The X-Men's Savage Land adventure continues! Their strange new foes are bent on claiming the Earth for their own-and they plan on using the might of the X-Men to do it!
The X-Men form an uneasy alliance with the Savage Land Mutates and a fierce battle ensues between the allies and the reptilian Hauk’ka. At Bishop’s request, Psylocke hesitantly agrees to use her unpredictable psychokinetic katana to restore both his and Nightcrawler’s mutant abilities, and the battle continues. R’Chel, still under the dino-delusion, attacks and very nearly ends the battle, but Bishop takes her down with his newly restored power. The X-Men and Mutates defeat the Hauk’ka and capture one of their number, Raina. Nightcrawler teleports the X-Men and their allies to a cave out of the range of the Hauk-ka as the defeated Saurians carpet-bomb the jungle. Kaidan commands Masano to return with R’Chel to the citadel which she does. Despite the growing doubts of some of the Hauk’ka, Rachel begins to usurp control of Storm’s mind with the goal of world-domination. Snow begins to fall in the Savage Land.
(Psylocke’s narration /flashback:)
Not so long ago, the X-Men, specifically Storm, were trapped in the Savage Land by the machinations of Brainchild and the Savage Land Mutates. Brainchild was able to establish a degree of mind control over the X-Men and turned them against each other. Storm bore the brunt of the attack becoming a mad primal version of herself. In the end, the X-Men defeated Brainchild, but now he stands before them as an ally.
“Brainchild is mine!” Bishop says as he commands the X-Men to move back. The X-Men and the Savage Land Mutates stand face to face! Bishop is about to tear into Brainchild, when Kazar steps between them and tells him to stand down. Bishop suggests that perhaps Kazar is being mind controlled like the X-Men were, but Brainchild protests that he is on the side of angels this time. Betsy agrees, encouraging Bishop to give him the benefit of the doubt.
“Convince us,” Nightcrawler challenges Brainchild. A Saurian by the name of S’Gur begins to explain that when the Hauk’ka attacked, they had no method of defense. They had no hope of survival. They were being slaughtered, another Saurian adds. Brainchild continues the explanation by informing the X-Men that the leader of the Saurians, C’Rel, offered the Mutates a full pardon in exchange for defense against the hostile Hauk’ka. Additionally, they are fighting to save their own lives since the Hauk’ka would eventually kill them, too.
Kazar encourages the X-Men to accept this and work together with the Mutates. “The enemy of my enemy…” Kazar quotes. The X-Men are still hesitant, but before the conversation can continue, S’Gur screams. They are under attack!
Giant winged pteradon cyborgs streak through the sky. They are targeting the three Saurids as well as Bishop and Nightcrawler. Before the Hauk’ka attackers notice their pray, Vertigo uses her perception altering abilities to bring the entire flying squadron down. Most of the soldiers bail out before impact, but Vertigo is successful at disabling the enemies’ air capabilities. The soldiers regroup on the ground and prepare to fight. Their intel had suggested that their enemies were powerless. They learned the hard way that intel can often be wrong!
Kazar and Zabu strike first tearing into the Hauk’ka hostiles. They are followed closely by Lupo and his dire wolves. The battle is then joined by Barbarus, Gaza, one of C’Rel’s saurids. The X-Men’s goal, Psylocke thinks to herself, is to keep the enemy so distracted that they will not be able to use their guns without harming each other.
Brainchild watches from the tree line along with the remaining Mutates and the X-Men. Bishop and Nightcrawler are chafing at their own inability to join the battle. Bishop assesses the battle carefully and determines that this wave of soldiers is simply serving to draw the X-Men out into the open in order to determine their numbers and abilities. The Hauk’ka have not dropped the hammer, Bishop states, but they had better be ready when they do.
Bishop approaches Betsy who is sitting calmly in a tree braiding her hair. X-23 is seated next to her trying with little success to duplicate the hairstyle. Bishop asks why she isn’t out in the battle. Psylocke replies that she was not asked and she did not volunteer. Bishop explains to Betsy that Rachel telepathically removed access to their powers. He is hopeful that if Betsy still possesses her psychic blade, she can use it to short circuit those restraints and restore Bishop’s and Nightcrawler’s powers. Betsy jumps out of the tree and reminds them that she is not longer a telepath, only a telekinetic. She is not sure what kind of affect her blade would have on their minds if she were to use it. She could fry their brains. Kurt maintains that they are desperate, and that they trust her. Psylocke is swayed by this show of trust and suggests that Bishop go first. Bishop kneels as Psylocke summons her psychic katana. She is anxious, but hopeful that she can restore their powers.
On the battlefront, Raina drops from the sky like a meteor and begins attacking Kazar and the Mutates. The Hauk’ka have arrived.
As Bishop rises from Psylocke’s blow he comments about the white-hot pain he is feeling. Psylocke thinks to herself that she is finally being trusted again. She may have died and been resurrected, but things are getting better. She is beginning to feel welcome again. While Psylocke is thinking these things to herself, X-23 senses the arrival of the Hauk’ka, quickly turns, and exits the forest to join the battle. Betsy wants to head out after her, but Bishop says that he will go help. Betsy must restore Kurt’s power so that the two of them can then join the battle.
