Utopia, the capital of New Tian, the sovereign mutant nation, where, sometimes, when you are one of the X-Men, you have to raid a castle or two – in this case, the castle belongs to a group that is trying to stake a claim for mutants in this upside down world – that's a good thing, right? Only, they are imprisoning anyone with a dissenting voice – including mutants – including the X-Men. That is how the X-Men got to the whole “raiding the castle” scenario – it is a rescue mission, which, of course, that means at some point, this little adventure is going to bring them into a direct confrontation with Emma Frost, the White Queen – and that kinda stinks, as she is a little unhinged, but tricky – there is no telling what kind of man-eating rabbit she is going to pull out of her hat.
At that moment, Danger battles Marrow, while projecting holograms of several X-Men to deal with the Hellfire soldiers on Utopia. The time-displaced Iceman, Angel and Beast are being held captive, and feel hopeless, while Briar Raleigh drinks some alcohol in the quarters on Utopia that she was given, as the time-displaced Cyclops is psychically attacked by Emma Frost who is holding him as her personal prisoner, and Xorn, ruler of New Tian, looks at a strange blue gem.
It is lucky that the X-Men have a few tricks of their own, as Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris has arrived on Utopia and currently battles her ex-boyfriend, Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok, their powers clashing in spectacular display, as the time-displaced Jean Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl and reality-lost Jimmy Hudson look on. 'That's Polaris! Magneto's daughter!' Jean exclaims. 'Magneto has kids?' Jimmy asks, shielding himself from the glare of Polaris and Havok's energies. 'I guess so. Not as many as he used to. It's complicated' Jean replies, before pointing out that it looks like Polaris is on their side. 'So yay for Daddy's little Mistress of Magnetism!' Jean jokes.
Polaris slams Havok against a wall with a surge of magnetic energy and tells her longtime love that this isn't him - siding with Emma and attacking mutants, X-Men – he isn't himself. 'We were close once... so I'm begging you… please stop fighting' Lorna implores Havok.
Havok frowns and tells Lorna that she hasn't known him for a long time. 'Who the hell are you to tell me I've changed?' he asks. Lorna glances back to Marvel Girl and Jimmy and tells them to go find the others while she holds Havok, and unleashes another wave of magnetic energy against her former love.
'We can help her -' Jean tells Jimmy, who replies 'Yeah, maybe – but I think she's got this. And the X-Men need us'. But Jean declares that she can shut down Havok's mind, she just needs a second.
'I told you to go!' Polaris snaps. Waving magnetic energy towards the young mutants, she tosses them out of the chamber. 'Yeah. Okay. Magneto's daughter. Now I see the resemblance' Jimmy remarks, while Lorna blocks another plasma blast that Havok fires towards her, telling her that she is the one who has changed – working against her own people here, against what they are trying to accomplish for mutants. 'All those little emotional breakdowns over the years finally took their toll, huh?' Havok asks, adding that it is a pity, as he hates to see Lorna this way. Lorna smirks and asks Alex if he wants to play dirty. 'I've been taking it easy on you for old time's sake. I'll stop that silliness right now' Lorna tells him.
Down another corridor, Jimmy and Jean look at several Hellfire soldiers who rush towards them, guns ready, and Jimmy reports that he has a scent, so they are close. Marvel Girl informs him that she has a psi-lock on the others, but that they just need to knock out a few heavily armed guards first. 'Piece of cake' Jimmy replies as the soldiers open fire. Jimmy pops his claws, and Jean deflects the bullets with her telekinesis. Jimmy jokes that he may not remember the good old days, but tells Jean that this is how he imagines them, and leaps towards the soldiers, claws outstretched. 'Aw, crap! He's got claws!' one of the soldiers exclaims. 'My spleen!' another shouts, while one of the declares 'I surrender! I surrender!' and Jean telepathically calls out to the Beast, asking him if he can hear her, and to get ready. 'We're on our way'.
In their cell, Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman, Warren Worthington a.k.a. Angel and Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast get to their feet, and the Beast utters a spell: '... think therefore on revenge and cease to weep...' and the power-dampener collars around their necks fall to the ground, landing with a loud clank.
Bobby shifts to ice form, and Angel stretches his wings, cosmic fire glowing within them. 'Fire and ice, baby!' Iceman smiles, adding that sounds like the name of a really schmaltzy buddy cop TV show, and tells Warren that once they escape from the Horrible Prison of Horribleness, rget are getting an agent. The three young men turn as they hear a SHUNNNK – Jimmy's claws are tearing through the door, which falls to the ground, and he and Jean step into the cell. 'Miss us?' Jean asks. No one says anything, so Jean tells them that she is glad to see them all – before asking where Briar and Scott are.
'Where do you think he is?' the Beast frowns at Jean, who hangs her head. 'All right. Great. Bobby -' Jean begins, but Bobby already shifts to a large ice-form and tells Jean that she is way ahead of him. 'Let's go save Cyclops from his ex' Marvel Girl tells the others.
Back in the other chamber, Polaris slams Havok into another wall and tells him that she will let him in on a little secret – 'You always thought... between Magneto and me... I was the weakest. But you're going to want to rethink that'.
