‘Chaos’ Magneto thinks to himself. ‘Crisis. Blood and sacrifice. Can these things become routine?’ he wonders as he observes a battle raging below. Avalanche, Gambit and Dazzler engage the enemy tanks and vessels in battle, while Magneto tells himself that every day here is struggle - every day is the same struggle, repeated with minor variations. The assault, the defense, the narrowest of victories. The mutants weigh their hearts, their souls upon the scales. If they falter, if they are found wanting - mutantkind is lost. The fortress falls. ‘And as John Hale once said… “No gap in a fortress can be considered small”!’ Magneto recalls, while Gambit fires kinetic energy at a vessel overhead, which crashes soon after.
Inside Fortress X, Moonstar and her Cadre - Magma, Eclipse, Warlock, Karma and Dust have discovered the motionless bodies of Anole and Domino. ‘Okay. No question. Reaper was here. And she only just left’ Moonstar announces as she examines Anole, while informing her Cadre that Anole tackled Reaper straight on, and Domino came in from the side, but she took them both out. Magma asks if they are dead, Warlock explains that they are only unconscious, but their alpha rhythms indicate that Reaper touched them both. Several other mutants are gathered around, while
Karma discovers some blood on some stairs which lead up to the west barracks. Moonstar remarks that she knows about the blood, and heads for another door. ‘Perhaps we should -’ Warlock begins, but Moonstar tells him to ignore it. Moonstar informs her Cadre that Reaper is moving down through the fortress, and the blood trail is way too convenient. She motions to a lock and points out that it was forced, and then put back together really carefully. ‘Inference. She wishes to lose herself on the service levels. Activity down there is constant, so she must have a particular destination in mind…somewhere she thinks she’ll be safe’ Warlock points out.
At that moment, in the “Rat Run” pub, Wolverine sits at a table and plays with a knife, and remarks that he lost his enhanced senses along with the rest of it, but that he can hear Legacy breathing. ‘You may as well come out’ he tells her. Legacy emerges from the shadows and tells Logan that she didn’t know where else to go. Logan goes over to her and steadies her, telling her to take it easy, he points out that she is a mess and asks her who did it to her. ‘Danger, first. Then…a whole lot of folks. Didn’t you hear? Ah’m an enemy of the people’ Legacy reveals Wolverine suggests they get Legacy cleaned up and dress her wounds. ‘If it’s a good enough story, maybe you get a drink on the house’ he adds.
Magneto stands on a long platform that extends from Fortress X and thinks to himself that he built this place, hammering it out on the forge of his will. He tells himself that he built it to be strong, and to endure, but he was younger then, and in some ways, naive. ‘I thought the walls would be enough. And that all threats would come from the same direction’.
Suddenly, ‘Magneto!’ Moira MacTaggert declares as she storms onto the platform, followed be Legion and a few other mutants. ‘What was it? What did Reaper attack us with? It felt like she was right inside our minds’ Moira declares. ‘She prefers the name Legacy, Dr MacTaggert’ Magneto replies. Moira exclaims that she could care less, and demands that Magneto answer her. Magneto reveals that Legacy broke into the brig and touched one of the prisoners. Magneto explains that very little is known about their powers and that they are kept isolated because X judges them too dangerous or unstable to fight along side everyone else.
‘And before that, there was a break-out’ Moira points out. ‘One of those prisoners walked right out through the force walls, and spoke with the human authorities’ she adds. But Magneto assures her that they do not know if she spoke to anyone. Moira points out that this looks like a conspiracy, a plot to bring down the fortress. She adds that if they are being attacked, betrayed, by their own kind, they have to defend themselves. ‘What are you suggesting, Moira?’ Magneto asks. Moira points out that the Force Warriors can telekinetically search this place molecule by molecule, they will find Reaper, wherever she is hiding.
