The World – Cuckoo Clone Chamber:
Dr. Sublime, asks Celeste, what happened?
The Sublime A.I. tells Celeste that there is nothing for her to fear any longer. She is home. The Phoenix cannot touch her now. Confused, Celeste tells Sublime that she is still there inside of her. Frozen in your heart, says Sublime. The Phoenix is not in her organic diamond body that prevents her from escaping. She is too strong to be contained like that, says Celeste. Sublime explains to Celeste that the Phoenix is divided among all her sisters. They are helping Celeste now. There are a thousand Cuckoos holding the Phoenix. The Phoenix no longer controls them; they control the Phoenix. The true beauty of it all, though, is that he controls them!
The X-Men stand and face the Cuckoos, who now each contain a piece of the Phoenix in the diamond hearts. Sublime tells the X-Men to prepare themselves, as the power of the Phoenix is his. He will destroy all mutants. To hell with that, says Cyclops, as he destroys the monitor with his optic blast.
Another monitor appears and tells Cyclops he is very aggressive. Scott is just reinforcing stereotypes. They should thank Sublime for putting their twisted genome out of its misery. Kitty phases through the monitor, destroying it. Another monitor comes and Sublime tells them that they can destroy all his avatars if they like. Colossus complies and smashes the cords, while Jake Oh shoots at the screen. Emma wrestles in her diamond form with another monitor, and Sublime tells the X-Men that the girls already have their orders.
Emma sees the three girls erupt in fire and tells the team that they girls are about to fire, so they should hit the ground! Maybe instead he’ll raise it, says Colossus. He then rips out a slab of concrete and uses it to shield the X-Men from the fire of the Phoenix. Cyclops praises Colossus and then tells Emma that she has to hit the Cuckoos like a hammer telepathically to buy them time. Emma switches to her flesh form and tries, but something is wrong. Colossus tells Cyclops that the fire is breaking through.
Cyclops tells Colossus to go high while he goes low. Cyclops then starts blasting away the ground beneath them as Colossus throws the concrete slab at the girls. The girls destroy the slab and unleash their fire on the X-Men, but the team thankfully gets into the hole that Cyclops has made and into a tunnel below.
Cyclops turns to Agent Oh and asks him if he has any ideas since he knows this facility better than the rest of them. When Oh asks how powerful his blasts are, Cyclops tells him that he cannot attack the girls directly, as the Phoenix can absorb it. However, that is not what Jake has in mind. There is a power core a hundred feet below them shielded by lead. The explosion would take out everything within half a mile. He then asks Kitty how many of them she can phase at a time. Cyclops interjects as he won’t kill children, but Wolverine tells him that they are the Phoenix. Kitty interrupts and tells them all to wait and listen. They all pause, and Kitty tells them that it is quiet. They’ve… stopped.
Cyclops pauses and looks around. Where is Emma?
The World – Ground Level:
The Stepford Cuckoos fly around and tell Emma that they know she is there. Emma might as well as come out. Emma comes out from hiding and tells the girls that this is disappointing. They have been ordered to destroy all mutants and they are channeling the power of the Phoenix, which means they can split the world in half. Yet she still lives. One of the girls tells Emma that they just want to see her face when she burns.
The Cuckoos unleash fire on Emma, but Cyclops tackles her out of the way. Emma begins to call Cyclops her big brave hero, but he tells her that they have no time for this and orders her into her diamond form. Emma tells Cyclops that the diamond won’t be necessary. The flames won’t hurt them. Cyclops realizes that he and Emma are enveloped in fire, but nothing is burning them. Emma tells Scott that Celeste is still with them. She is holding the others back.
Phoebe turns to Celeste and asks her what is wrong with her. Celeste, worried, asks her sisters if they remember when Professor Grey nearly destroyed the world. They helped her remember all the people that loved her. Maybe all they have to do is remember as well. Phoebe and Mindee blast Celeste away. Phoebe grabs Celeste’s head and yells that they are the Thousand-in-One. This is their freedom. They don’t think or feel or remember. They just do what they are made to do. Celeste argues that she wants to remember. They barely started living their lives and barely know them all. However, Dr. McCoy, Jake Oh, even Mr. Summers behind the visor and Miss Frost…
The X-Men regroup and Cyclops calls out to Celeste, telling her that the X-Men are with her. What should they do? Celeste tells Cyclops about the technology and the machinery that are connecting them to the collective Cuckoos, but Phoebe yells at her to stop talking to the X-Men. Celeste yells to the X-Men that if the girls aren’t connected then they cannot channel the power. Do it while she is still holding her sisters back!
