Utopia, ten days later. Magneto stands on the small island nation as a ship lands. ‘Hello, Erik’ Professor Charles Xavier calls out as he steps off the vessel. ‘Charles. It’s good to see you, old friend. We’ve been expecting you…’ Magneto replies. ‘Welcome to Utopia’ Magneto calls out, as Charles sees the spectacular display of buildings hovering in the air around them. Charles follows Magneto up some stairs, which just float in the air, and remarks that he had seen it on the television, ‘But in person - my God - the scale of this place…’ his voice drifts off. ‘Yes. What a magnificent thing they have built’ Magneto replies, adding ‘Great deeds of the greatest of men…’, before taking Charles to a door and remarking that it doesn’t seem so long ago that it was impossible not to think of them as just children, ‘And ours at that’ Magneto adds. ‘I still do’ Charles states. Magneto tells his old friend that he shouldn’t, as they have changed. ‘He’s changed…and he’s right through there’ Magneto announces as the door opens, and a brilliant light can be seen.
‘Hello, Professor’ a voice calls out, reaching into Xavier’s mind. I know why you’ve come. I can see it in your mind’ Cyclops states as he leans against a banister in the god-like space he stands, staring into open skies, clouds passing by, birds flying overhead. Calmly, Charles tells Cyclops that he is sure he understand his concerns perfectly. ‘The power you’re wielding…it unnerves the world. People are afraid’. Cyclops smiles as he turns back to the Professor, ‘You always told me we should never fear tomorrow, Professor. This is a new day’ he states. ‘You don’t need the visor anymore, do you, Scott?’ Charles asks. ‘No’ Cyclops replies. ‘Then why wear it?’ Charles asks. Cyclops explains that once, a great man taught him the value of having a singular vision, of seeing the world as it could be, adding that he would never want to lose that.
‘This is not what I meant’ Charles replies telepathically. Cyclops tells him that he knows - and that it is something better. All around the world, the rest of the “Phoenix Five” are supervising the improvement of the world. Cyclops tells the Professor that right now, they are remaking the world, transforming it into a better place for all living things. ‘Where it was once barren, it blooms’ he states, referring to the Horn of Africa, where Magik stands and raises her Soulsword high. ‘Where there was hunger, there will now be a feast’ Cyclops adds, while Colossus stands amongst new crop-houses in the Taymyr Peninsula. ‘There will be no more thirst, as any man can drink from our new spring’ Cyclops announces, while Namor swims across the Aleutian Trench. ‘And energy, there will be energy…boundless, limitless…and free’ Cyclops concludes, while Emma Frost is in the Gobi Desert, supervising the creation of this energy.
‘They will not fear us, Professor…they will thank us’ Cyclops declares. ‘There will still be fallout’ Professor X points out, to which Cyclops replies ‘Of course. Old ways oppose change. Most will bend. Remember what you taught us, Professor. They will change, mankind will accept the future. I believe that. I always have’. Charles tells Cyclops that he knows, but not like this, for it is cheating, it has cost nothing. ‘Cost nothing?’ Cyclops replies, raising his voice. ‘No, Professor…we have paid a high price for far too long…now, the real world is molded to our slightest whim. Reality itself…what we want it to be. Don’t you see? The day you longed for has arrived…’. Cyclops’s voice changes slightly as the energy within him comes to the front: ‘Here is your dream, Charles…I have given it to you’ he exclaims.
Unaware of the conversation taking place, several mutants from Utopia and Westchester are relaxing on Utopia, playing sports and having a good time. Psylocke and Cannonball play some golf, while Sunspot, Velocidad and Primal play soccer. Gambit and Glob Herman can also be seen on the field.
Avengers Tower, two days later, ‘It’s happened again’ Iron Fist reports to Captain America via a communications monitor. America’s greatest hero stands with his arms folded, frowning, he listens to Iron Fist’s report, asking if everyone is all right. ‘Much better than we should be…’ Iron Fist replies. Cap asks him to walk him through it, so Iron Fist explains that they were on the way back from dealing with that rogue Hydra nest in Helsinki when someone triggered a dormant NATO alert beacon in the Baltics. Iron Fist explains that those things are powered by a high-yield dynamo, which is just the kind of thing a Zzzax would use if it had recently nested. ‘We had no idea what we were walking into, Cap’ Iron Fist reveals, explaining that the Electric Legion overwhelmed them. ‘I thought we were done for…and then…then…’ his voice trails off.
