Cyclops just stares disbelievingly at the huge crater where the Xavier Institute used to stand. After the attack, nothing is left of the building or the grounds.
In the news, Neal Conan and Manoli Wetherell inform the world of the horrifying news: the most significant terrorist attack on American soil in years. Manoli explains the history of the Xavier Institute. Founded by mutant rights campaigner Charles Xavier, the Institute served both as school for mutants, but also as headquarters for the mutant superheroes called the X-Men. Their role today is carried on primarily under the auspices of their officially sanctioned successor, the X.S.E. The goal was and is to protect the world from both sides of the genetic divide.
Conan continues that, in Washington, the president has convened an emergency meeting with the National Security Council. He also grimly points out that most of the victims at the Institute are students and children.
Inside the council meeting at the White House’s Situation Room, the council is horrified to learn about multiple simultaneous attacks in California, Genosha, Afghanistan and downtown D.C., apart from the attack on the institute. The president announces that to him this looks like a coordinated strike. How can something like this come completely out of the blue? Is the threat exclusive to the X-Men or is the nation in danger?
He addresses Vargas, head of the X.S.E., who appears as a holographic transmission. Vargas admits to not having many answers and those he does have aren’t comforting. All aspects of the X-Men’s operation were apparently attacked. There have been major assaults on retired members and their families and on the X.S.E headquarters. Secretary of Homeland Security Val Cooper is dead, along with the assassin who impersonated her and a number of Vargas’ agents.
The president asks how the X-Men will respond and Vargas explains that, at the moment, they aren’t sure yet who is even alive, let alone in charge The president stresses that he won’t tolerate private vendettas and tells Vargas it is his responsibility to keep the peace. Which probably made them prime targets, Vargas observes. The president asks him not to let this get worse.
Another transmission comes in, this time from Prime Minister Courtney Ross, representing the European Union. Ross calls this a tragic day and the X-Men’s personal Pearl Harbor.
Another council member points at a computer screen: on the website of the Anti-Mutant Organization, Purity, Alice Tremaine states that the X-Men have brought this on themselves and predicts this is only a beginning. A general worries about a race war. Nothing would please Tremaine more, the president states grimly. They can’t leave this to the mutants. They have to be ready to defend themselves. He gives order to place the Nimrod Sentinels on full alert.
Back at what is left of the Institute, the teleporter, Hub, is teleporting in a ship of Mutantes sans Frontieres, carrying medical personnel and Hank McCoy, who cradles her exhausted form. X.S.E member Bishop is astonished at Beast’s presence, as he’d sworn to never come back after Vargas joined the X.S.E.
Beast reminds him that he is a founding member of the X-Men. Under these circumstances, he couldn’t stay away. Bishop welcomes him but informs him of the grim truth that there are only few survivors to save. Beast pointedly ignores Bishop’s outstretched hand and states he should get to work. He has brought a mobile field hospital, as well as a full complement of staff.
From some distance away, they suddenly see Cyclops’ optic blast firing into the air. Archangel grabs Beast to fly him there. He chides his old friend for his harshness towards Bishop. Hank explains that Vargas killed Psylocke before his eyes. Some things shouldn’t be forgiven. Warren retorts that some scars should be allowed to heal, but breaks off. He sees a shell-shocked Cyclops, kneeling on the ground holding the badly injured Northstar, who saved his life.
Afghanistan. There, Cable and his friends from X-Force were attacked. The few survivors are Domino, Feral and Rictor. An X-jet lands and the three warriors run towards it. Rictor states that he still cannot believe Cable is dead. Domino explains that he isn’t. That’s what’s so awful. Cable, Shatterstar and Warpath have become techno-organic clones of Technarx. From now on, they are the enemy.
Wolverine welcomes them on the plane and a relieved Domino hugs him. Wolverine grins and stabs her in the heart. Impossibly, his other arm stretches as he smashes Rictor against the wall. Feral attacks and is killed as well. Domino shoots him with her firearms to no avail, as “Wolverine” tells her that her day is done and finishes her off.
Valle Soleada: the ruins of Rogue and Gambit’s home. Emma is hysterical. Gambit has taken both her and Rogue’s children. Rogue, on the other hand, remains surprisingly calm. She tells Emma that she assumes Sinister called in a marker that Remy felt had to be paid. She is certain that she will find them. Does she think he is innocent Roberto DaCosta, who is taking care of the injured Thais and Thaiis, asks. Thanks to Sinister, Remy was never “innocent,” Rogue retorts, but she is not yet convinced that he is guilty.
Emma suddenly shouts out “Scott.” On TV, they see Manoli Wetherell, reporting about the attack on the Institute. Shown are Beast and the survivors, Cyclops and Northstar. Rogue tries to calm Emma and on TV Cyclops calls out Emma’s name. She has re-established their telepathic link.
Emma explains that he is in shock. She still cannot raise Martha, the Spikes or Charles. Rogue tells her to turn to diamond. She grabs her and tells her they are going to fly high.
