At a Friends of Humanity rally in Ames, Iowa, the young lady speaking tells the crowd that this is what is at stake – their future, their very way of life. This is what the mutant threat is. And Graydon Creed is one of the few brave enough to do anything about it. He’s one of the few who will stand up to them. He’s been targeted by mutants before, but he won’t stop fighting for you. And when he arrives, Graydon Creed will tell you about the Friends of Humanity.
As she talks, a voice remarks that this reminds them of another time. When mutants were something you only heard about on TV. Before one of them destroyed their life, burning down everything they ever cared about. They were beautiful like the speaker, once. And now she’s going to die, like the person they was died. A mutant will kill her but it won’t be the mutant’s fault. All of the people at the rally are going to die. They’re going to die at a mutant’s hands and it’s all their fault.
Just then, Beautiful Dreamer runs into the crowd glowing. While she does, she calls out for someone to help her, it’s inside of her. The voice indicates that they found the filth traveling west through St. Louis, heading to San Francisco. That’s where their kind live now. They should have killed them right then and there. They should have killed themselves with her. As Beautiful Dreamer falls to the ground, eleven hundred humans fall dead around her. All of them were murdered by the person watching from afar. Her name is the Leper Queen. She kills mutants and this… this is wrong.
In St. Louis, at Division C of the organization formerly known as S.H.I.E.L.D., now HAMMER, Agent Morales informs her fellow agents that the Purifiers rescued the Leper Queen as she was about to be executed for murdering a mutant. Pierce was abducted by them as well. And know that William Stryker has resurfaced; Matthew Risman has fallen off the grid. She adds that, for the sake of argument, say X-23 is involved in the Purifier massacres. Say it’s all connected. One of the agents mentions that their intel backs up all of the assumptions, so how does she suggest they track her? Morales replies that she’s a mutant. An assassin for hire, and is now going after a mutant hater group. They work ahead of her, find her next target.
Just then, another agent enters, apologizes for interrupting, and informs Morales that they’ve got a red flag that she should really see. There’s been an incident at a rally…
At Graymalkin Industries in Marin, Cyclops mentally queries the Stepford Cuckoos on the status. They reply that Emma Frost is sitting down for lunch in Barcelona, thinking about dessert; thinking about him. Scott then asks if there has been any luck with Wolfsbane. The Cuckoos tell him that they’ve been trying to track her for days but it is very odd. They can feel her but she does not register on Cerebra. Her signal is sketchy and they wonder if she is in wolf form. Scott tells them to keep on it and to report back.
Entering Beast’s laboratory, Scott asks Hank what he’s got. Hank informs him that he has time travel in the palm of your hand, or paw, as the case may be. Scott says he’s impressed. He thought he was having trouble replicating Forge’s work. Without turning around from his work, Hank points out that he hasn’t given him the fine print yet. Their little “science” team are some of the greatest minds on earth, but Forge is Forge. This isn’t on the same level as what he created. This device will allow someone to travel forward in time and stay there for 32-and-a-half hours. After that, the device will automatically bring the traveler home.
When Scott asks why “32,” Hank replies so they don’t die. Scott states that he doesn’t understand. Hank informs him that they’re creating tech that takes decades in a matter of weeks. The mere fact that this device will work is nothing short of a miracle but a side effect seems to be that the traveler’s biology starts to break down immediately upon entering the future. If he had more time…
At that moment, Scott cuts Hank off and asks when he can have seven of them. Looking up from his work, Hank mentions to Scott that he can’t help but notice he’s not telling him who the devices are for. Scott replies no, he’s not. Hank tells him that he knows what’s at stake. He knows how important Cable’s mission is. He knows what the baby means for them all. But if he’s planning on executing Bishop, he wants no part of this. Scott informs Hank that he has to trust him on this. Hank replies alright, he’ll have the devices for him in a few hours. Just then, Warren pops in and asks if he can borrow Scott for a minute.