At the same time, Jean, Bobby, Hank, Warren and Jimmy fight their way through another group of Hellfire soldiers, while Jean announces that she is not picking up any of Cyclops' thought patterns. 'That means he's masked or -' Jean can't finish her sentence, as Jimmy assures her that Cyclops is alive.
Polaris stands over Havok and remarks that she would like to think she has beaten the evil out of him, but realizes Havok is too far gone for that. 'I'm not giving up on you, Alex. When you wake up, I hope you'll remember that' Lorna tells him.
'Briar -' Jean begins as she and the others enter the quarters that Briar was given earlier. 'Well, it's about time. All this comfort and luxury was starting to chafe' Briar smirks, before Jean announces that she is sensing Scott somewhere nearby.
Back outside, Danger states that she was programmed to challenge the X-Men when they were at their best. 'And you, Marrow, never really ranked, did you?' Danger remarks as she slams Marrow against a wall, telling her that her best efforts, if this pitiful attempt to try and stop her could be classified as such – is simply not good enough.
At that moment, a powerful red blast cuts through the X-Men and Briar Raleigh, knocking them to the ground.
Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane is outside, too, in her new wolfpack form, and approaches Danger – who turns as Polaris traps all of the wolves in a magnetic field. Danger points out that it appears Wolfsbane's powers have been altered since she last catalogued her abilities, and notes that she will be sure to upgrade her classification as “approaching adequate”.
'Wh – what hit us?' Beast asks as he and the others slowly gather themselves. 'Oh, no'. Jean utters, looking up, she sees the time-displaced Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops, more optic energy beams darting from his visor. Emma Frost stands behind him, and Xorn stands to Emma's left.
'I'll give you little ragamuffins a moment or two to wallow in your astonishment. Then I'll kindly have you surrender. Or we'll do away with you in a manner most final' Emma warns the X-Men. 'Scott!?' Jean calls out, horrified. 'Stars and garters!' the Beast gasps, while Angel urges Scott to fight this, whatever it is. 'Not cool' Iceman declares, while Jimmy mutters that this is gonna suck.
The young mutants prepare for battle, and the Beast tells them that Emma is controlling Scott, and possibly Xorn as well. He casts a spell and reports that he thinks he might be able to break her connection with a variation on an exorcism. 'Poor dear – you couldn't break my hold on them on your best day' Emma snaps, and tells the Beast that wielding magic means using your mind to warp primal forces. 'Good luck with that' she exclaims as she “emerges” as a psionic projection through the Beast's spell, causing the Beast to scream in agony.
Cyclops unleashes another powerful blast towards Jimmy and Angel, striking them, while Iceman, still in his large hulkish form, protects Briar as Xorn looms towards them. 'I thought you were some sort of pacifist good guy? YEOOW! This does not feel pacifistic!' Iceman exclaims as Xorn attacks him with an energy wave emitted from his mind. Iceman keels over, while Emma projects herself over him and tells him that the X-Men lost this battle the moment they set foot in New Tian – and that they are all going to fall, all going to see things her way. Angel fires some cosmic energy balls towards Xorn, and tells him that he didn't think he could be controlled. 'Doesn't that metal skull of yours protect you? Do you even have a solid brain inside that -' Angel begins, before he screams as Cyclops blasts dozens of short, sharp optic beams towards him. 'Cyclops! That's enough!' Marvel Girl calls out, as she enters Scott's mind.
Inside Scott's mind, Marvel Girl sees representations of Cyclops from different eras, while she telepathically tells her friend that Emma is messing with his head, using him like a puppet. Jean explains that Emma has got something bolstering her powers – she doesn't know what it is, but she can feel it. Marvel Girl tells Cyclops that she can't free him alone, that she needs him to fight this. 'She's making you attack your friends. You see that, right? You recognize us, don't you?' Marvel Girl calls out to Scott.
'No! You're an illusion! You can't be Jean!' Scott replies, announcing that his Jean is dead. 'And I...I'm alive... aren't I?' Scott asks.
'That's right' Emma call out telepathically as she reveals herself in Scott's mind, telling him that he is going to live again – that her memory of him will bring him back to them. She promises that Jean Grey is not going to stop them.
'You're rewriting his personality! You're trying to turn him into whatever idealized version of Cyclops you have running around in your head!' Jean declares. 'Yes, dear. Keep climbing into that lofty tower of yours' Emma tells Jean, adding that it will be easier to knock her down. 'You've changed the thoughts of those around you for as long as I've known you. I'm changing him into the man he is supposed to be... the man mutants need!' Emma declares, as Cyclops appears in agony. '... that I need' Emma adds, looking longingly at Cyclops.
Jean tells Emma that she knew that she was messed up, but that even she has to see how wrong this is. The projections of Cyclops close in around Emma, as Jean tells Emma that she gets that she loved Cyclops – but that this is not her Cyclops. 'He was a good man. I liked him. But he's gone and I'm sorry for that' Jean adds, telling Emma that she has got to let him go.
