2.7 million years ago
The Australopithecus screams in agony as a wolf-like beast tears him asunder. Pinned down and unable to escape he accepts his fate it looks like he’s going to be food for this creature. Then something strange happens. The giant creature on top of him is brained with a sickening PAF!. Standing above him now is someone he perceives to be a god. It is not a god, but the Eternal, Phastos, who has saved his life, the bloodied weapon in hand.
The next thing the Australopithecus can remember is being immersed in some sort of holding tank, the sound of metal striking metal reverberating in his ears. The hammering sound is coming from Phastos who is using his fancy hammer to mend some metal. The Australopithecus is still afraid, much like when the beasts were gnawing at him, but the pain he feels isn’t teeth tearing his flesh, but nanotechnology stitching up his body.
Voices also fill his mind as he learns to speak a language. It seems the gods have spared him and the two others for a purpose. The voices in his head tell him he will never be preyed upon again, and that no species will ever be preyed upon again; that he will protect evolution itself.
Off in the corner is a breastplate Phastos already fashioned together. It’s the same breastplate worn by the Evolutionaries.
Now: Utopia, fortified basement
Cyclops is stuck hanging out with the young mutants of Utopia while the fight rages on outside. After getting a breakdown of what’s going on Rockslide tries to clarify something, “So, wait… they’re monkeys?”
Before Cyclops can answer a loud THOOM! resonates in the room. Pixie looks up at the slight debris falling from the ceiling and asks what that sound was. Cyclops says something impacted the south tower, guessing it was probably Namor. Then, to answer Rockslide’s question, Cyclops says they’re not monkeys, at least not anymore.
Prodigy moves out of the way of some falling ceiling chunks and asks Cyclops why the Eternals evolved them. Cyclops says it was to save mutantkind. He explains that the Eternal, Phastos, gave them the power to watch over and defend any emerging species. Scott says the Evolutionaries believe humanity is going to destroy the remaining mutants and they want to protect them by any means necessary.
KA-THOOM, the place is rocked again. Match yells and holds up his arm to block more debris. Cyclops guesses that noise came courtesy of the Evolutionary leader who’s trying to find him. He looks over at Surge and says he’s giving her one more minute and then he’s leaving. She blocks the way saying they’re supposed to be protecting him. He tells her they can’t protect him from this.
“They’re going to kill you!” Pixie yells, telling him Miss Frost gave them strict orders. She asks why he doesn’t care about his life. He says he cares about stopping the Evolutionaries, “Thirty seconds.”
Rockslide creeps up behind Scott and asks if he thinks he can take them all on. “Yes,” he answers matter of factly, and says he’ll start with Rockslide first. “…Dammit!” he replies.
Anole wants to know what Cyclops plans to do. Though he doesn’t state his plan, Scott says that Ms. Frost is wrong to keep him secluded and if he doesn’t stop the Evolutionaries about seven billion people are going to die. “You want to be an X-Man? Then save them.”
Trance interrupts, and staring at her forearm asks if anyone else’s hair is standing on end. Scott turns his head toward her and tells her it means that Storm has had enough.
Storm and Magneto have stayed in their positions in the sky as ordered, but four Evolutionaries hovering nearby are electrocuted amidst a fury of lightning coursing through the air.
Near the ground, the lead Evolutionary takes a shot at Wolverine while assuring him they’re only trying to protect mutants. Logan rushes over to Emma and tells her the Evolutionaries are going to rip Utopia down trying to get to Slim. “I’m well aware, Logan, thank you,” she sarcastically responds. He tells her to do something then before he goes with his own plan.
Meanwhile, up in the sky, Archangel has started to lose it. In a furious rage he dives and twists through the air sending his feather knives into any Evolutionaries in his way. Iceman takes off on an ice slide to try and calm him down. After slicing through the midsection of an Evolutionary with one of his wings Warren is shocked back to his good ol’ self. The crippled suit is about to explode, but a timely ice blockade from Bobby prevents any damaging shrapnel from reaching the X-Men.
