Utopia, ‘They’re here. Now. I saw them in a vision. They’re hiding. Or perhaps they’re invisible. But I still saw then, yes’ Ruth Aldine a.k.a. Blindfold tells Rogue. ‘Right here with us. Waiting for their time. And when that time comes, one of them hurts us. Hurts us so badly. But I don’t know which. And I don’t know when. Because it hides. Because it’s so good at hiding. And I’m so blind’. Anxious, Ruth tells Rogue that if they let it happen, then it never stops. ‘And - oh God! It all goes away! It all goes away!’ she declares. Rogue walks over to Ruth and tells her to calm down, pointing out that none of this has happened yet, that it was just a dream.
‘So is everything else, Rogue. The world is the dream we have while we’re awake’ Ruth replies. Rogue points out that Ruth’s visions have helped them in the past, and tells Ruth she is not going to try and talk her out of this. ‘But could you maybe narrow it down a little? What’s the threat here? Do you have a sense of it?’ she asks. Ruth hangs her head and replies that she doesn’t, that it waits and hides, then he touches it and it hits out at them and they break. ‘But they’re all hiding. It could be any of them’. Rogue calls out to Emma Frost, the White Queen, informing her that she needs to talk to Cyclops.
Ruth thinks to herself that Rogue goes to talk. ‘As if talking could help, but thank you, talking can’t help at all. It’s beginning. Becoming. Beckoning. Bubbling up like boiling oil so hot your flesh is gone before you feel the pain. And she won’t find it. Because to find something that’s invisible…you need to have invisible eyes’.
Rogue walks down a flight of steps, passing Match, while Blindfold exclaims ‘Oh! Oh! Oh!’ and then leaves the room she was in, walking through a corridor. Rogue arrives at Scott “Cyclops” Summers office, where Scott and Emma are waiting for her. Rogue informs them that Blindfold is terrified, that she is feeling something awful getting closer, and she cannot move out of its way. ‘It’s got her almost paralyzed with fright’ Rogue adds. ‘Something invisible or hidden. Not much to go on’ Cyclops points out. ‘Ah know it. But the last time anything like this happened -’ Rogue begins, but Cyclops interrupts: ‘Proteus. I haven’t forgotten’. Scott declares that when Proteus returned to life on Muir Island, Blindfold’s vision gave them the only window they had to defeat him. ‘But her warning was vague enough that it almost led us into a trap’ Scott points out.
Rogue tells Cyclops that she is not saying he should call a red alert, only that she thinks it needs looking into. ‘By you?’ Scott asks. ‘By telepaths, preferably. And the X-Club’ Rogue replies. Cyclops agrees on both accounts, and turns to Emma who announces that she is very happy to conduct a search and will bring in the Cuckoos to help. She adds that she has also filled Doctor Nemesis and Madison Jeffries in on the situation. ‘Good enough?’ Cyclops asks Rogue, who replies that it works for her and she will touch base with Madison to see if she can help out. Scott asks ‘What about Ruth?’ to which Rogue replies that she is a lot calmer now, and that she told her to sit tight and see what they found. ‘Weird stuff aside, she’s got a good head on her shoulders. Ah think she’ll do what she’s told’ Rogue declares.
But Blindfold approaches a door in a dark place of Utopia, where inside the room, a voice tells her to turn around and walk away. ‘Yes. Thank you. I wanted to see you’ Blindfold replies as she enters the room where Remy “Gambit” LeBeau is sitting. ‘I’m tempted to ask how. But it doesn’t really matter. I’m not in the mood for light-conversation’ Gambit replies. ‘Because of him. The other, who lives inside you. Who broke free and attacked your comrades in Limbo. You’re afraid of what he might do’. Gambit tells Ruth that he doesn’t know what she is talking about. ‘And neither do you’ he adds, before informing her that they are not having this conversation. ‘Will you hurt them?’ Blindfold asks. ‘I said we’re not -’ Gambit begins, but Ruth tells him that she is talking to the other him. ‘Will you hurt the X-Men? Speak to me!’ she exclaims.
