A group of aliens excitedly shouts out their favorite. “Come on, baby, c’mon, Andromeda!” an elf-like woman shouts. “C’mon, three moons of Andromeda 12!” another cries. Man, look at that thing go, another adds admiringly. All bets are closed is announced. And Adnromeda 9 is announced the “winner” as the world is destroyed. Estimated loss of life: 9 billion. Estimated payout: 20 goolong on a 4 goolong bet. Now taking bets on the next planet to be destroyed by the Phoenix…
Healing from their recent injuries, Wolverine and Beast are lazing at the (simulated) beach. How are the legs feeling? Beast asks. Good as new. How are his guts? Wolverine asks. Happy to be inside his body. So tell him again about the part where his girlfriend shot Sabretooth in the face.
Suddenly, an alert sounds. What is it now? Wolverine swears. This damn school gets attacked more than anything he’s ever seen. They are not under attack, Hank replies. He wishes it were that simple. That’s the deep space alarm which he has set to detect a very specific threat. He always hoped this day would never come again. Looking at a screen, his fears are realized: Phoenix detected. He suggests they get dressed in their uniforms. They’ll have visitors very soon. They leave the west wing.
In class, Idie Okonkwo holds a report on the Phoenix Force. It is a force of cosmic destruction, she explains. Sometimes it takes the form of a big fiery bird. Other times, it bonds with a host like Jean Grey. And since then… lots of people who look like Jean Grey. It likes to blow things up; it once destroyed an entire planet of broccoli people. But some mutants believe that the Phoenix is more than just a force for destruction. According to the internet, many believe it is also somehow responsible for the birth of Hope Summers and the first new mutants to be found in a very long time. As one of these new mutants, she has never met any sort of Phoenix before. Though when she called Hope about it, she did get strangely quiet.
Kitty Pryde thanks her for her report. Who’s next? “Oh to fly among the stars!“ Broo begins. A detailed oral history of the Nova Corps and a reasoned explanation for why he should be allowed to join their esteemed ranks…
Outside, Captain America walks past a growling Krakoa. His bioscans are confirmed at the door and he enters, seeing a nice foyer where receptionist Doop waves at him.
This is Wolverine’s school? Cap mutters in disbelief. Can’t be. This is way too nice. A moment later, the computer voice continues that his Danger Room exam has begun. Cap cannot even protest, as the ground turns spiky, missiles are released at him and tentacles try to grab him. Doop takes cover as Cap defends himself.
Wolverine apologizes. They are still working out the kinks. He stops the program with the headmaster override. The computer informs Cap that he received a B minus. Beast welcomes him and Cap figures they already know why he is here.
Outside in the air, Ava’dara Naganadini aka Warbird is meditating. She wonders why, even though her life since birth has been an endless parade of combat and murder as any true Shi’ar would want it, she feels so unfulfilled. She hears an alert from an incoming deep space transmission. The transmission, though badly distorted, is from Gladiator, who uses the words “Phoenix” and “danger.” But Warbird cannot understand and the message breaks off.
Somewhere below, the kids are having a flying class. Disgusted, Kid Gladiator announces this is yet another class for which he should be instructor, much like ethics and cosmology and all things involving punching.
While Husk equips the kids without flying powers with jetpacks, Cannonball suggests Kubark take it up with the headmaster. He is just here to show them how to use a jetpack without flying into things headfirst. But he thought flying into things headfirst was exactly his specialty? Quentin Quire points out. Cannonball orders them to hold all questions till the end.
Up in the air, he asks his sister Paige how she is doing. Primly, she tells him she is fine and he should see to the students. He insists she isn’t fine. What is going on with her powers? She shouts she is fine and flies away.
“Race ya, Kid Apocalypse!” Quentin goads Genesis. Suddenly, he screams in pain.
Elsewhere, inside, Rachel Grey chides Glob Herman for his thoughts which both Spider-Woman and Kate Perry would not appreciate. He is supposed to be in telepathic detention. No thinking about anything but Calculus until she… Rachel too screams. Both of them faint, seeing the flames of the Phoenix and announce It’s coming!
As Quentin falls, the Toad is working on a wall. He jumps up the roof and catches the boy with his prehensile tongue. Is he all right? Sam asks. Quentin replies weakly that he had a horrible dream where a fiery bird destroyed the Earth… and he was wrapped in the janitor’s tongue.
Husk runs toward Toad, who apologizes and wants to get back to cleaning. Paige bubbles, though, that this was amazing. Surprised, he thanks her. She asks him to call her Paige and he introduces himself as Mortimer. The two stare at each other.
Quentin weakly tells the others that either Cyclops was right all along or they are all about to die, and either way things are definitely gonna burn.
