In an unknown area, the mutant named Cyclops is hanging upside down on a gnarled tree, with his optic blasts pouring from his eyes. Cyclops is dressed in a torn pair of shorts and nothing else. Surrounding him is a desolate wasteland, save for his two teammates, Storm and Iceman. Storm appears from behind a nearby tree with her battle-uniform torn into shreds. Iceman lies underneath tons of rubble, seeming to be melting, in his ice-form. Ororo cries out, as she sees Scott hanging in the tree. Inching closer to him, she realizes that her own body is far worse than it appears. She knows that a rib has been broken and her ankle has been twisted, yet she cannot recall how she or the others came to be in the predicament they are in.
Ororo comes closer to Scott, using her wind powers to carry her. She calls out to him and he (muttering) responds, by saying her name. She commands him to keep his eyes closed, while she uses the winds to free him from the gnarled tree and float him to the ground below. He asks about his visor and she informs him that it is nowhere to be seen. Scott states the obvious: that without his visor he is essentially blind. Ororo helps Scott to his feet and she tells him that Iceman is there with them too. She also informs him that it seems the same person that assailed them assaulted Bobby too.
Just then Wolverine appears above them and wonders aloud why he was kidnapped with them, since he wasn’t even at the Xavier Institute with the rest of them. Ororo informs the others that, since they three cannot remember, maybe their teammate, Iceman, remembers more. Ororo walks over to Bobby and removes the debris that covers his body. Suddenly, her pupil and iris-absent eyes grow wide as she whispers, “By the bright lady!” Storm throws her body over Bobby’s and tells the worried Scott Summers that Iceman’s torso seems to have been shattered, as a hole has been punctured straight through his chest. Wolverine informs the others that, as impossible as it may sound, Drake is still alive, which means whomever their attacker was wants them all alive, for now!
Xavier lies in his bed in Westchester and he can sense his X-Men’s fears from wherever they are. Thinking about their safety, he realizes that he must put aside his concern for them for the moment, as he has problems of his own. Above his bed, the mysterious Aborigine named Gateway prepares to teleport Xavier away. Xavier tells Gateway that, since he has been an ally to the X-Men in the past, he will give him the chance to stop, if he does not, though, he will be forced to take action. Xavier receives no answer.
Just then, Bishop enters the room, in only his shorts but carrying two very large handguns. Bishop informs Xavier of the disappearance of certain residents of the mansion and the intruder alarms becoming activated. Bishop maneuvers himself in-between Gateway and Xavier; he orders Gateway to stand down. Xavier informs Bishop that, while he appreciates his zeal, if Gateway has already teleported the others then the two of them might need to allow Gateway to teleport them, as well, to the side of their allies.
Suddenly, Phoenix appears in the chambers of Xavier’s and she quickly dispatches Gateway with the force of her telekinetics. Bishop wonders aloud about the curiosity of how the man named Gateway could be defeated when he could have easily teleported them all before they even knew he was there. Bishop leans over the Aborigine’s body and wonders why Gateway would have wanted to be stopped.
Cyclops tries to calm Bobby down, as he has apparently only recently awakened to realize half of his chest is gone. Bobby asks Scott why he should calm down when he does not even know how his chest was so obliterated? Scott tells Bobby that he should just be grateful that he is still alive. He goes on to say that, Storm and Wolverine are looking for answers from the outside, so he should try to rest until they get back. Thinking to himself, Scott wanders to himself if he can keep a calm appearance when he truly is worried about his ally Bobby’s condition, also why this place feels so familiar?
Wolverine walks by the trees surrounding the area and wonders aloud why he can see life all around him, but all his senses are crying out that everything around him is dead. Storm agrees with Logan, telling him that even though the weather responds to her commands it is still otherwise. Logan tells her that, since the adamantium was ripped from his body, his senses have been heightened, which means somebody is trying very hard to keep hidden. With that said, Wolverine lunges into the air seeming to attack Ororo. He is not, though, as he informs her that there is an invisible enemy following them; she apologizes for doubting him. The two of them attack this unseen assailant with all the power they can muster.
