Muir Island, once home to the brilliant Dr. Moira MacTaggert and her Genetic Research Center. For a time also was the headquarters to England’s premiere super team, Excalibur. Now though, a battle rages to decide the fate of a newborn mutant baby. The players - members of the mutant hero groups X-Men, X-Factor and the Xavier Institute students face off against the Marauders, the Acolytes and several former X-Men now affiliated with Mr. Sinister. Throw into the mix Cable, Bishop, and the deadly Predator X.
In one area of the Research Center, the heroic Cable stands, protecting the baby. However, on one side of him is Predator X, the remains of Vertigo dribbling out of its mouth. On the other side, another former X-Man, Bishop, who so desperately wants the baby. Bishop unleashes gunfire, Cable ducks with the baby in his arms just in time, while Bishop continues to fire at Predator X - until he has no more bullets left, and the horrid creature lunges at Bishop, beginning to chomp down on him. ‘Close one, eh, kid?’ Cable says to the baby. ‘That’s a move I call “get the hell out of the way!”’.
Outside, the myriad of mutants continue their battle against each other, everyone pushing their abilities to the limit. Nightcrawler tells Cyclops, who is firing an optical blast at Random, that it is war, that Pixie tried to save them - Cyclops interrupts his friend and tells him that it doesn’t matter. ’Only one thing matters right now’. Cyclops turns to Wolverine and orders him to take the X-Force team and find Predator X and take it down. ’You got it’ Wolverine replies, but Warpath protests. ’Are you insane?’ he asks Cyclops. ’You need us here!’. But Cyclops replies that he doesn’t, assuring Warpath that he has it covered.
Cyclops then extends his mind to his teammate and lover, the White Queen, who picks up his thoughts as he asks her to tell the students to target the Marauders. The White Queen replies that she told the students to stay back out of danger, but Cyclops explains that Sinister’s team knows the X-Men and X-Factor members inside out, as they have fought each other for years. ‘Let’s throw them something they won’t see coming’. Cyclops suggests. The White Queen complies, contacting the students, among them Surge, Mercury, Dusty, Rockslide, Anole and Pixie, who race over to confront some of the Marauders and Acolytes, including Unuscione, Frenzy, Random, Scalphunter, Sunfire and the Malice-possessed Omega Sentinel.
Shortly, the X-Force team have located Predator X, and Warpath shoves one of his knives through the creature’s eye. ‘I’ll say this about fighting monsters’ he remarks. ‘At least you don’t have to bother with the witty banter!’. But, despite the numerous deep wounds Warpath makes in Predator X, the creature heals as quick as the next wound is inflicted. Warpath tells his companions that this isn’t getting them anywhere, and as he asks if anyone has any better ideas, Predator X tosses him to the side.
Meanwhile, Cyclops has found Cable, and tells him that it is over. ‘Give me the baby’ he warns his son. Holding the baby, Cable gets up and tells Cyclops that the baby is the future - the one who will save them. ‘If she stays here, she’ll die!’ Cable exclaims. ‘You don’t know that’ Cyclops replies. ‘Yes I do!’ Cable retorts. Cable holds a weapon towards Cyclops and tells him to look around himself. ‘Everybody has a plan. An agenda. Everybody wants to stake a claim, or to take her out of the equation!’ Cable exclaims, adding that she will not last a day here. ‘Whatever you do or don’t do’.
‘If you were going to pull that trigger you’d have done it by now’ Cyclops tells his son. ‘Dad - please don’t make me -’ Cable replies, when he is interrupted by the arrival of Professor Charles Xavier, who asks Cable to do as Cyclops says. ‘Give him the baby. Let him see what he’s been fighting for’.
Nearby, in one of the old laboratories, the long-MIA Rogue lies motionless on a table, while the traitorous former X-Men Mystique and Gambit - Rogue’s foster mother and ex-lover - wait nearby. In silence, watching Rogue, who, suddenly stirs, and raises a hand. A teary-eyed Mystique sees this and gets up off the floor, ‘Rogue! Oh my God! You’re alive!’ she exclaims. Rogue sits up on the table and asks what happened to her, and where she is now.
