Angel is quite upset. He has told his teammate, Marvel Girl, that Cyclops and Beast are fighting for their very lives against Grotesk, but she says she won’t come to help them. He yells at her, accusing her and Xavier of no longer caring about the X-Men and all of humanity. Iceman tried to calm his friend down, suggesting there might be other explanations for Jean’s behavior. Not convinced, Warren demands to hear them, and the lovely redhead hesitates, though then replies that she has nothing further to say. It’s as she said, she can’t leave with Angel and Iceman. Her evasive answer further annoys Warren, who accuses her of lying. He doesn’t believe her earlier story about Professor Xavier not being present. Jean warns Angel not to push her too far, or...
She doesn’t get to finish her threat, as the dispute is cut short by Xavier entering the room, announcing that he is back. Iceman points out that, if he has just returned from somewhere, then indeed Jean was telling the truth, and the Professor was indeed not in the mansion. Xavier confirms Bobby’s assumption - kind of. His exact words are: “Let’s just say that my solitude accomplished its purpose!” He doesn’t want to elaborate further, and quickly changes the subject, telling Bobby and Warren that there is no need to worry, as Cyclops and Beast can take care of themselves. Iceman disagrees. If only he had seen how tall and strong Grotesk is, he might think otherwise.
Jean reminds her two angry teammates to watch their tone; after all it is their mentor, Professor Xavier, they are talking to. However, this doesn’t stop Warren from announcing that he will go to help Hank and Scott, even if he has to do so alone. Turning his back on his students, Xavier orders Angel and Iceman to stay in the room until he calls them. As he wheels away into his office, he tells Jean to make sure that Warren and Bobby won’t leave. She hesitantly confirms the order. Taken aback by their mentor’s behavior, Bobby whispers to Warren that they need to have faith in the Professor, as he has never let them down. Warren is not so sure though. To him, it seems as if Xavier is hiding something from them, and he is also concerned about Jean, who is supposed to be in love with Scott, yet doesn’t raise a finger to help him.
Meanwhile, in the underground lair of Grotesk, Beast is being slammed into a wall by the Sub-Human. He thinks to himself that Grotesk is even more powerful than they thought, and that perhaps he and Cyclops shouldn’t have sent away Angel and Iceman so recklessly. As he leaps to a safe distance, Grotesk makes fun of him and yells that he will soon destroy the entire planet. Hearing this, Beast turns around and jumps at Grotesk, saying that, before he becomes intoxicated with visions of his own power, he has to deal with the X-Men. Beast lands a blow against Grotesk, but it’s no use. The Sub-Human proves himself to be much stronger, for with his next punch he renders Hank unconscious.
Grotesk barely has the time to wonder what became of the Beast’s teammate, when Cyclops tries to hit him with an optic beam. The Sub-Human easily dodges the blast, and throws a massive device at the X-Men’s leader. Scott knows he can’t get away in time, and tries something he never has before - he fires his optic beams at the ground, using them like rockets hurling him out of the way. After safely landing a few feet away, Cyclops once more fires a blast at Grotesk, who laughs as Cyclops seems to have missed his mark and the rays do not strike him. Scant seconds later, though, it becomes apparent that Scott wasn’t aiming at him but the machines behind him, causing them to explode. Grotesk is hit by the blast but, when the smoke clears, he is already on his feet again, and even more angry than before. Beast too has come around by now, and he and Cyclops ponder their next move.
Suddenly the ground begins to shake, and a vision fills Grotesk’s aching mind - he sees the man operating the device that’s causing the tremors. Deciding that he has no more time to waste with the two X-Men, he tears of a stud from his chest plate and throes it to the ground. Instantly, there’s a smoke screen hiding Grotesk’s departure. Cyclops and Beast attempt to follow the Sub-Human, but they find the fog to be no ordinary fog. While it looks like some harmless mist, it is solid as a rock - they can’t enter it. Cut off from their opponent, Cyclops wonders why the Sub-Human would try to escape, when a few seconds before, he had a good chance of beating them.
