Three X-Men, Gambit, Shadowcat and Wolverine, smash their way through the defenses of an ominous looking military establishment in the desert and take out several guards who oppose them. Upon their arrival, Shadowcat’s phasing power makes short work of the electrics, and Wolverine’s adamantium blades slice their way through the walls. With the walls defenseless, Gambit charges three cards and destroys a small section, which allows them access to the building itself.
Gambit wonders what they do next. Wolverine replies that they go in and out, it’s that simple. Kitty reckons the place will be swarming with feds in no time. The person they’re after is there somewhere. The fastest way to find him will be to split up. Wolverine heads left, Gambit goes right and Kitty floats upwards.
Gambit climbs into a room, where he can see several people who look like the building’s tech staff. They appear to be behind some form of energy shield that acts as a one-way mirror. They look more like inmates than anything else, though there are no prison bars. As Remy touches the shield, which ripples at the touch of his fingers, one of the techs shouts, “Look… behind him!” Remy turns and sees a picture of Rogue complete with her profile, before the holographic room morphs into an entirely different scenario.
He is now on a rickety bridge, crossing a deep valley. Coming towards him is a young-looking Rogue, and Gambit surmises that he’s now in Caldecott County, Mississippi. The simul-scene shows Rogue to be around twelve years old and cute as can be. Her troubles are way off. Suddenly, the bridge is destroyed in front of her and a large pink alien being emerges, grabbing the young girl as it grows. The pink blob begins to take on the appearance of Rogue, as if absorbing her appearance. “Come to Rogue!” it says with a smile. Remy is shocked.
Shadowcat swings through level upon level. Upon reaching one floor, strange green holographic symbols begin swirling around her. She recognizes this holo-text as being characters belonging to the Shi’ar language. It can’t be a coincidence that the files they’re looking for are supposedly encrypted in the same alien tongue, can it? She turns and notices a picture of Colossus alongside his profile. She figures the main file must come with its own virtual reality appendix.
She then finds herself aboard Avalon, as Piotr fingers the controls. Kitty knows that there’s so much he hasn’t revealed about his time with those knuckleheads. Alongside him is Amelia Voght and Fabian Cortez, and Cortez informs Amelia that their target is dead ahead. He asks if she’s ready. Amelia replies that they all are. Kitty sees Voght use her mutant ability to transport everyone to another ship nearby. The scene then changes, and Kitty finds many armed Acolytes confronting the crew aboard what seems to be a Russian space station.
Cortez greets the ‘Homo inferior’ and informs them that their vessel has ventured too close to their orbital base for comfort. One of the crew pleads with Cortez that they’re just scientists, before letting out a scream.
Meanwhile, Wolverine moves stealthily around the building and, despite picking up no scent, he sees Hank McCoy in his earlier incarnation of Beast, before he became all blue and furry. Logan knows it ain’t the real McCoy but, as he’s thinking, Beast transforms into his current form. He turns and runs down a corridor, so Logan follows him. He arrives at what appears to be a re-creation of Moira MacTaggert’s Muir Island Research Center. There, he finds Beast sitting down, looking at vials filled with DNA.
Wolverine knows that this is where Hank was working on a cure for the Legacy Virus about six months back. He appears to be making an entry in his journal. Hank speaks into a recording device, and he explains how the only way to implement a requisite evaluation of the working vaccine he’s synthesized is to deliberately infect himself with the very disease it’s designed to neutralize. He injects himself in the neck with the prototype vaccine.
Elsewhere, Shadowcat moves gracefully through the building. She’s read hologram profiles on both Cable and X-Man, and now she comes face to face with a room full of Hand Ninja. They appear to be on the attack. As they leap past Shadowcat, she hears a familiar voice. It’s a younger Remy LeBeau, and he asks the ninja to sheathe their swords. He has come to seek an alliance between them and his Thieves Guild. Shadowcat can’t believe it.
Wolverine has left Hank McCoy’s holographic projection and now finds himself watching a young Mystique, running through the forest carrying a young baby. Logan figure’s he’s not in Scotland anymore. He also notices that the holograms are now made of ‘hard light’. In other words, they’re as solid as he is. He sees that Mystique is running for her life, and is being pursued by men who want to take her demon child from her. Wolverine opts to leap into action, and he slices his way through the hunters. Once they’re down, he notices the baby that Mystique has kidnapped changes from flesh-colored to being covered in blue fur. Nightcrawler’s holo-profile appears.
After seeing Rogue’s apparent origin, Remy has now read a holo-profile on Psylocke. It vanishes and Gambit finds himself on board a shuttle a few weeks back; a shuttle he wasn’t actually on. Struggling at the controls are Rogue, Psylocke and Colossus. It appears to Remy to be the way Rogue had described it. Rogue remarks that Betsy’s telekinesis is the only thing protecting the Intrepid from a world of solar radiation. Betsy knows, but she feels like it’s more than she can take. Suddenly, she summons the Phoenix Force into herself in order to maintain control. Remy knows that Rogue never mentioned this part of the mission.
