967 people are about to die. Their final thoughts are a violent storm assaulting the mind of Phoenix, shocking her awake just in time to see the Helicarrier about to drop to the ground. The Knight of Hykon that attacked her before just looks at it with interest.
Jean’s first reaction is to buffet its fall with a telekinetic net, but she realizes the helicarrier would just explode when it hits, taking most of New York with it. Think like Bobby, she tells herself and recalls how Iceman created iceslides in past Danger Room sessions. She creates a telekinetic slide for the Helicarrier, enabling it to fly upward again. She follows the helicarrier, trying to block the SHIELD agents’ thoughts. She senses Sheep Meadow and the Ramble are clear. There she brings the Helicarrier down as gently as she can.
She did it! Storm exclaims. Barely! the exhausted Phoenix replies. The Knight of Hykon, Sleeping Mist, too applauds her efforts. So sorry she can’t stay, but she thinks she knows who threw that thing.
Enraged, Phoenix races after her, despite Storm’s warning that she is in no condition to fight.
In Westchester, a tall, bulky knight, Drowning Shadow, stands above Moira and the unconscious Banshee, remarking “What a sad little sight you are.” Angrily, Moira shouts they invade their home, attack with no warning! If he wants them dead he could at least say why and stuff his cheap insult, she adds, calling him an ugly Sassenach.
Amused, Drowning Shadow explains he wasn’t speaking to her… was he, Sky Song? He throws his blade at Sky Song, who is hovering above them and hits her. As the two of them fight, he mocks her for losing her sword to a native. She snarls back that maybe she will use his instead and carve her name into his skull! Fighting for his weapon, they unlash energy. He hits her as he informs her that losing her weapon will cost her dearly. As she flees, he laughingly tells her to run back to Burning Moon and tell him he’ll be next. The Honor Field is mine!
Nightcrawler was the one Sky Song lost her sword to as he teleported away with it. Now he is drawn through dimensions as he holds onto the weapon. Finally, he lands somewhere. He looks up to see he is outside a stone temple adorned with giant statues of what look to be more Knights of Hykon. Unglaublich seems to be the right expression…
Kurt enters the ancient temple which seems tomblike. He figures that while he is more of a rapier man he will hang onto this sword, just in case, He steps into a chamber, seeing what seem to be life-size statues of all kinds of species (including Skrulls, Kree, Shi’ar and even the Fantastic Four’s Infant Terrible). Nightcrawler wonders what they signify. Exhibits? Spoils of war?
No! he exclaims a moment later in horror. Looking at a wall, he sees mounted heads and among them is the head of Professor Xavier’s astral form…
Back in New York, Storm has lost Jean. She flies back to the mansion, hoping Cerebro will be able to locate Phoenix. A moment later, she sees the damage. She is expected by Cyclops who tells her how the X-Men got jumped by some alien warrior girl who walked all over them. Then she got attacked by someone even worse. Storm replies that she and Jean were also assaulted in Manhattan. Phoenix gave chase and Storm lost her in the mad weather.
They join the others in the medlab where Banshee is being a trying patient much to Moira’s chagrin. Colossus muses he has never been struck harder and asks how Wolverine is. Healing fast, comes the reply, and that frail with the mace better hope she can do the same…
Cyclops points out the news reports. The Knights are appearing and fighting each other all over the world. He remarks that Lilandra mentioned she recognizes these people. Lilandra begins her tale…
The Knights of Hykon are a galactic scourge. Their name is cursed through the civilized universe. They have been waging an internal war for at least twelve thousand years. Their origins are unknown. They appear without warning and vanish just as swiftly and wherever they go they only bring death.
Once they claim a planet as battleground, the Knights transform its atmosphere. Ionic superstrong storms generate plasmic rain. This is to be believed a source of nutrition. The storms increase in scale until they shatter the internal crust of the planet. They have taken countless lives in this manner. Many Shi’ar worlds have been burned by their fury.
Cyclops is doubtful. The Shi’ar are an interstellar empire. Surely her people’s power-- No force has ever been able to stop the Knights Lilandra assures him. Entire armies, whole space fleets have fallen to them.
So, how many of those suckers are there? Logan demands. Six, Lilandra replies. ‘Scuse him? he states incredulous. His skull is still ringin’ from Tin Lizzie’s mace. He thought she said “six!”
She did, Lilandra insists somberly. Perhaps now they see the scale of their challenge. Six warriors have rampaged across the universe for millennia. They have the might of gods and leave only ashes in their wake. She is so very sorry, but their world has only hours to live.
In that temple-like place, a horrified Nightcrawler stares at what seem to be the mounted head of Xavier’s astral form, displayed as a trophy. When he was at his darkest hour, Kurt recalls, Xavier found him. He was alone… terrified… hunted like an animal and then Xavier was there, proud and unafraid, looking into Kurt’s mind and his heart and knowing what he needed most. He offered Kurt hope, a home, a future. He gave Kurt a chance to become the hero he had always dreamed of. Crying, Kurt wonders if he ever thanked Xavier for that. He doesn’t remember. He vows he will find the ones responsible for this atrocity. He will make them pay. And he will never forget Xavier, never! Auf Wiedersehen.
He touches Xavier’s face and a moment later both of them scream as Xavier’s eyes snap open. Xavier’s astral head flows away from the wall and toward Kurt who is crouching on the Skrull statue. He-hello? he mumbles questioningly. Xavier asks him not to be frightened. He is no ghost. His kidnapper decapitated him, but he’s pure energy in this psionic form. He can’t really be harmed in such a manner. He was in a state of induced psycho-paralytic trauma. Kurt’s presence jumpstarted him. Of course, Kurt replies doubtfully.
