In Chicago, the mayoral race still remains too close to call, with reports from all precincts of the heaviest voter turnout in a generation. Campaign Manager Marie d’Acanto orders the volunteers to stop canvassing, as they don’t want to risk another kid being killed by mutant haters.
In the meantime, Kitty gives an interview to Manoli Wetherel and reminisces about the old days. What does it mean if she wins, Manoli asks. That mutants now have the same God-given right to screw up the system like everyone else? Kitty jokes. Kitty reminds her that, no matter what they look like, mutants are also human. Why cant they help make a difference just like everyone else?
Don’t they accomplish that simply by existing, asks Manoli. Try telling that to Alice Tremaine, who wishes that they didn’t, Kitty retorts. It took mutants years to claw their way out of the gulag. She wants people to stop marginalizing them. Instead, they should embrace them and use their assets for the common good. Evolution is another word for growth. It happens whether they like it or not. Hope takes them one way, fear another, as some have learned to unimaginable cost. She runs because she wants to make tomorrow better than today. For all of them.
On the Starjammer, Aliyah introduces herself to her astonished father, Lucas Bishop, as she explains that her mother was the crown princess, Cal’syee Neramani, aka Deathbird. Still shocked, Bishop admits that Deathbird never told him about Aliyah. The girl replies that she probably wanted to, but she had to save the empire first. She wasn’t so great on the family togetherness side of things. Before she got the chance to learn, she died. But she always loved him. Overcome with emotion, Bishop hugs his newly discovered daughter, unaware of the threat of an embryo Brood Queen slumbering within her body.
Their tender moment is interrupted by a hologram of Sage, who orders both of them to the bridge. She informs Aliyah that the Carl Danvers personality of the ship’s computer is dead and that she now controls the Starjammer’s command nexus.
The two Bishops reach Nightcrawler and Nocturne to find that Psylocke apparently had perished as well during her fight with the Brood. Sage just coldly reminds them that Psylocke is not their first casualty and wont be their last. They are urgently needed on the surface. She teleports them off the ship.
With them gone, she addresses Elizabeth, who was merely pretending to be dead, to be Sage’s ace in the hole. Everything rests on her, Sage announces, according to her instincts… her very first leap of faith.
Down on Chandilar, Cassandra Nova is now in possession of Charles Xavier’s body. Xavier alone was powerful enough to once harness the psychic potential of every mind on Earth to repel a marauding alien race called the Z’Nox. Cassandra is just as powerful in her own right. Now she’d claimed his abilities as her own, to use on the populace of Chandilar, just as Xavier has done against the Z’nox. Only she took it all, which turned the world into a charnel house. And then she turned the full force of those terrible, titanic energies on the last folks left to oppose her, the X-Men and the Shi’ar Superguardians.
Cyclops is the first to act. Asking his mentor for forgiveness, he fires an optic blast at Cassandra which literally rips her / Charles’ head off.
However, moments later, an energy head of Cassanda’s appears. Mockingly she praises Cyclops before remarking that combing hers and Xavier’s powers allows her to transcend corporealty. Possessing a physical body has its moments. But she’s learning quite nicely to do without. Her energy hand reaches for Magneto and she begins to suck him dry.
X-23 jumps at her, intending to attack. Worried that the dense nature of X-23’s adamantium could actually gut her, Cassandra flays all the flesh from Laura’s lower left arm. As the young woman falls, Cassandra wonders if X-23 has Wolverine’s ability to heal. The next moment, she finds herself impaled by Cable’s psimitar. Annoyed, she turns her head 180 degrees. Attacking him, she finds that he no longer can focus on holding back his chronic techno-organic condition, which threatens to consume him. Nevertheless, he laughs ferally and threaten that he has resources she can’t even imagine.
