On Bastion’s “oil rig”, the three members of X-Club - Madison Jeffries, Doctor Nemesis and Kavita Rao - rush through the corridor, while Jeffries exclaims ‘We were meant to raid this place! We were played!’ Doctor Nemesis tells the former Alphan to save his breath, and to speak for himself. Kavita Rao contacts Cyclops, telling him that this station was a diversion, tailor made for them. ‘Bastion’s plan includes us being away from Utopia!’ she declares, as the trio reach the edge of the platform - and leap into the water. ‘Dammit! My hat!’ Doctor Nemesis complains as his hat falls off. ‘Please. Plan. Accordingly!’ Kavita tells him as they hit the water - and the massive station above explodes.
One minute ago inside the hangar bay on Utopia, the Blackbird burst into flames, and several X-Men and other mutants are scrambling into action. ‘What do you mean?’ Cable asks. ‘I mean - all this. It’s not going to stop. It’s going to keep on getting worse’ Hope replies, exclaiming ‘People have died, Nathan. And for what? For me. It would be better for everyone if I’d never come here’. Cable tells Hope that responsibility and guilt are not the same thing, and points out that if she did leave here, does she really think Bastion is going to suddenly stop killing mutants?
‘Fanatics don’t sign off until the job is done. Question is - do you?’ Cable asks. Hope is about to answer, when the massive “oil rig” explosion shockwaves across Utopia, knocking the mutants about. ‘No shrapnel. No fire. That wasn’t us’ Wolverine points out. Colossus remarks that he thinks it was out in the bay. Cyclops contacts Prodigy, asking for their status. In the control / monitor room, Prodigy replies that it was the rigs, that they just exploded. ‘Everyone outside, now! We’re under attack!’ Cyclops orders. The mutants race outside, with the White Queen asking Cyclops if they know that. ‘Cerebra. The Teleporters. The Blackbirds. He blinds us, then immobilizes us. Bastion had to be sure we’d be here when he made his move’ Cyclops exclaims.
Arriving outside, the X-Men and the other mutants find a strange red substance in the sky above them. ‘My God - what is that?’ Psylocke asks. Cyclops orders Iceman and Angel to get up there, and to keep whatever it is from closing in. ‘On it!’ Iceman shouts as he creates an ice-sled, enabling him to move towards the red substance. Angel flies alongside his best friend and remarks that he might wear his other face, if that is okay. ‘Uh…sure, man. Do what you have to do’ Iceman replies. Thanks. It just seems to fit the situation a little better’ Angel points out.
At that moment, all over San Francisco - in Colma, in Oakland, and in San Rafael, the red substance closes down - like a force field - and massive force field which has engulfed parts of San Francisco and the bay. Iceman unleashes and ice-beam at the force field, but it does not even dent it. Unleashing his razor-sharp wing-knives, Archangel replies that they don’t do anything either. ‘Whatever it is, it’s harder than diamond’ Archangel exclaims. Down below, Emma exclaims ‘Nothing. It closed, and they can’t break through. Cyclops asks his girlfriend to tell them to keep hitting it, and maybe there will be a cumulative impact, while asking Psylocke to focus her telekinesis on the same spot. Cyclops turns to Emma and asks her to get the Sub-Mariner.
At that moment, inside his stronghold, Bastion announces that it is done. ’The containment area -?’ Stephen Lang remarks, to which Bastion declares that it is established and the X-Men are trapped, so the final phase can begin. Bastion tells Lang and Graydon Creed that they may stand down their troops, as they will not be needed again. Creed approaches Bastion, asking him if he may congratulate him on succeeding where each of them has separately failed, in annihilating the mutant race. ’Yes, you may’ Bastion replies, before asking ‘And yet - what will define us now, Mr Creed?’
‘I - I’m sorry, master? What do you mean?’ Graydon asks. ‘What purpose will we serve once this profane edifice - Homo Sapiens Superior - has fallen?’ he asks. Bastion declares that it was such a fine campaign, such a glorious war, but that slaughter, necessary as it is, is banal. ‘It does not tax us. It does not ennoble us’ he remarks, before turning away from his associates and ordering the membrane to be triggered. ‘And tell me when they’re dead’ he adds.
