Having departed the New Mutants to spend time with his mother (see New Mutants #37), Sunspot returned to New York. While his mother was flying the plane, Cannonball, Mirage, Warlock & Cypher all flew up to greet them, and Magik teleported him out of the plane to the school. The whole team gathered around him and they played about with their powers. Sunspot handed a letter & a gift to Magma from her father in Nova Roma.
Stevie Hunter teased Sunspot that his dance posture was sloppy, and let slip that the New Mutants had been attending the Massachusetts Academy while he was gone. Sunspot was furious to hear that Magneto had handed them over to their greatest enemy, but was even more disturbed to see how empty & hollow both Tom Corsi & Sharon Friedlander had become. Upon interrogation Stevie revealed that it was Empath who had traumatised them. Later that night the New Mutants gathered in the attic to discuss what had happened, and what to do next. Sunspot demanded retribution. At first some of the others had their doubts, but ultimately they agreed to have their revenge on Empath.
As Empath strolled through the grounds of Massachusetts Academy, a group of children were playing 'X-Factor the mutant hunters'. He used his power to make them scared of the girl who was the 'mutie' in their game. They ran away, and would never be friends again. The New Mutants watched from a nearby rooftop, and grew eager to give Empath a dose of his own medicine.
That night Empath went to bed as normal. As he drifted off to sleep he suddenly found himself in Limbo at the foot of Magik's throne. Monstrous hands grew out of his bed and pinned him down while Sym tormented him. Magik grew several feet taller and was prepared to slash him with her Soulsword as he began to scream to himself to wake up.
Back in Empath's bedroom the other Hellions discovered that he and his bed were missing. Catseye's animal senses detected Magik's scent, and Jetstream suggested that they should leave Empath to Magik's mercies. Thunderbird took the lead saying that they were to look after each other, including Empath. They changed into their uniforms and used Cyberiad's system to locate him.
In an abandoned mansion, Empath cowered in a dark & dusty bedroom. As he stepped out onto the landing, a giant volcano grew up the centre of the building. A giant fiery demon grew out of the volcano causing Empath to flee down the stairs. He fell down the last flight of stairs, but was picked up off his feet by Sunspot. Sunspot threw him towards Cannonball who flew Empath into a spiked wall. None of the spikes pierced Empath and he collapsed on the floor in relief. When Mirage approached him, Empath decided to use his power on her to make her adore him. However, just as she began to confess her love for him, Mirage's fingers grew into long entangling vines around his fingers and she turned into a demon.
From the sideline, Mirage & Karma giggled at Mirage's clever use of her powers, how she started with his greatest desire & turned it to his nightmare. All the New Mutants appeared, causing Empath to stagger backwards and into the spiked wall. The spikes wriggled until they covered Empath with Warlock's malleable circuitry. Cypher grabbed Empath by the scruff of his pajamas and threatened to punch him. However, he couldn't bring himself to do it. Empath was dropped to the floor while the New Mutants discussed what to do with him. Sunspot argued that they were all cowards, and that only he had the courage to physically beat Empath. However, the Hellions arrived before he could do anything about it.
Mirage explained that the New Mutants didn't have any issues with the Hellions, and that they had settled the score with Empath. Mirage & Thunderbird shook on it as they accepted the truce. The New Mutants teleported away leaving the Hellions behind. As soon as they'd vanished, Empath began to plan his revenge. However, Thunderbird punched him across the chin to straighten him out before turning to leave.