The X-Men return home for some much needed relaxation. Catching up after being away is a challenge for all of them. Bishop must deal with Sage’s absence. Rachel must deal with Colossus’ return and the implications that holds for her and Kitty’s friendship. All of them must deal with the fact that Wolverine has been brainwashed by the Hand. Adjusting is the most difficult for Betsy who has been dead for over a year. She takes the various changes in stride, and even engages in some friendly flirtations with the Beast during a medical examination. Several harsh weeks pass with no rest for the beleaguered team. In addition to these difficulties, Betsy is still plagued by occasional appearances of her mad brother, Jamie. During a grueling Danger Room session under Kurt’s supervision, Betsy is surprised to witness Juggernaut and Nocturne’s return to the X-Mansion from the Mojoverse. After reunions and introductions, the X-Men are dismayed to find that Cain and T.J. have been followed by not only Spiral, but Mojo himself!
The X-jet streaks through Westchester county airspace. The X-Men try to relax as they approach home, but for many it is hard to do: Psylocke is anxious to return home after being dead for over a year; Rachel squirms uncomfortably in her seat because her body has not yet completely reverted to human after her recent dino-delusion. A trip to the Savage Land is never dull, comments Storm. Nightcrawler expresses optimism that the Hauk’ka have become allies, but Bishop is more cautious. As the jet lands, Bishop comments that much may have changed while they were gone…
Psylocke thinks to herself that Bishop’s comments are most true for her! After over a year, she is returning to a redesigned, rebuilt mansion and a group of X-Men who have revealed their identities to the world. The others are trying to make her comfortable, but her nerves are a wreck. Everything is just so unknown now.
Ororo heads directly for her loft above the carriage house where her team lives. She excuses herself from Bishop and after discarding most of her costume, dives into the pool for a rejuvenating swim.
Bishop climbs a set of stairs to a tower that once belonged to Sage. He is overjoyed to see her there, and then disappointed when he realizes it is only a holographic simulacrum. The hologram reviews Sage’s status as personal assistant to Roberto DaCosta, Lord Imperial of the Hellfire Club. Bishop is stoic. He has always believed this to be the wrong choice for Sage. He hopes she remains strong and smart and finds a way to win. The hologram brings Bishop up-to-date on Wolverine’s status: the news is not good. Logan has gone rogue, and has been suborned by Hydra. He is now their premier assassin targeting none other than the president of the United States. A global order has been issued for him to be shot on sight.
Rachel, meanwhile, wastes no time heading for the room that she and X-23 share with Kitty Pryde. Her excitement at the reunion is stifled as she walks into the room and interrupts a cozy moment between Kitty and the recently resurrected Peter Rasputin. The two are enjoying wine in front of a roaring fire. The moment is awkward…Peter does not help matters by commenting on Rachel’s somewhat savage appearance. Rachel is clearly upset and, after sarcastically commenting that she should have stayed in the Savage Land, introduces X-23 and Peter to each other. The awkward tension of the situation continues to increase. As Peter attempts to hug Rachel, she pushes him away. She is glad to see him, but she lashes out that she just has to get used to his being back, and Betsy’s being back, but her mom still being dead.
Kitty is flabbergasted that Rachel could be so selfish. She phases herself and Peter downward through the floor and scolds Rachel for her attitude. Rachel collapses to the floor in tears. X-23 expresses concern, but Rachel shrugs it off. It seems like every time she’s here her mom is dead, and when her mom is alive, she is away somewhere. Now she has lost both her mom and maybe Kitty too.
Outside, Kurt gives Betsy a tour of the new mansion grounds. As he struggles to get a holographic map module working properly, Betsy admires a large stone monument dedicated to the deceased Jean Grey. She hints at some jealousy that there is not one for her. Kurt reminds her that Jean was here first and that Betsy was honored in the memorial garden around back. Kurt tries to charm her, but she is still sensitive to the fact that when she died she only got a “memorial plant” while Jean got a statue. Kurt points out that Henry made her memorial. Betsy is honored, but still balks at the way the mutants live. They preach integration, but live cloistered in a virtual prison. Kurt reminds Betsy of Xavier’s dream that it will not always be this way. For now this is best, but someday society will not see them as mutants…only as people.
Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of the loquacious Emma Frost accompanied by Scott, Kitty, and Peter. Emma welcomes Betsy back to the mansion, and the two exchange artificial pleasantries. It is clear that the two women do not care for each other. Betsy’s verbal pokes at Emma’s status and her relationship with Scott delight Kitty immensely, but they are interrupted by a loud thunder-clap. Storm drops from the sky and throws her arms around Peter. She is overjoyed to see him alive! Ororo has a way of reminding everyone of what is important.
