Three weeks ago…A rainy day.
Rogue enters a church and begins to pray, crying. Don’t be afraid, a voice behind her says. Her prayers have been heard. The world’s not going to end just yet…
Now, Times Square, New York:
Amidst the conflagration, a dejected Rogue sits next to the corpse of Reverend Stryker. She’s killed him, she announces bleakly to Kitty Pryde, who warns her she will be next. Calmly, Rogue states Kitty wasn’t supposed to do that. She’s not the one who betrayed, Kitty begins. She didn’t betray anyone! Rogue replies. She just needed to get him to touch her. She needed to take his powers, so he couldn’t… Couldn’t what? Kitty asks. Phase! Rogue orders. The Nimrod fleet comes down to attack. Oh right, Kitty replies.
The White House Situation Room:
The president, Val Cooper and Quicksilver are watching the goings-on. The president doesn’t understand this. What’s hard to understand? Val replies derisively. Strkyer is a mutant. He can talk to technology, tell it what to do. How was he healing mutants like that? he asks. What does he think the X-gene is? Val asks. It’s a machine. Microscopic and bio-engineered, sure, but it’s still tech. Stryker’s obviously been telling it to self-destruct. Or at least play dead. And they didn’t know anything about this? he asks.
Valerie Cooper’s narration:
It was buried in Stryker’s medical record. When his father – not a big fan of mutants - found out, he had Junior put on experimental drugs to keep his abilities dormant. The kid stays on the pill through his life, eventually convinced he does have in fact some kind of condition. But years later after Magneto’s attack killed his wife and his kid, they can now safely assume he went off the meds.
Leading to just the sort of destructive behavior that makes him such a hit with the city news right now, Val concludes her summary. And their Nimrods? the president asks. As best as they can tell, Stryker who just bit it thanks to some mutant girl who decided to hit back, with his dying breath has taken over the Nimrods the president sent to dispatch him. Presumably just after they uploaded all these Cerebra data to them.
It’s only a handful of Sentinels, he points out. Surely the Ultimates can—Val cuts him off. These things have a shared network. A network they no longer have control over. The entire Nimrod fleet is off the reservation now.
What has he done? the president groans, burying his face in his hands. He just gave a terrorist-controlled army of killer Sentinels the coordinates for every mutant in the USA, she replies mercilessly. What do they do now? he asks helplessly. They watch while thousands of innocent mutants die, tonight, then they start working on resignation letter drafts, Val replies. He insists they can stop this and turns to ask Quicksilver, who is no longer there.
In Times Square, the Nimrods are massacring mutants. Kitty helps up Iceman, stressing Rogue betrayed them. Angrily, Rogue insists she didn’t. She had a plan until Kitty… she doesn’t know what Kitty did, but she made them a hell of a lot meaner! How did she know anyway? Kitty replies the boy Jason remembered Rogue from Stryker’s prison. Rogue insists she was getting him to trust her. He would have been the first, Kitty retorts bitterly.
The boys try to fight back and suggest they run. Kitty orders them to stop scattering. Find cover! She was the only one who ever paid attention in Logan’s classes, Iceman points out.
Kitty orders everyone to grab onto her. The Sentinels can’t touch her. She tells all the kids to pile on each other so she can phase them. Several kids don’t manage to reach her as the Sentinels’ blasts hit and are incinerated. The ones touching Kitty survive. She is strained to her limits but the Nimrods suddenly fly off.
When they wonder why they are giving up, Jimmy guesses they can tell when they are gonna lose. Kitty grimly announces it’s just that they have a lot of other targets out there. Jimmy wonders what they should do now.
20 minutes later, all the kids have been evacuated to the Morlock tunnels. She knew this would happen, Kitty announces darkly. Bobby protests they don’t have enough bathrooms for this. And that dude is lying on his bed again, Johnny complains. They are not gonna be here long, Kitty remarks. Neither are they, Rogue announces, joining the conversation.
Kitty angrily orders her to explain why she is still here. Rogue repeats she had a plan. She was trying to take Stryker out. She needed Stryker’s powers to do it. Then Kitty came in and made a damn mess out of it! Kitty snarls backs he is lying and untrustworthy.
Bobby wonders who to trust. Rogue hit him back at Times Square. Yeah, but Kitty hit him before they left, Johnny points out. They get beat up by girls a lot more often than he’d like, Bobby sighs.
Kitty demands why Rogue couldn’t have just told them her plan. Because he told her not to, Rogue replies. She wanted to. He. She means God. Fantastic, Kitty sighs. Any other instruction from a higher power she should know about before Rogue gets them killed? Yes, actually, Rogue replies. He told her once this is over, they need to go to the SEAR. The South East Asian Republic SEAR? Kitty asks rhetorically. Why the /%$& would they go to the SEAR?
At that moment, a holographic image appears, announcing this is the voice of the revolution. He is the oracle of change. The establishment of Tian is complete. Heaven now exists on Earth. There is a nation where you can become something more than what you are. For all who seek it, the Source will transform the flawed into the perfect. It will transform the old into the new. The human into Celestial. The Deviant into the Eternal.
They will accept anyone who chooses to come to their shores with a desire to change in their heart. They make no restrictions. If they are persecuted, come to Tian. If they are hopeless, here is their new home. They are waiting for them. He is the Oracle of change. And this is a new day. The message ends.
Persecuted? Hopeless? They boys figure they meant them. Checking his tablet, Johnny remarks that, according to the news, everyone everywhere got the message. Where the hell is Tian? Kitty demands. Like she need even ask, Johnny grins.
Angrily, Kitty asks where Rogue is getting this from. Who told her to come here? Who told her to do all this? Rogue hesitates. And if she says God one more time, so help her… Kitty threatens. Rogue looks away remembering.
Three weeks ago, she sat in the pews of a church, hopeless. She understands what she is to do then, somebody asks her. She doubts how this is gonna work. The other repeats his order. Go to Stryker. Tell him she wants to be “healed.”
Why would he wanna help her? Rogue asks. He hates her! He is an arrogant delusional fool, she is told. He will offer her a deal to grant her request in exchange for the lives of her friends. Bobby and Kitty, Rogue spells out. When she comes to Stryker, he will touch her. In that moment, she can seize his power and use it against him. Therein lies the key to salvation for all of them.
Why can’t she just tell Bobby and Kitty what she is up to? Because the time is not right. At least not for all his students, Professor Xavier tells her.