Legion tells Magneto that they stand ready, that they will do whatever needs to be done. He adds that they will ensure no innocents are harmed. ‘I give you my oath’ he declares. Magneto puts a hand on Legion’s shoulder and tells him that there is no one whose word means more to him, but that he will not risk him. ‘The force Walls you and your cohort weave daily are the only guarantee of our survival’ Magneto reminds the young mutant. ‘What, then? She’s got to get caught’ Moira declares. Magneto replies that she will be, that the matter is in hand. Moira asks what “In hand” means, and Magneto puts his helmet on, announcing that it means he has joined the battle himself.
Back in the “Rat Run”, Wolverine tends to Legacy’s wounds, and asks her how come they didn’t bring her down yet. ‘Victor’s camouflage power, mostly. And luck’ Legacy replies, to which Wolverine points out that only a fool relies on luck. Legacy explains that she stole it from Domino, so it is quality stuff, before thanking Logan for not turning her in. Wolverine tells her to forget it, and points out that things are not always what they seem. ‘Like with me and this blade. I notice you didn’t ask’ Wolverine adds. Legacy tells him that she doesn’t need to ask, reminding Wolverine that he was inside her mind, she knows he is testing his healing factor, to see if there is anything still left.
Wolverine places the knife in his belt and asks Legacy if she knows what she is doing, or if she is making it up as she goes along. Legacy replies that she is chasing an idea. ‘From the moment I saw that girl, Pryde, out on the battlefield, Ah started to feel uneasy. Like something big was pushing against my mind. Trying to get me to remember it’ Legacy explains. ‘What kind of something?’ Wolverine asks. Legacy replies that she doesn’t know, and informs him that there is a man in the brig, and she thinks his name is Xavier. Legacy tells Wolverine that it was his power she stole, that is how she popped up inside his head.
Legacy tells Wolverine that when she was reading his mind, she read someone else, too. Someone real close to them, whose mind was full of one thought - “smash it”. ‘Smash what?’ Wolverine asks. Legacy replies that she thinks it might be the fortress, everything. She explains to Wolverine that she knew this Charles Xavier, although she never met him, she knew him, and he had memories of all of them. ‘How is that possible?’ Wolverine replies that it isn’t, as everyone knows there is no mutant powers that can effect the mind. ‘Well, Karma, maybe. And Vertigo. But rewriting someone’s memories? That’s flat out -’ Wolverine begins, when suddenly, the door to the “Rat Run” slams open, courtesy of Eclipse, who has arrived with Moonstar and the rest of the Cadre. ‘Here?’ Eclipse asks. ‘Here’ Moonstar replies, before Eclipse orders the others to secure the exits and search the place.
Inside a laboratory where Madison Jeffries works, Magneto approaches him and calls him “Box”. Madison looks up from the telescope and asks the General, as a favor, not to call him that, before remarking ‘You got my message, then? About the stars? It’s got me beat, I can tell you. Crazy, crazy data!’ Jeffries declares. Magneto informs Jeffries that there was a break-in last night at their holding facility - the Danger Rooms. Jeffries continues to gaze up through the telescope and asks ‘A break-in? Better than the other way around, I suppose’ Jeffries replies, adding that anyone twisted enough to break into a prison probably belongs there.
Suddenly, Magneto grabs Jeffries’s wrist, causing him to spill his cup of coffee over himself. Magneto frowns as he tells Jeffries that it was Legacy, that somehow she was able to disarm locks and make security cameras look away. ‘Those are your powers’ Magneto points out. ‘Well, that’s not necessarily - you can’t - Habeas Corpus, fifth…fifth amendment -’ Madison exclaims. Magneto releases Jeffries and asks him tell him what happened so he might be able to protect him. ‘Lie to me and her fate will be your fate, too’ Magneto warns Jeffries.
Madison gets out of his seat and asks ‘What…what do you mean?’ Magneto replies that, to take the obvious example, these premises take up a great deal of space - space that could be allocated to other things - barracks or store rooms. Magneto touches the telescope and tells Jeffries that he knows how hard it is for him to keep hold of his humanity when he melds with the Box armor every day, and he knows how important these toys have been in reminding Madison of who he is. ‘If I were forced to destroy them, it would be with a certain…regret’ Magneto admits. ‘You…you’re really saying this to me?’ Madison asks. ‘What did she tell you, Jeffries? And what did she show you?’ Magneto demands.
