Charles Xavier thinks to himself that waking up is like swallowing the sun - the warmth goes down to the core of him, but he has been asleep for a lot longer than one night. He reaches out with his mind and makes contact with, for want of a better term, the world. The armies come with the dawn, so on the battlefield, the X-Men wait for them. ‘They are not my X-Men. I barely know them’ Charles tells himself as several mutants including Cannonball, Storm, the Sub-Mariner, Basilisk, Iceman, Dazzler, Northstar, Colossus, Berserker, Nightmare, Husk, Jubilee, Surge and Chamber gather.
Xavier knows that Rogue and Gambit are staring into a plain wooden box - the pulse of the universe stirs between their fingers. They feel a terrifying sense of vertigo. Xavier himself remembers a room, where two men argued about medical ethics, each as ignorant as the other. ‘One of them was me’ Xavier tells himself, the other being Doctor Nemesis. But here, now, Xavier’s enemy - friend - Magneto, lies broken and bleeding, because he tried to help him. ‘I wonder if he knows how badly he failed?’ Xavier wonders.
The Force Warriors - Psylocke, Hellion, Carmella Unuscione, Legion and Revenant burst into the brig, where Magneto lies on the floor, Katherine Pryde attempts to help Charles Xavier, while Moonstar and her Cadre - Eclipse, Warlock, Magma, Karma and Dust - stand ready. Legion announces that Magneto is relieved of his command, that the fortress is now under the direct control of the Force Warriors. ‘And the enemies of mutantkind will be eradicated!’ he declares. Moonstar tells Legion that no one is eradicating anyone, but Legion asks Danielle to not stand against them, as she will only add her name to the roster of traitors.
‘Is that how it works? Asking questions is treason, now? And protesting against murder gets you murdered? I don’t remember voting for that’ Danielle declares. But Legion tells her that they are not a democracy, but a citadel under siege. ‘There’s no time or place for conscience here’ he remarks, as he uses his power to slam Charles Xavier to the ground. Katherine Pryde takes his hand, enabling him to phase like she does. ‘And what are you gonna do now that you’ve ditched your conscience? Eat babies?’ Katherine asks.
In a mysterious room at the center of Citadel X, Legacy is with Gambit, and she holds onto the small wooden box that apparently contains the universe. ‘This isn’t what we came here for’ Gambit tells Legacy, who replies that it isn’t, but the scariest thing is that it almost makes sense. Legacy points out that Katherine Pryde went outside the force walls, and there was nothing there - no earth, no sky, just blackness. ‘The whole universe was missing. And Ah guess we just found it’ Legacy remarks. Suddenly, the voice of X can be heard, informing Legacy that it was not missing, that they put it here for safekeeping. ‘X! Is that you?’ Legacy gasps. ‘Call me that if it makes you feel better’ X replies.
Moira MacTaggert enters the room, and picks up a rifle, pointing out that X marks an unknown value, before aiming the rifle at the mutants and telling Gambit that it is a nice rifle, so she can see why he is attached to it. ‘Now give me the blood box. Or I’ll give you both a little instant brain surgery’ Moira warns them.
Outside Fortress X, the mutants stand ready. ‘Well, #%$& me. This is a bit of a god’s dinner, isn’t it? Could’ve had an extra bloody hour in bed’ Chamber mutters as he sits down on some rubble. Dazzler has her hands on her hips and exclaims that she doesn’t get it. ‘They always attack at dawn’ she reminds everyone. Surge suggests that they might have won, and calls out to X, asking if they won, but gets no response. Dazzler points out she has already tried contacting X, but X appears to be offline. Cannonball tells everyone to stand firm, as the push is going to come. ‘And we’re going to be here to meet it’ he declares. ‘Actually…I’ve got a better idea’ Basilisk announces.
Cannonball frowns and points at Basilisk, telling him to hold his damn position, ‘Or I will bounce you back to the fortress and into the brig before your heels touch the ground’ Cannonball warns him. But Basilisk ignores the threat, and points out that for three years, the enemy sticks with the same tactics, and then today, do not even bother to show up. ‘Get back in line, soldier!’ Cannonball orders. ‘That’s a little crazy, isn’t it? A little hard to explain’ Basilisk remarks, as he holds up a set of dog tags, and announces that a lot of things are hard to explain - like how come the soldiers they fight sometimes have the same names and numbers, the same dog tags. Basilisk suggests it is as if someone is making this stuff up on the wing and getting sloppy with the details.
