News reporter Ann Standish reports on the incident in the subway station after Masque’s attack on innocent civilians. Numerous ambulances are parked up with their lights flashing, as clean-up crews bring out victims from the station. She reports that no casualties have been reported, but authorities have cordoned off the 42nd Street terminal. Rumors at the scene are that it wasn’t just an act of terrorism, but mutant terrorism.
A commotion behind her causes her to turn around and, as the camera keeps rolling, one of the disfigured victims comes rushing towards her. Police officers take him down as he screams for help, and one of them orders the camera operator to turn it off. Ann signs off with a shocked look across her face.
(the Baxter Building)
At the Fantastic Four’s headquarters; the temporary home of Storm and the Black Panther, Ororo is asked by the Thing if she needs any help figuring out Stretcho’s computer system. Ororo reckons she’ll get the hang of it. Ben’s just seen the news report, and understands that the victims must be losing their minds. Ororo imagines that was Masque’s plan. Living victims can be more terrifying than dead bodies if you want them to be.
Ororo is hoping that Reed’s 3-D map of the city sewer and subway tunnels will help her isolate their probable location. Bens asks how. Ororo thinks that she can do this by tracking their possible escape routes from the subway attack, and cross-referencing them with any abandoned buildings or underground structures. She understands that they will be wanting somewhere unoccupied and secret, but which will also have access to the tunnels under the city. Ben thought she had trackers on her squad. Ororo replies that she does… but it’s complicated.
Elsewhere in the building, Warpath and Hepzibah are in conversation with Johnny Storm, who is joking with them about their tracking abilities. They don’t appear to be seeing the funny side, and Warpath admits that his sense of humor escapes him after seeing a train full of people forcibly deformed by another mutant. Johnny apologizes for being a jerk, and then asks Caliban what he’s doing to his 360. Caliban, playing a war game, unintentionally breaks the controller, and he apologizes to Johnny. He always gets tense when fighting Nazis. Johnny takes the controller and departs. He can’t wait for Reed and Sue to get home.
Ororo and Ben rejoin the others and she informs them that she has four potential locations to check, thanks to Ben’s knowledge of the city. Warpath wants to go do some damage to the idiots, and then asks if they need any backup. He and the Torch aren’t really doing anything. Ororo thanks him for the offer, but this is something that the X-Men need to deal with alone. Johnny looks at the television and tells them they might want to see this. A news report from WNYX informs them that they have received word that a video from the alleged terrorists has begun circulating on the Internet. They’ll bring it to them momentarily. It confirms that their suspects are mutants.
(White River Junction, Vermont)
It’s evening, as Charles Xavier and Nightcrawler arrive at a cemetery. It’s where the local sheriff last saw Erik Lensherr. Bystanders walk by obliviously as Charles uses his newly-restored powers to keep them both hidden. Charles figures that it’s easier than explaining their presence or altering Kurt’s appearance. “I see,” replies Kurt, “And probing the sheriff’s mind instead of just asking him?” Charles says that was also more efficient. He needed to see what the sheriff saw.
He places a finger at the side of his head and an image comes to light. It’s a man who looks like Erik Lensherr standing before a grave. Charles wonders whose grave it is. He takes a closer look and reads the name. Percival B. Fellows. Charles explains that he is vaguely familiar with the man. He was an early henchman of Erik’s. He never made the cut for the Brotherhood but, as he recalls, he was always loyal. He believes his name was on the list of mutants who lost their abilities on M-Day.
Kurt states that he’s now joined another list of mutants who have died since then. Charles figures Erik must have been paying his last respects, or perhaps he was taking a glimpse at what the future holds for their people…
Meanwhile, Masque’s video on WE2UBE has him offering a stark warning. He tells the viewers that a day is coming when they, the survivors of M-Day who suffer under America’s rules, will act upon the teachings of Magneto and the word of their prophet. Every single mutant left on the planet is a weapon, and they are never going to forget that.
Skids tells Masque that he’s gone too far. This isn’t what she signed up for. Masque isn’t interested, and says that if she understood the scripture, she’d know he only did what he had to do. Skids disagrees. She thinks that he’s interpreting the words of the prophet to fit his desire for revenge. “You know what’s comin’!” he retorts. She points out that it’s just a possibility, and tells him that the media statement wasn’t part of their mission. She was there when they got their orders. Masque replies by asking if she missed the part where she put him in charge… or is she just a traitor? Skids appears to be astonished that he questions her commitment to the cause.
Outside their door, numerous heavily-armed O*N*E soldiers prepare to attack. They smash the door down and enter the room.
Meanwhile, Charles Xavier mentally picks up anxious mutant thoughts. As he concentrates, Masque’s video appears on their screen and Charles is horrified at the timing. He understands that they’re calling out for Erik, which means their situation is even more urgent that he realized. They have to find him before these maniacs do.