Madison hangs his head and replies that it was a camera - a camera with a whole lot of blank images on it. Jeffries tells Magneto that Legacy did not say where she had gotten it from, and then she took it with her when she left. Madison sits down on a chair and Magneto thanks him, telling him that he has been very helpful. ‘When the history of this fortress comes to be written, your name will be a prominent footnote’ Magneto assures him, before declaring that he has one final question, and then they are done.
Back in the “Rat Run”, Eclipse tells the Cadre to search the place. ‘She’s here somewhere’ he exclaims. ‘Who are you looking for? Maybe I can help’ Wolverine offers. Dust tells Logan that he can help by stepping out of their way, as they are looking for an escaped fugitive, and if they find her here, it will look back for him. Warlock finds some blood on the ground, and after analysing it, announces that it was Reaper’s. Moonstar finds a glove on the table, and remarks that it is Reaper’s as well. ‘Unless you’re going for a whole new look, Logan’ she adds.
Wolverine simply replies that a customer left it behind last night, but Dust declares that he is lying. ‘That a new power, Sooraya? Or just a plan, old-fashioned guess?’ Logan asks. Magma motions to the floorboards and mentions the door that Wolverine is standing on. ‘There’s a wine cellar down there, right? I notice you haven’t moved from that spot since we got here’ Magma remarks. Logan replies that he is comfortable where he is and does not plan on moving. ‘You want me to move you?’ Eclipse asks as he approaches Wolverine, who replies ‘I’d be interested in seeing you try’.
Eclipse tells Wolverine to stop playing the fool. ‘The cure took out your healing factor, and wrecked your metabolism. You get even a little upset, your heart’s going to burst. Maybe that’s what you deserve, if you’re keeping house with traitors’ Eclipse exclaims. ‘Killing your own people? That’s a bigger step than you think, bub’ Wolverine tells Eclipse, suggesting he contemplates that a while before he goes down that road. Eclipse declares that this is the only home he has got and will kill anyone who threatens it. Over at a window, Moonstar tells Eclipse to leave it, as Reaper is not even here, Logan is just doing his best to give her a head start. Moonstar examines some blood on the windowsill and calls out to X - ‘Do you copy?’ X tells Danielle that her signal is strong. ‘You are at Western Edge. Logan’s bar’. ‘Exactly. We’ve picked up the Reaper’s trail, and if I’m right about where she’s gone…then this hunt’s as good as over’ Moonstar announces.
Elsewhere on the grounds around Fortress X, Iceman, Cannonball, Husk and Surge have engaged enemy soldiers in combat. Cannonball hears the communications worm and tells X to go ahead. X informs Cannonball that Legacy is coming his way and that he is to apprehend. ‘Apprehend? Well, you know, we’d really like to. Really. We’ll definitely put it on our “to-do” list!’ Cannonball declares as he blasts into the air, and through several enemy vessels.
‘Looks like it may be down to us!’ Moonstar declares as she runs from the fortress surroundings towards her prey. Dust follows her, while Eclipse flies alongside. Magma flies, carrying Karma, while Warlock has transformed himself into a wheel, and races alongside them. ‘You sure she came this way?’ Eclipse asks. ‘How else can she shake us? She crosses the battlefield - camouflaged - and comes out alive in the opposite quadrant’ Moonstar exclaims, suggesting that Reaper is probably really close, as she cannot move this fast on this ground. Moonstar suggests they take away Reaper’s advantage, and asks Dust to give them a little desert storm. ‘My pleasure, Moonstar. Watch my dust!’ she adds as she creates a dust storm. ‘There!’ Karma calls out as she sees a figure up ahead. ‘Fire at will!’ Moonstar tells her Cadre as she releases an arrow, which strikes Legacy, causing her to fall off the beam she was on.
