Having been offered a new life by the CEOs of Fenris – Andrea and Andreas von Strucker - Rogue remains understandably suspicious. She may have an accent, but that doesn’t mean she feel off the stupid truck, she drawls. Why should she trust “Fungus inc”?
In a patronizing manner, Andrea corrects her that the company is called Fenris and adds that, if her Professor were a real educator, he might have taught her that Fenris was the Norse wolf who brought about the twilight of the gods. Similarly, their company is meant to end humanity’s financial dominance over mutantkind, Andreas adds smoothly. Gambit assures Rogue that the von Struckers are legit. They can change her life.
So, if she snoops on the competition, the “Aryan yuppies” will help her control her Midas touch, Rogue asks. Sounds like bull, she lashes out. All her life people have been telling her that if she worked hard enough maybe she could stop hurting every living creature she came in contact with. And they are saying, she could be cured with one dose of whatever snake-oil they are peddling? Andreas offers proof. Andrea asks her to take off her clothes.
On a Manhattan roof, Wolverine breaks off the passionate kiss that Storm instigated. This ain’t right, he rasps. Misunderstanding, Storm agrees. Rogue has to be their priority now. Logan makes it clear that there will never be a relationship between them. He’s got boxers that are older than her. She points out that she is the same age Jean was when the two of them had an affair. That was a mistake, he insists. Besides, Jeannie is different. They are both old souls. They have their share of demons. Demons? Ororo scoffs. She watched her last boyfriend get murdered. All the more reasons she doesn’t need anymore misery in her life, he insists as he turns away. Plus he doesn’t even know if he’s still got a wife out there. Storm shouts he can’t tell her he wasn’t feeling what se is feeling. Those last months….
He tells her to shut up for a second and give him a little northeaster. Does he smell Rogue, she asks as she complies. Nah, day-old crawfish, he replies. The Cajun who stole their girl ain’t far. Claws unsheathed, he jumps. He’ll take it from here.
Rogue is now dressed in a short-sleeved, formfitting black suit with a burning wolf’s head logo on her chest. If all she wanted was another stupid uniform, she’d go back to the X-Men, she announces. The von Struckers tell her to be patient and order Gambit to attack her. Over Rogue’s protests, Gambit lights up a card and tosses it at her. Rogue dodges it.
Using his fighting staff, Gambit corners her, telling her to touch him and steal his power. And let his thoughts into he head again? She’d rather die, she snarls. She hasn’t been inside his brain since she planted that kiss on him, he replies with a grin. He’s got all new sorts of thoughts now. Rogue angrily slaps him. As her anger fades, she looks at her bare hands in surprise. Nothing happened. She touched him and didn’t feel a thing. Make one of them, Gambit mutters, as he touches his aching chin.
Andrea explains that her uniform is made of a special polymer that dampens mutant abilities as a small electrical current is passed through its fibers. When she’s ready, the material will be grafted to her sub-dermal vascular network and powered by her own biochemical energy. This will allow her to mentally regulate her powers at will.
Gambit adds that he is proof the process worked. When the von Struckers found him, his own powers had started spinning out of control. He couldn’t touch a sandwich without it exploding in his hands. Fenris saved his life. So he could rob people for them, Rogue replies. Corporations aren’t people, he shrugs it off. They are monsters whose crimes make her old boss Magneto look like Papa Noel.
Isn’t Fenris a corporation? Rogue asks. They are the next step in corporate evolution, Andrea claims. A company run by and for mutants like her. Xavier may put up half a dozen mutant kids in his mansion but they want to do something the hundreds of other mutant children living below the poverty line in this country. They funnel the profits from Gambit’s acquisitions right back into Homo superior community But they can’t do it alone. Even Clyde needed his Bonnie, Gambit adds. And Robin Hood needed his… his … He is looking for the name. With another look at her hands Rogue replies “Marian.”
In the hangar com recreation room, Iceman lets off some steam by destroying ice statues of Gambit while Angel, Nightcrawler and Colossus are prepping the jet. They should be out there helping Storm and Wolverine, Bobby complains. Dazzler tells him to knock it off with the ice statues. He keeps sucking the moisture out of the air. It is murder on her spikes. Kitty phases in trying to comfort Bobby. As soon as Xavier and Jean get Cerebro to pinpoint Rogue, they can all leave in the X-wing together. What does she care, Bobby snaps. She’s probably happy Rogue’s gone. That stunt she pulled before Rogue was kidnapped… Kitty tricked him into making out with her.