Mystique smiles and wipes away her tears, ‘It was Destiny. My beloved Irene!’ she exclaims, before commenting on Strain 88 and the Hecatomb, announcing that Destiny saw it all and what it would take to save Rogue. ‘A terrible price, but it worked. It was all worthwhile. That was what her diaries were for. To make this happen’. ‘What price?’ Rogue asks, looking away from her mother as Mystique explains that the diaries instructed her to move everyone - Sinister, the X-Men, the Marauders, into the right places so she could do this. ‘What price, Mystique?’ Rogue demands, realizing her mother is ignoring the question.
‘The baby. I had to use -’ Mystique begins, until Rogue interrupts, ‘You killed a child?’ she asks angrily. ‘No, it - it survived your touch, somehow, it’s alive’ Mystique assures Rogue, who retorts ‘And that’s what? A happy ending?’ before slapping Mystique to the ground. Rogue tells Mystique that they cannot do this anymore. ‘Even when you try to help me, people get caught in between us, and - they get hurt. They get killed!’ Rogue looks very sullen as she pulls one of her gloves off, staring at Mystique she declares ‘This has to be the last time, Mother. It has to be stopped’.
Back in another area of the complex, Wolverine and his X-Force squad - Warpath, X23 and Hepzibah - along with Storm, Colossus and Angel are doing their best against Predator X. Wolverine complains that they are not making a dent in the creature. Hepzibah grabs something from her pocket while remarking that Warpath taught her a charming human proverb: ‘If at first you don’t draw blood - change up!’ With that, she tosses three small objects at Predator X, which explode against the creature. In return, Predator X spits some green bile at Hepzibah, knocking the alien ally of the X-Men to the ground.
Nearby, no one notices Bishop rise from where he was lying motionless on the ground, now sporting a very angry expression.
Back outside, Omega Sentinel smashes Pixie in the face, ’Did they run out of full-sized X-Men?’ she asks, remarking that the kindergarten class is all that is left. ’I hope you remembered to bring your lunch money, kiddo’ the possessed X-Woman adds as she punches Pixie again. Looming over Pixie as she falls to her knees, Omega Sentinel continues to harass her, ’And your warm, woolly mittens. And your best -’ Omega Sentinel is cut off - literally, as Pixie rises ’- soul dagger? Yeah, I brought that’ the young mutant declares, holding up her soul dagger as she stands over Omega Sentinel’s body which lies sprawled before her, some wiring flicking about.
Nearby, Strong Guy confronts Frenzy, while Surge and Anole double-team Unuscione. Exodus confronts the White Queen, ‘A plausible tactic’ he tells as she engages him in telepathic combat so that he cannot deploy his other powers. As the well-matched foes continue their fight, Exodus points out that the White Queen’s plot cuts both ways, for she cannot assume her diamond form without ending her telepathic attack. ‘And when you fall, who is there left here to stand between the X-Men and my judgment?’ he asks while blood begins to seep down his face.
‘Actually - you’ve been breathing her in for the last three minutes. Sharp grains. Silicate crystal with a cutting edge barely twenty microns wide - natures little shurikens’ the White Queen reveals as blood now gushes from Exodus’ mouth and through his pores. Exodus falls to the floor as Dust emerges from his body, and the White Queen jokes that his lungs will no doubt patch up good as new with a little prayer and fasting. Dust asks her headmistress why she taunted Exodus. ‘I took no pleasure in his pain’ the young heroine assures the White Queen. ‘Didn’t you?’ the White Queen replies? ‘Well, don’t fret. I took enough for both of us’.
