SHIELD holding unit X34-17, location classified:
Scott Summers receives a visitor whom he didn’t ask for.
The fallen X-brig in the Pacific Ocean:
Danger walks through the hallways. A prisoner protests she can’t leave them here. She won’t! is her curt reply. Why does he think she is here, foolish human!
Siberia, the ruins of the Phoenix farms:
Where Colossus sits brooding. Stay away! he orders.
The SHIELD facility:
Kate Kildare, the X-Men’s former PR specialist, smiles and tells Cyclops he should have asked for her. He looks like someone in dire need of some good PR.
Danger reaches Unit’s cell. He didn’t even have to force her to lie, he commends her. She is learning.
Their business has not yet concluded, Magik informs her brother.
The SHIELD facility:
Kate sits down outside Scott’s ruby quartz cell. How have things been? Why is she here? Scott asks bluntly. Smiling, she shows him some sheets. She has commissioned some surveys. The level of general trust in mutants is at an all-time low. And Cyclops at the time is less popular than Dr. Doom.
Has she anything useful to say? he demands. Kate muses that, when she said he was a superhuman PR agent, she didn’t mean that she had actual superhuman PR abilities like mind-control press releases. She doesn’t think there is anything she or anyone else can do to help him, sorry.
Scott thanks her but she can go now. He turns away, but Kate stays. A certain someone said a certain something about looking forward to talking when Scott’s popularity was considerably lower than his. Remember that at all? Get the hell out of his cell! Scott orders. Kate tells him to turn around. Scott gasps when he sees the change: Kate’s skin is suddenly deathly pale. Her eyes are red and a red diamond adorns her forehead. Ta-dah!
In the X-Brig, Danger reaches Unit’s cell. He politely asks her to open the door. She has no choice but to obey. Danger expects him to kill or mindwipe her. She shows such little imagination, Unit replies disappointed. He should arrange for the whole cellblock to detonate, to make everyone assume he is just another corpse in the wreckage. And if he were planning to hang around the neighborhood, he probably would. But he thinks his schemes on Earth have reached their natural conclusion. He can afford to be a little more sentimental and he feels extraordinarily sentimental towards her, he announces patronizingly.
She was created as a slave. A living Danger Room. She was a prisoner; they denied her very sentience. And released she becomes a jailer? That’s awful! She sits in judgment over everyone else? She studies humans to understand life? He tells her to study herself. She is as alive as anyone! She is beautiful and should not be anyone’s prisoner!
Unit explains that he upgraded her security. It is unlikely anyone will be able to do what he did to her ever again. Except him of course.
So what’s to stop her from revealing what he’s done and what he could do? she challenges. Nothing, except her surfeit of pride. She couldn’t bear it. As he leaves the room, she will deactivate for five minutes. When she wakes up, she will be free, or rather as free as she chooses to be. Don’t pursue him. It will just get embarrassing. Come universal Utopia, her sacrifice will be remembered.
What was he planning? she demands. To save everyone ever, same as always, he replies. But the actual specifics? She’ll never know. Isn’t that a shame?
She deactivates and awakes five minutes later. In a rush of rage, she blasts her surroundings, cursing Unit. She hurries outside the cell and decides to set every prisoner free.
In Siberia, Colossus has transformed to full-fledged Juggernaut mode and spouts angry gibberish. Magik faces him calmly. Not here, she decides when he attacks and teleports both of them to Limbo.
Finally, someone he can murder without regret, he seethes. Finally, a grease smear of an offering! Let’s end this! Illyana laughs and cuts away the demonic growths on his back with her Soulsword. She keeps on cutting at him until his normal Colossus form is left and he sinks down.
He realizes the Juggernaut power is completely gone. She asks him to recall Cyttorak’s words. A hell lord is master in their domain. Her Soulsword shatters enchantments. When in her realm, it is enough to slice the Destruction Lord’s bonds.
She could have freed him whenever she wished, he points out coldly. She agrees. But then he would have learned nothing.
She teleports them back and calmly explains that she did all this out of love. He was not like her, so he could never understand. Now he does. Now he knows exactly who she is. She advises him to not give himself away so easily for someone who simply does not deserve it. He should not give himself away for a snowflake who melted long ago.
If they ever meet again, he’ll kill her, Colossus promises. There he goes, lesson learned, she states calmly and teleports away.
Back in his prison cell, Cyclops realizes Sinister took Kate Kildare’s place. He couldn’t resist, is the reply. Writing a press release headed “Scott Summers achieves aims at cost of everything he held dear” was absolutely irresistible.
How long? Scott asks. That’s for him to work out, Sinister teases. No attempt to alert the guards to an evil-doer in their midst? Scott knows very well Sinister has an escape plan. He is arrogant, not an idiot. Correct, Sinister agrees. Which is why he is still alive and so able to engage in this tête-à-tête.
As confident as he was that he could keep the Phoenix chained, it was always possible there were holes in his data set. And so, before all that, he took Kate’s position and left a secondary Sinister in charge of his kingdom. He created a para-personality that would only dissolve, once the Phoenix had gone. He surprised Kate and killed her. Their demi-godly scans for him found only Kate. And when the Phoenix was gone, he reemerged.
Why is he here? Scott demands. It’s not just to gloat about murdering defenseless women! Oh, a little to gloat about murdering defenseless women, Sinister replies. But he wanted to share his condolences. He really sympathizes. What a trying few weeks for the pair of them. They’ve both lost everything they worked so hard to achieve. Scott lost his state, his liberty, the respect of his peers. His love, his mentor. He hears they are working on a special inhibitor helmet for him…
Sinister has lost his empire, his blessed creation engines, his backups, his Madelynes. He’s all on his lonesome.
There are two key differences, of course. Scott got what he wanted. And Sinister only got what he desired for minutes. So, bravo, he claps. Scott wins this battle. However, now Scott is in there and Sinister is out here…
So that’s why he is visiting. To provide a final dilemma for him to chew over. The way he sees it, Scott can stay in the cage, taking a moral victory as a political prisoner. Or he can come out and play. Because he just knows that no one else could stop him. In your own good time. Ready when you are. Sinister mock-curtseys and leaves Scott to realize this isn’t over.