A demonic-looked, horned woman grins and thinks to herself that, once upon a time, she was known by a different name – Madelyne Pryor – and decides that was such a weak, human name, which leaves a rancid taste on the tongue. So, now, she is the Goblin Queen, and she does bad things and likes it – and today, the very bad thing she is going – is pitting X-Man against X-Man.
Magneto, Lorna “Polaris” Dane, the robot Danger and the time-displaced Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman have already been taken out, and lie motionless in a heap, while hideous demons move about nearby, and the time-displaced Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast has been transformed into a large furry white creature and leaps towards his shocked teammates Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops and Jean Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl, jaw open wide, ready to strike them with his savage-looking teeth.
This demonic battle is taking place within the time-displaced X-Men's mansion in Madripoor. The Goblin Queen thinks that this is a fun gig if you can get it – but it is a very competitive field.
'I'm sorry about this, Hank!' Cyclops calls out as he fires an optic blast which slams into the Beast, and knocks him backwards. Marvel Girl uses her telekinesis to push back several lesser demons that rush towards her, while, nearby, the Goblin Queen calls out to her Hex-Men – alternate reality versions of Storm, Pixie, Nightcrawler and Colossus and orders them to kill the X-Men, but to save as much of their blood as they can, as she plans on repainting the mansion's master suite.
Colossus wears demonic armor and carries a sword, while Pixie's damaged wings carry her towards the young X-Men. Bloodstorm hovers in the air, back from the others, while the demon-version of Nightcrawler remains at the Goblin Queen's side. 'But – really – you brought it on yourself!' Cyclops tells the Beast as he fires another optic blast at him. 'Scott!' Jean exclaims as the alternate Colossus moves closer to them, slicing his sword through one of the demons. 'I can't slow Edgar Rice Burroughs Colossus down!' Marvel Girl alerts Cyclops, before quickly leaping backwards as Colossus brings his sword down towards her. Cyclops fires an optic blast, at Colossus, and as a flaming skull appears on Colossus' shoulder, he boasts that her has carved a path through the firtes of Hell, and that Cyclops' paltry attack barely tickles. Colossus uses the sword to deflect the optic blast, which slams into Cyclops and knocks him over. Colossus raises the sword overhead, and as he prepares to bring it down, Cyclops calls out 'Colossus? That's you, right? Why are you attacking us?'
His name is Piotr Rasputin, and at one time ventured into Limbo to rescue his sister, Illyana. In his journeys, he faced terrible ordeals – but none so crushing as the discovery that his sweet Illyana was already dead, Belasco looming over her. In the years since, he has killed many demons – but the demons of his own guilt and rage will not be conquered.
'Piotr! What are you doing? Please – don't!' calls out Illyana Rasputin aas she suddenly appears beside Cyclops. 'Snowflake? It cannot be!' the confused Colossus wonders, dropping his sword, seemingly unaware that Marvel Girl is only projecting an image of Illyana. 'Thanks for the save, Jean!' Scott calls out as he gets up to run, but Bloodstorm swoops in: 'Do you think you are saved? Rest assured – you are not!' Bloodstorm exclaims as she grabs Cyclops and pulls him into the air. 'Who -' Scott utters.
Bloodstorm was once known as Ororo, a streetwise child thief who chose the wrong pocket to pick – a vampire! Now, she is so much more than a mutant – more than human.
'Hey! Watch out!' Cyclops calls out as he grabs Bloodstorm's arm when she tries to crane her neck forward to bite him, hissing as she doe so, she is unsuccessful as Cyclops fires an optic blast a close range, which causes Bloodstorm to drop him, and he plunges to the ground, 'I've got you, Slim!' Jean calls out as she telekinetically lowers Scott to safety. Scott's thoughts are picked up by Jean thanks to their newly found psychic connection, and he thanks her, before warning her that she has incoming, and Jean coughs as a pink vapor is thrown towards her by Pixie.
Megan Gwynn was going to be one of the X-Men – and then the second Inferno erupted, and her life literally went to hell, as she was captured, tortured, corrupted and possessed. 'But... you know... lemonade from lemons'.
'N-no! Get back! Get away from me!' Marvel Girl pleads as she sees the Dark Phoenix looming over her. 'Whatever you're seeing, Jean... it's not real!' Cyclops calls out as he fires an optic blast at Pixie, and tells Jean to focus on their psychic rapport, to see through his eyes. Jean appears calms down, but as she turns, she sees a large blue Bamf Demon – Nightcrawler – moving towards her, roaring. 'Is that real?' Jean asks.
Nightcrawler was overwhelmed by the forces of Limbo, and the Darkchild watched in glee as Nightcrawler prayed not to let this happen to him, but his prayers went unanswered as he was transformed into the Bamf Demon.