Storm’s team finally arrive at Masque’s hideout and Warpath picks up on their scent. However, there’s something else there too. He’s picking up cordite, gunpowder and the afterburn of electricity in the air. He figures that, if they’re in there, they’re probably dead, or somebody else is. They enter the hideout to find several O*N*E soldiers sprawled on the floor. Storm gasps as she sees how far Masque’s people have gone. Hepzibah finds two men breathing, but those Warpath finds weren’t so lucky. He can’t believe that Masque is deforming innocent civilians and killing government operatives.
Ororo doesn’t think their rationale makes any sense. Most of the Morlocks were peaceful. Their violence came only out of fear. Caliban finds something of interest - someone alive under the rubble. Warpath helps him lift the fallen masonry and, underneath it, they discover Skids. James is shocked to discover that she was with them. Ororo points out that they don’t know that just yet, but it wouldn’t be the first time she’s been on the wrong side of a fight. Caliban tends to her, and says that Sally would never hurt anyone like this. James picks up on something, moments before a O*N*E Sentinel appears and orders them to stop or it will open fire.
Storm flies up to meet the Sentinel and orders it to stand down. She explains that it has no authority over her and the mutants with her are under her protection. The Sentinel’s operator asks her to tell it to someone whose friends she didn’t just kill. Storm is surprised that they think her team could do this, but the operator replies that they always knew they had it in them. Then, they saw the broadcast about them all being weapons…
The Sentinel raises its hand and fires at Storm from the weapon housed in its palm. Hepzibah instantly runs to catch her as she falls and, when the Sentinel attempts to intervene, Warpath bravely leaps onto it, jamming his daggers into its armored hide. As the Sentinel’s operator prepares to retaliate, they are ordered to stand down. Warpath turns to see Skids standing there, holding a S.H.I.E.L.D. badge. “I am an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. - this is my investigation, and I order you to stop this insanity right now.” Caliban is pleased that his friend is not a bad guy.
Hank continues his journal, written on June 25th. He is at Neverland, a place where six thousand died. Now, standing before him is Dark Beast. The villain jokes that they’ve got Beast on burial detail, but Beast doesn’t think any of this is funny. Dark Beast tells him that Weapon X has always been sort of a cottage industry. He can’t expect the big eye-catching numbers. Beast thinks about landing a punch on his alter-ego’s smug face, but Dark Beast remarks that before he does anything they might both come to regret, he should point out that he’s there to help.
Beast is surprised at the offer, but Dark Beast explains that he finds mutant extinction as unpleasant a prospect as he does. Mother Nature giving them a good kick, and is now making them lick the blood off her boots. Hank tells him that there’s a reason he didn’t come to him. He knows what he is capable of. Dark Beast replies that he doesn’t: he only thinks he does.
He explains that he grew up in a different world from him, in Apocalypse’s thousand-year Reich. He saw a lot of bleeding hearts there, too. However, in most cases he’d made those incisions himself. He thinks that, if there is any difference between the two of them, it’s that he was allowed to pursue his researches wherever they led him (much of it including torture). He was unfettered from the arbitrary dictates of somebody else’s tender conscience. It was science without the apology or scruple.
Beasts asks what he thinks he’s looking at when he sees Neverland. He angrily explains that conscience is one of the things they picked up in the course of evolution. It’s like opposable thumbs and the ability to use tools. He tells Dark Beast to come back when he’s fully evolved.
Hank enters Neverland and finds a computer console. Some of the screens are switched on. He pulls up a chair and takes his frustration out on it. Dark Beast enters behind him and says he seems upset. Hank tells him to keep away from him. He won’t warn him again. Dark Beast says all right, but he reaches into his jacket’s inside pocket and pulls out a disk. He explains that the disk contains personnel records on warders, medical staff and administrators. They are details of the men who gave the orders and the men who pulled the triggers. All the genome transcripts and data tables were wiped already.
Dark Beast takes a look around and notices that the place contains sets of scalpels, bone saws and even a hot-coil amputation unit. He grins and asks if they should go and do some research into pain thresholds. Hank replies that he doesn’t have the time for this. “Or the stomach,” replies Dark Beast. He says that Hank wants to find a way to avoid mutant extinction. He therefore needs him, because he can think the unthinkable and do the irrevocable. He’ll see things Beast won’t let himself see. Hank thinks Dark Beast will stab him in the back the first chance he gets. “Don’t hide behind that excuse,” he replies. “You’ve tried to keep me out of your little project because you’re afraid of me.”
Hank tenses his muscles and asks if he wants to put that to the test. Dark Beast assures him that he only meant that he’s afraid of what he represents, or what he would become if he stepped over the line. Hank asks what he would become, exactly. “Better,” replies Dark Beast.
Hank is surprised by the answer and turns to depart. Dark Beast adds that he’s going to continue his research and no doubt Hank will carry on with his. They can share, or they can walk down every blind alley while the clock ticks. Hank realizes that, as much as he would like to think otherwise, the mad scientist is correct. “You follow my orders,” demands Hank. Dark Beast replies, “Of course.” Hank tells him that he will do nothing unless he’s checked with him first. As they shake hands, Hank knows that he’s going to regret this.