In her apartment in Manhattan, Lorna is trying to practice her mutant powers. Disappointed with the outcome of her efforts, she tells herself to face it: she’s a washout! It’ll take more than a costume, green curls and a new apartment in Manhattan to pep up those fading magnetic powers of hers.
Suddenly, she hears leaden footsteps approaching from two sides. “Prepare yourself mutant… THE SENTINELS LIVE!” one of the robots known as the Sentinels announces as it and one of its peers break into the apartment and cluster the terrified, speechless Lorna. “No… no… help!” Lorna screams in response. But there is none to answer Lorna’s startled plea or hear her cry echo through the corridors…
Half a planet away, in Egypt, the startled X-Men stand ringed in disbelief around a circle of destruction. Angel mumbles that it took an army of slaves decades to build that ancient temple, but it was shattered in the twinkling of a gnat’s eyelash! Cyclops adds that it was shattered by the power of one man – Alex Summers, his brother! At least, as Warren keenly observes, Alex wasn’t hurt. Scott, however, wonders why Alex is still crouching there, in the temple’s debris, like a beast at bay? After all, the Beast adds, they have the Living Pharaoh here, attired in tow, awaiting Iceman’s arrival with the gendarmes.
“Can’t you see?” Alex cries in anguish. Doesn’t the evidence of their eyes mean anything to them? Does somebody have to die before they realize he’s a walking, talking disaster area? That latter-day Pharaoh told him he could absorb cosmic rays and turn them into pure, destructive force. But Alex didn’t believe him – till he had to escape from his own airtight chamber. Then it was as if his very fear, his frenzied desperation, were suddenly transformed into savage, stone-smashing energy. If he razed a whole temple, all in one rash instant, what might he do to a living, breathing human? For, he still can’t control his power; can’t turn it on or off. One second from now… he might destroy them all! He asks them to beat it, then, all of them, and leave him to his nightmares!
Just then, Beast sees Iceman approaching with the local constabulary. The policemen in question are riding camels. Their superior is shocked to see that the “menace” the young one – Iceman – talked spoke about is none other than Professor Abdol! Cyclops is surprised: these two know each other? Of course, the Living Pharaoh – aka Professor Abdol – puffs in disdain. Is he not this land’s leading archaeologist? But now, it is his turn to speak! And he accuses that man, he wails as he points emphatically at Alex. The officer is at a loss: that beardless youth?
The Pharaoh assures his friend that things are not always what they seem. The very heavens shriek their demand for his punishment! For he unearthed here a temple – as old as any in the land. But the young man destroyed it… as surely as he now stands amidst the ruins! The man thinks over this. It seems beyond possibility… and yet… Cyclops asks him to listen to him: it is this man, Abdol, who’s the menace. The man exasperates: he dares accuse Professor Abdol? Perhaps it is wisest they are all taken into custody, beginning with the defiler of the ancient edifice!
“No!” Alex cries in panic upon hearing this. He warns them to keep away from him – stay back! Or else they’re taking their life in their hands! One of the officers exasperates: no man may threaten them! “It’s happening again!” Alex screams as cosmic rays surge uncontrollably out of him and assail the policemen. The superior officer exclaims, in horror, that the youth is a demon! Angel reminds them they warned them and blocks the way of the policemen. He suggests they amscray while they still can! Cyclops commends Warren on his block. He was afraid to lash out for fearing of hurting someone himself. However, he notes there are more of them. “For shame, dauntless leader!” Beast intervenes and kicks the gun out of one policeman’s hands. Has he forgotten the battle-bred Beast?
However, in the ensuing fray, the X-Men all but forget the lone, fleeting figure which streaks off across the darkening dunes – until Iceman informs Cyclops that he can’t find Alex. He’s split while they’ve been fighting. “Oh no!” Scott cries in anguish – that crazy, confused kid! They’ll never find him on the desert at night! “You! You camel-jockeys did this!” Cyclops snaps at the policemen. It’s their fault Alex has gone… they who drove him off! Scott was holding back before… afraid of what might happen. But now the gloves are off! Berserk, he blasts at them with full force.
Moments later, as the astonished authorities lick their wounds the X-Men take off with their mini-jet. Angel remarks it is a good thing that was a wide-angle shot, or else those guys would need more than a few band-aids! But, he remarks with some worry, they had to leave the Pharaoh behind. Cyclops reminds him the Pharaoh is powerless now – but Alex isn’t. Not before he destroys himself… or an entire continent. Beast asks him not to panic; they’ll find his wandering sibling. Will we, Hank? Warren muses. He is not so sure.
As hours pass, the somber shadows lengthen and fierce blazing heat becomes numbing cold. Flying right next to the mini-jet, the airborne Angel tells Scott to face it: if Alex hasn’t turned up by now, it’s because he wants to be among the missing.
Below, hiding from them, Alex wonders why the fools don’t leave him alone. So this is what it means to be a mutant! To be afraid to touch anything… afraid even to breathe. And yet… was ever another so mutant so terribly, desperately alone? Even Scott, who’s always lived in fear of what his optic blasts might do, never had to cope with power like Alex’s. Power that makes his every gesture a threat… his every movement a menace.
Suddenly, the desperate Alex hears a voice proclaiming he needs worry no longer – for he will never menace anyone ever again! Alex looks up, only to see a Sentinel unit about to dash at him!