‘Then the X-Men showed up’ Captain America states. ‘X-Man. Just one. Colossus’ Iron Fist corrects Cap. ‘He walked out of the Siege Courageous like a metal god…he walked out and saved us’ Iron Fist explains. ‘Well, good. I assume he was able to defeat the Legion, but were you able to get some idea of what the upper levels of his powers are?’ Cap enquires. ‘Was there any show of weakness when he was fighting…did he -’ Cap continues, before Iron Fist interrupts, ‘My hands started burning as soon as he showed up, Cap. But you don’t understand…there wasn’t a fight’ Iron Fist reveals. ‘Excuse me?’ Cap replies, surprised. ‘They just…talked it out’ Iron Fist explains, recalling how he, Luke Cage and Spider-Woman stood as Colossus spoke to a member of the Electric Legion.
Cap asks Iron Fist what was said, but Iron Fist replies ‘No idea. I don’t speak electric…but the end result was the Legion agreeing to function as the power grid for a large portion of Eastern Europe’ he reveals. ‘More free mutant energy, I guess…no mess. Everything worked out fine, Cap’. ‘Okay, okay…be careful and we’ll talk more when you get home’ Cap tells Iron Fist. The monitor goes blank and at Avengers Tower, Cap turns around and walks away ‘Everything worked out fine’ he mutters.
Cap walks into a laboratory, where Wolverine, the Beast, Iron Man and Black Panther are meeting. They observe a holographic display, and Iron Man points out that there is a slight variation in the Phoenix’s telemetry as it approached Earth. ‘Several microscopic corrections, I’m sure’ the Black Panther remarks. ‘Yes, yes…as I said. A non-stationary target would -’ the Beast begins, while Wolverine exclaims that it was hope. ‘We were on the move’ he points out. ‘Excuse me, everyone…we’ve had another Phoenix encounter’ Cap calls out, explaining that Luke Iron Fist and Spider-Woman had a run-in with Colossus is Estonia. ‘Oh my…’ the Beast utters. ‘They okay? Petey didn’t…?’ Wolverine begins, but Cap assures him that everyone is fine. ‘And the new, cheapest energy source on the planet is a super villain. Who knew?’ Cap adds.
‘Actually, I came up with that idea years ago-’ the Beast begins, but Cap tells him that is not the point. ‘You’ve had a week. I need a plan of action. Give me the best you’ve got’ he tells them. ‘Our best? Given our current position, do we know doing something is better than doing nothing?’ the Black Panther enquires, before asking what the Phoenix Five have done wrong. ‘Who are we to judge? Have any of us argued Thor is too powerful to be trusted?’ the Black Panther points out. No one answers him, instead Iron Man just states that he has a few things - augmented battle suits, and a modified version of the Phoenix-killer weapon, however he explains that he concern with the latter remains splintering the force more, further multiplying the problem.
‘Too much dancing around what’s necessary. What we need is something lethal. That’s our only -’ Wolverine begins, but the Beast exclaims ‘Enough. What are we doing?’, to which Cap replies ‘Planning for the worst’, and Wolverine tells his friend to stop pretending that he doesn’t know how this ends. ‘Everything goes dark’ Wolverine tells him. The Beast adjusts his spectacles and replies ‘Do we know that?’, and points out that as the Black Panther said, they have seen no evidence of that. He states that right now, his friends, people he has known his entire life are remaking this planet into a place that is finally tolerable. ‘A world we can all live in. And I sit here in a room with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes trying to concoct a plan to stop and possible kill them’. The Beast puts the pieces of paper he was holding down on a table and announces ‘No more, gentlemen. No, thank you’ and he starts to leave the lab. ‘Where you think you’re going, Hank?’ Wolverine calls out. ‘Nowhere, my friend…more and more each day it looks like you and I have no place to call home’ the Beast adds as he departs.
Back on Utopia, Hope Summers stands on a floating platform and stares out over the spiralling mass of structures around her, when a voice suddenly calls out ‘This isn’t a prison, Hope…as I have told you many times since you woke up…if you’re unhappy, you can leave anytime you like’ Cyclops tells her as he walks over to her. Hope replies that she can’t - that she wants to, but it calls to her. Cyclops holds out a hand, and remarks that it is seductive, the power of life and death, the power to remake worlds, simply power, and infinite power, at that. Cosmic energy swirls in the palm of Cyclops’s hand, and Hope tells him that she he can hear it. ‘Yes. And if I offered it now…would you take it?’ Cyclops asks, frowning. Hope goes wide-eyed, and reaches out for the fiery power, ‘I…I…yes’ she replies, but Cyclops pulls his hand back, and reminds Hope that she turned it down - that I was hers, and she rejected it.
