It was with them from the start, a dark-haired, slender young man begins a speech transferred to electronic devices everywhere. Their curiosity. Their ingenuity. Their passion. The fires burning within. Guided by its light, they carved out this world, over the insurmountable, defied the impossible. But somewhere along the way, their fire was stolen, corrupted. Hands that held aloft a blazing torch are now filled only with ash and cinder. It doesn’t have to be that way. Not as long as there is still a spark. His name is Edan Young, CEO of the Phoenix Corporation. And he has one simple message for mankind… for the world… RISE!
The grounds of the Jean Grey School:
In the ruins of the old school, Quentin Quire stares at his cellphone. Idie Okonkwo asks him what is wrong.
Inside the school, Wolverine heads into the kitchen, ignores Storm and starts rummaging through cabinets, looking for the Bamf he calls Chuckles. Storm wants to talk with him about the message from the Phoenix Corporation. Doesn’t she know what turning Jean’s memory into the #+%& Energizer Bunny is about? ‘cause a slap in the face is about as straightforward as it gets!
He finds Chuckles with his stolen whiskey and grabs both, muttering it ain’t 5 o’ clock anywhere in the world.
He heads outside with Chuckles, to be stopped by a lightning bolt. Angrily, Storm asks if this is what it takes to stop him. Is violence all he responds to? Does he expect them all to wait while he comes and goes as he pleases? She knows he needs reasons to keep fighting, but this— Jean was a sister to her. But if she felt a slight so transparent could damage her memory, then she might ask herself if this even were about her at all.
He admits he knows how this looks. Maybe he is being selfish. But Jeanie’s gone. She can’t speak up or fight back. And that’s all he ever brought to the table. He can’t let people think they can walk all over them…the things they stand for. Once that starts, it won’t stop.
Idie interrupts them and reveals that Quentin has disappeared. In the meantime, the Bamf absconds with Logan’s whiskey.
Next to the trash container of a Roxxie Burger restaurant:
All the Bamfs to pick and he takes the one that can’t go ten miles without stuffing his face in garbage, Quentin sighs. He critically looks at the message on his cell phone: will you rise?
An office in the Jean Grey School:
Evan Sabahnur sits there, talking to the “World,” the globe he is holding in his hand. Fantomex is still inside, listening. He doesn’t know why he does this, Evan complains. It’s obvious he loves it here. Why wouldn’t he? Everyone here hangs onto his every move. Mr. Logan practically treats him like the only student there is! He’s got respect. Fear. The best girl at school. He even gets to grow up to be the Phoenix. Quentin Quire has it all! He’s got the whole world. He puts the World down and leaves.
In their office, Wolverine and Storm discuss matters with a hologram of Anole, who is currently acting as CEO of Worthington Industries. Anole wonders how a corporation the size of the Phoenix Corporation appears from thin air. Given all the travel across time and space, he is surprised it doesn’t happen more often. Even Mr. Logan’s idea to fund the school with gambling profits was modest considering the possibilities. Gambling profits? Storm throws Logan a dirty glance. So no, he can’t tell them where they come from, Anole continues, but he knows where they are.
He shows them images of San Lorenzo devastated by the Avengers’ battle with the Phoenix Five. It should have taken decades to rebuild but, thanks to the Phoenix Corporation, it has been restored overnight. Storm figures Quentin fled due to their arrival.
Armor enters. Wolverine figures there is a connection but when has Quire been afraid of anything? Looking at the holographic image of the Phoenix Corporation, Armor notices Quentin and points out, if he is running scared, he sure has a terrible sense of direction…
Quentin enters the foyer of the Phoenix Corporation and announces he is here. He saved them jerks the trip. The Phoenix is in the house!
The uniformed people gather, including scantily-clad, beautiful women. They will not confuse him with sexy nuns! Quentin announces. What kind of kinky business are they running here? He manifests a telekinetic rifle.
A huge bearded man in a futuristic outfit with a poncho and lots of ammo offers his Bamf a sticky bun and informs Quentin that will be quite enough. Where did he come from? Quentin mouths off, Poncho Villa? Wait, don’t tell him: pocket universe? Set of Duck Dynasty? Actually wait, don’t kill the mystery just yet! What he really wants to know is… He fires his telekinetic rifle at him. How’s hot psychic buckshot taste, jerkface?
The man calmly grabs Quentin by the throat and lifts him. Quentin shouts at his Bamf for selling him out for sticky buns. Unimpressed, the Bamf hisses at him.
