Cannonball versus Gladiator! Plus, Joseph has a special gift for Rogue.
On Christmas Eve in New York City, Sam Guthrie thinks of the tragedies of the past year while shopping for his family. Rogue and Joseph take a carriage ride together, and Hank McCoy and his girlfriend, Trish Tilby go to dinner, while Gambit and Bishop each prefer to be alone. In a toy store, Gladiator suddenly attacks Sam, and they battle throughout the neighborhood.
Atop the World Trade Center, Joseph demonstrates the device he's finished, one that will enable Rogue to touch others without stealing their memories and abilities.
Using a new trick with his kinetic field, Sam bests Gladiator as the rest of the X-Men arrive at the scene.
Able to finally request the mutants' aid, Gladiator teleports all but Sam into a Royal Starcruiser which will take them to the heart of the Shi'ar Empire.