Jean Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl, thrust here from the past, thinks to herself that this world has always seemed upside down to her – now so more than ever, as recently, the terrorist organization known as Hydra seized control of the United States. Jean thinks that Hydra are the people that the heroes usually beat up on whenever they get out of hand, but now, they are under new management – in the form of Captain America, of all people – and they are getting ambitious. Jean decides that it is not unlike the nightmare future she has always feared would one day dawn – only she never expected mutant leaders to strike a bargain with Hydra, as the mutants claimed California as their own, independent nation, now called New Tian. On paper, Jean thinks that it sounds like a dream – humans and mutants living together in peace. But that is not how it worked out for everyone.
At the Alcatraz Detainment Center, Hellfire Soldiers keep watch as humans and mutants alike are cuffed, the mutants with power-dampeners, and led into the prison. Among the mutants are three familiar figures – a stocky gray-skinned man, a scowling blonde woman and a woman with long pink hair. But this is where Jean Grey and her fellow time-displaced X-Men team come in. “What did you do on your summer vacation?” Jean wonders, as she stages an insurrection against the mutant homeland. Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops fires an optic blast, knocking back some Hellfire Soldiers as the young X-Men break through the detainment center walls. Henry McCoy a.k.a. The Beast kicks two soldiers back, while Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman slides towards some soldiers and encases them in ice as Warren Worthington a.k.a. Angel dodges the weapons’ fire that is blasted his way.
Marvel Girl telepathically tells her teammates that the people here, humans and mutants alike, most of them didn't do anything wrong – they just spoke out against the regime. A look of worry spreads across Jean's face as she informs the others that she has detected in the minds of the guards – some of the prisoners are scheduled for telepathic reconditioning. 'They're going to brainwash them into good little citizens!' Jean calls out. She then turns her attention to the three prominent mutants amongst the prisoners and uses her telekinesis to tear their power-dampeners from them. Lorelei's hair rises up around her, and Sally Blevins a.k.a. Skids almost smiles as her deflective force field reactivates around herself. 'We can do that' Marshall Evan Stone a.k.a. Random tells Jean as he shifts his hand into a large weapon.
'By next week, they'll just be sending prisoners here again – maybe the same prisoners' Jean tells the others. 'Then we'll come back. We're probably gonna end up here one way or another' Cyclops remarks. Beast tells Jean to keep her chin up, as they did something good today. 'And if nothing else... I imagine we've really pissed off the powers-that-be!' he adds.
On a small island off the coast sits Utopia, the capital of New Tian, consisting of several towers surrounding a much larger tower, and several strange buildings that hover mid-air:
'Those... brats! They're becoming more brazen in their insults! They attacked the detainment center on Alcatraz! Alcatraz! I can almost see it from my window!' Emma Frost exclaims as she stands near Xorn, who sits on his throne, while Sebastian Shaw and Henry McCoy, the present-day Beast, stand nearby. Emma declares that Magneto is behind this – she doesn't care what anyone says, as she knows he has been working with the young X-Men, sending them after her. 'We need to deal with them – once and for all!' Emma announces.
Xorn tells Emma that he is certain there is a way to address the young X-Men without resorting to drastic action. The Beast agrees with Xorn, 'And – not to call you paranoid – but last I heard, Magneto was dead' he adds. Emma shoots Henry a look and tells him not to worry, as she follows Xorn's leadership – as they all should.
Emma suggests that the X-Men are taking the idea of a youthful rebellion a step too far, and tells the others that they have accomplished something here – mutants and humans are living together in peace, the sovereign republic of New Tian is working. 'But it is not perfect' the Beast is quick to point out. He adds that the old mutant homeland of Utopia might be their capital, but that not everyone sees New Tian as paradise. 'They haven't even given the new regime a chance to work' Emma remarks. She reminds the others that this is not Hydra territory and that they are not the enemy. 'We're protecting our people from something much, much worse' she tells them, referring to Hydra's Supreme Leader – Captain America.
'That is not how many... including the X-Men... including my younger self... see it' the Beast remarks. 'And what about you, McCoy? Do you see things any different than the younger version of yourself?' Shaw enquires. The Beast claims that he has become more pragmatic in his old age and tells the others to imagine how the young X-Men must feel, how this world might look to them. 'This is not the world Charles Xavier wanted for -' the Beast begins, as Xorn interrupts him, 'Xavier is dead' he declares. 'If he were alive, he would see that what we've built here is in the best interests of all mutants. Including his X-Men' Xorn suggests, but the Beast isn't sure Xavier would agree. 'Then he would be made to agree' Xorn announces. Emma suggests that if Charles had been here, he might have cautioned his students against rash action, and reports that it was only a matter of time until they were able to track them after one of their exercises in rebelliousness. 'We're about to bring their little uprising to a swift end' Emma announces. She smirks as she tells Henry not to worry, as the strike team will go easy on them. 'After all... the'yre my friends, too' Emma reminds him.
