'Free' Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris utters inside the X-Mansion, Madripoor. She stands in a battle-damaged room, the members of the Raksha lay strewn about, unmoving. An amulet is shattered on the floor at Lorna's feet. 'This version of Malice... it's so weird to talk about versions of people... she wasn't from this world' Lorna remarks, deciding that she thinks Malice might have been from the same universe as Jimmy. 'She wasn't as strong as the Malice I know' Lorna declares, acknowledging that this Malice was weakened and confused. 'And I killed her' Lorna realizes, looking at the shattered amulet. The robot Ferris tells Polaris that Malice left her with little choice. Lorna closes her eyes, 'Miss Sinister did this, Ferris. She sent Malice here. She wanted her to take control of Jean. She's been maneuvering against us all this time' Lorna points out.
Gazing Nightshade gets up, 'The Raksha -' she begins, before the wide-eyed Lorna gasps 'What have I done?' She surrounds the Raksha in a magnetic field and wonders how she could be so stupid, worrying over a monster like Malice while their friends – friends she hurt – need help. Ferris reports that he has already primed the infirmary remotely, adding that from there, they will be better prepared to assess their condition and provide additional treatment. Lorna turns to Nightshade and assures her they will help the Raksha, promises her that they will be all right. But Gazing Nightshade asks Polaris not to make promises she cannot keep.
Meanwhile, off the coast of Scotland: 'Mothervine is the future' Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok declares, telling Magneto that for once, mutants have a chance – a real chance, no more struggling, no more scratching and clawing their way from the bottom. A beam of light shines down from a lighthouse overlooking the rocky shore, as Magneto listens to Havok, who tells him that there will be no more terrorist acts in the name of some twisted version of social justice. 'Well...just one more' Havok admits, smiling as he announces that when the dust settles, mutants will be on top of the food chain. 'And what price will you pay, Havok?' Magneto asks. 'Listen to what I'm saying. The. Dominant. Species' Havok snaps. 'That's what mutants will become. That's what you've always fought for' Havok reminds Magneto, while standing next to his allies Emma Frost, Bastion and Miss Sinister. A withered Sebastian Shaw is slumped at their feet. Havok reports that there is a price – no one said saving their people would be painless.
'Look at your allies, Alex' Magneto begins. 'Emma I can see. Although she is misguided -' Magneto begins, as Emma folds her arms and mutters 'You're one to talk'. Magneto admits that at least Emma thinks she has the best interest of mutants in kind. Magneto turns to Miss Sinister and points out that she sees their kind as little more than genetic raw material for her experiments, while Bastion is a Sentinel who would sooner kill them than help them. Emma scowls as she thinks to herself how much she hates that she agrees with Magneto. Havok tells Magneto that the results will justify the means, but Magneto declares that he has not seen these results – what he has seen is a few individuals developing secondary mutations. Secondary mutations that, in some cases, have severe side effects. Magneto adds that he noticed Shaw seems to have subjected himself to Mothervine, and that he seems to be rejecting the changes.
'I'm using geneticism from another universe. Every great experiment requires a testing phase' Miss Sinister points out, shrugging her shoulders. 'Mutants are not experiments' Magneto snarls, telling Havok that this sounds no different than any other horror their enemies have visited upon them in the past. 'And you sound like someone who's bitter that we have succeeded where you failed time and again' Havok declares. Havok extends his hand and asks Magneto to join them, suggesting that he will have to put aside his differences with Emma, and see past what he believes about Bastion and Miss Sinister. 'For the fate of our people...please...stand by our side as we ascend' Havok asks. Magneto hangs his head. He smirks, then declares 'No'. 'A pity. But not unexpected' Havok replies, before instructing Bastion to launch the first wave. Havok informs Magneto that this is how it begins – with the symbol of mankind's hatred of mutants – with Sentinels – sowing the seeds of ascension – Mothervine.
A bright light appears in the sky over New York City, and from it, a Sentinel emerges – who then releases missiles into the air. 'Deploy. Long live the mutant race' the Sentinel states.
'Take him' Havok tells his allies, as he fires a plasma blast towards Magneto, who deflects it with a magnetic shield. Miss Sinister fires a blast from the diamond on her forehead, but Magneto blocks that, too. Bastion launches some small Sentinels into the air, which Magneto destroys with ease. 'I'm sorry it has come to this, Havok' Magneto remarks. Emma switches to her diamond form, as Magneto uses scrap metal from the Sentinels to create a helmet, while telling Havok that he is sorry he is so far gone, so far beyond his help. 'I'm sorry that I must destroy you. But then again...I am not!' Magneto exclaims as he encases his entire body in a metal armor, formed from the scrap of the Sentinels, then directs a powerful magnetic surge at the other mutants, knocking them back.
