Right now, in a galaxy really not close to ours, is the empire of birdlike alien humanoids known as the Shi'ar. Amid the metal, oddly-designed structures of their home world, is the Shi'ar Imperial Palace. One of the silver-armored guards on sentry duty, looking out on the nearby city, suddenly notices a series of explosions at the very end of the distance. He realizes renegade ships are attacking, and alerts through his wrist-comm for his fellow troops to warn the Empress, as they're under attack! A few pinkish-hued spacecrafts streak into the vicinity, firing laserbeams upon the region, diving closer to cause more damage. A trio of turret-gunned security posts rise up, firing back at the ships, though they get picked off, one by one, in a blinding burst of smoke, before a single one of the ships are shot down. The guard uses his laser-rifle to attack the oncoming crafts personally. A more grounded, large gun comes out of the side of the one of the buildings, taking out a renegade ship, only to get blasted into pieces itself. The main ship reaches the Imperial Palace proper, with its commanding occupant, a female with armor as pinkish as that of her craft, proclaiming with glee that the wall is breached, and the palace shall soon be her's. Her ship flies through the hole in the wall where the opposing gun once was, and begins to fire laserbolts into the doors blocking its way. Guards flee from the explosions, and end up chased by several pinkish-armored renegade soldiers. Inside the central chamber of the palace, the ruler of the Shi'ar Empire, Lilandra Neramani, finishes slipping on her cape, as the blue-faced female warrior known as Oracle rushes into the room. Lilandra doesn't even let the psychic member of her Imperial Guard speak, as she knows what's she's going to say already, that they must prepare for the worst. A sudden explosion bursts into the other side of the wall, with renegade troops spilling into the chamber, their rifles aimed at the two women. The commander of the renegades, the pinkish-armored, winged woman, later named Deathbird, walks following this destructive entrance. Lilandra calls this woman her sister, asking if her jealous ambition has so blinded her. Deathbird replies that the throne should have been her's, and now, it shall be. The floor between Lilandra & Oracle and the renegades is instantly ripped through by the floating, muscly & mowhawked warrior called Gladiator, who tells Deathbird (calling her "princess") that she'll have to deal with him first. She orders her soldiers to keep him busy, while she deals with her sister. Gladiator grabs the floor in front of him, grips it with his fingers, and whips the metal sheet like it was made of fabric, tossing all of the troops through the wall. They plummet helplessly into a pool of water below.
Flying up into the air and grabbing the equally-floating Deathbird, Gladiator, as leader of the Praetorian Guard, refuses to allow her to harm his empress. She gives him her solemn vow that she won't, but can't say the same for "him", pointing out a portal opening up directly behind Lilandra. A large arm reaches out from the bright light of the portal, snatching up the Empress of the Shi'ar, and soon stepping out of it is the giant-sized mutant known as Apocalypse! Deathbird urges the new arrival to get rid of Lilandra, as he promised, and gloats for Gladiator to prepare to serve her as his new empress. He threatens Apocalypse, telling him to let her go, if he wishes to live, while Deathbird angrily asks what he's waiting for, to eliminate her. Apocalypse patiently replies that he shall in time, before releasing his grip, dropping Lilandra to the ground roughly. Releasing his captive, Gladiator flies down to his Empress' side, seeing if she's alright. Lilandra is, but orders her warrior to stop Apocalypse, since he clearly didn't come for her. By the time both realize who it is he really wanted, Oracle is grabbed by the giant, and held in his mighty left hand. Deathbird soars over, madly correcting him to not take her, since he promised to destroy Lilandra. Apocalypse turns away from her, and as he steps back into the still-open portal, he tells her he lied, bidding farewell, and facetiously calling her "empress" before laughing wickedly. Gladiator flies at him as quickly as he can, but the portal closes right as he reaches it, and he slams into the wall. Deathbird refuses to be denied, and begins to reach out to her recovering sister. Gladiator grabs the princess' arms, telling her it's useless to continue her treachery, since she has failed. She calls everyone traitors and ingrates, raving that they cannot deny her the crown. Lilandra warns with disdain that she should choose her allies more carefully.
