Bishop and Deathbird are aboard a large space-fairing shuttle, searching aimlessly for a way home. During a game of chess, Deathbird tells Bishop about a dream she had; a recurring dream about her homeworld.
Deathbird and Lilandra are dining together in the royal hall. They seem to be civil. No longer is she Deathbird, considered the renegade usurper of the throne. In fact, they appear to be equals. A servant presents her with a dish and lifts the cover. Underneath is a note with the word ‘Gith’ written on it. Deathbird is taken aback. The word recalls childhood feelings of disgust. As a youngling, her parents would punish her by remanding her to what was called ‘The Mercy Box.’ She would listen to these Gith, these vermin devour their own in the shadows. She was frightened, but would remain there until she confessed to her trespassing, whether she was repentant or not.
She follows the servant down a corridor that leads to the castle’s cellar door. Inside the cellar, there are more Gith than Deathbird could have conceived. She swallows her fears and attacks the vermin, slashing with her claws in a frenzy of bloodlust. The Gith attempt to leave the confines of the cellar, but Deathbird doesn’t let them pass. She enjoys the intoxicating power of the kill.
She returns to the royal hall but it is now empty. Lilandra has abandoned her without so much as a departing message. All that remains on the table is a covered dish; her cold dinner. She removes the cover and finds a dead bird… and she is so hungry.
Bishop asks if she ate the bird. Deathbird replies that she doesn’t know. That’s where the dream ends. Bishop puts the dream down to space dementia, as they’ve been isolated in the shuttle for some time now. Deathbird believes Sharra is sending her visions. Bishop asks what he is trying to tell her, and she replies that Sharra is a she. She is a goddess, as are all Shi’ar deities. As for her visions, they remain a mystery.
Bishop considers Deathbird carefully. She tries to attack a pawn with her bishop, but doesn’t move it diagonally as is the correct way. He is trying to perceive the madness she presents. At one time, Deathbird was the sworn enemy of the X-Men, but presently she is an ally - and his abrasive companion. Bishop tells her she must move it diagonally, and she asks what kind of soldier is unable to attack in full sight of the adversary. He should be able to claim Bishop’s piece. “And you call this a war simulator?” she remarks. Bishop replies that it is a game. War has more dire consequences. Deathbird isn’t surprised that his species remains so primitive.
Bishop makes his move and puts her in checkmate, and tells Deathbird he won because he considers every piece to be an asset. She, on the other hand, charges in, leaving her king defenseless. She feels the king should be able to protect himself, but Bishop says she’s missing the point. He thinks she views herself as Lilandra’s equal, but is nothing more than an exterminator with a job to do. She performs her duties without regard to her people; acting out of personal sentiment instead of protecting those she rules.
Maybe the bird in her dream symbolizes her race, thinks Bishop. Perhaps her thrill to answer a challenge comes at their expense? She leaves them defenseless. So, maybe her dream is one of guilt. Deathbird feels he is wrong, but finds him intriguing.
He asks if she desires another game, but she prefers to ‘pass time’ as they did two galaxies back. Bishop says that was a mistake. Of all her lethal attributes, he fears her beauty most. She wishes him to be her mate; to rule the galaxy at her side, but Bishop is a soldier with no such aspirations.
Suddenly, their ship is hailed. Someone is responding to their distress beacon. From the hailing frequency, it seems quite familiar to Bishop. “Shi’ar,” interjects Deathbird. Bishop registers zero life signs. It’s some kind of probe, sending out a polyglot recording in both Shi’ar and human. It reads, “Assistance… return… Earth.” Bishop can’t make out the rest. Deathbird figures it must have lain dormant until it received their transmission. She wonders what it’s doing.
Suddenly, a beam flashes across to another probe, which in turn sends a beam to yet another. Altogether, six probes connect their beams in the shape of a Star of David. Swirling lights fill the hexagonal void between the beams and Bishop thinks it’s a jump-gate. This might be their ticket home. Deathbird wonders why there would be a Shi’ar probe in this sector. Bishop feels they must know they’re alive and must have dispatched it in search of them.