Cannonball declares that this is not the time, as they are about to go into battle. ‘Except we can’t throw a battle if nobody comes. Listen to me, Guthrie. All of you just listen!’ Basilisk calls out, before turning to Madison Jeffries, who is wearing the Box armor, and asks ‘What was it you said to me about the stars?’ Jeffries replies that the stars don’t read right, that there is no red or blue shift, which would mean the universe stopped expanding. He adds that they are too close, as though the light is coming off the force walls themselves. ‘Detail, again’ Basilisk remarks. Cannonball asks Basilisk what he is saying - that this is a stage set, that God is getting lazy? ‘Not one thing you’ve said makes any kind of sense!’ Cannonball exclaims. ‘Exactly. That’s my point. None of this makes sense. And until it does, I’m not fighting any more’ Basilisk announces.
Basilisk begins to walk back to the fortress, announcing that his new job is looking for answers. ‘And I’m starting at the top. Anyone else who’s interested can come with me’ Basilisk calls out as he walks past everyone. But Cannonball orders them all to hold their position. ‘Everyone will hold their position until the General tells us otherwise’ he orders. But Iceman, Angel and Husk are the first o follow Basilisk. Everyone else soon follows, leaving Cannonball alone.
Back in the brig, Moonstar and her Cadre stand ready against the Force Warriors. ‘You want to kill this prisoner, you’re going to have to go through Moonstar Cadre to get him!’ Moonstar warns the Force Warriors, promising them that they will be leaving pieces of themselves on the ground. ‘You seriously think you can stand against the Force Warriors, Dani?’ Psylocke asks. Moonstar tells Betsy that she doesn’t see where she has a choice. ‘I need to live with myself when this is over’ she exclaims.
‘I’m watching you, Hellion’ Magma warns the handsome young mutant. ‘You’re watching me? I can stop your heart from beating with my mind!’ Hellion replies. ‘Not if you’re flash fried’ Magma warns him. You flex one shiny little finger, and I’ll -’, but Legion suddenly throws his hands to his head, ‘Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!’ he screams. He covers his face and declares ‘She - she said this would happen. She warned me that Xavier would turn us against each other’. Carmella asks Legion who said this, who it was that warned him, and Xavier remarks ‘Tell them, David. Tell them whose tune we’re all dancing to’.
Moira MacTaggert still holds the rifle steady in the mysterious center room. ‘I won’t be asking either of you a second time. Put the box on the floor and shove it over to me with your foot. Then stand back’ she orders them. ‘Moira! How did you even get in here?’ Legacy asks. ‘Not though the air ducts, Rogue, I’ll tell you that much’ Moira replies. ‘Rogue? Who’s Rogue?’ Legacy asks. ‘It’s just a name. Like Moira. The box, please’ Moira replies. Gambit looks down at Legacy and tells her not to give Moira the box. Crouched over, Legacy replies that she has got to, as what is in here is too precious to risk. ‘Ah wouldn’t want the entire universe to be - right in your line of fire’ Legacy exclaims. ‘Two heads with just one thought. It’s like I said. We were made for each other’ Gambit replies as he throws a kinetically-charged playing card at Moira, knocking her backwards.
Holding the now-damaged rifle, Moira tells Gambit that it will never be the same again, and remarks that she built this world, which makes her their god, more or less. ‘And you don’t take a god down with a deck of cards’ Moira exclaims as she smacks Gambit in the head with the remains of the rifle. Legacy picks up the box and starts to run away, while Moira supposes that she probably should not have kept it here, the rest of the universe. ‘It was just sentiment. He used to like it’. Suddenly, Moira appears in front of the fleeing Rogue, informing her that god is omnipresent. ‘So you’re wasting your time - and a little of mine’ she remarks as she punches Legacy in the face. Moira looms over Legacy and remarks that killing her is not going to be enough, as she knows somebody sent her. ‘I have a horrible feeling I’ll have to start all over again’ Moira declares.
Back in the brig, Xavier stands amongst the Force Warriors and Moonstar Cadre, while Legion asks him who he is and what he knows about all of this. Xavier introduces himself, and explains that at one time he was the leader of a group called the X-Men, mutant heroes who used their powers for the good of the world. He informs Legion that he is also his father. ‘And I wish to God I’d been a better one’. But Legion replies that his father died in Israel, in a terrorist attack. ‘That never happened’ Charles assures him. But Legion tells him he doesn’t believe him, that he doesn’t believe anything he is saying.