Back on Utopia, Psylocke hovers in the air, using her telekinesis. She the attempts to destroy the force field. But she tells Cyclops that it is no use, that she cannot push against it, as there is no traction. ‘It’s like it’s not even there, until you try to go through it’ she explains. Cyclops tells Psylocke to stand down, before turning to Colossus and asking him if he managed to get some transport. Colossus replies that he got a small cargo ship and a twin-prop Cessna, before asking were they are going. ‘That depends on what happens next’ Cyclops replies, before asking the White Queen to patch him through to Namor.
‘I told you that I’d report to you when I was done here, Cyclops’ the Sub-Mariner responds. ‘Yes, you did. But seconds count’ Cyclops tells him, asking him what he found. Deep underwater, Namor replies that the barrier resists all their efforts. ‘You were right. It carries on right down to the ocean floor - and into it!’ Namor announces.
Cyclops tells Emma get call a team together. ‘Roster?’ she asks. ‘Read my mind. Tell them to assemble at the dock. We’re going into the city’ Cyclops announces. ‘Why are we -?’ Colossus begins, to which Cyclops explains that they were wrong, that they assumed it was a dome. ‘It’s not. It’s a sphere’ Cyclops announces. ‘Am I missing something?’ Rockslide asks. ‘Think about it’ someone tells him. ‘A sphere encloses us completely. We can’t dig or swim our way under it’ he explains, adding that it also cuts through every power, water, sewage and data link in the city. ‘San Francisco is probably close to meltdown right now. And it’s only gonna get worse’.
As mutants gather on Utopia’s dock, Toad, flanked by several of his comrades, calls out to Rogue: ‘Hey, Scarlet O’Hara. You X-Men should be staying here and protecting us. We’re the targets, right?’ he exclaims. Rogue assures Toad that they are leaving a force to protect Utopia. ‘Maybe you’d like to be a part of it? Ah could deputize you as an X-Man’ Rogue offers. ‘Oh, that’s - yeah! Really funny, Rogue, big joke. Hey, you offered us sanctuary. We’ve got rights, you know!’ Toad shouts. Rogue, Surge and several others walk past Colossus, onto the boat. ‘Raise the anchor!’ Colossus calls out, until Surge explains that they don’t have an anchor, that they are tied to a post. ‘I got it’ Wolverine exclaims as he cuts the rope tying the boat to the dock with his claws. ‘Now let’s move!’ Wolverine exclaims.
Meanwhile, a small airplane follows Cyclops, using a jetpack, the Sub-Mariner, Magma, Archangel, carrying Psylocke, towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Cyclops announces that once they reach the mainland, most of them will deal with keeping order on the streets, while Psylocke and Domino recon. ‘Once we see hoe bad it is, we’ll assign priorities’ Cyclops adds, while the Sub-Mariner tells him to look to his left. ‘That glow from the bridge is not from the sun. It appeared a few seconds ago. And It’s not moving’ Namor adds. ‘Change course. We’ll check it out’ Cyclops announces. Psylocke points out that it could be another decoy, like the rig. ‘You know how Bastion works’ she adds. ‘Could be. But I’m not betting’ Scott replies, pointing out that Bastion doesn’t need decoys now, that this is his endgame.
Standing on the edge of Utopia, Cable looks out over the water. ‘You didn’t go’ Hope remarks as she approaches him. ‘My place is with you’ Cable replies, adding that Cyclops will not risk having her on the frontline. ‘It’s him, isn’t it? It’s Bastion. He’s come for me’ Hope asks. ‘That would be my guess, yes. So it’s probably time to make up your mind’ Cable tells her. ‘About what?’ Hope asks. ‘About what we were talking about before all this blew up. Staying or going’ Cable reminds her. Hope points out that going is not an option, as they are shut in, there is nowhere to go. Cable replies that the X-Men are shut in, but he has got enough power left for one last jump. ’Say the word, princess…and you can find out how this turned out from the history books’ Cable offers.
On the other side of the sphere, the X-Club made it safely to shore, and Doctor Nemesis uses a small projector to display the current situation. Kavita asks what they have, to which Jeffries explains that it is nothing mechanical or electrical that he can talk to. ‘It’s just one undifferentiated structure’ he explains. Doctor Nemesis agrees, but points out that it is such a clever structure. ’Clever how?’ Madison asks. ‘It’s quantum-irresolvable. Scan it was an electron beam, it shows as matter. Touch it with a probe, and it’s energy’ Doctor Nemesis replies, declaring that it is a barricade that knows how to duck, and that it even fights against being analyzed, let alone being breached.