Meanwhile, across the universe, on Earth, just outside the X-Mansion, newlywed Cyclops sits amid the destruction caused by the battle fought earlier that night. Professor Xavier pulls up beside the distressed man, and listens as Scott tells him he can't stop thinking about how Sinister's always wanted both him and Jean, yet he only captured her. Xavier has been wondering the same thing, and doesn't need his mind-reading abilities to be able to tell the groom wishes it had been him who was taken, instead of his bride. Suddenly, the Professor gasps in shock, and his eyes widen. Cyclops is instantly concerned with his mentor's visible distress, until Xavier informs him that he's receiving a mental communication from Lilandra, via their soul-mate-like bond. She shows him images of recent events, and warns him that the Earth-creature Apocalypse has taken one of her psychics, Oracle, and though she doesn't know why he did so, she knew she had to contact him. The communication ends without the two star-crossed lovers exchanging any words, just Lilandra stressing for Charles to be warned. When it ends, Cyclops wants to know what she said. Xavier merely tells his student, in a grim tone, to assemble the X-Men.
Elsewhile, Mister Sinister strolls along the ageless sand-colored bricks that make up the dungeon-like structure that is the Axis of Time's central hub. He reaches the room where the bridal-gowned Jean Grey is being held in one of many glass tubes, and stops when she asks him why he's helping Apocalypse. Sinister explains that he's giving him what he's always wanted, a chance to create a new breed of human beings, ones he'll personally select and genetically engineer. Jean notes that such a thing would take generations, pointing out that Apocalypse may be immortal, but he isn't. He proclaims that from their present location, he can exist in all times, and even as he begins an experiment, he can leap through a portal to see its result. Wondering where "here" is, Jean gets a surprise when a sudden flash of negative light beams Oracle into the glass tube to her left. Apocalypse enters, offering to answer her question, revealing they're at the Axis of Time, where all times cross, and where she'll always remain. A flashback begins, showing Apocalypse sometime after he was when Bishop last saw him in the timestream, diving through the blue-energy tunnel manifestation of time itself. As he remarks that when he first attempted time-travel, fate, in its infinite wisdom, threw him off course. Shown, is Apocalypse getting hit by a burst of electricity, which flings him into the tunnel's wall, until he rips through it, and plummets into an orange, yellow, and red void, where the alien sphere that is the Axis of Time's central orb, exists. He smashes through the roof, such as it is, and ends up coming to a rest inside the bricked-interior, of what he refers to as the temporal control center of existence. It's taken him centuries of searching it to discover its many powers, one of which shown, is, as he walks down a flat plane, the floor suddenly morphs into a flight of stairs. The flashback ends, Apocalypse gloats to Jean Grey that since there, working outside of time, in her perspective of time, he's spend only a blink of an eye on these tasks. She asks, if he's become so powerful, why does he need her and Oracle. With a sly grin, he tells her that it's all in due time, and begins to laugh evilly at his secret schemes. Unbeknownst to him, at some immeasurable distance from this planetoid-like dwelling, another living being is in the Axis of Time. Walking along one of the many pathways of light leading toward the center orb, is the future mutant known as Bishop. With his rifle in hand, he continues his long journey, stopping for a moment to wipe his brow, glance around, and cock the barrel, before pressing onward, alone.
