In the news, Trish Tilby reports that the relationship between the United States and the island nation of Genosha remain strained, as the Genoshan government refuses to back down from its policy of taking whatever steps necessary to bring so-called mutants terrorists to justice. Footage is shown of a Genoshan spokesperson reading a speech, in which they declare: “We are a sovereign state, with the same right to protect itself and its citizenry as any other nation. These X-Men - however highly they may be regarded elsewhere - have committed acts of aggression and made threats we cannot, and will not, ignore. Of course, we would prefer to have the cooperation of others, especially such a valued ally as the United States, but should circumstance require - in order to safeguard our people - we are more than ready to act alone.“ Trish points out that the Genoshans have yet to reveal what those actions may be. She finishes her report by saying that the administration in Washington had no further comment and that all attempts to contact X-Factor for their view on the situation have been fruitless so far.
At the underground complex underneath the remains of Xavier’s school, Marvel Girl and Storm train against each other in the Danger Room. It’s been a long time since either one has used the Danger Room and even longer since they faced each other in a training session. The holographic systems generate a ruined city as their battleground, and high up in the skies the two women face each other. Storm generates a thunderstorm all around them, and while Marvel Girl is impressed by this display of power, she applies a focused telekinetic shot to Storm’s solar plexus, nearly knocking her unconscious. After telekinetically cushioning Storm’s decent, Marvel Girl uses her power to bind her opponent in place, believing the match to be over.
Banshee, Forge and Stevie Hunter observe the training sequence from the from the Danger Room’s control booth. Banshee says that the scanners confirm the evidence of their own eyes - Jean is as good as she ever was, if not better. Siding with Storm, Forge brings up that a fully gown-up woman versus a kid isn‘t exactly a fair fight. Banshee agrees, before reminding his friend that this is what the exercise was about - they need to evaluate the extent and control of Storm’s powers since her body has been reduced to barely an adolescent, her mutant powers being in its initial manifestation. Especially if she wants to continue leading the X-Men, they need to know how much Storm can rely on her powers.
Inside the Danger Room, Jean asks Storm if she had enough, which the de-aged X-Man denies. That’s when Jean realizes that the air is freezing; it must be incredibly cold as she can feel it even through her isolated costume. Stating that she has barely begun, Ororo tells Jean to wave good-bye and wishes her a happy landing. Thanks to her flash-freeze, the rain on the rooftop they are both standing on is now slippery ice. With a proper gust of wind, Storm pushes Marvel Girl over the ledge. As Marvel Girl falls off the building, Storm takes to the air, explaining that the disadvantage of telekinesis is that she needs to focus her concentration to use it, and she will no longer give Jean such an opportunity.
Banshee admits to Forge that he had not anticipated this turn of events. While Nanny might have regressed Storm’s body to childhood, Banshee states, she has lost none of her skill or intelligence; she even might have grown sneakier. Forge agrees, thinking that it might be the influence of Gambit, who accompanied Storm to Xavier’s. Stevie interrupts the two men’s banter, saying that they are entirely missing the point. As Ororo is physically a youngster, she is still growing. Quite concerned, Stevie says that too much of the wrong kind of stress, such as pushing her powers beyond their limit, might cause her permanent injury. Forge thinks that Storm is well aware of her limits, but Stevie corrects him: Ororo has adult knowledge of an adult instrument, but her current reality is that of a child.
At that point, Rictor’s face appears on a monitor, requesting access to the Danger Room. Banshee quickly brushes him off, saying that they are running an evaluation sequence and that he will have to wait. Standing in front of the door to the control booth, the annoyed Rictor mumbles to himself: “Hey sure why not no problem. I mean, it’s only our house.”
Meanwhile, Storm has created a cyclonic whirlwind that’s spinning Marvel Girl so hard and fast that she has no clue which end is up. Seeing this, Stevie declares that it’s been enough and hits a button that shuts down the training sequence. Looking reproachful at Banshee, Stevie says that Ororo’s body hasn’t the resources to handle that kind of load and that she is losing control. Banshee is not so sure that Stevie had to cancel the session, but she says that it‘s not open for discussion. After all, Professor Xavier made her responsible for the physical conditioning of his students, and she knows when someone pushes themselves past the point of exhaustion.
