The North Sea. Over Muir Island, off the coast of Scotland. Scott Summers, the mutant known as Cyclops, is flying the Blackbird, along with Jean Grey. Jean points out to him that it’s too quiet down there. Total communications silence. Psionic or otherwise. She adds that Professor Xavier is supposed to be there and wonders aloud what could have… As Scott looks out the window, he asks Jean if she sees what he is seeing. There seems to be something over the whole lab complex. Something like, like…
Words fail. For what Scott Summers sees before him is like nothing he has ever seen before. They are the Phalanx – a techno-organic life form that has made Muir Island but one of their first beachheads in the conquest of this pale blue world. In the sky above Muir Island, are a number of life forms. One that looks like a female tells one of her compatriots, Egon, to exhibit full extension. To plot an intercept solution with the genetic anomalies while Nkotha and she attack laterally. Egon replies they are his. As Nkotha puts his “fist” through the wing of the Blackbird, he corrects Egon by telling him that they are not his, they are theirs.
Inside the Blackbird, Jean tells Scott that she’s intercepting a load of fierce psi-babble as if three maniacs were screaming at the same time. Whatever they are, they’re heading them towards that big one at ten-o-clock high. Scott informs Jean to hang on; he’s going down hard. As the crash-landing Blackbird comes to a screeching halt on the grounds of Muir Island, Scott tells Jean to get out as soon as they stop. Once at a stop, Scott asks Jean whether, if she can “hear” them, can they “hear” her? Jean tells him probably. That’s why she’s blocking them, but it’s like peeking through a keyhole while trying to keep the door closed.
Suddenly, she then tells Scott to look out. A moment later, they narrowly miss being smashed by the “fist” coming down from Egon. Safely away, Scott calls out that maybe a dose of optic blast will distract them long enough to… As he unleashes his blast, Egon easily dodges it by taking on a different shape. Jean points out that that was no good. She adds that, if he tells her, and even a little bit of what she’s thinking leaks through her psi-block, these beings can counter their next move. She then adds that the island seems infested and wonders aloud what happened to the Professor and Excalibur.
Overhead, a plane arrives on the scene. Deliverance of a sort. The pilot of the aircraft says that something’s scanning them with high-power stuff across the whole spectrum, but they probably aren’t registering anything. They’re so low-tech that the high-end stuff looks right through them. Whatever it is, it’s burning out all his instruments. He tells his passenger, Logan, that whatever’s down there is hairy to the max. Wolverine, in his blue and yellow costume, tells Harry that down there is where he has to be. He tells Harry that he can refuel in Scotland and scoot on home. As he jumps out the door of the plane, he thanks him for the lift.
As he plummets towards the ground, he remembers the last time he jumped outta a burnin’ C-47; it was over Normandy and the sky was full o’ Nazi flak. That’s another story. Right now, something that crawled outta a psycho’s nightmare is doin’ the back-end creep on some o’ his favorite people. He determines at that point that it’s time to pop silk. With that, he pops his parachute. When he does so, it attracts the attention of the Phalanx to his arrival. As he floats through the sky, he calls out heads-up circuit-face. The ol’ canucklehead is back in town, and there’s the devil to pay!
As Larissa shoots up in the sky, she tells Egon and Nkotha to deal with the other mutant anomalies. She’ll handle the new one. When she arrives, Wolverine slashes her face and tells her that, if she’s going to stick her mug where it don’t belong, it’s gonna get ripped. Wolverine is shocked when he notices her all around him, her face in dozens of pieces, all connected to her body. As Larissa wraps herself around Wolverine, she tells him that, if that is the best he can do mutant, then this entity of Phalanx will make short work of him.