Emma clutches her head, and a small blue diamond shard appears, while Jean tells Emma that she is not going to let her take Scott. 'And you're not so lost that you can't see what you're doing is messed up' Jean remarks, adding that maybe Cyclops will grow into the man she wants him to be – but that she can't force it.
At the same time, outside of Cyclops' mind, Xorn touches his head, and realizes that Emma's concentration is breaking, that her hold over him is weakening.
'Lord, how I loathe you, Jean' Emma snarls at the young mutant, when suddenly, in reality, Cyclops tells Emma that she might want to shift to her diamond form, as he fires a powerful optic blast towards her at close range.
Emma shifts to her diamond form as the optic blast strikes her, and she slumps to the ground, while the young mutants turn and walk away from their former mentor. 'Just because I let you slip free of my control for now... doesn't mean I'm going to let you just waltz out of here. You're still enemies of the state' Emma calls out after them, but they don't respond to her. Emma glances towards Xorn, who tells her that he knows this moment is fleeting, and while he is able, he will refuse her commands as he sees fit.
'Up ahead, guys!' Angel calls out as he flies down a corridor, with the others running along underneath him. 'I see 'em! We're not out of the woods yet!' Jimmy exclaims as several Hellfire soldiers rush towards them, along with Mondo, Toad and Angelica Jones a.k.a. Firestar. 'We've still got a few trees to cut down!' Jimmy jokes. The Beast bounds onto a Hellfire soldier, then kicks the Toad in the face, telling him that he would love to stay and chat, to learn more about his secondary mutation, but that perhaps some other time would be more prudent. 'Out of the way, Treebeard!' Iceman declares as he slams his large ice-fist into Mondo. Firestar has fallen to the ground, and as the X-Men make their way along the corridor she reaches out to Angel, who looks back at her and tells her that she seems nice and all, and is hot – in more ways than one – but that they have got places to be and rebellions to foment. 'You ever want to catch dinner and a movie... look me up' Angel tells her.
The X-Men make their way outside, where Polaris and Danger are waiting for them. 'The X-Men have managed to escape their captors' Danger points out. 'You owe me $10, Danger' Polaris tells her former X-Factor teammate. 'Yes, passing marks all around' Danger replies, adding that she will settle her debt after they have reached a safe area, and shortly, the Blackbird takes off across the skies over New Tian.
'So... Magneto sent you to babysit us?' Bobby asks inside the Blackbird, which he then asks 'All this time, our Blackbird has been the Danger Room? We've been flying around inside your stomach or whatever?' Bobby enquires. Danger's voice can be heard, telling Iceman that she does not have a stomach as he understands it, before confirming that Magneto did ask Polaris and her to “babysit” them. Jean and Scott sit at the back of the plane, and telepathically communicate, with Jean asking Scott if he is all right, if he is with them now. Scott tells Jean that he is, but points out that this, how she is communicating with him, is different. Jean agrees, and points out that it is more effortless.
Marvel Girl continues, informing Cyclops that the White Queen had something enhancing her powers, some kind of psychic amplifier, and when they were in psi-space, she think some of it bled into their connection, making it permanent. 'You mean we can always hear each other's thoughts? This is gonna be awkward' Scott replies.
The Beast frowns and looks at Polaris, asking why Magneto would have Danger watch over them secretly – not to mention why he wouldn't tell them that his own daughter was also keeping tabs on them. Lorna informs Henry that they were monitoring them. 'Danger in her way, Briar in hers, and me in my own. We're not just here to pull your fat from the fire, you understand' Lorna announces. 'We're your teachers now' Briar declares. 'Teachers?' Scott and Jean exclaim to each other.
Meanwhile, within a base hidden in the Annamite Mountains, in Vietnam, Steve Rogers appears via a projector and tells Magneto that he does not like these reports he is hearing out of New Tian, and adds that he thought they had an understanding. Magneto stands defiantly and tells Captain America that he has honored their agreement, and that he cannot be responsible for the actions of the X-Men. 'They are acting without sanction' Magneto declares, to which Rogers remarks that he finds that hard to believe. 'This isn't what we talked about. You were going into retirement' Rogers reminds Magneto, adding that he was going to need to eliminate him. 'If you could accomplish that, Captain... you wouldn't have struck a bargain with me in the first place' Magneto scowls, suggesting that Captain America take care with his threats – for if the X-Men were acting in accordance with his wishes, he would hate for them to turn their attention away from New tian, and toward the blasphemy tha is called Hydra's America.
'... and what about Xorn?' Havok asks Emma as they descend a long, winding flight of stairs. Emma assures Havok that Xorn is under control once more, although her hold is fractured at best – even with the added power of the Cosmic Cube fragment, she can't keep him reigned in for long. 'Not that it matters. New Tian is on borrowed time. We both know it' Emma remarks, adding that soon, it will be just as ruined as the Atlantean spire that keeps Utopia afloat.
Two figures emerge from the shadows, one of them announcing that it is all coming apart, but that it has given them what they needed for the time being – this “mutant homeland” has served its purpose – they are Bastion and Miss Sinister!
Havok then reports that they have enough raw materials to test their findings, and that they can move on to stage two. 'We're taking Mothervine global!'