The Beast stands outside the ruins of the Xavier Institute with Wolverine. He thinks to himself “I loved you once. So I thought I’d come and say goodbye.” Logan has driven the Beast there and asks Hank if he’d like him to wait. Hank replies that this will take a while so Logan decides to be on his way. He tells Hank to stay in touch and the Beast assures him he will since Logan is the only person on the planet who can make his own hairstyle look like a popular trend. The two mutants shake hands and Logan leaves.
Hank makes his way inside, surveying the damage and considering how much this place has been through over the years. He is thankful that most of his own work was conducted in the sub-basements which were spared much of the destruction.
He passes through the security measures designed to safeguard this area and looks about at the chaos, wondering where to begin. He eyes the file cabinets filled with student records and decides that the answer is obvious: Start with destruction because it’s the easiest thing to do. He fires up a laser-enhanced wastebasket and proceeds to incinerate student records amassed over the last decade. As he gathers them, he marvels at the minute details explained about each individual and how their powers worked and developed. He thinks that someday there may be another place like this and he may be a part of it, too. But for those who have passed – Doug, Illyana, Jay, Callie, Sarah – he believes that no one has a right to see their inner workings laid bare. He takes the ashes of these files above ground and says a prayer to “Newton’s god and Einstein’s and my own, for the soul of Charles Xavier.” He then scatters the ashes to the wind.
Having done this, McCoy turns to the undignified job of cleaning up the ruins. He sifts through it looking for Sentinel tech and other equipment that should not be left unattended. He finally makes his way to his own room, having built himself up to finding the shattered remains of his life at the Institute. He realizes that the items he finds may be trivial, but they are the remnants of his early life. He notes that his life was erased once and reset and these items from before that hold special value to him. Among them is a photo of him in a football uniform and another with his parents. He finds a battered guitar and it reminds him of aspirations he never quite achieved.
Dr. McCoy then makes his way to his lab. In addition to things that must be destroyed, there are also things that must be preserved at all costs. He forwards the anti-viral formula for the Legacy Virus to five academics and scientists whose ethics he trusts to insure that it is never lost, regardless of his own fate. This leaves only one task. He opens a specially designed case that houses the mutant brain of Martha Johansson. He asks how she’s doing and makes sure that she isn’t too lonely. He informs her that they are moving to new quarters and though he isn’t sure where exactly, he has heard the climate will be pleasant.
He closes up Martha’s case and the few items he has gathered. He then takes a final walk down the classroom block, imagining how it looked before. He realizes that every inch holds a memory and a piece of him. He comes to the Danger Room and sets down his things. He leaps into the air, bounding around the remains of the Danger Room with a joyous smile on his furred face. This was his way of saying farewell to this place that shaped him in so many ways.
His tasks complete, Beast thinks to himself “The last box ticked. The last door bolted behind me. The lights all turned off and the chairs neatly stacked on the tables. Let it go.” He places a sign that says “No Admittance” on the front gate. As he walks away, he thinks “Tomorrow’s another day” but realizes that he has it on pretty good authority that tomorrow never comes.
Illyana remembers that as a child, she was not very patient. She recalls running to her father in the fields, asking insistently when she would be able to drive the tractor and work in the fields like him. When her brother Piotr left to join the X-Men, she asked when they might join him and asked if she too would have powers. Her father would reply “Every seed knows its time, Little Snowflake.” He would then look at his pocket watch and stare at it, as if hoping that he could slow the passage of time or perhaps turn it back somehow.
The Darkchylde stares down at the amulet containing a single Bloodstone. It looks eerily like the pocket watch her father had and reminds her of the years she has lost in Limbo. She fingers the Bloodstone and says to herself that it would only take four more to get her soul—and her life—back. “But at what cost!?!” she shouts, as she places the medallion around her neck. She realizes that she cannot think like that! Too many lives have already been ruined by the medallion and the dark magicks necessary to create it. She is determined to find another way that does not require others to suffer as she has. She refuses to become like the demon master who destroyed her youth… Belasco!
She gestures at a mirror entwined in the wall of her sanctum and a vision of Belasco appears. She shouts his name and tells him that he has failed in his attempts to mold her to his desires and steal her soul. With a wave of her hand, she dismisses the image. She says to her former master that she “remembers who I was. Who I am.” In the mirror, she sees an image of herself in her old New Mutants uniform. She adds “Who I love” and the image changes to show her brother Piotr and her best friend, Kitty Pryde. She reaches out to the images and apologizes to “her brother” that she sent him away like she did. She tells “him” that she couldn’t face the two of them like this. She begins to cry and tells “him” that this is what she is for now and she knows that he will be able to look past it because he loves her. She opens a stepping disc and says that she knows that they will help make her feel human again. She hesitates for a moment before deciding to step through. She says that this is the first step and “To reclaim my soul, I first have to reclaim my heart.”
Illyana arrives at the Xavier Institute, only to find it in ruins. She calls out for Piotr and Kitty only to find that no one is there. Amidst the ruins, she finds a smashed bed that may have once been hers. She recalls a happy moment before her time in Limbo.