‘And now I know that you don’t deserve it’ Cyclops tells the young mutant, who is somewhat taken aback. ‘What would you do with the power, Hope? Would a child have accomplished all this? How could you truly understand what is needed when you have experienced nothing?’ Cyclops asks as he leaves her and walks away. ‘You know I can still hear it…it wants to burn brighter, hotter…do you think what you’ve done is enough?’ Hope calls out to Cyclops, who replies ‘Of course not. We can accomplish so much more’.
And so, Magik travels to war-stricken nations, sitting casually on a pile of junk as she destroys tanks, vehicles and weapons of war. Emma Frost goes on a crusade to destroy any remaining Sentinels. Colossus stands atop a missile as countless weapons are pulled skyward. The Sub-Mariner uses the Phoenix Force to tear battleships from the waters that they lurk in.
Later, in K’un Lun, the man called Lei Kung approaches a temple, which is being guarded by two men. ‘Anything?’ he asks. ‘Tears, Lei Kung…then laughter. When questioned, he would only mutter the same thing over and over: “something burns”!’ one of the men replies. Lei Kung pauses, before telling them to unlock it. He enters, ‘Old Man’ he calls out, and sitting at a desk, a very old man is surrounded by books and papers. Candles burn, while the old man has a red cloth around his eyes. The cloth has the picture of an eye in the middle, above his nose. ‘HA! I smell your fear- I smell you - storm’s son, thunder’s thunder…weeping boy’ the old man exclaims.
The old man reminds Lei Kung that it has been years since he beat him for sneaking into his study. ‘Did you come to pilfer more secrets…seeking again the hidden lore? Or has something tickled a memory…stealing your sleep like it has mine?’ the old man enquires. ‘Tell me. Do you smell cinder and ash, Lei Kung…or are you afraid of something you’ve seen before?’ the old man asks. Lei Kung reveals that there was a flaming bird in the sky, and announces that he needs the Book of the Fallen. The old man is very small, gets down from the desk, going over to another part of his temple, ‘Yes…yes…a fiery bird - the burning cycle…very, very old that. Very bad’ the old man remarks, adding ‘come to cleanse the field. Extinguish the old and make way for the new’. The old man remarks that Fongji the Silent had other ideas. ‘Do you remember?’ he asks, as they reach a book that sits on a odium, covered in cob-webs.
‘Two equally charged souls repelling one another…the Crimson Heart understood the cost and paid it’ the old man remarks, he flicks through some pages, the eye on the palm of his hand finds what he is looking for and he states that this has all happened before. A picture in the book shows two beings fighting - a woman with long red hair, and a strange being with a cosmic bird around him. A caption for the book states:
Fongji Wu (FY 1596)
Fongji the Silent,
The Crimson Heart
The Dragon’s Fist
The Phoenix of
Life and Death
Of Earth and
The Collapse of
‘You need the Iron Fist’ the old man tells Kei Lung.
The White House, three days later, Captain America, Iron Man and the Black Panther (in his civilian guise as King T’Challa) stand in a room with various officials. An old man frowns and, reading a report, remarks that it says a former SHIELD station in the Philippines was just occupied and converted into a school by the mutant karma. ‘We’re talking about a three hundred million dollar facility…’ he remarks, adding that the President has a seemingly endless stack of reports just like this. ‘I understand your frustration. These are trying times for all of us’ Captain America tells him. Iron Man adds ‘It’s gotten worse since the X-Men declared themselves the -’ but T’Challa interrupts him: ‘That isn’t accurate’ he states. ‘T’Challa, you -’ Iron Man begins, only for T’Challa to interrupt once more: ‘I was there, Anthony. I heard the words as they were being spoken. They didn’t declare themselves anything…they gave the Nations an ultimatum’ he explains, recalling the event from earlier.
This is the world - and you are its people’s representatives…so hear my words’ Cyclops booms as he, Emma and the Sub-Mariner hovers over the assembled leaders at a meeting of the United Nations. T’Challa sits and listens intently, as Cyclops announces that from this day forward they give the world peace and freedom from the aggression that has marked the darkest days of mankind. ‘Go. Build great things, greater than have ever been seen before…but no more weapons…no more machines of death…from this day forward we will no longer tolerate violence towards mutant or man. From this day forward, we declare no more war. Pax Utopia’ Cyclops announces.