Shadowcat moves on through the building and comes across Professor Xavier. He’s wearing an orange mining suit and is underground. The wheelchair he is using has been adapted to handle rough surfaces. Kitty remembers reading about this during her first year as an X-Man. This is Xavier’s search for Lucifer. Whoever is creating these projections definitely knows their stuff.
She phases upwards and into another room. There, she finds Onslaught, who is midway through talking to himself. “The Earthman Xavier is unrelenting in his pursuit of me. How banal. His psyche should provide an adequate host-receptacle for my psi-mind.” Kitty wonders if she is to believe that Onslaught was actually Lucifer, and not the professor.
Wolverine, after leaving the Mystique scenario, finds himself looking up at Mister Sinister. He passes several tanks filled with clones that Sinister is developing. One of them is Jean Grey. This doesn’t make any sense to Logan, as it was Madelyne Pryor who was created by Sinister, not Jean. Sinister asks his computer to place Jean Grey 3456 in the stasis cocoon, and ready it for its ultimate destination - Jamaica Bay. She’ll soon be right where he wants her… among friends.
Next on Gambit’s route is a projection of Thunderbird, back when he was just plain old Neal Sharra, living in Calcutta. He and a friend are taunting two frightened mutants and Remy figures that it’s the same in every place. There are always some folks who hate mutants; he just never imagined it could be one of their own.
Shadowcat’s next encounter is with a young Ororo Munroe. She is very young, and living in Egypt. Kitty is amazed at the way she moves around so quickly. No wonder she never got caught. Even before her power manifested, she had what it takes. As she watches, Ororo returns to the lair of Amahl Farouk, the Shadow King. He is pleased that she has seen fit to pay him a visit. She has power, and will make a lovely puppet.
Wolverine moves on to find a row of cots filled with babies. One of them is marked K. Pryde. He notices a young woman approach the cots dressed in what appears to be a Neo costume. She is carrying a bundle in her arms. Wolverine sees her lower the bundle into a cot and take Kitty Pryde in its place. “You definitely gotta be kiddin’ me,” thinks Logan.
Elsewhere, Gambit’s brain is going gumbo from sensory overload upon seeing all these holograms. The next he comes across features the members of Generation X. They are encased in a sphere, evidently unaware that they are being monitored by several Hellfire Club guards. Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw are pleased with Charles’ latest walking weapons. She can’t believe that simpleton has entrusted them to her care. “Won’t they be magnificent in our service?” she remarks.
Sebastian is pleased. They won’t lose them the way they did Pryde and the first set. To think she spent so long locking horns with the poor old gimp, when all she had to do was lie to him. Gambit feels Shaw has a good point, but how does he know everything he’s seen so far isn’t just a load of junk?
Shadowcat comes upon the Weapon X tank with Wolverine inside it. Looking in on him is Apocalypse. Kitty knows that Apocalypse put the adamantium back in Logan’s body, but this file would have her believe that he was the one who bonded it to his skeleton in the first place. Kitty smells a red herring, and wants to find the others, fast.
Wolverine’s next scenario involves Magneto and X-Force. Magneto is sat near the unconscious body of Polaris in Genosha. He asks Cannonball what makes him think he won’t kill him. Sam replies that Polaris is down for the count. He needs her to boost his waning power. He reminds Magneto that he was the one who taught them to keep up on current events. They paid attention. The U.N. may have granted him sovereignty over his own country but, if he steps out of line, he promises X-Force will crush him.
Magneto asks about Xavier and Cable, their other former teachers. What if they manage to offend him as well? As X-Force departs, Sam replies that they don’t play favorites, but he shouldn’t underestimate X-Force. They’ve learned from the best.
The three X-Men finally come together again, but hard light holograms of each of them appears in order to confuse them and have them fight to the death. Fortunately, before any harm is done, the holograms disappear and Kitty asks them to thank them after. She has the disk containing the information they came for, so they should leave.
Once they’re well away from the area. Kitty explains what has been going on. She tells them that it was Bastion that was creating the holograms, or whatever Bastion’s calling himself these days. She figures he did it to bog them down with misinformation. They thought he’d been destroyed, but Carol Danvers had tipped them off. The feds had managed to salvage what was left of him, including the entire storehouse of classified information, which he stole from the mansion and downloaded into his memory. She’s glad they finally got it back.
She did, however, find some of the things she saw… unsettling. Logan agrees, but says it was nothing but Bastion’s lies. Remy adds that it was probably meant to stall them until the feds arrived on the scene. They sure hope so.