Outside Providence Hospital, Anchorage, Alaska:
The Shi’ar agent Davar (aka Erik the Red) orders his followers the Crystal Claws to rend them limb from limb, “them” referring to the police officers outside the hospital. “By the light of M’kraan,” the Crystal Claws chant, as they attack and jump through the glass window into the hospital.
Surrender the progenitors! they demand. One doctor protests and is brutally torn apart. Erik follows inside, disgusted at the humans. How can such a weak species be so important to the galactic firmament? He turns to the elderly couple huddling in the corner. Philip and Deborah Summers, he announces, progenitors of Shi’ar pain. The time has come to make amends…
Westchester, near the X-mansion:
Their grandsons Scott and Alex (aka Cyclops and Havok) are currently facing the same foes. Having intended some practice outside the mansion, they were instead also attacked by Crystal Claws, whom Cyclops correctly identifies as Shi’ar. As he fires a blast, Havok wonders why they attacked them in broad daylight. Would it have mattered if they did it at night? Cyclops retorts. He counts 14 attackers left and suggest a full sweep. The brothers fire together and take them out.
What now? Alex asks. Scott suggests a talk with the man whose girlfriend is the empress of a star-spanning empire.
And so, soon inside Xavier’s school, they talk with Professor X. He tells them he has reached out to Lilandra through subspace transmission, but it may be hours before they hear back from there.
Alex jokes, since they can’t turn the Shi’ar over to the police, he guesses he should run over to the petstore for some birdseed? Cyclops observes their prisoners keep on chanting “by the light of M’kraan.” Invoking a crystal able to destroy all reality seems problematic.
Professor X finds he cannot break through their prisoners’ mental shields. Their minds have been programmed to repeat the chant, so they will not reveal any useful information.
That moment, Cyclops gets a phone call from the Anchorage Police.
Two hours later, Scott and Alex, dressed in civies, are in Anchorage. The police are somewhat suspicious that Deborah and Philipp Summers’ grandsons came in a Lockheed SR71. They are lucky they didn’t have time to round up their friends, Alex informs the cops. Scott adds diplomatically that an interest in aviation runs in their family and asks the sheriff to explain. He explains a big guy dressed in red with horns and his avian companions attacked them. They took the Summers but left a message the police can’t read. Scott announces the writing is Shi’ar. It says: “His time has come. The empire needs his burning blood to free the light of M’kraan. To save the galaxy. To spare the lives of the Summers’ progenitors, you must deliver to us the forsaken one.”
It’s a ransom note from outer space? the sheriff asks skeptically. Scott replies that, while he may have known Deborah and Philip for years, the lives of their son and grandsons are complicated. To save their lives, they have to find out who the “forsaken one” is.
Adam X remembers, even though he should have been too young. He was an infant in a nutrition tank. The lab was burning. Strong hands saved him. He was given the name Adam and didn’t know why (in fact the name was written under his tank). He was never told the secrets of his past, instead he was raised in peace by Jonath, former Commander of the personal guard to the Shi’ar emperor. For their failure to protect the emperor from his son D’ken’s attack, Jonath and his people were exiled to Ch’reeshaara, where they became farmers.
Adam grew up there and Jonath taught him how to protect himself. When Adam came of age, he developed mutant powers with which he inadvertently hurt a friend during a sparring session. He could ignite the oxygenated blood of anyone in his vicinity, causing them excruciating pain… and he realized to find out who he was he would one day have to visit Earth.
A farm in Iowa. Adam sits in a field, meditating and at peace for the first time in many months. His heritage has been revealed to him. His fanatical Shi’ar pursuers have been eliminated. He has clarity now. And with that… finally hope.
He hears a crunching sound. Amused, he announces that, where he comes from, the plants would have told him he was coming. Earth plants don’t have much to say. After almost a year on this planet he still finds that disappointing.
The young farm boy trains his rifle at him. He has been sitting there for two days. His father says he has to get out! Standing on one hand, Adam introduces himself. The boy Jimmy Jenkins is surprised and asks how he does that. Adam jumps and throws several knives, which pin a rattlesnake that was about to bite the boy. He throws another spike when he realizes someone is trying to sneak up on him, but the spike hangs in midair frozen by Cable’s telekinesis.