Unuscione and Frenzy both land at the feet of their former Acolyte teammate, Colossus, while Cable holds a weapon towards Professor X and Cyclops, and Iceman and Sunfire go head-to-head above them. Cable remarks that he thought the Professor understood how much is at stake here. ‘I thought you believed me’ he exclaims. Xavier replies that he does, but that Cyclops is right. ‘This isn’t my choice. Or yours. The future is what’s at stake - but not just yours or mine. The future of our kind’. Xavier declares that Cyclops is the leader of the X-Men, so must speak for them all. ‘You’ve done your part and had your say’ Xavier exclaims, before telling Cable to give him the baby. Covered in blood, Cable kneels before Xavier and hands him the baby. Xavier in turn gives the wide-eyed baby to Cyclops.
Meanwhile, Rogue’s glove lies on the floor beside where Gambit is standing. ’You can’t do this!’ Mystique tells Rogue. ’You can’t do this and live with yourself!’. But standing inches away from her mother, a stern Rogue replies that she doesn’t have a choice. ’You didn’t leave me a choice!’ she snarls, clenching her fist. Tears form in Mystique’s eyes and the once-powerful mutant leader begins to cower while Rogue admits that she loves her. ’How can I not love you?’ she asks. ’I guess I’ll never forgive myself, like you say. But I’ll remember you’. Rogue remarks.
Mystique begins pleading with her daughter, who ignores the cries, merely replying that she will keep Mystique in her heart and her soul - along with everyone else. She then places her bare hand over a horror-stricken Mystique’s mouth.
At that time, Hepzibah finds herself airborne when Predator X smashes its tail into her. Warpath calls out to his lover and rushes to her side when she lands. Hepzibah replies that she is fine, merely scratched, and that she should have moved faster. Suddenly, X-23 sees Wolverine on a ledge that hangs over Predator X’s gaping mouth. X-23 calls out to Wolverine, wondering what he is doing, while the heroic X-Man remarks to Predator X ‘We can’t cut you, gut you, blind you, or hamstring you. You’re a real beauty ain’t you? Let me take a closer look!’. With that, Wolverine jumps right into the deadly jaws of Predator X.
X-23 screams out to Wolverine and rushes towards Predator X, with many of the others at her side. Predator X continues to thrash about, blood pours from its ragged jaws while the heroes continue their assault. X-23 shoves her claws into the creature ‘You won’t take him! Not you! Not you!’ she exclaims, when, suddenly, movement can be seen inside Predator X’s body, someone thrashing about - claw marks signal that it is Wolverine as the creature howls suddenly, when Wolverine shoves his deadly adamantium claws up through Predator X’s skin. Then, in a matter of moments, Wolverine emerges from Predator X’s blood entrails, the creature lies motionless, gape-jawed and with its insides covering its outside. ‘But like they say: Beauty’s only skin-deep’ Wolverine jokes.
The White Queen and Cyclops contact each other telepathically, and the White Queen gives her lover a situation report, assuring him that they are winning, that the enemy’s big guns are down and what’s left is mostly being mopped up now. ‘How about you? Have we found the baby?’ she asks. ‘I’ve got him’ Cyclops replies. ‘Her, you’ve got her’ Cable corrects his father. ‘Yes, her. I’m about to -’ Cyclops begins, when suddenly, the baby pulls from under his collar a locket which contains a photograph of Cyclops and Jean Grey. Cyclops just stares at the locket as the baby holds on to it. Cyclops then has visions of certain moments in his past:
(Shown in Cyclops’ memory - flashbacks and flash forwards)
‘When he’s cured - you’ll bring him back?’ Cyclops, with Marvel Girl at his side, asked the Askani as she took Nathan Christopher Summers. ‘No’ the Askani replied. ‘If you embrace tith path, he will be lost to you forever’.
Much later, Cyclops held a dying Phoenix in his arms, ‘Live, Scott. Live. All I ever did was die on you’ Jean gasped with her dying breath.
Then, in the future, a teenage Nathan begged Cyclops not to leave. ‘I can’t do it alone!’ he cried. ‘You’ll never be alone, son’ Cyclops replied.