Kitty asks for Betsy’s help with Rachel. She is worried about her. Betsy comments that she doesn’t know if she is ready to tackle the school’s various soap operas. She adds that with all the resurrections taking place, shouldn’t they all be waiting for you-know-who to return from the white-hot-you-know-what to reclaim her husband? Emma bristles at the comment, but Psylocke rushes off for a medical appointment with Hank. Next time stay dead, Emma says as Betsy leaves.
As Betsy enters Hank’s lab, things are awkward: she died in his arms not too long ago. He is very changed since she saw him last…more bestial…but it doesn’t take long before the two friends fall into a warm embrace. Later, Beast confirms the results of Betsy’s previous examination: she is Elisabeth Braddock. Beast is somewhat troubled by this because Betsy was autopsied after her death…her resurrection, he says, is rather extreme. Hank explains that his senses confirmed her identity as soon as she walked into the room. He demonstrates this method of examination by smelling, touching, and even licking Psylocke. Betsy is shocked, but Hank explains that “Beast” is far more than a code-name. She coyly asks if he used these same methods to examine Colossus. A slap to the derriere and “rude girl” are Hank’s responses to Betsy teasing. The humor is broken when Hank becomes suddenly serious: he wants to be part of the action when Betsy finds Vargas. She promises him, and then asks about food…she is starving! As the two leave the lab headed for the cafeteria, Jamie Braddock appears unnoticed.
Enjoy your new life, Baby Sister, he says with a grin, and as for dying—that’s the least of your worries.
The following several weeks are some of the harshest for the X-Men. Northstar is killed at the hands of Wolverine. Jean Grey returns only to die again…for good. Storm takes things hard and has retreated to solitude allowing Kurt and Bishop to lead the team which they do well. Life goes on…Bishop cooks, Ororo gardens…as strange as it seems, the X-Men are moving on.
After dinner one evening, Betsy and Rachel discuss Kitty and Peter. It’s wrong for Rachel to hold a grudge. Rachel refuses to give up on her immature attitude, and finally Betsy lays into her. She tells her that life is short…get over it or get OUT! Rachel and Betsy laugh…things really are not so bad. Rachel is alive, she has her grandparents…things could be worse.
Without warning, mad Jamie appears outside the window and waves at Betsy. The apparition pales Betsy and she abruptly breaks off her conversation with Rachel to head off for a danger room session with Kurt.
As she normally does when battling, Betsy allows her mind to race while her body goes into auto-pilot. As she slices through a horde of humanoid robots, she mulls over the events of the last few weeks. The teams were exhausted from their battle with the Hauk’ka, which is why they were unprepared when a brainwashed Wolverine attacked the campus and killed Northstar. The brainwashing process has been reversed, but his scars will remain forever. And now, Betsy is seeing flashes of her brother Jamie. Considering his ability to alter reality, she wonders if she is being controlled by him as well…
Betsy asks Kurt to increase the difficulty level, which he does. Her next opponent is the ferocious and feral Sabretooth! Betsy fought him during her first adventure as an X-Man. She beat him, but he later gutted her. That was when she was a telepath. Now she is telekinetic whose power is only governed by her imagination—and she has a lovely imagination. With a thought and a swipe, she sends Sabretooth flying across the holographic desert landscape.
She turns to face her next opponent: Vargas, the man who killed her over a year ago. As he thrusts his massive sword at her head, Betsy dodges and thinks how appropriate it is that she face her two most deadly opponents…perhaps she is preparing to face off against her own brother?
The battle stops and the program freezes as Kurt reports that a strange energy field is manifesting in the room. The energy coalesces for the unstoppable Juggernaut and the techno-sorceress Spiral to fall through a teleportational gateway. Betsy is ecstatic about the opportunity to fight real villains. She draws her katana and charges but is stopped in her tracks when a female version of Nightcrawler phases out of Spiral’s body. Kurt teleports into the room and embraces his “daughter” T.J. Cain stands and explains to Psylocke that he has reformed and is now a good guy. Kurt and T.J. are hugging like family, and Betsy is very confused.
T.J. explains that she and Cain were sucked into a wormhole during a battle with the Brotherhood. They ended up in the Mojoverse, where T.J. took the opportunity to possess Spiral and teleport them all home. Spiral, T.J. says, should remain safely unconscious for the next day or so. Kurt doesn’t want to take any chances so he teleports away to bring back the rest of the team. While he is away, T.J. explains that she is the daughter of Kurt and the Scarlet Witch from another dimension. Kurt looks and acts so much like her dad, she can’t help but love him and accept his love in return. While Betsy is thinking this all over, Kurt returns with Rachel, Bishop and Storm.
They appear just in time for Spiral to leap to life from the floor. It was all a plot to get the X-Men! She opens a gateway and into the room crawls the slimy slug himself…Mojo!
He smiles wickedly at the X-Men. Who’s your Daddy now?