The powerful mutant known as Exodus speeds through the air, from one side of the United States to the other.
Back at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, several X-Men race down a corridor, as Rogue announces that this is serious, Exodus is headed to Utopia to kill Cyclops, because they convinced him the X-Men splitting up is Cyclops’s fault. ‘It is’ Wolverine a.k.a. Logan mutters as he leads his team towards the hangar bay. ‘We gotta warn ‘em!’ Rogue declares, but Wolverine tells her that this mess is theirs, so they will clean it up. Rogue tells Wolverine that this is no time for being stubborn, and reminds him that there are kids on that island, that Exodus could kill them all. ‘But he won’t. He’s all about saving mutants. Only wants ta kill one’ Logan points out. Rogue asks Wolverine if he has ever heard of collateral damage, but he carries on towards the Blackbird.
Rogue grabs Wolverine by his shoulder and asks him to stop and think about this for a second, to which Wolverine tells her that he has - more than anyone in this room - thought about the big picture. He tells Rogue that she is right, there are kids on the island, and Cyclops has got them brainwashed to think they are soldiers in his army of mutant survival. ‘All he talks about is how we’re targets, how we gotta be ready for war and what we’re doing here at the school is reckless and stupid’. Wolverine declares that if an immortal nut job like Exodus, with the powers of a god, shows up trying to make a martyr out of Cyclops because of this school, Cyclops will say it proves him right.
Wolverine reminds Rogue that Exodus can’t teleport to Utopia because she stole that power off him, but that she can teleport to him. Rogue points out that she could, but that she burned the powers she took from Kid Gladiator fighting Exodus, and that their foe is flying at mach two, so as soon as she would reach him, he would be a hundred miles away. Wolverine declares that the Blackbird does mach four, so they can catch up to Exodus and take him down, adding that if things get out of hand, Rachel can mind-zap a warning to Utopia. Rachel Grey a.k.a. Marvel Girl looks at Wolverine, while Rogue declares ‘If Exodus hasn’t take her out. If he doesn’t block it with his own telepathy’, to which Wolverine, frustrated, tells Rogue that he doesn’t have time to argue with her. ‘Either get yer behind on the Blackbird, or don’t. That goes for all’a ya’ Wolverine calls out.
Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast tells Rogue that Wolverine is right, and so is Exodus, for that matter. ‘Mutantkind must reunify’ Hank declares, pointing out that what Exodus fails to comprehend is that his rash act will only exacerbate the divide between mutants - if they allow it to occur. ‘We can remedy this ourselves. We must’ Hank tells Rogue, before he follows Wolverine and the others into the Blackbird. ‘I don’t see her. She’s not coming’ Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie calls out as he takes his seat in the jet. ‘Who the hell cares? You do the job with what you got’ Joanna Cargill a.k.a. Frenzy shouts, while Bobby “Iceman” Drake asks ‘Gambit? You really think she’s gonna -’, to which Remy LeBeau replies that Rogue is a grown woman and will do as she pleases.
At that moment, Rogue leans over a console in the hangar bay, while inside the Blackbird, Wolverine tells his team that they have five seconds to sit down and shut up before they are pulped against the wall. An instant later, the Blackbird takes off. Staring out the window, Cannonball remarks ‘Ain’t gonna lie. It kinda blows my mind she didn’t -’, when suddenly, Rogue teleports into the jet. Cannonball and Iceman look at her in shock, while Gambit just smiles. ‘Seconds to intercept?’ Rogue asks as she leans on Wolverine’s chair. ‘One-twenty’ Logan tells her. ‘Copy that’ Rogue replies, before telling everyone to take battle stations. Frenzy folds her arms and looks away as Rogue turns to the group, announcing that the fliers are to knock him out of the sky, and the rest pile on. Taking Cannonball’s hand, Rogue tells him she is borrowing some power. ‘Go ahead. Two Cannonballs are better’n one!’ Sam replies.
Wolverine reports that there is one minute to contact, and points out that there was a time when he would have crashed the Blackbird into Exodus, but that money is tight nowadays. ‘So we crash ourselves instead’ Logan remarks, telling everyone to be ready. ‘Let’s ake him wish we hit him with the plane’.
