‘LEEEGGGIIIOONN!’ shouts Professor Charles Xavier as he walks through the darkness of his son’s mind. Xavier frowns, before seeing something in the distance. He runs over to what turns out to be a phone. Xavier picks up the receiver and presses “0” for operator. ‘Hello, you’ve reached the brain of David Haller. There’s no one here to rake your call right now. Please leave a message and we’ll get back to you’ a recording states. ‘David. David, listen to me. I know you’re there! I know you’re monitoring this call. It’s your father, David!’ Xavier exclaims urgently. ‘David, please! Listen to me! Come back to us!’ Xavier shouts.
‘David…’ Charles whispers, sitting beside his son who lies comatose in a bed in the med-center at what remains of Muir Island’s Research Center. ‘David, come back to us…’ Charles exclaims, surrounded by four of his closest friends - Scott “Cyclops” Summers, Jean Grey, Ororo “Storm” Munro, and Dr. Moira MacTaggert, Muir Island’s owner. Scott remarks that he wishes they weren’t doing this, after everything the Professor has been through, pointing out that it is too early for the Professor to be sending his psychic self into David. Moira points out that Charles is doing what he feels he has to, for if there is any chance of salvaging David’s mind after what the Shadow King did, the chance must be taken immediately.
‘What about what the Shadow King did to him, Moira? His body, broken…Goddess, after everything the Professor has been through, and now, just like that, he cannot walk again?’ Storm exclaims, asking ‘What justice is there in that?’. Suddenly, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan enters the room, ‘Charlie’s a tough old bird. Walking. Not walking. Makes no difference to him’ the rugged X-Man declares, smoking a cigarette. ‘Truly spoken like someone who’s never been unable to enter a building because there’s no wheel-chair ramp, or not use the men’s room because the stall isn’t wide enough!’ Moira exclaims, before ordering Wolverine to extinguish his cigarette immediately.
Wolverine flicks the cigarette into his mouth and swallows it. ‘Ouch. Didn’t that hurt?’ Jean asks him. ‘Like nobody’s business’ Wolverine replies, to which Scott asks him why he did it. ‘Nobody’s business’ Logan retorts, when his side-kick, Jubilation Lee, better known as simply “Jubilee”, enters. ‘Hey, Logan. You wanted to see me?’ she asks. ‘Yeah, kid. Outside. This place gives me heartburn’ Logan tells her, before they leave. Scott tells the women that he keeps hearing Wolverine has changed, but to him, he thinks Wolverine is as nuts as he ever was. Jean asks Scott if he didn’t see how Logan smirked at him. ‘He just wanted to keep you off balance. Gives him a feeling of control. He prefers it that way’ she tells her boyfriend. ‘That’s fine if you’re facing your enemy. But your allies -’ Scott begins, until Storm interrupts, suggesting that perhaps Wolverine does not regard Cyclops as an ally. ‘Then what?’ Scott asks. ‘A rival, maybe?’ suggests Moira.
Meanwhile, soaring high above the remains of Muir Island is Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Archangel. ‘Look at this mess. For that matter, look at all of us’ he remarks, pointing out that all of them got so spread out that they got so far away from each other, and what the Professor started out to do in the first place. ‘Even the Island isn’t what it was. Now it’s blown to opposing crescent shapes…the beginning and end of a cycle‘, Warren exclaims. ‘Real estate as metaphor. How lovely’ he jokes as he flies past Wolverine and Jubilee who are on a ridge, then past Lorna “Polaris” Dane and Guido who are down on the beach, and Rogue on another part of the beach.
‘Angel! Warren!’ calls out Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin to his friend. ‘I shouted to Archangel, but he didn’t hear me’ Colossus remarks, turning to Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy a.k.a. the Beast, and Forge. “Turning and turning in the widening gyre, the falcon cannot hear the falconer. Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. The blood-dimmed time is loosed and everywhere, the ceremony of innocence is drowned. The best lack conviction, while the worse…are full of passionate intensity” the Beast quotes, while picking up a photograph of Xavier that somehow survived the explosion. For Moira, love Charles scribbled on the photo.