Cyclops unleashes his optic blast on the containment eggs that connect the three girls to the collective. The other X-Men get to work dismantling the machines. Emma looks up and sees Mindee losing her power and falling from the air. Let’s just make sure, says Kitty as she phases through Mindee, interrupting the nano-tech within her.
Beast catches Mindee, who weakly calls out to Beast. Beast tells her that it will be ok. She is free of the machines and Kitty shorted the nano-tech in her bones. It is all over.
Nearby, Celeste stands by Phoebe, who is on her knees. The Phoenix fire is fading from her. Celeste tells her to be grateful, but Phoebe liked the fire. She wants it! She then slams all her fire into the ground and then falls unconscious. Celeste is confused, but Jake Oh realizes that Phoebe has punched the power grid and the whole place is going to blow. Kitty comes to Beast and Mindee and orders everyone to get around them as she will phase them. Colossus, however, is concerned about the thousand girls in the tubes.
Jake picks up Celeste and tells her that she cannot give up. Her sisters need her. Celeste tells him that they will all die now, just like the others planned. Jake tells Celeste that he was wrong before. He didn’t know that she could control it. But I can’t, yells Celeste. Oh tells her that, if Phoebe had enough strength left to set off the blast, maybe Celeste can stop it. Celeste, however, tells Jake that this is exactly what Phoebe wants her to do. Jake looks at Emma and tells her to talk to Celeste.
Now prepare for her judgment.
Confused, Emma barely mutters a “what?” Jake tells Celeste to wait, but Emma tells him that she cannot. She chose the Phoenix. And this is what the Phoenix came to do.
The thousand Cuckoos look up at Celeste and tell their sister that they just realized they were living and now she is going to –
The Phoenix incinerates the thousand Cuckoos. Goodbye, say Mindee and Phoebe in unison, to their sisters.
The two look around, and Phoebe tells Mindee that Celeste killed them all. Of course, says Mindee. They were created to rub out mutants and to thwart the progress of life. The Phoenix couldn’t let them live.
Emma cries and tells Celeste that she didn’t know that it would end this way. Celeste, crying, turns to Emma and tells her that she is Phoenix. Suddenly, she says no. She is Celeste. With that, she returns back to her pajamas and expels the Phoenix Force from her.
Celeste looks up at the Force hovering over her. She tells it that it did what it came to do. It used all of them. Now go. Go!
The Phoenix takes on the appearance of two girls and tells Celeste that they are not done. The Phoenix then attempts to merge back with Celeste, who does not fight. Fine then, says Celeste. She then unleashes her fire on Mindee and Phoebe. When the fire subsides, the three Cuckoos are now in their diamond form. Confused, Mindee asks where the Phoenix is. Celeste tells them that it is split into the three of them. It is so cold, says Phoebe.
The three girls revert back to flesh, except for their hearts, which remain diamond. Celeste tells them that their hearts are diamond permanently now. They will never feel again, but the Phoenix will never escape.
Emma hugs Celeste, who doesn’t embrace Emma back, and tells her daughter that she is sorry. Emma pulls away, but the emotionless Celeste asks Emma if they will not go home now. She walks towards the X-Jet that begins to descend. Jake calls out to her, but she ignores him, no longer feeling any sort of feeling for him.
“If I could feel anything,” says Mindee, “I think I would cry.”
The three girls then walk to the X-Jet.
Sometime later, Xavier’s Institute:
As Beast runs tests on the Cuckoos in his lab, Emma thinks to herself about the events. Hank says that there is nothing to worry about. Their organic diamond hearts are beyond perfect. Nothing on Earth can get inside of them and the Phoenix fragment can’t get out.
The girls wanted to live, learn and grow, but now they are the same as they were before, only more so. They are quiet. They are obedient. They are removed. Emma can taste their memories. They remember everything, but it matters not. They cannot feel anything. It is as if nothing ever happened to them. And nothing ever will.
However, Emma remembers. She had a thousand daughters, who were thousand bright lights. A thousand little minds slowly awakening and shining. And then you snuffed them out.
Maybe you are just Jean Grey gone insane. Maybe you’re the Phoenix, obeying cosmic laws that we will never understand. All Emma knows for sure is that when you come back, you will have to deal with her.
Emma looks up at the night sky, with anger in her eyes.