Out of nowhere, a ship of Freebooters attacks their shuttle. It seems the probe wasn’t the only thing to receive their distress beacon. Bishop thinks they came to reclaim the parts Deathbird borrowed to repair the shuttle before leaving the trader world. At their current velocity they’ll never outrun their assailants. Deathbird wants to stay and fight, but the wiser Bishop sets a course for the jump gate, which is their only salvation. As they approach it, the portal begins to close, allowing their craft through but not their pursuers.
(the other side)
The shuttle finds itself far removed from where it was a few seconds ago. According to the computer, they’re on the far side of Earth’s moon. Deathbird brings his attention to the fact that there is a Behemoth-class war galleon nearby - several in fact. She senses something is wrong here. Lilandra would never send a fleet of this size away from the homeworld. What’s Lilandra up to, she wonders. The ships don’t respond to Bishop’s hailing frequencies and instead, lock the ship in a tow beam. The shuttle gets sucked into the underneath of one of the humongous ships.
It is several years since Bishop was there last, and many more before he’s even born. This is the price of being an anachronism. New York City is the home of the new Shi’ar Empire. However, this is not the New York one would expect; as witnessed by the Statue of Liberty, which leans semi-submerged in the waters that surround Manhattan. Today is a day of celebration. Thousands gather in attendance to commemorate the union between Earth’s nations and the mighty Shi’ar Empire. Few thought this day would happen, but it was made possible by the sole efforts of the new Shi’ar Majestrix. Her name is Alanna Neramani, the daughter of Lilandra, and ruler of the known universe.
Alanna sits on her throne surveying her peoples, while her husband Angel stands by her side. Next to him is Sauron with some of Alanna’s personal guards. Her pet songbird dazzles the spectators with songs praising her royal greatness, while her vassals present gifts from those under her rule.
The Vulture bows before her, and offers her a gift from the lower regions. He informs her that the humans are pleased with her protection while leading them through the second millennium. The Grand Admiral then calls Alanna and his image appears in a hand-held holographic display. He informs her that they’ve captured a vessel, which came through a jump-gate. It appears to be an old Shi’ar-class shuttle. Alanna replies that according to his last report, all jump-gates were destroyed. The Admiral says it appears they missed one. Alanna tells him she will greet them personally.
She tells Angel that she has matters to attend to immediately. He asks if she’d like him to join her, but she tells him this is far beyond his obligations. She sets off with Sauron by her side, whilst thousands of miles above her, Bishop and Deathbird await their reception.
Before long, Shi’ar troops approach them and they inform Deathbird that they’re to be detained until the queen’s arrival. Deathbird scalds them, replying that she will not wait for Lilandra like a trained animal. “Deathbird is no one’s prisoner!” Seeing her hostility, Bishop rushes forward to calm her down, but she attacks the troops before he can reach her. He moves in slow motion compared to Deathbird’s swift attack. She wastes no time with incapacitating moves. She is as her name implies, and takes down three troops in an instant. However, one of them drops her with a volley of gunfire, and she falls into Bishop’s arms, unconscious.
Bishop thanks heavens she is alive. Luckily, their weapons were set to stun. Even though his mutant abilities could have absorbed their gunfire, he wishes to comply with them and keep a level head until Lilandra can exonerate them.
Deathbird is cared for by doctors, who probe her and submit her to meticulous tests. One doctor presents his findings to Alanna. His results show a 99.9% match. She is the legend. Alanna asks for her to be wakened and, when Deathbird rouses from her slumber, Alanna greets her, introducing herself and calling for the guard to release her. He does as he is told, and Deathbird groggily sits up. She demands to see Lilandra immediately, but Alanna replies that it would be difficult. Her mother is dead.
