The headquarters of the Acolytes, where currently, Professor Charles Xavier, once the world’s foremost telepath, and founder of the Uncanny X-Men lies on a cold slab of steel. His long-time friend / enemy Magneto stands over him. ‘So here we are again, Charles. As always’. Magneto remarks. Magneto adds that if a man’s mortal enemy is his running mate, then in some sense, and his status reflects on his own, then they both come out of this badly. ‘Me powerless, you brain-dead’ the former Master of Magnetism points out. “We are not now that strength which in old days moved Earth and Heaven” he quotes.
Noticing someone standing in the shadows, Magneto realizes that it is Karima Shapandar a.k.a. Omega Sentinel, and tells her that this is not a spectator sport, nor a public recitation. He tells her to come out where he can see her, so Karima does, apologizing and claiming that she didn’t mean to eavesdrop. ‘No? Then what?’ Magneto asks. Karima replies that she only wanted to ensure the safety of both Xavier and Magneto, and suggests that it might help if he think of her as a mechanism rather than an audience.
‘You stopped being that on Genosha’ Magneto retorts. Karima remains stone-faced, ‘Yes, thanks to you, and to Professor Xavier’ she replies, asking if Magneto thinks the Professor can hear them. Magneto frowns, ‘You ask me that?’ he replies, asking Karima if there isn’t enough Sentinel left in her to detect a mutant’s brain activity. Karima walks over to Xavier and remarks that there is something, certainly, telling Magneto that when Xavier hears his voice there is a response - neurons fire and chemical concentrations shift, albeit minutely. ‘You’re doing something. I just can’t tell whether it’s good or bad’ Karima declares. ‘Yes. That’s always been the problem…’ Magneto replies.
(In Flashback / Inside Xavier’s Mind)
‘Only you and your X-Men stand between mutants and world conquest! Why do you fight us?!’ Magneto exclaimed, long ago. Flanked by his young students, Xavier replied that he seeks to save mankind, not destroy it. ‘We must use our powers to bring about a golden age on Earth - side by side with ordinary humans!’.
Later, Magneto told Xavier that he was too naive, too trusting. ‘You have faith in the essential goodness of man’. Xavier asked if the future of homo-superior must be written in blood and fire, pointing out that the Earth has seen far too much of that.
Another time, ‘There has to be a better way. And I intend to find it!’ Xavier boasted to Magneto.
Again, another time, Magneto confronted Xavier, flanked by even more X-Men this time. ‘I am needed!’ Magneto boasted, his magnetic powers crackling in the air. ‘To lead our people to a better world! I’ve returned to offer you an alternative to the genocide of our race. I’m here to offer you…salvation!’ Magneto declared, before destroying Xavier’s chair with his energy. Magneto reminded Xavier how not long ago, he tried walking his path, and asked ‘Do you have the courage to do what I have done? Are you willing to walk down my path, for a time?’.
‘Perhaps before you die you will realize what I have always known. That the weak have virtually no chance of inheriting the Earth’. Magneto declared. ‘Weakness, Erik - has always been a matter of perspective’ Xavier replied calmly. ‘You can’t see? After all these years - do you still not understand?’ Xavier exclaimed, his voice getting angrier.
Time shifts, Xavier attacked Magneto with a telepathic blast, ‘Your dream, Magneto, cannot endure. Because it will forever be tainted by the blood of those you’ve sacrificed along the way - under the pretence that it was somehow necessary!’. ‘Oh, Charles, how far you’ve fallen. How very far…’ Magneto whispered, before collapsing, his son Quicksilver and two X-Men present.
(Present / Reality)
‘Which of you was right?’ Karima asks. ‘What?’ Magneto replies. ‘The argument between the two of you has eaten up your whole lives. I’m only asking - who do you think won?’ Karima exclaims. ‘Perhaps you should ask him’ Magneto retorts. Karima remarks that she would love to have the chance, to which Magneto suggests they do it - roust Xavier from the safe little haven he has built for himself inside his own mind. Omega Sentinel asks Magneto if he thinks he can do that, to which Magneto replies ‘No, Sentinel. But I believe we can’.
Elsewhere in Acolyte headquarters, Marshall Evanstone the Third, better known as Random, a former associate of the Government’s old X-Factor team, motions to the balcony where Magneto and Omega Sentinel are and remarks that they are still going strong up there. Exodus, leader of the Acolytes, replies that it is possible that Magneto, addressing him by his true name, Erik Lehnsherr, will succeed where he has failed, and bring Xavier out of his comatose state. Joanna “Frenzy” Cargill reclines in a chair, while the classy Amelia Voght stands sullen, arms folded across her front.
‘Erik? You mean Magneto?’ Random replies. Exodus replies that he means what he says, and that Magneto died in the Decimation, when his powers were taken. Angry, Exodus exclaims that this human is not Magneto, but the shell that was left when Magneto was taken from them. ‘And if I hear that name spoken again, I will consider it a blasphemy!’ he warns his followers.
