Something overcomes Storm one night, and she hastily departs from the X-Men's hideout in the Australian Outback. Nobody witnesses her fly away, except Gateway, who observes silently from his plateau in the desert.
The gusty wind in Storm's wake creates enough of a ruckus that Longshot, wearing nothing but his underwear, comes out onto his balcony to investigate. Storm's powerful tailwinds sweep him up into the air, a relatively easy feat, considering his hollow bone structure.
Dazzler comes outside just in time to see her boy-toy being pulled up into the sky. Thinking quickly, and citing Newton's Third Law of Motion in the meantime, she propels herself into the sky after him by firing a solid photon beam towards the ground.
Her gambit works, and she reaches Longshot before he plummets to his doom. However, she hasn't really thought the whole thing out, and has to use her photon beams to slow their descent. They come crashing to the ground, but avoid injury, possibly due to Longshot's incredible luck. Dazzler takes advantage of the fact that she is cradling the nearly naked Longshot in her arms, and shamelessly flirts with him.
Overhead, Rogue takes to the skies in pursuit of Storm. She notices the thunderstorm forming around the object of her pursuit, and thinks to herself that if the weather is any indication, Storm must be very upset about something. She reaches out to Psylocke mentally and requests to be psi-linked.
Psylocke hears her request and establishes the link, noting that Storm ignores all of her attempts at communication. She informs Rogue that the only thoughts she can pick up from Storm's mind are "tremendous rage and an overwhelming sense of urgency".
The rest of the X-Men rendezvous with Psylocke in their hideout's computer room. Madelyne Pryor, the team's current computer expert, can barely believe how fast Storm is flying. Wolverine tells her that Storm must have generated her own high-altitude jet-stream in order to achieve such speeds. Using an advanced computer program, Madelyne deduces that Storm's trajectory will take her to the middle of Antarctica. Psylocke informs Rogue of Storm's intended destination; she may not be able to catch up with her in flight, but she can hopefully provide backup if Storm ends up needing it.
Dazzler, being relatively new to the team, asks how they can possibly know where Storm is going, since all they know is that she's heading for Antarctica. "Only one place on that heading makes any sense, darlin'," Wolverine says, before telling Dazzler about the Savage Land.
Colossus, Havok, Psylocke, Wolverine, Longshot and Dazzler prepare themselves for the inevitable trip to the Antarctic. Once they're ready, they head up to the cliffs to meet with Gateway, his transportation power being their current method of travel.
"To be honest, I think I liked it better when the X-Men flew a plane from place to place," Havok comments as they approach the meditative Gateway.
"We all possess extraordinary powers, Havok. Why should Gateway's bother you any more than, say, mine?" Psylocke asks.
"The problem is, Psylocke, it bothers me just as much," Havok retorts. Gateway then spins his bull-roarer and creates a portal to the Savage Land. The X-Men enter and the portal closes.
While they emerge at the coordinates of the Savage Land, none of them recognize the drastically altered landscape. Instead of lush, green jungles, all they see is a desolate wasteland. Colossus suggests that maybe Gateway transported them to the wrong place, but Wolverine recognizes the mountains as those of the Savage Land. Dazzler comments that she feels like she is standing in a giant graveyard.
Wolverine tells her that she's probably right. He leans down and examines the ground, noting that it's been scoured down to the bare rock. He picks up a bone and hands it to Longshot, asking him to use his psychometric powers to learn its history. Psylocke establishes a psi-link between Longshot and the team, and forms a buffer to prevent Longshot from being scarred by the horrible images he will probably see in the bone.
As expected, Longshot witnesses nothing short of atrocity in the bone's history. He sees a day in the life of a villager. The day begins with the normal routine of hunting, but a raging stampede of dinosaurs pours out of the jungle. Then, a giant robot appears over the village and eradicates everybody with a flash of fire.
Longshot snaps out of his psi-link with the bone and collapses into Dazzler's outstretched arms. The image was perfectly clear: the Savage Land and all its residents were eradicated. Psylocke notices that Colossus takes this news especially hard.
"Among the fall people was a girl!" she begins.
"!who was special to him. I know. I was there," Wolverine says, finishing Psylocke's sentence. The girl he to whom he refers is Nereel, the Savage Land inhabitant who seduced Colossus years ago. She was Peter's first.
Judging by the terrain, Wolverine decides that this atrocity must have occurred months earlier, and therefore isn't what caused Storm's sudden departure. He then asks Psylocke to scan the area for other signs of life. Havok scoffs at this order, stating that no one could have survived the massacre they witnessed. Wolverine tells him that Longshot's vision indicated some plans for escape, meaning that there must have been a way to survive. "Human being's a surprising animal, Havok. For so essentially fragile a critter, it's got a real knack for pullin' through the tightest spots," Wolverine says.