The stranger speaks to Quentin telepathically. He knows things he shouldn’t, dangerous things. Let them see what the future has told him.
He sees Quentin’s memories of facing his future self, the Phoenix. What is it he even wants? his future-self mocks. A shortcut? A way out of this “stupid school?” More reason to believe he’s so damned special? That tomorrow’s more than just another crap day? Well, even if he had the answers, Quentin’d be the last person he’d share them with!
Quentin follows him, unwilling to believe that, with all that power, this is what he wants: to sing back-up in the Xavier cover band? He refuses to believe it. He’d never risk them meeting and change that future if that were true. If he didn’t still have dreams of his own.
Future-Quentin doesn’t reply, then points his finger at Quentin’s head. He wants to see what dreams get him? Fine, maybe this will finally wake him up.
Quentin sees images of the future: Idie standing in front of a grave, Edan Young end the tall stranger he has just met. He sees a grown Quentin fighting Evan, who has become Apocalypse.
Quentin sinks to his knees and falls unconscious. The stranger informs him he has seen a cruel version of the truth, but the truth nonetheless. Were it that he could free him from what follows. But, in coming here today, Quentin has sealed the stranger’s fate and nothing can free him from it.
Is that so, bub? a voice asks, as a Bamf teleports Wolverine and Storm in. Cause he can think of an easy way to cut him loose! Storm orders the stranger to step away from Quentin.
And so they’ve finally arrived, the stranger mocks. Found cause enough to step from behind the safety of their ivory gates.
Wolverine bristles at his tone. He ain’t about to take no sass off no lost Allman Brother. Storm steps between them, announcing she will handle this. Telepathically, the stranger informs her she won’t.
They are both hit by the telepathic blast.
The Jean Grey School:
Armor has gathered the remaining students (and Krakoa) and informs them that Storm and Wolverine are looking into the matter even as they speak. She advises them to all go on with their ordinary business and reminds them Bamfs are their escape hatches if something happens. She tells Nature Girl (who is a Bamf favorite) to share. Unless anyone has any questions—
Idie interrupts that she has a question or ten, since Hisako seems to have all the answers. They must come with that stupid belt buckle. Do they look like complete and utter #*+%ing morons?
She wouldn’t have thought so, Armor replies, but Idie’s line of questioning does make her wonder. Idie scoffs. So all that creepy stuff about humans rising and reclaiming the Phoenix is no big deal? They shouldn’t worry that this is the Jean Grey School? As in the Phoenix? There’s no target on their back, because she says so, right, “professor?”
Armor hopes this is not because of Quentin Quire, because if she really wants to talk about painting a target on their back…. As if there’s room for another one next to the one Wolverine put there, Idie shouts. News flash: he’s Wolverine. Everyone wants to kill him!
When Armor protests, Idie makes it clear no one is taking her seriously. She is just Mr. Logan’s latest pet. She’s only standing there because Jubilee has too much self-respect. Where does she think she’ll be when he finally gets himself killed? Classy, Armor snaps back. No wonder Idie’s boyfriend dropped her faster than he changes his stupid t-shirts.
Evan gets between them and tells them to stop. He assures Idie everything is under control. If anyone can take care of himself, it’s Quentin. Idie repeats she isn’t worried about Quentin. She’s worried about the rest of them. She stalks off.
The headquarters of the Phoenix Corporation:
While the two Bamfs are hissing at one another over the sticky bun, the tall stranger is battling Wolverine and has the upper hand, while he telepathically criticizes Wolverine’s animal nature. As he beats Logan up, he reveals he was taught by the Askani priests who taught him to put aside his ego, to believe he is nothing compared to his sacred mission.
Wolverine lunges and misses. The stranger hits him again and continues even those hypocrites would recoil at the sight of Logan. They would shudder at the pleasure this gives them, their Faithful John corrupted by hatred and desire.
He manifests an energy blade. How many nights he prayed they would never meet, that his service in this war would not be needed. Yet now, here he is. The Wolverine. The father of the Apocalypse. He hits Wolverine in the head with the blade. Even if he stops it here, it doesn’t’ change what he’s seen and done. The pain and suffering Wolverine helped bring upon John’s world, will live in him forever.
But here, now, with Wolverine under his heel, he knows it’s worth every drop of blood just to see him rot! Because now he knows there is indeed a heaven, and he doesn’t have to die to reach it.
The nuns carry an unconscious Quentin away.
Wolverine moans at Storm to stop him. He’s gonna kill Evan…