Wolverine thinks to himself that Charles told him this was gonna be a tough one. He had asked it ain’t Magneto, is it. Charles said no. Wolverine then asked him what he was so worried about. Now he knows. As all the pieces of Larissa’s face join back together, she tells Wolverine that he is but a blight on the surface of the planet, a purely organic defect that Phalanx will soon correct. Wolverine replies that she should talk about bein’ defective, she’s all over the place. From the ground, Cyclops calls out to Jean if she sees that; it’s Wolverine. He calls out to Logan that he’s aiming high. Jean calls out that he shouldn’t have said…
Up in the sky, Wolverine tells Jean that he was faking ‘em out; that blast came in low. As he plummets towards the ground, Jean tells Logan that he’s got to watch it. She adds that, since he doesn’t have his adamantium any longer, that fall could’ve… Wolverine replies “Aw red,” he had a feelin’ she’d be ready with a psi-cushion. Safely on the ground, Wolverine asks what’s going on down there. He got a mind-blast from Charles Xavier to meet up with him on Muir Island; he seemed almost scared. Jean replies that it seems he knows more than they do. They came there to tell the Professor information concerning the Legacy Virus. This was all a shock. She then tells Logan that it’s good to see him again. Cyclops tells them sorry, but there’s no time for reunions. The Phalanx entities have insinuated themselves into the very structure of the main lab building. They want to put as much distance as possible between them and the Phalanx. Wolverine tells Scott that he’s calling the shots. It’s been a long time since he was a team-player.
Inside the main lab, Larissa tells Egon and Nkotha to reorganize and regroup. She adds that this threat must be neutralized. Nkotha tells her that they have priorities; they have their mission. They must not divert their main energies from their primary objective: the infiltration and absorption of all Muir Island genetic hardware and data banks. Larissa replies that they must assess tissue damage and go collective with the main consciousness to share battle data. Egon adds that he and Nkotha can maintain hardware and data bank links while mounting an oblique offensive against the genetic anomaly threat. The main consciousness is too far away to… Larissa tells them to formulate their attack plans. She will extend to the main and merge/share/transfer…
Once away from the others, Larissa morphs her body to submerge into the ether-matrix, to go digital. To set protocols, send data, transfer Phalanx core-central. After some time, that has been completed. Once inside the console, she tells central designate Lang that she is there to download unit regarding the Muir Island situation. Lang replies that the parameters are understood but “noww isss not the time.”
The captive’s (Psylocke) mutagenic physiology is still resistant to the assimilation process. Hodge adds that her psionic powers are blunted, but still considerably dangerous. Lang tells Hodge to apply more psi-dampers and to do so quickly. Larissa tells Lang that it is well known that mutants cannot be absorbed. Lang replies that he knows that. It’s all the more reason they must secure their number. When he then asks Larissa what she is doing there, Larissa replies that she came there to merge/share. She possess data…
As the download commences, Lang thinks to himself that during the download, Larissa had access to his thoughts. He wonders what she saw while he was distracted with Psylocke and he had his blocks down. Does she know, does she suspect? He knows that he mussst get rid of her. He then overrides command and tells Larissa to return to Muir now.
Back on Muir Island, Logan tells Jean that she’s sorry about the wedding, he was… Jean cuts him off and tells him that his heart was there, that’s what was important. She adds that it all seems so long ago. Logan adds that's funny she should say that. It’s like the light in her eyes is a lot older. Like they been starin’ at a lot more life than it’s possible to see in the last few months. Jean replies that it’s harder to hide secrets from him than it is from a psi-talent.
Just then, Nkotha and Egon appear on the scene. Egon tells them that they are only prolonging the inevitable. They will gather the biological information they desire. Cyclops points out the trunk line. In shock, he adds that they traveled through the underground cable that connects the weather station to the main lab… Before he can continue his thought, force beams come out of nowhere. Cyclops wonders if it’s some sort of plasma weapon. Who?? The person holding the weapon that fired the shots says that he thought he heard them mention his name as he was body sliding in. Wolverine angrily says “you,” while Jean calls out his real name – “Nate.”
The man is a sight Jean has seen many times before but, after all she’s been through, she will never see him the same way again. Cable tells them that they have the advantage now; they need to hit them with everything they’ve got. Jean tells Scott telepathically that Cable’s psi-print is stronger, more in sync with her own than ever before. Scott replies that somehow he can feel it too. They can’t talk now; they just need to concentrate on blasting Phalanx. With that, he unleashes an optic blast upon the Phalanx.