Elsewhere, the children are being held in some kind of see-through bubble cell. Emma’s eldest, Megan, tries to telepathically contact her mother, but can’t raise anyone. Rogue and Remy’s son, Oliver, tells her not to be surprised. If you kidnap someone, you make sure they can’t call for help. Megan still can’t believe Oliver’s father did this. He doesn’t want to either.
That moment, the Dark Beast walks into the room, gratingly cheerful. Grinning, he asks whether he can hold the baby and prepares to enter the bubble. Oliver and Meggan assume battle stances and warn him to back off. McCoy mocks them and asks if the practice those X-Men fighting stances. Do they dream of the day they get their very own uniforms? Do they think they can match him?
A battlestave touches him on the shoulder, as Gambit has joined them. He warns McCoy off.
Oliver and Megan are angry and threaten Gambit. Sinister, who has joined them as well, informs the children that in the end they will thank Gambit… and him. Because, for the people and the world, they know this is the end. Gambit tells him not to count the X-Men out yet. He’s made that mistake before. Dead mutants, walking, one and all, Sinister cryptically replies. He has read their future… and it is dust.
Elsewhere, Beast has hooked Northstar up to several devices in his mobile hospital unit but he can only make him comfortable. The speedster is dying. Scott asks Jean-Paul to hold on a little longer. They’ll find a healer. It is enough, Jean-Paul rasps out and asks Scott to let his life end in honor and peace. He sees the soul of his sister, Aurora, welcoming him. Behind her, there are the other Alphans, Shaman, Puck and Sasquatch. He joins them and dies.
Outside in the camp on a huge poster, Cyclops marks off the faces of all those who have died. So many. Dust joins him, carrying a cup of coffee. Scott thanks her and mentions this coffee is just the way he likes it. Emma isn’t the only one who knows him or cares, Dust states. Does she know what he really wants right now, Cyclops asks rhetorically. A fight. The more impossible odds, the better. He sinks down exhausted. He has phone-calls to make to every family. To tell them what’s happened to their children. Times like this he wishes Professor Xavier had never founded the school. That he’d never found his way to his door.
Some distance away at the lake’s shore, Xi’an Coy Manh kneels, crying. She is joined by Kitty, Rachel and Lockheed. Kitty and Shan hug, until a rising wind stirs them.
They look up to see Storm and Wolverine dropping from a plane. Kitty hugs Wolverine, who jokingly asks when she got taller than him. A decade ago, didn’t he notice? she retorts. She looks up to see Storm, who is wearing a strange device on her back, still floating in the air. Kitty is surprised to see her out of her life support module. Free from her prison, she means, Storm corrects her. She explains that their adversaries came for her too. They attacked her family. She is in this to the finish.
Kitty looks at her sadly, ready to argue, but Wolverine tells her to not. He already made the arguments. Storm’s too stubborn.
Cyclops and Dust join them and Wolverine informs Scott that they were attacked by a Warskrull. Cyclops grimly spells out this could mean they are at war with the Shi’ar.
On the Starjammer, a glowing Phoenix is in telepathic contact with Charles Xavier on Genosha. She tells Charles about Aliyah, Deathbird’s daughter. Charles states that means she’d be the rightful heir to the Shi’Ar throne. Jean explains Aliyah isn’t interested and the official heir is Lilandra’s son, Xavi. Xavier wasn’t aware of the fact he had a half Shi’Ar child. Something he and Bishop apparently have in common, Jean points out. Charles is suspicious. Liandra never told him. He never sensed it…
Jean continues that actually Lilandra’s chancellor is running things. He’s spent the better part of the last decade repairing the damage done by Cassanda Nova when she impersonated Charles. The Empire has become more aggressive and expansionist. Their only credible rival, the Kree, are on their last leg. That’s why the Kree tried to acquire Phoenix as a weapon from the slaver guild.
They’ve also identified two additional clandestine players: War-Skrulls and the Brood, who should be extinct. Carol is mad, as she sacrificed her own humanity to finish them.
Xavier states that the attack on the Institute can’t be coincidence. After some hesitation, Jean asks how Scott is. Xavier tells her that he is fine, as are Emma and the children. Jean is happy for him.
Charles adds that he is waiting for Domino, who is supposed to be bringing him news about Cable. He notes how odd it is that he can reach Jean on the far side of creation, but has trouble sustaining psilinks with the X-Men on Earth. They always had something special, Jean remarks and wonders if Charles own troubles could explain why she can’t link with Rachel. That doesn’t sound like coincidence either. She warns Charles to be careful and he tells her not to worry. He won’t be taken by surprise. He informs her that Domino is stepping in right now.
“Domino states that both Cable and Apocalypse are gone. Suddenly, Callisto goes ballistic, warning Charles and tossing knives at “Domino” as she tells Xavier to leave.
The Psilink has crashed and, on the Starjammer, Jean wonders what has happened.
“Domino” smashes Callisto into a wall and tosses her own blades back at her. Xavier, trusting Callisto, attacks Dom with an extractable dagger and trusts his telepathy to do the rest.
Domino turns into her real War-Skrull self and informs Xavier that they took his measure years ago. They charted every pathway of his mind and etched them all into their collective genome so that next time they fought… well he can guess the rest.