Over at Alcatraz, Wolverine tells Warpath to calm down. He points out that if he doesn’t breath soon, he’s gonna have to kill him. Warpath replies that they should be out there… Wolverine says to him to wait. Once Angel arrives with Cyclops in tow, Warpath immediately asks him if he found them – Rahne, Bard, Selene? Has he found any of them? Has he done anything? Cyclops replies that the Cuckoos are working on it, he promises, but this takes priority. Warpath emphatically asks priority? What the hell is more important than…
Cyclops cuts him off and asks Wolverine where the others are. Down the hall, he sees Domino laughing, X-23 laughing hysterically, and Vanisher cursing and holding the left side of his head. Vanisher yells at Domino that it’s not funny, X-23 cut off his $*#@ing ear. As X-23 walks by Wolverine, he asks her if there was any particular reason. X-23 informs him that he attempted to bribe Elixir into removing the tumor and he had to be punished.
After Vanisher yells out that she’s psychotic, Cyclops tells them all to shut up, they have a problem – Beautiful Dreamer is dead. Vanisher proceeds to ask who the *@(# is Beautiful Dreamer. Angel informs him that she was a Morlock, not even worth killing. When Wolverine asks what happened, Cyclops tells him that it happened at a Friends of Humanity rally for Graydon Creed. She killed hundreds of people, then died. Wolverine remarks that’s bull, she wipes memories, she’s no killer. Cyclops states that everyone in range’s minds were wiped, their brains forgot to tell their hearts to beat. Her powers were out of control. They flared, and it killed her.
Considering this, Angel points out that there’s something that does that to mutants: the Legacy Virus. Wolverine says that’s not possible. The Virus doesn’t work that fast and they destroyed all the samples in Sinister’s lab. Hell, they destroyed the lab. Domino pipes in and says not to be a downer or anything, but they know Sinister had more labs. Could he have had more samples of the virus? Cyclops replies that he doesn’t know. But the Friends of Humanity are putting it out there that they’ve received threats from mutant terrorists. All of their rallies have been targeted and he wants them there. If this is Bastion and the Legacy Virus, they have to stop it. Permanently.
Sarcastically, Vanisher asks are they sure they don’t want to stop it temporarily? He then proceeds to call them all idiots and say that they sure love their drama. X-23 then asks out loud if she should cut off his other ear. Wolverine tells her to go for it.
At Graymalkin Industries in cell block X, Donald Pierce asks Dust from his cell if the Dog Boy is still dead. He knows how mutants have a nasty habit of coming back to life. Staring at him, Dust asks if he has no soul at all. Pierce replies that’s what she’s going to ask him? She’s out of her league, the others had much better questions for him. Dust then asks him what others, what is he talking about. Pierce says to her that she really doesn’t know, does she. He then adds that it looks like her fearless leader is keeping secrets – that’s funny. Dust simply tells him that he’s mad. Pierce says maybe he is. After all, he was defeated by children and now he rots there in their little jailhouse. It’s enough to drive anyone mad.
Using Pierce’s eyes as a window, Bastion uploads and receives data related to recording schematics and inhabitants of Graymalkin Industries. He then proceeds to cross-link with the Sapien League. Standing next to him, Graydon Creed says to Bastion that he doesn’t understand, why do so many humans have to die, and for what? Bastion informs him that it’s a required distraction. This will keep the X-Men occupied until it is too late, until judgment day. Creed asks so all of this, his entire existence, the others; are just a distraction? Bastion tells him “not all of them.”
In an unknown location, the Leper Queen thinks to herself that she should be glad she’s alive. But not like this. Not as something less than human, being forced to do this. She can feel it, under her skin. She can feel him, listening inside her head. Is she insane? Is her mind as scarred as her face? She doesn’t know who she is anymore. Some kind of monster… No! She knows who she is and they are the monsters. She was put on this earth to kill mutants and she will not do this. He can’t make her kill these people!
Exerting his mental powers over her, Bastion makes her change her mind which in turn has her say “let’s go.” Shortly, the Leper Queen is surrounded by members of her Sapien League. They were easy enough to re-form. Small-minded people, blaming all their problems on mutants. Lose their job, lose their girlfriend – a mutant is to blame. It’s sad but it makes them easy to use. They have no idea what the mutants are capable of. They haven’t seen the face of Apocalypse like she has.