Psylocke follows his suggestion, and picks up two life forms with her psi-scan. She tells the team that only one of the life forms is human, and even that one seems to be beyond human in some way. Just then, the ground begins to shake violently. The X-Men realize that have discovered the force that drew them to the Savage Land.
Meanwhile, not very far away, the High Evolutionary examines the Savage Land's barren landscape for signs of life. To his utter surprise, he happens upon a small snow plant. The mere fact that this plant exists indicates that there is hope for the Savage Land after all. As he leans down to inspect his discovery, two gargantuan metal hands rise up from the ground and capture him.
The hands belong to Terminus, a giant, dome-headed robot. He holds the High Evolutionary in one of his hands and calls him a fool. Suddenly, Terminus is hit by a beam of solid light. The source of the beam is Dazzler, of course, who leads the X-Men's attack. Terminus fires back, but Dazzler hides behind the armored Colossus.
Since Dazzler's beam isn't effective, Havok tries using his plasma blast. It doesn't have an effect either. Psylocke tries attacking psychically, but has her attack reflected back on her. Longshot steps in and throws his grappling hook. It grips on to Terminus' staff. Terminus hoists him into the air, scoffing at his pitiful attack. As Terminus pulls him into the sky, Longshot grabs onto the unsuspecting Wolverine and the two sail up into the air. Longshot releases Wolverine, sending him flying towards Terminus's armored body. Wolverine's adamantium claws do some major damage, but Terminus's self-repair mechanisms immediately repair it immediately. Longshot, meanwhile, tosses a few throwing knives at Terminus's helmet. They bounce off, seemingly doing no damage.
Terminus is more annoyed by these attacks than anything. He tells the X-Men he has had enough, and is about to kill them when Rogue appears on the scene. She grabs Longshot, Wolverine and the High Evolutionary and flies them to safety. Storm shows up, and blasts Terminus with an incredibly powerful gust of wind. "Your presence your very existence is an obscenity to Mother Earth, a violation which shall not go unpunished!" she says, knocking him into a nearby cliffside. The cliff collapses and buries Terminus under a pile of rubble.
The X-Men take advantage of this respite and regroup. The High Evolutionary formally introduces himself. Some of the X-Men recognize his name, pointing out that he is rumored to be dead. The High Evolutionary, stating the obvious, declares that he is indeed alive, but Wolverine doesn't buy his story. "Body can claim to be anyone from behind a mask," Wolverine says while puffing on a cigar.
The High Evolutionary deflects this distrust by pointing out that he came to the Savage Land to restore it to its former glory. Havok can't believe such a thing is possible, so the High Evolutionary extends an invitation to him to come visit his nearby laboratory. Storm agrees to let Havok go with the High Evolutionary, mainly because she'd like to have someone watching his actions.
Longshot can't stand being around the High Evolutionary's deception any longer, and wanders off on his own. Unfortunately he wanders right into a slippery patch of land and slides right into an invisible tear in the space-time fabric. No one sees him disappear.
Elsewhere, the High Evolutionary escorts Havok back to laboratory on a flycycle. Havok commends the High Evolutionary's vehicle, which leads to the High Evolutionary spilling his whole life story. He explains that in his early days, he was obsessed with vehicle mechanics. He constantly tinkered with machines to improve their performance, but eventually realized that the best performance enhancement would be to simply improve his own body. "How little I understood the consequences of such ambition," the High Evolutionary says. "You see, with my mechanical experiments, mine was the only life at risk. Playing with life affects innocent lives. And too often, destroys them."
The High Evolutionary's guilt reminds Havok of Professor X, noting that the two men are in many ways very similar. The High Evolutionary continues his soliloquy as they walk through his massive citadel. "Easy to tell yourself, the end justifies the means. Impossible to believe, though, when you look into the eyes of those who suffer as a result. Better to think instead of those who will benefit."
"But no such conflict exists in this case, sir," a confused Havok interjects. "Does it?"
Their conversation is interrupted by the sudden presence of the High Evolutionary's assistant. He introduces her to Havok, using the name Zala instead of her full name, Zaladane. Havok wonders if he's met this woman before, but tells himself he would surely remember having met such a striking woman.
As Havok enjoys a glass of wine with his host, the High Evolutionary explains to him that he has built the proper machinery for restoring the Savage Land. All he needs now to kick his machinery into gear is a specific catalyst. He needs a living person whose spirit is in sync with that of the land itself. Havok mentions that he is aware of one such man, but as far as he know, this man is dead. The High Evolutionary responds by making a confusing comment about death happening to everyone more often than they suspect.
Meanwhile, back in the plains of the ravaged Savage Land, Dazzler finally notices that Longshot has vanished. She freaks out, but Rogue assures her that Longshot probably just wandered off on his own. "He does that, y'know."
