'URGH!' Remy “Gambit” LeBeau exclaims as metal tendrils wrap around his waist, pinning his arms, and then tangle around his legs. He is in the Danger Room, Professor Xavier's testing chamber, where his students are put under programmed attack to increase their skill in actual combat. 'Disable those cables quickly, Rogue. Other assaults will occur in seconds!' Ororo “Storm” Munroe instructs her teammate. 'Ah hear yuh, Storm. And you keep punching, Gambit, yuh old swamp rat! Ah got the situation under control!' Rogue calls out as she snaps the cables from the wall, while Gambit has fallen to the ground. 'Well, la-de-da, Rogue! But I got a hunch we just got started partying!' the youngest member of the X-Men, Jubilee, mutters as she stands nearby. Gambit agrees, and admits that he is grateful for this assist – embarrassing as it may be. 'Bogus. This is the Nineties, Cap'n Cajun! You testosterone types got nothing on -' Jubilee begins, before gulping as flying buzz saws are suddenly shot from the wall, straight towards her. 'Buzz off, bozos!' Jubilee exclaims as she fires her plasma fireworks at the deadly weapons, shattering them. 'I got your numbers – yikes!' Jubilee gasps as one of them strikes the wall, right next to her head, looking at it, she realizes that it could have taken her head off.
From the safety of the observation booth, Professor Charles Xavier decides that Jubilee's expression indicates that she is beginning to understand the seriousness of these sessions. He tells himself that the X-Men's counterattack strategies and reflexes must be honed to perfection, and that can only occur if the threat is real. Xavier notes that it is the leadership qualities of Storm he is most concerned with this time. 'Ceiling-mounted cannons! I will deal with this threat – by freezing as many of them as possible with arctic temperature wind!' Storm exclaims as she releases the frosty wind towards the cannons that have emerged from the ceiling. However, Storm declares that there are more than she can handle singly. Storm instructs Rogue to move quickly and take out the wall blasters, before ordering Gambit and Jubilee to disable the targeting cameras. 'Right!' Rogue replies as she smashes one of the wall blasters with her fists, while Gambit tosses a kinetically-charged card upwards, which eliminates the target, and Jubilee fires another blast of fireworks at the camera above her, while deciding that she must ask the Professor what it costs to replace this junk. Continuing to observe, Professor X decides that now the key to the exercise will draw upon Storm's deepest fear.
The X-Men look around, concerned, as the ceiling starts to lower towards them. Gambit throws another kinetically-charged card towards it, but that does not stop the ceiling from progressing. Rogue tries to push it back up, but to no avail. Jubilee then reports that the walls are closing in, too, and remarks that she hopes Storm has got something up her sleeves. 'Whoa – look at her, there's something wrong! She's starting to flip out!' Jubilee tells Gambit and Rogue, and as they look over at Storm, they see utter fear in her eyes, as she screams 'Please! Stop! Stop! It's all closing in! Crushing me!' Storm remembers being a child, in Cairo, and how she was buried alive in rubble – she couldn't move, it was hard to breathe or scream. 'HELLLLP MEEEE!' Storm shrieks as she fires a blast of lightning, while causing a huge gust of wind, and rain to pour. 'Storm! The room has stopped moving! There is no need to use the powers. Stop this!' Gambit calls out through the raging weather. Storm drops to the ground and Gambit rushes over to her. Storm covers her face with her hands, and Gambit tells her to take it easy, that she is safe and the demons from her past are dead. 'You are with us now' he assures her. 'I am never safe. Never' Storm replies. Charles enters the Danger Room and apologizes to Storm, confessing that he was not aware it would have this effect. 'Aware?' Jubilee exclaims. Tears in her eyes, Storm tells Jubilee to be silent, and remarks that the outer limits of their tolerance must be tested, so this exercise was valid, but Storm tells the Professor that she cannot lead, as her claustrophobia puts the others at risk, and now he knows.
Elsewhere in the X-Mansion, Wolverine attempts to recover from battlewounds as Jean Grey observes him. 'Ha!' Wolverine a.k.a. Logan exclaims as he performs karate moves. Hands on hips, Jean reminds Wolverine that he is supposed to be resting, as Sabretooth nearly killed him. 'Even with your healing factor...' Jean begins. 'I'll make it, Red' Wolverine replies. 'Never shoulda let -' unh – my guard down. Deserve this' Wolverine remarks, clutching his wound. Jean goes over to him and puts her hands on him, telling him not to talk like that. 'You saved Jubilee's life. That was wonderful – heroic' Jean points out. 'Yeah, I'm a regular Errol Flynn' Wolverine mutters. His eyes meet Jean's, and Wolverine tells her not to look at him this way, as he eyes are saying they are thinking about the same thing. 'Ain't we?' he asks. Their lips move closer to each other, before Jean suddenly pulls away and rushes out of Wolverine's room. 'Have to see Scott. Must go' she utters, while Wolverine watches her leave.