She explains that Lilandra was killed in a war with the Terrans, along with many of their kinsman. The humans feared the Shi’ar were conspiring to overtake the Earth, and so they were forced to. Alanna assumed the throne shortly thereafter to shepherd their people to prominence once more. She thinks her mother was a fool to trust the Terrans; especially her father. Telepathically, Alanna orders her guards to return to their vigilance.
Alanna and Deathbird move to a vantage point overlooking New York City. She continues to inform her ‘aunt’ that the surviving humans learnt the error of their ways and now understand that they are beneath the House of Neramani. Only a select few continue to defy her, but they are of little consequence.
Deathbird feels this is nonsense. Lilandra has no seed. Alanna tells her that much has happened in her absence. She was believed to have perished after saving their people from the Phalanx. Deathbird asks if she is to believe that she has been transported to the future? Alanna informs her that for Deathbird, this is the year 2018. It appears the portal she entered transcended the gap between their times.
She understands that this is a lot for Deathbird to take in and she suggests that, tomorrow, she will provide a tour of the new empire. In the interim, her handmaidens are instructed to pamper to her like they would a queen. Deathbird asks where Bishop is. Alanna says her… escort has been detained for the moment. She will arrange for him to be returned. Once Deathbird is out of earshot, Alanna asks the doctor for another test to be conducted. If he discovers any anomalies, he should report to her immediately.
Bishop wakes up after having been sedated, put in chains and locked in a fetid dungeon alongside a bearded man in an adjacent cell. The man greets him, and tells Bishop that he can go back to Alanna and inform her that her tricks won’t work. He won’t give up their location. Next time, he suggests they do their homework as the real Bishop died years ago. Bishop has no idea who he is and, more to the point, who Alanna is.
The stranger doesn’t believe Bishop isn’t a plant, and says that Cain Marko may have been broken physically, but ‘Queen Feather Head’ won’t break his will. “Cain Marko? The Juggernaut?” enquires Bishop. Cain hasn’t heard that name in a while. The unstoppable force has finally been stopped. Ironic, he thinks.
Bishop explains the circumstances that brought him there, oblivious to the situation outside his cell. Cain listens intently, and can’t believe the jump-gate actually worked. His joy turns to rambling as he asks Bishop if the others came with him. They have to get out of there. As Bishop asks where Charles Xavier is, and his X-Men, Cain reverts to his paranoia, telling Bishop he’ll never tell him where the Morlocks are… never! Two guards approach to retrieve Bishop, and they take him to where Deathbird is bathing, tended to by two female servants.
Deathbird dismisses them upon seeing Bishop, and asks him to share her bath. It has healed her wounds and replenished her spirit. Bishop doesn’t think it appropriate, but Deathbird informs him she has synthskin bandages covering most of her body. “Or does my authority undermine your machismo?” she asks, mischievously. Bishop tells her to put her clothes on; they’re leaving. He is concerned that they’ve been displaced in time, and he’s been in this situation more times than he’d care to recount.
Deathbird informs him that she’s met with the Majestrix, and it’s not Lilandra. Her daughter, Alanna, now commands the Shi’ar. Bishop opts to remain with her and bathe after all. He has questions for Alanna, but they can wait. However, he feels uncomfortable and unsettled. Deathbird is enjoying their situation. As royalty, she is used to such treatment as they are receiving, but she is aware of Bishop’s own people having a problem with the class system. Bishop reminds her than in his world, they are hated and repressed. Mutants rarely enjoy this type of luxury.
Bishop mentions that he met the Juggernaut, one of the X-Men’s enemies. He warned him about Alanna, and that they need to escape. Bishop wants to find Xavier. Deathbird runs a sponge over his chest and tells him he’s jumping to conclusions. Tomorrow he will get his answers.
(the royal bed chamber)
Angel is in bed as Alanna joins him. He asks what took her from the celebration, but she doesn’t feel it concerns him. She departs, asking him telepathically to sleep, and to think of her while she is gone.
