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Al Ewing(writer), Stefano Caselli (artist), Federico Blee (color), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller and Jay Bowen (design), Russell Dauterman (cover artist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (production), Laure Amara (associate editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Uranos has returned to the Eternals’ Exclusion but has left his murder machines behind on Arakko. Storm, Lactuca and Sobunar find American NASA soil agent Craig Marshall defending two Arrakkii children against one of the of machines. Lactuca mentally connects Storm to the others and she learns about the fighting going on everywhere. How Magneto is working with the rest of the Great Ring, despite his injuries, making them consider teamwork and how the Fisher King, Syzyza of the Smoke and Sunspot reveal themselves as the Night Table, the secret part of the Great Ring. Storm uses her power to energize Magneto, stabilizing his situation somewhat. As they learn that Uranos’ machines are self-repairing, they decide that they have to take the battle directly to their creator Uranos.
NASA soil agent Dr. Craig Marshall is recording what has been happening on Arakko, believing these to be his last words. He has been here for a month, describing how, despite Commander Brand’s warnings, the locals were nice and accepted him, especially when he helped with the harvest.
An Arakkii child, Looloo, interrupts him, piping “insult.” He explains that “help” means implying another needed help. He is still learning. Something came to attack Arakko. The commune leader told him to stay here, protect the kids and then – he turns the camera to show a high tech weapon of Uranos’ arsenal. They went to fight that and didn’t come back.
Marshall continues that he is going to attack it, so Looloo and her brother can get away. Insult, Looloo pipes up. He corrects himself. So they can make a strategic retreat. He knows she wouldn’t yield, but they haven’t got their powers yet to fight. They need to survive for a long time. She has to live through that. Can she do that for him? She mutters she has done that in the prisons. She can do that. But she doesn’t want to leave him. He’s not from Arakko. He is a human from Earth. He shouldn’t have to fight for them. Craig grins sheepishly. He knows. He just came here to look at some dirt. But they treated him like he belonged from day one, so yeah, he guesses he is of Arakko today.
A voice from the sky announces, the truth is spoken. They see him. He has a place in the broken land – now and forever! The kids cheer at the sight of Sobunar, Lactuca and Storm. They announce, this is a challenge to all, so nobody fights alone.
Storm flies toward the creature that fires lasers at her. Sobunar releases part of the endless ocean that is his blood. From that added moisture, Storm sculpts a monsoon. The raindrops refract the creature’s lasers. Storm fries it with lightning.
She is furious. For all her powers, she cannot be in two places at once. And so, once again, a people to whom she made bold claims to represent suffered while she was elsewhere. The machine is broken and she lands. She berates herself for not being here. Sobunar simply replies that, if she were not there, she was elsewhere, fighting the same foe. And they have foes enough to fight without turning on themselves and their own choices.
Storm realizes he is right and that Uranos left his arsenal behind. She asks Lactuca, where they can do the most good. Lactuca creates a psychic link with Storm and, through that, Storm’s mind merges with everyone.
She is Nova, fighting the weapons above Port Prometheus, saving lives while still berating himself for not being good enough.
She is the Fisher King, the man without a name. They are now two, he thinks. Time to join with the third.
She is Isca the Unbeaten, dropped into the ocean fighting fish, having to fight on Uranos’ side, as she cannot lose.
She is Wrongslide, fighting alongside the Brotherhood and the local population against Uranos’s machines, feeling anger for the first time in his life.
She is Sunspot, fighting his foes, then stepping away. He smells something sweet. He is about to reveal another secret.
She is Khora of the Burning Heart. Smelling jasmine, she knows what that means. Night has fallen. Her father has prepared her for this and for what she must become if he falls. For the first time in years, she thinks of her sister.
She is Wiz Kid on SWORD Station two, with Cable trying to get it back online. As Cable calls in the marker Wiz Kid owes him for electrocuting him some time ago. Time to talk about Brand…
She is the husk of Abigail Brand, emerging from an egg. Xavier is holding her mind, about to plug it back in. She has never been this vulnerable.
She is Lodus Logos, metal his voice. Vengeance his desire.
