Somewhere in the hidden peeks of the Savage Land…
Magneto and his followers have tied Jean up. He proudly declares that he has finally found a way to gain immortality, and it’s within his grasp! Jean reminds Magneto that he isn’t immortal yet, and asks him if he really told the Nhu’ghari that the X-Men killed him. Magneto admits that, and reveals that only a select few Nhu’ghari creatures are aware of the truth. He decides to reveal to Jean what happened to him after his last confrontation with the X-Men.
He reveals that, after he created his own breed of artificial Mutates from several Savage Land primates, from which he is the most proud of Lorelei, he had succeeded in capturing the male X-Men, including their ally, Ka-Zar. Even Magneto was enchanted by Lorelei’s song. Magneto’s plan was foiled by the smallest of miscalculations, as the power of Lorelei had no effect on others of her own, female sex. Jean used her telekinetic powers to unleash the terrible force of Cyclops’ optic blast, which took Lorelei out and brought everyone back to normal.
Due to the blast, the rest of Magneto’s equipment also shattered. An electrical shock from the explosions hit Magneto, and what happened to him afterwards, remained a mystery to the X-Men. The weight of the tumbling mechanisms smashed the floor beneath him, revealing a hitherto unsuspected river-flowing swiftly some hundred feet below. It was a current that carried Magneto deep into the Savage Land. Deeper, perhaps, than even Ka-Zar himself has ventured. Until he found some rocks to hold onto, Magneto climbed his way into safety. He found himself in a cave, and in that cave discovered this metropolis like citadel, and also its even more strange habitants.
Jean admits that story explains why Magneto wasn’t all crushed like they hoped he would have been. But she still doesn’t know why he pretends to be a ghost. Magneto reveals that, after quickly discovering how the winged masters of this city treated those whom they considered to be inferior, he utilized a talent for which he had not use for in recent years. He used the power of his mutant brain to send forth his astral form, and in that spectral form confronted the lords of this citadel, and bent them to his own purpose. Jean wants to know what that purpose is. Magneto believes it’s enough when he says it will see the culmination goal which has driven him since the day he discovered mutant nature: the destruction of the entire human race!
Angel recognizes the female Nhu’ghari, as she is the woman who found him injured and dying in the mountains. Linak confirms that, and also that Avia is responsible for bringing Warren to their hiding place, with her thinking that Warren was one of her people. Warren doesn’t think so, as Avia looks much more than a bird than he does. But he does thank her for saving his life.
When Avia doesn’t respond, Sakaa claims that Avia cannot, as she isn’t gifted with the ability of speech. Warren feels sorry for her. Not only is Avia a freak among her own people, but also a mute. This makes him feel not too bad about his own situation – for a while. Another Nhu’ghari comes to inform Nhu’abdar that there are other strangers in their city! Warren believes that have to be Cyclops and Beast. Nhu’abdar confirms that Warren’s friends were reported in the vicinity of the hangar. He reveals that the protectorate fears they may have entered it, and if so, seen that which lies within.
In the hangar…
Beast has no idea what the huge thing he and Cyclops are looking at, but he is impressed by it. Scott recognizes the device as gigantic balloons, and it looks like they form some kind of giant airship! Beast thinks that’s obvious, but he is more concerned what it’s for. Scott agrees, realizing they were just attacked by flying creatures. So, why would they need a spaceship for?
Jean doesn’t understand it when Magneto reveals he found a volcano. Magneto confirms he did. He explains that what the Nhu’ghari saw as magic is actually radiation from deep within the Earth. Radiation which finds its way near to the surface beneath this city, through a vast network of volcanic vents. Jean asks if it’s that’s the same radiation that works all of the other miracles around here as well. Magneto confirms that, explaining that the radiation stimulates higher brain functions. The body becomes able to heal itself from even the most dire wounds. As a lesser effect, all within a hundred mile radius become mildly telepathic. That’s also how everyone got to speak English around these parts.
Jean was already wondering about that. She also believes that explains the background noise that’s scrambling her own telepathic powers. Magneto believes that this is all inconsequential, however, as the priests have made an even more important discovery. Some thirty years ago, they realized the volcanic pressures were changing. A deep subterranean earthquake had closed some of the vents. At any moment, perhaps within a matter of days, those pressures will be unleashed in an eruption such as the world has never seen! It will be an eruption, which will annihilate this city and all those who live in it. All that is, except for the select few Magneto will allow to escape.
At the same time, in the Tierra Del Fuego airport…
Iceman is trying to reach the Savage Land, but the plane he paid for to bring him there won’t leave because of a stormy weather. Bobby is angry and protests against the pilot. The pilot knows he has been paid, and doesn’t wish to cheat on Bobby. But he reminds him about the dangerous weather, and that the whole South Atlantic is covered by a massive storm system. Bobby realizes that stretches from here to the East Coast of Africa. But he remembers the pilot saying himself that reports must be wrong, as no single storm could be that big. The pilot admits he thought that, but that was before said storm actually began! Bobby is desperate to reach Antarctica, as the lives of his friends may depend on it.