‘You mean your skills didn’t live up to your rhetoric - again’ Kavita mutters. ‘Dr Rao. I’ve lost my best hat, I’ve been manipulated and dumped into the ocean, and my mood is best described as “not cordial”. For you, I’m sure this is a welcome break from cleaning test tubes. For me -’ Doctor Nemesis is interrupted by Jeffries, asking his teammates if they could have a little decorum. ‘I mean - in front of the visitors?’ he points out. ‘The vis -? Oh my! I - yes. Right. Okay.’ Kavita exclaims in shock, as standing before them are five super heroes - Hawkeye! Iron Man! Thor! The original Spider-Woman! The new Captain America! ‘We’re the Avengers. We’ve come to help, if we can’ the new Captain America a.k.a. Bucky Barnes exclaims. ‘Unless this big red bubble belongs to you. In which case we’ve come to ruin your day’ Hawkeye declares.
Bucky turns to Doctor Nemesis. ‘You’re James Bradley. I met you once’ he exclaims. ‘No, I don’t think I -’ Doctor Nemesis begins, but Bucky replies ‘Different uniform’ before asking what is going on here, ‘Why did San Francisco just fall off the grid?’ he asks. Doctor Nemesis explains that the barrier was erected by Bastion, to trap the X-Men and the rest of the mutant race, and that it seems to be indestructible. Iron Man declares that he does not believe in indestructible, and analyzes it with a beam, announcing that it is not going to fall to any kind of energy attack. ‘The structure is -’ he begins, but Doctor Nemesis interrupts, ‘ - quantum-irresolvable. I know. It’s wonderful, isn’t it?’
Spider-Woman exclaims that the Avengers have a tool for indestructible barriers, and tells Thor that he is up. Thor tells Spider-Woman that Mjolnir is not a tool. ‘Sorry. I meant gadget’ Spider-Woman replies. ‘Nor is Mjolnir a -’ Thor begins, but Spider-Woman tells him to just hit it with the hammer. Thor does so, creating a massive energy boom - but he does not penetrate the force field. ‘“Indestructible” Defined as -’ Doctor Nemesis begins, to which Thor replies ‘That was but a single stroke. Stand back, mortal man, and let me work!’
Over the bridge, Cyclops, Psylocke and the others close in, as Cyclops announces that they have got a glowing sphere, a hundred meters across, with no weight or mass as far s they can tell. ‘No energy emissions apart from visible light. And it’s absolutely fixed in space’ he declares, communicating to the Beast, he asks him to theorize. From inside the control / monitor room on Utopia, the former X-Man replies that he thinks this may be the exact center of the large sphere that contains them. He adds that it could be the source point from which the main sphere is projected, except that it appeared later.
Psylocke announces that it is a portal, that she is picking up readings through it. ‘No minds, as such, but a more generalized psionic presence. Something big, that has a kind of sentience’ she declares. ‘What kind of sentience?’ Cyclops asks. Psylocke exclaims that she thinks they are about to find out, as the portal is activating.
Back on Utopia, Cable tells Hope that he needs an answer either way, as the one luxury they don’t have is time. ‘You have to decide now’ he tells her. ‘But what about the X-Men? What about all our friends?’ Hope asks. Cable asks her if she remembers what he said about responsibility. ‘Mine is you. Nothing else comes before that’ he declares. Hope points out that the X-Men got into this fight on her behalf, and they have paid for helping her - a higher price than they ever imagined. ‘It was my battle before it was theirs and I…’ she looks down as she thinks about it, before announcing that she has to stay. ‘Then I guess we’ve got work to do’ Cable smiles.
Back on the bridge, Iceman and Wolverine have joined up with the others now, as Cyclops announces that they have activity and movement. ‘Get ready. Whatever this thing was put here to do, it’s doing it!’ Cyclops announces. Iceman moves close to the portal - and suddenly, a metal arm reaches out and grabs him by the neck - as a robot type being emerges. ‘Assimilating new data. Processing. Adjusting’ the robot declares. ‘It’s a Nimrod. We’re facing a Nimrod’ Match gasps. ‘Hit it with everything you’ve got’ Cyclops orders. Claws ready, Wolverine tells Cyclops to look again - as several more Nimrod emerge from the portal. ‘Threat level maximum. Response - ultimate force!’….