Black energy shifts around Gambit, and he transforms into Death. ‘Well - that sort of depends on how I’m feeling at the time’ he snarls, adding that the X-Men are more or less irrelevant to what he wants. ‘And wh- what’s that?’ Blindfold asks him, taking a step back. ‘To be myself again. To be free from this tiny prison where I can barely move’ he tells her, before informing her that the one she is looking for is not here. ‘Lucky for you. When you find it - when any of you find it - that’s when your trouble starts’ he remarks cryptically. Gambit suddenly returns to normal, and convulses forward. Ruth tells him that she is sorry, but she had to be sure. ‘Go! Just go!’ Gambit tells her.
Ruth heads to the arena next, because if she stops, it will surround her. She realizes she is on a steep path with loose pebbles, and supposes she should slow down, as this road is dangerous. ‘As is the place where it ends’. Ruth approaches Julian “Hellion” Keller, who exclaims ‘So you have another one of your “doom is at hand” freak-outs and you think of me. Wow! That’s…seriously, I’m flattered. Did you see a tall dark stranger with slightly foreshortened arms?’ Julian mocks. ‘I saw someone hiding’ Ruth replies. ‘And that comes so close to making sense. Except I’m not. They don’t know what the hell to do with me. So staying our here is a public service’ Hellion mutters.
‘Perhaps. Yes. Excuse me. I don’t think you’ve decided yet. Whether you’re sorry for hurting the Indian lady. Whether you’ll hurt anyone else’ Ruth tells Julian, who stands up and tells her to get out of his head. ‘I’m not there. I’m here’ Ruth replies. ‘What I do, or don’t do…that’s mine to decide’ Hellion exclaims. ‘Yes. Yours’ Ruth replies, before turning and walking awayT Hellion, she announces that she is looking for the monster who eats them. ‘You’re a very different monster’ she remarks.
Rogue enters the X-Club lab, where she approaches Madison Jeffries. ‘How’s it going, Madison? Any smoking guns?’ Rogue asks. The former Alphan replies that he wished that he knew, and explains that he started by doing a head count. ‘Makes sense’ Rogue remarks. ‘Yeah, but the results don’t. We’ve got four mutants missing’ Jeffries announces. ‘Missing? How is that even possible?’ Rogue asks. ‘It isn’t. But they are. Or maybe they aren’t. It depends who you ask’ Jeffries explains. Jeffries tells Rogue that Danger monitors all of their life functions in real time, and says that Armor, Magma, Surge and Dragoness are no longer registered as present on Utopia.
Jeffries continues, announcing that Emma did a surface scan of everyone’s minds, and those four missing women seems to be asleep, but still here on Utopia. Motioning to a monitor, Jeffries tells Rogue that is where Danger says their four might-be-prodigals went off the grid. Rogue remarks that they are pretty tightly clustered and asks what is there. Jeffries replies that in that exact spot there is nothing, and it shows clear on visual, EM, thermal imaging and so on. ‘I even sent a out a spy drone. It got me some great pictures of rocks’ Madison adds. ‘Is it just me? Or did you get a horrible feeling of déjà vu right then?’ Rogue asks.
Blindfold continues through the complex, ‘In this house there is an invisible multitude. Perhaps the one I’m looking for is hiding among them. Certainly there’s plenty of room’ Blindfold thinks to herself, before coming to a halt outside a room where Professor Charles Xavier stands over his son, Legion, who is hooked up to some equipment. Doctor Nemesis and the Stepford Cuckoos - Celeste, Phoebe and Mindee stand nearby. Xavier tells Doctor Nemesis that he understands what he is doing, but that he is concerned for his son’s welfare. ‘This seems a brutal procedure’ Charles remarks. Doctor Nemesis replies that they are not murdering actual people, merely culling imaginary sub-personas. ‘An essential first step if Legion is ever to integrate his mind again’.
‘His name is David. And your cull of his other selves seems like a kind of murder to me. A murder of parts of his very being’ Charles declares. The Stepford Cuckoos look at Legion: ’His mind keeps reconfiguring’ one of them remarks. ’The parts we cut out move into other parts’ another explains. ’It seems that will power - like matter and energy - is impossible to destroy’ the third states. Doctor Nemesis agrees, and tells Charles that when you burst all the bubbles, the bathtub is still full. ‘I think you’re meddling with a process you barely understand’ Xavier declares, before Nemesis asks the Cuckoos to patch the Professor into Legion’s mind to show him what they have achieved.