On the other side of the barrier, Grotesk rushes through the tunnels beneath New York. He thinks that, if his vision was true, then he will have revenge soon; revenge for the many members of his race who are all dead because of humanity’s tests with atomic radiation.
(about one hour later)
After they have brought back Grotesk’s captive to his job as a student custodian at Archer College, Cyclops and Beast have returned to the mansion in Westchester, where Angel fills them in on Marvel Girl’s strange behavior. Hank is a little bit disappointed that neither she nor Xavier would send them any backup, though Scott believes that she must have her reasons. At this point, Jean comes to join the conversation, and she is relieved to see the two X-Men alive and well, as she was rather worried about them. Scott replies that they will have to take her word on that, but right now he has got to speak to the Professor. Jean answers that she is sorry, but that she can’t allow that. Cyclops won’t take “No” for an answer though, not for her nor from Professor Xavier, not when the safety of the entire Earth is at stake. Getting angry, he orders the young redhead to stand aside.
Marvel Girl, however, lashes out with her telekinesis, and levitates the man she loves into the air. Scott asks her what she is doing, and she once more explains that she intends to follow their mentor’s orders, and they were to keep the X-Men in this room. Iceman questions whether Xavier has once again left the mansion, but Jean doesn’t answer. Instead, she erects a telekinetic shield keeping her teammates from reaching her and the door to Xavier’s office.
All of a sudden, though, she says that she is receiving a telepathic command from Xavier, telling her to bring the X-Men to him. Beast asks why they all haven’t heard it, though Marvel Girl responds there’s no time to explain and demands an answer whether they others will join her or not. Beast confirms it, though he demands to hear an explanation for all this once the current crisis has passed. Jean cryptically replies that there will be such an explanation “if any of us survive!”
In New York, Grotesk bursts through some building’s wall, sensing that this is the place where the strange vibrations within his brain have led him. Here, he hopes to find the man-made device that can cause earthquakes, which he wants to use as his instrument of vengeance. With a hand that closes like a steel clamp, he grasps the human form sitting behind the machine’s control panel, and introduces himself as Grotesk, the Sub-Human. The human asks what he wants, and Grotesk is only to eager once more to declare his desire for revenge, as his entire race were destroyed by humanity’s weapon tests. The human decides to have heard enough, Grotesk’s motives are as he suspected, and he removes a rubber mask from his face - revealing the human to be none other than Xavier.
The Professor explains that he is the leader of the costumed ones Grotesk fought before, but the Sub-Human is not interested about them or Xavier’s masquerade. He tosses the Professor aside and proceeds towards the machine. Xavier tried to cushion his fall as good as possible, and thinks to himself that he underestimated Grotesk’s strength and speed. Even worse, he witnesses the Sub-Human familiarizing himself with the control panel, and finding the one lever that will start the machine and eventually tear the planet apart. As Grotesk prepares himself to die along humanity in order to get even, Xavier reminds himself of his plan. He gained entrance to this building disguised as the machine’s inventor, Dr. Hunt, and then telepathically called Grotesk there, as he thought he was able to defeat the Sub-Human alone, without endangering his X-Men.
Realizing that he has failed, he knows that his only hope lies in preventing Grotesk from pulling that switch. He lashes out with a mental bolt, and Grotesk is in pain. He then hears the voice in his head again, bidding him to turn away from the device, and understands that it is the Professor’s. Obviously, he was trying to lure him into a trap, but Grotesk declares that it is he who is the hunter, and the surface-dwellers who are the prey. It comes down to a test of wills, Grotesk struggling against the mental hold, and Xavier giving his all to mentally stop the Sub-Human. In the end, at the crucial second, Grotesk reaches the lever and pulls it. Instantly, the oscillotron hums into vibrant, menacing life, and the vibrations begin to radiate downwards to the Earth’s very core. Grotesk gloats that the surface-dwellers are now doomed, no matter what they will do now.