At the present night, Professor Xavier tells his assembled X-Men (and visitor from the future Shard) in the War Room of the X-Mansion that his communication with Lilandra has given him a clue as to why Jean was kidnapped. Mister Sinister tried to capture both her and him, but luckily, he encountered some resistance, namely their current guest (which causes Shard to smile). Xavier explains that Apocalypse has taken the Shi'ar courtier known as Oracle, which prompts the deck-shuffling Gambit to remark that it sounds like he and Sinister are working the same side of the street. Noting how each of those targeted possesses intense psychic power, the Professor is certain they will strike again. Cyclops figures they'll use Cerebro to track down other mutants with psychic powers, and they'll be ready for Apocalypse & Sinister when they strike. Storm frowns upon the suggestion of using these potential captives as bait, and Scott argues that they have to, since warning them will reveal their plan. Gambit quips that if they're psychic, they'll already know about this plan. Storm is unconvinced, telling the team leader that he cannot endanger innocent people just to say Jean, which Scott denies this being about. Professor X agrees with Cyclops, warning that if Sinister & Apocalypse have joined forces, and are able to instantaneously travel through time and space, all of existence is in danger. Shard confirms his correctness on the matter, and doesn't know how, but believes her brother's life is at stake in all of this.
Meanwhile, at the ancient dwelling known as Castle Worthington, in England, a woman dressed in a black ninja costume uses the cover of fog to climb from the raging waters of the sea, up the narrow cliffs. She reaches the top, and though she doesn't make a sound, her stealthiness is noticed by an angry Doberman pincher. The snarling dog, though chained to the side of the castle, lunges for her, unable to reach the lady, a mere foot away. The ninja, later named Psylocke, uses her psychic-energies to create a purple blade-like weapon from her right hand. She calls the doggie good, and tells him it's naptime, before firing off a bolt of power from her energy-blade. The canine collapses over, making only a whine before he shuts his eyes. Above, atop the tall castle tower, what appears at first to be a winged gargoyle perched on the edge, instead rises to a standing position. It's the castle's currently occupant, Warren Worthington III, the mutant who calls himself Archangel. Now decked out in a white & blue costume with a gold halo in the middle (as he once wore when he went by the superhero name of Angel), the metal-winged, blueskinned, blond man expands his shoulder-blade appendages for flight, swooping down to the ground. He checks his dog for signs of life, discovering the Doberman is merely sleeping, and still breathing. Archangel turns his attention back to the castle, seeing Psylocke climbing up into an open window on one of the upper floors. Once inside, she gazes upon the vast array of expensive merchandise throughout the room, and remarks that she should have brought a shopping cart. Letting it slide, he approaches one of the cabinets, finding an old, plate-shaped artifact, which she recognizes as a discus from the first Olympic games, thinking it might be worth a few pennies. Archangel takes her by surprise, appearing in the room and jokingly telling whom he calls a "ninja sports fan" about her baseball cards, when she jump kicks into him. He falls against a suit of knight's armor, and quickly recovers, calling that both his mistake, and her's, as he expands his wings again, and soars directly at her. Psylocke braces for impact, he grabs her and smashes through the window, his wings taking out some of the wall, as well. Holding her hangs, dangling the ninja while flying across the courtyard, Archangel suspects she's not a common thief, asking her what she's really after. She tells him she owes no traitor an explanation, quickly using his grip on her to lift up her legs and kick him away! Psylocke flips down to safety, and with her ninja attire shredded from the window passage, she rips it off to reveal a formfitting navy-blue costume beneath, her long dark purple hair also freed, though she keeps the red cloth covering all of her face, except her Asian eyes. As she approaches the cliffs, Archangel circles overhead. Psylocke tosses a telekinetic bolt from her energy-blade, which he narrow avoids, before swooping down toward her. She backflips away with ease, and he impressedly calls her agile, wondering to himself what she looks like under the mask. Finding only crashing waves over the tall cliffs at every turn, Archangel gloats over her finding nowhere to hide. She finally risks leaping over the side, though quickly regrets it when she realizes she's aimed right for a series of sharply jagged rocks! Luckily, Warren dives down, scoops her up, and flies her back up, setting her down on the upper balcony of his castle. He asks her if she's alright, and too wobbily to stand on her own, Psylocke embraces him tighter, putting her arms around him and staring into his eyes, saying she think she's okay, thanks to him. Archangel quips for her to watch that first step, when she powers up her psy-blade, and stabs him in the back! His body zapped with mental energies, he collapses unconscious, as she wishes him pleasant dreams, claiming she knew he wouldn't let her die. As she rips off her face-mask, she calls him a fool.
