Nate Grey, the mutant sometimes known as X-Man floats seemingly in nothingness, a Life Seed glowing at his side. He thinks of how the Life Seed wouldn't let him die – it wouldn't let any of them die. The Life Seed could feel it – they were mingling, becoming something new, and as the world faded, their combined energies flowed through nothing and everything at once. The Life Seed was the spark, Nate Grey the kindling, and together they created life. Not just life, millions of years passed in an instant. It all happened so fast – they created an entire world. Nate's energy flowed simultaneously creating and becoming part of mountains, rivers, mutants and the minds of every creature. Everyone was here with him, and part of him was with them all. And, if that was the case, Nate Grey was going to make this place special. Deserved. Earned. He was going to rescue them from their destiny. So, this is not an alternate universe. This is a whole new plane of existence.
The mutants here in this plane of existence, the ones created in this world, they don't know a life outside of this – and they never will, it is impossible. Such is the fate for these children playing games in a park. The playing field needed to be leveled – everyone needed the same tale. The same explanation for a perfect world populated entirely by mutants. They needed to remember things – just not necessarily the way they actually happened. It became known as the Resolution. Other mutants go about their business, some sit around in a bar, while others play at a swimming pool. And some are in a cafe, listening to a live band, as Nate Grey thinks to himself that, like all stories, all dreams, there wasn't a clear answer for everything. But the mutants couldn't be content with that. They needed more – they always need more.
Nate admits that perhaps he made mistakes, that this world wasn't perfect – but it could have been. Because he is aware of everyone, at all times – as if they were part of him. When they take a step, he feels it as though they are walking on his chest. And with everything that has happened, they are what makes him the saddest – as some of them have worked so hard to regain memories of their past selves – and it has caused them to break.
At that moment, within the cafe a waitress with several squid-like arms is frightened and drops the tray she is carrying when a brick is thrown through a window. Other mutants in the cafe get up from their seats and begin to run away. 'When will they wake up?' Jean-Pau Beaubier a.k.a. Northstar asks as he stands on the other side of the broken window with his teammates Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman and Jubilee, and their friend Julio Richter a.k.a. Rictor. 'Let's get outta here!' Jubilee exclaims. She tells Bobby to come on, but Bobby is looking through the window, and sees a boy huddled up against the cafe counter. 'What the %$&# are you waiting for?' Jubilee asks. 'I... I just wanted a burger' the boy utters as Bobby climbs through the window and approaches him, assuring him that he isn't going to hurt him.
Bobby introduces himself as a Department X clerk, and tells the boy that he wants to help, as that is his job. Bobby asks the boy what his name is, and the boy tells him that it is Solis. 'You must have pretty cool powers with a name like that' Bobby tells Solis, who reveals that he can make stars, sort of, and sometimes. 'Don't sweat it. You'll figure it out. You know how long it took me to keep from icing everything I touched?' Bobby asks Solis, who asks 'How long?' Bobby tells Solis that it took years, 'But you'll be creating galaxies in no time' Bobby assures Solis, before suggesting they get him back to the Summers Institute. He informs Solis that he went to a school like that, and they taught him to love himself, to be the best version of himself that he can be. Bobby hugs Solis, before turning to those patrons still in the cafe and apologizing for this, he offers a round of milkshakes on him. 'Can I get one?' Solis asks.
Shortly: 'Wooooo!' Solis calls out excitedly as he rides on Bobby's ice-sled, which moves swiftly towards the Summers Institute. Bobby drops down in front of a large statue of Cyclops, and Solis runs off, exclaiming that his friends are going to be so jealous. 'Thanks, Iceman!' he calls back. Warren Worthington a.k.a. Angel, the Dean of the Summers Institute approaches Iceman and remarks that he sees he is lost in the glory days, before suggesting that Bobby should be out there dealing with those fissures. 'I've been here all of 30 seconds and you're already on my case, Angel?' Bobby replies, turning to the winged mutant, adding that he tried to ice a fissure up, but no dice. 'Still don't even know what the hell they are' he remarks. Angel adds that it has been a while since they have seen burning holes in the sky. 'Makes you wonder if the world's coming to an end' he suggests. 'Thought the same thing when I saw a Sentinel for the first time. We're still standing here' Bobby replies. Angel decides that Bobby looks rather unhealthy, and asks if everything is okay on the civil management front. Bobby admits that he isn't really sure what they do anymore, and that it feels like he has lost part of himself. 'Bobby, your responsibility is to yourself, first and foremost' Angel replies, while several students rush past.
