2.5 million years ago
We were there, so long ago. In the dark. Waiting. Waiting to have purpose once again. And finally, we heard the first cries of man.
A furious storm rages in the night. Along the rocky crags of a mountain, inside a cave, a pair of human babies lie wailing, their umbilical cords still attached. However, the mother of these babies isn’t quite human herself. She is of the species Australopithecus and despite the abnormality in her babies she still loves them.
The ape-like leader of this group feels just the opposite. He grabs a large stick and starts flipping out. He approaches the mother from behind and whacks her across the back of her head, a warm stream of blood jettisoning from the back of her skull. He then lifts one of the babies from its bedding, the rage still on his face.
2.5 million years later, a human called Darwin would write that at some future period. “The civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace the savage races throughout the world.” Charles Darwin was wrong. This was not man’s purpose. It wasours.
Before he can end the baby’s life, a bright, blue light fills the entire cave. The male turns to see what is happening and his look of rage is quickly replaced by one of shock.
Utopia, Scott and Emma’s room, the present
Scott Summers is fast asleep in his bed, the covers drawn down to his waist. In his dream he hears Jean calling his name, telling him to remember. Scott mutters that he can’t and Emma, who’s standing over him, reminds him of their discussion about being repressed in his sleep. She tells him he won’t make it one day into his heart attack years.
Sitting up and rubbing his head Scott says he was dreaming. Emma sarcastically thanks him for the news and asks if he knows that people have dreams within dreams. However, she finds Scott’s psychic defenses are frustratingly thorough.
Scott asks if she saw anything good. Oh the usual, accidentally killing people by looking at them, Utopia burning, everybody looking to him for salvation, she says. Really, Scott asks. No, Emma explains, saying he was flying or at least in the dream she could see. She tells him it was lovely just watching him, like the weight of the world wasn’t on his shoulders for once.
Moving straight to business Scott asks what time it is as he’s got an administrative meeting… they’re having problems with Toad again. Emma bends over toward him and runs her finger across his mouth. She tells him to relax for once and enjoy himself. Scott says he enjoys people not killing each other. “Then you should definitely stay in bed,” she tells him.
Scott wants to know what she’s talking about, but an extremely loud RUUMMBLE gives him a powerful indication. He takes off running in his boxers and implores Emma for some info. She finally submits and tells Scott a group of Neo attacked fifteen minutes ago. “What?!” Scott practically screams, and in her defense Emma says she was delegating and that he needs to try it.
Outside the walls of Utopia a battle rages on several fronts. A gigantic, stonelike Neo codenamed Pillar is being confronted by Northstar, Archangel, Storm and Magneto. A female with a bright, blue energy field, Flare, flies by the battle, Namor hot on her tail.
Back inside Utopia, Cyclops is in uniform and running through the halls. He puts out a mental summons to his telepaths and receives a reply from Celeste. She tells him Miss Frost ordered them not to communicate with him. He tells her to connect him with all team leaders immediately, “And never let me sleep!”
The first people he contacts are Storm and Archangel who tell him Namor’s been taken out by the big one, but he’s in the water. Storm says they have Neo markings, but different than the Warclan. She adds that Magneto and Northstar are engaging a second target over the island.
Cyclops moves onto Iceman who says he’d rather be fighting the Trinity. Dazzler, who’s behind him and fighting against a Neo who’s using some sort of black energy [Singularity], tells him to shut up with the jokes. Iceman relents and tells Cyke Wolverine’s engaged with another one, and that he’s on his way to the Square where something big is happening.
Wolverine is contacted next, but he’s unavailable to reply as he’s being pounded into the ground by a large, muscular Neo named Sinew. Colossus answers Cyclops instead saying the Neo are a distraction, that they have a target.
Now outside Cyclops stares out at the Square and sees what they came for. Celeste tells him the X-Men are on their way. Cyke thanks her, but believes they’re out of time. Across the way a Neo, with his eyes wrapped in cloth, holds Kavita Rao in the air by her neck. He declares they are the Guardian Clan of Neo and he wants some answers or she dies, along with the rest of the X-Men.