Cyclops touches the shoulder of the woman who seems to be Dust, who is staring intently at the battle. Calling her “Madelyne,” Cyclops states that, if she needs his strength to help their son, it is hers. Madelyne, for it is she, demands to know how he knows it is her. Scott simply replies that he knows Sooraya, but he loved Madelyne. He’d recognize her anywhere. He said nothing! she snarls. He wanted to learn her intentions. She spells out that she came to kill him. He reminds her that she kept saving his life. No one gets to kill him but her, she replies. That’s her right! But no one gets to harm her baby, she adds as she looks back at Cable. Cyclops reminds her that he is their son. Maddie asks if he ever thought of the life they should have had. Every day, he admits. And there’s nothing he can do to make things right. For Nathan or for her.
Cassandra realizes that Nathan is drawing strength from Madelyne. She awakens X-23, who is in agony and plays with her senses. She mixes lies and truth, as she makes Laura believe that Cyclops has been suborned by the wiles of his ex-wife who slew Sooraya. She urges her to save Cyclops and kill Madelyne. In a berserker rage, X-23 attacks. Cyclops desperately tries to stop her, realizing she is beyond reasoning. He is caught between defending himself and not hurting Laura too hard.
Finally, he blasts her into the Phoenix cocoon and Slipstream. Faced with a potentially uncontrollable berserker, Slipstream does just what Scott expected, namely trying to get away with the cocoon. Thank to their telepathic network (due to Phoebe and Celeste of the Stepford Cuckoos), the X-Men are one step ahead of him. Nightcrawler teleports in and takes Slipstream out and X-23 frees Jean from the cocoon.
A little earlier, the Starjammer crew had landed on Chandilar, only to find the unconscious Rachel and the dead Lilandra. The two Stepford Cuckoos Phoebe and Celeste had informed Nocturne and Nightcrawler that Cyclops needed them and told them where to teleport. Left behind are Bishop and Aliyah. Aliyah sees Xavi running by and decides to chase him with her jetpack, while she suggests Bishop go help his friends.
Bishop learns that Rachel is the only one still alive while Aliyah tackles Xavi. While this seems to be a struggle between cousins, the actual combatants are the Brood queen controlling Aliyah and Cassandra Nova controlling Xavi. Cassandra Nova is less than pleased, reminding the Brood Queen that this wasn’t part of the original deal. She was supposed to be on Cassandra’s side. The Brood do not serve, comes the reply. We rule! Cassandra gets ready to kill her, but Aliyah instead uses a previously hidden knife to stab Xavi.
In the meantime, Bishop asks the somewhat recovered Rachel what happened. She replies that after facing Cassandra her thoughts are less than coherent. They run into an anxious Aliyah, who claims that Xavi tried to kill her. He was boasting that he had slain Lilandra and was responsible for this whole mess. All this time, he was host to the soul of the “immensity!”
At that moment outside, Phoenix breaks free. Immediately, Jean pours her power into Cable, helping him to vanquish Cassandra Nova, whose energy finally dissipates.
However, the effort proved too much for Cable as well. Totally taken over by the techno-organic virus, he falls. He tells the others not to be upset. He gave her all he had. Crying, Madelyne runs to his side, demanding they save him. Cable begs her to just let him rest. Nightcrawler joins Madelyne and remarks that both his body and soul are deeply tainted by the work of Apcalypse and Sinister. They can never purge that poison. Perhaps this is for the best…
Jean flares up with energy again, remarking that Kurt might be surprised at what Phoenix can do.
In Chicago, Kitty and her staff have to wait after the polls have been closed. While 60% of the precincts are reporting, the race is still too close to call.
On Chandilar, Jean begins to purge Cable of the infection, causing Scott to remark that she is a miracle. Jean disagrees and tells Scott that their children, Nathan and Rachel are the miracle.
Chicago. With 92% of the precincts reporting, the news are getting ready to announce a winner.
Chandilar: Suddenly, Jean is hit in the back by an energy blast, which goes right through her and injures Scott as well.
Telepathically bonded to their teammates on Earth, the injured Wolverine and Kitty Pryde scream in agony as well. Kitty falls down, seemingly unconscious.
On Chandilar, as Scott and Jean fall the others look in horror at the culprit Rachel, who herself cannot believe what she has done. From her skull emerges an energy version of Cassandra Nova, changing before their eyes as she announces that now and forever she is Phoenix.