Nate Grey thinks that identity, autonomy and harmony are above all else. A responsibility that merely guided their choices, for who they are today was of their own accord. Those are just words, the foundation by which they live. At first, he thought that this was about creating something that lasts, that can flourish and blossom – but for a seed to grow, it requires the right conditions, and sometimes, they have to make personal sacrifices for the good of the tribe.
At the outdoor agricultural division within the Summers Institute, several students go about tending to their plants and gardens, while Hope, Scott and Logan the chickens strut about freely. 'Okay, kids. We're ready when you are' a reporter calls out to several students as she stands in front of her camera crew, and the chickens run around her feet. Several students stand next to the reporter, who introduces herself as Irene Schank from MUTV News. She tells viewers that she is here with some special guests from the Summers Institute agricultural division. 'Can you tell us how a school this big creates zero waste?' she asks.
'We lost that wisdom long ago' Glob Herman thinks to himself as he sits within the common room of the Danger Room prison complex, while other prisoners around him fight with the guards. Glob looks up at the television, which shows the students at his old school answering the reporter's question: 'It's simple. We're always looking to make the world a better place. Nothing should ever just be wasted or thrown away. We think everything has value'. Glo looks over to where a prisoner is standing over a guard, before another guard slams their batton down onto Glob's head. 'Let's go, you #$%&*%#* walking candle!' the guard exlaims, but Glob does not respond, and continues to sit on his chair.
Nearby, Anole has fallen to the ground, and several guards are stomping on him. 'Make it stop!' Anole calls out, while one of the guards warns him that he and his friends are going to die. 'You seriously tried to take on the X-Men?' another guard asks. Rockslide is in the line to get some food in the cafeteria as a guard rushes up behind him. 'I don't wanna hurt you' Rockslide declares, while in another area, Armor smashes a television over the head of one of the other guards.
There is chaos throughout the Danger Room prison complex, more guards and more prisoners engage each other, while two guards help the injured Warden Forge, and as a large fight plays out on the basketball court, Dani Moonstar, Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris, Lucas Bishop, Gabby Kinney and Hank McCoy the Beast escape through open doors.
'All I asked was that you focused on the here and now. It should have been simple. Self-control techniques go hand in hand with the gift of mutation. I believed you could police yourselves. Most of you did just fine, but I was naive... some of you couldn't abide. It's in your nature to rebel and I couldn't account for that' Nate Grey comments.
Under the glow of the moon, the escaped mutants make their way through a desert and Dani asks Bishop where they are, as she has never seen anything like this. 'What's the plan now?' Polaris enquires. Bishop tells them that he doesn't know where they are, but that they have to get to X-Sanctuary, as that is where Nate is and where they will get their answers. 'Isn't it an island?' Gabby asks, while Polaris points out that they need a ride. They see a gas station in the distance, and Bishop remarks that they cannot take someone's car. Beast agrees and suggests that it would be most unwise for escaped prisoners to reveal themselves. 'Then we stay low and keep moving' Bishop tells the others. 'We're in a desert!' Lorna exclaims, while Dani points out that there is nothing around them. 'We can't be what they want us to be. I refuse to -' Bishop begins, before his speech is interrupted by the honking of a car horn. 'We're just borrowing it. Get in!' Gabby calls out from the driver's seat of the stolen car.
As the sun slowly rises, the stolen car drives down an empty road. Gabby drives while Bishop sits in the front passenger seat, and declares that they gotta move faster. He asks Lorna if she can do anything to get this thing airborne. 'I don't know how to drive a flying car!' Gabby exclaims. Crammed in the backseat with the Beast and Dani, Polaris remarks that Gabby shouldn't be driving at all, before she uses her control over metals to levitate the car into the air. As the car moves through the air, strange energies begin to dart around it. 'What the hell is that?' someone asks. 'They're everywhere!' Bishop exclaims. 'Watch out!' Gabby calls out as the landscape below them begins to break up.