Holding up a syringe, one of her followers ask her what is in it. The Leper Queen informs him that it makes mutants sick and makes them die. That’s all they need to know. The follower then asks if they can get more of it. The Leper Queen doesn’t reply but, in her head, she thinks to herself that Cameron Hodge is probably making it by the barrel. He’s one of them, one of his. They’re given a face and a location. They abduct the mutant, inject them and then turn them loose at a specified place and time. It’s all part of his “master plan.” As another bound and blindfolded mutant is injected, the Leper Queen says to herself that if there is a god, let her die.
In the woods outside Angel’s aerie, Wolfsbane in wolf form, talks with Hrimhari in his wolf form. She asks him if this is a dream. She had heard about Asgard appearing on Earth but she never thought h-how he can be there with her. Hrimhari replies that when Asgard fell, he fell with it. He was locked in combat with a Frost Giant war party and that the savages had hunted down and murdered his entire pack. The pelts of his loved ones, still wet with innocent blood, hung from their belts when he found them. He had little hope of killing the beasts but he could not let them escape.
But then, he felt something. A sensation more powerful than anything he has ever known. And when he turned to see what it was, he found Ragnarok. The end of all things had come as foretold and in an instant, every immortal life was extinguished. His included, but then life returned. He found himself in his own lands but looking out across Midgard. He cannot explain how he returned to the living but he does know why he was reborn on Midgard.
When Wolfsbane asks why, Hrimhari replies “for her.” As she turns away, Hrimhari puts his hand on Wolfsbane’s shoulder and asks her if she remembers the first time he lost her – when Loki, the god of evil, made her choose between her love and her friends. Rahne replies that she does. It is a choice she has thought about every day since she was forced to make it. Hrimhari asks her if she remembers what he said when he knew that he would lose her. Rahne replies that he said he that she was his ‘heart’, that she was his ‘life.’ Hrimhari informs her that truer words he has never spoken. In the moments before his life ended, his only thought was of her. She is his life, their fates are intertwined and not even death could keep them apart. He is and always has been hers. That is, if she will have h…
Before he can finish his sentence, Rahne turns to him and kisses him passionately.
In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, X-23 and Angel scope out the crowd at the Friends of Humanity rally. As they do, X-23 informs Angel that this is not a feasible surveillance situation. There are too many people; their senses are useless in a crowd like it. Angel tells her that he didn’t know assassins complained this much. X-23 replies that he should be in the air. His file lists his visual range at… Angel cuts her off and informs her that he can smell the death. He’s staying right there.
In Boise, Idaho, Domino and Wolverine are at a similar rally. After hearing X-23 and Angel go back and forth, he tells them both to shut up and to just get the job done.
In Providence, Rhode Island, Vanisher and Warpath are at another rally. Vanisher proceeds to point out to James that there’s a one-in-three chance a mutant bomb is going to go off there. So how about they not be? They could go someplace sunny. He knows this brothel in Portugal… James tells him to just be ready.
At that moment, the banter begins to go back and forth between the members of X-Force. One of them remarks that it’ll be Dom and Logan that finds them anyway. She’s got luck on her side. Another states that if she’s lucky, it won’t be her because whoever finds them is going to die. X-23 then tells him all to shut up.
While X-23 looks intently into the crowd, as she is being watched unbeknownst to her by an unknown being, Angel asks if she’s getting something. X-23 informs him that she does not, it’s not right. Just then, she sniffs the air and catches the scent of something burning. At that moment, a mutant rushes into the middle of the crowd and begins to burn up. Burning through the bandages that had been binding him, the mutant reveals nothing but bones and flame beneath. Still possessing a voice, he calls out that he’s burning and begs for somebody to help him. Angel immediately recognizes the mutant as the former Acolyte named Fever Pitch and warns the others via comm that if he should blow…
Wolverine orders them to kill him but X-23 replies that there’s not enough time. Realizing the situation, Wolverine yells to the Vanisher to pull them out now. No sooner has he made the call, however, Fever Pitch explodes, destroying the crowd of people as X-23 and Archangel brace for the coming onslaught of destruction.