That evening, along Manhattan's Broadway, Scott “Cyclops” Summers and Jean walk with their arms around each other, in civilian clothing, Jean remarks that getting away from the mansion and all the pressures there – coming into the city, she loves it. Scott agrees, and adds that, if only for the good of the team, the deputy leader needs to relax once in a while. 'I know I can get intense...but the threats we face. The -' Scott begins, before Jean interrupts him, reminding him that they are off tonight. Scott apologizes, and as they pass a news stand, some newspapers catch his eye, with the headlines “Mutant Madness” and “Mutant Menace”. 'What's this?' Scott remarks, looking at the papers, he tells Jean that they can't escape it, everywhere they go, reminders of what kind of monsters they are seen as. 'We lead these double lives to safeguard humanity, and this is our thanks' Scott remarks. Jean tells Scott to lighten up, reminding him that they did break into a federal facility, after all. 'I know we had good reason, but...' Jean's voice trails off, as Scott tells her that she is right, and that she is a good friend and he needs to be with her and away from the others.
Suddenly, Jean alerts Scott to a fruit stand, where a strange-looking little man is levitating fruit. 'Leggo my goods, freak! You must be one'a them mutants!' the fruitstand seller exclaims. The mutant drops the fruit and rushes for the subway entrance. 'Call the cops! Get that mutie before he splits!' someone calls out, grabbing a baseball bat. 'Nail 'im good!' another exclaims as a few men form a mob and chase the mutant, but not before Cyclops and Jean reach him first, following the mutant down into the subway. 'You people get back! Leave this poor creature alone!' Cyclops exclaims. 'Whatta you got to say about it, four eyes? You one of 'em?' the man with the baseball bat asks. Jean asks the green-skinned mutant not to run. 'We won't let them harm you. We must spea with you' she tells him. 'Stay back from Leech' the mutant declares, before asking 'Why do you want to speak with Leech? What do you care about him? He just needs to get food for himself – for others' the forlorn mutant explains. From the dust and grime of the subway, an older woman wearing glasses and a scarf around her head emerges and tells Leech that he did fine, that he attracted them, and now they must capture the ones they sought. 'Get them! Get them!' the woman commands the mob, who suddenly attack Scott and Jean from behind.
'Cream those two! They must be muties like the other geeks!' one of them exclaims. 'They're gonna be kissing canvas before we're through with 'em!' the man with the baseball bat declares as he hits Jean. Scott and Jean fall to the ground. The woman uses her power to command the mob to run. 'These mutants will kill us all. Run! Run! Run!' she tells them, and the mob turns and leaves the subway, while Jean lies in a pool of blood. The old woman backs up against the subway wall, as another woman emerges, and calling the older woman Annalee, tells her that she did good work, for their new playmates don't appear to be injured too badly. 'I stopped the crowd attack as you wanted, Callisto' Annalee tells the other woman. Several more mutants appear, and calling them her Morlocks, Callisto instructs them to take their guests below, and to be especially careful with the male. 'The poor darlings. They have no idea what awaits them in the Tunnels' Annalee remarks. 'No idea at all' she declares as the other Morlocks take Cyclops and Jean deeper into the subway system.
Back at the X-Mansion, Wolverine is in bed and looks at a photograph of Jean and Cyclops. 'Sure hope the lovebirds are having themselves a time down in the big, bad city' he thinks to himself. Popping his claws, he shoves them through the image of Cyclops, and hopes 'Maybe they'll get mugged!'
At that moment in the tunnels below Manhattan, Scott is lying on a small bed, and slowly rouses, thinking that it is too bad they don't have a Danger Room scenario that deals with crowd control. He realizes that his glasses are gone – but his eyes are not shooting out optic blasts. You help Leech – he helps you. Leech absorb you power for a while. It come back' Leech smiles as he puts his hand on Cyclops's arm and tells him that they go now. 'Go?' Cyclops asks. Several other Morlocks start to drag Cyclops out of the room, but Cyclops declares that he is not going anywhere, and demands to know what is going on here. 'You will find out all you wish. Now keep silent' one of the larger Morlocks tells him. 'If I didn't feel so weak...' Cyclops begins, before he is dropped at the feet of Callisto, who stands on a platform, the other Morlocks standing in the chamber. 'He is here – as you ordered, mistress' one of the Morlocks tells Callisto. The woman with an eye-patch over one eye introduces herself to Cyclops, whom she calls “Pretty One”, as Callisto. She reveals that she is leader of the tribe of Morlocks, and she has gathered them, for there is strength in unity. She declares that they are outcasts, mutants too ugly, too deformed, to pass for human. 'Unlike you, we have no choice but to dwell here, away from those who fear us'.