She wanders to the Truth-Seer’s quarters where the old man runs beads through his fingers. T’Loh asks why she has come to see him at this hour. Alanna needs his foresight. She says someone has arrived, but of course T’Loh already knows this. She asks if she can be trusted. How will her presence affect her people? What lies in the future? T’Loh concentrates and replies that he sees death. The Deathbird will be the deciding factor in her war with the rebels. He tells her that some Shi’ar follow her without question, but others know what Alanna’s done to acquire the throne. There are those who sympathize with the human rebels and relish Lilandra’s era.
He then adds that if Deathbird is swayed to her side, so will the rebel sympathizers. Her status will then be secured. If not, she will destroy all which she has achieved. Alanna understands. She will make her an offer she cannot refuse during a tour of the city. If she declines, then she will be but another mind waiting to be conquered.
Alanna and Deathbird are aboard a small craft, surrounded by guards who keep the multitudes at bay. She hopes Deathbird understands the measures she took to ensure she is who she appears to be. After all, she is the legend. She tells Deathbird that anything she desires will be hers; after all, it was her teachings that brought the Shi’ar to dominance. She is no longer an outlaw.
From amongst the crowds, a man calls out that his child is starving. Alanna ignores him and says she hopes Deathbird doesn’t mind her human riding in a separate vessel to theirs. She wants to discuss things with her privately. Deathbird says his name is Bishop. Alanna plans on returning to the aerie after the rebels have been neutralized, and tells her that it would be an honor to bestow this planet to her. Deathbird asks how old she is. She cannot be more than eighteen, yet no mention has been made of her birth. “Hmm, it will,” replies Alanna.
Bishop looks around at the crowds, and notices that many of the people appear to be malnourished, deprived - almost on the verge of rioting. Lilandra would never have let this happen. A guard points out to Alanna that the crowd is crossing the barricades. Almost without being seen, a cloaked man with a glowing eye watches as his comrade touches Bishop on the arm and asks if he can spare some food. The man’s touch makes Bishop aware that these people are in danger, but his eyes seem to show confidence. They seem to probe his soul. Though he cannot see his shadowed face, the man is Longshot.
Before he can respond, Sauron puts Longshot down, physically. Bishop says that was uncalled for, but Sauron finds it amusing. Longshot rejoins his comrades and Longshot asks if the rumors are more than just hopeful talk. Was it him? Longshot believes the impressions in his armor were like reading an open book, especially with his psychometric abilities. Today must be their lucky day.
Cable congratulates him and then opens a com-link to his ally; Dr. Doom. Doom is pleased with Longshot’s clarification that the man they found is Bishop. He presumes Alanna is using him to flush them out. He asks Cable to retrieve him and return to the Morlock base.
Alanna’s craft makes its way through the city, and it soon comes to a halt as a group of protestors block the street. One complains that they are starving and that his granddaughter is ill. Alanna coldly replies that provisions will continue to decrease until the Morlock Resistance Network is revealed. It’s a simple choice. Give her the location, or starve. The man screams, “Die!” but Alanna blasts him with a telepathic scream and drops him. Deathbird quickly picks up on the fact Alanna seems to have psionic abilities. This cannot be a trait she inherited from Lilandra. Can she be… a mutant? she wonders.
Alanna asks if she finds her methods disturbing. Has she shown too much lenience? Deathbird answers wisely, saying she finds her methods unconstrained. As Sauron gloats at Alanna’s display, Bishop realizes that he must forget caution and do something. Before he can act, Cable’s team throws off their cloaks and attacks. Cable uses a really big gun, and orders Falcon, Longshot and Vertigo to protect the innocent. He will get Bishop.
Vertigo has her own ideas, however. She faces Sauron and says they have unfinished business. Sauron stands between Vertigo and Alanna as Cable charges the royal flotilla, taking out a guard by thwacking him in the face with the butt of his rifle. He shoots another in the knee, as his orders are ‘no one dies.’ With reinforcements moving in, Cable feels a well-placed diversion should buy them a chance to secure Bishop. He shouts at Bishop, telling him to join him. He’ll explain later. Bishop now recognizes Cable without the cloak.
