Muir Isle, the lab of Dr Adler, part of it lies in ruin. For a moment, there seems to be no life – then, suddenly: 'Come 'n' get it, boy! Time for round two!' Rogue shouts as she breaks through the rubble that recently buried her. Looking around, Rogue realizes that the “boys” are gone. She remembers them saying they were taking Doctor Adler before they trashed her. Running from the lab, Rogue thinks that she could use the other X-Men's help, but she came to Muir Isle without telling anyone! Rogue reminds herself that Professor Xavier said Doctor Adler came up with a treatment to make mutants into normal folks. She recalls lying on the table in Dr Adler's lab, getting strapped in as he got the machine ready – then the Avalanche and Pyro busted in and tore the place down around her. Rogue assumes they figured she was a goner, so they moseyed off with the doc in tow – only the fact that she is a mutant with super strength saved her life. Rogue realizes that it is a good thing the treatment hadn't begun when she was attacked. As the angry Rogue then flies off, she is unaware that she is being observed by a large muscular man, lurking in the shadows.
At the shore of Muir, Pyro and Avalanche have stopped, and Pyro puts a large duffel bag on the ground. Avalanche remarks that it is a rather unceremonious form of transit for a doctor, to which Pyro replies 'When I said I bagged the bloke, I wasn't jesting! Now let's get a peek at the good – doctor?' Pyro replies as he opens the bag – and the mysterious mutant Mystique stands before him. 'I stuffed a man in this sack! Who pulled the switch, mum?' he asks. Mystique tells him that there was no switch – and introduces herself, explaining that she is a shape-shifter, she revals that she was posing as Adler to lure other mutants into taking the treatment they believed would remove their mutant characteristics. Mystique informs Pyro and Avalanche that it will not – the procedures will make them slaves – slaves of the one she serves – Apocalypse! Mystique informs Pyro and Avalanche that the real Adler has been removed for safekeeping, before asking them why they sought to kidnap him.
Pyro explains that they were hoping to hod him for ransom, seeing as how he is such an important gent. 'You fools! I had hoped to make use of your powers in our plans!' Mystiqque declares, before warning them that they will be lucky if they don't bring the wrath of Apocalypse upon them all. 'Interfering idiots!' Mystique mutters.
On a nearby cliff, the muscular, myterious Cable looks through a large weapon from where he is positioned on the cliff. He sees Pyro and Avalanche and realizes that they are the ones who kidnapped Adler – he can see a third figure down there, but can't make them out as they are obscured by shadows. He assumes it is Adler – but before he can adjust his sights, Rogue flies between him and those down on the shore. 'If you boys had any sense, yuh would'a skipped this rock by now!' Rogue calls out. Pyro looks up at her and supposes that she needs a second stomping, while in the shadows, Mystique quickly shifts back into the guise of Dr Adler. 'Heah, big boy! Catch!' Rogue calls out as she throws a large rock towards the other mutants, but Avalanche uses his power to shatter the rock into many shards. 'What's the point, gorgeous? You knew I'd blast that thing apart!' Avalanche declares. 'Just wanted tuh keep you occupied, Mister A – so Ah could do – this!' Rogue shouts as she flies towards Avalanche and slams into him, knocking him out.
Pyro suddenly sends two powerful surges of fire towards Rogue, who turns to him: 'Well, now, look who wants to play!' she exclaims, telling him to hold that pose, as she is gonna fight fire with powder. Rogue flies up to the cliff surrounding the shore and piles up some dirt. 'What are -?' Pyro begins, before Rogue drops down on top of him, 'Y'all know what Ah mean. Little grainy stuff in yoh eyes – getting mah message, man?' Rogue asks as she covers Pyro's face in the dirt. 'Can't see!' Pyro calls out. 'Well, we can't have that now, can we?' Rogue asks, as she tells Pyro to wash out his baby blues with a little water. 'Yuh'll be a new man in no time!' she jokes as she throws Pyro into a pile of mud.
Avalanche has recovered by now, and blasts Rogue with his vibrations, 'You didn't think we were through yet, princess? I've still got a few moves that'll really shake you up!' Avalanche calls out, grinning as Rogue is struck down. As Rogue struggles to get to her feet, Avalanche continues to pour his energies on her, 'Don't let it get you down, Dixie! Better ladies than you've bowed before me!' Avalanche boasts. He moves in closer, continuing to fire at Rogue close range, he tells her that putting her down makes his day, and adds that it is no wonder she wanted out of this mutant jazz. 'Seems you're not much of a superhuman...or a woman'. Rogue is angry, and grits her teeth while deciding silently 'Ah think Ah've heard enough of this! The loudmouth's getting his comeuppance!' Rogue then turns around and raises her fists overhead, asking Avalanche if he thinks he has the market cornered on vibrations. 'Well, let's see yuh dance tuh this!' Rogue shouts as she slams her fists onto the ground, the impact knocks Avalanche off his feet, he falls backwards.