Dr. Nemesis, who’s standing behind Cyclops, asks the stalwart leader what the hell a Neo is. Cyke explains they’re an offshoot species of mutantkind, stronger, faster and more powerful. They’ve stayed hidden for centuries, though they fought one of their clans not long ago. Emma pipes in to say their leader seems to think they know why their people are dying.
The Neo leader, Stare, starts screaming that a year ago their numbers were decimated and most of their powers were stripped away. In addition, there haven’t been any live Neo births. However, his tirade continues, he’s heard of a mutant birth and new mutant powers manifesting around the globe. Now he asks Cyclops to tell him why.
Before answering, Cyclops orders his people to stand down. Then he explains to Stare that the same thing happened to them. He asks for Dr. Rao to be released and then offers to tell them everything the X-Men know.
Unfortunately, Wolverine missed the memo on standing down and rakes his claws across the bandaged Neo’s back. Stare lets out an anguished cry and lets go of Rao. Cyclops curses Logan for his hotheadedness and then orders Armor to retrieve Dr. Rao.
Lifting the bandages covering his eyes the Neo leader lets loose with an optic combustible burst, nailing Wolverine in the chest. He orders his people to kill all the X-Men. The battles pick up again, starting with Orb who takes down Mercury, but Cyclops tells his people to use non-lethal attacks only, that the Neo are not their enemy.
Iceman’s slide meets resistance as he charges Backhand, whose power is the ability to deflect physical attacks. He tells Iceman that Cyclops is wrong, that they are the X-Men’s enemy, because their species will replace them when they’re dead.
As Cyclops blasts away at Repulse’s force field she echoes the same sentiments. She tells Cyke he should have killed the Sapiens because they will surely try to do the same.
Emma, in diamond form, tells Celeste to get behind her. She then yells over to Scott that the Neos’ minds are too strong and can’t be shut down anytime soon. Seeing this battle as a “lose-lose” Cyclops tells the Guardian Clan to hold their fire and starts barking orders out to his troops on how to best contain the situation.
Then the unexpected happens. Cyclops drops to his knees, looks up into the sky and screams, letting loose with a devastating optic blast.
“Scott?!” Emma cries, rushing over to her boyfriend. Everyone nearby stops and watches. Bobby and Warren are concerned and ask Emma what’s happening. She tells them his mind is on fire, that he’s having some sort of seizure. She asks Scott if he can hear her. Calling Emma “Jean”, he says they’re coming. Emma tells him the Neo already came, but he cuts her off and tells her it’s not the Neo, it’s the Evolutionaries.
Hammer Industries, Munitions Factory, New Jersey the past
Cyclops regains consciousness, rubbing his head as Jean tells him they have to move. His vision’s a bit blurry, but he can see Jean reaching out her hand. She tells Scott they need him to get up. Cyclops does, and asks Marvel Girl what happened. “Happened,” she starts, “…it’s still happening.”
To Scott’s right are Iceman and Beast, to his left Marvel Girl, and up in the sky is Angel. In front of him are the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants led by the callous Magneto. He orders his people to show Xavier’s children the error of their ways.
The battle recommences with Iceman trying to put the freeze on Quicksilver. The arrogant speedster laughs at his attempt as he clotheslines the booted hero.
Beast, meanwhile, has several vipers surrounding him. He keeps telling himself it’s only an illusion, but it doesn’t help matters as he’s paralyzed in fear. He yells out for Jean to take down Mastermind.
With a telekinetic blow to the head Jean does. The weakest member of the Brotherhood hits the ground just as an incoming metal beam zooms in for the kill. Cyclops sees this and pushes Jean out of the way, the metal beam lodging itself into the pavement where she stood. Still on top of Jean, the angry Cyclops fires a blast at Magneto that he easily deflects with his force field. Scott tells the team to take down their targets and then concentrate on Magneto as they can’t let him reach the missiles.
Nearby, Angel drops in on Toad, delivering two feet to his face, telling Mortimer to stay away and that he smells. Warren then sarcastically tells Cyclops he’s thankful for him as he wouldn’t have been able to figure out what to do on his own.