Marvel Girl informs Cyclops that she is trying to send out a psychic distress signal, but that somebody is blocking her – she thinks it is the Goblin Queen. She manages to throw up a telekinetic shield between her and Cyclops and the Bamf Demon. 'I see her!' Scott replies, and remarks that if he breaks the Goblin Queen's concentration, it might give Jean a window – but he doesn't have a clear shot. 'You thinking what I'm thinking?' Jean asks. 'Of course I am' Scott responds. 'Lightshow special!' he jokes as he fires an optic blast which darts about the large demons. 'This better work. Creating TK “bumpers” is one thing. Doing it while holding a dragon at bay is an altogether different challenge!' Jean adds as she continues to maintain the barrier between herself and the Bamf Demon.
The “lightshow special” optic blast darts past Colossus, while the Beast has gathered himself and makes another leap towards Marve Girl and Cyclops – but suddenly, the “lightshow special” optic blast strikes the Goblin Queen on her face. 'Ahh -' she calls out. 'That's it! Hold on, Scott. We're out of here!' Jean smiles, as an instant later, they vanish in a BAMF.
Moments later, there is another BAMF as Cyclops and Marvel Girl re-appear in an alleyway within Madripoor, courtesy of the Bamf called Pickles. 'Pickles' Scott remarks. 'That's right' Jean tells him, adding that Pickles has been hanging out with her, so she just gave him a psychic whistle and he bamfed them out of there. 'He forgives you for chasing him off, by the way' Jean adds, while Pickles, sitting on Jean's shoulder, leers at Cyclops. 'Yeah. That's great' Scott mutters, turning away from Jean, who calls out to him. 'What do we do now?' she asks, pointing out that Bobby, Magneto and Polaris are still at the mansion. 'And Hank -' Scott begins, before Jean announces that she will try to find Jimmy and Warren, but point out that without Cerebro, they might be out of range.
Indeed, in a bunker deep beneath Arrow Ridge, Colorado, the reality-lost Jimmy Hudson, Sheriff Kira Lee and the time-displaced Warren Worthington a.k.a. Angel make their way down a staircase, and Kira reveals to them that a couple of decades ago, this was the home to some sort of doomsday cult that took up in the area, and the sheriff at the time – along with the ATF – ran them off. Kira adds that she remembers hearing about them on the news, and that the things that happened here were awful. 'And you think this is where I came from?' Jimmy asks. 'I think that if some freaky mad scientist wanted a secluded place to perform her experiments, this bunker might look like prime real estate' Kira replies.
Angel tells Kira that it means a lot that she is helping them like this. 'Maybe afterwards, you and I could -' Angel begins, before Sheriff Lee turns back to him and asks Angel to call her Sheriff. 'Even better' Warren grins. Jimmy looks up and notices a red glowing light. 'Lights are on. Either motion-activated...or someone knows we're here' Jimmy points out. Suddenly, a voice can be heard over a communications system, 'Ah, yes! The prodigal son comes home!' As the trio enter another chamber within the bunker, a projected image of Claudine Renko a.k.a. Miss Sinister greets them. 'I suspected you'd return to the “scene of the crime” sooner or later' Miss Sinister smiles. Makeshift lab stations and several large stasis tanks are strewn about the room, and Miss Sinister claims that she is quite busy and has little time to entertain guests these days – and even less time to answer questions.
Various other holographic projections of Miss Sinister materialize through the chamber, as Jimmy, Warren and Kira examine their surroundings. Miss Sinister reports that this is a pre-recorded message, triggered when a person of Jimmy's genetic make-up approached. 'And since there are so few in the world with your particular genomic signature, Jimmy, consider this rarified air' Miss Sinister declares, before asking Jimmy if he knows what makes the mutants of his world so special, and tells him that it really is quite fascinating, and that it took her some time to figure out the puzzle, but when she did, she was positively giddy. 'The mutants on your world are man-made...the result of pseudo-scientfic tampering that just makes a girl's heart all pittery-pattery!' Miss Sinister reveals.
Suddenly, Angel presses a button on a console, and as the projections of Miss Sinister fade away, her recording tells Jimmy that he is more than a weapon, which is why she was so willing to let him go – she has already harvested everything she needs from him – the seeds of the Mothervine have been planted and it is growing. The communication ends, and Jimmy asks what happened, where she went. Angel tells Jimmy that she was just messing with his head – it is what people like her do, so he put her on pause. 'With the push of a button, I just defeated Miss Sinister all by myself' Warren jokes. Kira shines her torch into the chamber, and announces that she doesn't think they are alone in here.
'That Sinister Lady left us a present' Kira declares, shinning her torch to where a large, flabby man is connected to several stasis tubes. Jimmy asks Angel who the fat man is – another other-world mutant, like him? But Angel reveals that he knows him – it is the Blob. Kira asks what he is doing here, and points out that it looks like he has been experimented on. 'If only someone hadn't stopped Miss Sinister's message, we might know for sure' Jimmy snaps. 'Hey! I was trying to help. You can't listen to her brand of babble. It'll just mess you up more than -' Angel begins, before Jimmy pops his claws. 'Whoa! Jimmy! Let's not do anything rash here. I'm sorry I stopped the playback' Angel calls out. 'What? What is it? What's wrong with you two?' he asks Jimmy and Sheriff Lee, unaware that the Blob has risen and looms over him.