An instant later, Xavier, Doctor Nemesis and Blindfold are inside Legion’s mind, where all sorts of personalities are kept in boxes. ‘This used to be chaos. Now look. Every persona named, numbered and catalogued’ Doctor Nemesis explains. ‘Forgive me, but that doesn’t sound like a definition of mental health’ Xavier declares. ‘Come back in a month. I’ll show you mental health’ Doctor Nemesis replies. Suddenly, Xavier sees Blindfold and tells her that this invitation was extended to him, not to her. ‘Yes. I beg your pardon. But I needed to see. What can’t be seen. What hides’ Ruth explains. Xavier tells her that this is his son’s mind and asks her to respect his privacy.
And so Ruth goes, and she tries not to think about it. But she tells herself that she is walking towards the last place in the world she wants to be - and that place is tomorrow.
Back in Jeffries’ lab, Jeffries tells Rogue that she is right, that there are residual delta-oblique energy residues, barely a billionth of a hertz, KA spectrum. ‘when Emplate attacked us a few months back, he opened invisible doors in the air. Is this -?’ Rogue begins, to which Jeffries tells her that it is the same field signature, but tiny trace amounts. He adds that they put up a force wall to stop this happening again, and supposes that this must be one of the old doors - the ones Emplate had already opened. ‘We assumed they’d heal and close, but I guess they didn’t’. Rogue informs Madison that she wants to go out there and take a look at this thing. ‘Did you hear the part where I said “trace amounts”? This is right down at the limits of human perception’ Jeffries explains. ‘Then make me a magnifying glass’ Rogue suggests. ‘Oh, sure. Like it’s that easy’ Jeffries replies, before announcing that he just figured out how to do it, so he supposes it is that easy. ‘But the sarcasm stands’ he adds.
Outside, Ruth walks across some rocks. ‘One foot in front of the other. A step. Another step. Another. The future emerging out of the past. But it isn’t! It isn’t! And my legs are trembling so badly because I can feel it now. Steel teeth in the ground where the trap is hidden. Iron taste in the air, like blood. You can’t see it. You can’t see it until it comes for you’ Ruth thinks to herself, Suddenly, a mass of tentacles appears - and engulfs Blindfold.
Rogue and Jeffries are in a jeep, driving to the location. ‘Go right at the top here’ Jeffries tells Rogue, who replies that right is the ocean. ‘Left, then. Left at the top’ Jeffries exclaims as they drive over sand and rocks. Jeffries holds his small magnifying device and tells Rogue that it is like looking for something small and metallic in a huge pile of dried grass or plant matter. ‘A needle in a haystack’ Rogue tells him. ‘Well, in layman’s terms, yes’ Madison replies, before announcing ‘There. Dead ahead’. The jeep stops and they get out, and Rogue sees Blindfold’s jacket lying on the ground. ‘Wonderful. Nice horror movie touch. I love that stuff’ Jeffries exclaims, before Rogue asks him to show her how this magnifying glass of his works.
‘Just hit the OP key, hold it up in front of your face and look through it’ Madison explains, telling Rogue that traces of delta-oblique energy will show up as motes of light - dim but visible to the eye. Rogue does so, and cries out as the light blinds her. ‘Dim but visible?’ she mutters, rubbing her eyes and handing the device back to Jeffries. ‘That doesn’t make any sense. Oh, wait. Yeah, it does’ Madison mutters, as he begins to play with the device, telling Rogue that the energy is cycling through an N-dimensional substrate, and when it is sideways to them, it is like it is hardly there at all. ‘But when it’s fully in phase, you’d get -’ he is cut off by Rogue who exclaims ‘The big picture’. ‘Yes. That’ Madison replies as they look up - and see a hideous tentacled creature looming over them, while Dragoness, Magma, Armor and Surge are trapped in the creatures web.