'Trying to hold this world together is taking an immense toll on my body and mind. Those fissures...they are the sores I bear on my flesh. They are the cracks in my world. They are also windows of perception into our shared history...into the past that you know to be true' Nate Grey tells the X-Men – Jean Grey, Magneto, Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler, Lin Li a.k.a. Nature Girl, Ooro Munroe a.k.a. Storm and Laura Kinney a.k.a. X-23 – who gather around him. 'So the X-Tracts have nothing to do with these?' X-23 asks, shielding her eyes from the energy that appears above them. 'Are they still a threat? Were they ever?' Nature Girl enquires. Nate hangs his head and tells the others that they don't seem to understand – they needed En Sabah Nur, needed them to feel important, like they were fighting for something, that their movement was an experiment, to see if they would shut it down or let it continue. 'Do you really think so little of us?' Magneto asks, while Jean declares that they don't fight for the sake of it – they fight for their rights as a race.
Nate tells Jean that maybe they used to, but that it is not a coincidence that a revolution is both a movement and return to a point of origin – somewhere within the circle, they lost track. Nightcrawler clenches a fist and tells Nate to stop dodging the question, and Storm asks him to speak plainly. 'I was never trying to hurt anyone. Nothing was supposed to be a threat unless I ewanted it to be' Nate responds, when suddenly there is a surge of energy, and the X-Tracts – Murshid En Sabah Nur, Kitty Pryde a.k.a. Shadowcat, Colossus a.k.a. Piotr Rasputin, Alison Blaire a.k.a. Dazzler, Trevor Hawkins a.k.a. Eye-Boy and Sharesse a.k.a. Unveil – appear. Jean walks over to them and asks Piotr where he has been. 'And why the #$%& are you with them?' X-23 snarls.
Colossus announces that it doesn't matter anymore, that he is tired – tired of fighting, tired of struggling, tired of heartbreak – tired of all of it. He states that over the past 24 hours, he has lived ten years and the only thing he has come out with on the other side is knowledge and suffering. 'X-Man is right' Colossus announces, and Kitty tells everyone that this place is what's best for them. 'Hear the truth of the X-Tracts! Embrace the -' Murshid begins, but X-Man addresses him as Apocalypse and tells him that his voice is no longer needed, while Jean tells Piotr that he has no idea what he is talking about, and informs him that they don't belong here. 'What if our world needs us?' Storm asks. 'What if they dont, Ororo? Consider what we'd be giving up' Nightcrawler points out. Kitty approaches Jean and tells her that this place isn't without problems, but that they have earned this. 'Who the #$%& do you think you are?' Jean responds. 'Someone who knows you better than you know yourself right now. You're not thinking -' Kitty begins, before the discussion is interrupted by a flying car that crashes down to the ground nearby.
Polaris, Moonstar and Gabby appear to have been knocked out, while Bishop rubs his head and Beast leaves the car, asking if the collar is going to work. The Beast explains that he has made the adjustments to it, so X-Man will be even more powerless than they were. 'Lucas...' Jean utters as she sees Bishop, while the Beast bounds towards the other gathered mutants, followed by Bishop who tells him that he has his back. The Beast leaps at X-Man and snaps the collar on around his neck. 'Right on time' Nate Grey remarks. 'How's it feel to be powerless?' Bishop asks as the Beast shoves Nate to the ground, 'Time to answer for years of locking me in a prison!' the Beast tells Nate, while Jean rushes to them and tells them to stop, that they will kill them all. Jean telekinetically moves the Beast away from Nate, while Nightcrawler teleports in, grabs Bishop, and teleports away.
'The war never ends. Come, Unveil. There's still work to be done' Murshid tells Unveil as they run off. Colossus looks at them, but Kitty tells him to let them go. Colossus disagrees, and remarks that it is their responsibility to keep this world safe – for old times' sake. Eye-Boy and Dazzler run over to Nate Grey, with Eye-Boy admitting that he has no idea what is going on, but that it looks like they are about to fight the X-Men. Dazzler tells Eye-Boy to come on, that this is the day they have been waiting for.