Avalanche gets up and tells Rogue that he bets that was her last trick. 'Now I'm gonna make you feel like you went through a meat-grinder!' he exclaims. 'Still yappin' Rogue mutters, before grabbing Avalanche's wrists and telling him to give her his best shot. 'Put everything yuh got behind it! C'mon! Don't be bashful – give!' Rogue shouts, twisting Avalanche's wrists back so that the palms of his hands are pointed towards his own face. 'Hey! Get those hands away from my face! A blast like that could disfigure me if I let loose!' Avalanche protests. 'Givin yuh a taste'a yuh own medicine make muh day, bullethead!' Rogue retorts, adding that she guesses they are a couple of happy campers. 'Put me down!' Avalanche pleads. 'Happy tuh oblige!' Rogue declares as she slams Avalanche into the ground, then tosses him through the air, 'We had our fun, so Ah'll send yuh off tuh join yuh soggy buddy in that bog ovah theah – likety split! Give the lil darling muh best!' Rogue jokes as Avalanche lands on top of Pyro.
During this commotion, Mystique, still posing as Dr Adler, has started to climb the the cliff, she hopes they kill each other down there, while knowing she has to get to Apocalypse and pacift him. But as Mystique reaches the top of the cliff, Cable is waiting, and points his gun at Adler. 'That's as far as you go, Adler. I've tracked you halfway around the world... and it wasnt to get an autograph!'
Back at the wrecked lab, X-Men leader Professor Charles Xavier and the Director of the Muir Island Research Center, Dr Moira MacTaggart survey the damage. Moira asks Charles what could have happened, but Charles tells her that he doesn't know. Moira admits that Dr Adler was a bit secretive and abrasive, but points out that his work was the best hope for mutantkind. 'Perhaps someone objected to that...hope' Charles suggests. 'Oh, Charles, you came here to encourage our work, but with this act of violence, perhaps you should -' Moira begins, but Charles interrupts her, announcing that he doesn't run from struggle, but pointing out that they can use some help. He starts to say that he will contact the X-Men, but Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops appears with Jean Grey and tells his mentor that there is no need, as they are here and ready for a fight. 'If necessary' Jean adds.
Professor X is surprised by their arrival, and remarks that he didn't request their presence. 'What brings you here?' he enquirmes. Cyclops explains that Rogue is missing, and Gambit had a strong suspicion that she came to Muir to undergo Dr Adler's treatment. Charles supposes that he should have known a mutant with Rogue's unique problem would jump at the chance for a “cure”. Cyclops points out that Rogue is nowhere to be found and Adler's lab is demolished. He asks Professor X if he sees any connection. Charles replies that he has no idea, and is disturbed, before suggesting they sesrch the island.
'Hey! Get yoh hands off that man! Ah need him in one piece!' Rogue shouts when she sees Cable atop the cliff, who has grabbed Dr Adler. Cable holds his gun to Adler's throat and points out that it seems he is a pretty popular person today. 'But I've got dibs on your hide!' Cable exclaims, before introduing himself, and explaining that his last known address was Genosha – where he was running a guerrilla operation to topple the mutant-hating scum who were in charge. 'Ring a bell? Scum like you worked for that government developing collars that suppressed mutant powers. Slave collars' Cable declares, adding that Adler used his fine mind to enslave mutants, and warns him that he will pay dearly for that. 'You deaf or something, scruffy?' Rogue asks as she flies towards Cable, who looks up at her and assures her that he didn't miss a word. 'Sorry I can't comply. But that's life. Full of surprises' Cable jokes as he opens fire at Rogue, blasting her to the ground. Cable adds that he knows it the most, and suggests to Rogue that she stay down and let him settle his affairs – then there won't be a problem. 'Move and...' Cable's voice trails off.
Rogue calls Cable “Gramps” and thanks him for his advice, 'But Ah'm just gonna move a mite. Just enough tuh disarm yuh!' Rogue exclaims as she throws a rocks at Cable's hand, knocking his gun out of it. 'And more tricks?' rogue asks 'Few centuries' worth' Cabe mutters as he pulls out a stun grenade and throws it at Rogue, knocking her back again. 'Always leaves 'em begging for more!' Cable adds. 'Sometimes just begging' he jokes, before turning back to Adler, 'Any last words this trip?' Cable asks as he grabs Adler by his collar – when suddenly, 'Several that are fascinating. I am not Adler' Mystique declares as she reveals herself, switching back to her blue-skinned form, she introdues herself and explains that she is a shape-shifter. 'Who?' Cable asks, surprised, before he hears a sound overhead – the Blackbird appears above him, and from it, Cyclops and Jean Grey drop down, hanging to ropes as they land on the clifftop.