Nearby, Quicksilver appears to have the advantage against Iceman. He continues to land blow after blow, joking that he can’t tell if Iceman’s inability to fight back stems from a lack of consciousness. Iceman says he’s the one who gets to make the jokes and Quicksilver agrees that beating him into a coma will be amusing. Iceman tells him he’s pretty slow for someone who’s fast. This angers Pietro who begins to argue with him. Distracted, Quicksilver is wide open to attack. Bobby takes the momentary advantage and turns him into an ice statue.
The Scarlet Witch is worried about her brother, but Magneto tells her not to be for Xavier teaches his flock not to kill. The defiant Witch tells Magneto that fighting the X-Men is wrong, that they should tell them what’s coming. Magneto tells her they need to know who they’re fighting for, they need to see.
Not far away, Marvel Girl reports to Cyclops that Toad, Quicksilver and Mastermind are all down. She exclaims that they’re winning, but Cyclops sees Magneto pulling back and thinks something’s up. Sure enough a large RMMMMMMBLLL fills the air and the X-Men meet their first Sentinel.
The large, purple-hued robot announces its detection of mutants. Referring to itself as Sentinel 221 it tells those assembled it is proceeding with extermination. The X-Men just stare, Jean retracting her “we’re winning” comment.
Cyclops orders his team to move just as the Sentinel fires up both hand repulsors. The pavement around them erupts when the Sentinel’s blasts impact. Angel wonders aloud what that thing is since it’s going after both the X-Men and Brotherhood. He stops short and watches as Magneto gathers his people onto a huge conglomeration of metal and begins his retreat. Iceman can’t believe Magneto would be running away from a metal robot.
Before going out of earshot Magneto explains his actions, that he believes the X-Men must learn that Xavier’s dream is just that, a dream. The humans they are being trained to protect have engineered the death of their entire species.
While Iceman and Angel let that sink in Jean throws up a teke shield around Cyclops and herself, just in time too. Beast, meanwhile, curls himself up into a ball hoping to avoid the deadly, flying debris. He asks Cyclops if he has a plan for their survival yet.
Cyke lets loose with an optic fury. He then orders Angel and Beast to distract the Sentinel while Iceman and Marvel Girl target its legs. The bounding Beast heads toward the giant robot amidst a flurry of optic blasts courtesy of the Sentinel. Iceman jokes that Cyclops missed the part where he mentioned surviving.
Angel, meanwhile, flies over to the nearby power lines and snaps them in half. He carries them over to the Sentinel hoping to wrap him up. Cyclops cries out for him to stop, but it’s too late. The Sentinel activates its countermeasures and creates a powerful electrical current that knocks Angel for a loop. He plummets toward the ground, but a telekinetic push softens his landing.
Cursing Warren, Cyclops charges forward, hoping to deal more damage with a closer attack. However, Professor Xavier, who’s been monitoring the battle, sends a telepathic message to withdraw from the field. Scott argues with the Professor, but he is adamant and orders Scott to withdraw immediately.
Cyclops yells they are leaving, but gives the Sentinel one last thing to remember them by. Loosening the ground in front of it with his optic might he orders Jean to give it a telekinetic push. The piles of rocks make a quick beeline toward the Sentinel’s feet. It’s enough to knock the giant mutant killer to the ground. Jean shields the ground bound team from the resulting smoke and debris.
They stare at the Sentinel, transfixed. Bobby suggests they put it out of its misery, but Cyclops says they have their orders. Iceman starts to argue, but Cyclops cuts him off, “It was an order, Iceman.”
Xavier’s School for Gifted Children, Westchester, NY
The X-Men are gathered in the Professor’s study waiting on their mentor to arrive. Warren, still heated about their retreat, tears into Cyclops over his action plan. He sarcastically asks if he read that in the Art of War. Hank readies to quote the Sun Tzu, but Warren tells him to shut it before he gets the chance.
Not one to back down Cyclops points an accusatory finger at his winged teammate and tells him they follow orders or they die. He reminds Warren that he told him to distract the robot, not engage it, and it almost cost him his life. “This is not a game!” he yells.
In wheels Professor X who agrees with Cyclops’ declaration. He tells his X-Men he read Toad’s mind and the Brotherhood knew there were three more machines on their way. He tells them if they had stayed they would have died.