As ice fragments pelt a disgusted Emma Frost she asks Celeste for an update. She tells Ms. Frost the X-Men have engaged 25 Evolutionaries across the island, and Archangel is the only one to have penetrated their shielding, though the Evolutionaries are obviously not trying to kill them. Celeste adds that most of the Evolutionaries are hovering near Magneto and Storm.
Magneto, not one to miss the obvious, asks Storm why they’re just watching him and not attacking.
Then: New York City
The trio of Evolutionaries have made their way to Magneto’s hideout in their search for the leader of mutantkind. Having already visited with Xavier and deemed him not worthy the lead Evolutionary starts his conversation with Magneto by listing other possible candidates such as Shaw, Farouk, and “the thief”, En Sabah Nur. However, as the Evolutionary points out, each of them has their flaws.
Magneto stares at them from his makeshift throne. Flaws are for lesser beings, he remarks, and tells the Evolutionaries to continue. Magneto learns of their plan to wipe out Homo sapiens in order to safeguard the more advanced species. The only thing preventing them from acting on their agenda, the Evolutionary tells him, is their search for mutantkind’s leader who will see them through the chaos that will surely follow.
Magneto strikes a thoughtful pose and asks how this extinction event will be accomplished. The Evolutionary tells him their DNA will be targeted, and the act will be instantaneous worldwide.
The callous and brash Toad asks if they’re joking and suggests they just do it already. “Toad…” Magneto cautions before wrapping him within a spool of metal chain. He tells the now oddly contorted Toad to be silent.
Scarlet Witch looks over at her brother, concerned about the gravity of the situation. She quietly asks Pietro if this is really going to happen. Confused, Pietro says Magneto won’t really kill Toad as he really likes having a lackey around. She corrects him, asking if these beings can actually do what they say they can do.
The Evolutionary doesn’t seem to notice this side conversation as he’s more concerned with Magneto’s handling of Toad. He asks Magneto if he would attack his own kind. He then asks if he would protect humanity as Xavier chose. Mags is surprised to hear they already talked to Charles and gets up from his throne and approaches them.
Though the Evolutionary towers over Magneto by at least two feet, he stands boldly in front of him and makes a declaration. He claims Xavier’s dream is just a dream, and acknowledges humanity’s desire to rid the world of mutants no matter the cost. He confidently tells the Evolutionaries he will be mutantkind’s savior.
The Evolutionary appears satisfied and tells Magneto to gather his species and lead them. There’s only one problem with the plan, and Mastermind is quick to point it out; how is Magneto going to gather all of mutantkind? Magneto already has the solution… Cerebro. Mastermind asks what telepath they’re going to get to operate it since Xavier would never do it.
Magneto motions for his Brotherhood to get ready to go and tells them Xavier is not the only telepath on the planet. “Come, my Brotherhood… We have much to do. For the time of Homo sapiens is ending.” Wanda does not look happy.
Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters
Professor Xavier has the Cerebro helmet on in an attempt to locate the Evolutionaries. He’s getting no such luck and relates as much to Beast, who’s in the lab working on his latest project. Warren and Bobby are with him, the former still upset about the lack of fighting going on, and the latter cracking jokes as usual. When Warren asks Hank what he’s doing, Beast tells them the scanners in his lab recorded cosmic radiation coming off of the Evolutionaries and now he’s constructing a device that will disrupt the energy they’re putting out and will hopefully protect Homo sapiens from extinction. When he asks his two distracting teammates what they’re doing, Bobby offers, “Uh… moral support?”
Jean finds Scott staring out of the shattered window of the study where the X-Men had just battled the Evolutionaries. She asks if he’s ok, but he feels responsible for the possible deaths of six billion people because he couldn’t follow orders. Jean tries defending what happened, telling him he couldn’t have known what Bobby was going to do, but Cyclops says the Professor warned him, and as team leader he should have been able to stop him.