'Scott, do you want to tell me what's wrong?' Marvel Girl asks back in Madripoor, as she and Cyclops enter a restaurant. 'Our friends are being held prisoner by magical freaks. What else do you need to know, Jean?' Scott replies. 'That's not what I'm talking about. You've barely said a word to me since we teleported away from the mansion' Jean points out.
Cyclops looks at Pickles and asks Jean how come he didn't know about Pickles, and adds that, right now, their brains are so tangled up, they know what each other is thinking pretty much all the time. They look at several locals in the restaurant as Cyclops pooints out that he didn't know about Pickles until after he teleported them to safety. 'It makes me wonder what else you're hiding from me' Scott remarks Jean tells Scott that she is not trying to hide anything from him, and explains that they need to understand how to partition their thoughts, otherwise, they are going to be two people with one brain.
'I get it. I just thought you might have let me in on what you were doing' Cyclops replies, when suddenly, a voice calls out 'What did I tell you about just dropping my unannounced?' Cyclops and Jean turn to see the Raksha, Madripoor's mutant protectors, enter. They are Gazing Nightshade, Whisper Doll, Hexadecimal and Norio, who tells Cyclops and Marvel Girl that they consider them to be friends, but that they should set some boundaries. 'Our customers expect a certain amount of privacy and protection when they come here' he explains. 'Sorry. Her idea' Cyclops smirks, motioning to Marvel Girl. Marvel Girl approaches Norio and tells him that they need his help. 'Why else would you be paying us a visit? What is it that you need?' Norio asks. Marvel Girl explains that they have a bit of a pest problem and asks 'How would you guys like to help us kick a bunch of demons out of our house?'
Back at the mansion, Magneto, Polaris, Iceman and Danger are now trapped in piles of demonic dirt, and Magneto calls out 'Whatever plan you're hatching, Madelyne... you have made a grave mistake attacking us in our home' to which the Goblin Queen tells Magneto that they both know whether one of them has a home – at least, not a real one. 'And don't make it sound like I'm unwelcome' she adds. The Goblin Queen smirks as she announces that she is an invited guest, that her connections to trhe arcane have diminished since she arrived on this world, but that the Beast has been a perfect conduit for her spellcraft. The Goblin Queen moves closer to Magneto and tells him that before he tries to drop a building on her, or whatever, she wants to warn him that he and others are trapped in volcanic spires of Rexigarth, so if they try to use their powers, they will flood every pore with magma.
Standing in a flaming pentagram, the Goblin Queen reveals that the volcanic spires of Rexigarth also have the bonus of feeding off of their feelings of hurt and loss – the betrayal, further fueling her own magic. The Goblin Queen adds that she will need every drop of pain she can muster for a summoning of this scale. 'What are you up to, you psychotic witch? What are you summoning?' Polaris demands. 'I'll tell you since you asked so sweetly, Polaris' the Goblin Queen scowls. She extends her arms, and the transformed Beast crouches at her side within the pentagram. The Goblin Queen announces that throughout time and space the Goblin Queen has existed on many worlds and on many planes of reality – sometimes she is the conqueror, and other times she is the serpent in the garden, but in all cases she has found herself isolated. 'But my sisters need not be alone. I need not be alone' the Goblin Queen declares.
The Goblin Queen continues, revealing that with Henry's assistance, she will call the Goblin Queens to her side, and together – who knows what terrible feats of magic they will be able t compose. 'Call it a cure for loneliness' the Goblin Queen smirks. 'That... is the most pathetic thing I've ever heard. And that's coming from a guy who tried calling his boyfriend 104 times in a row just yesterday!' Iceman exclaims, before calling out to the Beast and telling him that he can't be buying into this let-me-summon-alternate-universe-demon-chicks-so-I-don't-cry-into-my-pillow-at-night nonsense. 'Why are you helping her?' Bobby asks. The Beast doesn't respond, but the Goblin Queen puts a hand on his shoulder and tells Iceman that he makes it sound like Henry has a choice. 'Maybe once. But those days are long gone. Henry McCoy is my creature now' the Goblin Queen exclaims, while Bloodstorn watches her intently.
Bloodstorm decides that the plight of the Beast – tethered to a cruel master – is so familiar to her. The Beast thinks to himself that he is here because he betrayed his friends, and recalls practising magic while the Goblin Queen stood over him, and all because his pride got the better of him. Bloodstorm can see it in the Beast's eyes – she knows he is screaming inside, a prisoner in his own body, just as she was. She knows that it would mean sacrificing that which she holds most dear – but vows to set him free!