Cable again asks Vertigo to stick to the mission plan, but she is more interested in blasting away at Sauron with her fireworks. The royal guard takes to the air and uses the sun to cover himself as he attacks. Once he gets close enough, he places his talons on Vertigo’s shoulder and begins draining her mutant energy.
Meanwhile, Cable sets off a thermite bomb he’d planted the night before. This tactical maneuver cuts the soldiers off from their reinforcements, and also separates Bishop from Deathbird. Falcon wishes to depart now that Bishop has been secured, but Longshot must save Vertigo. He asks Falcon to cross his fingers for him, before charging towards his comrade. Vertigo knows the danger Sauron poses, and she sticks a spike in Sauron’s ankle, which forces him to release his grip on her. She tries pushing him away, but Sauron is much too strong for her. He wants to make her scream before the end.
Falcon uses his superior speed to beat Longshot to the punch, and he puts himself between Sauron and Vertigo, knowing he’s setting himself up for a fall. Watching the action, Alanna telepathically informs Deathbird that the rebels disrupt their every effort for peace and coexistence; rebuking their ways. They denigrate the very laws Deathbird’s war journals inspired. Deathbird doesn’t realize she is being candid with the truth.
Deathbird instead finds herself touched by Alanna’s thoughts, which magnify her feelings of pride. She tells Alanna that as the living forbearer of their noble race, she cannot stand by and watch the rebels treat them like devils.
Sauron kills the Falcon, and turns to Vertigo, telling her she’s next. Longshot picks her up. There’s nothing they can do for Sam now, except insure his sacrifice wasn’t in vain. He hurls several daggers towards Sauron, who uses his wings to block them. Before he knows it, Longshot finds someone else’s arm on his back. It’s Deathbird, and she assaults Longshot with astonishing ferocity. Her talons stick deep into his flesh, and he drops. Deathbird’s neurotoxins cause his muscles to stiffen and to squelch his insurgent spirit. Longshot manages to call for Vertigo to run, and take word of their defeat with her, before falling unconscious.
Vertigo forms a light-refracting shield around herself and leaves the scene unchallenged. Alanna congratulates Deathbird on capturing one of the Morlocks. Deathbird vows to see them bow to the Shi’ar.
Cable leads Bishop and Vertigo underground, as Bishop notices how similar this world is to his own. He has questions for Cable, but at least he trusts the man. They arrive at their destination, and are greeted by Wolverine. Standing before them, Bishop notices he has an eye patch and is smoking a cigar. Wolverine is the apparent leader of this mutant insurrection. “Back from the grave, eh, Bishop? Wherever you were, you should’ve stayed there, bub,” he remarks. He speaks with Vertigo, saying her party looks a little light. Vertigo replies that Falcon is dead and the Shi’ar captured Longshot. She tries to explain she tried to help, but Wolverine knows she went after Sauron.
Wolverine is furious that she could have jeopardized the mission, and now two of them are lost. She says she saw an opportunity to bring a little honor to the Morlocks. Wolverine tells her he doesn’t need her fighting his battles. Jubilation asks if it wasn’t him who said, “Think less, do more?” Wolverine says those words were spoken by a man who was never big on caution. She knows what it got him; an eye gouged from its socket. He orders her to help the others prepare.
Wolverine and Bishop take a moment to chat, as injured rebels are treated for their injuries below them in a makeshift hospital ward. Wolverine explains that they need his help. They found him by using their network. Their methods are crude, but the Shi’ar technology is too advanced for conventional methods. So, they literally used birds to spy on her. They’ve been able to extract important information about the Shi’ar’s assimilation on Earth with their help. But, they can’t count on that anymore.