Psylocke adds to Dazzler's concerns by pointing out that she can't find any traces of Longshot's thought pattern. They decide Longshot has definitely gone missing, and Wolverine starts following his trail. He and Dazzler head off in one direction, while Psylocke, Storm and Rogue check on Terminus. Rogue doesn't think a check-up is necessary, but Storm tells her that Terminus has survived harsher attacks than being buried by a few rocks. She instructs Psylocke to conduct a mind-probe and search for signs of life and potential weaknesses. While she does this, Rogue mentions a rumor she recently heard. According to the rumor, Hercules and the Avengers killed Terminus a while back. "There can't be two of them," she tells herself, sounding a bit unconvinced.
Hot on Longshot's trail, Wolverine and Dazzler approach his vanishing point. Dazzler asks Wolverine how he can follow the trail while smoking his disgusting cigars. "Practice," he responds. He takes another step and disappears into the same portal Longshot found earlier. Dazzler shrieks.
At this very moment, Storm notices her Cameo Crystal acting up. She pulls it out of her pouch and notices that it glows. She didn't think this possible because of the demise of the Savage Land and its occupants. Suddenly she has an epiphany and flies away, ordering Rogue to stay with Psylocke.
Psylocke gets in her meditative position and tells Rogue that the psi-probe may take a while, due to Terminus' heavy mental shields. Rogue understands, but can't help feeling nervous standing around in Terminus' shadow.
Storm meets up with Dazzler, who is still in shock after seeing Wolverine vanish into thin air. Storm somehow understands exactly what is happening, and lifts the Cameo Crystal high over her head. It begins shining brightly, and suddenly a large portal opens in front of them. Storm calls it a junction, explaining that the walls between dimensions are thin in this particular spot, allowing inter-dimensional travel.
The first thing the X-Men see when the portal opens is the snarling face of a gigantic wolf. Colossus freaks out, but Storm assures him that this creature is a friend of hers. "Are you well?" she asks, addressing the creature with familiarity. His name is C'Jime, and he replies that he is relieved to see his friend the Windrider. Storm explains to Dazzler and Colossus that C'Jime is a warhound, pointing out the warship he bears on his back.
A tall, regal-looking woman steps down from C'Jime's ship and addresses Ororo, calling her the 'daughter of her heart'. Behind the woman sit Wolverine, Longshot and all of the surviving Savage Land occupants. Colossus is elated that they weren't slain after all.
"Peter, hey Peter, guess what?" Longshot shouts, trying to get Colossus's attention.
A Savage Land woman quickly shuts him up. "Longshot, shush! Please, my friend, quiet. You promised."
Storm welcomes the regal woman, M'Rin, to her world. As they embrace, Longshot makes a "shhh" motion to a young boy. "You heard your mom. No talking, no telling, our lips are sealed, we don't breathe a word, not even under torture," he tells the child. Colossus misses this interaction, however, because of his reunion with Nereel, the boy's mother. He greets his first love with open arms and a heart-warming smile.
Meanwhile, back at the pile of rubble over Terminus, a bored Rogue sits idly by while Psylocke conducts her psi-probe. Things get exciting very quickly when Terminus suddenly wakes up. Rogue tries to escape with Psylocke, but Terminus swats them like flies and sends them soaring across the Savage Land. They fall into a snowy field, miles away.
Storm and the rest of the X-Men notice Terminus's revival and spring into action. Storm blasts him with a bolt of electricity, knocking him back. The rest of the team boards C'Jime's ship as he moves in to attack. The onslaught of weaponry onboard does a decent job of catching Terminus off guard. He can barely maintain his balance under the barrage, but manages to fire off a counter-attack. His bolt almost hits C'Jime, startling all those on-board. M'Rin expresses doubt about their chances at success.
Storm receives an incoming signal from Psylocke, who apparently has concocted a plan. She links all of the X-Men together and fills them in. Storm grabs Wolverine and flies up to meet Havok and the High Evolutionary, who have arrived in the High Evolutionary's flycycle. Meanwhile, Rogue seeks out Longshot, who battles Terminus from atop the warhound. She asks to borrow his luck ability for a while. At first he is unwilling, but Rogue assures him that Storm has a plan.
"You're my teammate, Rogue, and my friend!how can I say no'?" he says. Rogue embraces him and the two share a passionate kiss, much to Dazzler's chagrin.
"Rogue, you stole his power!" she yells. Rogue responds that she had to do so, and Longshot consented. Dazzler seems more concerned that Rogue now knows all of Longshot's feelings, including how he truly feels about Dazzler herself. Rogue couldn't care less, and takes flight, her left eye glowing just like Longshot's. She charges straight toward Terminus' helmet. The combination of Longshot's luck, her super-strength, and the hairline fractures Longshot's throwing knives created earlier causes the dome-shaped helmet to completely shatter, revealing the true villain. Terminus' operator turns out to be none other than the Savage Land's very own Garokk!