Right then, Angel arrives. Still lying on the ground, Xavier shouts that he needs to turn of the machine somehow. The winged X-Man sure wants to try, but Grotesk is standing in his way, not willing to let anyone past. Angel flies straight at Grotesk, carrying two bright flashing orbs in his hands, temporarily blinding Grotesk. He thinks to himself that it was a good idea to bring these solar orbs along, experimental devices that the Professor uses to store solar energies, for subterranean creatures such as Grotesk are not accustomed to bright light.
The Beast tries to take advantage of Grotesk’s discomfort and leaps at him from behind, but once again the X-Men underestimated their foe. To grab his opponent and hurls him right into Angel’s flight path, the Sub-Human doesn’t need to have a clear sight. Grotesk is not one to take chances and, even though he already feels the entire building trembling, he decides it’s better to keep the X-Men at bay with another smoke pellet. Just as he is about to throw the capsule, though, he hears someone moving behind him. It’s Cyclops, who tried to sneak past to the lever. At least, he is able to use his optic beam to knock the smoke pellet from Grotesk’s hand.
While the others are fighting the Sub-Human, Marvel Girl rushes to the fallen Xavier’s side and asks if he is all right. The Professor says that his health is not important right now, and alerts Jean to an opening in front of them, as Grotesk has left his position in pursuit of Cyclops. Quickly, the redhead crosses the distance to machine’s control panel and tries shutting it off, but the lever doesn’t budge. Apparently the Sub-Human has jammed it, and not even her telekinetic powers are strong enough to pull the switch. Meanwhile, the deadly vibrations are growing louder with each passing second.
Cyclops is still fighting Grotesk, but his optic beams couldn’t stop the Sub-Human from grabbing two other studs from his armor. Somehow, these studs are capable of absorbing the deadly rays and reflecting them right back at Scott, who jumps out of harms way. Iceman enters the fray, trying to cover Grotesk’s entire body with ice. The Sub-Human asks the youngest X-.Man if he doesn’t know when he is defeated, but Bobby makes a witty comment about being an optimist, and no man being defeated as long as he keeps fighting. Grotesk considers this a rather noble statement, but also a challenge to determine whether Iceman can really live up to his word. Again making use of the energy absorbed by the two studs, he uses Cyclops’ power against Iceman, who did not expect such an attack and is hit full force.
Xavier senses that the oscillotron is approaching maximum intensity and knows that, if they are ever going to stop it, it must be within the next few seconds. Standing next to him, Marvel Girl says that she is ready to follow his lead. Next, the Professor starts bombarding the machine mentally, and orders Jean to do the same, with all the intense concentration she can muster. For long, tense, anxious moments the two psychically-powered mutants stand motionless, seemingly frozen in the quaking chamber, until their effort is met by success.
Marvel Girl notices the machine slowing down, but the Professor points out that it’s not fast enough to stop a violent earthquake from destroying at least the eastern seaboard. Ordering Jean to stay behind, the Professor announces that he will move in closer. Advancing slowly on the mechanical legs he once devised, Xavier approaches the red-glowing machine, having only one thought - he must succeed. From a safe distance, Jean notices that it’s actually working - the earth tremors are lessening in force even more. Xavier knows that it’s still not fast enough and strains himself to concentrate even harder than before.
At the same time, only a few feet away, Grotesk is still fighting the male X-Men. Still using the studs with Cyclops’ optic energy inside, he manages to keep Cyclops and Beast at bay and at the same time stuns and grab the Angel, to use him as a human shield. Right then, the Sub-Human notices the machine’s vibrations growing weaker, and realizes that it must be the work of the Professor. Not wanting to be robbed of his revenge, Grotesk decides that he needs to dispose of the X-Men as soon as possible to get to Xavier again. He whirls the Angel above his head, spinning him like a top, and hurls him towards Beast and Cyclops, who know that their teammate won’t survive and impact at this velocity. Cyclops quickly uses his optic beam in the right dosage to slow down Warren without hurting him, and Beast catches the winged X-man with his strong arms.
