Ukistoval, Chernaya, where Warren Worthington III has suddenly been transformed into Archangel. Magneto, the Horseman of Peace, flies towards him as civilians and soldiers fight each other below. 'Angel, my brother... you cannot allow the X-Men to contaminate you in this way. You were meant to be more than just an instrument of war. X-Man understands that. He wants more for y-' Magneto begins, before Archangel flies right into him, and forces Magneto to the ground.
'Whoa, whoa, whöa. Angel's not going to kill Magneto, right? I mean... we have to stop this, don't we?' Jubilee asks as she and the other X-Men – Storm, Polaris, Nightcrawler, Psylocke and Cannonball – look on in shock. 'Let Angel hurt him a little before we stop it' Betsy Braddock a.k.a. Psylocke suggest as there is a mighty boom when Magneto hits the ground.
Magneto emerges from the crater that formed upon impact and tells Angel not to do this, that this is not what they stand for. He reminds Angel that they are trying to bring peace, and asks him to look inside himself. 'You know this to be true' Magneto remarks, before announcing that he refuses to fight Angel, and asks him to come with him back to X-Man, as he can fix this. 'Please' Magneto calls out, extending a hand towards Archangel, who narrows his red eyes and replies 'No'. Magneto tells Angel that he doesn't believe he will go through with this. 'I have faith that you -' Magneto begins, but Archangel swishes his razor-sharp wings forward and declares again that the answer is no. Magneto narrows his eyes as Archangel fires dozens of deadly feather blades towards him. 'I am disappointed' Magneto responds as he throws a force field around himself to deflect the dangerous blades.
Magneto turns to the X-Men and tells them that brother Warren was at peace, and they stole that from him. 'X-Man gives his gifts for purpose and yet you cannot see. And now you must live with what you have done...' Magneto remarks as he suddenly vanishes.
Archangel hovers over the X-Men and tells them that Magneto does not lie. He points at Betsy and warns her that he will never forgive her for what she has done. Betsy tells Warren that they had to stop him, they couldn't allow any more blood to be spilled. 'No more blood?' Archangel retorts. 'You turned me back into the Angel of Death! Back into the one thing that I've been trying to outrun!' Archangel reminds Betsy, who tells him that he needs to believe that there were no other options. 'We needed you back' she explains. Archangel tenses up and, enraged, shouts 'I am not back. The Archangel is. You've put the monster in control and damned me to my own living hell!'
Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm steps forward and tells Betsy to let her talk to Warren, but Betsy assures Storm that she can handle this. 'No. You cannot. Not at this moment' Storm points out. Storm puts a hand on Betsy's shoulder and tells her that they did what they needed to do, and many lives were saved because of it, but that right now she is too emotionally invested in Warren and they must move quickly. 'Please allow me to help' Storm asks. 'Okay' Betsy replies. Storm looks up at Warren and asks him if he is still loyal to X-Man, or whether he will help them. Warren pauses, before responding that he is undecided.
Suddenly, Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris and Sam Guthrie a.k.a. Cannonball look over as an X-Jet descends. Jean Grey emerges from it with her squad – Iceman, X-23, Bishop and Northstar. 'Is he with us again?' Jean asks. 'Hey, guys! What'd we miss? Whoa! Angel is -' Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman begins, as Laura Kinney a.k.a. X-23 interrupts him, suggesting he read the room.
Archangel hovers in the air above as Storm reports that he is undecided, apparently, but that he is out from under X-Man's control, for what that is worth. Storm asks about Blob and Omega Red, and Jean informs her that they were able to save those on the oil rig, but by the time they finished, Blob and Omega Red had vanished and they lost track of them. Jean asks Storm if she has had better luck finding X-Man. They both look up at Archangel, 'Well? Will you help us find him, Warren?' Storm asks.
Hours later, the two X-Jets have landed on Quadra Island, British Columbia in Canada. 'Dammmmn... how much money you think X-Man pulls in a year to afford a place like this?' Bobby asks as the team approaches a large temple – which appears to be various temples merged together, with a huge statue of himself holding two children in front of the temple. 'It's a little ostentatious, if you ask me' one of the X-Men replies. The heroes move forward, flying, running, teleporting or ice-sledding as Storm remarks that there is no need for them to stand around waiting for an invitation. 'And you shall not receive one' a voice responds as Magneto, Blob – the Horseman of Bounty and Omega Red – the Horseman of Wellness appear at the bottom of the steps leading up to the citadel. 'Do not proceed any further' Magneto warns the X-Men. 'I believe the line is “You shall not pass”, Gandalf' Jubilee jokes.
