Utopia. ‘I smell like…burned skin’ the young mutant called Oya remarks to Cyclops as they approach one of the main buildings. Cyclops tells Oya that she should take a shower and get some rest. Oya looks up at Cyclops and reminds him that the men at the museum are dead. ‘Are you sure you want to talk about this right now?’ Cyclops asks her. She replies that she did not mean to kill them. ‘Look at me’ Scott orders as he tells Oya that nothing that happened back there was her fault. ‘You understand? It was mine’ he declares. ‘It’s my fault people died, not yours. All you did was save lives’ Cyclops tells her. Almost nervously, Oya tells Cyclops that she is not sorry she did it. ‘I just wish I could stop hearing the screams in my head’.
Up ahead, Oya’s teammates Hope, Transonic and Velocidad turn to Oya and tells her that they can get her cleaned up. Oya continues on down the corridor with her friends, while Cyclops turns to a photograph on the wall - it is of him in his early days as a member of the original X-Men. He is smiling. They all are - Marvel Girl. Angel. Iceman. Beast. Professor Xavier. Cyclops just frowns as he stares at the past. He touches the frame of the photo, and carries on down another corridor, while contacting Doctor Nemesis, asking him what the situation is.
Elsewhere, Doctor Nemesis is joined by Madison Jeffries, as they stand near where Wolverine is slashing his way through a bizarre Sentinel. Nemesis responds to Cyclops by saying ‘As my dearly departed mother used to say…it’s bloody well %*$#@!’ Cyclops asks Nemesis if he could be a bit more specific, to which Nemesis explains that it is a “Hell of a damned machine” that someone built here. He adds that it is a hyper conductive electromagnetic core that pops out of a suitcase, grabs all the nearest available metal and builds itself into the mother of all killing machines. ‘If it was looking to stomp out the last lingering dregs of mutantdom, it’s exactly the sort of hulking mechanical bastard I would build’ Nemesis adds.
‘My God, it’s so simple inside. So austere, it’s terrifying!’ Madison gasps, while the Sentinel moves upwards, with Wolverine slicing at the Sentinel’s neck. Doctor Nemesis informs Cyclops that Jeffries is attempting to communicate technopathically with the Sentinel, but Jeffries announces that there is no point, as he may as well be talking to a caveman. ‘A quantum powered caveman with an artificial sun for a heart’ Jeffries adds, before explaining that the Sentinel is all muscle and no mind, that it has got the brain of a toaster inside the body of an aircraft carrier. ‘Sounds like my ex-wife’ Nemesis thinks to himself, while Cyclops asks them if they can shut it down.
Doctor Nemesis tells Cyclops that they cannot even slow it down, and that at the rate the Sentinel is building, they have only got a matter of seconds until it is fully operational. ‘Where’s a Magneto when you need one?’ Doctor Nemesis mutters, to which Cyclops explains that Magneto is in the infirmary with a space slug stuck to his face, and tells Nemesis that he has to hold the Sentinel off. ‘Uh oh’ Nemesis utters, as both he and Jeffries are knocked backwards by a blast fired down from the Sentinel. Legs and arms begin to form on the Sentinel, who soon blasts Wolverine across a nearby bay, where he lands in the rough water. Jeffries looks up from the ground, horrified. ‘So simple…no mutant sensors…just one single, solitary target’ he utters. The Sentinel begins to walk into the water, tearing through a boat, as Jeffries informs Cyclops that it is coming to Utopia.
‘Damn it, where are my X-Men?’ Cyclops shouts, entering another room, he shouts out ‘We need everyone back at Utopia’. From one of the control rooms, the Stepford Cuckoos are monitoring the situation and report that all teleporters are down. One of the Cuckoos explains that Pixie was incapacitated by Sentinels, while Mirage’s team is stuck in Iran. The second Cuckoo announces that Storm, at last contact, was negotiating Sentinel shutdown terms with the Chinese government, and is not responding to telepathic distress calls. The third Cuckoo reveals that there are two other teams currently en route via Blackbird. ‘ETA?’ Cyclops asks, to which the Cuckoo reports ‘Thirty-seven minutes’.