Soaring through the air up ahead, Exodus glances back and an instant later, the Blackbird is directly over him. ‘Misguided fools’ he mutters, and an instant later, Rogue and Cannonball blast towards him from either side. Rachel hovers overhead, and Rogue carries Wolverine with her. ‘My quarrel is not with you. Open your eyes! We should be allies!’ Exodus shouts as he holds Cannonball at bay, and blocks one of Rachel’s attacks. Rogue drops Wolverine down towards Exodus: ‘Problem with mental powers…you gotta focus to use ‘em!’ Wolverine exclaims as he shoves his claws into Exodus’s armor. Wolverine is thrown clear, enabling Cannonball to blast down, slamming into Exodus. Rogue then repeats this move with equal force, and Exodus crashes into the ground below.
‘You make me despair for my people’ Exodus declares as he looks up from the crater he has caused upon impact, and casts his hand, causing Rogue to crash into Cannonball. ‘That’s what my dad used to say about me, homme!’ Gambit exclaims as he throws some kinetically charged playing cards at Exodus, though they land at his feet. Frenzy races towards Exodus, as does the Beast, while up above, Rachel telekinetically lowers herself and Wolverine towards the ground. ‘Hit him all at once!’ Logan calls out. ‘Put him down fast! I want this over!’ Logan orders, as Frenzy, the Beast and Gambit all prepare to strike him at once. ‘It was over when you refused mercy!’ Exodus shouts as he sends the X-Men careening backwards.
Nearby, Iceman is directing water from a waterfall, creating a flood around Exodus, who announces that he does not wish to kill them, as they have no idea how much pain he can impart teaching them the folly of their ways. ‘My power is much greater than you know’ Exodus boasts. ‘Yeah? Mine too!’ Iceman exclaims as he appears behind Exodus, his mass increased after absorbing water from the waterfall, Bobby declares ‘We’re just not all so obnoxious about it!’, before releasing shards of ice straight down at Exodus, knocking the villain back. He ties to keep Exodus buried beneath ice and rubble from the crater, and Bobby calls out to Rachel, telling her that he needs a hand. ‘What…do you think I’m doing?’ Rachel asks as she struggles to maintain her position.
‘Why do you think he hasn’t shut down all our minds? Erased and rewired your brain? I’m fighting him on the psychic plane. Now shut up…and let me work!’ Rachel declares as she suddenly appears in her “Hound” costume, battling a medieval-clad Exodus. They battle on the psychic plane in various other guises, too - such as a prehistoric warrior and warrior-woman, two children in a playground, as two players in a chess competition, and with Rachel as a sorceress and Exodus as a knight. ‘My bad. Let’s see what we can do on the physical plane’ Iceman exclaims as he tries to hold Exodus in a web of ice. ‘You can do nothing…but fall!’ Exodus declares as he breaks free, and as Rogue and Cannonball blast towards him, he takes them down, causing them to fall into the Beast and Gambit, while he sends Iceman splashing backwards.
Only Wolverine continues to charge towards Exodus, who boasts that his power is as great as his faith. ‘And I have never believed more strongly in the righteousness of my cause!’ Exodus announces as he releases a massive swell of power that surges over Wolverine, reducing him to basically a skeleton. ‘Where was that faith when you ran out on us Acolytes? Cyclops might be right and he might be wrong, but when things get tough he never gives up. He’s ten times the man you are!’ Frenzy shouts as she punches Exodus hard, sending him careening backwards into a pile of rocks.
Rogue helps Wolverine and tells him that he is either the orneriest man she has ever met, or the bravest - perhaps both. Cannonball drops down beside them and tells Wolverine that this is way out of hand, that they can’t beat him on their own, so it is time to call Utopia. ‘Don’t make me kick yer ass…Guthrie’ Wolverine utters. Rogue helps him to his feet, and Rogue reveals that she sent Utopia a message before they left. ‘You what?’ Wolverine asks. ‘On a delay’ Rogue adds, explaining that she gave them time to fix the situation themselves, but that time is running out, so Utopia will get the message any second. Wolverine, his body still smoldering, asks her who she sent it to. ‘Anyone on their Extenction Team. Whoever’s there. Cyclops, Storm…’ she begins. ‘Magneto’ Wolverine declares.