Ogling the sword, Xavier asks how he found him. Kurt explains that teleporting with the sword brought him here. Xavier assumes that the weapon probably has a trans-dimensional recall function. Kurt must have activated it when he teleported and the sword carried it home with him. Xavier explains that his assassin called himself Burning Moon. He and his comrades ambushed him aboard the Starcore One satellite. Seeing the other trophies, he realizes he is not the first.
He asks Kurt what is bothering him. Nightcrawler admits he finds it somewhat difficult to talk to him when he looks like a… Faculty head? Xavier suggests and creates a new astral body for his head.
Suddenly, they hear somebody speaking some distance away. The Song has fallen… the Shadow prevails. They follow the voice and come to a kind of amphitheatre in whose center are six screen, one for every knight, watched by a small person dressed in white. The Mist converges with the Cloud. The Bone seeks the Mist. The Song returns. Peace is Torture. Victory is Truth.
In a forcefield, Sky Song is seen to be kept imprisoned. Angrily she shouts that this isn’t fair. She is a knight! She is a hero! Victory is truth and this is a lie!
Oh no, Xavier exclaims softly. He knows what this is. The person in white, who looks like a young, human, black-haired woman or girl looks up at them and smiles coldly.
Back on Earth, Cyclops starts the Blackbird, warning the team, the ride is going to get bumpy. There’s no sign of Nightcrawler. Cerebro is tracking Phoenix. She’s flying northeast, probably heading for Boston.
What’s the plan? Banshee inquires, calling him “Scott,” who corrects him to use codenames in the field. They find Phoenix. She locates Nightcrawler, they capture one of these Knights and discover the source of their power-
Just like that, eh? Wolverine scoffs. Got something to offer? Cyclops asks. Wolverine tells him to face facts. They went up against the team’s junior member. She kicked their butts and laughed while she was doing it. Does he really think they can beat six of those freaks? He really thinks they are going to try, comes the reply. But if this fight sounds too big for Wolverine, say the word. They’ll drop him off anywhere he wants… And miss his next big speech? comes the mocking reply. Not a chance!
In the back, Colossus asks Storm if she is unwell. She looks outside and explains the rain makes her flesh crawl. These knights have perverted the flow of nature. They have turned the world’s strength against itself. This crime must not go unpunished.
Moira hails them and announces they are getting feed from Starcore One at last. She’ll patch it through. Aboard Starcore, Corbeau announces that Xavier reached him but was taken prisoner. They took Charles when the left. He has some information on those aliens, but Cyclops is not going to like it.
Above Boston, Cloud Runner and Sleeping Mist are battling and referring to past fights when Phoenix comes flying at them toppling the duo. Killers reunited! she mocks. Now that’s heartwarming. She’d really like to help, she suggests as she grabs Sleeping Mist with a telekinetic claw only to slam her into Cloud Runner. There is nothing like finding two old friends and bringing them together! Manifesting the Phoenix raptor, she slams both of them, noting they are shielded against psi-attacks.
More amused than anything, Running Cloud admits that one’s special, isn’t it? Proud, angry, burning bright. Yes, Sleeping Mist agrees. It certainly deserves their attention.
Meanwhile Corbeau explains to Cyclops this nightmare started when Starcore began monitoring a new series of solar flares They were highly unusual so they scanned closer. And found the Knights. They were fighting each other on the sun’s surface, tearing off chunks of plasma…
So they were causing the flares? Cyclops asks. Yes, Corbeau continues, but he has to understand, solar flares are like any natural phenomenon. It’s possible to predict general patterns, but not specific behavior. Too many variables. But these flares were different – they could predict them. Their size, duration intensity, even their area of origin. Because they were nearly identical to a group of flares they’d already witnessed a few weeks earlier during the Sentinel Crisis.
In Boston, Sleeping Mist tells Phoenix that her rage is a beautiful song as he shields himself from an attack. They like her, Burning Cloud adds. Then they’re going to love her when she blasts them into atoms! Phoenix threatens, only to be kicked in the back by a new arrival, the last member of Sleeping Mist’s group, Bone Dancer. She blasts at him but he dodges. He explains he heard Sleeping Mist’s call and came, but not alone. All five Knighs (except for Sky Song) manifest and agree on a truce to concentrate on Phoenix.
Corbeau reminds Cyclops of that day during the Sentinel crisis. He thought they were all finished. Stuck in space, trying to get back to Earth in a damaged shuttle. The solar radiation storm should have killed them all. And it would have.
If it hadn’t been for Jean. She piloted them through the storm and got them home.
What exactly is he saying? Cyclops demands.
In Boston, Burning Moon’s thrown sword shatters Phoenix’s TK shield.
Corbeau explains the Knights have been on the sun for weeks. Fighting, hunting each other, maybe feeding, then fighting again. And every time they do they ignite massive solar eruptions.
Bone Dancer and Drowning Shadow attack Jean together.
Is Corbau telling him that the solar storm Jean saved them from that day, the radiation she was exposed to, the power that turned her into Phoenix was caused by the Knights of Hykon? Cyclops asks with clenched teeth.
Wind Song hits Phoenix with a mallet, then Bone Dancer kicks her in the back.
Yes, Corbeau replies, as all five Knights attack Phoenix at once.