Deep space, where Danger, in the form of the Blackbird, floats aimlessly in the emptiness of the galaxy. 'Any luck?' Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman asks Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast. 'No' Hank replies. 'How about now?' Bobby enquires. 'No' Hank repeats. 'What you're doing now, did that help?' Bobby asks, to which Hank tells him that it did not. Hank is tinkering with some mechanics and explains that the damage Danger has suffered is beyond both the limits of his abilities and the abilities of his cybernetic implant – as near as he can tell, even Danger's self-repair protocols are offline, and he can't seem to reboot them. Hank adds that he can repair the ship, but it will take time, and tells Bobby that his barrage of questions is not helping. Sorry. The questions just... you know... keep my mind off everything' Bobby explains. 'Why do you think I've thrown myself so completely into these repairs? Believe me, Bobby, I know how you feel' Hank assures his friend. 'Well alll know how you feel' he adds, while at the front of the ship, Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops sits slumped over in a chair.
Outside the ship, hovering in space, Warren Worthington a.k.a. Angel is with Eddie Brock a.k.a. Venom, and Warren informs Hank that they have accessed the panel as he instructed. 'You want to tell us what we're looking for?' Warren asks. Hank explains that their auxiliary life support systems are failing, and, sadly, only he and Venom can exist in the cold vacuum of space, so they need to jumpstart the primary systems. Hank adds that it isn't mean to be done in space, and that it is only meant to be done manually, so one wrong move, and they might revert Danger to her base form, thereby pulping everyone inside. 'No pressure' Hank adds, before he sends a pulse through Danger's systems so that Warren and Venom should see a control panel come to life. 'We have about 10 seconds to -' Hank begins, before lights start to glow inside the Blackbird. 'Let there be light!' Hank exclaims, 'All right. We should be back home in no time!' Bobby calls out, while at the front of the ship, Scott hasn't moved.
'This is why we've sacrificed to much. We've done it. The mutant race has been given many chances to thrive over the years... random, slim, fleeting chances... but this time, we are in control. Mothervine has been successfully deployed in a dozen major US cities. Secondary and tertiary enhancements in mutants. Primary mutations occurring in those who did not previously possess the X-Gene. Though some will fear what we have done... in time we will be seen as saviors. This is what we've fought for' Havok declares.
In St Louis, Missouri, a woman has fallen to the ground, large spikes growing out of her back, while a man standing nearby suddenly finds that his hands are glowing with blue energy. In Charlotte, North Carolina, civilians point up to the sky as Sentinels blast through the air. In New York City, Kitty Pryde, Colossus and Prestige are on a busy street, when suddenly, the former mutant Beak finds himself transforming. 'Not again! I was just getting used to being human!' Beak exclaims, as Prestige calls out to him.
And, in San Francisco, California: 'It's them!' someone exclaims. 'They’re sick or something! Contagious!' another calls out. 'Get out of here! Get away from us!' a third person shouts as a woman finds large tentacles growing out of her stomach, and a man's face suddenly develops several extra mouths. A group of civilians surround them like an angry mob. 'We don't want you here – mutie!' one of them declares. Suddenly, they all turn to the sound of someone who calls back '“Mutie”? I haven't heard that term in a while now' It's Carmella Unuscione, wearing a white dress with large belt and knee-high boots, she extends her exo-skeleton to knock the civilians backwards, while telling them that they are all going to be very sorry they reminded her – but the civilians begin to scream as Carmella's exo-skeleton manifests as various spikes which pierce their bodies. 'NGEEYAAH!' one of them shouts, while another utters 'It...it hurts!' Carmella looks concerned, and wonders if she did that – her powers have never worked like that before, though.
Suddenly, five large Sentinels descend, while Carmella stands near the two transformed civilians. One of the Sentinels tells Unuscione not to despair, and explains that she is experiencing a secondary mutation due to exposure to Mothervine. The Sentinel adds that this may be unsettling, but it is normal. The Sentinel then announces that their mission is to provide comfort and aid. One of the Sentinels surrounds the transformed civilians in stasis bubbles and they levitate into the air, as the Sentinel tells Unuscione that she will accompany them, and that its master and his allies will help her adjust to these changes. 'Sentinels! I'm not going anywhere with you! And I won't let you take those mutants, either!' Carmella exclaims as she raises her hands to use her powers on the Sentinels.
