Indonesia, Chapranga Beach, the spaceship graveyard:
Rachel Grey muses that she comes from the future, where mutants were hunted almost to extinction. She was forced to do the hunting. Since coming to the X-Men, she has fought with every fiber of her being to keep that future from coming true. But she never imagined that to finally give mutants the perfect world they’ve always longed for, she’d once again have to be the hunter.
She enters a bar called the “Last Astronaut” and telepathically orders everyone to leave. She praises Wolverine’s psi-shielding. She sees Henry has made some improvements in its design. Apparently not enough, Wolverine sitting at a table remarks. How did she find him? Angry thoughts are easier to track. He shouldn’t think so much about killing Cyclops. Guess he can’t help himself.
That was her in Madripoor, he’s guessing. She agrees. She must have missed him by seconds. The pillow was still warm with his dreams. He won’t slip away again. Where is she? She is where she wants to be, he replies. What about her? Is she where she wants to be? Rachel Summers, the thought-sniffing mutie-chasing hound. She leaves her old job teaching kids to take up a new one, hunting them. Her daddy must be so proud!
She orders him to tell her where they are hiding Hope. Don’t make it harder than it has to be. He unsheathes claws and kicks her back. She forget who she is talking to?
Waiting outside are Iceman, Namor, Angel and Kid Gladiator. Namor impatiently wants to fight. He orders them to move in. but Iceman insists they wait for Rachel’s order. She wanted to try and talk. Time’s up! Namor decides. No more talking! No more Avengers! Take them down!
At last! Kid Gladiator enthuses. Iceman tells him he shouldn’t even be here but is diverted when Rachel is slammed outside. Namor orders them to attack.
Rachel tells Logan he lost his way in this fight. He’s letting his personal resentment of Cyclops cloud his judgment. The Phoenix is here to save them. To make certain the future she comes from never comes to be. Why would he stand in the way of true utopia?
Logan retorts that the Phoenix is on its own side and she’s the one who lost her damn way. He’s just glad her momma ain’t here to see it! Avengers assemble! And a whole slew of Avengers (Ant-Man, Spider-Woman, Thor, War Machine, Captain America, Quicksilver and Beast) comes out of hiding. Immediately the battle is joined.
Weeks ago, at the Jean Grey School in Rachel Grey’s psychic self defense class. Angrily, she berates her students (Quentin Quire, Rockslide, Anole and Trance) for not being good enough. They’ve just been mind-plundered! They’ve just been brainwashed! They’ve just had their gray matter melted into paste! Again, and this time think harder! she orders. There are people beyond these walls who, right this moment, are dreaming up ways to turn them into remote-controlled weapons, to pillage the darkest recesses of their minds! To hunt them to bloody extinction!
Hunt to extinction, Quentin repeats amused. Interesting choice of words… he can see and peek into her mind too… What does she think does he see there? What he sees is Rachel’s past as mutant hunting Hound. Furious, she attacks him. His nose begins to bleed.
Class dismissed! Wolverine who has been watching orders. He never figured her for the overbearing drill instructor type, he tells her. Angrily, she retorts that she isn’t pushing too hard. And yes, she remembers they are only kids. But it gets closer every day. The future. The one where they all die. She knows because she’s lived it. They are not doing these kids a favor by coddling them. The future is coming to kill them all! They’ve got to be ready to fight!
Captain America throws his shield at Rachel. Calling her “Marvel Girl,” he expresses his disappointment. She could have been one of the greats! Rachel telekinetically catches the shield and sharply orders him not to call her Marvel Girl. Also, bite her! She is one of the great! She hurls the shield back at him.
Kid Gladiator is unimpressed about Giant-Man. He’d hoped he’d be bigger. He punches him in the eyeball.
Iceman asks Beast not to fight, and suggests they talk about this. In response, Beast shoots at his iceform. One morning he’s going to come to his icy little senses about just what sort of one-eyed madman he is so foolishly following, Beast informs him. On that day, he promises to apologize for shooting into his face. Until then, he is fair game. Fair enough, Iceman replies as he reconstitutes himself. He’s got some ice in his fur! He strikes back.