'Drop the weapon! NOW!' Cyclops shouts. 'The only thing getting dropped – is you!' Cable replies as he raises another weapon and fires it at Cyclops. Jean tells Scott not to move, and telekinetically raises a large rock in front of the blast, before it strikes Cyclops. 'Nice work, Jean!' Cyclops calls back, adding that he thinks they have their hands full with this walking arsenal. Cyclops fires another optic blast, sstriking Cable and knocking him backwards. 'Great shooting, Scottie! Yuh nearly knocked him clean outta his britches!' Rogue exclaims. Cyclops declares that he doesn't know who this character is, but that he is taking no chances with him. 'He's out of action – Cyclops style!' Rogue then tells Cyclops that she doesn't want to spoil his fun, but alerts him to the rock that Cable hit with his plasma gun – it is staring to glow. Jean notices Cable begin to fall over the ege of the cliff – 'I have to stop him!' she exclaims as she rushes over.
But as Cable falls over the the cliff, he snags himself on a rock that jutts out. He decides that there is no sense in hanging around if Adler is elsewhere, while up above, Jean can't see him. 'He must've fallenI I can't see him at – OHH!' Jean scream as the rock that was glowing explodes, and Jean is knocked over the side of the cliff. 'She's hit!' Cyclops shouts. 'Told yuh that danged rock was glowing! Now it's exploded – hit Jeanie with a fragment! She's going over, Cyke!' Rogue exclaims. She realizes that in another second it will be too late, so she flies over, down the clliff – and an imstant later, flies back up, carrying Jean. 'Ah gotcha, girl – and Ah ain't letting go! We'll be topside in sec, so don't lose yoh lunch!' Rogue declares. Jean replies that she uus okay – a little dizzy from the stone's impact, but otherwise fine.
Moments later, Cyclops, Jean and Rogue re-group on the cliff, and Cyclops points out that there is no sign of their attacker. 'I didn't want it to end like that for him...' his voice trails off. Jeran tells Scott that he had no choice, it was combat conditions – split second decisions. 'Us...or him' Jean points out. Cyclops turns to Rogue and tells her that she is the hero today, that she saved Jean's life, and no one else had the power to do what she did. 'My thanks, X-Man. I'm in your debt' Jean adds. Rogue smiles at them, before turning away as Cyclops puts an arm around Jean, tears fall down her face as she thinks that she might be the only one who could have done the deed, so maybe she doesn't get the chance to snuggle with a sweet guy – but her life has meaning, as an X-Man. 'These are the best people Ah know – and Ah owe 'em' Rogue tells herself, but deep down, she knows that being what she is still hurts.
Sometime later, back at Adler's lab, Rogue finds “Dr Adler” inside the lab and tells him that she is glad to see he got back okay, before informing him that she has done some serious re-thinking. Adler reminds Rogue that she seemed to be certain she wante to be cured a short time ago. He adds that the machinery was not irreparably damaged. Hugging herself, Rogue explains that she decided she isn't ready to hang up the gloves just yet – even if it means she isn't going to be just human. She wonders if maybe there is a reason she is this way – it could be destiny – she doesn't know. She reminds Adler that he said himself the procedure was chancy, so she wants to play it safe, and just be herself. 'Ah know in a perfect world we'd all just snap our fingers an turn into whoever we please. Wouldn't that be somethin, doc?' Rogue adds. “Adler” claims that he never considered the possibility. Rogue tells him that she has wasted enough of his time, and wishes him luck with his research, adding that he is doing noble work here, and that someday it will pay off for all of them. 'Take car, sir. Ah got some friends tuh get back tuh' Rogue calls out as she flies out into the night sky. 'Deluded woman' “Adler” thinks to himself.
As Rogue flies through the air, she comes face to facce with Warren Worthington the Third a.k.a. Angel. 'Whoa! That's a nice set of pinions yuh got there! You dropping by tuh see Doctor Adler?' Rogue asks him. Angel apologizes for startling her, and admits that he is here to see Adler about his condition. 'Can't imagine why a lovely lady like you is here. I mean, if I could fly without being encumbered by these wings – well, you're a very lucky gal' Angel points out. 'Lucky. Right' Rogue thinks to herself, before telling Angel that she has to rush, and wishing him luck.
