Utopia: island nation of mutantkind:
Where the X-Men and their associates and charges are at work making the place, formerly Asteroid M, orbital base of Magneto, liveable. Rockslide and Sunspot carry heavy loads. Dr Nemesis, resident scientific genius, remarks that he rebuilt large conveyance vehicles for this purpose but, by all means, they should strain their biology to the breaking point. He expects he’ll be asked to solder them together again.
Yoohoo, Pixie calls as she comes flying and addresses Nemesis. Oh God, the little wish-fulfillment elf, he sighs. Here to report that the science team’s lab has been cleaned of barnacles, he hopes. Um, no she mumbles. He had his two-way turned off and Mr. Summers needs him. He left it off, so he could work, he snaps. As if anyone can, with little sprites flitting about!
Cyclops comes driving in a jeep, together with Emma Frost and asks if Dr. Nemesis is busy. Merely terraforming this space rock, so his little leper colony can have something green to trample, comes the reply. Nothing pressing.
Brilliant, Emma ignores the sarcasm. Could he perhaps go to Graymalkin and spell Madison Jeffries a bit? He’s working the last of the retrieval and could use a rest. While he can apparently do without sleep altogether, Nemesis surmises. Out of the question, he must tend to the southside buoyancy unit.
Archangel lands, agreeing with him. They’ve been having trouble with unit three. It needs servicing like right now! What kind of trouble? Scott asks. A rumbling noise and the ground shaking is the reply.
He can’t calibrate the unit with it rocking like this! Nemesis protests. It will need to be stabilized first. Archangel replies he’s already contacted his stabilizer who is on his way.
Cue for Prince Namor to enter. Archangel thanks him and tells him they need him to steady the south end while Nemesis makes adjustments. Namor sternly replies that rebuilding his own nation is demanding enough without handling this too!
Be guaranteed they will not appreciate it either, Nemesis points out helpfully. Yes, they do, Cyclops states calmly, then orders Pixie to teleport over to Graymalkin and check on Jeffries’ progress. They are not sending any transmission in case HAMMER can intercept them. They have guards around the perimeter so she is not to be seen. What if they are inside then? Megan asks worried. They are not, she is told. HAMMER thinks the place is full of failsafes, they are mainly standing outside to look as if they are in control. But the X-Men don’t want them to know there is something valuable inside they still need.
Around Graymalkin Industries, the X-Men’s former San Francisco HQ, HAMMER troops indeed are patrolling. One guard finds another pair and asks what they are doing – mining for treasure? “Screw you,” comes the reply, they are supposed to be scanning for unusual readings. They find readings that don’t make sense –a thermal, then a negative, almost at the same time. Press reset, his colleague suggests. The invisible Gorilla Man instead bangs their heads together. Close one, he informs his fellow Agents of Atlas.
Team leader Jimmy Woo orders two Atlas agents to wear the guard uniforms. The Uranian tries to adjust his headband to prevent anyone getting any further readings. Is he going to sedate them too? Namora asks. Nah, Gorilla Man interjects, the Ken Hale stoogeknock is good for three to four hours.
M-11, the silent killer robot, opens the doorway. Why all of this accoutrement? Namora asks Ken. Jimmy wouldn’t let him bring anything with real bullets, comes the reply, so he went to Dr. Zu for some outfitting, in case they run into some mutants. He’s got him all tricked out. He’s not sure Dr. Zu is mentally sound, the Uranian remaks. He knows he is not, Ken replies, they wouldn’t believe half of what this stuff does! Fingers crossed he won’t have to use it, Jimmy remarks as they enter.
The Uranian gathers that the media they review showed much hostility from the mutants. But they hate Osborn, Jimmy points out. So they can’t be all bad. They don’t have time to find out the particulars. They need to get the objective and implement it. The clock is ticking. They have a missing teammate to find and no idea who has her.
Said missing teammate – Venus – awakes gagged and tied on the back of a centaur named Manolis, who is informed by his companions – laughing birds – that she has awakened.