Nightcrawler looks up from the X-jet: Kitty made out with Robert, he asks. No, he made out with her, Kitty defends herself. Bobby takes off on an iceslide announcing he’ll wait in the plane. Bored, Dazzler informs Kitty hat if they find Rogue’s corpse in a ditch or something, snowjob will probably settle for her.
Furious, Kitty phases her hand into Dazzler’s skull and pushes her to the ground. What’s wrong with her? she shouts. She’d pull Alison’s brain right out of her skull … if she had one. Dazzler threatens to laser off Kitty’s ‘acne-covered face’. A moment later an optic blast separates them. The Professor and Jean are trying to concentrate, Scott reminds them and tells them to shut it.
Have the X-Men always fought this much? Angel asks Colossus. Angel wasn’t there when Cyclops and Wolverine almost murdered each other. He’d say they are improving, the Russian replies stoically.
Back in the Empire State Building, Rogue finally tells Fenris that she has to decline their offer. She explains that she had done awful things in the past and this curse of hers is a reminder of that. Maybe it’ll be lifted one day but she has to earn that first. And she doesn’t think stealing fits the equation.
Fenris suddenly starts another tune, as they angrily tell her that she will join their organization. She has already seen and used proprietary Fenris technology. By putting on that outfit, she tacitly consented to their a priori agreement. Rogue doesn’t understand one world and Gambit gets angry. The von Strucker had told him this would be her choice. The von Struckers touch each other’s hands and their other hands begin to glow, as they warn Gambit to stay out. They brought Rogue there to be his partner. She can just as easily become his replacement. Gambit charges up a card. He doesn’t like being shanghaied. The girl walks … and so does he.
His resignation is accepted, the von Struckers announce, as they blast him. More kindly, they turn towards Rogue, apologizing that she had to see that. He clearly wasn’t ready for the bold new tomorrow Fenris International is building. Is she?
(the astral plane)
Xavier and Jean Grey are taking a stroll through a strange landscape looking for sings of Rogue. Jean marvels at their outré appearance. Xavier is a young man with light brown hair and Jean is dressed in a green miniskirt with a yellow mask. Why is she wearing her third-grade Halloween costume, she asks surprised. And he?
Xavier touches his head and explains that when they enter the chaos of the astral plane, their minds often attempt to provide them with forms that comfort. During particularly trying journey his subconscious sometimes elects how he remembers himself at his most confident… when he was Jean’s age. With a smile, she tells him that he looks better with the Vin Diesel cut. Xavier changes his look to his usual self as he replies with a smile that he appreciates it.
They walk over a tentacle coming from an octopus-like pinkish creature towards the surface of another globe. Xavier announces that he’s scanned most of the tri-state area but Rogue’s mutagenic signature remains undetectable. Jean makes a suggestion when a voice tells her to turn her attention to 350 fifth Avenue. Isn’t that the Empire State Building? she asks.
What makes her think… Xavier asks before announcing with a start that she is right. It’s faint, but distinct: four mutant lifeforms. How in the world did she find them?
Jean replies she thought that he was the one who said… Not listening Xavier tells her they need to scramble the other X-Men. At least one of the four seems badly injured. Right, a confused Jean replies. She’ll tell the others.
A scared Rogue refuses. Andreas tells her that being atomized by Fenris is much more unpleasant that the operation she is about to undergo. And she needn’t bother doing anything heroic. They programmed her inhibitor suit to suppress her powers until the three of them reach an accord about her employment.
Suddenly, Rogue is hit by a charged-up card thrown at her. As a result, the suit becomes compromised. Tat get-up wasn’t her color anyway, a weak Gambit jokes. Fenris step back in fear as Rogue touches both of them at the same time.
Gambit tells her to hurry. They won’t stay down forever. He starts to apologize as they leave the room, but she tells him to save it. They’ve got a long way back to Sherwood. A still-conscious Andreas alerts all Wolfpack subcontractors. They are authorized to implement immediate downsizing.
The armored goons get ready to shoot at whatever comes out of the elevator but, once the door is slightly open, an energy beam, courtesy of Rogue’s absorbed Fenris powers, hits them. Gambit follows suit, as Rogue draws on her absorbed knowledge and informs him that the body armor has weak points in the necks and joints. He is to concentrate his attacks there.
Any chance she remembers the von Struckers Swiss bank accounts, Gambit asks hopefully. Already starting to fade, she replies. Too bad, he states. It would have been fun to pull a job with her. She’s a lousy kisser, but a tres bonne scrapper. Rogue begins to return the compliment when, suddenly, a gruff, angry voice orders Gambit to step away from the kid. Wolverine has arrived and he is out for blood.