Exodus turns away, so Random goes over to Amelia and remarks that he is clearly missing something here. Amelia tells Marshall to imagine that he were a Christian, and that Christ was reborn, only to declare that he had become a Satanist. ‘Magneto becoming human was like that, for some of us’, she explains. Frenzy points out that if that did happen, you would still have the Bible. ‘And a bad preacher can still give a good sermon’ she adds. Amelia replies that she supposes so, ‘But I don’t see what you -’ she begins, until Joanna interrupts her, exclaiming that Magneto’s gospel was always clear on one point - you do what you need to do to ensure mutant survival - mutant dominance. ‘Nothing outweighs that’ she states.
Frenzy asks why they are all playing nursemaid to the man who stopped Magneto from putting mutants on top back when he still had the power to do it. ‘The man who aborted Magneto’s dream before it could be born?’. ‘These are new times. Perhaps new dreams’ Amelia replies. Frenzy turns and walks away. ‘”New dreams?”, Feels more like I’m eating someone’s cold leftovers’. she snaps. ‘Joanna -’ Amelia begins, but Frenzy tells her to leave it, and angrily warns her that if she throws one more platitude at her, then she is going to have to hurt her.
Back in the other area, ‘This - this is dangerous!’ Karima exclaims, her hand, bursting with energy, resting above Xavier’s face. ‘But can you do it?’ Magneto asks. Karima reminds him that she said it was dangerous, not that it was difficult. Karima explains that the resting potential of the human brain Is 0.1 micro-amps, and the energy field she is generating is roughly a hundred times that intensity. Omega Sentinel tells Magneto that, effectively, she is creating a local super-conductor within the Professor’s nerve tissue.
Karima adds that it will lower neural trigger-points exponentially and encourage Xavier’s brain to make connections, but it won’t wake him by itself. Magneto replies that it won’t, but that it tilts the odds. ‘That brain of yours was always your unique selling point’ he tells Xavier. ‘Now Exodus has repaired the organic damage and Ms Shapandar has tuned the engine until it hums. So if you don’t wake up now - we’ll all know you’re backing down from this final confrontation, won’t we?’.
(The Flashback / Inside Xavier’s Mind)
‘They come! Master the X-Men come!’ exclaimed Toad, eagerly, his teammates in the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants - Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch and Mastermind - flanking him, with Magneto, their ruler, nearby. ‘I kind of like that, we don’t often get announced!’ Iceman exclaims as he slides into battle, joking that next time, he wants separate billing: ‘The X-Men…featuring Iceman!’. Angel swoops down towards Mastermind, remarking that it looks liked Magneto went on a recruiting drive. ‘That won’t change anything. It never does’ Cyclops replies as he fires an optic blast.
Xavier tells Magnus that it is over. ‘Is it, Xavier?’ Magneto replies. Xavier points out that Santo Marco is not the world, and tells Magneto that even he cannot hold onto Santo Marco. ‘My X-Men won’t let you’ he boasts.
Another time, Magneto declares that he doesn’t want to do this, but he has to. ‘I must be strong because you and your X-Men are too weak to do that which must be done. For this reason above all others, I have been spared’. ‘No, you didn’t say that. That was later, at - at the funeral. Her funeral - when - after -’
Magneto declares that there are many who consider the two of them among the strongest mutants on the face of the planet. ‘Stop!’ Xavier exclaims. ‘But we know better than that’ Magneto replies. ‘Those are my words!’ Xavier snaps back. ‘No hard feelings, old friend. We both know - that this is not the end!’.
(Present / Reality)
With that, Xavier’s eyes spring open, he coughs, then sits up on the slab where he has been laying. ‘Professor Xavier! You’re awake!’ Karima exclaims as she goes over to help him up, with Xavier exclaiming ‘I - my mind - not - complete - not - please!’ Karima tells him that it is all right, before Magneto asks Xavier to settle an argument for them. ‘The Sentinel wants to know which of us one our perennial debate about ways and means’.
Confused, Xavier asks ‘What? What do you -’ before he suddenly remembers part of what Magneto is talking about, but remarks that it is not easy for him to think. ‘Me head -’ he begins, when, suddenly, Frenzy appears, and interrupting Xavier she declares ‘If your head is the problem, you only had to say so’. Magneto steps before Frenzy and calling her “Cargill” reminds her that Exodus gave orders that he was not to be disturbed. ‘Cargill is my Acolyte name, you flat-scan. You don’t get to use it!’ Frenzy exclaims, pointing furiously at Magneto, before telling him to get out of her way as she is going to cure Xavier’s headache.
‘You mean to kill him. Isn’t your little war over now?’ Magneto asks determined Frenzy. ‘He’s still the enemy. The enemy of our manifesto’. Frenzy replies. Magneto tells Joanna that when it comes to political change, murder is a very blunt instrument. ‘Is it?’ Joanna snaps back, grabbing Magneto around the throat, she declares ‘I’ve studied your life, old man. That wasn’t the lesson I learned from it!’ and with that, she tosses him across the room with her enhanced strength, and he smacks his head against a concrete pillar.