'Magneto – you stand in opposition to the mutant race. Mutants must thrive. Therefore, you must be destroyed' Bastion tells Magneto as he and Miss Sinister fire blasts towards him, but he deflects them easily. More small Sentinels are released, and they fly towards Magneto, who looks at them unimpressed. 'Tiny Sentinels. How amusing' he remarks. Havok releases another plasma blast, and announces that Magneto's shields are too strong. 'Emma -' he calls out, to which Emma tells Havok that what he wants – the power levels he wants to achieve, they could burn him to ash from the inside out. Magneto breaks apart the tiny Sentinels with ease – and sends the shrapnel careening towards Miss Sinister, who screams as some of the shards strike her. 'You – Bastion! Now you wish to see mutants flourish? Let's test the depth of that conviction' Magneto tells the deadly Sentinel. 'I would bleed for my people. I would die for them. Would you do the same?' Magneto asks as he starts to tear Bastion apart from the inside out.
Havok sees this and calls out to Emma: 'Do it!' Emma rushes over to Havok's side and tells him that once this is done – assuming he survives – he will be spent and virtually defenseless. 'I'll stop him!' Havok assures her. 'We'll stop him' Emma replies as she switches back to her human form, and telepathically boosts Havok's power as he unleashes a powerful surge of energy at Magneto, knocking the Master of Magnetism back through the air, as Havok pushes his powers to the max. The heat of Havok's plasma surge disrupts Magneto's force field, enavling Havok to deliver another blast of energy, 'How does it feel? Does it feel like heatstroke, old man? Does it feel like you're coming undone?' Havok shouts, angrily. Magneto falls into the ground, but prepares to get up, ready to defend himself. 'I've got you' Emma tells Havok as she puts a hand around him and helps him to stand. 'We did it...weakened his magnetism... broke through his strongest force fields' Emma points out, suggesting they let the others do their work now.
'You said you would die for your beliefs, Magneto' Bastion calls out as he blasts Magneto with another energy bolt. 'Let's test that theory' Miss Sinister suggests as she fires another energy beam from her forehead, they both strike Magneto, who cries out in pain. Magneto's defenses are weakening, he can't hold them off – but he tells himself that he won't die like this. He holds a green vial in his hands. Light shines from the lighthouse overhead – and suddenly, the lighthouse is ripped from the ground – and Magneto uses his powers to drop it on top of his enemies. 'His powers! He's enhanced them somehow!' Miss Sinister calls out as she and the others are knocked aside. Havok emerges from the rubble, 'Clever, Magneto. Played us at our game. Gave yourself just enough time – to slip away' Havok remarks as he looks up and finds that Magneto has vanished.
The infirmary of the X-Mansion in Madripoor: Polaris keeps watch over the Raksha, when Jimmy Hudson and Bloodstorm enter. 'You're back. And you brought...Xorn with you' Polaris remarks. Xorn announces that he can help, that he can heal some of these wounds and stabilize the patients. He tends to one of them, and acknowledges that their injuries are grave, so it will take time for them to make a full recovery. Xorn asks what did this to them, and Polaris tells im it was her – she did it. Xorn pauses, before uttering 'Terrifying'.
Outside, Gazing Nightshade sits on the front steps as Daken and Briar Raleigh walk up to her. 'Well, what do you know! A mopey teenager crying on the front steps. We must be at a school for mutants' Daken mutters. Tears can be seen fallen under the bandages that cover Gazing Nightshade's face, as Briar asks 'You're Gazing Nightshade, right? I dont think we've been introduced'. Briar introduces herself and Daken, before asking Gazing Nightshade what is wrong, what has happened. The young mutant reports that the Raksha were attacked, that an entity took control of Polaris and she almost killed them all. 'The daughter of Magneto...out of control and raising hell. It's too bad I missed that' Briar smiles. Daken glances at Briar and reminds her that he has pheromone powers, which she seems completely immune to. 'But the idea of Polaris creating chaos and carnage – that turns you on?' he asks. 'We all have our kinks' Briar smiles.