Not far away, dawn arrives in the city of London, England. Atop the roof of the famed Tower of London, Wolverine sits on the edge, as Shard stands to his right, staring down at the town through binoculars. He asks her if she's seen anything yet, and she claims she hasn't, commenting that she thinks his computer got the zip code scrambled. Logan brings up her brother, as he says that if Bishop told her anything about them, she'd know that Cerebro doesn't make mistakes. He lies back against the rooftop, arms behind his head in a lounging position, telling her that if she sees any beautiful, black-haired psychics to wake him up. Shard warns him not to get too comfortable, and resumes viewing the city through the binoculars. Back at Castle Worthington, Archangel awakens, groaning, and grasping his head, claiming that's the last time he'll save a falling ninja. As he walks to the edge of the balcony, he sees Psylocke at the front of the castle, packing up stolen items into her green SUV. He remarks that his raven-haired sneak thief has decided to extend her shopping spree, and once she drives off, he decides to see where the night takes them. Archangel takes flight, leaping into the air, and soaring through the clouds. Soon, as the sun continues to rise, he trails his stolen vehicle from the air. When Psylocke skids sharply rounding a corner, Warren remarks for her to go easy on his tires. Up on the Tower of London, Shard just spots the erratically-driving SUV, when Wolverine sits up, having heard it coming, offering to take a closer look. The vehicle pulls into a warehouse, closing its garage-like door behind it. Logan tells his partner that if something blows up to come running, and he dives into the river. Shard comments that he isn't bad for a hairy old man, when she notices Archangel landing on the roof of the warehouse, and entering through the skylight. She recognizes him by name, since he's destined to join the X-Men, but wonders which side he's on now. Using her communication device, Shard tells Professor Xavier that something's up. He's curious about Archangel's presence, and pressing a few buttons in the War Room, he tells her that he's putting Gambit & Storm on alert, so if there's trouble with Psylocke, he'll pull them off of their stakeout to help.
Dropping into the warehouse, Archangel confronts Psylocke as she inspects some of her ill-gotten goods, quipping that she's been a busy little ninja. Immediately, she flings a painting of a woman at him, and he snatches it safely, telling her to be careful, since he has a fondness for the 17th century. After putting it down, Archangel claims he could have called the police, but wanted to give a fellow mutant a chance to explain herself. Psylocke asks him what he cares about fellow mutants, since he uses his wealth to deny his mutant heritage, bringing up how he had a scientist try to cure him ("The Cure"), and how he wastes his life hunting a creature who can never die ("Obsession"). Shaking his head, Warren tells her his money is none of her concern. She scolds him for brooding over his own troubles, when he could be using his wealth and power for so much more. He calls these remarks "noble sentiments" coming from a thief, asking if the warehouse full of stolen artifacts are for a charity bazaar. Psylocke angrily tells him they're for his brother, who fights for the good of all mutants, which doesn't impress Archangel, who calls a thief with a cause still a thief. Charging up her psy-blade, she rushes at him with her telekinetic weapon drawn. He sidesteps her attack, refusing to take a knife in the back this time around. Psylocke then fires her purple mental-energy at him, and he flies up, swatting her with his metal wing. She falls backwards, landing in front of the garage door, and once she recovers to her feet, a pair of hands with sharp fingernails suddenly digs into the metal entrance behind her. Psylocke flees away from them, as they shred apart the door with ease. Archangel wonders if it's Wolverine, and when the mangled door is kicked opened, Sabretooth tells him to guess again! Mystique walks in behind him, telling her evil partner to get the woman while she deals with the winged wonder. She fires upon Archangel with her