Suddenly, though, help arrives – Polaris! Daken! Jimmy Hudson! Xorn! Bloodstorm! Gazing Nightshade! They are...the X-Men! 'Don't worry. You're not in this alone. New color scheme... new attitude... it doesn't matter. The X-Men don't place nice with Sentinels!' Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris calls out as she uses a powerful magnetic blast against one o the Sentinels. Bloodstorm fires a bolt of lightning at another, while Daken attacks one with two swords. Jimmy Hudson's claws connect with another Sentinel, as Xorn leaps towards another. 'Alert! Alert! We are under attack!' one of the Sentinels states. Xorn announces that he will free the prisoners, and destroys the stasis bubbles around the two transformed civilians, assuring them that he will not let the Sentinels take them.
One of the Sentinels falls to the ground, destroyed, while another states that their mission parameters do not include harming mutants, that their goal is to protect, and assist mutants coping with new mutations – the Sentinel doesn't finish its sentence as it is torn apart by a bio-electrical charge courtesy of Unuscione. 'That's okay. I think I've got the hang of it' Unuscione snaps. Suddenly, she clutches her head and utters that something is wrong. One of the Sentinels grabs Jimmy Hudson and tells Unuscione that her secondary mutation is running unchecked. The Sentinel casts a green energy beam at her, a power dampener, and tells her that this will ease her discomfort. Gazing Nightshade goes over to Unuscione and is caught in the blast of the power dampener. 'Our abilities! The Sentinel has canceled them out! It might be helping our new friend, but it leaves us relatively defenseless!' Gazing Nightshade points out.
'Speak for yourself, Nightshade. And you call yourself a ninja!' Daken exclaims as he slice the Sentinel through the neck with his swords, ending the Sentinel's power dampener. Carmella keels over, 'It...it hurts! I can feel my exoskeleton...tearing me apart inside!' she calls out. Jimmy tells Daken that whatever the Sentinel was doing, it was keeping Unuscione's powers in check – her secondary mutation is hurting her – possibly killing her. 'Are you siding with the enemy now, brother?' Daken asks as he rides the Sentinel to the ground as the large metal monster crashes with a loud KRAK-BOOM. 'We're not brothers!' Jimmy quickly points out. 'No, your father is from a different world than mine. But I'd bet anything that if he were in your shoes... if he were part of the source of these mutation bombs... he'd worry less about the comfort of one mutant and more about stopping our enemies before the situation gets worse' Daken exclaims.
One of the Sentinels states that new directives are streaming in – that they are to delay the X-Men until reinforcements arrive. 'No. I think you're done here' Bloodstorm declares, destroying the Sentinel with a blast of lightning. 'They're calling for backup!' Bloodstorm warns her teammates. 'Good. As long as they're not sending more Sentinels. We need someone we can interrogate!' Polaris remarks as she destroys another Sentinel with a magnetic pulse. 'We only – only wanted – to save mutantkind' the Sentinel utters as it is torn apart. 'We want the same things, I imagine, for right now at least. But you're the puppet of a monster. And that means you're scrapyard bound' Polaris declares. The Sentinel begins to fall towards the civilians, 'Look out!' one of them shouts. 'It's falling!' another points out, before Xorn appears between the falling Sentinel and the civilians. Xorn tells them he will not allow harm to befall them and suggests they go home and contemplate their own actions, before the Sentinel crashes to the ground.
Carmella is still having trouble, her powers radiate around her, and she warns the X-Men that she can't contain her exoskeleton. 'It's going to -' she begins, before Xorn appears behind her and tells her to be at peace, to calm her mind and let him aid her on this journey. Carmella drops to her knees, and Daken walks towards her, telling Xorn that he is not trying to step on his toes, but with his pheromone control, he figured he can help. Carmella's power appears as rings darting around her now, while Xorn tells her that she is afraid, but that she can choose to be brave. He asks her to breathe her fear into the air around her, let it disperse into the world and allow a calming, healing light to flow into her as she inhales. 'I am with you. As you take a step, so do I. So do we all' Xorn adds.
Polaris goes over to the transformed civilians, the woman with the tentacles and the man with the mouths on his face. She tells them to stay calm, that they are going to get help for them. The man with the mouths on his face declares that he can't see and asks for his mouther. 'Damn you, Alex' Lorna mutters, narrowing her eyes. Gazing Nightshade goes over to Jimmy Hudson, calling him the son of Patch, she tells him that she knows what he is thinking. 'This is not your fault' Gazing Nightshade assures him. Jimmy tells her that he doesn't need her reading his thoughts, but Nightshade explains that she is an empath, not a telepath, she can't simply turn off her abilities. 'Then how about minding your own business then?' Jimmy suggests, announcing that something in his DNA, and the DNA of the other mutants from his universe paved the way for Mothervine's creation. 'Tell me again how this isn't my fault'.
