X-Force (Dani Moonstar, James Proudstar, Sunspot, Siryn, Meltdown, Domino, Cannonball, and Bedlam) return to the town of Almost Reno, New Mexico to check up on the super-powered children and to follow up on information Domino has gathered regarding the Aguilar Institute. They discover the town is deserted, except for a fiery being who lunges at them, blaming them for his condition. James strikes the assailant who collapses and dies. Domino checks the body and determines it had been a young teenage boy, and he died, not from James' blow, but from the heat-based mutation he suffered.
They split into two groups to explore the town. In a grocery store, Domino, Sunspot, Cannonball and Bedlam discover the owner frozen in the cooler, where he had probably hid when the townspeople vanished. Further along, in a gas station garage, they find sophisticated surveillance equipment which they surmise had been used to monitor the mutant children.
Meanwhile, at a diner, Siryn, Meltdown, Dani and James find Mary, the girl Tabitha (Meltdown) had befriended a few months earlier. With her is Zak, a boy who has grown muscular with a gray rocky hide. Tab gets Mary to relate what had happened: one of her classmates had started to glow, becoming too bright to look at, the all the children were sent home. It was then that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents stepped in and evacuated the town except for the few children that had gone into hiding.
When the exit the diner, they are confronted by a team of agents who demand Mary be turned over to them. Dani expresses her doubt that they are truly S.H.I.E.L.D., and when Meltdown refuses to give up the girl, they open fire on the mutants. Zak leaps in front of them taking all the shots, as Siryn levels the gunmen with a sonic boom. Moonstar uses her newfound abilities to ease Zak's wounds as well as the injurious mutation of his body. The rest of X-Force rushes back to help. Domino begins to interrogate one of the agents, who remains tight-lipped, but Mary reads his mind, telling the group his thoughts are about the Damocles Foundation.
Unexpectedly, a limousine pulls up, and from it exits an imposing figure who introduces himself as Odysseus Indigo, the Deviant leader of the Damocles Foundation. He also confirms he is the brother of Ulysses Dragonblood, whom the team met in Kentucky. Mary and Meltdown try to use their powers against him, but he exhibits the ability to neutralize their talents.
Indigo then explains his mission: atomic testing done near Almost Reno rendered the citizens of the town sterile, so the foundation stepped in offering genetic engineering as a solution to correct the reproductive damage. The result of these efforts was a generation of children born with a combination of mutant and Deviant genes, which, unfortunately, proved unstable and deadly to the children. Indigo had the town evacuated and the people put in quarantine until they could be safely relocated. Now, he wants Mary, who exhibits no instability, so he can have her examined in hopes of finding a way to breed a thriving new generation.
X-Force and Indigo come to an impasse, so he leaves, and the team begin to discuss their options.