laser-blaster, striking him in the chest. Sabretooth notes how his partner gets all the fun, grabbing Psylocke by the back of her belt, holding her up in the air. She tries to hit him with her psy-blade, but he slaps her attack aside, telling her to think again. She's knocked to the ground, freed of his grip, giving her a chance to use her ninja training to grab his arm and pull back, yanking him into the air, and slamming into one of the crates! Recovering, Sabretooth warns her for doing the wrong thing, and in a rage races at her. Suddenly, Wolverine leaps through the wall, striking his old enemy in midair! Mystique prepares to blast him in the back, when Shard shoots off a bolt of her own energy at her gun, knocking the villainess down. Sabretooth hurls a treasure chest at Logan, who claws it in half. His concerns about the stuff being insured are increased when his enemy lunges at him, he jumps out of the way, and a statue is shattered in his landing. Sabretooth finally gets the upperhand, landing atop the smaller mutant, and preparing to see what he had for breakfast. Shard tries to help free him, but Mystique gets a little laser payback on her. Psylocke fires a bolt of energy from her psy-knife, giving Sabretooth such a jolt, that he passes out right on top of Logan!
Mystique fires on Psylocke again, and though she flips away from the first shot, the second hits a crate nearby, and the explosion of it stuns her. Shard tries to help her up, urging her to hurry, since it's her they're after. A blast cuts them off, when another Shard appears, lasergun in hand, warning Psylocke that Mystique's taken on her shape to fool her! Standing up on her own, and glancing at the two Shards, Psylocke powers up her psy-blade, aiming for the gun-armed one, and telling her it was a nice trick, but wasted on a psychic. Wolverine holds her back, and approaches the phony Shard, adding his nose to the list of untrickable things. Morphing back to her normal blueskinned form, Mystique curses the bloodhound, and ends up with her arms pinned behind her back by Logan. Now with a psy-blade on each hand, Psylocke backs away from all three of the mutants, not knowing how any of them know her, or what they want, but she's out of there, warning for them to back off. As she back-steps through the hole in the wall made by Wolverine earlier, a male voice asks if he can be of some assistance. Landing outside of the warehouse, is Magneto, whom Logan recognizes instantly, and offers Psylocke a lift. Shoving Mystique aside, Wolverine pops his claws, and prepares to battle the villain. Psylocke hurls energy from her psy-blades at both the mutants on opposing sides, Logan ducks, and Magneto's magnetic bubble shields him. He sees he must persuade her, and fires a bolt of his own energy at the wooden barrel of water behind her, taking the two metal rings making up its support structure, and bending them into a pair of binds around the ninja. Lifting Psylocke into the air by these glowing rings, when asked what he wants with her, Magneto assures the woman that no harm will come to her, yet. Wolverine, snarling furiously, leaps at Magneto, dragging him down into the river! Both mutants vanish beneath the water, which begins to bubble up. An anchor from a nearby cruise-ship seemingly flings itself over to their location, and once Logan surfaces, he turns out to be wrapped in the thick metal chain attached to the ship, which then recoils back to where it came from! Magneto, now floating above the water again, uses his magnetic powers to lift up the entire ship, the U.S. Tinman, with Wolverine tied to its side by its anchor. He offers the huge boat as a memento to his X-Men friends, by tossing the ship onto land, crashing atop the warehouse! Shard manages to dive out of the way in time, though that still leaves a few mutants amid the rubble. Magneto turns his attention back to Psylocke, picking her up by the metal rings still bound around her chest, remarking for her not to think he's forgotten about her. The portal to the Axis of Time opens up behind him, and as he lifts Psylocke into it, he tells Mystique to grab on, and she does, leaping in right beside them. The portal closes, leaving no trace behind of the villains, nor their captive.
