SAGE: Page 4 of 4

Publication Date: 25th Sep 2020
Written By: Peter Luzifer, Ruth and Monolith.
Image Work: Peter Luzifer and Dean Clayton.


Despite her success, Sage's underhanded dealings and manipulation distanced her from her former teammates. She continued working by Roberto's side as he became Lord Imperial to keep the Hellfire Club on a righteous path. After M-Day, however, Sage's priorities changed. She decided it was time to return to an active role in the mutant community instead of mere administrative duties. When she learned from Courtney Ross of an attack on X-Men in London, Sage rushed to the hospital and lent her skills to the struggle. [New Excalibur #1-3] The mutants and heroes present were offered support by Britain's intelligence agency MI-13, becoming a new team of heroes calling themselves Excalibur. Pete Wisdom, senior officer of MI-13, actively recruited Sage, hoping she could lend her investigative and analytical abilities to the mystery of M-Day. [New Excalibur #4-5]

Stationed at the London docks, Excalibur became England's official heroes in the aftermath of the Decimation, dealing with a variety of threats such as the extra-dimensional Warwolves, the corrupt intelligence outfit Black Air and an alien invasion in mythical Camelot. Sage remained unflappable in the face of so many dangers, not to mention Pete Wisdom's graceless attempts at flirting with her. And while the alpha males Wisdom and Captain Britain occasionally clashed about who the official team leader was, Sage calmly continued issuing the tactical evaluations that really directed the team in the field. [New Excalibur #11, 13]

Excalibur struggled to move forward after one of their own, Nocturne, suffered a stroke and the real world consequences and rehabilitation from such an ailment. Sage seemingly monitored TJ's recovery with a dispassionate eye, as the young mutant fought to regain proper use of the right side of her body. Still, it was Sage who offered Nocturne the chance to move about freely again, letting herself by possessed by TJ and trusting her with her body. Even so, Sage's steel will remained unshakeable and she remained in complete control of the situation the whole time. She blocked Nocturne from accessing her memories while controlling her body and forcibly ended the possession the moment TJ began to weaken. [New Excalibur #16-17]

Indeed, it turned out that the only person who could break Sage's will was Sage herself. Intelligence sources pointed to Albion, a renegade Captain of the Omniverse, recruiting decimated mutants in an unconfirmed plot against Roma and the Crown of England. Sage went undercover on behalf of Excalibur, creating a deep cover identity for herself as the blonde Diana Fox, allegedly a decimated mutant and an ideal recruit for Albion's Shadow-Captains. Sure enough, "Diana" was selected and trained to fight by Albion's side, using a derivative version of the Captain Britain Corps costumes to boost her physical power and allow her to fly. Sage's analysis led her to believe that Albion wasn't truly evil, but a noble conqueror who had merely positioned himself on the opposite side of the current order. Perhaps because of this, Sage found herself getting caught up in her Diana Fox identity (Albion's "Britannia"), reacting as Diana would instead of as Sage. 

This internal conflict came to a head when Albion found what he was looking for in a raid on a secret British facility - a mythical staff that would reduce Britain's technological development back to the Stone Age. "Diana" hesitated before trying to stop Albion from unleashing the spell, and Sage reacted too late, getting caught up in the magical discharge that shut down all electronics and machinery in England. [New Excalibur #19-20]

As she shook off the shock from the staff, Sage was now completely immersed in her cover identity, unable to remember any life other than that of Diana Fox, Britannia. She became a willing participant in Albion's conquest of London, fighting vigorously alongside the other Shadow-Captains against England's defenders, the erstwhile Shadow-X group and her own teammates, Excalibur. Shadow-Cyclops intended to eliminate Albion with a headshot, but Britannia thrust herself into the path of his optic blast, saving Albion and ultimately beheading Cyclops with her sword. In the skirmishes that followed, she also killed the Shadow-Beast. Eventually, her teammates managed to wear down "Britannia" enough for her Sage persona to emerge and reclaim her body. Herself again, Sage joined Excalibur in overcoming Albion and saving London. [New Excalibur #21-24]

A grand jubilee was thrown in celebration of Excalibur's victory, but Sage could not join in. She had lost control, and with it the trust of Pete Wisdom and the British government. Despite the party atmosphere, Sage knew MI-13 was debating whether to charge her as a co-conspirator of Albion and his Captains. The party was interrupted by agents of Merlyn, and Excalibur was recruited by the dimension-hopping Exiles to stop Merlyn and his pawns from executing Roma, Goddess of the Northern Skies and Guardian of the Omniverse. Merlyn once held the same position before Roma, his daughter, succeeded him. While his puppets James Jaspers and the Fury engaged the majority of the Captain Britain Corps, Excalibur and the Exiles, Merlyn infiltrated the Starlight Citadel with his Janissaries to eliminate his daughter and reclaim his position. Sage came to Roma's defense but unfortunately Roma was still fatally wounded in the melee with Merlyn's Janissaries. In her last moments, Roma transferred the sum total of all her cosmic knowledge and memories into Sage's head, preserving it as she passed away. [X-Men: Die by the Sword #1-5]