'What do you want with me?' Cyclops asks. Callisto grins and explains that her spies have brought her tales of his bravery and cunning on the surface, and his leadership qualities are well-known to her. 'I want you to rule here by my side' she announces. 'You what?' Cyclops asks, one eye open. 'I sent Leech above—ground to draw you to me. It is my destiny to have you provide me an heir' Callisto exclaims, running her hand across Cyclops's face. 'No thanks' Cyclops replies as he tries to lean back away from Callisto. 'Sunder...the chain. Lower' Callisto orders a bulky Morlock, who lowers a chain, which Jean is strung from, hands in cuffs, and her eyes blindfolded. 'Perhaps this will help change your mind' Callisto grins. 'JEAN!' Cyclops shouts, while Jean telekinetically lowers the blindfold, Sunder places her on the ground. 'Easy. I want her unharmed' Callisto declares. 'That's not how I want you!' Jean exclaims as she unleashes a telekinetic blast at Callisto, knocking her backwards. Jean does the same to Sunder, repelling the Morlocks with her telekinesis, she also closes her eyes, concentrates on contacting Professor Xavier with her telepathy. 'Professor! This is Jean – we need you!' Jean's thoughts are projected.
'Jean – where are you? Where are -' the Professor responds telepathically at the X-Mansion, but he goes wide-eyed when he gets no response, for Jean has been cut off.
'You should keep those pretty eyes on who you fight, missy' another large Morlock exclaims as he hits Jean in the back with a metal rod. 'UNNNN!' Jean moans as she collapses. 'Don't you touch her!' Cyclops shouts, while two other Morlocks restrain him.
Back at the X-Mansion, the Professor has gathered Wolverine, Gambit, Storm and Rogue, and they observe a map, with the Professor informing the X-Men that the blinking dot is as close as he can locate them after his brief contact with Jean. He instructs them to head to Manhattan immediately. 'And I'm going for the ride, too, Charlie. Got my strength back' Wolverine declares. Charles tells Storm that he wants her to lead the group. 'Yes, Ororo, you. In the absence of the deputy leader, you are the best qualified – despite your own reservations' Professor X assures Storm. Gambit tells Storm that they are at her disposal, and proud to be so. 'Thank you, Gambit' Storm responds.
A half hour later, beneath New York's streets, 'How you doing here, Storm?' Rogue enquires. Storm assures Rogue that she will handle it. 'Wolverine, are you certain that -' Storm begins, but Wolverine tells her that he has the scent, and not to worry. 'We got a welcoming committee' Wolverine adds as several Morlocks appear ahead of the X-Men. 'On yer toes' Wolverine tells the others, but Storm points out that they have little time to waste on these, and casts a lightning bolt, blasting the Morlocks backwards. The four X-Men continue on, deeper into the tunnels. 'Who could believe these tunnels are occupied – and those bizarre creatures before...' Gambit begins, as they come to a door. 'We'll check that out later, Cajun. Heh – my tracking senses never fail. That's Jean behind this door' Wolverine reports. 'You waiting for an invitation, Furry?' Rogue asks her teammate, before Wolverine charges through the door, to find a small room, where Annalee is standing behind Jean, braiding her hair. 'Don't move a muscle, granny!' Wolverine warns the old Morlock. 'Leave me alone with my daughter. Can't you see we're busy?' Annalee replies. 'Make him go away, Mommy. He scares me' Jean replies as if she were a child.
'Of course, dear. He's as good as gone' Annalee replies, as Wolverine suddenly brushes his hands over his body, because Annalee is telling him that he is covered with scorpions. It doesn't take long though, before Wolverine pops his claws: 'Nice try, Curlers, but I've had experts playing with my hhead – and yer little parlor trick here don't rate'. Wolverine marches over to Annalee and backs her up against the wall, 'Won't tell ya what I did to those headhunters, Nanny. You don't need the bad dreams' he remarks. He warns Annalee to stay here and not to move a muscle until they are done. 'You got it?' he asks. 'I – I – I -' Annalee utters, before she drops to the ground. Logan turns to Jean, 'Nice 'n easy. We're gonna leave Granny Clampett and take a powder' he tells Jean, who gets off the bed and replies that she is coming out of it. Callisto, Sunder and other Morlocks appear, 'Well, lookee here. More company. So what freak show kicked you and yer btood out, lady?' Wolverine asks Callisto, who introduces herself and declares that she leads the Morlocks. 'I have your late leader here. Pity we were forced to kill him when he tried to escape' she announces. 'If that is so, your fate is sealed, One-Eye' Gambit warns Calllisto. 'Scott! Scott – you can't be dead! No!' Jean utters, a look of dread filling her eyes, while Storm tells her to calm herself, as Scott is beyond their help now.