Jean hovers before Magneto and informs him that they are here to see X-Man. Magneto tells her that they know, and X-Man knows, too, because he knows all. 'Wherever you go, you bring chaos. You bring destruction and strife' Omega Red points out. Magneto announces that this is a place of worship, a place of peace, and Blob tells the X-Men that they cannot allow them to desecrate these holy grounds with their presence. 'Didn't we just kick your butt? Do we really need to do this again?' Jubilee asks. Jean tells Magneto that this doesn't have to go this way. 'Just let us talk to X-Man' she exclaims. 'We will not ask again' Magneto declares sternly. With the other X-Men gathered at her side, Jean asks why X-Man is afraid to face them, to look them in the eyes. 'Is it because he knows he is wrong?' she asks.
Magneto responds by telling Jean that X-Man fears nothing, that he is beyond such petty emotions. 'Then why does he hide?' Jean asks, narrowing her eyes. Suddnely, there is a burst of brilliant light and X-Man materializes, announcing that he is hiding nothing. He tells Jean to say what it is she has to say and then join him at his side or be destroyed to make way for what is next – what is necessary. 'Well, when you put it like that... I mean, such a great offer' Bobby mutters.
'Nate... I...' Jean begins, but as he drops down to the ground, X-Man tells Jean not to use that name. 'But it is your name. Nathaniel Grey' Jean reminds him. 'You use it believing it will remind me of a biological bond we share. But you are mistaken. Yes, in another world I would have been your son. But it means nothing' X-Man replies. He tells Jean that everything is connected, and thus nothing is connected. 'That's cheery' Bobby remarks. Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler tells Bobby to hush as Jean asks Nate – X-Man – to talk to them and tell them what he is trying to do here. Jean reminds X-Man that he has always been a hero, but now they don't understand, as he has thrown the world into chaos, people are dying. 'Let us help you' she asks him.
X-Man stands only several feet from Jean and tells her that there is nothing to explain to her, and reminds her that they already spoke at length and that she agreed with him that the world had become a terrible, unredeemable place. 'When did I say this?' Jean asks. 'The coffee shop' X-Man tells her. 'The coffee shop...?' Jean asks, as her memories suddenly find a conversation she had some days ago with an elderly woman in the coffee shop She recalls the old woman telling her that they turn a blind eye to the horror around them because it is convenient, because it happens to someone else, pointing out that corporations rise up and grow too powerful, there is nobody to keep their corruption in check so that they must rely on corporations having a conscience – a truly bizarre and untenable position to be in. Jean remembers the old lady telling her that the poor get poorer, the rich get richer, the gap widens and fear and hatred fester and grow. The old woman asked Jean if she disagreed, to which Jean replied 'Actually... no'.
Jean looks surprised as she asks X-Man if that day he was the old woman. X-Man explains that he borrowed her form briefly, but that she was a real person who was there that day. Jean informs Nate that he walked away before she finished, that she was trying to say that there was hope, that there is always hope, no matter how dark is gets. 'And then the old woman died. Was there hope for her, Jean? Where was her hope? No, she was but another mindless casualty in a never ending war. But that war ends now. I will end it' X-Man declares. Jean asks him how it will end, as what he is doing is killing thousands – perhaps hundreds of thousands before he is finished. X-Man tells Jean that that is a necessary evil – Utopia comes at a price.
Jean tells Nate that there has to be another way, and asks him to let them help him find it. Betsy telepathically informs Storm that X-Man is impenetrable. 'But if the Horsemen's power really does come from him...then we should waste no more time with them and instead focus on the totality of our force on X-Man himself'. She adds that if they can subdue him, she believes the Horsemen will go down as well. Storm looks over to Jean, who confirms that Nate's mind is beyond her reach – nothing she says is getting through, so she thinks Betsy might be right. 'Betsy is indeed right, but it matters not. You will break against me like waves against stone' X-Man announces, energy crackling around him. 'We shall see. X-Men, take him. Now!' Storm commands. 'So be it' Nate replies, standing his ground as the twelve X-Men run, fly, teleport or ice-sled towards him – and before any of them have a chance to strike, they are all blasted backwards and then suspended in the air.