The White Queen contacts Cyclops telepathically, remarking that his heart rate is spiking and he didn’t finish his sentence. ‘Should I worry?’ she asks. Cyclops replies ‘No. Everything’s fine’ and explains that he is assessing the situation. Xavier tells Cyclops that he cannot control the future. ‘You can only allow it to be born’. Cyclops looks at his former mentor and corrects him, ‘Them. Not it. There are two possible futures’. Xavier retracts his last statement, agreeing with Cyclops now, ‘Yes, there are. At least two’. ‘And this child is the key that opens both of them’.
Meanwhile, Rogue stands over Mystique’s motionless body and asks Gambit if he has nothing to say. ‘None of us pure’ Gambit replies, to which Rogue assures him that Mystique is not dead. ‘But I saw your hand!’ exclaims Gambit. Placing her glove back on, Rogue replies that she did touch Mystique - and gain her memories - but that she realized as she was doing it that she didn’t have anyone else’s memories inside her. ‘The baby washed me clean. Strain 88 - the death touch - and all the minds I’d absorbed over the years. I was just me. For about a minute. Now it’s me and her’.
Gambit grins and remarks ‘That’s wonderful’, to which Rogue exclaims that it may be, but if only she had known it sooner, she would have cut her own hand off rather than touch Mystique. Rogue pulls her cowl up and declares that she doesn’t want to see Mystique again, to be anywhere near her - except now she is in her head. ‘I gotta go someplace quiet, I gotta think’ Rogue announces. And as she walks out of the room, leaving a forlorn Gambit behind, she tells him that if he still cares for her, then not to follow her.
By now, the various members of the X-Men, X-Factor and the students all gather in around Cyclops, Cable, Xavier and the baby. Cyclops kisses the baby on her forehead, then turns to Cable, who is still kneeling, and hands the baby to his son, ‘Take her’ he exclaims, surprising Cable. ‘Take her out of here. Let her be herself. Choose for herself!’ Cyclops exclaims. ‘And not be a key, or a strategic resource or a playing piece in someone else’s game’. As Cable takes the baby, Cyclops adds ‘Give her the freedom I was never able to give you’.
Wolverine and Beast both call out to Cyclops, concerned by his actions, but Cyclops tells them to ‘Leave it’ and proclaims that this is over, before asking Cable if he needs any help getting back over to the Mainland. Cable replies that he doesn’t, explaining that he has the temporal circuitry he took from Forge. He begins to tell his father something, but Cyclops tells him to save it for a better time. ‘This isn’t goodbye’ he assures his son. ‘No, it isn’t’ Cable replies before he tells Cyclops that he will drop by as soon as he and the baby are settled to give a progress report.
Nearby, no one sees Bishop quietly pick up one of the motionless Scalphunter’s guns. ‘Thanks for everything’ Cable remarks as he and the baby begin to fade from view - ‘NO!!!!’ screams Bishop as he unleashes gunfire furiously in Cable’s direction - several bullets of which then strike into Professor Xavier’s head. Cyclops retaliates by unleashing a powerful wide-range optic beam at Bishop, sending him and a lot of building structure careening backwards.
‘The Professor! Is he -?’ Cyclops asks urgently, his voice trailing off as the Beast, Wolverine and Nightcrawler gather around Xavier, Wolverine announces that there is a head-shot which is really deep, and adds that Xavier is not breathing. The Beast asks everyone to step back so he can have a look at the Professor, and begins his examination, within moments, ‘Oh, no. Oh, Charles!’ the Beast exclaims.
By now the mutant heroes have formed a semi-circle around the fallen Xavier, with Cyclops standing directly over Xavier’s body. Iceman asks Cyclops what they do now. There is silence, until Cyclops finally replies ‘Pray’. The White Queen looks at her lover as he continues: ‘Pray that child’s birth means something. That we won’t be the last. That there’ still something good left in this world’. Cyclops looks around and adds ‘It was Xavier’s dream, wasn’t it? It began with him and it ends with him’. Then, Cyclops announces to the heroes around him ‘There are no X-Men’. Then, Xavier’s body vanishes….
Later, somewhere in some possible future. Cable emerges from the present time holding the baby. Resting on a shoreline with a lighthouse in the background. ‘Sun’s coming up, kid. We made it. Now comes the hard part…’.