Unsettled by the foreign information bouncing around in her head, Sage chose to remain with the Exiles at the Panoptichron rather than return to Earth-616 and face charges for her time as Britannia. As she tried to find her center, Sage found Roma's knowledge overwhelming her perceptions, causing her to hallucinate figures from the goddess' memories, either as pure phantoms or seeing her teammates as unfamiliar attacking opponents. Worse yet, the Diana Fox identity gained newfound strength thanks to Roma's intrusion. Britannia also began appearing to Sage as a phantom, threatening to take over their shared body and become the dominant aspect of her mind. [Exiles (1st series) #100, New Exiles #1]

As Sage struggled to maintain control over her body and mind, she found her abilities changing as well. The telepathy she had suppressed for so long since her encounters with Elias Bogan resurfaced, and the effort to screen out thoughts from other people added another drain on her mental resources. However, she also began demonstrated wildly different abilities too, such as independent flight. Her struggles with Diana Fox were not so one-dimensional, either. Britannia was a more aggressive, but ultimately noble personality who saw herself as a hero (much as Albion did). When the coldly practical Sage may have gone for a kill shot against an opponent, Diana influenced her aim so that the bullet was non-lethal. Diana also acted as "back-up" on occasion, coming to the rescue when Sage's personality was rendered unconscious. [New Exiles #5-10]

Sage's struggles eventually came to a breaking point when Merlyn returned, looking to claim the knowledge from Roma's head which had once been his as Guardian of the Omniverse. Sage could not convince Diana that they needed to work together against Merlyn, because Diana knew that ultimately only one of the two of them could survive. Still, Diana's conscience got the better of her in the end -- she found that she could not stand idly by while Sage was murdered by Merlyn just to claim her life. In the end, these two aspects of Sage's personality unified, allowing her to fully access the knowledge from Roma and expel Merlyn completely from the Panoptichron's reality. [New Exiles #13-18]

In the process, Sage evolved into a new form of life. The Crystal Palace had previously been "occupied" by the spirits of Guardian Gods, who were looking to pass on their role to another. Their first choice, the Exile named Cat, died in battle before she could claim the role, and so Sage was chosen as an understudy. As a result, Sage was reborn into a living extension of the reality of the Crystal Palace, her mind a part of the omniversal computer network, her body a changeable expression of cybernetic energy. Sage now possessed the equivalent of cosmic awareness, and functioned as the Exiles' guide and dispatcher in their efforts to preserve the integrity of the Omniverse. [New Exiles #18, X-Men: Sword of the Braddocks]

The new status quo for the Exiles did not last long. The unstable multiverse retroactively altered the origins of the Crystal Palace, and in the process Sage and her teammates were absorbed into the crystal architecture, falling into stasis. Previous Exiles were recalled to the Panoptichron in their place, and learned that prolonged exposure to the Crystal Palace inevitably led to such assimilation. They began setting up Exiles franchises throughout the multiverse with limited contact with the Panoptichron itself to keep their mission going. [Exiles (2nd series) #6] The changing circumstances surrounding the Crystal Palace affected Sage's fate directly. The change in guardians apparently restored Sage to her original human state, and she eventually separated from the crystal stasis and the Panoptichron entirely.

Under unexplained circumstances, Sage left the Exiles and settled elsewhere in the multiverse. In an alternate dimension, she became an ambassador for SWORD, here an interstellar empire that visited that dimension's Earth after it was conquered by rebellious machine life. The machines had nearly slaughtered the indigenous human species, but the new Prime Minister Danger passively surrendered to SWORD and accepted all their terms without incident. Under the treaty from SWORD's Truth and Reclamation Committee, the machines could no longer harm the native human species, but were authorized to defend themselves from invaders of an extra-terrestrial or extra-dimensional nature. Sage was acting as liaison to the prime minister when Kurt Waggoner, a native of that Earth, suddenly returned from another dimension. Sage demanded his freedom under the treaty as a native of the world, but Danger chose to classify him as an "extra-dimensional invader" due to his manner of arrival. Politics required a review of the matter by a higher authority, but Sage didn't trust Danger to leave Waggoner alive until the decision was reached, and began making her own preparations.

Out of all the infinite worlds in the multiverse and the infinite outcomes of events, it was possible Sage would settle on a parallel Earth that her former Earth-616 Excalibur teammate Dazzler would visit while searching for her new teammate, Kurt Waggoner, of a multi-dimensional X-Men very similar to the Exiles. Possible... not probable. Nonetheless, Dazzler and her friend Howlett were undeniably "invaders" under the SWORD treaty, forcing Sage to intervene before the machines tore them apart. Sage requisitioned a massive robo-body / ship to run interference for Dazzler and Howlett as they searched for Kurt, and the ruling eventually came down that Kurt WAS protected under the treaty. Unwilling to oppose SWORD directly on the matter, Danger allowed Sage and her new friends to go free. [X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) #6-7]

Sage joined up with Dazzler, Howlett and Kurt on their fantastic mission to hunt down Ten Evil Xaviers in the multiverse before they induced the collapse of reality. This mission came from their own Xavier, reduced to a floating head on the Savior's world, who had connected to the multiverse and learned that one Xavier was dangerous, two could threaten a world, and three were a danger to all causality. [X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) #7.1]