He adds that the feather in Alanna’s cap would be to turn Deathbird to her cause. Bishop doesn’t believe Deathbird would join her. Any further involvement here would cause a temporal paradox and Deathbird knows this. A voice from behind says, “Regardless, she will not turn against her people, Bishop.” He turns to find Dr. Doom standing there. Doom explains that evil and Deathbird are old and familiar companions. She has longed to lead the Shi’ar, and Alanna plans to make empty promises to gain her support. He thinks Bishop may be their only option to sway Deathbird from her side.
Bishop is surprised that Wolverine allied himself with Doom, but Logan replies that, although it’s an uneasy alliance, tough times make strange bedfellows. Bishop asks where Xavier is. Cable informs him that Xavier’s dead, along with the rest of the Earth’s mightiest heroes. It happened faster than anyone would have suspected. He explains that there was a planetary war on the Shi’ar homeworld, and Lilandra’s forces were on the losing end. Lilandra fled for Earth in search of sympathizers to help her retain the Shi’ar throne. Negotiations were held in Xavier’s mansion between the humans and the Shi’ar. With several of Earth’s mightiest heroes under one roof, including Captain America, Thor and Storm, traitors among the Shi’ar saw an opportunity to get rid of those that stood between them and interstellar domination.
Cloaked Shi’ar ships orbiting the planet locked onto Xavier’s institute and reduced it to rubble. The heroes were slaughtered, and the Shi’ar invasion went virtually untested. Word leaked out that Alanna, Lilandra’s daughter, was behind the betrayal. She’d been secretly studying Deathbird’s journals. She despised her mother, and used tactics straight from the book to usurp command. Pure patricide, as it turned out. The remaining survivors on Earth joined together to preserve Xavier’s dream, calling themselves Team X.
Bishop presumes by the word patricide that Doom is inferring Alanna is Lilandra’s daughter. “Can that mean her father is…” Logan says he’s guessed it. She’s the cub of Xavier and Lilandra. Doom adds that she has a superior mind, achieving what he’s sought to do for years. He applauds Alanna, but Victor Von Doom is not to be ruled; by any species.
He continues to explain that in a desperate attempt to find a means by which to stop the invading Shi’ar, the remaining heroes including Hank McCoy and Hank Pym, created transdimensional jump-gates outside of their patrol zone. Doom and the others hoped it would attract allies from the far corners of the galaxy.
He and the two Hanks sought solitude in Latveria, where they designed probes to send a distress signal across time and space. However, they were unable to properly set the coordinates before Sauron led Alanna’s troops in a raid that killed the two Hanks, maimed Wolverine and captured the Juggernaut. Doom escaped soon after he launched the probes, but he believed they were destroyed before their jumps were initiated. Fortunately, one got through.
Now that Bishop knows the opposition they face, he asks if he will help them. For Bishop, it’s a no-brainer, and Doom is pleased. He informs the X-man that there is a celebration commemorating Deathbird’s renewed title. An assault team will infiltrate the palace to sabotage their defense network. Bishop asks how they obtain entry. Doom says there is one man on the inside who, if properly convinced, will assist them.
The Vulture is in the process of chatting up two young women when Cable and Bishop appear before him. The ladies are dismissed, and Cable uses his ‘persuasive’ abilities to get the Vulture to allow them to crash the party.
Meanwhile, Alanna leaves Deathbird to prepare for the celebration. Once out of earshot, Sauron asks Alanna if she is to be trusted. Alanna believes that without Bishop around to cloud her judgement, her dear aunt will side with them… or be remembered as a martyr.
Outside, the Vulture approaches a guard named M’Shil, and asks how go the preparations. M’Shil informs him he’s late. The queen needs the supplies he brings for her gathering. The Vulture explains that he was detained; extorting only the finest goods for their beloved sovereign. M’Shil wishes to inspect the cargo, but the Vulture bribes him by giving him a Wu-Tang CD he’d enquired about. M’Shil allows him to pass. His cargo is being driven by Cable, whilst Bishop hides in the back under a crate of oranges.