While the X-Men are busy rescuing one of their own, Grotesk makes his way to the machine again and pulls Xavier away from it. The Professor shouts that there’s need for him to want to see the Earth destroyed, but the Sub-Human is beyond reason. With one blow, he knocks out the X-Men’s mentor, before he starts tearing the lab machine apart, again thinking about his once proud race that he wants to avenge. He wants the device to generate more power, to ensure that the entire planet will die, but his tampering causes the machine to overload and explode.
The searing blaze of light lasts only a fleeting moment. Quickly searching the debris, the X-Men happen upon the apparently dead form of Grotesk and a critically injured Xavier. Marvel Girl hopes that he will survive, but the Professor knows that he was too close to the explosion and is beyond hope. Angel says that Xavier should talk about his death, but the Professor gives Warren his last order – to fall quiet and let him say what he needs to say. He reveals to have sensed that Grotesk’s body and mind had been deformed by the radiation that destroyed his race. Wanting to save the X-Men from harm, he had hoped to stop the Sub-Human himself, before his time was up.
Cyclops begins to understand - obviously, Xavier knew he was dying and that’s why he had driven them so hard over the past few days. With his dying breath, Xavier confirms it, and says that his illness could not be cured, but at least they stopped Grotesk and saved the Earth. He falls silent, and the X-Men realize that their mentor is gone. The X-Men have tears in their eyes, and Jean covers he face with her hands. Nobody speaks a word as Warren lifts the limp body of their mentor from the debris.
Jack O’Diamonds has just busted out of the building housing the cyclotron that transformed him into the Living Diamond. He feels a little strange and dizzy, but he doesn't bother too much about it, thinking that it's some temporary unimportant side effect of the rays that transformed him. Suddenly, he becomes aware of Xavier approaching him, surprising him a lot, as he believed to have killed the professor. Leaning forward in his wheelchair, the telepath says that he hasn't come to harm him but to help him, though the Living Diamond wants to hear nothing about it.
Nearby, hidden behind a bush, young Scott Summers follows the conversation. Xavier has told him to stay out of sight, though Scott is worried that the professor has underestimated the Living Diamond's strength or his power-hunger. The villain attempts to smash Xavier, though raising his arm he finds to be something wrong with it - he can only move it very slowly. Still, he declares that it will come down fast enough to finish the professor off. Xavier tries using his telepathy, only to find that his mental bolts can no longer penetrate the Living Diamond's brain. Apparently, he has become immune to his psychic powers.
At that instant, Scott decides that he can wait no more, and raises his ruby quartz glasses, releasing a powerful optic beam at the Living Diamond, pushing him backwards. Xavier congratulates the teenager on the good work and orders him to keep the beam up a few more seconds to not let the villain regain his balance. Scott does as told, until, without warning, the beam fizzles out. Scott asks the professor if he should tackle the Living Diamond himself, but Xavier says that even now he is no match for him. As the villain crawls away to recover, the professor tells Scott to wheel him inside the building, as he senses that what they need can be found there.
Several minutes later, the two mutants have reached a certain chamber within the nuclear complex. As Scott locks a steel door behind them, hoping that it will keep the Living Diamond out for a while, he asks the professor what the place is. Xavier explains that his mental probings revealed the machine in front of them to be some sort of ultra-sonic vibration inducer, and that it might be their and the Diamond's only hope. Scott wants to know what the professor means by that, but the telepath states there is no time to explain. Further studying the machine, Xavier concludes that the machine was brought there to test the reaction of radioactive isotopes under stress.