The Savage Land…
Cyclops feels something moving, and Beast feels it too. It’s like the faintest tickle has reached the underside of his mind. Scott believes that must be Jean trying to reach them. He is confident, since he knows the touch of her thoughts on his like nothing else, no matter how small they may be. Hank realizes that, but warns Scott that running off to Jean’s rescue without a plan isn’t such a good idea. Meanwhile, Jean realizes that her psychic probing has reached her teammates. However, the scrambling effect is making it difficult for them to get a clear message.
Magneto asks Jean if she’s listening to him. She lies she is and jokes that she wishes she could says she was surprised that Magneto plans to save himself and nobody else. Magneto doesn’t want to listen to Jean’s whining. He realizes that she and the other X-Men have all been corrupted by Charles Xavier’s “narrow vision.” Magneto believes that humans and mutants can never live side by side, while Xavier wants to believe they can.
Amphibius comes to inform his master that “it” has been brought in. Magneto is glad that finally happened, and walks back towards his real, but unconscious body! It’s not a moment too soon his body has been brought back to him. He explains that even with his diminished magnetic powers, he can detect the rapid changes in the electro-magnetic waves in the crust beneath them. He dives back into his body, but not before admitting to Jean that the eruption is imminent, just like his time of departure is right now.
Jean quickly telepathically contacts Scott and Hank, who can now finally hear her good. She warns them there isn’t much time, so she has to use her powers to enter their minds and have them learn everything she knows. Scott and Hank are as ready for this as they’ll ever be, and tell Jean to go for it.
Avia has been ordered to lead Angel to the hangar place, but he can hardly keep up with her fast speed and warns her to go slower. Warren notice some Nhu’ghari guards, and hides against a nearby wall with Avia. On that moment, a volcanic eruption takes place! Warren panics, warning Avia that they’ve got to find his friends, and fast.
Not far away…
Magneto, happy to finally be back in his body again, notices that Jean is unusually quiet and thinks she’s panicking. Jean doesn’t think so. Cyclops fires an optic blast, and creates an entrance for him and Hank to go through. Magneto becomes angry and recognizes the two X-Men, and attacks them with the energy zapper built inside his suit. Luckily, Hank dodges it just in time, as he remembered Jean telling him about it when they last faced Magneto.
Scott unties Jean lose, and she admits she could have used her powers to release herself, but needed all of her strength to warn Scott and Hank about her whereabouts. Beast punches Magneto with a knock-out, and Scott tells Hank to rip Magneto’s jet-pack off his back, while Jean’s former ropes that tied her up to use on Magneto.
Elsewhere, Warren and Avia have to use their skills to rescue as many slaves as they can, as the entire place is about to blow up. Warren is startled, as below them, the slaves are actually fighting back against their former Nhu’ghari jailors!
While Beast carries an unconscious Magneto on his back, he, Scott and Jean try to escape, as the entire place starts to collapse around them as well. Jean sends out a telepathic warning call to all the slaves and Nhu’ghari around them to escape as well, or else they’ll die. They get the message and follow the X-Men. As they move on, lots of rocks impede their way out of the citadel. Scott decides to use the full power of his optic beams to make a path through the rocks. Eventually, he manages to do so, but he has used too much of his strength and will-power, and collapses. Jean tends to him, but panics, as she can also feel Warren’s presence in the caves right now.
Beast picks Scott up and carries him on his other arm, believing their only chance of escaping now is by that huge ship the Nhu’ghari planned on using. Jean agrees and they run over there, but a big rock blocks their way. Beast notices a wall he can hop and jump on in order to get to the ship, and Jean realizes she can use her own telekinetic powers to lift herself up. They do, but have to hurry, as the standard the shuttle is standing on is starting to break apart, too. Warren suddenly notices his teammates, and is surprised to see Magneto as well. Hank promises to explain later, but they have to rescue themselves right now.
Warren understands, and gently helps Jean into the shuttle so she doesn’t have to use her powers anymore. Jean thanks him for the gesture. Avia follows the group as well. Once on board, Beast is stopped by Nhu’ghari, but he doesn’t have time for this and quickly knocks them down. Beast panics, as even with his high intelligence, he can’t even begin to understand how this ship works!
Jean notices the heavy turbulence outside, and believes it’s more than a huge storm blowing out there! Jean thinks they’ve only got one chance left: she’ll have to use her telekinetic powers to help them escape, and hold the ship together. Beast doesn’t think that’s such a good idea, but Jean refuses to debate about it. Warren panics, and warns everyone to hold onto something, as the ship is starting to fall apart!