'All dressed up and nowhere to go' Jubilee mutters as she holds up an invitation to the first annual Inner Circle Gala held on Krakoa. '...this is like junior-high homecoming all over again' Jubilee frowns, while wearing an outfit she had intended to wear to the Gala, before tossing the invitation aside and remarking that she can't believe Chuck and Magz even agreed to host Emma Frost's little party after that total meltdown on Polemachus. Jubilee sits down in front of several screens which show her events taking place outside on Krakoa. 'You'd think a girl who's lived ten lifetimes would be immune to surprises, butb then boom: thousands of new mutants pop out of nowhere. Let's hope our guests dressed up for the big fireworks show coming later tonight...'
Elsewhere on Krakoa, the Inner Circle Gala is underway. Krakoa's debut to the world at large – and the must-attend party of the century! Hundreds of guests are in attendance as Dazzler performs on stage. Iceman slides nearby on an ice-sled and creates a large X sculpture of ice. 'The bumper stickers say mutants have more fun, but you don't believe it until you see it!' Spider-Man remarks as he sits on a platform and observes the celebrations goinng on. Mephisto and Uatu the Watcher can be seen near each other, while Deadpool waves to someone over the Hulk's shoulder. Domino glances away from Ghost Rider to look at Deadpool, while Cyclops and Jean Grey welcome new arrivals to the party. A small Arakkii mutant hands drinks around, and gives one to Destiny, while Cable and Bishop move through the festivities, keeping watch over everyone. Silver Sable walks past Colossus and Nightcrawler, while Luke Cage can be seen talking with Hercules, while several of Hercules' fellow Avengers – Crystal, Vision, Thor and Black Knight stand nearby.
'No hard feelings at the party, eh, Chere?' Gambit remarks to Rogue, who glances sideways at Ms Marvel. 'Ah'm sorry I kicked your butt, Carol... again' Rogue says to Ms Marvel. 'I should have stayed in space' Ms Marvel sighs.
'Aww, didn't feel like getting dressed up for us, Logan?' the Hulk asks as he, Spider-Man and Ghost Rider gather around Wolverine, who is wearing jeans and a brown jacket. 'They let you in without shoes, didn't they?' Wolverine replies. Squirrel Girl goes wide-eyed as the Black Panther and Forge both rush over to Storm and ask in unison 'May I have this dance?'
Multiple Man is behind the bar, while Quicksilver stand nearby. The Fantastic Four are in attendance – Mr Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch and the Thing, who wears a metal mask over his face. Professor Xavier approaches Mr Fantastic and tells him that he had hoped to speak to him about his son, but Mr Fantastic responds by stretching out his hand and holding it up to Xavier, as if to say “Talk to the hand”.
At a nearby portal, Mojo and Spiral have arrived on Krakoa. 'You're gonna want to remember the big night, Cyclops, give me exclusive film rights and I'll cut you copies on VHS and Betamax!' Mojo exclaims, but Cyclops tells Mojo that this party is invite only, while Longshot waves at Spiral. When Mojo and Spiral have gone back through the portal, Cyclops walks over to Jean Grey, telling her that he has been looking for her all over. Jean explains that she was helping Amelia Voght at the nurse's station, as Rusty and Skids had way too much Krakoan punch. 'Are you ready?' Cyclops asks as he puts his arms around Jean. Jean looks up at Cyclops and tells him that she is as ready as she will ever be. 'It's all been leading to this, hasn't it?' she asks. 'Genosha, the Sentinels, poor Jubilee...' her voice trails off before two Madrox dupes approach them. 'Enough of the mushy stuff. You're the Bruce and Demi of Krakoa, we get it' one of the dupes begins. The other dupe reports that Dazzler is almost done with her encore, and that Cyclops and Jean are up next
A moment later, 'Ahem, if we could have your attention please' Cyclops announces as he speaks into the microphone Dazzler hands him. The partygoers all look up to Cyclops and Jean as they stand on the stage. Among them are Gatecrasher and Yap of the Tech-Net, Black Tom Cassidy, Captain Britain, Psylocke, Wonder Man, Ka-Zar, Daredevil, Bishop, Tusk, War Machine, Zaladane, Hulk, Senyaka and Dr Strange. Cyclops states that Krakoa is honored to welcome so many friendly faces for the celebration of mutant culture and progress. He remarks that part of the promise of this land iis true unity among mutants, so they felt it was appropriate for the newest team of X-Men to be decided by a vote. 'And no need for paper ballots either, Jean?' Cyclops adds. Jean telepathically connects to all of mutantkind as she tells them to focus their minds on their nomination, and she will psychically tally the vote.