Indeed, right then Storm’s powers fade out and she would have crashed down to the ground if not for Jean catching her with her telekinesis. Saying that she got a trifle carried away, Storm apologizes to Jean for the wild ride she gave her. Once they have safely landed, Stevie lectures Ororo, asking how many times she needs to read her the riot act before she finally listens. Stevie compares Ororo to the “babies” on the pro tennis tour, who are champions for one year but has-beens in the next, because their still-developing bodies couldn’t handle the strain. Ororo answer that this isn’t a game to her, prompting Stevie to answer that its all the more reason to take care; it’s not a mere “tennis career” but her very life that’s at risk in the X-Men’s business.
Suddenly, Cable and the New Mutants burst into the room, wanting to use the Danger Room for a training session. When Banshee replies that he saw no mention of the New Mutants’ session when he reviewed the computer schedule, Cable answers that his people know their responsibilities and need no stupid schedules. Banshee says that this may have worked just fine when the New Mutants were on their own, but now that the X-Men are back in residence, they have others to consider. The issue turns into a full-fledged argument between the two groups.
Rictor points out that the X-Men could move to X-Factor’s ship, there being lots of unused space and quarters. Ororo answers that the mansion is the X-Men’s home, and Jean adds that it was their home long before the New Mutants came along. Cable remarks that they have a nice way of showing it, considering that they let the mansion get blown to pieces. Banshee answers that it has happened before, and that they will rebuild the mansion once again. Boom-Boom jokes that when someone comes back from the dead, “losing everything you own” sort of loses its impact. For once sharing her teammate’s opinion, Wolfsbane adds that the X-Men didn’t care – for the place or the people still living there.
When Banshee asks what Cable meant by “my people,” Cable explains that it is quite simple - somebody had to look after the New Mutants, and nobody but him was willing to take the job. Trying to provoke the X-Men, Cable asks if there are any objections. At that point, Storm cools everyone’s temper and solves the situation with diplomacy. She says that Cable has to accept that the New Mutants are part of a bigger whole, just as X-Men and X-Factor have to concede Cable’s place as the New Mutants’ leader; even though they may not like his style they can not deny what he accomplished. That said, Storm lets the younger team have their training session and leaves together with Jean and the other X-Men.
In Malibu, Freddie Stanachek drops by the beachfront house of Lila Cheney, demanding to see Alison Blaire. Guido, Lila’s bodyguard, repeatedly tells Freddie that Alison doesn’t live there anymore, but Freddie doesn’t believe him. First, he asks where Alison left to, next he demands to see for himself that she isn’t in the house. Guido replies that Alison obviously prefers solitude right now, or else she would have left some contact info for Freddie, but once again the young man doesn’t listen. He claims that Alison can’t do this, especially to him; not after her movie ranks top of the charts and all the work he put into this project. In fact, Freddie thinks, Alison owes him. Guido, however, has a different opinion. Alison didn’t ask for Freddie’s help and, the way he sees it, he earned quite a lot of money through her.
As he throws Freddie into his car and then lifts the car with Freddie inside to carry it back to the main street, leading away from Lila’s estate, Guido says that most people would be satisfied with that amount of success - he doesn’t need to have a “trophy-babe.” Freddie says it isn’t like that, but Guido repeats that he should let Dazzler enjoy her life the way she wants to live it, there’s no way he can possess her anymore than Eric Beale could.
Suddenly, Guido notices a familiar flash of energy. He runs back to the house, knowing it can only mean one thing - Lila Cheney is back. Indeed he finds her at the center of that energy effect, though she is barely conscious. Before she passes out, Lila mumbles a few words, “ - terrible danger - - Professor Charles Xavier - - help - - desperate need - - X-Men.”
