The X-Men emerge from the star-gate that was powered by Phoenix and are completely confused by their surroundings. They have landed on a planet many billions of light-years away from Earth, a planet that is as old as time and that is home to the M’Kraan Crystal. They are surrounded by members of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard – a veritable legion -– evil emperor D’Ken and Eric the Red. The Imperial Guard are also confused by the X-Men’s arrival.
When the X-Men realize that they can understand their language Cyclops demands that they turn over Lilandra and Eric the Red to them. Gladiator, the leader of the Guard, tells them that Lilandra is a traitor and that she will not be given up.
With that the X-Men, following Cyclops’ lead attack the Guard and a full scale battle commences. While attacking their foes from above Storm worries that the team is still too weak and tired following their battle with Magneto to go straight into an interstellar battle for an unknown cause. In the meantime there is tension between Wolverine and Cyclops when Wolverine caustically comments on what a mess they are in. Cyclops however is distracted trying to battle the Guard and look after Jean whose power is drained after transporting the team across the universe.
When a shape-shifting Guard member named Hobgoblin transforms his shape into that of a giant alien monster to attack Colossus and Nightcrawler, Colossus orders Nightcrawler to hide while he takes on the beast alone. Nightcrawler however decides to do some shape-shifting of his own by using his image inducer. He makes his appearance change to that of a creature even bigger than the one he is facing and although it is only a visual trick, it fools Hobgoblin into losing his concentration and reverting back to his original form which Nightcrawler can then easily knock out, while regretting that they’ll probably never meet as friends.
In the middle of the battle a Guardsman named Starbolt attacks Wolverine savagely with his fire powers because the mutant threatened the telepath Oracle, the woman he loves. Although Wolverine survives the blast, most of his clothes have disintegrated. Despite his nakedness Wolverine continues to fight and defeats Oracle and Starbolt and then starts a battle against another member of the Guard, Fang.
As the battle rages on Lilandra can do nothing but watch, helplessly pleading with her brother D’Ken and Eric the Red aka Shakari to stop the madness. In order to silence his sister D’Ken summons a beast that paralyzes the princess with fear, the Soul Drinker. Cyclops notices that something is happening but he cannot get a clear shot with his optic-blasts. Phoenix also tries but she is still weak. It is then up to Nightcrawler who teleports to Lilandra and frees her from her chains. When he tells her to flee however she can do nothing but stand there as the Soul Drinker has her in a mind-lock. Nightcrawler singlehandily fights against D’Ken’s two servants but seeing no way out he tries something he has never attempted before, he teleports himself and takes Lilandra with him, leaving D’Ken’s servants to feel the wrath of the Soul Drinker.
The attempt leaves Nightcrawler completely drained but alive. Cyclops demands an explanation from Lilandra as to what is going on.
Lilandra explains that it all began when her mad brother discovered the existence of the M’Kraan Crystal, fabled to be the deadliest weapon in history, and he wanted it all to himself. When Lilandra opposed the plan in council she was arrested. When word got out civil war soon erupted, with half the imperial fleet, of which she was grand admiral siding with her. Ultimately however she failed, with the final battle held above the world of the M’Kraan Crystal. En route to her execution Lilandra escaped and stole a scout-ship. While on the run she suddenly felt the presence of Charles Xavier in her mind and she felt as if she had discovered a missing piece of her soul. What she had experienced was Xavier using the collective will of humankind to defeat the Z’nox, another alien race. After this she felt bound to him forever and he to her. This burst of power however had alerted D’Ken’s telepathic spies who sensed that Lilandra’s rapport with Xavier would draw her to Earth. Seeing as Earth is a crossroads planet for half the Milky Way, the Shi’ar already had an agent posted there, a man known as Davan Shakari, the one later known as Eric the Red. D’Ken ordered him to kill Xavier or failing that to prevent Lilandra from contacting him. For Shakari this meant that first of all the X-Men had to be eliminated. Despite using Havok and Polaris against the team along with some of their oldest foes such as the Juggernaut, Black Tom Cassidy and Magneto he failed in each attempt until with the unwitting aid of Firelord he succeeded in capturing Lilandra.
Cyclops tells Lilandra that he still doesn’t understand what it has all been for and she explains that it has been for the oldest reason of all….power. She explains that the M’Kraan Crystal is a gateway that only opens once every million years when nine particular Death tars enter a certain alignment and within the Crystal can be found power absolute. Gladiator suddenly comes up behind them and asks Lilandra what right she has to deny her emperor that power. Lilandra tells him to open his eyes but Gladiator tells her that they are sworn to obey D’Ken, no matter what.
All around them the battle rages on and Wolverine emerges victorious from his battle with Fang and wearing his costume. Things are not going too well however and the Imperial Guard are beginning to wear the X-Men down thanks to sheer strength in numbers. The end seems almost up when Impulse and Cyclops eye beams knock each other out. Gladiator stands victorious above Lilandra refusing to believe her that she is trying to save the empire. Suddenly however he is knocked by a laser beam from a gun belonging to Corsair as the Starjammers, Corsair, Ch’od, Raza and Hepzibah burst from the sky.
Hepzibah is cold towards Lilandra but Corsair reminds her that for this battle at least they are on the same side. Hepzibah snaps back at Corsair stating that her real name isn’t Hepzibah. With the Starjammers on their side the tide of the battle soon turns in the X-Men’s favour and the Imperial Guard are defeated. With the battle over Wolverine suggests that they head home while Nightcrawler and Colossus admire Ch’od’s pet.
Surprised to find that Corsair uses an American accent and slang Phoenix decides to mind-probe him to avoid any surprises. What she sees, throws her for a loop as she learns of a link between Corsair and Cyclops neither man is aware of. Before she can act on this knowledge, D’Ken shouts at them to look at the sky. They were too late, the stars are aligned and in a few moments the gateway will be open. As energy pulses from the ancient Crystal all of reality suddenly goes ‘Blink’.
Aboard Starcore Spacestation above Earth Peter Corbeau is talking to Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four about the reality blink and explains that for a fraction of a second all reality ceased to exist. Neither man knows what caused it but Corbeau states that if the cosmic blinks continue, the fabric of time and space will tear itself apart and the universe will die…