On Magneto’s orders, the Marauders are searching Genosha for the being responsible for the recent slew of killings. It’s hard to find anything in the labyrinth-like ruins of Hammer Bay, they soon realize. The killer could be anywhere.
In the new settlement, Magneto takes a walk with Briar, who wonders why he isn’t out there looking for the killer alongside the Marauders. He’ll break away when he can, he replies. Rumors are already spreading. He needs these people to see that their leader is here for them. Briar intuits that is not all. He thinks the killer is a mutant and is among them. “The killer is always among you,” he replies somberly and recalls his past.
He, Magda and several others were fleeing from Auschwitz. Magda shouts the guards are right behind them. Max knows and tells her to keep running. Another man next to them is shot. Max and Magda hide behind some trees as the Nazis led by Hitzig are close.
Hitzig calls out and promises that they will not be punished if they show themselves. Where do they think they will go? Do they really think they can escape? They’ll never be free of him.
There are shots and another guard cries: “over here.” They leave but Hitzig looks back and promises he’ll catch up with them soon enough.
Somewhere in the ruins of Hammer Bay, a young injured mutant gasps for air. Please! he groans. Hitzig, still young, dressed in his uniform carries a long, sharp, knife-like tool, as he strides towards the boy. The time for pleading is long past, he informs him. It would have been best to beg Magneto, to implore him to turn away from this mutant sanctuary of his. He puts his boot on the boy’s face. But it is too late for that too. Blood must be repaid with blood. But he finds he cannot stab him. Some force holds him back.
Ah Max, he smiles as he sees Magneto hovering not far away. Then he corrects himself. He prefers ‘Erik’ these days, doesn’t he? As if a new name changes who he is. A new name didn’t help him, did it? Erik still found him. He still sent his hounds to kill him. Hitzig smiles, revealing filed pointed teeth. Does he know, back in Warsaw, in Auschwitz, Hitzig never even knew his name? He barely even knew he existed. Out of all the terrible, terrible things he did, he doesn’t even recall glancing in his direction. And yet Erik still after all these years dreads the name: Hitzig.
He’s not afraid of him anymore, Magneto claims. Hitzig’s eyes turn into empty black sockets as still grinning he tries to insist he is. Magneto interrupts him by lashing out with his powers.
On the ground, Hitzig still grins. Tell him, Erik… Max… Magnus… are the furnaces still burning? He knows they are! Magneto shouts and impales him with several metal girders. Hitzig gurgles.
Magneto muses that he has known Hitzig longer than he has known he is a mutant. In many ways, he is responsible for setting him on the path he is, gave shape to the war he fought. He almost believed his death would put an end to it. How many times does he have to kill him?
Still smiling, Hitzig replies to his thoughts that he has never killed him. Tentacles burst from his body as Magneto realizes this is not the man who has haunted his nightmares. This is the nightmare itself. Hitzig hits him with a tentacle.
Magneto realizes Hitzig is gone. The creature that torments Genosha, that has tortured him for years, comes from inside of him. He can’t escape, until it has been purged.
He twists Hitzig’s neck. Still, the Nazi grins. Calling him Erik, he claims he cannot kill him anymore than Max could. And Hitzig wouldn’t kill him, not while there are so many more ways to watch him… watch his people suffer. They simply have too much work to do.
Magneto realizes “Hitzig” wants to continue to exist and thrive, but for that he needs Magneto.
“Hitzig” slithers into the sewers, his parting shot, if he wants to raise Genosha, sacrifices must be made.
He dreams of being young Max on a mountain of corpses, searching for Magda, only to find her dead as well. From above, Hitzig reminds him he can’t escape. No matter how far he climbs, the bodies will keep piling up. And Max – whether alive or dead – is just another corpse.
Magneto awakes with a scream. What must he do to rid himself of this phantom? he wonders. Next to his bed is a newspaper, the headline about a sixth top secret launching failing again due to an unknown saboteur. No matter how much he destroys, how many people he conquers, will it ever be enough?
Briar walks toward her quarters. Arclight stands guard and remarks she thought Magneto had her guarding this door for nothing. Sleeping in her own quarters tonight? With a smile, Briar asks her if she is jealous because she is with Magneto or because Magneto is with her.
She enters. Soon she hears a plinking noise from the kitchen. She walks in to find the Hitzig monster has reconstituted himself from the sink.
He is here to collect that which is due, he announces. She is as wheat after a bountiful growth season and he is the reaper. One of his tentacles grabs her, while another covers her mouth before she can scream. Hitzig goads that he suspects. When he loses her, will he mourn because he lost a lover or because he never had the chance to unravel all her mysteries? Arclight stands outside unaware of anything going on inside.
Magneto muses that mutants returned to Genosha with the power over electricity or flight… or to make nightmares real.
He seeks out the young woman named Amy, who was originally brought here as a prisoner of the Red Skull. She sits on a slab. Without turning around, she announces she knows what is happening. She knows why he is here.
He reminds her when they first met she said she was barely even a mutant. That’s not true. She is more than an illusionist… the images she creates become real. Not all of them, Amy admits. But some. She can’t control it. Most of the images come from her own imagination. She manifests an image of a teddy bear and flowers. But others spring up out of nowhere, like she is pulling them from the minds of those around her. And she tries and shapes them into something pleasant. But ever since what happened with the Red Skull, the illusions always go bad, like they are spoiling. The teddy and the flowers are suddenly maggot-riddled.
She will never be able to shake that, will she? It will always be with her. The bad man, the soldier in black who is killing mutants, she pulled him out of his head, didn’t she?
He agrees. He’s been in there a long time. And now he’s free. She didn’t come out here to get away from him, Amy states. She hopes he knows that. She just didn’t want anyone to see what he is going to do next. If anyone else saw, what he’s trying to build will fall apart. And that’s what the soldier in black wants, isn’t it?
Regretful, he announces if there was some other way he would… No, he wouldn’t, Amy interrupts. There is another way. He is Magneto’s ghost after all. But he would never do that. She turns away. It’s all right. She can’t go on with all those terrible things in her head. If she goes on like that, she’ll eventually turn into— well, he knows. What do they do now? He orders her to close her eyes and he will make this painless.
In Briar’s trailer, Hitzig asks his prisoner what’s wrong, as he brandishes a knife in front of her. Why is she shaking? He thought she liked this sort of thing. The danger. Suddenly, he groans. As he melts away, he shouts he never thought he’d go through with this. The furnaces—
Briar is left alone.
The deed done, Magneto muses this is his kingdom, the ruins of Genosha. And he has paid with blood to claim it. But now that he has it he wonders if it was all a fool’s errand, a grail to grasp at in useless pride, another illusion. For so long, he has been stalked by the memory of Hitzig, he could always feel him behind him and he was never able to do what he needed to do to free himself… until now. Now when he looks over his shoulder he no longer sees the past following him. He sees the jackals waiting to pick at the carcass of his own legacy, which like Amy’s illusions he wanted to shape into something pleasant but which has quickly spoiled under the influence of his own darkness.