Suddenly, the attacker is revealed, as a gargantuan appearing mutant looms above them. He calls himself Post and tells Logan that with it being only fourteen seconds into the fight it is presumptuous to declare a victor yet. Post states that Onslaught is impressed. With that said, Storm tells Logan that this being must be the same mutant that attacked Juggernaut, only days ago. Post tells her that she misunderstood him, he is only an extension of his creator, Onslaught, and he is there to transmit the results of his fight to him. Post then takes the two X-Men and hurls them together, making them crash to the ground below. Suddenly, one of Posts cameras states that the cloaking device is operational. Logan asks if Ororo is okay? She tells him that she is, and then Logan states that they are ready for round two. Standing to their feet, they see that Post has disappeared. Logan tells her that no matter if he finds them or they find him the test won’t be over till Post is found.
In the War Room of the Xavier Institute, past and present X-Men discuss how they might retrieve their missing allies. Banshee is on the video display, telling Hank and Warren about Gateway’s recent abduction of Chamber. He goes on to say that, minutes later, Gateway deposited Starsmore back onto their grounds without a word. Hank, using his feet to control the other video screens tells Banshee that if they hear any more news they will get back in touch with him. Warren asks Hank if he has any clues on why Gateway would only take four of the X-Men, deposit Chamber and try to steal away Xavier?
In the living area of the X-Men, Xavier, Jean, Samuel Guthrie, Remy and Bishop all watch, as Gateway hovers near the fireplace in a meditating appearance. Xavier informs the others that neither his nor Jean’s combined powers are enough to penetrate the mental guards that surround Gateway’s mind. Bishop states that they may be to accommodating to Gateway, if given the appropriate time he and Gambit may be able to convince him to talk. Suddenly, a violent psionic attack is perpetrated on the X-Men, which causes them to react instinctively, by charging their powers. Xavier does not have to warn them, though, because each one of them know that their powers are useless against a foe made of pure psionic energy.
Iceman uses his ice-sled to take him and Cyclops to the commotion that was apparent throughout the area. Cyclops asks Bobby if he is doing okay. Iceman answers that he has never been better, but Scott knows different, because he hears the strain in his friend’s voice. Iceman tells Cyclops that he has spotted Logan and Storm, but they look they were in a fight they did not win. Logan informs the two allies, as they land on the ground, that his name was Post, who stated that he was an “extension” of Onslaught’s power. Cyclops states, “perfect.” With that said, an unseen guest thinks to himself how inappropriate Scott’s response was to Logan’s statement. Logan unsheathes his claws and points them towards Cyclops; he tells Scott that the four of them only have one leg to stand on between themselves, but he can somehow be happy about their situation.
Scott tells Logan to think about their situation for a second and realize that they have trained for just this eventuality, an unknown assailant with no discernable face. Iceman, who is held up by Storm, tells Scott that he sees what he is saying, because without meaning he gave them something to fight. Logan tells Iceman and Scott that the two of them are delirious. Scott tells them that, if his memory serves him right, they have never failed a test. The imprint of Post is seen behind Scott. Post thinks to himself that he might have miscalculated and he commands his weapons systems to come online.
Scott starts walking towards a nearby tree; Logan grasps his arm and asks if he has flipped his lid? Scott slaps Logan away from him and tells him to unhand him; he also calls Logan a filthy animal. Ororo races to Scott’s side and places his head in a headlock over top a bed of sharp rocks. Iceman will not allow Scott to be injured by Ororo and he transforms his hands into spikes, holding them to her head. Post, still in camouflage, commands his weapon systems to go into delay mode, because it seems the X-Men have become delirious and may just kill themselves. Just then, Scott, Ororo, and Bobby turn their attention to the camouflaged Post and the barrage him with a hail of their own powers. Iceman states aloud that he almost feels sorry for the thug, because he did not even know what hit him. Logan grips the ground beneath them, telling them that he did know, because it was a mutant train with a big X on it.
Post is pinned against a tree by Iceman’s powers and he tells them that their ruse was very convincing. Bobby wanders if they might have killed Post. Logan tells him that, even though Post may have seemed weak, he probably is just faking. Scott commands Iceman to encase him in a wall of ice, but it is too late, as Post awakens and uses Bobby’s powers against him by hurling flames at him. Storm quickly creates a blizzard to douse the fire that engulfs Bobby and Post tells her that it seems only yesterday she was a pickpocket in Cairo, where now she is willing to sacrifice her own life for others. Throwing a giant icicle that he pulls from his body, he is able to knock the weather witch from the air. As he hurls the projectile, he tells her that he will mourn her passing. Cyclops blasts the behemoth and Logan uses his claws to try to cut through his armor. While doing so, Scott tells Post that her passing will not be for years to come. Logan finishes by saying that he will only be a bad memory by then.