The Cadre race towards her and surround her. Moonstar asks Karma if she can lock on to her, but Karma replies that her mind is slippery, that there is too much interference from the borrowings. ‘It’s over, Legacy. Come in with us, and we’ll get Dr Rao to look at that wound’ Moonstar tells Legacy, who sits up, with Moonstar’s arrow through her shoulder. Magma crouches beside Legacy and reminds her that Moonstar said surrender. ‘What are you waiting for?’ Magma asks. ’A…one in a million chance…sugah’ Legacy replies, boasting that for Domino, they come up nine times out of ten.
Moonstar and her Cadre all look up as a massive enemy tank rolls towards them. ’Target acquired! Target acquired! Going to roast us some muties!’ a soldier inside boasts. The tank begins firing at the Cadre, breaking up the ground around them. Eclipse and Magma take to the air, with Magma declaring that these things are like roaches. ‘Big, armoured roaches, with field guns’ Eclipse replies, before calling out to Karma, who replies that she is onto it, as she takes psychic possession of one the soldiers firing weapons at them - forcing him to fire on his comrade. Warlock watches as several “smart bombs” are fired, and queries their designation, as he finds most of them pretty docile and open to persuasion, as he uses them on the tank itself, which explodes.
Karma announces that Reaper has gone, that she ran onto the battlefield, but she doesn’t think she will get far. ‘No. Neither do I’ Moonstar agrees, revealing that Dust is still with her.
Hovering at Fortress X, Magneto watches the goings-ons in the distance, when X informs him that Legacy has been located. ‘Alive or dead?’ Magneto asks. X replies that Legacy’s exact status is still to be determined.
Legacy takes shelter and pulls the arrow from her shoulder, when suddenly, she is confronted by a sand storm, as Dust materializes in front of her. Dust warns Legacy that she could flay the flesh from her bones, or clog her lungs and kill her from the inside. ‘Sooraya! Don’t!’ Legacy pleads. ‘This is my mercy. Make a move, and you’ll feel the darker side of my -’ Dust begins, before she is shot with a burst of kinetic energy, which knocks her over. ‘Wh - what -?’ she gasps as she looks up and sees Gambit. Gambit apologizes to her, and tells her he knows she will get over it. ‘But right now…you got plenty of other places to be’ Gambit exclaims as Dust explodes courtesy of the kinetic energy.
Gambit goes over to Legacy, and helps her up. ‘Why would you -?’ Legacy asks. Gambit replies that he doesn’t know, and tells her saw her fighting, and he knew what side of the fight he wanted to be on.
From above, Magneto can see Gambit helping Reaper across the ground below. He tells himself that no gap in a fortress can be considered small, and theirs is so perilously balanced and fragile. ‘If it’s divided against itself…how can it endure?’ Magneto wonders, while ordering X to tell Moonstar to call her team off. Magneto tells himself that his task, for three years now, has been to keep Fortress X standing. From day to day, from dawn to dusk. Holding off the inevitable, one drop of blood at a time. ‘If I ever had a nobler dream - a wider ambition - I threw it into the fire…and watched it burn’ Magneto thinks to himself as he uses his powers to lift up every piece of scrap metal, every beam, every car, and dump them all together - right on to of Legacy and Gambit. Several mutants including Vergio, Iceman, Husk, Surge and Nightmare gather around, and he tells them that this is how traitors die. ‘And cleave to the Brotherhood of X!’ Magnus declares.
At the “Rat Run”, drenched in darkness, Logan lights a candle, and tells his visitor ‘So that’s what she said. And I think she called it on the money’. He adds that a lot of things around here smell like lies, lots of questions never get asked. Wolverine’s visitor replies that he admits he has a few questions himself, but that they do not have much room to maneuver. ‘What did you have in mind, exactly? He asks. Logan replies that they shake the tree, kick the hornet’s nest and get some answers. ‘How about it? You feel like getting your hands dirty?’ he asks his visitor. ‘God knows, Logan, they’re dirty enough already. But I wouldn’t mind a shot at redemption!’ exclaims Basilisk as his eyes flash red!