Rachel Summers has been lost in the timestream (Excalibur #75); she reappears in a rift in the desert 2000 years later. Scarab flyers arrive to close the rift and neutralize the chronal anomaly, assuming her to be hostile. Half-aware, Rachel kills them all, utilizing the Phoenix Force.
At his citadel, Apocalpyse has been in seclusion for a year, preparing a new host body, leaving Diamanda Nero in charge. She kills the last of the Xavier Collective, a rebel group. She has the mutant ability to absorb the powers of anyone she kills, and adds her victim‘s impenetrable exoskeleton to her already vast array of powers.
Ch’vayre and Luminesca are brother and sister, and inform her of the chronal anomaly. Apocalypse is annoyed that his mutants have gone soft. He has designed three new weapons to destroy the weak, and Nero completie them while he bonds to his next body.
Meanwhile, Rachel learns that mutants rule this world, and power corrupts, so humans are now a mistreated underclass. She joins a human clan and helps a young Blaquesmith with a crooked cyborg merchant. She nearly loses it and kills him, but then uses her telepathy to disappear into the crowd. Blaquesmith follows, able to see through her power.
Diogenes meditates in Antarctica, where the Savage Land once was, and is interrupted to attend a psi-conference of the Order of Witnesses. They send him and his squire Squy¹rr to investigate the return of the Phoenix.
Rachel, alias “Alyzr’n Summerset”, infiltrates Apocalypse‘s stronghold during the festival of his rebirth. She runs into Luminesca, drunk, and watches Ch’vayre kill a beast for sport. She is invited to join the siblings but moves on, and Nero notices something odd about her.
Diogenes shows up and warns her not to try to kill Apocalypse, but she ignores him and makes her way to the his chamber, only to find the sarcophagi empty. Nero appears, saying Apocalypse's true location is always secret, and poisons her. She unleashes the Phoenix Force to save her life, and crawls for days through pipes until she exits the citadel. Diogenes is there to meet her.