Cable jokes he thought they’d both gotten over their extreme phase. He quickly explains that Cyclops and Havok contacted him. Their grandparents were kidnapped. They knew that X-Force had a few run-ins with a Shi’ar human hybrid with special abilities. Yes, he shares intel with the X-Men now. See, they can grow.
Cable shows Adam a hologram of Erik the Red… or “Davan Shakari,” as Adam X correctly identifies him, a devotee of former Shi’ar emperor D’ken. Adam adds that his religious cult is called the Crystal Claws. They believe that the Imperium should be bathed in the light of the M’kraan Crystal, because that will empower the Shi’ar to rule the galaxy. He thought he had destroyed their hidden base in Argentina weeks ago. His eyes flare with energy. He thought they were finally all dead. He thought he was done with this.
Cable understands. He knows how heavily the past can weigh on someone, but he’s time-traveling living proof that you can’t run fast enough or far enough to escape who you are. The Summers brothers want to meet him. They need his help. Cable vouches for them. They’ll be at the hotel Fort Des Moines. He asks Adam to talk to them, not fight. He’d go with them, but his team is currently MIA. Domino and he are trying to find them. He wishes him luck, then teleports away.
Adam wryly apologizes to Jimmy. Now he knows why he needs to mediate two days at a time. He wouldn’t have a taxi? Jimmy doesn’t, so Adam hitchhikes and recalls his past.
When his power manifested, he realized others would always look at him in fear. He wasn’t just a hybrid oddity. Ever since that day, he’s been running.
Suddenly, there is a light, followed by an attack of the two Starjammers Raza Longknife and Hepzibah. Adam dodges their attacks and realizes that means they were hired by the Imperium. Lilandra knows about his existence.
The two try to assault him from two sides. Calling him “forsaken one,” Raza shouts that he can choose whether they take him in dead or alive. He shouts his name is Adam, and his only choice is whether he leaves them dead or alive.
He manages to skillfully dodge their attacks and draws Hepzibah’s blood, allowing him to ignite it. Before that can happen, though, the two Starjammers are taken out by an optic blast and a cosmic energy blast respectively, courtesy of the Summers brothers. They found him, as Cable put a tracker on Adam. Havok mentions that they heard the Starjammers were after him. Adam bristles that he didn’t need any help, then demands who warned them. Erik the Red, Havok admits. Adam replies that Erik needs him to fulfil his mad dream of making him the emperor of the Shi’ar. Can they see why he wants no part of this?
Cyclops replies that that is not an option for his grandparents and asks him to come with them to their Blackbird. Adam recalls he saved Philip Summers’ life once and the old man gave him hope, so he says this with great regret, but their lives are inconsequential to the billions that would die in the civil war that the discovery of his existence would ignite.
They hear him but the X-Men deal with one problem at a time, Alex replies. Grandparents come first. Innocent kids and puppies, too.
Raza and Hepzibah take the chance and train their weapons on them. Bounty first, Corsair’s parents next! Cyclops implores them to just talk this out with Adam. That moment, they notice that he has run away.
Adam gained a burst of speed by igniting his own blood, but he didn’t expect the Summers brothers in front of him, teleported there by the Starjammer. He decides he has to end this now. As he fends off the Starjammers, he thinks that his entire life he has been nothing but a pawn in a game by others. When does he finally take control of the board? He decides right now. Having drawn the blood of Raza, Hepzibah, Cyclops and Havok, he ignites the blood of the two Starjammers. As the Starjammers fall, Havok admits to being confused. So is Adam. He asks how the Summers brothers are blocking his powers. In response, Cyclops and Havok blast him. Unimpressed, Adam asks if this was supposed to hurt.
They try to figure out how their powers don’t affect each other. He thought that would be obvious by now, a voice comes from the Starjammer that has dropped its cloak. On the stairs stands its Captain Christopher Summers aka Corsair, Cyclops and Havok’s father. Something Adam didn’t know. Alex and Scott ask if their father knows what is going on. They need Adam to rescue Chris’ parents. Corsair replies that he knows a lot more about this than the three of them do. He tells his sons to meet their brother, then he shoots Adam in the head.