In the sky, Egon tells Nkotha that there is yet another mutagenic anomaly. He is registering residual E.M. radiation from a teleportation field. Nkotha replies that it is best that they retreat back to the research center.
Once the Phalanx have retreated, Cable point out that that “certainly sent them packing.” Wolverine rushes up to Cable and tells him not to move another step until they have proof he is who he appears to be. Cable replies for him to listen to him. He got the same message from Xavier as he did; he knows what’s going on. Jean calls out to Logan that it is Cable. She tells him to trust her; she knows. As she places one hand on Logan and the other one on Cable, she orders them to tell her and Scott what’s going on around there or she’ll telepathically pull it out of the both of them.
Logan replies that he hears her, “Red.” In her mind, Jean flashes back to when a youth told her that he heard her, “Redd.” Cable mentally questions it but says nothing. He replies that the condition is critical. Xavier mind blasted him the information before he and Excalibur evacuated the island. What they have there is a race of techno-organic beings from lord-knows-where, whose first strike included the taking of most of the X-Men. Chuck nominated him and Logan to find them, while he an’ the others took on the Phalanx on other fronts. The addition of Cyclops and Jean Grey are unexpected.
Jean mentions that the X-Men being the first objective fits. She was able to pick up vague images from Larissa and the others. They seem to be, as they claim, a collective intelligence, one intrinsically linked to the other, obsessively intent on replacing all indigenous “carbon-based life” on this planet with their own. It was so strong a feeling, almost a genetic imperative. Cyclops adds that would explain why they’re there then. Muir is the foremost biological research facility on Earth. Where better to garner data on terran life-forms? They’re obviously trying to access the computer core, which the Professor must have shut down before he and the others evacuated. They need that core for the Cerebro sub-frame to locate the missing X-Men.
Logan points out that that’s assumin’ they’re still alive. Cable replies they won’t know that for sure until they stick their head in the lion’s mouth again. He asks that they’re a collective intelligence. With Jean’s telepathy running interference and a low level T.P. like him backing her up, they’ll infiltrate their group entity and give ‘em what for. He adds that should allow Cyke and Logan about five minutes to get in and out of the facility with the info they need. Jean mentions to Cable that, with his techno-organic infection, he’ll be especially susceptible to the Phalanx. She adds that he will have to use extreme caution. Cable looks at her quizzically and asks how she knew… Before he gets his answer, Logan punches him in the arm and tells him to be a sport and just do it.
Inside the main lab building, the Main Consciousness notices Larissa emerging out of the console, returning from her merge. It tells her to share with the Main. To merge with them, so they can experience her ecstatic joining with central shared consciousness at the citadel. Larissa replies that there was no merge/share. She adds that something is awry; something is hidden. She calls out to share her memory of it. She sees/hears/smells/feels it. Lang is holding back, he is not sharing. Lang is a partial absorbee. He remained mostly human to be their interface with the non-cyber world. The Main points out that he is not truly techno-organic and that they must alert the main collective and initiate… Larissa replies that there is no time. The mutant female is a powerful psi and the newest arrival is formidable as well. She adds that they must carry out their mission before they come. With that, she takes off.
Outside the main lab, Cyclops tells Jean and Cable to be careful out there. Cable tells him not to worry; charging headlong is sort of his specialty. As they run out of their hiding place, Jean wonders what she is doing, for once they enter the Phalanx collective consciousness together all her most secret memories will be laid bare for Nate to know. There are things that a son should never know about his parents. Especially if they imperil the entire future probability that created him. She wonders if it is even possible to avoid those memories. She then takes Cable’s hand and asks him if he’s ready. Cable implies that he is.
In Jean’s mind in the future, she is holding a young Nathan’s hand. She tells him to try it. Young Nathan tells her that it’s painful. Cable tells her that she can’t Redd. Jean tells him to concentrate and to create that clear white spot in the center of his consciousness and let himself flow through it, let himself flow. As they become a mental entity, Cable tells Jean that this is amazing and that he feels like he can do anything. Jean tells him anything he can imagine.