Cyclops continues to contact the Cuckoos, asking them about the White Queen and the others. At that moment, Dr Kavita Rao is examining the White Queen. Colossus and the Sub-Mariner are next to her, all with the Badoon Brain Slugs clamped to their faces. The Cuckoos reply that Dr Rao has identified the alien parasite and is working with SWORD on how to safely remove them. When they get no response, the Cuckoos call out to Cyclops, who declares ‘Someone did this. All of this. Someone set us up. And I walked right the hell into it’.
Cyclops makes his way back outside and stands on the ground, releasing a massive optic blast across the water - where it strikes against the Sentinel. Cyclops is under immense strain, sweat pours down his face, and eventually, he stops, and hunches over. Smoke from the optic blast is all that can be seen across the water, hovering over a freighter boat. Soon though, the smoke begins to fade - and the horrific Sentinel continues to walk towards Utopia. Cyclops tells the Cuckoos to alert Atlantis and everyone that remains on Utopia. ‘We have incoming. Brace for impact’ he orders.
Suddenly, ‘I hope you don’t think you’re fighting that thing alone’ a voice calls out. Cyclops turns to see several of the X-Men students, and the Five Lights standing behind him. ‘You want X-Men? You got X-Men’ Hope declares, flanked by Anole, Dust, Rockslide, Transonic, Oya, Velocidad, Zero and Primal. Oya stares at Cyclops, who looks back at her. ‘All right. We can do this’ Cyclops announces.
‘No you can’t! a voice calls out. It’s Wolverine, emerging from the water after swimming to Utopia. ‘Get these kids the hell outta here’ Wolverine orders. As the Sentinel rips its way through the freighter, Cyclops remarks that it is not stopping, to which Wolverine agrees, and points out that is why they have to evacuate Utopia. ‘We can fight’ Cyclops remarks. ‘Not with children we can’t’ Wolverine replies, pointing a finger at Cyclops, who responds ‘You see children. I see X-Men.
Wolverine tells Cyclops not to play games with him, as they are just kids and are going to get themselves killed. ‘You’re scaring them’ Cyclops declares, to which Wolverine replies that they ought to be scared, and tells Cyclops that he doesn’t give a rat’s ass how many Sentinels are coming, that he will stand here with him until the last damn breath. ‘You know that. But not with them. Send those kids outta here’ Wolverine adds. As the Sentinel approaches the island, Cyclops asks Wolverine where he would have them run to, but Wolverine retorts that they don’t have time for this.
‘Look at the state of the world. Every country on the globe is now openly armed against us. We run now, we’ll always be running. At least here we’ve still got a fighting chance’ Cyclops declares. But Wolverine frowns as he replies that he can live with running, so long as he an see those kids tomorrow. ‘If we run, how many tomorrow’s do you think they’ll have left? We drew a line in the sane, remember? This is it!’ Cyclops exclaims. Wolverine replies that this is a chunk of rock, and that they are not supposed to be fighting for a chunk of rock. ‘I’ve done everything you’ve ever asked me to do. I’ve kept your secrets. I’ve lied to my friends. I’ve killed you who you said to kill. I did all that so they wouldn’t have to!’ Wolverine declares.
‘You think that thing cares how old they are? You think it’ll stop to ask before it wipes us off the map?’ Cyclops asks Wolverine. Cyclops points at Wolverine and tells him that when you stand on the brink of extinction you can no longer afford the luxury of non-combatants. ‘You sonuva bitch…’ Wolverine remarks, but Cyclops tells him that if he is concerned about their fighting skills, he should teach them. Lead them. Cyclops reminds Wolverine that, instead, he blows off every training class that he assigns him. ‘We wouldn’t even be in this situation if you hadn’t put us in it, with your arrogant little games!’ Wolverine shouts.
‘Can we say something?’ Hope asks, but Wolverine quickly turns to her and shouts ‘NO!’ Cyclops declares that he has heard enough and announces that if anyone wants to leave, they should go, and anyone who wants to fight, needs to stand with him. Wolverine just stares at Cyclops, before turning and walking away, much to the bewilderment of the younger mutants. Cyclops turns to them and asks ‘You know how many Sentinels I’ve blown up over the years? More than I can count. We can beat this. So long as we stand together’.