Manolis tells her not to fear the Stymphalian birds. They are ordered not to shred her. Their duty was to find her for him. He was the mounted policeman she spoke to before sniffing the sleeping lotus. His mistress gave him a charm that keeps that vision before him when he travels to the cities. They are nearly there, he explains, the temple.
They are well established here in the new world. Hiding in plain view as the Olympus Group, which has dealings with her Atlas Foundation. Imagine his mistress’ delight when she realized her connection to her. Her presence is demanded by the one she mocks with her form. She wears the visage to whom this temple is dedicated… Aphrodite!
They are here, they have her! a female centaur announces as she sees them.
At Graymalkin Industries, Pixie teleports in, noting the place looks depressing now. “Dr. Jeffries!” she calls out. “In here!” she hears a reply and finds Jeffries working around with huge machinery. Cyclops sent her to check on him since he’s been at it so long, she explains. Dr. Nemesis has to fix one of the island thingies and then he can come take over. Should she fetch him some caffeine? French-pressed?
Jeffries declines, telling her he’ll be ready to go in four hours. Nemesis can come then. Great, she’ll tell him that, she replies and teleports away.
That was a close one, “Jeffries” announces a moment later. Glad they didn’t have to tranq her. Yes, they’d be expecting her back, the Uranian agrees. He drops his telepathic shield and “Jeffries” turns to Jimmy Woo once more, while the real Jeffries lies unconscious on the ground.
How does it look? Jimmy asks the Uranian, who announces he has already disabled this unit from sending alerts. The X-Men seem to have put most of their efforts into the Utopia Island project and have largely neglected this. They are probably in no hurry to find more mutants, Namora suggests if that’s what this machine does. It does, the Uranian agrees. Anywhere in the world.
When he switches Cerebra on the machine tells him he has no clearance to access it. Bob Grayson continues that Cerebra can extend a telepath’s influence geometrically. He should be able to adapt it to let him scan for Venus’ brainwaves.
He was able to find Jimmy without hotwiring some X-Men junk, Gorilla Man points out. Why does he need it now? Bob explains that Jimmy had a transponder put into him when he rebuilt his body. He might have been able to broadcast to Venus’ mind if she were still in the city but she’s not.
Cerebra finally works announcing there is a mutant hybrid located in the Graymalkin premises. Where? Gorilla Man asks excited. It’s talking about her, Namora points out.
Back on Utopia, Cyclops tells the assembled mutants how far they are with their work. Pixie appears and announces Jeffries didn’t even want a coffee. Says he can go for another four hours or so. Cyclops thanks her, then hesitates. Jeffries refusing coffee? Was he acting strange? Emma orders the Stepford Cuckoos to combine their minds for a long-range scan to Greymalkin. They obey and announce Jeffries is sleeping but there is a powerful mind working on Cerebra. And others… a woman like King Namor. A man giving orders… and an ape? Atlas! Wolverine snarls.
Back at Graymalkin, the Uranian and Gorilla Man are still loading things. How are they doing? Jimmy Woo asks nervously. Bob admits he cannot break through Cerebra’s firewall. Someone did an admirable job with it. Most of the equipment down here is a phalanx of memory banks and processors. He has been unable to unlink her neural core which they could connect to their own system in the Hidden City. The structure is truly elegant… beautiful even.
Jimmy orders they bring it back to their base so Bob can work on it there. Namora notices static. A moment later, a blackness appears courtesy of Cloak… and then so do the X-Men, led by Cyclops, Wolverine, Storm, Colossus and Emma Frost.
Cyclops orders Atlas to put the equipment down and he tells Cloak to hang back until he needs him.
M-11 erects a forcefield to keep back the X-Men. Jimmy orders the team to not engage and instead enter into the teleportation beam.
Wolverine cracks the field attacking the robot. Cyclops fires his optic blast at M-11. Wolverine protests that he’s gonna be the one who wrecks that thing.
Storm grabs the Cerebra core unit form Namora who chases her.