Immediately, Larissa recognizes that she/he/they have entered their consciousness. She calls out to the other Phalanx to regroup/merge/internalize. At that moment, Logan tells Scott that they’re on deck. He then asks him what’s with him. He’s been actin’ like he’s been away for two years ‘stead o’ two weeks. Scott replies that it’s been more like twelve years. As they join the fray, Logan asks Scott if he’s been practicin’ them non sequiturs. Once inside the complex, Logan mentions to Scott that it’s some mess in there and that it looks like dead organic tissue. He points out that Jean and Nate’s psi-attack must have taken the Phalanx by surprise.
On the astral plane, Cable informs Jean that his every thought is a flashing beam of sizzling power. It feels incredible. He feels an ecstatic wholeness in this state of being, as if he was riding an avalanche of limitless power. Jean warns him to not let himself get carried away within the astral plane. She knows it’s tempting, but he has to concentrate.
As Nkotha is attacked, he tells Larissa that they were not prepared for an attack from within and that she/he/they are unmaking them. Cable tells Jean that he can blast them with pure pain. Jean warns him again to keep his bearings and to look for their weak spots. Simultaneously, Larissa tells Nkotha to look for weak spots. They cannot be defeated; they are the final solution. Cable informs Larissa that they don’t have any weak spots. Jean informs Cable that power alone won’t win there. They need to hold back a reserve and use strategy. She then tells him to do as she says.
In his mind, Cable sees the image of Redd and calls out her name. He wonders how it can be. Larissa notices this and points out to Nkotha there is the weak spot. It is a key memory sequence from the carbonite unit’s childhood. It is causing a glitch in their psi-linkage. She then orders Nkotha to concentrate on the she/entity, while she presses the attack on techno-organic infectee and commences the absorption process. As she does so, Cable calls out for Jean, Redd to help him. In the real world, the psionic assault bears painful physical results as the strain on Cable’s face reveals.
In Muir’s record center, Cyclops informs Wolverine that this is where all the memory is stored, the biological research data of a life-time. He begins to point out the computer console to Logan that is the… He is cut off by the sudden appearance of Egon, in the partial form of Cyber, one of Wolverine’s deadliest enemies. He tells them how dare they penetrate the inner core of a Phalanx co-opted structure. He then calls them genetic anomaly vermin. Upon noticing Egon, Cyclops asks Wolverine what he is doing there, Jean and Cable are supposed to have them all wrapped up. Wolverine tells Cyke that he’s winding up for a swing and that they gotta move.
At the last second, Cyclops and Wolverine are able to get out of the way. Once out of the way, Wolverine tells Cyclops to get ready to optic-blast Egon’s ugly mug while the ol’ canucklehead keeps him occupied. With that, Wolverine lunges at Egon and tells him to come on spaghetti-face, let’s go to claw city. Wolverine is able to slice right through Egon’s body. As he makes his way through, he notices Egon’s hand, waiting to grab him. He immediately recognizes that it was too easy. When he is grabbed, he tells Scott to zap him, to set his eye-beams to pulverize and caramelize this bag o’ pus. Scott replies that he can’t, for Egon is using him as a shield. Wolverine informs him that he better think o’ somethin’ fast because this is commencin’ to hurt.
On the astral plane, Jean tells Nate to concentrate and focus. Cable asks her how did she come to have those memories from his childhood. Jean replies that he’s letting them through. Cable ignores her and asks again how, unless… Jean again tells him find his center and to get it back together. Cable again asks her to tell him, how did she know. Jean informs him that, when they entered the Phalanx collective consciousness, they went through a mind-share. For an instant, she was privy to all his memories and how they are imprinted on her cortex. Hearing that, Cable looks at her with a look of disbelief.
