In the quarry, the five X-Men suddenly find themselves face to face with a mass of metallic debris, the shape of which vaguely resembles Magneto. A Magneto robot! Iceman shouts. Beast corrects him that robots require servos and hydraulics. This appears to be a collective of that metal scrap pile held by magnetic force. It’s the ghost of Magneto! Bobby corrects himself.
Does that mean he guessed right? Jean asks Cyclops. They don’t exactly know what became of Magneto, Scott admits. Perhaps his essence has become dispersed through space and he’s attempting to… rebuild himself… now a truly electromagnetic being. That explanation takes too long, don’t like it, Warren decides.
He’s got another idea, Cyclops announces, noting the creature reforming an appendage into a mace. “Move!” he shouts as the creature brings the mace down. Flying next to it, Angel tries to divert its attention: Follow the handsome bird-man… you are getting sleepy… Okay, he’s wide open, he announces, allowing Cyclops a clear shot at the thing.
Only scrap metal is left. The others congratulate Scott, only Beast points at a floating gadget and remarks that, unless Sir Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation does not apply to this quarry, which is possible since the Mad Thinker used to live here, he posits that their marionette menace has not been disposed of.
As the thing reforms before them, Bobby remarks that Hank hasn’t spouted out a stuffy sentence like that in a couple of years. Hank apologizes. He sometimes lapses into the old overly proper and formal verbiage. It wasn’t that proper, Jean remarks. He ended in a preposition. Okay, he correct himself, the menace hasn’t been disposed of, yet.
Winter’s coming early this year, Bobby quips at the junkheap that walks like a man and ices up. Cyclops orders him to freeze it. Iceman complies but predicts he knows where this is going. He puts the bad guy / monster / robot / alien in the biggest glacier he can make, then Warren and he high-five while the ice is already cracking and then boom, he /it/ whatever busts out, looking all tough at his expense while all the rest of them think dag, Bob’s ice sucks.
However, the ice doesn’t crack. And they don’t call him “Bob” in their heads, Jean adds. It’s still Bobby.
Iceman and Angel high-five. Looking good, Angel remarks while Hank forms a theory about Magneto and antimatter. Bobby begins that it’s just part of getting older. He’s really gotten the hang of his powers in the past few years… He taps his ice. It’s all about density. You can compact the ice more if you do it a lot of thin layers. Well, he means he can, not them.
As Hank suggests Magneto imprinted his electromagnetic force on timespace itself, Cyclops interrupts – it’s not over. The creature has rebuilt itself out of more junk.
Jean suddenly steps in front of the others, shouting she is going to take this walking pile down. The others cheer her on. She tries to make him fall, but nothing happens, except that it stops for a moment, then Hank smashes it with a giant electromagnetic crane.
Iceman admits he should have thought of driving that thing over sooner. But could he have hotwired the ignition? Beast asks. He guesses that’s why Hank has a job lined up already. The crane releases its magnetism and drops the remains of the scrap creature into a crevice, smashing apart.
The crisis averted, the Beast notes Jean’s odd demeanor and asks if she’s okay. Replying that she is, Jean also wonders what just happened with her. She feels drained by the battle.
That moment, Xavier telepathically contacts them. Why is there a large hole in the Danger Room wall and why are they at this quarry and who forgot to lock Cerebro’s hatch? They’ll explain it when they are at home, Cyclops promises. Adding to this, Angel tattles that Bobby was the last one out!
Back in the den, in normal clothes, Xavier gets filled in. And they believe Juggernaut intervened during Frederick’s attack? Xavier asks. He didn’t think that was as weird as Magneto somehow turning up like a ghost, Warren remarks. Jean adds she was still out of it when the Juggernaut showed up, but something about the way the metal giant stood just felt like Magneto.
Plus it was rusty, Bobby adds, and he’s not sure he’s up to date on his tetanus shots. They continue that, after they dropped the metal down the pit, it didn’t form a body anymore. Perhaps it can only manifest for a certain time.
Changing subjects, the Professor is reminded that he never said where he’s been for the past week when they couldn’t get in touch. He was visiting an old colleague in Scotland, comparing research, Xavier replies evasively. Does his old colleague wear perfume perhaps? Jean teases. He shoots her a withering glare.
As he was saying, Xavier continues, they no doubt noticed some surprises in the latest Danger Room session. They were kind of wondering why he was trying to kill them, sure, Bobby admits.
Now watch, this is where the agitation begins, a new voice interjects to none in the conversation, You started talking about the future. The source of the voice is a costumed Cyclops, who stands unseen next to his past self sitting on the couch in civilian clothes. Likewise, the rest of the team, except for Jean, stands costumed and unseen “outside” of their past selves. Xavier also stands next to his past self, who is relegated to the wheelchair.
The past, wheelchair-bound Xavier tells his contemporary students that he designed those latest threat modules in the pattern of past foes partially to remind them of how far they’ve come… and to push them beyond tactical coordination and reflexive fighting. He should have been doing more of that to prepare them, but those modules require much time to devise and they’ve had to compete their course work as well. He hardly needs to remind them that they are mere days away from their official graduation… they haven’t really discussed what lies beyond that.
It has weighed on their minds, past-Hank admits. Xavier muses he had hoped to take some time off this summer to better plan the next stage of the school. They’ve met some mutants with potential as future X-Men and, with recent improvements in Cerebro, he has become aware of others around the world he wishes to approach.
He has concluded that continuing Gifted Youngsters as an accredited school will be too tasking for the years to come. He’d close the school? Warren asks.