Colossus remarks ‘That’s by Mikhail Lermontov’, to which Hank replies ‘William Yeats, actually. “The Second Coming”’ he reveals. ‘Oh. It sounded Russian’ Piotr remarks, before asking what it means. ‘It means that all teams with an “X” preceding their names better get their act together, fast’ Hank replies. Colossus points out that it will not be easy. ‘What a mess the battle with the Shadow King left us’ he remarks, looking around at the destruction, before turning to Forge, and telling him that he is the master inventor, and asks if he has some remarkable device that can facilitate cleaning all of this up. ‘As a matter of fact, Colossus…I have just the thing. Here y’go!’ Forge tells Colossus as he hands him a broom and dustpan. ‘Very funny’ Colossus smirks, while Hank and Forge laugh.
Back inside, Xavier is still walking through his son’s mind, and comes across a brick wall. He thinks it is odd when he sees that some of the bricks in the wall are missing, which he believes means that David is erecting barriers, but is uncertain about it, when Charles looks through the gap in the wall and sees a yellow staircase, which he proceeds to climb.
Jean, Cyclops and Moira continue to watch over Xavier, and Jean remarks that she still remembers the first time she saw Charles. ‘He was the most helpless person I’d ever seen…and the most intimidating’. Jean looks at Scott, and calling him “Slim”, his old nickname, asks him if he remembers those days. ‘Oh, please’ Scott smiles, before he takes Jean’s hand in his.
Down by the beach, Rogue is throwing some stones into a small pool of water, when suddenly, a voice calls out to her. Rogue frowns, recognizing the voice as that of her foster mother Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique. Rogue turns and sees Raven standing with Dr. Valerie Cooper - the Presidential Advisor on Mutant and Super Human Affairs, and Sgt. Nick Fury - the Director of SHIELD. ‘What’s the matter, Mystique. Couldn’t face me yourself?’ Rogue asks. Raven replies ‘I thought you might not want to hear from me’ and points out that Val is very good at communicating. ‘And since Nick had brought her here to survey the damage, well…’ Raven’s voice trails off. ‘So talk. It’s a free country…somewhere’ Rogue mutters.
The glamorous Valerie informs Rogue that it happened a couple of months ago when she was under the Shadow King’s control. ‘I had been ordered to kill Mystique…and I was ready to do it, but I can only assume that the Shadow King’s power was stretched fairly thin at the time, because she was fighting his control, and her gun began to tremble. Valerie remarks that she knew she was going to be compelled to pull the trigger despite everything she wanted to do. ‘And if I missed, I’d just continue to keep shooting until my mission was accomplished’.
Shockingly, Valerie reveals that she suddenly, desperately, reversed the gun, putting it to her own head and fired! However, thankfully, the barrel jerked and she only creased her skull. ‘The next thing I knew, I was in an ambulance, looking up at Nick Fury’s mug’. ‘I love ya too, kid’ Fury remarks, puffing on a cigar. Shocked, a wide-eyed Rogue asks Valerie ‘You were going to kill yourself rather than let yourself be forced to kill someone else?’. ‘Yeah, well…that’s why they pay me the big money’ Valerie replies.
Mystique reveals that when Valerie went down, she immediately contacted the only man in the Government she felt was absolutely trustworthy - Nick. Fury quotes Valerie by remarking ‘That’s why they pay me the big money’ before he and Valerie take their leave. Rogue slumps over on a rock, while Mystique explains that Fury set things up immediately, and that by the time Jacob Reisz, ‘Whom I suspected was connected to the Shadow King’ Raven reveals, showed up, Fury’s people were loading Valerie into an ambulance, and telling all concerned that it was Mystique. ‘For my part, I took on Val’s appearance’.
Mystique continues, revealing that with the help of a SHIELD hypnotist, who gave her the conscious belief that she was Val ‘Else we’d never have been able to fool the Shadow King’. Mystique explains that Fury was the only one who could remove that belief by whispering a specific code-word that would restore her to normal. ‘A trigger word that would cut to the inner core of what I was, and restore my personality’, Raven reveals. Rogue asks what that word was, to which Raven reveals it was “Rogue”.
Rogue folds her arms and says nothing, while Raven looks anxiously at her daughter. Rogue turns, a sad look on her face, asking Raven if she has any idea what that did to her, hearing on the news report that she was dead. ‘Watching them load your body on the meat wagon’. Rogue stands up and they look at each other in the eye, ‘It wasn’t me’ Raven points out. ‘It coulda been! You coulda told me! Found a way. Had Fury drop me a post-card. Something!’ she declares.
