(Jean Grey School)
Karima and Jubilee are in one of the school offices going over paperwork. Karima, sat at a desk, is looking over Ana Cortes’s finances but she cannot get far, because they are in the Cayman Islands. Looking at a board on the wall, Jubilee says that Ana/Lady Deathstrike is travelling, so she must be using plastic. They might be able to trace the activity, rather than the money itself. That’s assuming Monet can’t annoy the information out of someone her end. At the same time, Monet is walking through an airport in Budapest on a mission.
As Psylocke and Storm stand on an airfield a voice calls to them. It’s Sabra and she is accompanied by a tall man dressed in a black and white superhero costume. Sabra introduces Gabriel Shepherd, a man whom Storm has met before. She says that, with all that the X-Men have been dealing, she thought they might need the extra help. Gabriel asks what their current situation is.
Back at the school, Rachel sits in a darkened room with John Sublime. A low hanging light creates a spotlight over John as Rachel interrogates him. She asks for him to go over it again but he pleads with her, as he is exhausted. She tells him she has people in the field and she needs to know everything he knows about Lady Deathstrike. He tells her she does, as he has told her twice. She asks him to explain that comment but before he can answer she interrupts him. She tells him she is looking out for her team and then asks how that puts her at fault.
John tells her that he is cooperating and she doesn’t have to bite his head off at every step. He tells her that since he met her he’s been trying to redeem himself. She scoffs at the thought of him white-knighting for her sake. She grabs the hanging light and shines it in his face. She tells him that this mess is his responsibility and that is why he is there. She asks him if this is the first time in his life he felt guilt. He ignores her and asks what it means for him and her. She tells him she doesn’t have time for it and that she doesn’t know what she was thinking.
John starts to say something else but a look of panic suddenly crosses his face and he tells Rachel that she’s back and she just became aware. Rachel asks who he means and John tells her it’s Arkea. The war is back on. Jubilee suddenly radios though and tells Rachel they have a location. She says a defunct Cortes subsidiary company licensed a jet that landed four hours ago in Dubai and Karima has confirmed Ana has cleared UAE costumes. Rachel thanks Jubilee and tells her she is relaying the information to Monet. Jubilee tells her to warn Monet that Ana had two other people with her.
In Budapest, M stands on a deserted street. She uses her telepathy to contact Rachel and says the hospital where they fought Arkea has been razed to the ground. Rachel asks her how quickly she can get to Dubai and M replies she can be there in five. Rachel assumes she means five hours and tells her that it’s no good. M corrects her and says she means five minutes and with that launches into the air and flies off.
Back at the airfield, Sabra asks what Arkea is. Psylocke says that, if you believe John Sublime, then it is a malevolent alien infection that could take over and save the world. Sabra asks if they believe him and Psylocke says they have seen Arkea up close and they do. Storm adds that Arkea can be in multiple places at once and they believe there are numerous caches of infectious material scattered around the globe, thanks to the Arkea meteor.
Sabra says they will need some serious inter-governmental finessing. Storm says they have to destroy Arkea no matter where she is and what countries they have to enter. Sabra tells them she can stop them from causing World War Three but probably just barely. Psylocke suddenly gets a telepathic message and tells Sabra and Gabriel that they are going to have their work cut out for them. Monet just engaged Lady Deathstrike in Dubai.
(Thirty Minutes Earlier)
In a skyscraper in Dubai, Reiko welcomes Lady Deathstrike, the Enchantress and Typhoid Mary. As they get into a lift, Yuriko asks if everything is ready and Reiko tells her everything is operational as of this morning. Mary asks what is operational and Reiko replies that she means the Body Shoppe. As the lift goes up, the women see a vast laboratory filled with numerous computers, as well as liquid filled chambers containing body parts. Reiko tells them the Cortes family owns seven vacant floors in the building, thanks to a shell company. They step out the lift and look around. The Enchantress comments that it’s sorcery of a different kind and Mary is amazed at it all. Reiko asks Yuriko if she has the sample she mentioned.
Yuriko hands over a briefcase to Reiko and tells her a very tedious man went to great lengths to tell her it was dangerous. It’s infectious and probably a computer virus. She doesn’t want to make a habit of taking warnings from enemies but in the name of caution she will. Reiko takes the case and tells Yuriko that she has assembled the facility herself. She has installed all the security and bioware safeguards and they are not connected to the city grid. The firewall encryption is unique on the planet and she assures them they are safe. Reiko opens the case and the Enchantress looks on and says it is a rock, yet they think it has the power of the gods. Yuriko smiles and tells her she thinks it has more. She asks Reiko if she would do the honors and so Reiko picks up the meteorite.
She starts to speak but the meteorite suddenly springs to life and pulses with green energy. A zapping sound is heard as the energy sparks from Reiko’s eyes. She drops the rock and Mary says she doesn’t think that was supposed to happen. Reiko turns to them and smiles. She says the body is a suitable host for the moment and she is Arkea. Circuitry can be seen within her now-green eyes.
Yuriko smiles back and says what Sublime said was true. Arkea reaches out her hand towards Yuriko’s face and asks her to tell her about Sublime. Yuriko backs away slightly and says she killed him. Yuriko collapses to her knees and Arkea says she doubts it very much. She holds her arms outstretched to her sides and her hands start to glow. She says Sublime lives and so do the treacherous X-Men. When Yuriko asks how she knows about the X-Men, Arkea replies they killed her once but she has returned.