Meanwhile, Ororo and Jean have made it to Harry’s Hideaway. Eating burgers, they go down a trip on the memory lane and renew their friendship. Ororo recalls how deftly Wolverine once maneuvered Jean under Harry’s mistletoe, and the redhead confirms that the feral X-Man can kiss. Too having been kissed by Logan at some point, Ororo jokingly adds that he is verily the “best as what he does.”
The Saturday after that kiss, Jean recalls, she and Scott went to the rainbow room and the Sentinels came for them. And, before long, she was sitting behind the controls of a space shuttle, single-handedly trying to save the X-Men by trying to get them to Earth before they were fried by a solar flare and cosmic radiation. “And you succeeded,” Storm says. With a sad expression, Jean answers that this is what she is being told, whereas she thought she died. Jean further explains her problem; for her those moments seem like yesterday. She blacked out in space and awoke in the Baxter Building years later, her whole life turned upside down - the modern equivalent of Rip van Winkle. She had to learn about the Phoenix and Madelyne Pryor, and how both of them were extensions of her own being, and the more she tried to untangle this mess, the tighter it seems she is tied to it.
At that point, Jean decides that they have talked enough about her own problems, as she is not the only one having to cope with major changes. Jean asks Ororo how it feels to have the “wonder years” to live all over again. Ororo mentions to have undergone so many tests and exams since her return, but unfortunately the results appear less and less hopeful. She is at an age, where the body changes rapidly, still Forge can record no such changes in his tests. Apparently her condition of being stuck in a child’s body is permanent, or, as Ororo puts it, she might she might be an eternal child, just like Peter Pan. Actually, Jean thinks it’s a bit ironic, whereas she has far too many lives for one body, Ororo has not enough body for one life. Regardless they keep muddling through, from one catastrophe to the next. The two friends raise their glasses and toast to the X-Men, who do not die the old-fashioned way. “And no matter how hard we try, none of us die forever.”
“Give us half of a chance, kiddo, maybe we’ll change that,” a woman says, sitting in a van outside Harry’s Hideaway. She’s part of a para-military strikeforce, who have spied on the entire conversation between Jean and Ororo. Talking to her colleagues in the back, the female says that she has positively identified one prime target, Jean Grey aka Marvel Girl, whereas the other mutant superficially resembles Storm. However, the age is all wrong, and she wonders if it’s a daughter or younger sister of Storm. A blond male soldier replies that there are no records of any, but it doesn’t matter to him. If the teenage girl if one of Xavier’s students, that makes her fair game.
Walking back to the Xavier estate, Jean and Ororo continue their conversation. Talking about the formation of the X-Men, Jean wonders if Xavier knew the prize of his dream – considering that some of his students died. Ororo answers that the X-Men do know of that danger now, and yet they always keep coming back for more. Jean compares it to King Arthur and his knights of the round table, remembering that “The once and future King” was Xavier’s favorite book, even though the professor always saw himself as Merlin, showing the way. Ororo asks her friend if she ever wondered who then represents Arthur. Just like him, they cannot forever use their teacher as a crutch. Sure, Ororo misses Xavier as well, but she also knows that the X-Men have to fly by themselves now and to learn to take the consequences – both good and bad – of their actions. “So easily said,” Jean says as she hugs her friend before boarding a small skycraft. As she takes off, Jean says that she is glad Ororo isn’t dead. Waving her friend good-bye, Ororo says the same about Jean and wishes her farewell.
Hidden in some bushes, Wolfsbane eavesdropped on the two friends and apes them in a mocking voice “I missed you! I’m so glad you are alive!” before telling Storm that it’s quite a pity others weren’t as lucky as her. Ororo replies that this is unfair, which Rahne confirms - just like the bullet that took Doug Ramsey’s life wasn’t fair either. Mad and angry, Rahne says that Douglas was never meant to be part of all this and that they only drafted him into the New Mutants because of his language powers as they desperately needed someone able to communicate with Warlock. Rahne considers herself and the other New Mutants guilty for not looking out for Douglas, and she similarly blames the X-Men for not looking out after the junior team.