Suddenly, Xavier projects his thoughts into Legion’s mind, ‘I’m not asking for your trust, but you hear my voice inside your mind, yes? I’m releasing one of your buries memories. It will come from you, not from me, and you’ll know it for the truth’ Xavier declares. An image of Xavier and Legion hugging flashes into his mind, with the words ‘You have my word. I’ll never lose you’. Legion looks confused, ‘Wh - what as that? When did I -? what did you just do to me?’ he asks. Xavier replies that he will explain everything in due course. ‘Kitty, make I take your hand again?’ Xavier asks. ‘My name is Katherine’ Pryde tells him. Xavier replies that he will try to remember that, and takes her hand, informing her that they need to get to Magneto’s command room. ‘We do? Why?’ Katherine asks.
Xavier explains that is where Cyclops is heading. ‘Of course. Let’s go see Cyclops. Whoever he is’ Katherine mutters. Xavier turns to the Force Warriors and Moonstar Cadre and tells them all to follow him and they will learn both what they are and what they are meant to be. ‘Are we all up for this?’ Psylocke asks. Eclipse replies that he would prefer to smash something, while Unuscione suggests that they need to hear this. Moonstar tells the Force Warriors that one of them should pick up the General, seeing as how they knocked him down and all.
As they pass through a wall, Katherine remarks ‘I hope you know what you’re doing, Mist - Professor’ she corrects herself. Xavier replies that so does he, as he already lost this battle once and cannot afford to lose it again. As they pass through another wall, several mutants - Iceman, Northstar, Vertigo, Basilisk and Storm - are in the corridor. ‘We’ve got ghosts, now? When did we get ghosts?’ Iceman asks. Words flash into Basilisk’s mind - ‘It’s good to see you again, Scott. You said you wanted the truth. Come and hear it’ Xavier tells him.
Shortly, dozens of mutants have assembled in Magneto’s command room and Xavier stands before them, with Katherine at his side. ‘I know you all. But you don’t know me’ Charles begins, explaining that the time and the place in which they knew him has been stolen from them. ‘It was - literally - in another world. But that world is the real one, where you were born and made’ Charles tells them, declaring that this world is a fantasy, a skein of nonsense. The mutants listen intently, while Xavier explains that this world’s architect was a diseased mind, a of a mind, rather, sick and mad and at war with itself.
Charles continues, explaining that he did his best to stop it, but he failed, and fell. ‘And that was all I knew, until Magneto woke me’ he reveals, before announcing that he cannot explain all this to them in words, as he doesn’t have the time. ‘But I can show you, I can make you experience it, exactly as it happened’ he declares. Energy flashes around Charles as he explains that this is the moment when this world was born, and when their lives spun out of their orbits. ‘Share it. And understand’.
Utopia, home of the X-Men, seven days ago. In a laboratory, Legion lies on a table, with Doctor Nemesis standing over him, and Charles Xavier approaching him. ‘Professor, I thought we’d already discussed this’ Doctor Nemesis remarks. Xavier replies that they have gone beyond mere discussion. ‘I told you what your methods were doing to my son’ Xavier exclaims. Nemesis replies that he is curing Legion of his identity disorder, deleting his alternate personalities so that his mind can repair itself. He boasts that he has made amazing progress.
Dr Nemesis explains that Legion’s mind is structured like an imaginary landscape, where his sub-personas live and interact. Nemesis tells Xavier that Legion needs to reclaim that territory, and his work - isolating and then erasing the sub-personas - allows him to do just that. Charles remarks that on a conscious level, Legion is trying to cooperate, but subconsciously, his mind is in turmoil. Xavier tells Nemesis that Legion is experiencing ego death, again and again and is starting to fight back. ‘I’ve taken all this into account in my -’ Nemesis begins, but Xavier interrupts, ‘You’re not listening to me. David’s mind is adapting to your probes. Changing, in ways we can’t measure or predict’ he declares, adding that the longer this goes on, the more intense this instinctive reaction will become.
Frowning, Dr Nemesis asks Charles to show him some proof, or stand aside and let him work. Charles asks Nemesis if he will accept a mind-link as proof. Nemesis removes his jacket and replies that he has been inside David’s mind a hundred times. ‘The Cuckoos regularly -’ he begins, until Charles interrupts, telling him that the damage is progressive. ‘Whatever you’ve seen in the past…you need to experience it now’ Charles tells him.