Cyclops's motionless body is at Callisto's feet and she declares that she mourns his loss, but it is over, and her Morlocks will now provide safe passage to the surface. 'Stuff yer travel plans' Wolverine snarls, declaring that something doesn't smell right here. 'Maybe if I cut him a new bellybutton – we'll get some yeah – the scent was wrong. I knew you wasn't who ya seemed. This guy's a shape-changing Morlock' Wolverine points out as he pops his claws in front of Cyclops's body, only for the Morlock to drop his disguise and revert to his trie form. 'Ugly one, too. Awright, Patch, where's the real Cyclops now?' Wolverine demands. 'Sunder! Slyme! Attack!' Callisto declares. The large Sunder engages Rogue in battle, while Slyme confronts Gambit. 'Slyme chooses you to slaw, outsider. Your flesh will soon be flayed from your chalky bones!' the Morlock warns Gambit as he tosses his slime over the X-Man. 'Ahh, such a privilege, M'sieur, Slyme. Of all those here, I am your chosen victim. For only such a worthy foe would I save this special card!' Gambit replies, holding up a playing card. 'Stop slinging and start fighting, Gambit! These old boys mean business!' Rogue exclaims as she battles Sunder. 'You disappoint me, Petit. There is always room for the courtesy – even in combat, no?' Gambit tells Rogue, while Jean uses her telepathy on the shapeshifting Morlock.
Nearby, Wolverine has started to chase Callisto, deciding that his teammates have that situation under control, because he knows Callisto will have the whereabouts of Summers. He chases her through another tunnel, so far he realizes that Callisto doesn't realize he is on to her, but he is sticking close because these tunnels looks like they ain't ever going to end. 'Maybe she'll head pst lover-boy' Wolverine decides, sniffing the air, he knows he is getting close, unless those Morlocks can gace a scent, he realizes that Cyclops is behind this door he now stands in front of. Wolverine smashes the door down, and sees Cylcops, the X-Men's fearless deputy leader, sleeping like a baby. Wolverine leans over Cyclops, 'How'd we ever make it this far without ya? I could make a certain redhead real sad right now. All I'd have to...' Wolverine begins, before picking Cyclops up and carrying him over his shoulder, 'Nah, if there's one thing I can't stand – it's seeing Jeannie cry' he tells himself, while remarking to the unsconsious Cyclops that he is luck is holding out for now. 'So, he cares for the woman. Interesting' Callisto remarks to Annalee as the two listen and watch. 'That will be his undoing when I strike' Annalee smirks.
Wolverine returns to the tunnel where his teammates are still fighting the Morlocks. 'Nuts! I figured there'd just be mopping up to do when I got back – instead you're still going at it tooth and nail. What gives, Cajun?' Wolverine asks. As one of his charged cards strikes Slyme, Gambit replies that they are tenacious antagonists, but they have the best of them now. 'You got that right, Frenchie. Ol' Sunder's due for a little snooze right about now' Rogue agrees, as she knocks Sunder out. But other Morlocks surround the X-Men, and Wolverine points out that it looks like they are still outnumbered ten to one. He remarks that he has got Cyclops, so they should back out quick and split for the sunlight. Callisto and Annalee appear, and Wolverine tells them not to try anything funny, as Summers is an X-Man and is coming back with them. 'Brr, such bravery, Annalee. Show this animal what we have learned of his heart' Callisto instructs the old woman. 'You keeping me away' Annalee says to Wolverine, who demands that she stop it. 'Keeping me from what is mine!' Annalee exclaims. Wolverine drops Cyclops to the ground, 'Summers...k eeping me from what's mine! Right! You!' Wolverine exclaims as he pops his claws and holds them over Cyclops. 'Standing in my way – always' he declares, before pulling his hands back and exclaiming that he can't do this. 'Gotta fight it – no matter what I feel! Fight it!' he urges himself.