Redwood National Park, where the young X-Men's Blackbird has descended into the forest and the young heroes walk silently towards an odd-shaped bunker-type building:
'Home sweet home' Jean remarks, the heroes seemingly unaware that they are being watched from above by Warren Worthington a.k.a. Archangel. They make their way through a dimly-lit corridor, and a voice calls out 'Welcome back, X-Men'. They see Magneto's ally, Briar Raleigh leaning against the doorway into the comms centre, where Jimmy Hudson is sitting on a chair, legs up on an old computer console. 'I'm guessing we've been fighting the good fight?' Briar asks, suggesting that they throw some microwave dinners in the oven and queue up “Red Dawn” on the Blu-Ray player. 'Funny, Miss Raleigh' Jean responds, telling her that they both known when it comes to Swazye flicks, everybody on this team prefers “Roadhouse”. She adds that they are all exhausted, and she just wants to sleep for a week.
Briar turns on a console and suggests a power nap, revealing that she has been running a list of crimes against civil liberties and affronts against morality. 'You're going to be a bunch of busy bees' she tells the young X-Men. 'Ugh! Being a freedom fighter looks so much more fun in those movies where everyone dies!' Bobby mutters. Jimmy quietly tells Jean that, next time, she is leaving someone else to play bodyguard, as Briar creeps him out. 'She keeps talking about scars and the limits of healing factors' he adds. 'Next time, Bobby can stay with her' Jean replies. 'No, thanks. The less time spent in this bunker the better' Bobby calls out, adding that he misses the Mansion, and Madripoor. 'Me, too. It was a seedy cesspool of violence and debauchery, but it was home' Angel smiles. 'Speaking as the person who pays for that mansion of yours, I agree' Briar remarks. Briar tells the young X-Men that Magneto wants them here right now, in one of his many holdout shelters. Briar supposes that Magneto planned on using these when he took over America.
Jean then asks as to Magneto's whereabouts. 'Shouldn't he be here?' she asks. Briar tells the X-Men that they are here as his proxies. 'That's what you signed up for, isn't it?' she asks, when suddenly, there is a loud rumbling. 'Uh – are you sure you weren't followed?' Briar asks. 'Are you certain no one trailed you right back to this secret lair full of very, very pricey equipment?' Briar enquires as the X-Men look around at the bunker which shakes with the rumbling.
'I don't -' Jean begins, as Briar tells her that she might want to raise those telekinetic shields of hers. An instant later, the bunker is torn open as large tree roots burst up, knocking the X-Men about. Jean throws a telekinetic bubble around herself and Briar, and the X-Men are thrown outside.
'Who -' Jean asks as the battered and bruised X-Men start to get to their feet, and look over at five mutants who have gathered nearby: Angelica Jones a.k.a. Firestar, the mysterious Mondo, the woman known as Sarah a.k.a. Marrow, Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane and Mortimer Toynbee a.k.a. The Toad, who exclaims 'That'd be us, Marvel Girl. And there's a lot more punishment where that came from!' he warns her, green gunk at the end of his long tongue. 'You know it' Marrow adds. Wolfsbane is in her wolfen form and tells the X-Men that they don't want to fight them. She suggests they do themselves a favor and stand down. Sporting a black and gray costume, Firestar calls out 'Please, guys. We're all friends here... well... most of us'.
Jean looks over to where the Beast is checking on Briar, and telepathically asks him if she is all right. The Beast reports that Briar is out cold and will have a few new bumps and bruises, which he doesn't think she will mind.
Energy rises around Jean as she turns back to the mutants and exclaims 'You came in hot... looking for a fight. Well... guess what?' 'You've got one!' Jimmy Hudson shouts as he pops his claws and lunges towards Marrow, who has two bone blades at the ready. On an ice-sled, Bobby fires ice towards Firestar, who counters the attack with a surge of microwave flame. Angel flies around Mondo, while the Beast leaps over Wolfsbane's outstretched claws and Cyclops fires a blast of optic energy that knocks Toad off the log he was on. 'It doesn't have to be this way. Nobody else has to get hurt' Firestar calls out as her and Bobby's power continue to negate the other. 'Tell me that when you're not trying to nuke me like a hot pocket!' Bobby replies. Cyclops notices the green gunk on Toad and asks him 'What's with the burning tongue?' as he fires another optic blast towards him. 'Secondary mutation! I'm new and improved since the last time I saw you, Scotty-Boy!' Toad replies.