“Scott… come on. You’re only human,” Jean says before being interrupted by Quicksilver, who speedily enters the room. He callously jokes that he feels sorry for Scott if he’s “only human.” Jean responds with a telekinetic blast that knocks Pietro into the already fractured wall.
Lying amongst a clutter of books Quicksilver appears ready for retribution, but Cyclops leaves his spot by the window and stands over Magneto’s henchman. He questions Quicksilver if he can move faster than he can blink. Quicksilver says he can, but tells the two X-Men he’s not there to fight, but to tell them he and his sister don’t like what Magneto’s doing with the Evolutionaries.
Scott wants to know where they’re hiding out. Jean implores Pietro to tell them as it’s a dire situation they’re facing. Quicksilver says his sister is concerned enough to risk his life to send them a message. “A name, actually…” After the name is given Quicksilver takes off as fast as he came.
Not much later the X-Men, along with Charles, arrive at a clinic that treats extremely privileged clients for mental disorders. Charles explains they are well known for their discretion, but not as known for the abuse that goes on within the walls. “So it’s rehab for crazy rich kids,” Bobby jokes, and then asks Warren where his room is.
They continue on unabated as the Professor makes everyone believe they are doctors making their rounds. They eventually come to a padded cell, its sole occupant, wild-haired and drooling, huddled against one of the cushy walls. When the kids ask who the girl is Charles introduces them to Emma Frost, the name Quicksilver had dropped earlier.
Pity on his face, Charles admits to trying to recruit her to the school, but says her parents were not supportive. He can’t believe they would send here to this place instead. Scott says they have to get her out, and as irony would have it the roof to her room rips free and chunks of cinder begin falling toward them. Amidst the chaos, Magneto appears, hovering just above them. Accompanying him are the Evolutionaries.
All of a sudden, Emma finally remembers everything that happened that day in her past. Seeing she’s zoned out, Hellion comes to her defense and erects a telekinetic force field around the both of them. He urges Miss Frost to get going.
The lead Evolutionary says they were told some loss of life was acceptable in their task, and although they disagreed at first, he now sees how right it was. He tells those assembled to turn over Cyclops and if they do everything will stop.
Wolverine isn’t having it and leaps toward the Evolutionary’s back, his left hand clawed and ready to strike. The Evolutionary is quick, and grabs Wolvie by the throat right in midair. He then slams Logan onto the ground and asks the X-Man if one such as himself, willing to sacrifice his life for another, is ready to lead mutantkind. In typical Wolverine-fashion, he tells the Evolutionary to go to hell.
A large, metallic cylinder smashes into the Evolutionary’s back, and he immediately lets go of Wolverine. The others watch in awe as Magneto touches down nearby. Bobby jokes that it’s hard to see Magneto sometimes and not want to fight him. Frost, who now remembers the past events with the Evolutionaries, tells him he may get his chance.
Madison Jeffries is hard at work, constructing a device based on Dr. Nemesis’ specs. Nemesis explains to Dr. Rao that Cyclops told him the Evolutionaries “emit some sort of cosmic radiation… a signal that somehow targets specific strands of DNA… and destroys them.”
Rao asks if the device will stop it. Jeffries answers, saying it’ll disrupt the signal, but after that it’s all theoretical. Having completed the next segment, Jeffries asks for the genetic code, but before he can get it he’s blindsided with a punch to the jaw courtesy of Litterbug. Jeffries slumps to the ground, blood oozing from his busted lip. Dragoness is there, too, and she wants answers.
Celeste is continuing to give Ms. Frost battle updates, though the task is getting harder with so much action going on. She’s so distracted she doesn’t notice Toad, Masque and Bliss enter Cerebro. When she does, it’s too late.
Toad tells her he wants to know more about these creatures attacking Utopia. He tells her his brain hurts like he should know who they are. Bliss sticks out her monstrous tongue and despite Celeste’s protests, latches on with a poisonous bite. Amidst her screams Toad tells her he wants to know everything.