Jean rushes over to Wolverine and uses a telekinetic blast ot knock Annalee back, 'No more games, you've tormented us enough! It ends!' she tells the old woman, who hits the wall. 'Fight it...fight it' Wolverine tells himself. Callisto holds a weapon to Cyclops's neck. 'Yes! No more games! If any of you move, I will slit his throat. If he is not mine, he is no one's!' Callisto warns the X-Men. Storm approaches Callisto and tells her that they will decide this, the two of them, for the leadership of the Morlocks. 'You would challenge me one-on-one in my domain? Foolish. But I will decide the terms of the combat' Callisto grins.
Moments later, Storm and Callisto both hold staffs, and Callisto warns Storm 'Should you use your mutant powers in any way – a crack of thunder or the slightest breeze, you and your people will die'. The X-Men look on concerned, and Gambit exclaims that they will survive this. 'Yeah! Just keep your guard up and do it, gal!' Rogue calls out encouragingly. 'Careful Storm – we need you' Jean remarks. The two women begin their battle, 'You would have sought this challenge even if your comrade was not threatened! Your eyes dance with fire!' Callisto exclaims, realizing thay Storm doubts herself, that she screams loudest of all in defense of her surrogate family, because in her heart, she fears that she doesn't belong, that she will fail them and face rejection! 'And you know precisely where you belong – skirting the shadows of this pit like a half-blind sewer rodent!' Storm replies. 'Enough!' Callisto exclaims as she smacks Storm hard with the staff. 'Your punishment will be extreme – as will my delight in inflicting it!' Callisto boasts. She shoves the staff to Storm's neck, 'Nothing to say, Silverhair? No final insult as I sever your lovely head from its body?' she asks. Storm responds by punching Callisto in the face, knocking the Morlock back.
Storm lies on the ground, while Callisto gets to her feet, 'A blow struck in simple desperation. Already my furious assault takes its toll. You grow weak and winded. A beaten warrioress' Callisto declares. She grins and picks up her staff as she approaches Storm from behind, boasting that her strength, her bloodlust, increases with the thrill of the coming kill. 'Please be quick with me. And merciful' Storm requests. Callisto raises the staff overhead, 'Finally you succumb! All your doubts and fears clutching at your throat as you await the certain deathblow' she poins out. 'Nothing quite so dramatic, witch!' Storm replies as she suddenly grabs her own staff and spins around, smacking Callistor in the back of her legs, causing her to fall backwards. Storm explains that it was necessary to appear beaten, to play upon her vast ego, the better to set her up. Callisto looks up at Storm with her one eye, as Storm stands over Callisto, placing the staff to her face, she tells her to prepare for the final blow. 'What a pitiful sight – defeated before your people, disgraced by an outworlder you mocked!' Storm asks Callisto if she welcomes death to the sure abandonment and ostracism she will suffer. 'I – I do not. I wish to live' Callisto replies.
Storm declares that Callisto shall live, for an X-Man never takes a life. 'As the leader of the Morlocks, I offer you all safe haven at the dwelling of Professor Xavier, our home' Storm announces. Callisto rejects Storm's offer, explaining that this is where they belong, this is where they can escape the persecution that is the X-Men's lot each day. 'We are at peace here' she claims. Jean, Gambit, Rogue and Wolverine gather around Storm, who tells the Morlocks that it is the goal of the X-Men to win the acceptance of humanity, for all of mutantkind, and when that cherished day arrives, she will return to the Morlocks, and they will join them on the surface in celebration. 'What're you looking at, junior?' Wolverine snarls at one of the Morlocks. 'Until then, Callisto will rule in my place' Storm tells the Morlocks, before explaining that they must leave. She bids farewell to the Morlocks, while Jean goes over to Cyclops and helps him up. 'Let me give you a hand, Jean -' Wolverine begins, but Jean tells Logan that won't be necessary, as Scott is no burden for her. 'Yeah. I'll bet he isn't' Wolverine mutters.
Later, at the Graymalkin Lane home of the X-Men, Storm and Professor X meet, with Storm thanking the Professor for the chance to perform as deputy leader, but points out that the entire team almost perished through her actions. Charles tells Storm that she acquitted herself splendidly, even in those subterranean confines, she overcame her reticence and commanded, like he knew she would. He assures Storm that what she accomplished today few others he has known could approach. 'Welcome back' he adds.
And, upstairs, Wolverine. Wolverine, are you in?' Cyclops asks as he knocks on Wolverine's door. Jean points out that the door is ajar, and the enter the darkened room. Jean looks shocked as she sees that the drawers are all empty, and Logan is not here. 'He's gone! Logan's gone!' Cyclops exclaims, adding that he had a feeling this was coming, as Wolverine never was one to talk things out rationally. As the sliced photo of Cyclops and Jean lay on the bed, Jean asks 'But then again, how can anyone be rational with matters of the heart?'