‘What happens when you take away a mutant’s powers?’ wonders Lorna Dane a.k.a. the powerful and beautiful X-Woman known as Polaris as she stares at herself in a mirror. ‘What are you left with? A reflection. Flat. Lifeless. Empty’. Suddenly, Lorna’s boyfriend and teammate Bobby Drake, who, when he still had his powers, was known as Iceman, comes running towards her, calling out to her. ‘Yes, Bobby?’ Lorna asks calmly, to which Bobby exclaims that something terrible is going on outside.
Indeed, it is. ‘Sentinels!’ shouts Rogue as she and several other members of the X-Men as well as some of the remaining Xavier Institute students stand surrounded by a group of Sentinels. One of the students, Rockslide, points out that the Sentinels are so huge, and asks what is up with that. The X-Men’s leader Scott “Cyclops” Summers tells everyone to stay in formation until they can find out what this means. Long-time X-Man Logan a.k.a. Wolverine begins running towards the Sentinels declaring that it means the end for the X-Men unless they do something about it now.
Wolverine is followed by Dr. Henry “Beast” McCoy, Remy “Gambit” LeBeau, Rogue, Rockslide and his fellow student Julian Keller a.k.a. Hellion. ‘No! Get back into defensive formation!’ shouts a very annoyed Cyclops, when one of the Sentinels tells the X-Men to stand down. Scott’s brother Alex “Havok” Summers suggests that perhaps they should try running, as there is a chance some of them will survive. But Scott replies that they cannot outrun the Sentinels, so their best shot is to stay here and stay calm.
Cyclops points out that the Sentinels haven’t attacked them yet, but Alex remarks that it is only a matter of time, why else would they be here. Suddenly a smoke bomb explodes near the men, and Scott wonders why the Sentinels would be using them. Havok sees Lorna and Bobby arrive in amongst the smoke and tells Bobby that he should go and wait inside. ‘Why, because I’ve lost my powers, Alex?’ Bobby replies, annoyed.
As Logan and the Beast arrive at one of the Sentinels, Beast begins to wonder if Scott is right and suggests to Logan that perhaps they should hold back. The Sentinel sees the X-Men and releases to missiles from its wrist, which drop some nets on Logan and Hank, trapping them. Logan uses his adamantium claws to slice his way through the net, asking Beast if he would rather they were all wiped out, pointing out that the X-Men are like a wounded animal, and the vultures are beginning to gather.
Rogue flies towards a Sentinel in a burst of flame, telling Logan as he climbs up the Sentinel’s back to be careful. ‘Too late for that, darlin’ Logan replies. The Beast also clambers up the Sentinel, when suddenly the Sentinel whacks him off, sending him plummeting to the ground. As she blasts some flames at the Sentinel courtesy of her recently acquired powers, Rogue asks why they wont just leave the X-Men alone. Gambit tends to the Beast, but Hank seems to be badly injured and tells Remy to leave him, as it is over.
Lorna watches in horror, as Havok points out that there is a Sentinel headed right for Beast and Gambit. He reminds her that the Sentinels are metal, so urges her to hit it with everything she has got. Lorna doesn’t reply, just continues watching the Sentinels, as Havok points out that she is their best shot, suggesting she overloads the Sentinels electrical systems, before asking her what the problem is.
‘N-no problem…’ Lorna says as she begins running towards the Sentinels, followed by Bobby, much to Havok’s protest. Lorna wonders why she doesn’t just tell them the truth - because she hopes that this might pass. Because she hopes there is a chance that any minute now she will be normal again. ‘Because they’re all I’ve got. And I’m scared of losing them?’
Inside the X-Men’s home, Emma “the White Queen” Frost is using Cerebra and telepathically informs Scott that she is reading something, albeit faint, going on inside the Sentinels. As Scott blasts a Sentinel with his optic powers, Emma asks him to pull the X-Men back why she gathers more information. ‘Easier said than done, sweetheart,’ Scott replies as he watches his teammates battling the Sentinels.
One of the Sentinels asks the X-Men to stand down once more, announcing that they are not here to fight them. ‘Not here to fight us. What a joke’ exclaims Logan as he climbs up to the Sentinels head. Telekinetically hovering in the air near Rogue, Julian asks if they are all going to die, to which Rogue replies that she doesn’t know, and begins to offer Julian some advice, when one of the Sentinels swats him, sending him plummeting to the ground. ‘Hellion’s down!’ shouts Rogue.
Gambit helps the Beast as they make their retreat, ambling past Lorna as she continues to rush towards the Sentinels. Bobby catches up to her, and Lorna tells him that she thought Alex said he should wait inside. Bobby replies that Alex was just trying to belittle him in front of her, before asking so what if he isn’t ice anymore - that doesn’t stop him from being an X-Man. ‘Doesn’t it?’ asks Lorna with some scepticism. Standing before one of the Sentinels, Bobby exclaims that being an X-Man is a state of mind, and tells the Sentinel to ‘Come on! Have a piece of Bobby Drake - if you think you’re big enough!’ Bobby leaps aside as a smoke bomb is thrown at him, and Bobby tells Lorna that he got the Sentinel good and angry, so now it is time for her to show it what she can do.