As M-11 self-repairs Wolverine jumps at him. Remember him? he snarls. Affirmative, the usually silent M-11 agrees as he fires electricity at him. In diamond form, Emma bring the robot down and Colossus wrestles him.
As Namora closes in on Storm Cyclops warns her not to let Namora touch her and fires an optic blast at Namora.
A moment later, Jimmy Woo kicks him in the back. Ororo tries to whip up a storm but screams a moment later, believing she is beset by monsters. The hesitation allows Gorilla Man (equipped with a rocket pack) to grab the Cerebra unit. Colossus threatens him to drop it or he’ll be crushed like the robot. “Noo, Piotr,” Kitty Pryde, dying in his arms, whispers. He broke her neck!
Cloak warns them as Atlas floods the place and are drawn up to the Uranian’s ship with the X-Men disoriented. Emma shouts that the Uranian planted the illusions in their minds. She curses. If only she could drop the damned diamond form and use her mind! The X-Men can only helplessly watch as Atlas get away.
Cyclops announces they can track Cerebra and orders Cloak to transport them back to Utopia.
The Agents of Atlas arrive in their hidden city, miles beneath San Francisco and are greeted by the servants who inform them there is still no sign of Venus.
Jimmy orders the warriors and scholars to help Bob get their network connected to Cerebra. Disappointed, Ken Hale pouts he didn’t get to use all his sweet gadgets. Namora announces he is going to get his chance, as Cloak appears above them and so do, a moment later, the rest of the X-Men.
The original X-Men, in their original costumes, have just landed in a jungle-like landscape. Xavier telepathically informs them that he senses the thieves are close. They are ready, Cyclops assures him, while Iceman boasts he can make this jungle look like a ski resort. Please, Beast scoffs, for once they have the perfect the environment for him to negotiate.
A moment later, they face the Agents of Atlas (as they were in the 50ies), Jimmy Woo, Gorilla Man, Venus, Marvel Boy and M-11, as well as monstrously mutated jungle beasts. “The professor wasn’t kidding!” Angel announces. “These secrete agents are mutating African wildlife into monsters!” Marvel Girl adds. Xavier telepathically informs them they are the enforcers for a criminal empire called the Atlas Foundation. He warns them to be ready for anything!
Heads up! Gorilla Man warns Jimmy Woo and Venus recognizes their foes as the X-Men. Quickly, the battle starts. Angel is ensnared by a mutated elephant courtesy of Marvel Boy, while M-11 keeps Jean and the Beast on the ropes.
As Cyclops blasts the elephant Marvel boy calls him a human version of M-11. Jimmy remarks the X-Men must want to help their fellow mutants. Buncha bums going for the sneak attack! Ken Hale mutters while trying to keep off a mutated lizard.
Angel attacks Marvel Boy. Guys flying without wings is just not right, he opines while Bob believes Angel is trying to feed him to his mutated beast. Grabbing his wing, he flies him upwards.
Jimmy orders Venus to take their foes down. The Siren Venus begins to sing and Beast and Iceman start to be affected. Jimmy and Ken, despite having forgotten their earplugs, are not.
Jean, who is not affected either, mutes Venus by gagging her with some vines. Cyclops and M-11 use their optic blasts against each other in a staring contest. Beast protests this shouldn’t work. One beam is force, the other—before he can finish, Gorilla Man wrestles him. Beast recognizes his scent and suddenly Ken too recalls that they have met before.
In the meantime, Cyclops wins and blows M-11 apart. Iceman encases Gorilla Man and Jimmy in ice while Jean lifts out Beast.
Xavier mentally applauds them and reminds them to fin the unit the Agents stole from the mansion. Cyclops agrees before asking what was the equipment they stole again? Was it what they used to make the monsters?
Where is Bob? Jimmy asks. He is their last chance. He thought that was him he saw in the sky but now he thinks it’s something else. Something lands hard, forcing the X-Men to scatter. Cyclops gets up to find that Marvel Girl is dead. He looks around to find that Namora (also in her old costume) is holding up Iceman and Beast, dangling them like fish. She apologizes to Jimmy for being late.