'Nate, put us down' Jean calls out. 'So you can attack me again?' Nate asks. 'So we can help you' Jean tells him. Suddenly, 'Now! Everyone att -' Jubilee exclaims as she throws some plasma fireworks towards Nate, who dodges the attack and hurls Jubilee through a window into his citadel. 'X-Man, wait -' Storm calls out. 'Pests! You really think a light show is going to distract me?' X-Man asks, while Jubilee continues to fall into the citadel – and out the other side of it, crashing into a field behind the citadel. She sits up and tells herself to get back there, while rubbing her head. But before she can get back up, vines sprout from the ground and grab her. 'Oh, c'mon, really!?' Jubilee exclaims, as a voice calls out to her, 'Hey, you need a hand, Ms Lee?' Jubilee looks up and sees the X-Men students Hisako Ichiki a.k.a. Armor, Megan Gwynn a.k.a. Pixie, Santo Vaccarro a.k.a. Rockslide and Robert “Glob” Herman. Jubilee is surprised to see them and asks Armor how they even found this place.
'Them' Armor responds, motioning to Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man and Legion. 'Hello, Jubilee' Legion greets Jubilee. 'Hey' Madrox calls out as he starts to free Jubilee from the vines. Jubilee tells the students that it is not safe for them to be here – or with Madrox and Legion. 'We're not the ones who are getting beaten up by the ground' Glob points out. Armor asks which direction X-Man is in and heads off, her teammates and Legion following her, despite Jubilee telling her not to go that way, to leave and get help. 'We don't do that. We're X-Men' Armor responds, but as they arrive at X-Man's location, they find all of the X-Men restrained by vines. 'Whoa! This is bad' Pixie exclaims. 'Let's show this hippie -' Rockslide begins, but Armor tells him to stay back, and that they are not doing this with their fists. She introduces herself to Nate who has his back to them, during which he tells her that he only goes by “X-Man” now, so Hisako tells him to call her Armor.
X-Man still has his back turned to the new arrivals and asks if another wave of X-Men have come all this way to fight progress. 'We came to talk' Armor assures him. 'An interesting statement for Charles Xavier's soldiers -' X-Man starts to reply, before turning to them, and is surprised at what he sees. 'You're children' he exclaims. 'We're old enough to kick your ass!' Rockslide shouts. 'Santo!' Armor utters, before telling X-Man that what her teammate meant to say is that maybe he should judge them by what they have experienced in their lives, not how long it took. X-Man understands, and asks Armor to tell him why she is here. 'We want to understand' Armor responds. 'That's all anyone wants in the end, isn't it? Life. Our universe. They contain mysteries that we aren't meant to unravel. It's as if -' X-Man starts to reply, before Armor interrupts him, telling him that they want to understand him, all this stuff he is doing – making the animals, trying to destroy holy sites and taking people's weapons – why?
'Ha. No one asked me that' X-Man replies, adding that there is a simple answer – he is dying. 'You're screwing up the world because you're dying?' Glob asks. X-Man tells them that he is saving the world because he is dying, adding that he always knew his time was limited, but he never felt it – until now. X-Man continues, telling the young mutants that their world is dying, too, and it terrifies him, and while he can't save all of them from death, he has tried that, he can save them from a life of suffering. Armor asks him if he can see that he is causing suffering now, that people are hurt and scared. 'Change is scary' X-Man remarks, to which Armor asks him how he knows he is right. 'I've studied life, Armor. All change causes pain. That's -' X-Man begins, to which Armor interrupts him, asking him how he knows that the pain and hurt he is causing is worth it – how does he know he isn't making it worse?
X-Man appears caught off guard, and tells Armor that he has to trust that the ends justify the means. He adds that he is sorry for any pain he has caused, 'But I know... I hope that what we're doing will -' X-Man starts to say, when suddenly, Legion pushes past Armor, declaring that he has had enough of this megalomaniac. 'You can't reason with insanity!' Legion exclaims, deciding that it is better to send him back to where he came from. 'No!' Armor calls out, as Legion banishes X-Man to the world he came from. 'Legion, wait -' Armor begins, but too late, as Rockslide, Pixie, Glob, Armor and X-Man find themselves transported to a barren, ruined landscape. Their appearances have all changed, too. 'Umm, guys? What the hell just happened?' Rockslide asks, his body with a huge cut on his chest, and flames darting across his back. Pixie utters something in a magical language, her appearance now slightly demonic, while Glob wears some sort of armor across his legs. 'Cool' he remarks, as Armor declares that this is bad – real bad. Only X-Man is unchanged as he stands over the young mutants in this strange new world....