This revelation startles Storm, who knows that Garokk loves the Savage Land. When Garokk speaks, it becomes clear that some other entity influences his actions. Rogue decides the best way to end the situation is to absorb Garokk's life force, so she grabs onto his leg. She intends so absorb him completely, not anticipating the depths of energy within him.
Luckily, Rogue's attack distracts Garokk enough that the other X-Men have a chance to attack. Wolverine slashes at the robot, Havok destroys its repair systems, and Dazzler blasts it from behind with a high-powered photon beam. The force of these attacks knocks Garokk out of his seat, and he falls towards the ground. A repentant Storm swoops in to save him from his fall. "Once, O man, I failed to save you," she says to Garokk, referring to their first encounter in the Savage Land. "I thank the Fates I have been given another chance, and not been found wanting. I pray you do the same."
Colossus braces Rogue's fall as Terminus, deprived of Garokk's limitless energy supply, collapses. Garokk eventually regains control of his spirit after Rogue's drainage wears off. He remembers nothing of what happened since his last encounter with the X-Men. He is completely shocked by what has happened to the Savage Land, and hesitantly asks if he was responsible. Much to Garokk's relief, the High Evolutionary informs him that another being who wore Terminus' suit destroyed the Savage Land. The High Evolutionary adds that the real Terminus must still be out there somewhere, and the X-Men must be ready for him when the time comes.
Aboard the warship, Colossus enjoys the company of Nereel and her son. The boy playfully perches atop Colossus' massive shoulders while Colossus converses with Nereel. Nereel drops several hints that Peter is indeed the child's father, but he remains oblivious. He doesn't even catch on when he learns that Nereel's son is also named Peter. Instead, Colossus is more focused on how much older Nereel looks. She explains how right before Terminus destroyed the Savage Land, M'Rin appeared and led the occupants through a portal to her home world. She offered them refuge in her realm, where time moved at an accelerated rate. In only a few months of Earth time, years passed in this realm. Nereel adds that she was greatly appreciative of M'Rin's hospitality, but severely misses her home on the Savage Land.
Nearby, the High Evolutionary overhears Nereel's lament and announces that he has devised a means of restoring the land. He couldn't perform the procedure without a catalyst, but Garokk's arrival has solved that problem. So, after making the necessary repairs to his equipment, the High Evolutionary begins the Savage Land's resurrection. He explains to Garokk that after the procedure, Garokk will no longer exist as an individual. "Your essence, and power, will be transfigured into the land itself!" he explains.
Garokk is more than willing to proceed. "I have 'died' more often than I care to count," Garokk responds. "One more does not matter, especially if my sacrifice will restore this land I cherish. What better end, I ask you—for man or God?"
Wolverine comments to Longshot on Garokk's admirable sacrifice. Longshot notices that Wolverine still acts on edge, and asks him what is wrong. Wolverine says that he still doesn't trust the High Evolutionary, and the room reeks of danger.
At that moment, one of Zaladane's minions notices Wolverine's suspicion and alerts his master. Zaladane doesn't seem to care. She explains to her fellow mutates that they will not harm the X-Men because they serve the High Evolutionary, and he wishes for the X-Men to leave in peace. However, she adds that the resurrection of the Savage Land is the first step to a new world order, in which she and her mutates will rule. "I look forward to it almost as much as I do the sight of Storm's head adorning a pike beside me throne!" Zaladane says.
The High Evolutionary hears Zaladane ranting as he conducts his procedure. He comments to himself that he in no way shares Zaladane's ambitions of world domination, and even regrets the fact that he has to use someone like her as a tool for his plans. However, he serves the greater good, and to him, using someone like Zaladane is justified.
The procedure successfully restores the Savage Land to its former, beautiful glory. Storm says goodbye to M'Rin and tells her that one day she intends to join her in her realm. Psylocke asks if Storm truly means this, and Storm confirms that she does. "But I am bound, like Nereel, like M'Rin herself, by prior responsibilities," she says, commenting on the burden she carries. Psylocke then informs her that the High Evolutionary has left, and that she has personally removed the memory of the X-Men's presence from the minds of the Savage Landers. They will remember that someone helped them, but will not be able to recall who. The X-Men depart, leaving nothing behind except a monument that bears an eight-point star.
Months later, Ka-Zar returns home to the Savage Land with his wife Shanna and their small son. He is surprised to find that Nereel is now the leader of the tribe. Shanna then asks about the monument, and the star symbol it displays. Nereel explains that is "a tribute to those who aided us in the hour of our greatest need, and helped restore the Savage Land."
"But who were they?" Ka-Zar asks.