Later: 'Look what the cat dragged in' Briar declares as she stands in a comms room within the X-Mansion as Magneto hobbles inside. 'Looks like your negotiatins with Havok and the White Queen went about as well as expected' Briar points out, adding that she bets Magneto is glad that she forced him to take that Mutant Growth Hormone along. 'And don't deny using it. I can smell it' Briar reveals. Magneto struggles to stand up as Briar reports that they have launched bombs all over the world, spontaneous mutation occurs in at least 60% of anyone who gets close to the impact points – it is mass panic and it is going to be nasty. 'Mothervine. In a matter of weeks...mutants will be Earth's dominant species' Magneto replies. 'Careful what you wish for' Briar grins. Motioning to several monitors which depict explosions around the world, Magneto tells Briar that this is not what he wanted, as what Mothervine will do – it isn't natural, and will have a catastrophic impact on mutants and on the world.
'Too late to stop it' Briar points out, folding her arms. Magneto looks worried, and tells Briar that the world – the mutants – need them. 'But the X-Men are still -' he begins. Briar smiles again and tells Erik not to worry, as she took a few liberties while he was out. Magneto glances to the doorway as Polaris! Daken! Jimmy Hudson! Xorn! Bloodstorm! Gazing Nightshade! Enter the lab, wearing matching blue and black costumes, Polaris greets her father and announces that they are here – the X-Men – reporting for duty!
Deep space, where Danger, transformed into the Blackbird, moves through the blackness. Inside, the time-displaced original X-Men – Cyclops, Angel, Iceman and Beast – along with their ally, Eddie Brock a.k.a. Venom. Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops thinks to himself that it is the darkness, the loneliness that does it – that takes something that seems so impossible and makes it painfully real – Jean is dead, and it is all his fault. Scott sits slumped over a chair at the front of the Blackbird as Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman approaches him, and tells him that he misses Jean – they all do – but they need him right now. Warren Worthington a.k.a. Angel and Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast stand at the back of the Blackbird, and Angel asks Beast what this all means – if Jean is gone, really gone, then what does it mean for the rest of reality – is it all going to start tumbling apart again? Hank tells Warren that he doesn't know, but that it certainly feels that way.
Warren adds that, more than anything, he is worried about Cyke, as he is taking this hard. 'Just how is he supposed to take it, Flyboy?' Venom asks, pointing out that the love of his life was just killed – not only killed, she was turned into a nearly unstoppable killing machine, all because he took her on an outer space adventure to save his dad. Cyclops tells himself that it has taken a while to really sink in – but it is taking a lot longer to get home than it did to get out here in the first place. Suddenly, the Blackbird is struck by a meteor shower, and shards pierce the hull of the Blackbird. 'Whoa! What was that?' Angel calls out. 'Something hit us, Warren. I think maybe -' Hank begins, while Bobby pushes Scott to the floor, protecting himself with a shield of ice, preventing the meteor shower from harming him. 'We've flown straight into a meteor storm!' Hank tells the others. He moves through the Blackbird, and sees that the meteors are breaking through the hull everywhere.
The Beast communicates with Danger, who appears before Hank in a holo-form, reporting that the danger could be catastrophic. She diverts the power away from shields in order to maintain travel, and informs Hank that she is activating emergency procedures. Four hard light pods appear, while Danger announces that the hull integrity has been restored, and that her power reserves are dropping. Hank returns to the others, and Angel asks him what is happening. Hank explains that Danger was already taxed due to interstellar travel – she is weak. Hank adds that Danger is more than a ship, more than a robot – she is a living thing, so the damage is overwhelming her. Cyclops almost sees relief on Hank's face, and asks him if he can help Danger, whether he can use his future-tech to patch Danger up. Scott thinks that Hank will be able to puzzle his way out of this problem, as it is a distraction, just what he needs.
Danger's face appears before the X-Men, and welcomes them, as the hard light objects suddenly surround the X-Men, Scott thinks that for him, and the others, perhaps, this is just a reminder that the sky is falling, and they are going down with it.
But, suddenly, Scott, Hank, Bobby and Warren find themselves in their old costumes, in a grassy area, surrounded by trees. 'The X-Men are time-displaced. For us, the present is really the future. We're not meant to be here. We're quite literally living on borrowed time' Scott thinks to himself, deciding that no matter how much they do, how much they learn, how much their change, they have been wrestling with the realization that sooner or later, everything has to reset – and they must return. Bobby asks his friends if they saw what happened to Venom, while Warren sees the X-Mansion ahead of them and tells his teammates that they are home – back at Xavier's! He turns to Hank, who asks him to give him a minute, as they are all disorientated. Hank tells the others that this isn't wjat it seems – it can't be. 'Can it?' he wonders. Scott reminds himself that if they don't want to break the Timestream, they have to go back to where they started – all five of them. 'And that would mean -' Scott begins, as Jean Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl suddenly appears. 'Hey, Slim' Jean calls out.