Phoenix-powered Namor orders Thor to lay down his arms, only to be told the son of Odin surrenders to no man. Especially not one dressed such as him! Namor’s blow causes him to drop his hammer.
Spider-Woman fires her venom bolts at Kid Gladiator who, unimpressed, asks if she is flirting with him or is this seriously how she fights? Either way, he likes the way it tickles. Stop making her feel creepy, she replies. That moment, Kid Gladiator sees something interesting.
Flying away from War Machine, Angel remarks that he likes the other Iron Man better. From what he’s seen, he’s less machine gunny.
Kid Gladiator, in the meantime, tries to lift Thor’s hammer off the ground.
Cap orders Quicksilver to get Hope out of here. She is the key to defeating the Phoenix Five. Kid Gladiator runs after the speedster, keeping up speed. Unimpressed, he takes Quicksilver out with his eyebeams. Are there any Avengers here actually worth his time? Seeing Wolverine, he decides he will have to do.
Still attacking Captain America, Rachel demands to know where they have hidden Hope. Thunder crackles next to her as Thor informs her that Hope is safe. And this where she shall stay as long as the god of thunder draws breath! He would have words with her, he tells Rachel.
Cyclops and Rachel walk across a barren desert talking. In the wake of every step Scott takes, flowers begin to bloom. He tells Rachel not to be troubled. He knows she will catch up with the Avengers eventually. He has faith in her.
Rachel admits she is troubled by being a hound again, hunting her friends. And the more she does it, the easier it gets. He reminds her they are making a perfect world. The peace mutants have always dreamed of. Once they are finished, mutants need never be frightened again. She is frightened right now, Rachel admits.
He tells her that she is still his daughter. Her pain is his pain but, if mutants would have Utopia, there must be sacrifice. All will be right soon enough. But the Avengers must be contained and Hope must be found. She must continue to hunt.
Hesitantly, Rachel asks if the Phoenix ever speaks about her. The Phoenix loves her, Scott assures her, just as it loves them all. Soon it shall envelop this entire planet in its love and the doubters like the Avengers will see how foolish they were to ever be frightened.
Hitting Wolverine, Kid Gladiator commands him to use his claws, it’s no fun otherwise. That’s the thing, Wolverine replies and sucker punches him. It ain’t supposed to be fun. Guess his daddy never taught him that. He studied how to kill pretty much everything, including Strontians. Like him. He knows his strength, his pressure points, like this one here. As the boy falls, he remarks he should have stayed at school.
Beast takes care of the Iceman doubles by eating them, which Iceman finds disgusting.
War Machine shoots at Angel, who suggests an honest discourse instead. Annoyed, he raises his hands and fires energy beams at War Machine, wondering if he is supposed to be able to do that.
Rachel faces Thor, who feels her telepathic attack. He warns her that invading his mind would drive her mad. The mind of a god is no place for a mortal. Unimpressed, she retorts she was the Phoenix for years. She was as much a god as anyone! Gods don’t scare her, no matter the size of their hammers! Creating a hammer of telekinetic energy, she slams him down.
Namor makes sure he stays there as he mocks that Thor would rather fight women than the king of Atlantis. Rachel suddenly has Hope’s scent and follows it.
Nearby, the Black Widow tries to get an unwilling Hope to safety. Rachel takes the Widow out. Rachel then senses Hope trying to mimic her powers, getting ready for a fight. She also senses the girl’s fear, her fire. And Rachel backs down, telling her go.
Later, she reports to Cyclops that she lost Hope. They managed to capture Quicksilver and Giant-Man but the others eluded them. She apologizes. She will keep searching. Was Hope even there? Scott asks. Did she see her?
Rachel tells Hope to go. Go find the Phoenix, if that’s what she wants. Go find her destiny! Go find what Rachel never has…
She didn’t see her at all, Rachel claims. Cyclops demands that she tell him what she did see, and what she thought. Tell him what really happened!
A booming noise interrupts them. Moments later, a panicked Kid Gladiator runs past them. No matter what happens, he is not here! he shouts.
A moment later, a furious Gladiator, flanked by Warbird and Shi’ar soldiers shouts their hour is at hand. The Phoenix dies today!