Kitty has just read her a story and she is snuggled in bed with a stuffed animal. She begs Kitty and Piotr not to leave and Piotr tells her not to worry “We will never leave you.”
The Darkchilde falls to her knees in anguish and chides herself for coming there. She apologizes to Kitty and Piotr, wherever they may be, and says that she just can’t be a part of their world yet. She rises and says “How could I have been so stupid?!” Tears stream down her face as she decides that she can’t get her soul back through love, only through suffering. She vows that those who have wronged her will pay with their souls no matter how long it takes her. She gazes upon the four empty spaces on the Bloodstone medallion and says “For as my father taught me… every seed knows its time.”
The planet Kr’kn lies on the very fringes of the Shi’ar empire. It is here that the newly installed Shi’ar emperor, Gabriel Summers AKA Vulcan has imprisoned his brother, Alex and his fellow Starjammers. Alex sits huddled into the corner of his cell in a prison at the bottom of Kr’kn’s ocean. He’s been told that he is twenty miles down. He is completely cut off from the sun with no light, very little food and almost total isolation. Havok thinks to himself that he shouldn’t be there, that he should be studying geology in the Arizona mountains not the leader of band of mutants and aliens.
Alex’s thoughts are interrupted by the screams of his fellow Starjammers. He can hear the loud cries of Ch’od and Raza and the stifled pain of his long-time paramour, Lorna Dane. He knows that Polaris is trying to contain her anguished cries because they want him to hear her pain. His captors know that hearing her being tortured will tear Alex up inside and it does, “Every time. Every day.” Alex covers his ears in a vain attempt to shut out their screams. He thinks that he’s a failure as a soldier and a leader and has nothing left. He covers his eyes and says over and over “Let them go”. Alex calls out to Lorna, feeling helpless to save her without access to the cosmic source of his powers. He blames himself for dragging Polaris into this interstellar quest to stop his mad brother.
As he wallows in his despair, a holographic image of Vulcan appears in his room and declares that he brings “news from home.” Alex immediately launches into a plea to release the others. Vulcan smiles and says condescendingly, “Oh my. Tell me you’re not broken already?” He tells Alex that he’s embarrassed for him but feels he has the right to know what their brother, Scott has done in their absences.
He tells Alex of the birth of the first mutant child since M-Day. He shows him images of the Purifiers efforts to destroy the child to Alex’s shock and dismay. He explains that Cyclops sent the X-Men against all those who sought the child and how he formed a “death squad” to hunt down the Purifiers and their allies. Images of the X-Men in combat and Wolverine fighting Lady Deathstrike flood the room. The next images are of Cable with the child and Vulcan smugly explains how their nephew betrayed the X-Men and kidnapped the child. Next he shows Bishop in grips of the madness that overcame him when he learned of this child’s existence. Vulcan gloats that the X-Men fell and that he got his greatest wish: Charles Xavier’s death! His words are accompanied by images of the demolished Xavier Institute and Xavier’s corpse. Alex can’t believe this and tells his youngest to shut up. Vulcan then lies and tells Alex that the baby the X-Men had pinned their hopes to was killed as well.
Alex is overwhelmed by all that he has heard but then begins to laugh. Vulcan asks why he’s laughing and if he realizes that he now has nothing left. He angrily declares “I’ve won, damn you!” He says that Alex and his friends will die here. Alex sits coldly silent. Vulcan asks if he’s listening and Alex replies “I hear you.” Alex repeats what he’s been told: “Xavier’s dead. The X-Men disbanded” but explains to his younger sibling that it doesn’t matter. The point of the story is that a new mutant was born, life perseveres and all hope is not lost. If this child was born, then another mutant will be born eventually. Alex tells Vulcan that as long as he lives, he knows that he’ll someday find a way to freedom and to him. As he says this, he begins to power up and then punches the wall with incredible force. He tells his baby brother that their battle isn’t over until they stand face-to-face and he rips his heart out!
Forge is recovering from the major injuries he sustained when Bishop attacked him. He thinks to himself that when one is recuperating from an injury and fading in and out of reality, they sometimes fixate on a single thought or idea. He has been experiencing this since Bishop’s attack. Everywhere he looks he sees a particular electronic pattern. He turns it over and over in his mind, trying to hold onto it. His head is bandaged and the damaged area now contains some cybernetic components.
He is obsessing over components that deal with time travel that Cable had brought back from the future. Forge was reverse engineering these just prior to Bishop’s unexpected assault. Bishop shot Forge and he sustained some brain damage from the resulting fall. This has left some gaps in his memory. He is tired of being confined to the hospital and starts to dress himself. He thinks that perhaps if he can reconstruct these devices he might be able to help change things, even correct the mistakes of the past.