She is Magneto, fighting another of Uranos’ creatures with the metal Lodus creates. He sends one of the iron spears through the creature’s brain and thanks Lodus Logos. They make a fine team. The poet muses that word is not much used on Arakko. A word they could learn?
What’s left of Xilo muses that Apocalypse made use of mutants in concert, but the practice fell out of use. He no longer knows. That knowledge is lost to him now. He must find a new name for himself.
Lodus Logos asks Magneto how he fares. He is without his heart, is the reply. He won’t see tomorrow. Seeing even another second demands constant command of his mastery over magnetism. His mutant gift is all that keeps his blood pumping.
Magneto? a voice asks. It’s Sunspot, who stands next to a young woman with white hair, purple skin and a tail and the Fisher King. Magneto asks to what they owe the pleasure. The woman explains they are all that remains of the Great Ring. They’ve been lucky, Magneto groans. Idyll was slain by Isca, but the Table Day is engaged against the wider foe. Ora Serrata is wounded but stable. She went to join the Inner Watch. Now answer his question: Why are they here?
Sunspot replies that, when Dawn, Dusk and Day are split asunder – who is left? The Night Seats. But if he’d known this nightmare would happen – Magneto assures him not everything is about him. Roberto didn’t start this war, and if he thinks his words pushed Magneto into fighting it… will he trick the sun into rising next? Take credit for that? Magneto puts his hand on Sunspot’s shoulder. He may have chosen a seat at the table, but the cards were dealt long ago. If all he can do is play the game to the best of his ability, Magneto expects nothing less. Yes, sir, Sunspot replies.
Magneto admits to being disappointed in the Fisher King. Here was thinking their meeting was a happy coincidence. Fisher replies that Roberto vouched for Max, but he had to be sure. But, right away, Max opened his door. He holds out his hand. Will he close it now? Magneto takes the hand. Of course not. Time is too short. He grows weaker but, before he can rest, he has to knows Arakko will survive him. He didn’t catch her name, he tells the third member, who introduces herself as Syzya of the Smoke. Her weapon is to be in any place she knows of, in a puff of her smoke and to bring others. But the Vile knew ways to block and trap her, making the prison her prison, too. Now she keeps secret to not be caged again.
Someone should introduce her to Nightcrawler, Magneto moans. In his absence, they will need help to assemble their forces. Fisher King fears that is a big demand. There are a hundred battles against a hundred foes, and most are trained in siege warfare or single combat. Too set in the old way. Then let the old ways change, Xilo announces. Lodus Logos agrees. A moment later, the monster rises again. Magneto realizes that Uranos’ machines heal.
Storm merges with the thoughts of others, who make the same experience. Then it fades. And Storm hits Magneto with lightning, allowing him to power up. The Arakki watch in shock as they shatter a societal rule. She gives of herself and he accepts without hesitation, though any error means, her life for his. In the broken land, such intimacy is reserved for the closest of lovers but they did not come to make love but war. With their powers combined, they fry the war machine.
Lodus Logos and Xilo realize this may be the start of something new.
Storm jokingly tells Magneto to keep the heart beating. Do they have time for a quick trip to the Healing Gardens? Is that aftercare? he asks. He’s sure the correct mutant circuit to regrow a heart could be sourced, but there is no time. Fisher King points out Isca is not with them, so they are still losing, every moment that passes they lose more. He was wrong though, this is a siege – planet size.
Roberto agrees. If Arakko holds the line long enough, they can find the off switch for the murder machines. And if they don’t know where that is, they know who has it, Storm agrees. It’s decided then. They take the fight to Uranos and destroy their enemy!
Lactuca, Lodus Logos, Magneto, Sobunar, Storm, Xilo (Great Ring)Fisher King, Sunspot, Syzya (Night Tables)
Dr. Craig MarshallLooloo, KobbNovaWrongslideKhora
Professor XCable, Wiz KidCommander Brand
Info pages:A history of the Night Seats, which were originally created to keep the other Seats in check. They were dissolved by Genesis.
Further notes:Part of the Judgment Day crossover. The story continues in A.X.E. Judgment Day #4.
Wiz Kid electrocuted Cable in S.W.O.R.D (2nd series) #10.
Storm inadvertently empowered Magneto before in Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #150.