Cyclops asks why he wasn’t told this in the field. The Professor says it was moot since they achieved their mission and denied Magneto his missiles. Beast jokes that Magneto really likes his missiles.
Disagreeing with Xavier’s assessment, Cyclops points out those machines are now free to hunt down and kill other mutants, ones that aren’t trained in their powers as they are. Charles says it was all a trap set by Magneto. He knew about those Sentinels, and knew he would send the X-Men to respond to his threat. Charles feels that Magneto will do whatever it takes to show Xavier his version of humanity, the monsters who only seek their destruction.
Cyclops agrees that humanity fears them, but believes everything’s changed now that they’ve created machines to hunt and kill them. Sensing where he’s going with this Jean cautions him, but Scott implores the Professor they need to act before they cease to exist.
Charles turns from his students, his head hung low. He tells Scott he had a similar conversation with Magneto once. RMMMBLEE! The mansion is rocked to the core, then a bright light fills the room. Three beings with blue-tinged helmets, black, trench-coat like bodies with bright circles adorning their chest and shoulders appear in the room.
The one in the middle tells them that Home Superior is in danger. A telepathic ready signal from Cyclops is denied by the Professor who senses no malice from these invaders. Charles introduces himself and asks what manner of being their new guests are. The middle one says they’re Evolutionaries and are there to ensure their survival.
Utopia the present
“What the bloody hell is an Evolutionary?” Emma asks her darling Cyclops who has just recovered from his memory jaunt in time. In a flurry of half sentences Cyclops says they made him forget, that Jean must have found a way. He says they need to find the Professor and Hank and to contact Reed Richards and Henry Pym immediately, that they don’t have time.
A flash of yellow light covers the area. The blue-tinged Evolutionary is joined by half a dozen yellow-tinged ones. The blue one tells Cyclops he lied.
Not missing a beat Emma asks Scott if there’s something he’d like to tell her. He ignores her, telling his people not to make any sudden moves, even calling out Logan personally and telling him to do nothing. Logan asks what the hell is going on, but Scott just screams back at him to do as he’s told.
Stare doesn’t care how many there are. He charges the Evolutionaries as Bobby jokes they need a calendar to start scheduling when Utopia is going to get attacked. Warren cautions Iceman that he can feel them in his wings.
Scott tells the Neo the Evolutionaries are not a threat. It doesn’t matter to Stare. He tells the Evolutionaries they are nothing compared to the Neo and that they will die alongside the mutants.
The Evolutionary leader remains calm, idling in the air, while Stare makes his threats. He tells Stare the Neo species has ceased to evolve and they now present a danger to Homo Superior. “We will not allow that,” the Evolutionary finishes.
Stare spontaneously explodes from the chest out. The X-Men watch in horror as most of the Neos’ flesh begins to bubble and explode. Orb and Flare are the only ones who perish differently, the former sliced in half across the torso and the latter shattering into pieces.
As the blood of Stare pools on the ground, Cyclops drops to his knees in despair. Iceman wants to know, for the love of god, what happened. “The Neo are dead,” he replies.
Southeast Asia, Neo Spiritclan
A hut, along with a nearby shed, jeep and tree are filled with pock holes. A fire burns on the ground.
All of them, everywhere.
Nemesis asks how that’s possible. Standing next to him is Mercury who says she’s going to throw up.
The Arctic, Neo Mindclan
A large enclave is on fire, the front window of a nearby helicopter is splattered with blood.
The entire species.
Now Iceman wants to know what the Evolutionaries want. Cyclops explains they want to protect mutantkind. They’re there to ensure their survival.
Hammer Industries, Munitions Factory, New Jersey the past
A similar scene played out in the past, Scott asking the Evolutionaries how they intended to “ensure their survival.” The answer, then and now, is the same, “Through the extinction of the species called Home Sapien.”
2.5 million years ago
We watch over them.
The cave where the human children were born is filled with the echoes of their crying.
We protect them, until they can protect themselves.
The babies are levitating in the middle of the cave, the Evolutionaries staring at them, transfixed.
For Home Sapien to live… Australopithecus Sediba had to die. This is our purpose.