Mystique reveals that she was afraid if Rogue knew, she would get involved. ‘And there was no need to…’ her voice trails off, before Rogue declares ‘Well it didn’t work now, did it? I got involved, I always get involved. For crying out loud, Mystique, I’m a grown woman, see? All grown up! Not the kid you’re used to think of me as. I deserve more respect that to be protected from what’s going on!’. Mystique reminds Rogue that the X-Men were believed dead and she didn’t let her know immediately that she was all right. ‘That was different’ Rogue replies, beginning to cry.
‘It always is’ Raven mutters, before telling Rogue that instead being angry about not being dead, they should just be happy about being alive. Rogue puts her arms around her mother ‘Well…we……uh…looks like, uh, we got ourselves a Kodak moment here, huh?’ Mystique remarks. ‘ aw, shuddup’ Rogue tells her.
Elsewhere on the beach, Jubilee shouts ‘NO! Forget it! I won’t! Uh uh! No way, Jose!’, and throws some plasma fireworks in the air. ‘We’re a team! Like Batman and Robin! Siegfried and Roy! Jekyll and Hyde! Funk and Wagnall! Bert and Ernie! So just…you…drop it!’ she tells Wolverine angrily, before storming off. ‘Hmmm. She took that better than I thought she would’ Wolverine remarks.
Nearby, Polaris uses her recently returned magnetic powers to lift some large amounts of rubble. ‘Very impressive’ Guido tells her. ‘Thank you…Guido, is it?’ Lorna replies, remarking that it feels good to have her magnetic powers back, to be the way she was. ‘But I still feel clumsy’ she admits. ‘It’s been so long since I was the way I was, I’m not even sure how that I was anymore!’ Lorna declares, adding that everything feels still, and for so long her mind has been under someone else’s control, she feels like her brain’s an unused muscle - like all her muscles are unused.
‘Stiff, huh? Tell ya what…put your arms straight over your head. That’s it. Now take a real deep breath, while thrusting your hips back’ Guido tells Polaris, who does as he suggests, while asking what good it is supposed to do her. Admiring Lorna in her bathing suit version of the standard X-Men uniform, Guido replies ‘You? Nothing! Doing wonders for me, though!’, as he smiles, admiring Lorna’s form. ‘Oh, you!’ Lorna exclaims, giving Guido a playful slap, before sitting down beside him and telling him that Muir Island seemed such a safe place, a haven. ‘The rest of the world had its insanity, but here was research. Study. Intellectualism’. Lorna declares that Muir Island was a source of solutions, not problems. ‘And now look at it. My Island, my world…everything at the disposal of the destroyers. At some point, you want fighting evil to be someone else’s problem.
‘Never seems to work out that way, does it, Lorna?’ remarks Valerie as she approaches the Mistress of Magnetism, asking her if she has given any thought to her next move. ‘Clean up, I guess. And then…I don’t know’ Lorna replies, while Guido wonders why he has a funny feeling that Valerie has a very specific idea of what Lorna’s next move might be. ‘To be honest, Guido…yes’ Valerie admits, before revealing that she has already spoken to Jamie Madrox about this already. ‘It’s regarding the re-creation of Freedom Force’ Val explains.
Polaris gets up from her seat and declares that there is no way she is getting involved with a group that had the Blob and those guys as members. ‘The name isn’t important. The concept is’ Valerie replies. Lorna turns to what’s left of the Research Center and declares that there is only one person she listens to when it comes to concepts of mutant groups. ‘A person I should be with right now’.
‘Madness. All madness!’ Xavier exclaims, walking down a flight of stairs inside Legion’s mind. He comes to a break in the stairs, a large gap on which the other side sits a house. Xavier remarks that nothing here is as he expects it to be, but wonders why the mind of his son should be any more rational than the real world of his son. Xavier leaps over the gap in the stairs, remarking that he comes back from his time in space to find Jean miraculously back from the dead, Warren mutated into something barely recognizable, Scott mourning for a son he didn’t know he had, and a wife that he apparently never did.
Entering the house, Xavier finds it full of lit lamps, wishing one of them could provide a fraction of the illumination that he needs. Suddenly, Jean appears at the window and tells the Professor that she thinks she can provide some of that illumination. ‘Presuming, of course, you’re not to upset that I’m, as you say, back from the dead’. Xavier looks at the beautiful Jean Grey and replies ‘You i>are joking, Jean. The magnitude of your loss was a tragedy I could barely admit…and now, to see you here…there are no words’. Jean reminds Xavier that they always said X-Men are hard to kill.