Bloodstorm reminds Jimmy that he was used without his knowledge and against his will. 'You are blameless' she adds, telling Jimmy that he is not a villain here, so he shouldn't start acting like one. Xorn announces that Unuscione's powers are in check – for now – but it requires his full concentration, and her cooperation. Daken suggests that they get back to base while the getting is good. 'On it. Somebody look after the kids, please. Not Daken or Bloodstorm' Polaris calls out. 'I'll watch them' Nightshade tells her, as Polaris uses her power to clear a landing zone for a jet which has appeared overhead. Polaris calls it the Dove and announces that she is bringing it in for evacuation.
Suddenly, though, Unuscione's eyes flash green, and the Dove is destroyed from within by her mutated powers. 'The jet! Everyone – take cover!' Polaris calls out as debris begins to fall to the ground. Jimmy leaps to safety, while calling out 'That energy signature! It was -', to which Xorn shouts 'Unuscione!' and reports that she is resisting – he can't hold her. A huge stream of power rises from Carmella, who looks distraught and in agony as she utters 'No! I didn't – it wasn't me! I didn't mean to -' But before anyone can assist her, a teleport signal indicates the arrival of several other mutants: Blob! Dragoness! Wildside! Wanderer! Toad! They stand on the remains of one of the Sentinels, as Wildside tells Unuscione not to worry about what she “meant” to do, as intent has nothing to do with it – she is on their side now. 'Alex sent more flunkies to do his dirty work!' Polaris calls out.
Jimmy pops his claws and tells Nightshade to keep the children safe, but Gazing Nightshade points out that they don't need protection. 'In fact – I might need protection from them!' Nightshade utters as she falls backwards, the two transformed civilians attack her. The man with all the mouths lunges at her, his mouths attempting to bite her. 'It's Mothervine! It's not just about mutation! It's about control!' Polaris realizes.
'This is what we've fought for. Within just a few weeks... after another few launches... the mutant race will be predominant life-form on the planet Earth!' Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok declares as he, Bastion, Miss Sinister and Emma Frost watch the chaos on some monitors from their secret location. 'They will no longer be endangered' Bastion points out. 'Yes. And all the Mothervine mutants will be ours to control!' Miss Sinister gloats. 'Control? What is this, Alex?' Emma telepathically asks Havok. 'Tell me you didn't know about this. Tell me you don't agree with it' Emma asks him. Havok glances at Emma and points out that this is not the time to have a conscience. He reminds her that she has exerted her will over others time and time again – and no doubt she will do it again as it suits her. 'Of course, but not like this' Emma replies, wide-eyed.
Emma tells Havok that in some cases, these mutations are wildly traumatizing and viscously cruel – these new mutants are frightened enough as it is. 'To have someone else rip your free will away -' Emma begins. Havok tells her it is a means to an end, and that surely she can appreciate that. Havok adds that once they have done what they set out to do, Miss Sinister will no longer have any value to them. Emma looks at Miss Sinister and telepathically asks Havok 'And then what? She'll have an army – an army comprised of the predominant life-form on Earth – to back her up. 'It won't be enough' Havok adds. Miss Sinister then tells everyone to look, as their agents are in place – they are about to initiate the next stage of their little drama – the death of Magneto!
Madripoor, inside the X-Mansion, Ferris the robotic servant floats alongside Magneto as they walk through the infirmary. Ferris reports that their guests are comfortable for the moment, but that they have limited space for them, and another dozen or so mutants, they will have to make other arrangements. Magneto tells Ferris that he will be working on something, but that it will take some time. They look at one of the new mutants through a curtain, and Magneto remarks that managing these emerging mutants, these victims of Mothervine, would be so much easier if Danger were still here. Ferris apologizes for being inadequate, and assures Magneto he is doing the best he can. Magneto tells Ferris that now is not the time to feel inferior – now is the time to rise to the occasion. 'Yes, Sir. I'll do my -' Ferris starts to reply, before an explosion blasts he and Magneto backwards.
'What -' Magneto begins as he and Ferris start to get up. Three figures appear before them. 'Sorry to drop in unannounced. We haven't met. We're the Marauders' the blue-haired Mach-2 remarks, introducing herself and her teammates the Guardian and Armor. She adds that she can't speak for her teammates, but that she has been dying to meet Magneto. Magneto frowns and tells the young mutant that she will not find him to be easy prey, and that if her masters wished to finish him once and for all, they should not have sent children. 'Do tell' Mach-2 grins. Ferris looks concerned, 'Magneto...Sir...they are not alone' Ferris calls out. He and Magneto look over and see several of the Mothervine mutants walking towards them, and looking very unhappy as Ferris declares that those they helped now stand against them!