“When did he become the boss?” Betsy asks. Kurt replies that he is simply realizing his potential as they all are. Betsy then turns her attention to restoring Kurt’s powers. Kurt realizes that this is going to hurt a great deal, and Betsy apologizes in advance for the pain. Kurt suddenly wonders why they have not heard from Rachel since Betsy hit her. He wonders if perhaps she is not as mind controlled as they may have thought. Kurt’s question is answered as Vertigo appears with Rachel’s power signature over her eye. Under Rachel’s control, Vertigo takes Kurt out. Unfortunately for Vertigo, Betsy is not affected by her attack. With a wave of her arm, Psylocke sends Vertigo flying across the jungle. Psylocke wonders if she is immune or resistant to all forms of mental attacks.
X-23 fights bravely against the Hauk’ka. With her healing factor and claws she has probably been a match for any opponent in any battle…that is until today. Without warning, Raina begins to gain the upper hand against X-23.
Kazar begins to wake from the thrashing Raina gave him. Before he regains his senses, Leash subdues him mentally. She calls him into the jungle to protect Brainchild. Under the control of the Mutates, Kazar abandons the battle and Zabu who is promptly shot by one of the Hauk’ka.
Bishop explodes from the forest carrying a gigantic tree. He is determined to break up the death-duel between Raina and X-23. From out of the sky, R’Chel slams Bishop with a telekinetic bolt and splinters the tree. The attack allows Raina to clobber X-23. R’Chel moves quickly making quick work of Gaza and Barbarus. X-23 jumps back up and returns to fighting. Raina marvels at the child’s inability to know when she’s beaten. Psylocke comes to X-23’s rescue and slices Raina into unconsciousness with her katana. “We X-Men are stubborn like that. Occasionally, we may lose, but we never quit!”
R’Chel reacts to Raina’s defeat by trying to telepathically attack Betsy. When she finds that Betsy is immune, she tries to defeat her with a telekinetic force bolt. Bishop intercepts the attack, absorbs the energy, and turns the attack back on her. Once again, R’Chel is falling unconscious through the air. Betsy suggests that Nightcrawler teleport after her, but Bishop wisely orders Kurt to stand down and allow R’Chel’s teammate, Masano, to rescue her from falling.
Just as Masano, catches R’Chel, Kaidan appears and commands that Masano take more care with R’Chel. Even though Raina has been captured, R’Chel must be the Hauk’ka’s top priority.
As Nightcrawler teleports Betsy, X-23, Bishop, and the unconscious Raina back into the forest, Brainchild begins barking orders. They must get to cover in a distant escarpment--quickly…the Hauk’ka are about to begin carpet-bombing the forest. Nightcrawler, though exhausted, has to teleport the group to safety.
As Brainchild predicted, the Hauk’ka begin mass bombings of the forest hoping to destroy the X-Men and their allies. As Masano and R’Chel oversee the transport of the prisoners and the bombing of the forest, Kaidan appears and asks for a status report. R’Chel informs him that she is unable to telepathically locate the X-Men or the mutates. Kaidan tells Masano to bring R’Chel back to the citadel. Even though Raina has been captured, the most important thing is R’Chel. She must make Raina’s sacrifice worthwhile. Masano reluctantly carries R’Chel back to the citadel. His lack of faith in this plan seems to be growing.
Back at the cavernous shelter, Bishop and Brainchild watch the forest burn. Bishop comments on the good luck of this cavern being available to hide them from both the flames and aerial reconnaissance. Brainchild bristles at the suggestion that it was convenience that brought them here. It was his hard work and planning for any and every eventuality that provided this escape for them. Just like his planning allowed him to construct a jamming device to prevent R’Chel from telepathically tracking them. With modifications, the device could even be used to defeat her.
Betsy brings Kurt a drink of water, and they discuss Kurt’s concern about Rachel becoming a Saurid. Brainchild calls it “genetic cascade”. Her power is making her mental vision of herself into a physical reality: as she imagines herself, so she becomes. Bishop comments that surely someone with the genetic manipulation know-how that Brainchild possesses can come up with a way to correct Rachel’s physical appearance. Brainchild again bristles at this obvious reference to Storm’s recent genetic devolution into a primal slayer.
Bishop comments that something must be done quickly or Rachel will soon be used to win this war.
Back at the citadel, Storm is being held in a stasis vault. She remembers someone halting her previous attempt to escape, and she is almost certain that it was Rachel. A door opens, and a “visitor” steps into the darkness. Storm is horrified when she sees the dino-demented R’Chel glaring at her. R’Chel suggests that Storm pray to whatever deity she may have. The vault is then sealed.
Outside, Masano continues to express his concern. He wishes aloud that Raina were here to make this call. She had doubts, and now so does he. Kaidan is not dissuaded. The council has decided this course of action, and he is not about to be swayed.
Inside the vault, R’Chel begins her mental attack on Storm. She bypasses Storm’s defenses and accesses her powers directly. Storm fights, but it is useless. Rachel gains control of Ororo’s mutant abilities and begins the process. A white-cold bolt of energy launches into the stratosphere, and Masano prays for mercy.
Back in the cave, the X-Men and the allies are taken aback by something they have never before seen. “We’re outta time,” Bishop says. “An’ I’m thinkin’ maybe so is the world.”
It is snowing in the Savage Land!