‘Indeed. Sometimes it seems that in mutant heaven, there are no pearly fates, but instead revolving doors. Jean tells Xavier that she is glad he sees the humor, because she is hear to tell him that his search for David is hopeless. ‘No. I refuse to subscribe to your interpretation’ Xavier retorts. Opening the door, he walks out of the house, ‘There must be a -’ he exclaims, before finding himself free-falling. Jean urges the Professor to think of the images. ‘A few bricks shy. Staircase not going all the way to the top. The lights are on, but nobody’s home’ she reminds him.
Xavier exclaims that they are all images created by David’s mind. ‘He’s calling to me!’ Xavier exclaims. Jean telekinetically hovers beside her former mentor, ‘No, Professor. Images from your own mind, from your subconscious telling you what your conscious mind won’t accept. David is gone. There’s nothing here. No matter how powerful a telepath you are. You can’t work with emptiness’, Jean tells him. ‘David needs me!’ Xavier exclaims.
Suddenly, Cyclops, Beast, Archangel and Bobby “Iceman” Drake appear, floating through the mind-space, Archangel tells Xavier that David doesn’t need him because he’s not here. ‘But we do need you’ Warren remarks. ‘The center cannot hold without you providing the vision’ Hank declares, while Scott exclaims that everything is blurred. ‘But why me? Why always me?’ Xavier asks. ‘Because -’ Bobby begins, until Xavier interrupts, telling him ‘Never mind, it was rhetorical’.
As the Professor continues to fall, Jean remarks ‘If you want to stop your fall -’, but Xavier interrupts, ‘You’re about to instruct me, my dear, on the techniques of astral physics? Me? You forget yourself’ Xavier declares, while Iceman makes a large “X” out of ice in the background as Jean tells Charles that she is being concerned. ‘So noted’ Xavier replies. Scott tells the Professor that as he was so determined to try and help David immediately, he didn’t give them time to tell him what the x-rays show. ‘You’ll never walk again’ Scott announces. ‘”Never”, Scott? And Jean lost her life, never to return. And Warren lost his wings, never to fly again. I don’t believe in never Scott. And further more…’
‘…I never have’ Xavier exclaims, smiling as he wakes in the med lab to find his original X-Men and Moira around him. ‘Ah, well, this is a sight I never thought I’d see in this lifetime’ Xavier declares. Moira tells Charles that they were getting concerned, what with his injuries, weakened condition and then this psionic jaunt… ‘Calm yourself, Moira. I assure you…I’m all right!’ Xavier announces.
‘He’s all right!’ Moira exclaims.
‘He’s all right’ Storm shouts to Colossus as she rushes down a corridor.
‘He’s all right’ Colossus tells Gambit, lighting a cigarette in another corridor.
‘He’s all right’ Gambit smiles at Polaris, popping his head out of the shadows and giving her a fright.
‘Uh…he’s all right’ Lorna tells Guido. ‘He’s all right? Who’s all right?’ Guido asks. ‘He’s all right’ Lorna replies.
‘He is’ Guido whispers to the Multiple Man. ‘Oh. He is’ Madrox replies, before passing the news onto one of his dupes. ‘He’s all right’ one of them calls out to another. ‘He’s all right!’ another exclaims. ‘He’s all right!’
Madrox and two dupes find Rogue on the beach, ‘He’s all right!’ they exclaim.
‘He’s all right!’ Rogue tells Jubilee who is still stomping around on the beach, ‘Who cares?!’ Jubilee shouts.
Logan tells Rogue that Jubilee is having a rough day, to which Rogue informs Wolverine ‘He’s all right’. ‘That’s nice. Who, Charlie or Legion?’ Logan asks. ‘Uh…Ah forgot to ask’ Rogue replies.
Inside, Legion’s drool-laden expression stares up blankly, as Charles remarks ‘Good-bye, my son, and closes Legion’s eyes, before asking Hank to take him over to the window. Xavier stares out to the beach, where several of the heroic mutants have gathered - Wolverine, Polaris, Colossus, Rogue, Forge, Jubilee, Guido, Gambit - and Charles tells the Beast that he was correct. ‘The center cannot hold. And so a new center must be established. My only question now is…what am I going to do with fourteen X-Men?’. Hank frowns as he remarks ‘Eh. Bag ‘em’.