Right then, the Living Diamond smashes through the door. He exclaims that, although he is moving slower than ever, there’s no way the two men can escape as he is blocking the only way out. Scott knows the villain is right and suggests to the professor to try his optic beam again, as his eyes feel rested now. Xavier reminds him that the beams would only delay the Living Diamond but not stop him. He then calls out to the foe, addressing him by his real name, Jack Winters, and asks him to stop fighting - for his own sake. Hearing this, the Living Diamond laughs. Sure he will stop, but only after the two mutants are dead.
Suddenly, Scott hears the professor’s voice in his head, telling him to rush up a nearby ladder to the control panel of the vibration inducer. Although he has no clue what he is doing there, Scott pushes the buttons and adjusts the levers as Xavier tells him do, all the while hoping that the professor’s plan, whatever it may be, will work. Below, the Living Diamond has reached Xavier’s wheelchair by now, and raises his fist, ready to strike him. The telepath doesn’t bother about the imminent danger and instead keeps his attention focused on young Scott and the machine above. He orders the teenager to switch on the device. Summers does as told, and the giant machine begins to hum, though barely audible.
As the humming grows louder, the Living Diamonds’ arms go stiff. He can hardly move them and shouts that he only needs to try harder. Xavier warns him not to; instead he asks the villain to surrender and go limp, if he wants to survive. Only then would there be a chance to free him from his diamond-like state. Jack Winters doesn’t want to hear any of that – he doesn’t want to give up having powers and, further straining his arms, he announces to smash the professor. He barely finishes his sentence, before he is caught in a small-contained explosion and blasted into atoms. Xavier wheeled out of harm’s way in time. As Scott joins him, the professor explains that he wanted to capture the Living Diamond and study his radioactive disease, but his greed got the better of him, causing him to become his own first and last victim.
Scott is not so sure. While it might have been Winters’ struggling against the vibrations that tore him apart, it was still he who operated the machine, and that makes him a murderer. Xavier tells the teenager to go easy on himself; they only acted in self-defense against one who wanted to kill them, and Winters would have died without treatment sooner or later anyway. Scott agrees, when suddenly he remembers his own situation. He is still alone... more now than ever, as the man he thought to be his friend tried to kill him. Xavier assures the teenager that he is not alone if he comes with him, but reminds him that they need to hurry before the guards wake up. Having no one else to turn to, Scott decides to accompany the strange professor, although he is sure that even he can not help him.
Some time later, a sleek Rolls Royce pulls up before Xavier’s mansion near Westchester. Sitting inside, Scott asks the professor why they have driven all the way in silence, where they are and why Xavier has brought him there. The telepath explains that he needed the entire drive to formulate his thoughts, and that he has a challenge to make to Scott as soon as they are inside. A few moments later, in the mansion’s living room, Xavier has proposed his idea to the teenager. Scott sums it up - the professor intends to form a group of mutants, each with extraordinary powers, and he is supposed to be the first member. Xavier confirms it, and says that Scott will be the nucleus around which he can build the team. He asks Scott for an answer, and he accepts the offer.
In short order, a previously designed blue and yellow costume is modified for the unique teenager. As Scott puts it on, Xavier explains that while he will remain in the background, the members of the team will appear in public and need such a disguise to hide their true identities. Scott has no objections; he only wants to know if the suit’s visor will work the way Xavier claimed. Guided by the professor, Scott begins to test the device. By turning the studs on the visors sides backward and forward, Scott can lower or heighten a shield of ruby quartz, that is able to block his eye beams. Opening his eyes with an open visor, Scott is able to shoot his beams again. As the beams now seem to emanate from one gigantic orb, Xavier picks “Cyclops” as a codename for the first of his X-Men, the X standing for extra-powers.
Cyclops hopes and prays that he will never let Xavier or his fellow mutants down. A little later, though, after he has changed back into his civilian clothes, Scott is sitting on a tree outside the mansion, reading a book. He thinks to himself that he truly believe in Xavier’s goals - to seek an end to the distrust between humans and mutants - but he still hopes that one day he will lose the deadly powers that make him a menace to everyone near him. And, the sooner, the better.