Just like doubt, that falls away, and Scott wonders if, like Hank said, this isn't what it seems. But he doesn’t care, and he hugs Jean. 'It's... um... good to see you, too' Jean remarks, surprised by Scott's enthusiasm. Scott tells Jean that he thought they lost her, that he would never see her again. 'Well, here I am' Jean smiles. 'Guys... we're really here... we're back!' Cyclops tells the others, who are shocked to see Jean. Scott thinks to himself that in a lot of ways, it is like Danger trying to patch tears in her hull. He knows this isn't real, it can't be, but his mind and his heart are just slapping bandages over the tears in logic. Warren tells Hank that he needs some answers here. 'It's danger. She's running a training simulation' Hank tells the others. Bobby asks him if he is sure, as he can smell the grass and the trees.
Jean tells the others to come on, as the Professor is waiting for them, and he can explain everything. They follow Jean towards the mansion, and Bobby suggests that maybe they are really back – maybe this is how it time heals itself. 'That's what you said, isn't it? That time can heal itself?' Bobby asks. But Hank tells the others that is not how it works – Jean is gone, she died without ever returning to the Timestream. 'Or maybe not' Warren suggests. 'Maybe when you get home, you use that time machine of ours and go back and save her. Or maybe you take the risk and use magic -' Warren suggests. Hank interrupts him, telling Warren that he wants to believe it, too – he really does. 'But the only thing that adds up is that Danger...' Hank begins, while Jean tells Scott that it is going to be all right, she hopes he realizes that – and despite everything he has been through, it will be okay. 'You can relax now' Jean remarks.
Hank goes wide-eyed and announces that he knows what is happening. Danger – I know what you're doing' he exclaims. But Scott tells Hank to leave it alone, to let it go. 'You're not thinking clearly. You don't understand. Danger thinks we're finished. She thinks we're going to die out there in space' Hank explains, adding that Danger is creating this version of reality because she thinks she is helping – she thinks she is keeping them calm, or at least, occupied, while they die. Scott asks Hank what he is trying to accomplish here. 'Are you trying to take this all away?' Scott asks. 'Are you trying to take...her away?' Scott exclaims, warning Hank that he isn't going to let that happen, he prepares to fire an optic blast. 'Scott – it's true. You can't save me...not from the Poisons...and not from Hank' Jean explains. She tells him that it means a lot that he would fight for her like this, but that she doesn't want to see the two of them rip each other apart – not over something that's not even real.
'Goodbye, Slim' Jean remarks as she kisses Cyclops. 'I'm sorry' they both utter in unison, before Scott turns to Hank and tells him to do it – before he changes his mind. 'Danger – end program' Hank calls out, touching the future tech in his ear. Cyclops looks at Marvel Girl, standing right in front of him. He can feel the touch of her fingertips – even though Jean told him she wasn't real – and he wants nothing more than to scream in her face – to call her a liar – even though he knows she is telling the truth.
As the hard light dissolves around the X-Men, Scott wonders if time is going to fall apart – maybe the ship is going to fall apart – but if they just give up, if they don't make it home to stop the Poisons, then their world in the here and now falls apart, too. 'And Jean wouldn't want that' Scott reminds himself. Hank tells Scott that he couldn't let them give up, and that he hopes he can forgive him. 'You loved her, too' Scott replies. Venom appears and asks the X-Men what happened, as one minute he was standing here with them, and the next, fighting for his life against giant purple robots. Cyclops walks back to the front of the Blackbird. Hank calls out to him, but gets no response.
Hank reports that Danger is out of power and running on auxiliary fumes at best – she can't get them home in this condition. 'I pushed her too hard – and now she's dead in space. Dead... but I'm not giving up just yet' Hank declares as the Blackbird floats aimlessly in space. Hank goes over to a panel and starts tinkering with it, while slumped over in the chair, Scott laments that it was all a simulation – all just holograms and hard light – all fake. He knew that wasn't Jean – he knew because he couldn't feel her thoughts touching his. 'But for a second there... I could have sworn I could'.