Angel drops down into “Dr Adler's” lab, and tells him that he heard about the damage to the lab, before pointing out that Adler seems unscathed. 'And the research?' he asks. “Adler” assures Mr Worthington that the machine is back in working order, and he is unharmed. Angel tells Adler that he is anxious to begin the procedure. Adler tells Angel to get on the table and they will begin. Warren climbs onto the table and reminds Adler that he is both a millionaire and a mutant, and that he has secretly funded his research to ensure that there is an alternative to living this way. Angel adds that he doesn't mind being a guinea pig, and if it fails on him, at least he can learn and help others. 'I've warned you of the risks, but you seemed insistent' “Adler” points out. Warren lies back and “Adler” tells him to have his existence forever changed. 'I've been ready a long time' Warren replies.
Warren screams as energy he is bombarded by energy. 'I see you've noticed the change already. Unfortunately, its hardly painless' “Adler” points out, while Apocalypse enters the lab. 'Excellent. You have redeemed yourself, Mystique. I see you have drawn first blood with the very creature supplying revenue for Adler's endeavors'. Apocalypse asks if Angel knows nothing about the switch, and “Adler” - transforming back into Mystique, confirms this. Apocalypse leans over Mystique and informs her that she must depart, as there is another mission awaiting her. Mystique frowns and replies that she will leave at once. The glow of the machine's energies engulfs the lab, as Apocalypse leans over the agonized Angel, and boasts that he will keep a tender hand on their long-suffering Warren Worthington.
At the Muir Isle pub, Cyclops, Jean and Rogue sit in a booth, while Charles, in his hover-chair, sits with them. Rogue tells Professor X that she hopes he can find it in his heart to forgive him. Charles tells Rogue that there is no need for apologies. Rogue explains that it took her awhile to realize how good everyone has been to her – and running out selfish-like, is no way to treat friends. 'We understand, don't we, Jean' Cyclops remarks, and Jean tells Rogue that they do. Cyclops remarks that there might be some real merit to the work being done here, but it is too early to tell. Rogue agrees, 'And if a decision's gonna be made about an X-Man undergoing that treatment...' Rogue adds. 'We'll decide together' Cyclops suggests. 'Cause we're a family' Jean smiles. 'A close family' Charles tells his students.
Across the pub, a man with white hair is playing darts. 'Bullseye! Looks like I win again, Plauge!' he tells an older woman, who snarls 'Heh! A plague on you and your dull darts!' A younger woman sits at a table and thinks to herself that there is a plague on them all here. 'Look at me...Autumn Rolfson. I loved my name...such a beautiful season. At least till I knew better. Now I know it's a curse. And this is my one chance to end that curse if it fails...I'll just go on touching things...and they'll die' the young woman thinks to herself as she looks sadly at a small vase of flowers – then touches the flowers, which wither instanty. Suddenly, Warren Worthington enters the pub, 'It works! I'm cured! I'M CURED!' he shouts, grinning. He approaches Autumn, Plague and the man with white hair and tells them that he knows it is hard to believe, but that it is true – he is no longer a mutant! 'You don't have to be hated anymore! We can be free – free!' he tells them.
Cyclops, Jean, Rogue and Professor X look over at the others in the pub and Charles suggests that it is time they went home. He adds that Moira MacTaggart knows he supports her research, but tells the others that he will reserve judgment on this miracle procedure until a later date – as they all should. Warren smiles at the other mutants and asks them who wants to be next to undergo Doctor Adler's treatment. 'Count me in' Plague tells him. 'Got my vote' Autumn exclaims. 'Me, too!' the man with white adds. Rogue looks at them and thinks that they should all be careful what they wish for – because tomorrow, things may look a whole lot different.
From inside the lab, Apocalypse watches Warren and the other mutants on a monitor – but reveals that it is not Warren – it is Mystique, impersonating him. 'Mystique's impersonation of you is flawless. The craving of those pathetic mutants to be human will overpower their every other desire!' Apocalypse exclaims. He grins as he declares that they will know change – but it will be change as dictated by his hand. 'Why become merely human – when you can serve Apocalypse!' A figure emerges from the shadows, narrowed eyes, metal gleaming in the darkness, as Apocalypse remarks 'You are the first of new breed, Warren Worthington has now ceased to exist. And in his place stands a monstrous figure a trembling world will soon know as – ARCHANGEL' Apocalypse booms as Warren throws his arms into the air and extends his new, razor-sharp steel wings in spectacular display. Apocalypse grins and shouts 'Let this corrupt age end in fire and chaos and prepare for a glorious rebirth such as none but I could envision!