Storm’s dry comment that both the X-Men and the New Mutants only did what they felt they needed to do at the time, only further agitates Rahne. “Don’t you understand – Doug died!” she yells at Storm, who answers that Thunderbird died as well in the X-Men’s first mission; and so did Jean during the shuttle flight or all of the X-Men while opposing the Adversary in Dallas. Close to tears, Rahne points out that she got “better,” and she asks what makes the X-Men so special and Doug not. Not really expecting an answer, Rahne runs off into the woods, shouting that she hates Storm, and wishing that she had never heard of Xavier’s school.
Nearby, Rictor, Boom-Boom and Warlock are playing Frisbee by the pond, with Stevie Hunter watching them. Having witnessed the end of the argument, Stevie walks over to Storm, offering a shoulder to cry on. Ororo admits that she messed up. Back then, when she made that decision, she thought it would give the X-Men an edge to hide in the shadows and let the world believe them dead. She hoped it would protect their friends and loved ones, and enable the X-Men to strike more freely at their foes. However, she now realizes that they have deeply hurt those they cared for most. Stevie reminds Ororo that not every idea is a winner, though Storm replies that not every person taking on the role of a leader is qualified. Raising an eyebrow, Stevie asks Ororo if she considers to step down.
Boom-Boom interrupts before Ororo can answer, asking her what she said to Wolfsbane to make her so upset. Just as Ororo answers that it is none of her concern, she hears a noise, and Warlock senses imminent danger. His warning “forecast imminent detonation this vicinity of multiple concussion-configured explosives projectiles” comes a tad too late, as the group is already knocked over by the explosion. Riding some highly sophisticated bikes, the paramilitary group that was spying on Storm and Marvel Girl before approaches. The male in the leads shouts to the other soldiers to keep the mutants down, but also reminds them that their primary objective is the access hatch to the underground complex.
Getting to her feet, Boom-Boom wonders who these guys are and Warlock immediately provides an answer “preliminary superficial scanalysis marks three standard terrestrial hominid bioforms, one male, two female... operating ultra-performance wheeled ground assault vehicles.” Both of them having been knocked into the lake, Stevie carries the unconscious Storm in her arms as she tells the New Mutants to worry about the details later. Knowing that they can‘t face their attackers in the open, she advises her charges to seek cover in the woods, believing that the bikers can’t follow them there. However, she underestimated the resourcefulness of the soldiers’ equipment – the sides of the bikes transforming into huge stilts, they are capable of following the mutants and open fire on them. Wolfsbane and Stevie, still carrying Ororo, try to evade the shots as good as possible.
The alarms go off in Xavier’s underground complex, and Gambit, Forge, Banshee and Cable immediately react. The sensors indicate that someone is attacking the kids on the surface. Assessing the data from the situation scan, Cable realizes that it’s only a small strikeforce, and he almost pities the attackers, thinking his students more than capable to handle their attackers. Still, Forge and Cable grab their weapons and the men ready themselves to join the action topside. Up above, Storm regains consciousness just as Stevie’s weak knee gives out. She curses at her injury, but at least she is happy to have reached the hatch.
Nearby, Boom-Boom and Rictor seem intent to prove Cable right. With her time-bombs, Tabitha blows one of the soldiers from her craft, and Rictor generates a localized earthquake to make another topple over. Warlock reminds the others that it were initially three attackers and wonders about the whereabouts of the final soldier. Just as she opens the hatch to the underground complex, Ororo spots the third attacker, heading towards her and Stevie. Immediately, she recognizes the uniform and the equipment as Genoshan. Knowing that they are in way over their heads, Storm orders the New Mutants to retreat into the underground complex at once.
However, the junior team doesn’t follow her orders. Tabitha says they have pretty much won already and, behind her, Rictor has grabbed one of the female Magistrates by her collar. Not even fighting back, the female Magistrate tells the “genejokes” that not running when they had a chance to do so was a fatal mistake. As she pushes a button on her wristband, the Magistrate explains that they were just pathfinders with the task to establish and secure a landing locus so that Pipeline could transmat the rest of their strikeforce. To Tabitha’s surprise, about a dozen of Genoshan Magistrates are being teleported in, all of them equipped with similar weapons and vehicles.
