Punta Brava, Tenerife, 20:48. The X-Men have found what they were looking for. ‘Dieu!’ Gambit a.k.a. Remy LeBeau gasps as he comes across several bodies, littered across street. ‘Is that a body, Gambit?’ Professor Charles Xavier calls out telepathically. ‘A whole lot of bodies, Professor. Alive, but out cold’ Gambit replies, before asking the Professor if he is getting a trace yet. From a rooftop nearby, the Professor telepathically replies ‘Nothing. The entities we’re hunting may not have minds in the normal sense, so they may be invisible to my psi-scans’, before he calls out to Legion and Rogue, asking if they have anything to add. David “Legion” Haller looks at Rogue and he knows that she has nothing to add, but he does, as he knows these monsters better than anyone. Legion tells the Professor that they are dealing with either Chain or Time-Sink, but not Styx, for if it was Styx, they would be looking at corpses.
Rogue adds that they still have to go up against him sooner or later, and votes for sooner. Up in the air, Magneto hovers over the town and announces that there is a man running along the Calle de Oro. Charles asks for a description, and Magneto explains that he is short with dark hair, perhaps thirty years old with glowing hands. Charles tells Frenzy that he will be heading towards her, and just like that, the man rushes past Joanna “Frenzy” Cargill. ‘Damn’ Frenzy mutters, before lifting up a car. Legion recalls that Frenzy was a terrorist once, who is now trying to be a hero, and decides that is admirable, but that at rock bottom, Frenzy’s instincts have not changed all that much. ‘AAA!’ the man cries out as the car lands in front of him.
He holds up his hands - one glowing blue, the other glowing red - and exclaims ‘Don’t! Please don’t make me do this!’ as Frenzy approaches him. ‘Don’t make you do what? Hemorrhage?’ she asks. ‘I just want to live. I’m warning you!’ he calls back. Legion reminds himself that Magneto and Rogue were terrorists, too, and Gambit was a thief, while he has been functionally insane for most of his life. Magneto announces that it appears Frenzy has engaged the enemy, while Legion wonders what his father sees in them all. ‘One more lost cause, perhaps’ Legion decides. Charles asks Magneto to make sure Frenzy doesn’t kill him. ‘She gave me her word, but in the heat of the moment -’ Charles remarks, to which Magneto replies that he understands, and as he hovers over Frenzy, informs Charles that she has not broken her promise to him. ‘Thank God!’ Charles calls out telepathically.
‘But I’m afraid I have some bad news, too’ Magneto adds as he looks at Frenzy, who destroys the car with one powerful punch, though her opponent is nowhere in sight. ‘One of him, and six of us. Lined up like beaters in a hunt’ Legion thinks to himself, while the young man races across a bridge, ‘Damn! Damn! Damn!’ he calls out. ‘Driving him into the open and then moving in for the coup de grace’ Legion tells himself, as Magneto lifts the young man into the air. But Legion tells himself that this is Time-Sink and he cannot be trapped or cornered. Having a fourth dimension to move in makes all the difference. Magneto unleashes a burst of magnetism against Time-Sink, but he just leers at Magneto and declares ‘Trying to shut down my brain with an electromagnetic pulse? I shunted your shock-wave into the past, Magneto!’, before asking him if he remembers the bodies he stepped on over the way here. ‘You just did that!’ he explains.
Magneto asks Time-Sink to consider what they came here for. ‘You’ll be back where you belong’ he tells him. Legion reminds himself that he tried to brief his teammates as to the nature of the threat they face, that he tried his best. ‘Back where I belong? I like it fine right here’ Time-Sink announces, adding that when Gambit catches up to him, which will be in about two minutes from now, he will teach him the same thing. Magneto is then knocked to the ground, and Time-Sink walks away from him. “Teammates” Legion tells himself. ‘I said, “the nature of the threat we face - is me”!’
Twelve hours ago, on the island home of the X-Men, Utopia. Inside a laboratory, Rogue announces that she is not happy with one single part of this, as she stands beside Doctor Nemesis and Charles Xavier, while Legion lies on an examination chair. Rogue asks if rummaging around in Legion’s head, again, is a good idea. ’Depends if you want to go into a fight blind stone’ Doctor Nemesis tells her. Rogue asks what they are fighting, ’Give me some context here’. Charles declares that it may not come to that, to which Dr Nemesis remarks that it may come to Armageddon. ‘Bearing recent events in mind, I think we should keep all our options on the table’. The scientist adds that just one of Legion’s personas caused the whole of reality to be dismantled and reassembled, and now, probably as a result of that same reality storm, they have mislaid six personas. ‘From here, the view isn’t pretty’.