'Bah, aren't there enough of those cub scouts already?' Sabretooth snarls to himself as he walks away from the Gala. He makes his way across Krakoa and enters a lab. 'I'm surprised you wanted to meet during the shindig, Sinister' Sabretooth calls out. 'Thought you enjoyed all the grills and glitter' Sabretooth adds. He sniffs the air and asks Sinister what he is up to in here, as it smells rotten. Sabretooth approaches the chair where Sinister is sitting, 'Anyway, I've been tailing Magneto and Xavier like you asked. They're definitely hiding something in the woods, I just don't know what -' Sabretooth begins as he spins the chair around, and discovers Sinister has been bound and gagged. Sinister mumbles something from behind his gag, while the Beast drops down from above and lands on Sabretooth. 'Do continue, Victor!' the Beast exclaims. The Beast reveals that he returned from his fateful demise on Polemachus with certain ambitions for Krakoa – ambitions requiring a suspension of morality the Inner Circle may not tolerate. The Beast adds that, sadly, Mr Sinister was less amenable to collaboration that one might have hoped. 'Perhaps you possess a stronger sense of self-preservation?' the Beast asks.
'Now the moment you've been waiting for. Humans and mutants, I give you...your X-MEN!' Jean Grey announces as the new X-Men are revealed: Cyclops! Jean Grey! Rogue! Polaris! Sunfire! Random! Feral!
X-Force members Darkstar and Pyro watch from nearby, while Spider-Man and his amazing friends, Firestar and Iceman, are standing together. 'Hey. They're always next year' Spider-Man jokes to Firestar, who puts her hand up to her face, embarassed. 'Oh, c'mon! Random?!' Adam-X the X-Treme suddenly complains, throwing his hands up in the air. Cyclops congratulates the newest members of the X-Men, before announcing to everyone that the election is not the only reason they took to the stage tonight. He turns to Jean, whose eyes suddenly light up, fiery energy swirls around her, and her Gala costume is transformed into her classic green and gold Phoenix costume as she utters 'Most of you know me by my birth name. But now, and forever...I AM PHOENIX!' she exclaims, holding her hands above her head, as the Phoenix energy flare glows behind her. 'No – not again' Wolverine utters as he looks on, concerned.
'Avengers assemble -' the Black Knight begins, while his teammates Sersi and the Black Widow stand with him. But Phoenix telepathically tells everyone not to be afraid, and explains that the Phoenix is a force for creation, not destruction, and that her cosmic powers are needed for mutantkind to take its next step. Phoenix suddenly gathers up several powerful mutants – Magneto, Storm, Iceman and Magma, as she remarks that Krakoa was founded as a home for all mutants, but that they recently discovered that there are far more mutants than they ever knew. Shadowcat, Captain America, the Black Panther, Grizzly, Guardian, Dazzler and Hercules look up wide-eyed as Phoenix lifts the other four mutants into space. The moon glows down upon them, as Phoenix states that they know the patience of their globe has its limits, so this next step will lead them beyond Earth.
'There is no limit to what mutants can achieve...when we work together for the future of our species' Phoenix announces, as Iceman begins to create massive sheathes of ice, which Magma turns into rock with her powers. Magneto then takes the iron from the rock to creature strutures while Storm begins to give this landscape an atmosphere, as Jean plants a Krakoan flower into the ground. 'No longer is Asteroid M a barren reminder of human-mutant convlict. Behold... mutantkind's new refuge among the stars, ASTEROID X!' Phoenix exclaims as the lush new landscape on the asteroid is revealed. The portal opens and the mutants of Arakko step onto the new home, as Storm welcomes them, and tells them that never again shall they know a conqueror's yoke.
Inside her bunker, a tear falls down Jubilee's face as she watches the proceedings on video. 'It actually worked. We might have a chance at avoiding this extinction thing after all' Jubilee utters.
Back at the Gala, Cyclops and Darkstar stand near Professor X as Nick Fury, Silver Sable and Spider-Man approach him. 'You didn't want to give us a heads-up before putting a new mutant nation in orbit?' Fury asks, unimpressed. 'It's nice to see you too, Director Fury' Xavier responds, adding thst he is relieved to learn the invitation wasn't lost in the mail. Fury declares that SHIELD has kept its distance so far, but that not everyone is happy about the moves Krakoa has been making. Suddnely, 'Summers!' Wolverine shouts as he pushes past Deadpool and Spider-Man and walks to Cyclops and punches him in the stomach. 'Did you put Jeannie up to that stunt?' Wolverine snarls. Cyclops steps backwards, clutching his stomach as he points out that Jean is her own woman. Bishop, Destiny, Dr Strange and the Thing gather around, as Wolverine suggests that Cyclops must have forgotten what happened last time that firebird got its talons in Jean. 'Maybe the company you keep has been rubbing off on you. Take it from me – you lie down with dogs, you start smelling like 'em, too!' Wolverine exclaims as he strides off, pushing past Shatterstar and Cyber.