The spider-like creature screeches, then knocks Rogue and Jeffries over with a tentacle. ‘Given time, I would have figured it out’ Madison exclaims. ‘I’m sure’ rogue tells him as they dodge another tentacle, while the creature also picks up their jeep. ‘There was an asymmetrical deform in the wave front. It was pretty obvious’ Madison remarks. He is about to inform Rogue of something else he registered, before he screams as the creature grabs him. ‘Oh God! It’s a spider squid from a luminal pocket universe! I’m phobic about these things!’ Madison calls out. Rogue is knocked to the ground and decides that they need the seventh cavalry.
‘Emma, are you listening?’ Rogue calls out. ‘I try not to, but I’m morbidly aware of someone thinking my name’ the White Queen responds, before asking if there is a problem. ‘Monster from Emplate’s dimension. Big. Ugly. Probably carnivorous. Only visible from certain angles’ Rogue replies, before Emma asks her if she can borrow her eyes. ‘Go ahead’ Rogue tells her, but Emma informs her that she is not seeing anything. ‘Right. And what you’re not seeing is as big as a truck and has a web full of captured mutants’ Rogue explains, adding that she needs backup.
‘I suppose you know how this looks?’ Emma asks. ‘Like Ah’ve gone crazy? You know me better’ Rogue replies. Emma informs Rogue that Cyclops is already scrambling a team and they will be with her inside of a minute. ‘Thanks. If Ah’m not here - tell them to take down the tall one with the slimy tentacles’ Rogue replies as she grabs a stray piece of web floating nearby, and lifts herself up onto the web, close to Madison and the four captured girls. Madison tries to say something, but a tentacle is wrapped around his mouth. Rogue tells Madison that it is not a phobia, that phobia’s are irrational. ‘This thing genuinely wants to suck your brain out through your eyeballs!’ Rogue tells him.
Finding herself a little stuck, Rogue tells herself that she cannot do a tightrope walk if the tightrope is covered in superglue. She knows she needs a lift out of here, and there is only one way she can think of to get it. ‘Hey, ugly! It’s dinnertime!’ Rouge shouts at the creature, which suddenly screeches once more and looks down at Rogue, grabbing her in a tentacle, it lifts her upwards. ‘A little to the left’ Rogue remarks as she is dragged towards the four girls, she manages to touch the hands of Magma and Armor, then pull herself towards Surge and touch her bare arm. Rogue is too far away from Dragoness to touch her face - the only exposed skin she has.
Suddenly, the creature yanks Rogue upwards and pulls her towards its gaping open mouth. ‘Sweetheart, Ah know you’re just following your instincts. And another time, Ah’d probably be signing a petition saying you should be a protected species. But so should we. And you wrapped your tentacles around some people Ah happen to care about’. Suddenly, Rogue begins to glow with energy - and using Armor’s power, she wraps protective bubbles around her, while simultaneously blasting the creature with Magma’s fire and Surge’s electrical charges. ‘So back off!’ Rogue shouts.
‘Hey! Where’s the crisis!’ Iceman asks as he, Wolverine, Cyclops, Colossus and Doctor Nemesis arrive on scene. ‘Ah sort of dealt with it, bots. But thanks for coming out’ Rogue replies. Doctor Nemesis tends to the kidnapped girls. ‘How are they?’ Cyclops asks him. Nemesis replies that they are poisoned, but that the toxin is designed to paralyze the victim, not kill, and that the girls are coming around. ‘They’ll be nauseous for a while, that’s all’ he explains. Cyclops orders the whole island to be scanned, as he wants to make sure there are no more of these horrors hiding in the long grass.
Rogue finds Blindfold and goes over to her, asking her if she is okay. ‘No no no no no no!’ Ruth exclaims. ‘But you did good. You did real good. Take it slow’ Rogue tells her. ‘It’s not right!’ Ruth exclaims, informing Rogue that this was not what she saw.
Suddenly, the sun goes out. The world goes out - and nobody hears Blindfold. Darkness surrounds Utopia and a bright light flashes. ‘It’s not hiding anymore. I see everything now. Yes. And if I could stop this thing with every last drop of my heart’s blood. I would willingly bleed’…..