Does he really sound like that? outside-Angel asks disgusted.
Only as it relates to college matriculation, Xavier clarifies. The focus would be largely on honing skills for combat and rescue – for future X-Men to be the best trained agent of change… Super heroes, Bobby bursts out. Fine, super heroes, Xavier amends.
Aw man, he wishes it had been that way when they started, both “inside” and “outside” Bobby say. Oh sorry to repeat, outside-Bobby the remarks.
He wishes he could give all mutants the education they had, but it’s a changing world, Xavier continues. Cerebro predicts larger waves of mutants manifesting in the next few years – just what the public fears. He had hoped the world at large would embrace them, but events have not gone that way.
As X-Men, Jean stresses. Meaning? Xavier asks. Ever since the Maximoffs left Magneto and were accepted into the Avengers, the public loves them, she explains. Because Captain America, Bobby points out.
She means, does it matter what they are called? Shouldn’t they try to do whatever works to show people that mutants can be a force for good? Xavier admits that this is a topic he and his colleague discussed much this past week. Long into the night, Bobby adds, jokingly.
Chiding Bobby, Xavier then admits he agrees with Jean’s opinion. If they have to spread themselves around to gain the world’s trust, then that is what they do. Obviously it’s their … They may not want to continue with this lifestyle at all.
Oh, they are still fighting evil, at least he is, Angel assures him.
Outside Angel groans. He thought he sounded cool!
Hank agrees as do the others. Xavier continues it would help him if one or two were to stay on here to help him with new members. Dude! Warren whispers at Scott.
Suddenly, there is a rumbling noise outside. Xavier, however, detects nothing. Outside Cyclops asks if this could affect them. It could, outside Xavier tells them and orders them to move back.
The Juggernaut returns, covered in flames and smashing through the wall.
The outside X-Men remark this part will end in seconds. Did they see enough? outside Cyclops asks. They have to go deeper, outside Xavier remarks.
Cyclops fires an optic blast at Juggernaut who disappears. As Bobby puts the fire out. They notice Jean was knocked out and hit her head. Xavier orders Angel to bring the portable med-unit.
Later in the medlab, Hank announces she only has a concussion. Not really lucky for Jean, Warren remarks. That’s twice she’s been knocked for a loop in thirty-six hours. Bobby notes this is weird and since when does Juggernaut keep doing drive-bys?
That was not Cain Marko, Xavier informs them. He knows when he is around and that thing was not him. It seemed alive, but not.
Warren notices Scott is pensive. What does he know? he asks. Uh Third, Scott does not have the answers, Bobby informs him. He’s sitting on something, Warren insists. What’s bugging him? Scott finally admits he thinks he knows what’s attacking them. It’s not Juggernaut or Magneto… it’s Jean!
Scott, look out! Jean cries and Scott Summers hits the brakes. In front of them on the lonely street stands the Man-Thing. As they get out of the car, Scott notes that they saw him in the Florida Everglades. What’s he doing here?
Suddenly, Jean sees two shadows disappearing in the night. He left some people behind. That’s how he got here, Scott surmises, looking at a swirling opening in space. He came through one of the portals they went through. Remember how the professor said the swamp was some space / time gateway?
Let’s go have a look, Jean suggests. Is she sure? Scott hesitates. They didn’t see a lot of good things last time. The Man-Thing looks around and doesn’t seem too happy. Jean assures him they just want another peek at things, the future maybe.
Scott warns her that his touch burns. At fear, she corrects him and high-fives the Man-Thing. No burning (at which she feels somewhat relieved). He guesses she passed the swamp monster test, Scott remarks as the Man-Thing points inside the opening of the swirling portal. He wonders what he wants to show them.
They come closer and see themselves with a new team of X-Men. Is this the X-Men of the future? Scott wonders, recognizing only Banshee, while Jean marvels at her Phoenix-self. She can fly! And there’s another girl on the team! She states excited.
Who’s that short guy, Scott remarks, immediately taking a dislike to Wolverine. Jean remarks she’s not too far off from that now. She can hover pretty well. He can see his uniform hasn’t changed much, Scott observes. He kind of likes hers. Though there’s no chance for an accidental skirt-flash with that one. Jean playfully elbows him.
The Man-Thing points them to another vision, so they don’t see the X-Men vision changing to one where Dark Phoenix attacks Cyclops.
Scott wonders what becomes of the rest of the team. He hopes they are not replaced because… they…
What they get to see instead, though, is that Angel and Iceman are part of another superhero team, the Champions. Scott is relieved, but he doesn’t see Hank. Maybe he’s just retiring from heroing. Jean hopes so, but what if…?
The Man Thing thinks for a moment then has an idea. He shows them a vision of he Avengers, led by Captain America. Cap is giving an interview, talking about the new additions to the team like Ms Marvel, Falcon and the Beast.
The two are pleased that their friend is okay (not realizing that the blue furry creature at the far behind of the Avengers group is Beast) and that the rest of them are spreading the wealth around like Wanda did. And it works.
Show’s over, Scott guesses as the portal collapses. What a great gift though, Jean remarks. Knowing they’ll all go on to do what they love. And be with the ones they love…
Gulp, well, yeah Scott admits. He means, yes! The Man-Thing lets them out on a bluff way above their car. Jean gives him a kiss and thanks him for letting them see all that. It waves at them and leaves, apparently wanting them to keep watching. They get comfortable and watch a last vision of their old team.