Suddenly, Omega Sentinel blasts Frenzy with an intense beam of microwave energy. ‘Nasty’ Frenzy snarls. ‘Trying to cook me from the inside out’. Frenzy pushes her way through the energy beam, boasting that her inside’s are the same as her outsides, ‘Harder than steel!’ she exclaims after calling Karima a walking obscenity and smashing her in the face. ‘Harder than anything!’ Frenzy exclaims, shoving Omega Sentinel backwards, but Omega Sentinel continues to blast Frenzy with the microwave energy. Karima then gets the upper hand and is able to grasp Joanna’s head, where she proceeds to hold the microwave energy right on her. Frenzy regains control though as she punches a hole right through Karima’s stomach, and getting to her feet, holds Omega Sentinel down, before proceeding to smash her in the face repeatedly. ‘Harder than you’ she exclaims, wiping her lip.
Xavier looks at Frenzy, ‘Joanna - Cargill? I remember you’ he exclaims. ‘That’s nice’ Cargill replies sarcastically, before telling Xavier that her smiling face is the last thing he is going to see. ‘He’s thinking about your eyes’. Xavier replies, holding a hand up to his face. ‘What?’ Cargill asks, one of her fists poised above Xavier. ‘And your optic nerve. Because for your eyes to see, the channel has to stay open - all the way into your brain’. With that, Magneto grabs Frenzy and spins her around, shoving a laser beam above her face, and angry, he fires it into her left eye, which is wide with horror.
‘Was it necessary to kill her?’ Xavier asks Magneto as he helps Karima to her feet. Holding the instrument in his hand, while Frenzy’s face is still smoldering as she lies slumped on the floor, Magneto explains that this is a surgical lazer, not a weapons system, so he seriously doubts that Cargill is dead. Magneto tells Xavier that if his question is “Was it necessary to blind her and burn out part of her brain”, then the answer is yes, it was.
Magneto turns to Xavier and asks him what he thinks. ‘Force majeure versus love and peace and understanding. Which carries the argument?’ he asks. ‘You and me, Magnus?’ Xavier replies. ‘Yes, you and me’ Magneto replies. ‘With the issues oversimplified for the sake of the easy sound bite’. A tired-looking Xavier thinks hard, concentrate, and sees in his mind another reality, a false reality known as the House of M, created by one of the most powerful mutants in existence - the Scarlet Witch - Magneto’s daughter! It was she who uttered three words that would change the landscape of the real world dramatically: No. More. Mutants.
Xavier announces that he thinks he and Magneto cancelled each other out for a long time, and then finally, they became irrelevant. ‘The future walked around us’ he declares. Magneto smiles at Omega Sentinel, ‘And there’s your answer, my dear. From the horse’s mouth’ he tells her. Karima reminds the Professor that he is still weak, but Xavier assures her that he is fine, he is just tired. Rubbing his face, Xavier adds that he is not entirely here, only pieces of him are, so much is still is missing.
‘You know who you are?’ Magneto asks. ‘Yes’. Xavier replies. ‘And what you are?’ Magneto asks. ‘Yes. Perhaps’. Xavier replies, before asking Magnus why he came here and what it is he wants. Magneto replies that, honestly, he isn’t sure. ‘Another philosophical set-to, perhaps?’ he remarks, ‘Or the reassurance that men who’ve done and seen as much as we have don’t - in the end - die like dogs in the gutter’.
Suddenly, Exodus appears, hovering above them, exclaiming ‘That last proposition - I regard as not proven’. Exodus drops down to the fallen Cargill and asks Magneto what he did to her. ‘Speak!’ he demands. Magneto replies that he fired a high-intensity lazer through Joanna’s optic nerve into her brain. ‘Thereby saving your patient’ he adds. Exodus grits his teeth: ‘You are human, and you harmed a mutant’ he snarls, before asking Magneto what punishment he would have ordained for such a crime when it was he who led the Acolytes?
‘Oh, death, most likely. I always preferred death to a heart-felt apology’ Magneto replies, adding that in case it should become an issue, he makes no apology for his actions against Cargill. ’Then death it shall be!’ Exodus exclaims, pointing a finger at Magneto, who then proceeds to choke, and tumble to the ground. ’Exodus, you can’t -’ begins Karima, until Exodus interrupts her, ’Do not tell me, machine, what I can and cannot do. Do not presume!’ he warns her, when, suddenly, ’What? Who dares?’ the powerful mutant asks as he finds himself sucked onto the astral plane.
‘WHO DARES!’ he demands, furiously, spinning around he sees Xavier, who replies ’I dare, Exodus!’. Exodus reminds Xavier that he is only alive thanks to his mercy and power. ’And now what - you seek to challenge me, on this psychic plane?’. Furiously, Exodus tells Xavier that he is not his enemy. ’But if you force me to this, I swear it will destroy what’s left of your mind’. ’Very well’ Xavier replies. ’Let’s see how that plays!’, and with that, the two men rush towards each other, energy surging about them, ready for their cataclysmic confrontation.