Wearing a blackish suit with an red X symbol like the other X-Men, Logan mutters he swore he’d never wear another #*//% costume. Armor helpfully points out that it’s a Forge-designed tactical field outfit for the Negative Zone. Costume, he corrects her. Storm chimes in that the suits have universal translators, which might be helpful. Ink, however, points out that the aliens spoke a dialect the translator can’t process. One problem at a time, Logan replies.
They are joined by Dr. Adam Brashear aka the Blue Marvel, who shows them their ship – a Negative Zone exploratory module he based off on Reed Richards’ designs. He begins to warn them about the Negative Zone but Logan interrupts; the brains said that’s where the attack came from. That’s where they are going. Brashear continues the module is programmed with the telemetry that Forge traced their targets back to. This should put them down right outside the source. After thanking him, the X-Men enter the module and soon it energizes.
In the infirmary of the Xavier Institute, Amara Aquila remarks she cannot believe this is happening again. It wasn’t even a month ago that Rachel was lying in this same bed. She expresses hope that Dr. Cecilia Reyes can nurse her back to health again, as she did before. Cecilia corrects her. Before, it was Rachel’s mind that was hurt and she pulled herself back. This time Rachel’s body is broken. Perhaps beyond Cecila’s capability to heal…
The planet Dartayus in the Negative Zone:
Kitty Pryde finds herself a prisoner on her knees, her arms shackled behind her back, her power neutralized. She lives, a voice remarks. Creepy new guy, she greets Kologoth. He picked up some English, she remarks. He observed much, is his reply, including her name, which leaves Kitty speechless for once. He grabs her face in his clawed hand as he continues, the masked one deployed technology like this against her to keep her from phantasming. Phasing, she corrects.
Kologoth continues. It was not his intention to take prisoners. She and her friend –referring to Nightcrawler – were victims of circumstance. Swell, then let them go, Kitty suggests.
How long did they intend to keep him prisoner? Kologoth shoots back. They tried communicating with him, Kitty begins. He cuts her off: They would have left him to rot in that glass cage. He owes her and her friend the same hospitality. She demands to know where Kurt is, but receives no answer.
Twenty meters below:
Kurt Wagner is sitting in a cell, meditating. A simple but effective prison, he figures. No openings, no windows, no doors. No glimpse of the outside world. If he teleported, he’d do so blind. And risk rematerializing in solid matter. Doctor Doom held him captive in this manner once. Attempting to escape nearly killed him. Dare he defy fate again?
Meanwhile, the others are experiencing a rough ride. Ink complains somewhat, only to be informed how little Logan cares. They land with a bang. Logan orders them to open the hatch. Colossus observes that Brashear planned to have them land outside the source. He thinks his math was a bit off. They landed in the middle of a building. The frightened natives watch them then make a run for it.
Armor points out they weren’t afraid of the X-Men but of the flying warriors in in the sky. Armed guards appear on the ground and soon the two groups trade blows and shots. Logan begins to order Ink and Storm to get them out but is shot first.
Storm immediately throws lightning bolts at his attackers. Colossus orders Ink to fly him upwards, while Armor pretty much just stands around being armored.
Ink flies him upward above the small fliers and asks if they are taking sides. They are defending themselves, Colossus replies, lands on a flier and proceeds to destroy it. The pilot asks him to cease. They have no quarrel with them. Colossus is taken aback - the alien speaks English! He speaks 862 tongues, the pilot snaps, and they are in the middle of a combat zone! They hadn’t noticed, Ink states sarcastically. The pilot announces they’ll rout this rabble and then they will talk.
A little later, the X-Men are gathered in the parliament, the seat of power on Dartayus. One of the aliens, a general, explains that their foe’s name is Kologoth, a base criminal grown to would-be dictator. They resisted and cast him out. To Earth! Ink snarls. Thanks a helluva lot!
The general continues that Kologoth’s forces waged war in his absence and in his name. Their world teeters on the brink. Logan guesses it’s their lucky day then. Kologoth has their friends and they aim to get them back. And probably take care of their little Kologoth problem in the process, Armor adds.
The general points out that Kologoth has gone to ground. He strikes from secret. They know not where. Storm asks Logan for a second in private. They throw the general out and Logan asks Ink to psilink them. Storm points out they are in the middle of a civil war. They can’t take sides based on whom they met first. Logan stubbornly replies he ain’t looking to take sides. He just wants to get their people back.
Armor suggests psi-scanning the general to see if he is telling the truth. However, Ink admits that his psi-powers are too low-level for this. Colossus agrees with Logan, they are here to get their friends, not get involved in politics. Which leaves them with the question where Kologoth is hiding, Logan states.
In the temple of Scythian, one of his men informs Kologoth that their soldiers failed and have already taken their lives in penance. He adds that the Earthers were there. They have come for their friends. Inconvenient, Kologoth admits. They cannot risk anything at this stage. He gives the order to contact the Earthers and tell them they will return their comrades. They are an unstable element in the equation. And nothing must stop his rise...
In his cell, Nightcrawler has decided not to wait for whatever his captors have in store. If he is to die, it will be from a method of his choosing, and so he teleports blindly into the air and materializes right in part of the statue of Scythian atop the temple…