Hopelessly outnumbered, Storm knows that they are lost if the troops gain access to the underground complex. At the same time, she cannot bring herself to abandon the New Mutants, which is why she pushes Stevie through the hatch before sealing it shut by scrambling the lock. What she couldn’t have known is that Stevie falls right into Cable’s arms, who was just about to get topside. Being shot at again, Storm tries to seek cover when she notes something odd; the third biker uses some form of self-generated plasma to try to blast the hatch open. She recognizes the power signature, but at the same time thinks it impossible; it couldn’t be who she thinks it is.
Down below, Cable is quite mad at Storm for trapping his kids on the surface. While Forge reminds him that she trapped herself with them, Banshee takes charge. As she is being led away by Gambit and Sunspot, he orders Stevie to contact X-Factor as they might need their help. Next, he announces that there’s more than one way to get out of the underground complex and decides that the exit via the lake would be the fastest route. He takes off, with Cable clinging to his back and muttering a threat, “If any of my kids are hurt because of Storm –.” Flying next to Banshee and Cable, Cannonball says that he can’t believe Storm acted without good reason, and riding on his back, Forge agrees. Sam explains to his passenger that his blast field also protects whoever he is carrying, and Forge asks him to go faster.
Topside, Boom-Boom is annoyed by constantly having to fight one threat after another. Asking out loud what mutants would have to do to get people to be left alone, she creates another one of her time-bombs and throws it at a Magistrate wearing some sort of cybernetic battle armor. However, as Tabitha begins her trademark countdown - Storm creates a small gust of wind to divert the time-bomb, sending it towards the Magistrate she seemed to recognize a few minutes ago. As the countdown comes to an end, the bomb explodes, knocking out the Magistrate in question. Ororo runs over and takes off the man’s helmet, revealing Havok’s face underneath – just as she suspected. Still, she is left wondering why one of the X-Men would willingly serve some of their deadliest enemies.
A few feet away, Tabitha is not too happy about Storm “swiping my thunder” and tells the de-aged X-Man to use her own powers or, at least, to ask permission first. Boom-Boom is so riled up that she fails to notice a small sky-craft coming up behind her, piloted by two Magistrates. An energy device is launched at her, and even though Rictor tries to push his teammate out of harm’s way it’s too late – both of them end up caught in a so-called catch-web, stunning them. While firing at some Magistrates with an machine gun she must have picked up from Havok’s equipment, Storm orders Warlock to grab the sky-cycle and drain it’s power pack to bring it down. Before the alien can carry out his orders, though, he is being tagged with an energy weapon by one of the Magistrates, who then radios Pipeline to initiate a transmat.
As Warlock is digitized and teleported away, Wolfsbane believes he was disintegrated by the energy weapon. Angrily, she runs towards the Magistrates wanting to avenge her teammate, and doesn’t listen to Storm’s warnings not to abandon her side. Running after Rahne, Ororo explains that the Genoshans have only teleported Warlock to their homeland. Thus distracted, she and Wolfsbane too end up caught with a catch-web. All of the mutants being defeated, the Magistrates re-group. Havok tells his colleague, Tam, that attacking children doesn’t sit well with him, but the female Magistrate replies that these were their orders. She then asks the other Magistrates for a status report. Pipeline sums up that they had only minimal casualties so far, but also voices his concern that the longer they stay the greater the risk is of mutant re-enforcements arriving. As they got what they came for, he suggests to be satisfied with that and leave.
Scant second later, Banshee and Cannonball emerge from the lake, still carrying Cable and Forge. However, the attackers and their prisoners are already gone. Forge’s sensors pick up residual elements of an energy surge – no doubt, a transporter effect. Cable notes that there is no blood and no bodies, neither the New Mutants’ nor their attackers’; however he stumbled upon the kid’s clothes. Even though he doesn’t yet know who is responsible for this attack, Cable vows to make these people wish they had never been born.