someone truly awful' Betsy declares, adding that now though, they are on their own – she knows this because she learned it when she scanned them. 'They're using this little blood hunt of their as a way to prove themselves to unseen masters' Betsy explains. 'And they are all the more dangerous for it' Magneto points out. 'So you're rescuing all the healers... bringing them to.. uh... is that -' Triage begins, as the Blackbird lands amongst the ruins of Genosha.
Exiting the Blackbird, Triage remarks that he heard Magneto was trying to set up some sort of colony here, a refuge or mutants, and reveals that he thought about coming here himself. 'Be thankful that you did not' Magneto declares, announcing that when he first ruled Genosha, sixteen million mutants were killed, and not long after he returned, the Terrigen Cloud swept across the island, sixty more mutants perished while in his care. They walk amongst the rubble, as Magneto remarks that time and time again he allows himself to be fooled by the promise o a mutant utopia, and time and again, others have paid the price for his foolishness. 'Now... Genosha is naught but a staging ground for war' Magneto points out. 'Yeah... home sweet home' Victor “Sabretooth” Creed calls out as he appears. 'Uh... why is Sabretooth here?' Triage asks. 'Are you guys trying to help our people? Or are you forming a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants?' Triage enquires. 'Cute' Sabretooth frowns. 'See how you feel about me when I'm the one protecting your ass, kid' Sabretooth tells Triage. Betsy instructs Creed to lay of him. 'You can't really blame him for being nervous around the likes of you' Betsy points out. 'Way I see it, Betsy, the same could be said for all of us' Creed remarks.
Sabretooth then announces that Monet is on her way back from Tibet, and although she passed the warning on, is coming back empty-handed. 'Very well' Magneto replies, before stating that Psylocke was able to scan the minds of the Dark riders, and has located the hole they are hiding in. Sabretooth tells the others that he is going to make sure the Blackbird is gassed up and ready to fly, while Betsy announces that she will prep Warren. 'We'll hit the Riders – hard – right where they live' she suggests. Triage asks everyone to hold on – 'We just got here...and we're rushing off into a fight?' he then enquires as to why he doesn't see anyone else here, and whether he is the only healer they have managed to save. 'It is time that our enemies learn what we already know...that there is no place to hide' Magneto responds.
Meanwhile, inside a Someday Corporation storage facility, Fantomex has a Someday Enterprises employee in his grasp, and tells him relax, that there is no need to struggle against the inevitable. 'In the end... it's just simply undignified' he remarks, before turning to the Hellfire Club guards that are with him, and tells them to stay close and keep quiet. 'Whatever you say' one of them replies. Fantomex remarks that the Hellfire Club went to a lot of trouble to locate this little warehouse, and now that they are here, they should make the most of their time. 'That's all any of us can do, is it not? We can squeeze every ounce of vital fluid from life before the -' Fantomex begins, but as he and the Hellfire Club guards round a corner, Fantomex goes wide-eyed as he sees a large chamber, lined with stasis tubes, all filled with mutants. 'It would appear, gentlemen... that the scale of this project is a little bigger than we expected' he points out. Fantomex goes over to one of the tubes and declares 'Look at them all... mutants who have willingly placed themselves in a state of suspended animation...hoping to one day wake up in a better – world'. Just then, there is gunfire, and Fantomex opens fire at the Someday Enterprises guards who rush into the chamber.
'Good evening, gentlemen! No need for such a display of force! My friends and I have seen enough. We were just -' Fantomex begins, before he is shot at and falls to the ground. 'Squad leader is down!' one of the Hellfire Club guards shouts as they open fire at the Someday Enterprises guards. 'No way out – they've got us surrounded!' another Hellfire Club guard declares, when suddenly, Fantomex fades, replaced by another Hellfire Club guard. 'It's... not him... he... he abandoned us!' one of the guards exclaims.
'... an unfortunate sacrifice to be sure. But necessary in the end. I'm on my way home right now' Fantomex reports from inside his ship, EVA. Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique appears on a monitor before Fantomex, who asks her to tell their “masters” that he would like an audience. 'Anything else I can do for you while you've forgotten I'm not a messenger service?' Mystique asks. 'Don't be like that, my dear. Maybe they'll give you some scraps for being a good little minion' Fantomex suggests, adding that he believes they will be quite interested in what he has to say....