The Beast lands near the car, where Lorna, Dani and Gabby have come to, and are starting to get out of the vehicle. 'Pretty sure that's my spine poking through my neck...' Gabby remarks, adding that it is a good thing she can't feel it, before she pops her bones back into place. Colossus confronts Murshid, while Kitty kicks Unveil. Eye-Boy and Dazzler are knocked back by a blast that Bishop fires at them, and Gabby decides that Bishop really needs to work on his aim. She pops her claws, when suddenly, X-23 confronts her. 'I know what you think you're doing' Laura tells her. 'No one wants to kill him more than me. But take it from your big sister. You can't' Laura tells Gabby, hugging her. 'Why didn't you come for me?' Gabby asks. Laura tells her that Nate $%&#^$ them up so much that she didn't even know if Gabby was alive. 'I missed you' she adds. 'Missed you too, but we can catch up after I have his head' Gabby tells Laura, pushing her back.
Gabby and Bishop close in on Nate, but Jean, Magneto, Storm, nightcrawler, Nature Girl, Dazzler and Eye-Boy stand in their way. Bishop tells them to stand down, and points out that they are protecting a man who owes them a lot of answers. 'You can't kill him' Nature Girl exclaims, and Magneto warns them that if they do, they will destroy this world and everyone in in. Jean levitates Bishop and suspends him mid-air as he asks 'Are you that brainwashed? Put me down. He had me imprisoned...for something we both did' he tells Jean, who announces that she doesn't condone anything that Nate has done, but that this is more complicated than revenge. The Beast leaps at Jean, knocking her over and causing her to release bishop, who falls to the ground.
As Gabby lunges towards Magneto from one direction, Polaris approaches him from the other. 'Dad?' Lorna calls out. 'Dad... I... I...' Lorna begins, as Magneto turns to face her. '... Dad?' he asks. 'My children are dead... I've never seen you before' Magneto replies, while casually tossing Gabby aside. An enraged Polaris flies towards Nate: 'You've taken everything from us! Mt own father doesn't even recognize me!' she exlaims – but before she can reach Nate, the Beast pulls Nate away, and tells Lorna that Nate Grey must answer for his crimes. 'How far you've fallen, old friend. Perhaps it's time you stopped playing god and give us our lives back' the Beast suggests. 'I'm no god' Nate replies, before motioning to a large crack that forms in the ground, and Cyclops, Havok, Dani Moonstar, Madrox and Warlox appear in the true world.
Several of the mutants stop fighting, and look down into the crack as they see Dani Moonstar back in the real world tell Cyclops that when this is over they are going to have some words. 'If we're both still alive when this is over, you can say anything you want. But they're coming, so for now... hold the line, X-Men' Cyclops replies. 'Is this the miserable life you want to go back to?' Nate asks, while a wide-eyed Jean utters '... they're... alive?' Nearby, Nature Girl is riding the back of a large bear, and has trapped Eye-Boy in some vines as he tells her that he loves her, and not in a weird, culty way. 'You don't. You're misinterpreting your hormones' Nature Girl replies, while Dani rushes past Colossus and Murshid, 'That was...me. The real me' she utters as she runs towards Nate Grey, who goes wide-eyed when he sees her. Nate levitates the mutants around him out of the way as he looks up at Dani, who is glowing with a strange energy as she switches between her original New Mutants costume, then her Mutant Liberation Front costume, and the costume she currently wears, as Nate asks her how she is here, as she was never part of this world.
'I'm part of you. Irrevocably. Forever' Dani replies. 'No. You were never brought here! X-Man remarks, to which Dani tells him that isolating himself doesn't break the bonds that he has to others. 'It's not possible... I left you behind' Nate adds. 'And yet I stand before you' Dani points out, reminding Nate that they shared so much, so when you have what they had, you let another person live inside you. 'We're a tribe, Nate' Dani remarks, adding that relationships are part of them. Nate suddenly drops the other mutants from the air, and stands up, 'No. Relationships are what ruin us. You've all just proben that point' he exclaims, adding that the pattern is so obvious, but they still can't see it. 'If it's what you really weant...perhaps your mempories will help' he decides, as the mutants around him suddenly begin to revert to their true appearances and costumes. 'You want to know what you're missing out on? What you're pining for?' Nate asks them.
