The New Mutants arrived on Bird-Brain's home, a barren rocky island full of caves & dead trees. Quickly they were surrounded by hostile looking Ani-Mates. Meanwhile, in an underground laboratory, the Ani-Mator inspected his latest batch of embryonic ani-mates and destroyed them. An amphibian ani-mate named Bufo gained his master's attention to warn him about the New Mutants' presence on his island. He performed a computer search on them and discovered the New Mutants' identities. The Ani-Mator then decided to capture the New Mutants as specimens to be experimented on.
Outside, the New Mutants were having trouble communicating with the Ani-Mates. Mirage conjured up an image of food, and Bird-Brain gave them the stolen burgers and fries. Whenever some of the more aggressive looking Ani-Mates started to growl, the New Mutants reminded each other how they had powers to protect themselves with. The Ani-Mates didn't like Bird-Brain wearing man's clothes, and were about to attack him when Wolfsbane changed into her transitional form and jumped in to save him. The Ani-Mates stood back, and thought she was another like-creature, like them.
Meanwhile, Sunspot and Warlock returned to Xavier's School for the Gifted. When Warlock tried to pick the lock to the front door, alarms rang and Magneto trapped them. Realising he had captured his prodigal students, he gave them both a huge hug to welcome them home. However, realising that the New Mutants didn't come running to see what all the noise was tipped him off to their absence.
On the Ani-Mator's island, an alarm began to sound. The Ani-Mates and Bird-Brain reacted instinctively. They moved in a hypnotised fashion, walking into an underground maze. The New Mutants were self-assured that their powers could save them from any threats. However, they soon found the dismembered and decaying remains of old Ani-Mates. They managed to save each other from pit-falls and other booby traps, but nothing could prepare them for the sight of recently slain ani-Mates. Wolfsbane broke down in tears and began to pray, which Bird-Brain tried to comprehend. Suddenly there was a scream, and three large doors revealed monstrously huge Ani-Mates.
The New Mutants began to fight for their lives. The ground opened, but Magik teleported out of harm's way. However, the opening unleashed knock out gas, which rendered Wolfsbane unconscious. Creatures overwhelmed Bird-Brain, and Mirage was cought by a bat-like Ani-Mate. Her illusion of the Ani-Mator wasn't enough to save her from the blind bat-creature, and Cannonball was caught in a steal net when he tried to catch her. The fight came to an end when all the New Mutants were captured or unconscious, and the Ani-Mator ordered his creatures to carry them into his laboratory.
The Ani-Mator was angry at Bird-Brain. He had taken extra pride and care in creating Bird-Brain, and was furious that he had run away and begun to wear human clothes. He ranted that his creatures didn't have the right to a name until they had passed his tests, and reminded them all that they were only animals. Wolfsbane argued that they were sentient creatures who could make choices for themselves, comparing them to Adam & Eve in the garden of Eden. When the Ani-Mator grew tired of her aruments, he had one of his slave creatures hit her across the jaw.
The Ani-Mator then ordered the destruction of the Ani-Mates who had first met the New Mutants. He was angry that they had let the humans live, when his law dictated that all trespassers should be instantly killed. Upon his order to kill the creatures of 'Lot F', the animal skull on his head began to resemble one of Mirage's death warnings.
The New Mutants were unable to help. They realised that the deaths of all Bird-Brain's Ani-Mate friends was their fault for foolishly trespassing on the island without enough power or planning to save themselves, let alone the others. Bird-Brain began to pray for his slaughtered friends. This enraged the Ani-Mator even more who ripped the New Mutants uniform from him. Bird-Brain and the other New Mutants were trapped. Held hostage by a ranting & murderous madman.