In the sky above, Warren remarks it’s getting too dark even to see his teammates; this is hopeless. Marvel Girl retorts nothing’s ever hopeless… not if… Cyclops tells her to hold it. Something Angel said made him remember: Cerebro. Maybe its mechanical eyes will succeed where theirs failed. They’ll have Bobby’s girl Lorna hook up their mutant-detector by long distance and…
“Holy Hannah!” Scott spontaneously exclaims just then, as, through the monitor in the mini-jet, he connects with Lorna’s apartment – only to discover the apartment is a shambles! Never mind that, Bobby snaps – where in blazes is Lorna? They left her there not two days ago! “Easy little buddy!” Hank tries to calm him down. Panic is no substitute for calm, deductive analysis! Scott also attempts to allay the terribly upset Iceman by suggesting that Lorna was perhaps out when it happened. Or maybe she did it herself, Jean theorizes.
“Maybe! Perhaps!” Bobby snaps. He’s through with guessing games! He wants to know what happened to Lorna – and he wants to know now! Hank touches his shoulder and reassures him he’s with him. They’ll commandeer the next freighter U.S. bound. No need, Scott retorts. He and Bobby can take this crate. He’ll carry on his own search on foot alone. “Forget that loner stuff, Cyke!” Angel berates him. He only said things looked hopeless – he didn’t say he’d fink out on him. And neither will Jeannie.
As it is, Bobby and Hank depart almost immediately with the crate. As he pilots away, Bobby feels a little guilty. They left Cyclops, Angel and Marvel Girl with just a handful of supplies. He didn’t even have time to thank Scotty. Hank assures him that Scott knows Bobby would do the same, if it were Jean who might be endangered.
Elsewhere, the mysterious mastermind behind the attack of the Sentinels calculates his next move. His instruments indicate the X-Men have split up. But that won’t save them from him now – nothing will!
Several hours later, Iceman and Beast break into Lorna’s trashed apartment. Bobby notes that the place is a wreck – but that doesn’t matter. What matters is: where’s Lorna? Hank promises they’ll search every crevice and cranny. And they’ll begin…
“You’ll begin, mutant, by lifting your hands up… high!” a policeman announces, pulling a gun at both of them. His fellow officer informs them they are under arrest – both of them. “Police – American style this time! But how… why??” a puzzled Beast wonders. Iceman tells Beast that he can argue the niceties of law with them. All Bobby cares about is finding Lorna – and it’ll take more than one phone call to do that! So, it’s guns-on-the-rocks this time! They should just be glad the X-Men aren’t the killers humans think they are! With his ability to control temperature, he puts both the officers’ guns into ice.
A most admirable admonition, Hank remarks – however, it’s time they took their leave! “Oh no you don’t, mutie!” one of the policemen retorts and throws a swivel chair at him. His colleague asks the other officer, Joe, not to do it; the big one’s by the window! If he hits him now, he might…
As Beast and Iceman are about to escape through the window, the chair hits Beast and throws him off-balance. Hank drops like the proverbial sack of potatoes – however, Iceman thankfully saves him from being splattered below by generating an ice pole. Grabbing the pole, a breathless Hank admits it would appear he owes Bobby one rescue. Bobby tells him to skip it; nobody’s keeping score! Right now, they’ve got to find someplace to lay low! He remembers Cyke’s got a place not far from here. They’ll head there and map out a plan of action. Sliding along on Bobby’s ice-tramp, Hank suggests they just keep to the alleyways. He thinks that Bobby’s all right for now – but for how long before he yields to bitter remorse?
Almost as soon as Iceman picks the lock of Scott’s darkened apartment, he sits down in despair, holding his head. He wonders where Lorna is; what have they done to her? Why are the police after them? Beast proposes that perhaps the six o’clock news will clarify matters. Turning the TV on, he catches a special report on – and he lip-reads the word “mutant.” He turns the volume on.
It’s a talk show and the presenter is currently interviewing Judge Chalmers. He asks him why his Federal Council on Mutant Activities was founded. Chalmers is glad he asked him that question. His five-year study has conclusively shown that mutants are a menace to human dominance on Earth! “Oh great!” Bobby puffs. Now a federal judge has jumped on the anti-mutant bandwagon! Hank tells him to quiet; there’s more…
Judge Chalmers concludes by saying he’s given them enough dry facts and statistics. He presents them with a more personal, more tragic account by his special assistant, Larry Trask. Raising his hands in the air, Larry addresses the audience. His story isn’t a pretty one, but it’s true. He asks them to listen it and they’ll understand why mutants are the greatest single danger facing mankind today! He is not the first Trask to decry the mutant massacre. His father did the same, three years ago. And the mutants killed him for it!
Bobby puts two and two together and asks Hank if he know who this must be: the son of Bolivar Trask! Beast assures him he knows and tells him to listen… Larry recounts to the audience that he was with his father on that fateful day, when he breathed life into the first Sentinel.
Watching the first Sentinel coming to fruition, Larry assures his father he’ll be famous for this. Bolivar Trask claims that fame means nothing for him. But Earth must be made safe for humanity! Then, on the very day Larry leaves for college, Bolivar reminds his boy that he’s taught him a lot. Larry will succeed… if Bolivar should fail. Larry is confident his father won’t fail – he can’t!
Shedding tears of sadness, Larry admits that his father did fail, thanks to mutant treachery! He never saw his father again… at least, not alive! And as he stood over his body, crushed by a fallen Sentinel, he vowed to carry on the fight against the merciless X-Men and their ilk – the very monsters who had slain him.
Exasperated, Iceman tells Hank he’s got it all wrong; it was the Sentinels who turned on Trask… not the X-Men! Beast sighs that men believe what they want to believe.
Turning cross now, Larry informs the audience that he’s spent years collecting evidence to document their case against the mutants. Only hours ago, they attacked authorities on the bank of the Nile! But time has run out for those murderous freaks. For his father taught him much before he died. So much that he can stand before them today, and proclaim… THE SENTINELS LIVE!