Magneto looks angry as Nate declares that it is a world where the greatest foes among them started out as best friends. 'Where your own identity is so intertwined with the man you were cloned from that everyone can't help but place you in his shadow' Nate adds, while X-23 frowns. Jean looks down as she reverts to her red and blue costume, and Nate states that it is a world where romantic relationships are the very thing that killed them. 'A world where you know you're a god and yet others can't appreciate the beauty of your power' he remarks, while Storm looks at herself, and Nightcrawler strokes his own beard as Nate states that it is a world where you can never be a star because people despise the way you look. 'A world with no shortage of heartbreak and regrets' X-Man declares as Colossus looks at his body, his missing arm now returned.
Nate hangs his head and tells the X-Men that when they give up the things they think they need, their concerns become less selfish. He adds that their ability to perceive color, for example, is more advanced than any other animal, and yet it is superfluous. 'Without it, standards of beauty would shift to something more all-encompassing. We can give up the things we think are part of us' Nate states, adding that most mutants in this world have no trouble with sacrifice, and in their world, mutants were misunderstood, feared, hated, while here they have found peace – they know nothing but themselves, and that doesn't scare them. The former prisoners of the Danger Room revert to their true appearances, and on a red carpet at a film premiere, Surge looks at herself, while contained within his mental restraints, Legion appears at peace, writing on some paper, and young mutants at the hatching center explore their powers.
Nate tells the X-Men that relationships define the X-Men, but ultimately pervert their cause. 'How many times have we gone back and tried to fix things when all along the thing that was broken was us?' he asks. Nate declares that he tried showing the X-Men a better world is possible, that they deserve to be better. 'By putting us in your personal snow globe?' Gabby asks. 'There are real lives at stake!' Jean exclaims, and Storm tells Nate that they can't just abandon what they had. 'There are mutants who need us' Jean adds, before Nightcrawler tells everyone that he thinks what Nate is saying is that it is time for them to stop defining themselves by the way people look at them. 'We have everything we have ever wanted here' Colossus tells everyone.
'Look at what you've become in a world where you're no longer feared' Nate tells the X-Men. '&$#& you' Bishop replies, while the Beast points out that they became what Nate wanted them to become. 'If your personality changed, that was your reaction to this world' Nate explains, but Beast tells him that their personalities changed because he separated them from what mattered most. 'We've had our problems but...we are who we are because of our bonds to others' Jean corrects Nate, adding that life doesn't make sense in isolation, and that they need to be free to make mistakes and to make those mistakes together. Nightcrawler tends to Nature Girl, who has fallen to the ground, and tells Jean that, with all due respect, he disagrees, and Colossus announces that he doesn't wwant to go back to that. Nature Girl explains that she doesn't feel like herself anymore and doesn't want to go, either.
As the X-Men gather around, Bishop asks them if they are out of their minds and reminds everyone that her has seen them all – every timeline, alternate reality and plane of existence – they all end the same way. 'Nate created a secret police force designed to enforce the rules that he decided for everyone. Even the resistance movement was a sham. That's one of the most sinister $#%&%' things I've ever seen' Bishop declares, announcing that Utopias can't exist, that they require everyone to exist in stasis. Apocalypse has returned to his true appearance now and stands alongside Dazzler, Kitty, Eye-Boy and Unveil, while Bishop declares that it is impossible for him to live this way, and that other people, by their very nature, must push for change, too.
'We've got no choice. We need to destroy this place' Bishop announces, while the Beast explains that leaving this type of spatial anomaly unchecked could lead to disastrous consequences. Jean hangs her head, while Storm points out that they are not considering the people who live here, and Magneto remarks that if he understands Nate correctly, the people who live here are just as real as all of them. 'If you destroy this world you destroy me with it' Nate explains, adding that the entire population of this world will perish. 'But the choice is yours' he remarks, before holding up the Life Seed and telling the X-Men to take it, that it is what started this, and is the key to ending it. The X-Men look at the Life Seed, while Nate tells them that if that's what they want, they should plunge it through his chest.