Shortly, in his quarters, Wolverine is opening a safe, when Kid Omega a.k.a. Quentin Quire appears at his door. ‘Never thought I’d see the day…when the big bad Wolverine would run from a fight’ Quire smirks. Wolverine doesn’t turn around, instead he reaches into the safe and tells Quire that he didn’t notice him falling out for Sentinel duty. Quire replies that he figured somebody should keep an eye on Wolverine, and adds that he has no idea why Cyclops tolerates him the way he does. ‘I want you to know, when I’m leading the X-Men, you can expect things to be different’ Quire boasts.
Quire goes wide-eyed and asks ‘Whoa, is that what I…’, but his voice trails off as Wolverine interrupts, telling him that if he is anywhere near as smart as he thinks he is, he will get the hell out of his way. ‘Or what? You remember the last time we fought, don’t you?’ Quire replies. ‘Yeah…matter of fact, I do’ Wolverine replies as he unsheathes his claws.
An instant later, a loud scream can be heard from Wolverine’s quarters. ‘Was that…?’ Transonic begins, but the Sentinel looms ever closer to the shore of Utopia. ‘Never mind. Focus on the plan. Here it comes’ Cyclops declares. He tells the young mutants that he knows it is not fair to ask this much of them. ‘I wish we lived in a world where you could all afford to act your age. But such is not the hand we’ve been dealt’ Cyclops points out, adding that he wants them to know he is proud to stand beside them today - each and every one of them. ‘Now let’s send this thing to hell. On my mark…’ Cyclops orders.
But, suddenly, Wolverine appears behind them, holding a detonator in his hand. ‘I tried asking you nicely. I’m not asking anymore. I’m telling you’ Wolverine informs Cyclops. The young mutants look worried as the two senior X-Men stare each other down. Wolverine reveals that he has just armed 2000 pounds of plastic explosives, and that when the Sentinel gets close enough, he is blowing it all to hell. Wolverine tells the young mutants to go and tell Danger and Dr Rao to start evacuating, and that they do not have long. All of the young mutants turn and run, except for Oya, who hangs back, and starts to say ‘But…’, however Wolverine interrupts her, ‘GO!’ he shouts. Oya looks at Wolverine, who frowns and tells her to get out of here. An instant later, she rushes away after the others.
‘You can’t do this’ Cyclops declares. Wolverine replies that he can, actually, for all he has to do is push the little button. ‘You think this is noble, what you’re doing here? I assure you, it’s not’ Cyclops replies. He tells Wolverine that even if he manages to blow up this Sentinel, there are still thousands more out there. ‘And you’ll be casting us right into their midst. Tell me…how is that helping those children?’ Cyclops asks. Wolverine tells Cyclops that they went off track somewhere along the way. ‘Whenever we started expecting kids to be our combat troops’. Cyclops replies that he never imagined Wolverine of all people could be so naïve, to which Wolverine declares that he is pushing the button, and tells Cyclops to walk away.
Cyclops frowns, before declaring ‘She never loved you, you know. You always frightened her’. This angers Wolverine, who grits his teeth, and replies ‘And if she was here right now…who do you think she’d be more frightened of?’ This causes Cyclops to grit his teeth, and he releases an optic blast, knocking Wolverine backwards. Wolverine unsheathes his claws and cuts up a rock, sending it backwards, the shards hit Cyclops in the face. Wolverine uses this opportunity to lunge at Cyclops, and his claws slice across his shoulder, while Cyclops releases another optic blast. Wolverine dodges it, and kicks Cyclops in the head.
Cyclops releases an optic blast directly at the ground, causing it to rebound up and hit Wolverine, knocking him backwards. They continue to fight, optic blasts from Cyclops. Claws striking out from Wolverine, and water begins to pool around them The Sentinel slams its first foot down on Utopia, but Wolverine and Cyclops pay it no attention, instead they continue to fight each other. Cyclops struggles to pry the detonator from Wolverine’s hand, and releases an optic blast, but Wolverine’s other hand, claws ready, pushes on through the optic blast. They fall to the ground, just as the Sentinel looms over them, and prepares to release a beam of energy from its hand….