One week later, the Inner Circle are meeting. Professor Xavier addresses the Inner Circle by telling them that Phoenix and Cyclops relinquishing their seats so they can focus on leading the X-Men. He looks over to Mystique and Omega Red and remarks that Mr Sinister has sent word that he will be away tending to private matters for some weeks, before he welcomes Sunspot and Mirage to the Inner Circle, both personally chosen by Jean and Cyclops to follow in their footsteps. Xavier then motions to his right where a mysterious older woman with a blindfold across her eyes sits, and he announces that stepping into Apocalypse's ample shoes is a mutant possessing true vision for the future – Madame Web.
Xavier then looks over to the empty seat next to the White Queen and Callisto and explains that with Archangel remaining on Polemachus, it seemed prudent that the Inner Circle retain a steadfast moral compass, an X-Man who has been alongside him since the beginning of his dream for mutant peace and prosperity – Henry McCoy the Beast. The strange new version of the Beast steps forward to take his seat and claims that was quite the introduction, and that he can only hope to embody its superlatives. 'Krakoa is, after all, a grand idea. And in the words of Victor Hugo...nothing else in the world... not all the armies...is so powerful as an idea whose time has come'.
At that moment, Sabretooth leads the transformed Forearm, Silver Samurai and Solarr towards the mysterious rockface. He tells the others that they heard McCoy back at the lab – he has got big plans for Krakoa, which means he has to know what little secret the Tin-Can Helmet Twins are hiding behind this rock. Silver Samurai begins slashing at the doors of the bunkere, while Solarr uses his powers against the door, too.
Meanwhile, on the Orchis Satellite, where Cameron Hodge, Henry Gyrich, GW Bridge, Gradyon Creed, Donald Pierce and Bolivar Trask, whose consciousness exists inside a human-sized Sentinel, are gathered. Gyrich declares that the mutants are more popular than ever, and concedes that Wolverine taking out Deathstrike in that little tournament was not a step forward. 'Don't forget teir new mutant moon. I've been pushing SHIELD to nuke it, but Fury's a sympathizer' Bridge declares. 'Oh, I know, maybe a Quad-Sentinel will do the trick, how's that for strategy?' Creed jokes. Pierce suggests they skip ahead and go for an Octo-Sentinel, suggestingthat they could hire Octavius. 'Now, there's no need for...errr....is, uhm...is anyone else having trouble...' Gyrich utters, pulling at his collar as sweat pours down his face.
The Sentinel containing Trask's consciousness stands up, and Trask, whose image appears on the computer monitor on the Sentinel's stomach, asks 'Trouble breathing, Henry? I began shutting down life-support systems 21 minutes ago'. Trask declares that time and again, Orchis has fallen short. 'Your failures cost me much of my life's work, my physical body and...Yuriko, my sweet, innocent Yuriko'. The other members of Orchis begin to collapse as Trask stands over Gyrich and asks him if he knows what these errors have taught him: 'Orchis was wrong. Mutants are superior to humans. Which means there is only one faction strong enough to prevent absolute mutant ascendency: The Machines'. Hodge wheezes as he reminds Trask that he and Pierce are both part machine. 'Save us and we'll do whatever you want! He gasps. Trask raises a hand towards Hodge and tells him that if he is only part machine, then he is still part of the problem. He then releases a blast that strikes Hodge, causing him to scream. A computer voice announcces the artificial gravity has been disabled and that all life-forms should evacuate. The motionless Creed, Gyrich, Hodge, Bridge and Pierce float upwards, while Trask strides away, declaring that future gestures and half measures have no place in existential conflict, and that it is time for an upgrade.
Back on Krakoa, Wolverine is on his motorcycle, speeding away, he decides that a man has got to know his limitations, and that seeing Jeannie fired up like that, might be time for he and Krakoa to take break. Suddenly, he picks up a familiar scent again. 'Can't be...' he tells himself, before he pulls up near a lab, where Sabretooth is standing outside. 'Scram, runt. I don't have time to play games today' Sabretooth snarls. 'Funny. I never thought of it as a game' Wolverine replies, before telling Sabretooth to move, unless he wants him to show him what a real rumble in the jungle looks like. 'You know what, be my guest. It'll be worth it to see the look on your ugly mug' Sabretooth grins. Wolverine growls as he strides past Sabretooth, and into a darkened laboratory, where a voice cries out 'Wolvie – HELP!' Wolverine looks shocked as he sees Jubilee, alive, and strapped to a table, while an unconscious Sinister hangs, chained from the ceiling, and Forearm, Solarr and the Silver Samurai stand over Jubilee, as the Dark Beast sits on some equipment and addresses his allies as the Dark Riders, and suggests they let their feisty Canadian companion inside, it seems that Jubilation here has a surprisingly long and positively fascinating life story that she has been hiding from them....