'Cowards' Magneto mutters when no one makes any movement. Magneto strides towards Nate and takes the Life Seed, boasting that he will clean up the X-Men's mess once again – that he will bear this burden. 'This is what's right to you? Armageddon?' Nightcrawler asks. The Beast reminds him that this is a land of make-believe, and Jean adds that it is time for them to go home. Jean points out that the mutants here, real as they may feel, are constructs, and their responsibility lies in the real world, with their friends and family. 'We all saw Scott and the others. They need us' Jean declares. Nate looks at his “mother” and remarks that she is always the voice of reason. 'If it's what you all desire...I think I can send you all home' he offers, adding that it is funny how Jean doesn't like it when he makes decisions for other people, but she is happy to make the decisions for others.
'Just do it, Nate' Gabby calls out, while Storm puts a comforting hand on Nature Girl's shoulder and tells everyone that she thinks it would be best if Apocalypse eas left here. Tears roll down Nature Girl's face as she utters 'You can't...please don't make me'. Nate looks at Nature Girl and tells her that he is sorry – it's all or none. Nate announces that Magneto will be the last to leave, and states that true leaders know the difference between the world and their dreams, so it seems only fitting to him to send them home – perhaps there, they will dare to dream. 'Walk through me' Nate calls out as he becomes an energy form.
The energy appears around the world, in front of Betsy Braddock and the Blob, who holds her hand and tells Betsy that it won't be the same once they go back. 'That's what makes it beautiful...' Betsy replies. The energy appears in the Danger Room prison, and Glob, Armor and Anole look at it, as Glob tells his friends that he thinks they are supposed to walk into it. 'The light? How original' Armor mutters, while the light appears before Meggan, too, and she walks across her apartment, into the light. 'I suppose the world has felt grounded for too long' Dean Angel remarks as he sits at his desk, the light flickering before him.
As the X-Men return home, Nate feels what they are feeling one last time. A knowledge that what is forbidden would always be the sweetest. A sense of dismay in learning that knowledge is not always power. A new appreciation for running toward the uncertain. And acceptance that most things can't last – that this isn't forever. Nate woners what happens if it isn't over – what if the story never ends? He thinks that it can't – as long as there are still mutants, there are stories to be told. Apocalypse enters the light, followed by Kitty, Beast and even Dani Moonstar. Bishop looks back as Storm and Nightcrawler walk alongside Nature Girl. Jean stands to the side, as Magneto stands behind them all, holding the Life Seed. '...because the dream never ends' Nate tells himself.
Magneto tells Nate that the two of them are both outsiders. 'I imagine they would shudder knowing what we're about to do' he adds. They appear in a living room, sitting on sofas as Magneto holds the Life Seed and tells Nate that he is not here to chastise him like the others, as Nate already knows the errors he has made. 'I wanted... to thank you. As a boy, I tried to imagine the exact opposite of the world I was born into. You have me that gift. You have us all that gift' Magneto remarks. He stands up and tells Nate that it is his turn to give a gift back to him. 'Don't mistake this for pity. I want something in return' Magneto adds. 'I already know what you want' Nate replies. Magneto hands the Life Seed over to Nate and remarks that he knows he must go back, that his story must return to its original form – but another part of him knows that this is where he belongs. 'You can have both, but you must leave in order to stay' Nate responds, before Magneto walks into the light.
'Shall we?' Nate asks, holding up the Life Seed. A new version of Magneto appears, and tells Nate that he thinks it is timr they start anew – properly this time, with no secret police, no false prophets, no X-Men and no tyranny. It appears that Nate and this new version of Magneto are in a small house, floating within a dark nothingness. 'Let us begin with a simple question... what would you sacrifice for your dreams?' Nate asks.
This curious world we inhabit is more wonderful than convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used.
- Henry David Thoreau, Familiar Letters