The President of the United States stares out a window and asks ‘Do you think they’re capable of backing up their demands?’, to which T’Challa responds ‘Perhaps. I do know that for the first time in decades, instead of running from conflict and hunger, refugees are leaving Wakanda and returning North to Ethiopia and Sudan…certainly these merit consideration, Mr President’. ‘Of course they do, Your Majesty. Clearly it’s a wonderful thing…God knows we get too used to bloody hands’ the President replies. ‘But this…this is..’ his voice trails off, before remarking that in spite of all their flaws, he believes in mankind, that they have a history of forward progress. ‘But when the world works it is because there has always been some outlying culture of accountability. Right now, these X-Men do not have that…and something has to be done’ the President declares. Captain America almost smiles, while T’Challa frowns.
Elsewhere, the Phoenix Force can be seen, breaking the darkness, it roars towards six certain super heroes - Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Wasp, Ant-Man and the Hulk - and in spectacular display, destroys them - then suddenly, the Scarlet Witch a.k.a. Wanda Maximoff opens her eyes, drenched in sweat, she gasps ‘This is what comes next’.
Now, at Avengers Tower, Mockingbird and the Vision are in the communication room, as Mockingbird reports to “Liberation”, announcing that they have the go-ahead from the DOD and Uscentcom. She adds that the ATC reports no flights in their vicinity, and sky watch shows favourable conditions. Inside the “Liberation”, several Avengers who can’t fly are getting into flight-suits. Captain America, Wolverine, Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Woman, Hawkeye, the Black Widow and Iron Fist are present. ‘You’re all clear. Happy hunting’ Mockingbird reports.
Three Hours Earlier:
Captain America, Iron Man, Wolverine, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Black Panther are gathered around a table, a holographic representation of the transformed Utopia. ‘We want the girl’ Iron Man states. ‘Exactly. In regards to this mission, Hope’s the only thing that matters’ Captain America agrees, adding that she is the key to figuring out the Phoenix Force. Hawkeye examines the structures and remarks that limited scope is good, that it isn’t like they could go toe-to-toe with any of the Phoenix Five anyway. ‘And win?’ Wolverine replies, stating that they have no chance. ‘But if we find ourselves in a pinch, the armor Tony cooked up sure will put more teeth in our bite’ Wolverine adds. ‘So…we jump in, grab the girl, get the hell out’ Hawkeye exclaims.
‘Yeah, but we can’t teleport in. Magik will have countermeasures for that…and if we roll up slow, they’re gonna smell us coming’ Wolverine explains. The Black Widow announces that is why they are going to be jumping a small team out of a converted 767, as there is a commercial route 50 miles north of Utopia. ‘We’ll halo it’ she adds. ‘The team will be everyone here and -’ the Black Widow begins, only to be interrupted by the Black Panther, who announces that he will not be going. ‘WHAT?’ the Black Widow shouts. The Black Panther points out that he is a head of state, and it cannot appear as if Wakanda supports this action. ‘As we do not’ he announces. ‘No matter how well-intentioned it might be’.
Iron Man tells T’Challa that this is understandable, and adds that if they do this right, hopefully it will be self-contained. Turning back to the plan, Iron Man brings up on the hologram the insertion point for the team. ‘We’ve got satellite imagery of multiple appearances of Hope on this outcropping - we need to be in Utopia and gone in under a minute’ he tells his teammates. Iron Man adds that he is tired of guesswork and faulty theories regarding the Phoenix - and the intended primary host, Hope, represents the key to full understanding what they are up against. ‘So I repeat…we want the girl’.
Iron Man and Thor fly out of the converted 767 “Liberation”, while Cap, Wolverine, Spider-Woman, Hawkeye, the Black Widow and Iron Fist follow in their flight-gear, dropping down towards Utopia.
Inside a living area, Hope is combing Primal’s hair, while Velocidad plays a video game, and Transonic sits at a table. Suddenly, there is a loud WHOOOOSH as a the wall bursts open, and the Avengers appear. ‘What the -?’ Transonic exclaims, while Hawkeye fires some arrows and announces that the intel was good. ‘There she is!’ he exclaims.