Larissa indicates to Nkotha to merge with her. She points out that they are intrinsically non-collective. They quibble, they vacillate and they prevaricate. They are no match for a unified poly-consciousness. With that, Larissa/Nkotha lash out at Cable and Jean, knocking them backwards. As they get knocked back, Cable tells Jean that they are too strong. Jean tells him that they’re not if they counter with a mind-bond. They have to focus on a shared memory, a moment of strength. She tells Nathan not to worry.
Just then, Jean and Nathan’s remember back when they were in a different time. When Jean told a young Nathan Dayspring not to fear, for fear will weaken the blocks and dim the disguise. They are stopped by some dog-soldiers, who ask them where their papers are. They then ask what is wrong with Nathan’s arm. Jean replies that there is nothing wrong with his arm and takes his hand, making his techno-organic infected arm appear normal. Nathan apologizes to Redd for slipping up. Jean tells him not to worry; she’ll get them through it, she’ll get them through it, she’ll get them through it.
In the here and now, she tells Cable that she will get them through it. She tells Nathan to remember that moment and to use the power of it. Let it well up inside like an unstoppable force and unleash it. When they do unleash their combined power, it knocks Larissa/Nkotha for a loop. As the hybrid flies back it notices that their combatants have a mind-bond and that it is strong enough to backlash along their mind-net to Egon.
Out of the astral plane, Egon is knocked for a loop as well. In the process, he drops his captive, Wolverine. Wolverine tells Scott to go for it while he’s reelin’. Egon calls out in pain and informs Larissa/Nkotha that the genetic anomalies are raiding the computer. At that moment, Cyclops presses the Cerebro access switch.
On the astral plane, Larissa/Nkotha recognizes that their enemies have feinted. They drew them out with the queen and a knight, while their bishop and rook advanced to the end game. They add that they will see how they play after they knock all the pieces off the board. Upon hearing that Cable asks Jean what they are… Jean informs Nate to get behind her for they’re going after him. Before she can finish her thought, Cable is hit with a blast that knocks him down in pain and out of the astral plane. Once out, Jean asks him if he’s… Cable replies that he’s not going back. Jean tells him they have to. Cable answers that he’s had it with the astral plane. Jean tells him that they can’t quit now. Cable asks who said anything about quitting? He’s talking about getting physical.
With that, he pulls himself off the ground and blasts away with his gun. Noticing this, Jean tells Scott and Logan to get out of the record center, Cable is opening fire on the laboratory stack. Inside the record center, Logan asks Scott if he got the info. Scott replies that he did and they book it out of the building as quickly as they can. Jean pleads with Nate to stop firing; he’ll hit Scott and Logan. Cable ignores her pleas and continues to fire. As he does, he tells her that he doesn’t think so. He knows exactly where they are. As he watches the door of the building, he wonders what it is behind them. Jean tells him to shoot it. Cable replies that he has to cycle up the power cells to full discharge. When he does, he unloads on Egon, blasting him to pieces.
With Egon seemingly destroyed, Jean asks Scott if he find out… Scott replies that he knows where the X-Men are; they’re on Chomolungmar. Logan tells him gesundheit. Scott indicates that it’s Mt. Everest, in Tibet, eight miles above sea level. He then adds that info cost them. Moira must have written a fail-safe into the operating program. As soon as he accessed the data, the self-destruct timer went active. Cable points out that’s why the Phalanx were trying to absorb the date. They were bypassing the…
Before he can finish his thought, Jean tells them to look. Logan points out that Egon is pulling himself back together. Jean points out that there’s less than thirty minutes left on the timer. Cable replies that at least they’ll take three of them with them. Just then, Logan asks the others if they hear that, Pratt and Whitney engines. It’s Harry. Cable mentions to the others that that’s their ride. He tells them to go to the head-land. Scott replies that they’re not leaving him. Cable tells him that no one is getting away unless someone holds the fort there. He adds that the X-Men need them. He’ll slow Phalanx down and get away himself. He tells them to go as he concentrates his gun on the reforming Egon. As Scott, Jean and Logan take off, Scott tells Jean that he’s right; it’s the only way. Jean calls back to Nate that they’ll wait as long as they can.
