From inside the Blackbird, Nightcrawler informs Rogue that he is dropping from the stratosphere to 100,000 feet, while she is flying below under her own power. They are half an hour from the mansion to Mississippi, with nobody outside the X-Men’s circle any the wiser.
He hasn’t heard from Amanda Sefton in ages, he muses, then suddenly this call for help. What’s she doing down there? She is more a New York, London, Paris, Tokyo kind of woman. Only one sure way to find out, he figures.
Both arrive in the skies above Jackson, Mississippi, close to the address in the residential area Amanda gave Kurt. Rogue tells him to follow her. She knows where to hide the Blackbird. She grew up near here.
Outside, in the protected wilderness, Rogue admits she misses part of her life here. Especially her life with Destiny and Mystique. To the X-Men, they were villains but to her they were family.
Kurt knows the feeling. It was very much like that for him, growing up in the Jahrmarkt. Back then, Amanda was his best friend. It seemed natural that their relationship would grow into something more…What happened? Rogue asks. Kurt admits he is still not sure. Perhaps all the trouble, with him, her mother Margali, her poor dead brother and his best friend Stephan finally took its toll…
She was working more and more towards the end, Kurt recalls. He was busy saving the world, first with the X-Men, then Excalibur. They hardly sew each other. And when they were together, they didn’t even talk. He can’t even remember what their last fight was about. She just sounded so sad. He couldn’t bear it. All he really wanted was for her to go away. So she did.
In a hidden alcove deep within Xavier’s mansion’s underground complex, Daisy Dugan is interviewing SHIELD agent Kramer. He’s been a very naughty lad, she chides him. Kramer retorts she is delusional. She points out there is evidence that he is a traitor. She has no idea what she is dealing with, he warns her. Kramer refuses to talk apart from taunting. She tells him they are talking treason and this is his only chance to get out of it, but the deal won’t stand for long. Kramer insists he get his lawyer. Daisy reminds him he is an operative of SHIELD. This is a matter of potentially global security. He has no rights.
She leaves the cell to inform Fury that Kramer is a toughie. He is a credit to his training, Fury replies. Now for round two…
Alone in the dark cell, Kramer protests he knows the law. What is she gonna do, walk away and leave him alone down here? No to worry, he ain’t alone, Sabretooth whispers into his ear.
Rogue and Nightcrawler are in the outskirts of downtown Jackson, Mississippi. Quiet town, Kurt observes. Rogue informs him life is gentler here than where Gambit hails from. Likely ‘cause New Orleans’ heritage is mostly Spanish and French. Kurt tells her to go. He wants to keep moving. Rogue reminisces that reminds her of Mystique. She always felt the need to keep moving like she was forever on the run.
Does he ever wonder about sharing the same pigmentation and eyes as Mystique? Could they share a connection? No more and no less than between Rogue and any other brunette Caucasian, he replies. Now, if she had a tail or similar hands and feet perhaps. Rogue calls him a smart aleck.
They walk up the porch of the house Kurt was told about. They wonder about Amanda staying here, which doesn’t really seem her style. There is no answer to Kurt’s knocks, so they teleport inside, where they are confronted by Mystique, who has been waiting for them. It certainly took them long enough to answer her summons, she criticizes.
At the Xavier Institute, Xavier and Beast are arguing about Mutant Burnout. Xavier informs Beast that he has already tried that route. Beast snarls at him to stay out of his head. He wants to see for himself! He doesn’t trust his findings? Xavier protests. Beast retorts he lied to them. Xavier tries to defend his actions. Moira MacTaggert finally intervenes and tells them to stop, repeating it forcefully when the men keep on arguing.
Hank announces that they are a team based on trust. Then be a team again she tells him. He found a way to forgive Jean for Dark Phoenix, why not Charles for this? Not comparable, Hank insists. Jean and Phoenix were two different beings. He hopes, Moira retorts, especially now. But suppose he is wrong?
Getting back on subject, Hank insists Charles lied. While searching and fighting with every ounce of his being to find a cure, Moira insists.
Charles apologizes. Hank snarls at him to stop being so rational, then leaves to try his best to break the Danger Room. Charles considers that a good sign. Action will vent his rage and restore his perspective. Then they can talk…
Back in Jackson, Kurt demands to know what Mystique has done to Amanda Sefton. Nothing, he is told. She believes Amanda is currently in mid-flight between Tokyo and London, unaware of this. Kurt insists that Amanda called him; her identity was confirmed by both X-Men and SHIELD scanners. Mystique feels flattered, and reminds him she is a shapeshifter who has fooled people for years…
Rogue wants to know what this is about. SHIELD told them Mystique was dead! Raven replies that the Shadow King sent Val Cooper to kill her. She thought it best to let the world believe she had succeeded.
During her time running Freedom Force, she began finding evidence of a clandestine organization calling itself the Consortium. They’d been systematically looting the archive files of DARPA. That in turn led to revelations about something being called Mutant Burnout. She began cross-referencing the data with Destiny’s archives and discovered she’d been tracking this phenomenon her whole life! Wolverine and Mystique seemed to be immune. When Mystique learned of Logan’s murder and that Storm was an agent of the Consortium, she knew she had to emerge from hiding.
This said, Mystique suggests a nearby place where they can talk. Nightcrawler asks “about what?” to which Mystique quips “Life the universe? Everything?” She has already lost Destiny. She won’t risk losing anyone else she loves.
What does she mean? Kurt insists. He can’t be that slow, she sighs. Rogue is bound to Destiny’s heart but he and her, their bond is blood. She is his mother…
In the X-Mansion, Daisy is playing good cop with another traitor SHIELD agent, Jakita. Who is her alpha contact? The woman is crying, claiming Daisy is making a mistake. Suddenly, Jakita swirls her around and soon has her foot on Daisy’s throat. She shuts to Fury that he must grant her free passage or she will crush Daisy’s neck.
Daisy grabs a knife, which is strapped to her waist, and shoves it into Jakita’s leg. Quickly, she overpowers the other woman and tells her to come clear or she will leave her with Sabretooth… a threat that turns out to be successful.
In Jackson, Rogue and Kurt demand answers. Mystique replies evasively, she had to get them away from Charles and Fury. Why, after all these years? Kurt asks. Raven replies she is trying to save their lives. Maybe Kurt doesn’t want her help! Rogue announces angrily. He doesn’t need it, Raven replies. He has Mystique’s natural immunity to Burnout. She came there to save Rogue.
She doesn’t feel like being saved, Rogue replies and tackles her. They fall out of the house through the wall. They fall into a car next to a gas tank which explodes.
Kurt looks out horrified. He only finds an unconscious Rogue, who isn’t breathing. He wonders how that is possible. She should be invulnerable. He doesn’t feel any pulse. He can only try mouth-to-mouth, aware how dangerous that is as physical contact will let her absorb his abilities but he hopes his life essence will jump-start her system.
Elsewhere, close to the conflagration, Mystique figures Rogue really must learn to think before she acts. She runs towards the two of them and stands back shocked. Kurt mutters he is all right but everything is out of balance. And really, he shouldn’t even be conscious. Why is she looking at him so strange? he asks, unaware that he now looks like an ordinary human being. She suggests he look at his hands. He now sees he has five fingers each and his skin is no longer blue. His tail is missing as well. They turn around to see that Rogue has inherited his physical appearance…