Crawling through the rubble of the warehouse, Shard calls out for Wolverine. In a spinning mini-whirlwind, Storm and Gambit arrive, finding themselves too late to help. When asked what happened, the time-traveler explains they messed up, Psylocke's gone, and Logan's trapped inside the debris. Storm flies back into the air, and summons a mighty gust of wind, which forms into a makeshift tornado, cleaning up the remnants of the warehouse in a breeze, so to speak. Gambit spots Wolverine, hanging on the side of the grounded cruiseliner, and quips that it's nice to see him all tied up and no place to go. Logan wants freed, and as his teammate tosses a charged playing card at the metal chain, he exclaims in exacerbation that every mutant on Earth seems to be in on this thing! Swooping down, Storm finds Archangel unconscious, where the warehouse once stood. Shard asks how he is, and she reveals he's unhurt. The other mutant who was in the building, Sabretooth, is still knocked out, a several feet away. Dragging the broken anchor chain with him, Wolverine wraps his old enemy in it, figuring he'll know what's going on, calling him a clown, and planning to give the chain a squeeze to get him talking.
Meanwhen, at the Axis of Time's control center dungeon place, Psylocke is already in the glass tube beside Jean Grey, who is beside Oracle. Across from them are another row of glass tubes, which already have two more psychics within. Standing between these rows of prisoners, Mystique tells Magneto it's fortunate he came along when he did, since they weren't expecting interference from the X-Men. He tells her that Apocalypse was monitoring her mission, and it was her who summoned him. She thinks it's too bad they lost Sabretooth, though Magneto is less kind, calling him an unthinking animal, and says such refuse is easily expendable. Apocalypse enters, remarking that his lack of sentimentally is refreshing, and that he makes a worthy partner. Magneto merely reminds him of his price. Stressing that resurrections are delicate procedures, the immortal promises that once all the psychics are in place, Magnus will see his beloved wife again. Magneto seems longing for this promise of Apocalypse. Another portal opens into the room, and Mr. Sinister exits it, holding another unconscious psychic over his shoulder. Apocalypse raises his hand, causing a side of an empty glass tube to open, where the white-skinned geneticist places the captive (known in the comics as Gamesmaster, but unnamed here) down, before the wall is sealed again. Asked by his undying master if he had any trouble obtaining this one, Sinister explains that he was being watched by the X-Men Storm & Gambit, but the inexplicably abandoned their post. Apocalypse realizes that Professor Xavier has deduced his plan's pattern, and thinks it's all for the better, since he'll be the final prize. He laughs wickedly, once again.
In the year 3999 A.D., the future the mutant called Cable calls home, under cover of night, he and his teenaged son Tyler are partaking on a mission without their rebel teammates. Using hooks made of electricity, the two men scale the side of a tall, flat cliff. On the way up, Cable elaborates on what he's up to, saying that he wanted to nail Apocalypse by destroying his Lazarus Chamber, but now that he has his time-travel band, it's going to be a whole lot tougher, since he could just go back into the past before they blast the chamber to rejuvenate himself again. Tyler glances down, and sees the vast distance beneath him he and his father have traveled, so far that the ground below has vanished beneath the blackness of the night. Cable declares that their only hope is to go back so far that they can get rid of the chamber at its point of origin. His son reminds him that such a thing is impossible, since time travel devices were judged too dangerous, and were all destroyed, noting that his would have been too had it been known he had one. Cable tells him to remember his history lessons, bringing up nuclear disarmament in the 21st century, and how every government kept one bomb, just in case. They reach the top of the cliff, the elder man pulling the younger one up, both standing on a lifeless terrain, which is lit by a rotating red light, that passes every few seconds. Tyler is stunned when he realizes that the government still has a time machine, though Cable notes they aren't letting anyone get near it. He points it out, barely visible beneath the source of the red light, a cloaking field which covers the vast, purple machine, keeping it mostly invisible, though its outline can be seen as the light rotates. Slapping the barrel of his laser-rifle against his palm, Cable declares that they're gonna borrow it...