In the office, Captain America talks to Wolverine and Beast. They have reason to believe the Phoenix Force is cutting a path of destruction through deep space, destroying every world it comes to. And it is likely headed for Earth. He has already started putting together a team to head off-world on an intercept mission. He’ll get his spacesuit, Beast announces.
After Beast has left, Wolverine states that her name is Hope. That’s where it is headed. Cyclops believes she is the mutant messiah. It doesn’t matter how many worlds that thing has destroyed. The Phoenix is a cosmic force of both destruction and rebirth. Scott will be banking on the birth part of the equation. He’ll see this as Hope’s destiny. And as the last best shot at full mutant revitalization.
And what does he see it as? Cap asks. Wolverine admits he doesn’t know nothing about no messiah. When he looks at Hope, all he sees is a sixteen-year-old girl who has no idea what she has gotten herself into.
They have to stop this, Cap decides. Wolverine warns him that he hopes he is ready for a helluva fight. Think of Utopia as a compound full of heavily armed, religious fanatics and the Avengers are the feds, cutting in, telling them what to believe and how to live. It won’t go well.
This isn’t about human versus mutant, Cap stresses. This is about saving the world from certain destruction. He needs to know that Wolverine will be on his side on this. He is not just asking him to stand up to Scott but to take sides against the X-Men. Logan points out. He is asking him to help him save the world, Cap retorts. Will he?
Wolverine joins Kitty in the infirmary where she watches Rachel and Quentin. She explains they suffered a seizure at the same time. They are both still groggy. Before they collapsed, they both said… it’s coming. Considering Quentin and Rachel both have past connections to the Phoenix Force, he can imagine how the rumor mill is churning. It doesn’t help that they all saw Captain America drop by for a chat. If he has any idea what’s going on, she’d sure like to hear, it.
He tells her to get the entire staff together. Kitty realizes in horror it is the Phoenix. When she asks what they are going to do, he walks away wordlessly.
Outside, Logan mutters to the stature of Jean Grey that he doesn’t know what to do. Idie Okonkwo, who is eating her lunch there, addresses him. She explains that she enjoys the company of her new friends but sometimes she likes to be somewhere quiet. He asks if she is settling in. Idie confides she likes this place. It’s probably a sin but she can’t help it. He admits so does he. She could do without the flamethrower toilet. He promises to see what he can do.
Soon, Wolverine has gathered the entire staff and informs them that the Phoenix is coming. He shouldn’t have to tell them what that means. Henry has agreed to join a team of Avengers heading into space to try and stop it. Captain America has put together another team to head to Utopia to take Hope into protective custody. Wolverine will be on that team. His responsibility is to protect the school, no matter what. And that’s what he’s going to do. He’s asking them to stay here and look after the kids. He doesn’t want to cause a panic, but doesn’t want to lie to them either. As always, they’ve got the best minds on the planet working on the problem. But given what they are facing, this won’t be an easy fight. And he thinks they know… he is not just referring to the firebird.
As he and Beast leave, Henry remarks that he knows Logan has always kept his distance from Hope because he knew this day would come. And if she starts to go Dark Phoenix like Jean did, Logan figures he is the one who will have to kill her. He wants Logan to remember, he’s only a child. Wolverine retorts there is more than one child’s life at stake here. Just go stop that thing before it gets here, and nothing else will matter.
He’s going into space to fight a giant bird of cosmic destruction, Hank complains. The least he could do is give him a hug. He would, but Hank has fleas, Logan retorts. Henry claims they are not fleas. The Bamfs got into his Pym Particles. He doesn’t want to die with Logan thinking he has fleas! Too late, he is told. Looks like his ride is here, Wolverine announces as a crowd of students have gathered underneath the floating heli-carrier.
Evan turns around asking why Blindfold is crying. Anole explains she can see the future…
Bets are taken on the next planet the Phoenix is going to destroy. Earth is a clear favorite.
And elsewhere, Beast gets ready to leave for space with one group of Avengers, while Wolverine and another team of avers are heading towards Utopia…
The Shi’ar throneworld:
Imperator Gladiator is informed they are unable to contact Earth. It could be from the cosmic interference of the Phoenix Force. That leaves little doubt as to the entity’s trajectory. They also have some reliable intelligence confirming the existence of a likely Earth-bound host. Please, tell him it is not another X-Man, Gladiator sighs.
The advisor reminds him what that means. It is his duty to activate the Phoenix Protocols. She means the Death Commandos, he spells out darkly. He knew he should have had them all executed. He orders them to ready his fastest ship. She protests. Angrily, he tells her to activate the Protocols and set them loose, but he’ll be damned if anyone is going to stop him from rescuing his son! He flies for Earth! May the gods help them all! And may the X-Men somehow forgive them…