'Secondary mutations? Fascinating!' the Beast remarks as Wolfsbane continues to attack him. 'Ye don't know the half of it, Beast!' Wolfsbane tells him, to which Beast suggests she stop clawing at him and shine some illumination on the situation.
Angel flies past Mondo, his cosmic fire spreading across Mondo's back. 'Hey! You can't just go around setting people on fire! Not cool, bro!' Mondo declares, while Archangel flies towards them – and slams into his time-displaced self, knocking the young mutant through the air. 'I don't...' the dazed Angel utters, but before he falls from the sky, Archangel grabs him. 'WARREN!' Jean calls out as she sees Archangel, who suddenly fires some razor-sharp feathers down below. Jean throws a telekinetic field around herself and the still unconscious Briar, and tells the others to watch out, as the feathers are coated in some kind of toxin. 'They... they got Angel!' Jean utters.
'You're next, pretty lady' Mondo remarks as he reaches out and tries to grab Marvel Girl. 'You've got a brain in that tree trunk of a skull, right?' Jean asks, suggesting to Mondo that perhaps he should sit this one out and think about the decisions he is making. 'Er -' Mondo begins as Jean attacks him telepathically, and he falls backwards into some trees. Suddenly, Marvel Girl looks worried, and tells everyone to take cover, before an instant later a powerful force slams into her and she drops to her knees. 'Looks like that took a little bit out of you, huh?' Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok asks as he appears, energy bubbling around him. He smirks and tells Jean Grey 'Guess what? I was holding back'. Shocked, Cyclops looks over to Jean and Alex. Alex turns back to Scott: 'Hi, Scott' he smiles. 'Should I call you big brother? Little brother? I can't keep it straight. Either way – pay attention to what you're doing' Havok remarks, as Toad's flaming tongue suddenly wraps around Cyclops, who screams and tries to pull the tongue off of him. Toad tells Cyclops not to worry about his friends, or his brother. 'Worry about me!'
At the same time, Firestar continues her assault against Iceman, who falls to his knees, struggling against the microwave energies. 'I'm... sorry about this. But it's for your own good' Firestar tells him. “For your own good” the Beast quotes, pointing out that it sounds like something a dictator's lapdog might say. 'Are you... calling us dogs?' Wolfsbane asks as she struggles to break free from the Beast, who has his arms wrapped around her neck. 'If the shoe -' the Beast begins, when suddenly, Wolfsbane's form shifts, she frees herself from his grasp, and re-appears as a pack of wolves, surrounding Beast. 'A full pack transformation! One becoming many! I don't believe that was part of your power set before' Beast remarks, looking scared as the wolves close in around him. 'Another – secondary mutation?' he asks.
'You know what I've realized about you, Jean? We all thought you were some sort of unifying force. But really? All you do is make the X-Men weak'. Energy increases around Havok, and Jimmy Hudson looks over and sees the danger. He calls out to Jean, then leaves his battle against Marrow and rushes over, lunging between Havok and Jean, despite Jean telling him not to, as he will fry them both. An instant later, Havok lets loose a huge surge of energy, striking Jimmy and Jean at close range. 'No!' Cyclops calls out, kicking Toad in the face while yanking on the end of his tongue. Cyclops moves towards Havok: 'Alex...I'm gonna...' Cyclops begins, before falling flat on his face. Havok, Wolfsbane in her human form, Firestar, Toad and Marrow stand over the fallen X-Men. 'Weak' Havok repeats, a steel mask covering the disfigured part of his face. He then turns back to the other mutants and instructs them to gather up the survivors and outfit them with power dampeners. Energy glows from the wreckage left behind as the young X-Men are dragged away. Havok instructs the other mutants to contact the White Queen and to let her know that the rebel cell has been eliminated. 'Mutantkind can sleep soundly tonight' Havok adds. 'The peace and safety of New Tian has been safeguarded. And tell her... we come bearing gifts'.
Shortly, Cyclops gasps as he wakes and finds himself in a darkened cell. 'It's all right, Scott' a voice calls out to him. 'You don't need to be afraid. You don't need to be on edge' the voice adds. Cyclops gets to his knees and asks 'Where are the X-Men? Who are you?' But as he looks up, Emma Frost is standing near him. 'Do you really need to ask, darling?' she replies. 'Couldn't you guess? It's me. Or, more precisely – us. It's always been us, though, hasn't it? Emma and Scott – against the world!' Emma exclaims as she extends a hand to young Cyclops!