Their mission was undone when the Witch King Xavier secretly inhabited the psyche of the Floating Head Xavier, corrupting him. When they joined forces with the last target, Nazi Xavier, Dazzler and Sage's X-Men faced an exponentially increasing threat. They tracked the Xaviers to a world with an interdimensional nexus the villains were tossing sacrifices into in order to feed their power. The heroes mistakenly tried to destroy the nexus by blasting it, but this only caused it to grow in size. Apocalyptic creatures of death created by the Celestials, called Exterminators, escaped from the rift, destroying the Xaviers and the entire world. [X-Treme X-Men (2nd series) #8-12]

Sage and the X-Men transported to another Earth, the so-called Age of Apocalypse universe, where another trans-dimensional rift had worn down the fabric of reality, allowing the Exterminators through. They joined forces with mutants and other heroes from the Age of Apocalypse, as well as a team of X-Men from Sage and Dazzler's home dimension, who had been tracking enemies from the AoA. This new rift continued to connect Earth-616 and the AoA, leaving both realities vulnerable to the Exterminators. With the help of Kurt Waggoner and the AoA's Red Prophet, Sage managed to hack the "black box" of the Dreaming Celestial in San Francisco, learning the history of the Exterminators and their role as the ultimate destroyers. When even the Celestial and their Apocalypse Seed proved incapable of permanently stopping the Exterminators, the heroes were forced to sacrifice an entire reality. The Exterminators were lured back into the Age of Apocalypse at the insistence of the Red Prophet, who let his reality serve as a prison for the creatures while the remaining heroes fled back to Earth-616 and closed the rifts, trapping the Exterminators once again in a single reality. [X-Termination crossover]

Sage retired from mutant affairs for a time, and wasn't seen for several years. A major threat drew her out of seclusion when the Omega-class mutants X-Man and Legion fused together as a mad god, intent on making the world better by any means necessary. Jean Grey sent out a telepathic call to all the former X-Men she could find, bring Sage and many familiar faces back together for the first time in a while. Tessa lent her telepathic prowess to Jean, Psylocke and the Stepford Cuckoos as they pressed to find purchase on Nate Grey's mind, and deter him from his new path. [Uncanny X-Men (5th series) #9-10]

Not long thereafter, the X-Men moved to the living island Krakoa and established it as a nation-state and mutant homeland. The hyper-linguist Cypher had gone there first on behalf of Charles Xavier, building a rapport with Krakoa itself. Cypher and Krakoa (with the help of Forge and others) not only built a common language for mutants and the island, but also a bio-engineered form of organic technology. This included flowers that could be planted in any soil to create stabile gateways from various points on Earth to Krakoa, accessible only by mutants. Alongside others like Beast, Trinary and Black Tom Cassidy, Sage oversees a portion of Krakoa's systems: in her case, those relevant to transit through the gates. Sage's multi-tasking abilities made her the perfect choice to coordinate Cerebro and the gates from her viewing station at the Pointe, controlling the flow of mutants on and off the island. [House of X #1]

Krakoa's rise to power was not without detractors. A series of specially-engineered pharmaceuticals grown from Krakoan soil created leverage on the world stage, but many anti-mutant organizations refused to allow a mutant nation to stand unchallenged. Bio-engineered Reavers were air-dropped on Krakoa, using skin drafts from a captive spy Domino to fool Sage's systems for a short time. In a matter of minutes, they killed nearly three dozen mutants, including Charles Xavier. Resurrection protocols on Krakoa meant no permanent damage was done, but the need for a response was clear. In order to maintain peace with the outside world, one of the first Laws of Krakoa was Kill No Human. Therefore, a particular type of agency was needed for deniable operations. X-Force was re-established, with Sage serving with Beast and Jean Grey as the intelligence and data gathering arm of the unit. [X-Force (6th series) #1-3]

Sage's public and deniable duties took up a good deal of her time, even considering the fact that she virtually never slept. She also found herself frequently distracted by data or service requests from the population. Others used her like a census database to determine who had accepted the Krakoan invitation, or for missing persons concerns when mutants left the island but did not return in a timely manner. [New Mutants (4th series) #3-4] This in part led to the creation of a new investigative bureau called X-Factor, to deal with missing persons and unconfirmed death cases. Forge created a protocol that automatically flagged Sage if a mutant was not detected by Cerebro within a certain period of time. If her transit logs at the Pointe also had no record of them in that time frame, she passed the information on to X-Factor Investigations to open a case. [X-Factor (4th series) #1]

Sage continues to crunch numbers for the good of Krakoa. The job allows her to deal with math instead of people most often, which she finds preferable. Still, Sage has been seen letting her hair down at the Green Lagoon tiki bar on Krakoa recently, and her defense of Black Tom during a squabble shows she has begun forming personal bonds with other members of the Krakoan systems teams. Despite her cool exterior, Sage believes in her work and the good it does for others. [X-Force (6th series) #9]