Nearby, in a forest surrounding the Xavier Institute, member of the Sapien League are hiding. One of them remarks that they have been hiding in these woods since the Sentinels arrived, and that they are so big - the mutants are no match for them. Another of the Sapien League, Grady, whispers to an older man that the Leper Queen makes his skin crawl, adding that he thinks she might be one of “them”. The older man tells Grady to forget it, that there is no one who hates mutants more than the Leper Queen.
Grady replies that it could be a cover to infiltrate the Sapien League, ‘Some of those freaks look like us, don’t they?’ he remarks, adding that is what is so horrible about mutants. The older man tells Grady that it isn’t a cover, ‘I’m telling you, she hates them’. He adds that he saw the Leper Queen on a mutant-hunt down in Kentucky and watched her kill four of them in cold blood - no mercy. ‘Made me glad I’m normal’ he exclaims.
Grady looks over at where the Leper Queen is standing motionless some several feet away and asks the older guy if the Leper Queen is such a normal homo sapien then why does she go around in that mask. The older guy asks if it is the mask which is getting to him. Grady replies not only the mask, but the gloves too - what is with all that stuff. The older man simply replies that she has got her reasons. ‘The Leper Queen? Is that just a name, or…’ asks Grady nervously. The older man replies that he isn’t going to catch anything from her if that is what he is worried about.
Looking over at the slightly-scary looking woman known only as the Leper Queen, Grady asks if anyone has actually ever seen her face beneath the mask. ‘Once. Fool didn’t live five minutes’.
Bobby grabs Lorna’s hand and they run from the Sentinels as he asks her why she isn’t hitting it. ‘Maybe because they don’t want to hurt us,’ Lorna replies. The lovers take shelter behind a tree, but a Sentinel still approaches them. Bobby asks Lorna what she is talking about, and Lorna reminds him that the Sentinels said they are not here to hurt them. Bobby puts his hands on Lorna’s shoulders and tells her to wake up, as they are Sentinels, so if they don’t want to fight them now it’s because they want to do something worse to them later.
The Sentinels foot slams down on the tree, and Bobby and Lorna fall to the ground - with the Sentinel’s foot looming over them and Bobby screams. Wolverine is on another Sentinel still, ‘You had this coming!’ he declares as she shoves his claws into the Sentinel’s eye, causing it to unleash a blast of power, firing at the Sentinel in front of it - which happens to be the one looming over Polaris and Bobby. The power surges through the second Sentinel and it begin to topple backwards, giving Polaris and Bobby enough time to get to safety. ‘Look out! It’s coming down!’ someone warns everyone.
Back in Cerebra, Emma informs Scott that this is incredible - the Sentinels are not what they think. There is a mighty crash and Emma asks what is happening out there - what Emma can’t see is that the Sentinel has landed on part of the Mansion. Looking at it, Bobby tells Lorna he is sorry for screaming, but that he really did think she was going to whack it in time. ‘You should have a little more faith, Bobby,’ Lorna replies nervously.
Havok and Cyclops watch as a fire breaks out on the mansion, and Alex declares that the product of Professor Xavier’s dream is going up in smoke. Scott replies that they can rebuild, but Alex asks if they really can, telling Scott to look around, for the finest mutants of their generation, the X-Men, have been taken down by the Sentinels in five minutes. Rogue, Colossus, Rockslide and Bling join Alex and Scott, and Rogue informs him that the Sentinels have stopped, and there are a few of them left, so what should they do.
Rockslide declares that the Sentinels aren’t so tough and that he thinks he dented one of them. Bling smiles and confirms that he did, adding that you don’t want to get on the wrong side of Rockslide. ‘Crushed, Alex? I don’t think so,’ Scott tells his younger brother, exclaiming that he doesn’t know why the Sentinels are here, or why they are not going all-out to kill the X-Men this time, but that they are going to get those metal monsters off their land.
Emma telepathically calls to Scott once more, telling him that there is no need for any more fighting, as she has locked onto the Sentinels thoughts. ‘Thoughts, Emma? They’re machines. We’re attacking,’ he declares. Emma replies that she thinks the Sentinels are human! ‘Human?’ asks Scott, surprised. Alex is equally surprised to see Bobby. ‘Surprised I’m still in one piece?’ Bobby asks Havok, who just asks where Lorna is.
Bobby turns to his side and exclaims that he thought she was right behind him, adding that she just downed that Sentinel. ‘That was Lorna?’ Alex exclaims, adding that he was beginning to worry that she had lost her powers too. Suddenly, Alex and Bobby see Polaris standing right in front of another Sentinel. Alex calls to her, telling her to get away from it, but realizes she can’t hear him, so he decides to fire some plasma to get her attention. Bobby pulls Alex’s hand down, telling him to back off, as they don’t know what she has got planned.
Lorna smiles as she stands before the Sentinel. ‘Maybe I only think I’ve lost my powers. Maybe if I put myself in a position where I really have to use them…It’ll all come back…’. Suddenly, the Sentinel reaches down and grabs Lorna. ‘Lorna! No!’ shouts Bobby as the Sentinel walks off into the forest with her, then drops her in amongst the trees.
‘That was pretty dumb, you know. You’re just lucky we’re here to help you,’ declares a man standing before Lorna with a gun. As Polaris gathers herself, more men armed come into view, and one of them calls to Doctor Cooper, telling her that Polaris is fine, just a little shook up. Doctor Valerie Cooper steps into view and smiles, greeting Lorna and telling her that it has been a long time. Lorna, surprised to see her old X-Factor associate, exclaims ‘Val? What are you doing here?!’