‘Yeah, Magneto! You telling me we couldn’t use him about now?’ Rogue snaps, pointing at Exodus. As his body starts to reform, Wolverine replies ‘Maybe you could. This ain’t about you’. Pointing her finger at Wolverine, Rogue asks him how dare he, and exclaims that she was working with their kids before Wolverine ever gave a damn ‘Ah didn’t wake up one morning between ninja fights and decided Ah wanted to be a teacher! Ah been doing it all along!’ Rogue shouts. Wolverine turns back to Rogue and tells her that this is not a classroom, but a battlefield, and that by running to her boyfriend, she lets her personal feelings compromise the mission. ‘Uh, guys…one fight at a time?’ Cannonball suggests. Wolverine and Rogue ignore him, as Logan tells Rogue that he cannot trust her, and that she needs to stay out of his way, as he has a mess to clean up before she goes making it worse.
Back at the other battle, Exodus has his hands wrapped around Frenzy’s neck, and uses a surge of energy to knock the Beast back when he tries to intervene. Exodus confesses to Joanna that he failed her, but claims that he has rediscovered his purpose, and that his faith gives him strength to match hers. Exodus tells Joanna that they must be one race again, and that the woman he knew would see that. ‘Your misguided love for Cyclops blinds you to the necessity of his death’ he tells her. ‘You…never knew me…and you sure as hell don’t now!’ Joanna shouts as she manages to gain the upper hand, and pushes Exodus backwards into some rocks. ‘Impressive. What you could be without distractions…you should take a vow of celibacy, as I have, rather than allow unworthy men to drag you down’ Exodus tells Joanna, suggesting she divest herself of worldly concerns, and her spirit will reap the reward, before he unleashes a massive blast of power, knocking Frenzy back.
‘Good advice, homme!’ Gambit exclaims as he appears behind Exodus. ‘Since you’re all humble now…you won’t be needing this flashy cape’ Remy suggests as he picks the end of Exodus’s cape up and uses his power to charge it, causing it to explode an instant later, and sending Exodus towards Wolverine, who calls out to the others: ‘All together! Gtve him too many targets ta hit! We can’t win hand ta hand, but he’s fighting a war on two fronts! We need ta stun him long enough for Rachel to grab his mind!’ Wolverine tells everyone. Gambit, Rogue and the Beast prepare to join in the battle, while Rachel hovers overhead. Rogue suggests that she try to drain Exodus’s telepathy, and reaches out for his skin, but Exodus manages to throw Wolverine into her, knocking them both away. ‘Both wise stratagems…that I can use myself!’ Exodus declares as he then forces Logan and Rogue into Rachel.
With the X-Men all down, Exodus hovers over them, telling them that thy have fought bravely and that their hearts are pure, even if their minds are clouded. ‘If I face such opposition on Utopia, I may be unable to slay Cyclops without other mutants falling in the battle. You will prevent this. You will be my foot soldiers…occupy the others while I execute my holy mission. You have no choice in the matter’ Exodus declares as the X-Men stand transfixed. Exodus assures them that when Cyclops is dead, he will restore their independent thought. ‘I know you will hate me. This I accept’ he adds, declaring that, like Moses, he will deliver his people to the promised land, but will not enter it with them. ‘If it must be hatred of me that unites mutant kind, so be it’ Exodus announces.
Exodus drops to the ground and places each hand on the head of Rogue and Wolverine and declares that for now, though, they will love him without question or reservation. Suddenly, though, there is a chant in a magical language, and Exodus turns his head, ‘What -?’ he calls out, before being struck down by a blast of arrived. ‘My “treason” looking a mite better now?’ she asks. ‘No. Based on what I smell. It’s worse’ Wolverine replies as another blast of energy strikes Exodus, and keeps him down. ‘To you, maybe. All Ah know is Ah can move again, and Ah’ll take any help Ah can -’ Rogue declares as she blasts into the air, while the other X-Men are still trapped. However, a look of worry spreads across Rogue’s face when she sees who the help is. Exodus gets to his feet,, while Wolverine turns and frowns at the gathering of young mutants from Utopia: Dust, Surge, Pixie, Transonic, Velocidad, Zero, Primal and…Hope, who exclaims ‘Don’t worry, Rogue, the cavalry’s here!’