Hank bounces into Xavier’s room, where the remaining X-Men stand vigilant over the silent Aborigine named Gateway. Hank informs them that he has concluded that their teammates are being tested by Onslaught. Sam tries to speak up that they already found that truth but Xavier, who asks Hank to go on with what he knows, silences him. Hank tells them that three of the captives are energy manipulators, while one (Logan) was thrown is as a tactile and sensory response. Hank tells them that the most fascinating thing is that, if Onslaught is as powerful as they all believe, he is then it would be child’s play for him to walk into the mansion and destroy them all before they knew what happened. Bishop states that he could have taken them to a place that has something to do with the source of his power. Nearby, with that said, a smile crosses the face of Gateway.
Meanwhile, at Onslaught’s source of power, Post holds Cyclops and Wolverine inches from one another. He tells them that the two of them have always fascinated him, due to them being polar opposites of one another. Post wonders how it would be if he used his strength to force Scott into opening his eyes and obliterating his comrade Logan. He wonders also that, at the same time, he would force Logan into releasing his claws into the head of Cyclops. Scott tells Post that it sounds like he thinks he knows them very well. Post informs him that he knows everything about the X-Men and he knows how to push them to their limits. Logan, grimacing, tells Post that the X-Men do not have limits.
Ororo and Iceman watch the fight as it continues. Ororo asks aloud if Iceman felt the same tremor she felt. He tells her that he did not. Just then, the ground erupts and Post is forced to release his hold on the two mutants. Post is visibly worried about the eruption and worried aloud that he should be in complete control of their environment. Storm commands Bobby to start lashing out at everything around them. Ororo attacks a nearby tree, and Post retaliates with his full armament of weapons. He tells her that every attack on the earth hurts him, but make no mistake she cannot escape her destiny. Screaming in pain, Post falls to the ground and tells Iceman that he gives him and A for effort, because of his tactic of freezing the ground beneath the surface. Post tells Bobby that he will regret killing him. With that said, Bobby tries to joke by telling him not to kill him then. In Bobby’s mind, he thinks that he used the last bit of his strength in that stunt, so he will be open to Post’s killing blow.
Back at the Mansion, Hank tells the others that Onslaught knew that having even a low-level telepath like Chamber at his source might prove to be a mistake, so he chose to take non-telepaths instead. With that said, Hank turns his attention to the apparition of Onslaught that is before them. He asks aloud if the psionic will at least give him a hint if he is cold or hot. Xavier thinks to himself of how much he hopes that Scott and the others have been able to piece together as much or more than they have.
Iceman and Storm are trying their hardest to distract Post. He tells them that he will kill them all before he allows his own kind to destroy him. Wolverine pulls Cyclops close to the ground and claws his way close to where Post is battling the others. Logan tells Scott that he thinks it will only take one good shot from his optic blast, up close, to dispatch Post. Logan leaps into the air and slashes a gouge in the armor of Post, just before the mutant throws Logan away from him. Logan screams to Scott that he is clear to fire at Post. Cyclops wastes no time and clutches close to the gouge in Post’s armor, firing his optic blast. Xavier thinks to himself of how he can sense the primal emotions from his teammates and how for some reason he is able to now know that his allies are going to be returning home.
Jean screams Scott’s name, as he appears hovering above them, in Xavier’s chambers. Scott clutches his eyes shut and happily states that they are finally home. Logan tells Scott that, when he blasted Post that last time, they must have completed their test and was transported home. Cannonball asks who Post was and where they had been? Logan tells him that Post was someone who knew a lot about them and was looking to learn more over their dead bodies.
Suddenly the psionic energy speaks out and tells Gateway that he thought these beings could hold the last line of defense against the coming. The psionic tells Gateway that he was wrong; even though they did win, it was minimal at best. The psionic warns that Post was the weakest of all Onslaught’s emissaries and the coming of Onslaught will be their devastation. Xavier watches the entity leave and realizes that it is too late to track it. Xavier looks at his X-Men and he cannot help but think that, at the end of the day, all their lives will be changed, forever!