Forge returns to his home at Eagle Plaza in Dallas. The place was a mess, the damage from Bishop’s “visit” still apparent. He recalls how he had left his defenses down and Bishop had taken full advantage of it. He remembers Bishop bursting into his lab, his right arm having just been gnawed off by Predator X during the X-Men’s final conflict to claim the newly born mutant child. Bishop blasted Forge, sending him slamming into one of his work stations. Forge grabbed a gun hidden under the desktop and asked Bishop not to do this. Bishop replied that he had no choice and fired a second blast of energy that nearly tears off Forge’s arm. He then charged the Maker and subdued him.
Forge awoke a good while later in a pool of his own blood. He had sustained a head injury when he fell. Despite this he immediately began to search his lab to find out what Bishop had taken. Two things were missing: a powerful robotic arm and every scrap of research and work he had done on Cable’s time travel devices. Seeing what was lost, Forge grabs a metal implement and frantically tried to recreate his notes on the temporal devices from memory by scrawling them into the floor. He was determined not to let his ideas slip away.
But they did. Days later, he had still been unable to recreate all the notes that he’d lost. He decides that perhaps there is something in the very nature of time travel that makes the ideas elusive. He decides that while he might not be able to change the past of the future, he could protect the present. He seals himself in his lab and sets about a new task: improving his home’s defensive systems. His new obsession is ensuring that he would be safe and undisturbed as he tries to process through the ideas that seem to overflow from his mind. As he gets to work on the detailed defense system plans, his eyes grow wide with an expression of crazed determination.
Danielle Moonstar sits on the porch of her cabin in Colorado drinking coffee and watching the sun set. She is pleased that the days are getting longer as she feels she’s had enough darkness in her life. She rises and heads to her computer where there is an article about the X-Men disbanding. She chuckles and says to herself “Yeah, like we’ve really heard the last from them…”
Suddenly the door shatters amidst an electrified explosion. Surge stands in the doorway much to Dani’s surprise. Electricity surrounds Nori as she hurriedly apologizes to Dani. Speaking at an accelerated rate, she explains that she ran all the way there and didn’t know where else to go. She tells Dani that she needs her help before she collapses from overexertion.
The next morning, Dani tells Nori to wake up and asks what is going on. She tells Nori that things must be really bad for her to run all the way to Colorado and asks if Emma Frost had anything to do with this. Nori says that she’s to blame. She begins to cry and says that she just can’t take the pressure anymore. Dani tries to comfort Nori and asks how she could have had anything to do with the X-Men disbanding. Surge clarifies that she’s talking about the New X-Men and that she failed her friends. She tells Dani that they were wrong to make her the team leader and that she doesn’t have it in her. She adds that she doesn’t know how to live with herself anymore. Dani tells Nori that she’s starting to scare her and suggests that she get dressed and join her outside.
Nori joins Dani and the two walk along the bluffs near Dani’s cabin. Dani asks what happened and Nori replies glibly “We fought the bad guys and won.” She goes on to vent about how despite their victories or what incredible odds they overcome, they never truly win. Dani replies that this comes hand-in-hand with being an X-Man and that you have to learn to accept the sacrifices. Nori gets angry and says that this isn’t what she wants to hear from Dani. She then unleashes a burst of electrical power as she demands to know how Dani can be so calm after all she’s been through. Dani asks if she feels better and says that sometimes you need to just let it all out. She then asks Nori what’s really bothering her.
Nori thinks back on all that has occurred since she arrived at the Xavier Institute. She tells Dani that she feels empty inside, the way she felt before she came to the school. Back then, she used drugs to deal with the pain her powers caused her. Now she knows that you can’t really kill the pain you feel, only hide it. After seeing a bus full of her friends explode, her fear of pain began to rule her life. She drove away those close to her and isolated herself from anyone who might eventually hurt her. But her actions cost her and her team when she decided to hunt down the Purifiers. Her teammate Hellion was nearly killed by Lady Deathstrike as a result. Nori now knows that she can’t run or hide from her pain because it always finds a way to come back and haunt her.
Dani tells Nori that she’s not the only one who has suffered, as she thinks back on all the heartache and pain she has endured. She tells Nori that she chose to face her demons and fight them but that ultimately you can’t avoid the pain life throws at you. She tells her honestly that life can strip away all that you care about but that you can’t let the pain control you. Instead, she has used it to make her stronger and through that strength they learn how to deal with life’s pain.
Nori doesn’t like what she’s hearing “Deal with it” and “Whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” She tells Dani “Gee… thanks Wolverine.” Dani gets angry and tells her to let her finish. She tells Nori that having the inner strength to deal with the pain doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t inflict some of their own once in a while. She explains that she shouldn’t be afraid to channel her pain and use it for her own ends. She asks Nori to follow her as they reach the top of the bluff. She tells her to taker a look at what gets her through everyday no matter how painful. The two look out over the valley as the sun rises.
Dani explains that there are cyclical patterns to life and that from her point of view and that of her people, pain can lead to healing. Everything is intertwined: good and evil, life and death. No matter what happens on any given day, the sun will rise again the next morning and you will have another chance. Nori looks out at the sunrise and thanks Dani for trying to help. However, she tells her that there’s one thing she’s forgetting “The sun also sets.”