All the machines in the room start whirring and Arkea says she has completed her scans. She announces they are all enhanced examples of their species and she can use them. Typhoid Mary takes objection to being used but Yuriko tells Arkea they are hers to commands. But she asks if she can make a suggestion. They may be enhanced but they can be so much more. She then asks Arkea to upgrade them and make them better and they will help her defeat the X-Men. Arkea says she believe her and tells the women to step closer.
(Mere Seconds Away)
M is flying through the sky and she uses her telepathy to ask Rachel for a location. Rachel tells her it’s an office building in the south west corner of the city. M says she is coming in at a little less than Mach 3 and she doesn’t have time to look around. She asks her to Google map it for her. Back at the school, Rachel gets Jubilee to map it for her and after a few seconds asks M if she can see it now. M tells them they should have told her it was the ugly one. She then asks for them to confirm it’s just the top seven floors. Rachel says it is but they don’t know which one Arkea is on. As M closes in on the city, she tells them not to worry, as she will take them all out.
Looking at her screens, Rachel says that she will take the top of the building off. At Mach 3, she will hit it with an incredible amount of telekinetic force. She goes to tell M to slow down but John tells her to stop, as it’s the best way of taking Arkea out. M tells Rachel she has confirmed all the floors are vacant. With that, she shields her eyes and ploughs into the building.
Arkea immediately feels someone is there as M starts to rip through the structure. She comes out the other side of the building as huge cracks tear up the skyscraper. Back at the school, the rest of the team can only look on at the force of M’s attack.
In the tower, Yuriko asks Amora if she is online. She says that the curse has been lifted and wonders what sorcery Arkea has that can defy even Odin’s power. As Mary slices at falling debris, she tells the Enchantress to go; she will get Arkea to safety. The Enchantress flies off to confront M, all the while musing on how Arkea hacked into Odin’s magic. She looks out to see M flying through the air and looping back around for another attack.
As she and Mary escape, Arkea comments that the body she is in is ill-suited for combat and she chose poorly. Mary says not to beat herself up, as it’s the X-Men. Arkea asks her to explain that comment and Mary says they are badass. Most people who go up against them lose and lose badly. Even those who might win a battle here and there eventually run out of luck. Arkea tells her that luck is the refuge of the weak and stupid.
Arkea tells her they need help and Mary says they just have to get lower into the building and they will lose them in the crowds. Arkea says she fails to understand as they do not fight to win a battle but rather a war. She says they need help but Mary tells her she already has help. She has them and she literally overrode the will of the granddaddy of all gods or whatever mythical crap he is. Arkea points out she is running from a single X-Man. Arkea opens up a computer panel on a wall and says that in her previous incarnation she accessed the internal database of the X-Men and she still retains that knowledge. She then links with the computers and says there are those that will not run from the X-Men. Specifically two of them she is interesting in locating.
Back at the school, John says it has gone on long enough. Rachel points out that M is on site and Storm and Psylocke are en-route. John says he means that Arkea has been active long enough that she has had ample time to propagate out of the building and across Dubai and possibly the world. As Karima operates the holographic computers, she says there is no sign of that yet.
Jubilee chips in and says it’s no coincidence that Arkea has sought out Lady Deathstrike and the others. In the first instance, she infiltrated their own ranks but they defeated her. John sees where she is going and adds that now Arkea is aligning herself with their enemies. Rachel asks if that means she’s worried they will defeat her again. John replies that perhaps it is but it also means that she is now painting a target on the X-Men.
In Dubai, M and the Enchantress are engaged in a physical brawl. As they smash into the building, M comments that Amora is a bit out of her element. Lady Deathstrike swipes at her with a sword and says calls her pathetic for showing up to fight alone. Amora grabs M from behind and holds her steady, whilst telling Yuriko to go and find the others. M asks if she means Arkea and then tells her she doesn’t know what trouble she’s getting into. Amora smiles and says that alls she knows is that all of Asgard will bow to her thanks to Arkea.
Amora starts to crush M and asks if she can feel that. She asks when the last time was that someone stronger than her was able to hold her in place. M telepathically tells Amora not to do it, as she is here for Arkea and Lady Deathstrike and she can walk away from it. Amora asks why she would need to, when Arkea is bonded to all of them. The Sisterhood will crush them all.
The Blackbird streaks through the night sky but it is still fifty minutes out. Psylocke tells Storm that they have multiple Arkea possessions and then telepathically asks Rachel if she is getting it. She confirms she is, as M has looped her in, but now Amora is blocking all psychic signals. M is in trouble and Amora could drop her off in any number of undesirable alternate dimensions and that would be it. She’s open to any ideas. In Dubai, M is being strangled and she says she is also open to any ideas. Amora tells her to stop her bleating and accept her time is done.
At the school, Jubilee is looking at some computer monitors. She suddenly yells that they have six more Arkea alerts in addition to the one in Dubai. Karima’s nose starts to bleed and she stutters that something is happening to her. Sublime points to a monitor and tells them he has found her. Rachel yells to track them and to find out who they have closest to each of the locations. She contacts Psylocke and says that she needs her and Storm on site in Dubai now, as she is losing M.
John asks Rachel how many X-Men there are spread out across the globe and how will she manage to protect them all. As he says that, a number of damaged and forgotten Sentinels at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean suddenly come to life and begin walking along the seabed.