Xavier finds himself floating inside Legion’s mind and announces that it is astonishing how much this looks like a prison camp, with various cells below him. Nemesis replies that the imagery was carefully designed, that he wanted Legion to feel that his sub-personas were under lock and key, that he was totally in control. ‘Just as you thought you were. But was this part of your plan?’ Xavier asks as he refers to the skeletal remains of Legions many personas. ‘My God! No!’ Nemesis gasps. He tells Xavier that when they erase a persona, it is simply edited out of existence, so this is something else. He tells Xavier to break contact and get out of there now.
‘Absolutely not, Doctor’ Charles replies as his psychic form walks through the cells. Nemesis tells Xavier not to be a fool, and points out that is not ground he is walking around on, but a metaphor. ‘Everything in there stands for something else!’ Nemesis warns him. But Charles replies that he is aware of that, and announces that he is going to put right the harm that Nemesis has done. ‘And I’m going to find out what happened to the parts of my son’s mind that were in those cages’ Charles adds.
Suddenly, a voice booms ‘I ate them!’ Xavier is thrown about, as are some of the cells, while a massive being emerges and tells Xavier that he should have left Legion alone. ‘All you had to do was leave him alone!’ The being takes hold of Charles, while Nemesis asks him what he has found. ‘A new persona! Some kind of psychic antibody, created in response to your erasures!’ Charles replies. The persona tells Xavier that he does not belong here and to get out of Legion’s mind, to leave him in peace. ‘Or I’ll rip you apart!’ he warns him. ‘On the psychic plane? Creature, I think not’ Charles replies as he begins to tear the persona apart.
Nemesis tells Charles to be careful, remarking that all of Legion’s sub-selves have their own set of powers. ‘You don’t know what this one can do’ he adds. Xavier replies that it doesn’t matter, for in mind-war, he has fought far much more dangerous - but Charles stops mid-sentence, as a face emerges from the persona. ‘Charles! Acushal! Don’t hurt me! Please don’t hurt me!’ exclaims Moira MacTaggert. Xavier looks shocked, but as he stops, it gives the persona an opportunity to attack him again. ‘Not Moira, but her face. Bought me a moment’s advantage. I like it. I think I’ll keep it for a while’ the persona declares.
‘You come here! You cage us! Hurt the Legion, who is our home! But I can heal him. That’s what I was built for!’ the persona declares. Xavier finds himself trapped as the persona declares that all the little pieces of his mind, and Xavier’s mind, and the other minds here, he can weave a world out of them, better than the one they have got. Xavier is overwhelmed, he calls out to Nemesis: ‘Warn Scott! It’s power is -’, while the persona announces that he can make a home for Legion and use everyone else as furniture. And with that, Utopia is transformed into Fortress X.
Age of X:
‘Seven days? That’s all it’s been? All of this was just -?’ Basilisk remarks. ‘No!’ Legion shouts. ‘A fake world, inside of a - a bubble? He’s lying! He’s lying to trick us!’ Legion declares. Suddenly, the voice of X is heard: ‘I concur, analysis of Charles Xavier’s heart rate and skin moisture confirms that he’s lying. Everything he says is lies’ X declares. Charles hangs his head and replies ‘Whether you speak through the woman I loved, or the computer voice called X, you’re still the same entity. Neither a human, nor a mutant, but a monster that incubated my son’s mind’ Xavier announces.
‘Who’s the monster here, you stinking bald speck?’ Moira asks as she enter the communications room. ‘This is their shelter - their last refuge - and you want to take it away from them?’ she declares. But Charles replies that this is no shelter, but a dollhouse that was built for his son to play in. ‘Moira! Thank god! The things he put in my head -’ Legion exclaims as he rushes over to Moira, who embraces him. ‘Lies, David. Hideous, filthy lies!’ Moira replies. ‘He has mind-powers. It’s dangers even to listen to him’ she tells Legion.
Charles tells his son to look at this place, and asks him if he was happy here. ‘She meant you to be. You’re respected, even loved. The hero you always wanted to be. But it’s only a dream…and it’s falling apart at the seams’ Charles tells Legion. Moira declares that it is no dream, to which Xavier asks ‘No? Then why do the human battalions disappear when your attention is elsewhere? As soon as anyone takes a close look at your Fortress X, the cracks start to show’.
Moira holds the wooden box up above her head and announces that the threat is real. ‘And it’s always there. If you relax for even a moment, it will swallow you. This - this is what you get for listening to him!’ she tells everyone. The high windows suddenly shatter, but Nightmare sees out them - ‘Oh, sweet God! Guys, we’ve got incoming! We’ve got all kinds of incoming!’ Nightmare exclaims. ‘The walls are coming down’ someone remarks as countless Human Coalition vessels fly towards the Fortress, and open fire!