At that moment, Larissa/Nkotha appears and tells Cable that it’s such a beau geste, but so futile. Cable replies that the fat lady hasn’t sung yet. Larissa/Nkotha tells him that she has and points out that his weapons power cells are depleted and that he knew that when he elected to stay. It then tells Cable that the others can’t be saved; it’s only a matter of time before they encompass the entire planet. Cable answers not them; they’re dead meat. Larissa/Nkotha tells him that they were including him in the collective pronoun, for he is a transmode infectee after all, already half-way to being one of them, so to speak. It tells Cable not to resist the absorption; it is only delaying the inevitable. It then proceeds to blast Cable, knocking him to the ground in pain.
Standing on a cliff, Logan, Jean and Scott notice the plane piloted by Harry get closer. Logan points out that it’s not gonna work; there’s no place for him to land. Jean answers that he doesn’t have to. She’s “telling” him to come in low with the throttle wide open. Noticing what she is doing, Logan asks her that she’s not thinkin’ she can… He is cut off by Jean, who tells him that she doesn’t think. She knows she can. With that, she is able to stop the plane in its place right in front of the cliff they are standing on. Logan mentions that isn’t she the lil’ redhead that could. Harry opens the hatch and tells Jean that was some trick. He then recommends that they all get on board before the ol’ Dakota shakes itself apart. Just then, Jean tells everybody to wait. The Phalanx is absorbing Nate. Scott says he will go, but is told to get him and Jean on the plane by Logan. He tells them that the X-Men are counting on them.
Back near the research center, Larissa/Nkotha tells Cable to go with the flow and that there is much joy in being part of a greater purpose. It is the true meaning of being whole! Just then, Wolverine appears on the scene and slashes Larissa/Nkotha. As he does so, he tells it that he will give them a “hole.” He then adds that the big guy might be a royal pain in the butt, but he’s their royal pain. When he lands on the ground he tells Cable that they need to bug out of there. Larissa/Nkotha recovers quickly and tells them that they can’t stop them; the Phalanx can’t be stopped. Logan tells it to get a life.
At that moment, the self destruct alarm goes off. He tells Cable that their clock just ran out. As he picks Cable up, Cable tells him that he came back for him. Logan asks him that it was a dumb move, huh. Before anything more can be said, a massive explosion occurs.
In the sky, Harry asks Scott if everything is jake back there. He adds that he doesn’t know how he let him talk him into swinging back around and buzzing the island again. He continues that he doesn’t get it. The pressure wave from that explosion should have ripped their airframe to shreds. Scott tells him that he did good and that Jean wrapped his plane in a force field as soon as she enveloped Nathan and Logan in a psionic cocoon and reeled them in like fish in a trawl net. Harry asks if they got ‘em both. Scott answers that they are safe and sound, coming aboard even as they speak. Harry indicates that he guesses he doesn’t have to sing his spirit song for him, this time.
Once aboard the plane, Jean tells Nathan that they were worried but his techno-organic form has stabilized. She adds that it must have been incredibly painful. Cable replies that he hasn’t had much worse. Logan interjects that he’s okay too. Scott says that’s great Logan and directs his attention back to Cable, asking him if he’s bleeding or anything. Cable tells them both that he appreciates the concern, but what the Phalanx did brought back a lot of old memories. If they don’t mind, he’d like to be alone for a while. He apologizes but that’s just the way it is.
Logan mentions that he guesses he will mosey up front and see Harry. Once there, he tells Harry to set a course for Tibet. He adds that they will drop him off at the first fuel-stop and he’ll fix it with Xavier to make good on the plane. He tells him that they gotta go save the world. Harry tells him good luck.
At the top of Mt. Everest, deep within the Phalanx tomb, Lang informs Hodge that there is an emptiness on the mind-net and that he fears that Muir Island is lost to them. Hodge asks Lang if he knows where they are and if they would dare attack them there. Lang replies that they are X-Men, what does he think?