Alanna is sitting on her throne. Her songbird is stood inside a cage raised off the ground, and Longshot is strapped to the ceiling, still unconscious. The Vulture stands before her with a bunch of flowers as an apology for his tardiness. She wonders what might have delayed him, and can see that he has betrayed her. She asks Deathbird what his punishment should be, and she answers, “Death.” The Vulture pleads with Alanna, but she raises herself from her throne and asks if he thought he could really hide his intent from her. She orders Sauron to take him away and increase security. They have vermin scurrying about that need exterminating.
(Meanwhile, in the security wing)
Having taken out a few guards, Bishop tries to use one of the guards’ security pass to open a door, whilst Cable asks Vertigo to find a place to hide the bodies. Vertigo replies that they’re still alive. Bishop finds that the door won’t open, and Cable is furious, believing the Vulture has sold them out. Vertigo powers up and asks them to step aside. The door is opening one way or another.
(inside the ballroom)
Alanna stands before a large crowd, and announces the return of their most noble ancestor. As a token of her gratitude, she says she has restored Deathbird’s true name; long-stricken from the royal list. She is once again an honored member of the House of Neramani. She hands over a scroll to Deathbird. “My birth name?” she remarks. “How did you…?” Alanna replies that she is the queen, and her birthright gives her many privileges. As Deathbird reads the scroll, Alanna asks her to pronounce her new name and station to her followers.
Deathbird pauses, before telling Alanna that, despite having said she has studied her view and beliefs, she still gave her the scroll. Alanna should know she would never accept it. The name means nothing to her now. Alanna is shocked by this rejection in front of her admiring crowd, whereas Angel simply grins. You are a fool, says Alanna. Your legacy ends here, then. She tells Deathbird that she is forever an outcast of the Shi’ar Empire, and unlike her mother, she will not allow her to disgrace the house and live. Deathbird asks her to prove she is worthy to shepherd their flock.
Vertigo lays down some focused photon blasts at the door, which crumbles under her assault. The alarm is triggered, and Cable knows they only have a few minutes to disable the shield’s power core. He hopes the Morlocks are in position or all this will be for nothing. All Bishop need do is to place the charge and their job is done. However, before he can do that, Sauron and a few guards appear above them. They fire at the team, but Cable returns their fire, which allows Bishop to get on with his job.
(the royal hall)
The challenge begins. Deathbird and Alanna fight it out for the Shi’ar throne. Deathbird is quick and deadly, but Alanna utilizes her telepathic abilities to avoid her fearsome strikes. She’s also studied Deathbird’s technique, which makes it doubly hard for Deathbird. Despite this, she manages to dig her talons into Alanna’s shoulder, drawing blood. Alanna is annoyed that her opponent is giving up her heritage like this, but Deathbird replies that she’s giving up nothing. She will always be Shi’ar, only on her own terms.
Alanna’s eyes glow with fury, as she taunts Deathbird by telling her she is no better than her mother and cursed father. She slashes Deathbird’s face with her own talons; telling her she will face the same sentence for treason as the pathetic Vulture.
Sauron descends at full speed, but Cable manages to duck and avoid his attack. He crashes into a timber obstacle that Bishop had built to hide himself, and he calls for Vertigo to hold him off while he finishes planting the explosives. In the confusion, a stormtrooper manages to get a clean shot at Vertigo, and she falls. Sauron taunts Bishop who asks how he can turn against his own people. Sauron asks when humans have ever shown compassion for him. He serves only the Majestrix. He then smashes the detonator Bishop is holding with his metal-capped beak and attacks Bishop physically.
Bishop notices his gun is out of reach, so he improvises by thrusting a sharpened piece of timber into the mutant’s eye. Sauron screams, and the opportunity is there for Bishop to grab his weapon. With the detonator destroyed, he instead opens fire at the power core’s superconductor. It buckles and strains before finally releasing its built-up energy. Bishop stands before it and absorbs wave after wave of energy. He doesn’t know what his upper limit is, and he knows this could all be futile.