In another room, Emma sits at a table with a glass of red wine in front of her. Cyclops reclines on the sofa, shirt undone, no visor on, and levitating several books in front of himself. ‘Ah!’ Emma exclaims, eyes glancing sideways. ‘Visitors. The Avengers are here, Scott - they’ve come again for Hope. I’ll summon the -’ Emma begins, but Scott tells her that there is no need, and he stands up, his Phoenix costume materializing around him as he tells Emma that they will deal with this themselves.
‘Get away from her, you -’ Velocidad begins, but Thor grabs him, and tosses to aside. Hope calls out to her friend, but Thor takes her by the wrist and announces that he has her. ‘That’s it! Full withdrawal! Everyone get -’ Captain America orders, but Wolverine sniffs the air, and announces that it is too late, as Cyclops is help. ‘Indeed I a, Logan. And your behavior is becoming embarrassing’ Cyclops states as he and Emma appear in a blazing fury of cosmic energy. Cyclops releases some optic energy, knocking Captain America and Hawkeye backwards. ‘Get back! We just want the girl and we’ll go!’ Spider-Woman exclaims, releasing her venom-blast, while the Black Widow fires her widow’s bite, but Emma blocks both limited power with ease. ‘Oh, you get nothing. And this time you stay gone!’ Emma declares. ‘Look out!’ Iron Fist exclaims, getting in front of the Black Widow and Spider-Woman as a cosmic flare is thrown towards them.
‘Why am I not…whoa’ Iron Fist utters when he looks up, he seems the peace symbol hovering before him. ‘And I thought my hands were burning before. What in the -’ Iron Fist remarks, before he is knocked over by an optic blast from Cyclops. Iron Man and Thor stand in front of Hope as Cyclops and Emma walk towards them. ‘Emma…got Hope’ Cyclops orders, adding that he will handle Thor and Iron Man. He destroys the Iron Man armor with ease, while Thor warns Cyclops to stand aside, ‘Or I will call the storm and tear open the sky’ he announces. ’You’re threatening me with weather?’ Cyclops asks, unimpressed. Thor spins his mighty hammer, and roars, preparing to strike Cyclops, who touches the hammer, holding it in place: ’I am life and I am death…you think I fear the thunder and lightning?’ he asks, before releasing an optic blast which knocks Thor backwards.
‘Scott! There’s something - CHAOS!’ Emma suddenly announces, before screaming ‘The SCARLET WITCH!’ as Wanda appears before them in a haze of crimson fury. Hope stands behind Wanda, who declares that this must stop. ‘Mercy, Scott…for all of man and mutant kind. I have seen where this leads’ she states. Cyclops points out that they were simply defending themselves, as the Avengers came into their home. ‘And now they are leaving - with me’ Wanda replies. Scott remains silent, until Hope announces that she wants to go, too. ‘No. Absolutely not’ Cyclops declares, to which Hope reminds him that he said she could leave whenever she wanted. ‘You said this wasn’t a prison’ she adds. But, Cyclops tells her this is different, that the Avengers want to use her against the X-Men and he will not let that happen.
‘I’m not leaving with them…I’m leaving with her’ Hope exclaims, referring to Wanda, who turns to Hope and tells her that it is a terrible thing to feel along among your own kind, to be misunderstood. ‘I will take you wherever you want to go’ Wanda offers. ‘No! I will not -’ Scott begins, until he grabs Wanda by her wrist, only for his hand to burn, and he screams in agony. ‘I - I felt that’ Scott utters. Crimson energies swirl around Wanda, Hope and the Avengers as Wanda makes them vanish, and she tells Scott that this is not for ill, but what needs to be. ‘Until tomorrow’ she adds before she too vanishes.
Emma looks at Cyclops, ‘What do you -’ she begins, to which Scott exclaims ‘Every time, Emma - every time we get pushed further into a corner…they’ll never stop coming’. He squats down and picks up a piece of Captain America’s costume, looking at it, he remarks that the X-Men have been feared and hunted, and now endangered. ‘We are so very few. And, still, they keel coming or us. Now, even at our most powerful, even when we do the favor of remaking the Earth into a more livable place, even then…mankind feels bold enough to send their heroes here to steal our innocent - to take away our tomorrow’.
Cyclops states that he has finally figured out why - ‘It’s them’ he declares. ‘Men know that regardless of their endless sings against mutants, their heroes will protect them. They will do what their leaders think needs to be done. I will tolerate it no longer, Emma. It changes now’ Cyclops remarks, before uttering ‘No more Avengers’.