Sauron sees what he’s doing. Cable tells Bishop he can’t contain all the generator’s energy. Sauron has other ideas. He grabs Bishop and begins to siphon off the energy into his own body from Bishop. Bishop had planned this, and hopes he keeps on feeding. The soldiers flee the area as the power core becomes increasingly unstable, and Bishop calls for Cable to seal the doors. Cable wishes him Godspeed, and says he will always be remembered as a hero. Using his psionic abilities, Cable projects a telekinetic field around the power core. While the makeshift seal may serve to contain the excess energy, Cable feels that it undoubtedly condemns Bishop to an untimely grave.
Within the field, Sauron continues to absorb the filtered energy. Between the two of them, they exchange enough power to illuminate all of Manhattan, and still, Bishop allows him to drink deeply. Sauron leeches more and more energy until suddenly, he realizes the power might be becoming too much for him. An instant later, an explosion tears the outside wall apart, and soon, everything goes silent. Only Bishop walks out through the swirling dust and smoke. He tells Cable he needs to go find someone, and Cable remarks to Vertigo, “Just when you think you’ve seen it all…”
(the royal hall)
As the conflagration rages on, Angel swoops up to the ceiling and frees Longshot. He calls for the area to be evacuated, before assuring Longshot that he’s been Alanna’s lapdog for far too long. Longshot knew he wouldn’t betray them.
Deathbird and Alanna continue their ferocious battle. She struggles to fight someone who could have been her own daughter, but being stranded in space with Bishop has taught her many things; chiefly, that every action has a consequence no matter how indirect. To end the battle swiftly, Deathbird uses a move Bishop taught her during one of their intimate combat sessions. She kicks Alanna precisely at a pressure point on her head, which causes Alanna to collapse. She can only await Deathbird’s killing blow. Deathbird pauses.
Just as she is thinking about whether to strike, Bishop arrives and tells her it doesn’t have to be this way. Deathbird is surprised to see him again. She’d given him up for dead. She admits that she was prepared to slay her future niece, but then something overcame her. Her death, she realized, would solve nothing. It would only justify the vile reputation her people have garnered. She wants Alanna to live with the knowledge that she is far from her equal, and that Deathbird showed her mercy.
Bishop says that compassion is not a sign of weakness. Quite the opposite in fact. It shows honor. He embraces Deathbird and says he is proud of her before they kiss. “There may be hope for you yet,” he adds.
With a tenuous peace treaty between the Shi’ar and the Terrans in place, Deathbird and Bishop prepare to continue their journey home. The only operational jump-gate awaits their brave voyage. The remains of Team X gather to see their comrades off. Deathbird tells them she is leaving the Shi’ar to settle their differences with the Terrans. This isn’t her world; she knows that. She informs them that the Shi’ar have elected the Angel to stand as their liaison until a proper system of government is found to suit both species. She wishes them farewell.
Bishop says that’s his cue. Cable wishes him luck, and is sorry they couldn’t set the probe to return them to their Earth. However, it will return them to their original warp point. Bishop feels that’s more than enough. He says goodbye and tells Cable he knows what to do once they’re gone. Stormtroopers salute Deathbird as she boards the shuttle, calling her Majestrix. She salutes them back.
Doom watches the shuttle disappear through the jump-gate. Vertigo asks Wolverine if their presence here will change their past; maybe prevent this from happening. Logan doesn’t know, but says they need to focus on changing the present. A guard on monitoring duty informs Cable that the probe made it through successfully. And Cable gives him the go ahead to fire. He presses a button, and the jump-gate explodes.
Doom decides to depart. Cable mentions that the worst of the war is over and his aid has been a tremendous advantage. Can they count on his continued allegiance? Doom replies that his role in this game is complete. He has a new destiny to forge, but perhaps the future will put them on the same side again. He knows Cable, of all people, understands the fluid possibilities of time. Very well, says Cable. May the next battle we fight be a good one. Doom expects no less. He takes his leave and, with his parting shot, tells Cable that there is a planet below in need of a monarch.