“Mislaid” Rogue asks, before telling David that they are talking about parts of his mind here, and she doesn’t understand how that could happen. Legion replies that he doesn’t either, before showing her the neural switchboard that Dr Nemesis gave him, explaining that it lets him access the powers of his sub-selves one at a time, but six of them come up blank, no contact. He adds that in Moira’s reality bubble, all of his personas had physical bodies, but these six just did not come home. ‘Which brings us to you, Rogue’ Charles announces. But Rogue replies that she is not seeing the connection. Charles reminds her that her powers allow her to absorb memories and abilities from other mutants directly by skin contact.
The Professor continues, explaining that he has already conducted a search, but that Legion’s psi-powers are prodigious, that the missing personas are shielded from him somehow. ‘If so, you should still be able to sense their presence and draw on their memories’ Charles informs Rogue. But Rogue points out that Legion has more than a thousand personalities, and that she has no idea whether she can zero in on one, or a few, as she has never tried to do that. Doctor Nemesis reminds Rogue that she dealt with billions of personalities at once when she absorbed the Hecatomb. ‘And it almost killed me!’ Rogue points out. ‘Almost. Not quite. Double or quits?’ Doctor Nemesis asks. Rogue looks at Legion and asks him if he wants this. Legion replies that it has to be done, and informs her that he trusts her to do it thoroughly. ‘I - I have to know’ he adds.
As Rogue puts her fingertips to Legion’s temples, she asks him if he has names for her. ‘End Game. Susan in Sunshine. Chain. Time-Sink. The Bleeding Image. And Styx’ Legion replies. Rogue tells him that there is no way of telling how long this is going to take, adding that her mothers did not raise her to be a search engine. Personas flash before Rogue, and soon after, she announces that they are gone - all six of them. She explains that she couldn’t sense them and couldn’t make any kind of contact with any of them. Charles thanks Rogue and remarks that it seems their duty is clear. ‘And it begins with disclosure’ he adds, announcing that they need to talk to Cyclops.
Soon, Charles, Rogue and Legion stand before Scott “Cyclops” Summers, who declares that if these things are loose in the world, then they have to be dealt with, before asking Charles if he understands correctly that he is volunteering for the job. Charles replies that Legion defeated Moira by absorbing her back into his mind, so it seems at least possible that he could do the same for the fugitive personas. Scott replies that he follows the logic, and tells Charles to continue. Xavier explains that a telepath would be needed to monitor that process, and that Rogue has offered to be their pilot, and Gambit to act as a tracker if they need one.
Professor X tells Scott that he is aware he has other maters on his mind right now, and that this would free him to spend time with Rachel until she - while they still have her here. Cyclops turns to Legion and asks him if any of these personas are in Moira’s league. ‘I - no. Of course not. Nobody is’ Legion replies, to which Cyclops points out that they have their own powers all the same. ‘Only until I get close to them’ Legion replies. Cyclops tells them to go, but to stay in touch, and if they get into trouble, Pixie will teleport in reinforcements ‘I want this contained quickly’ Cyclops orders.
Soon, the heroes are preparing to board the X-jet, as Charles thanks Gambit for helping with this mission, to which Gambit asks if they even know where they are doing. Charles reveals that they are going to Europe, as Cerebra detected residual energy traces there - echoes of a mutant presence. Charles adds that, for once, the absence of any other mutant mind signatures works in their favor. ‘There was nothing to disguise or drown out these faint -’ Charles stops himself as he sees something is wrong with Rogue. ‘What is it?’ he asks. Rogue replies that there is something she has to do before they leave. Charles points out that time is already short and asks if it can wait until their return. Rogue replies that it can’t, that she thinks it is now or never. Rogue offers now further explanation, and leaves quickly. Legion notes that the Professor did not try to stop her, as he realized that they had visitors.
‘Magnus. Frenzy’ Charles greets the arrivals inside the jet. ‘Good evening, Charles’ Magneto replies, to which Charles asks them what they are doing here. Magneto explains that he was told to come - an explicit order from their commander in chief, but that he believes Ms Cargill is here on her own initiative. ‘Right’ Frenzy, sporting her sleek new look, replies. Charles remarks that he doesn’t understand. ‘Perhaps Cyclops felt that your team was under-resourced’ Magneto suggests. ‘Seriously? Rogue and Gambit are enormously powerful and experienced. And Legion is a whole army in himself’ Charles declares. Calmly, Magneto replies ‘True. But then, that’s where your problem lies. Legion isn’t just your biggest gun. He’s also the enemy’.
Charles is annoyed and tells Erik that her doesn’t appreciate being overruled in this way. Magneto tells him that he sympathizes, but that they both have their orders. ‘I said I’d deal with this’ Charles states, to which Magneto replies that they will deal with it together. ‘My turn?’ Frenzy asks. ‘No’ Charles tells her. ‘Listen, I just want to -’ Frenzy begins, but Charles states “no” once more and tells Frenzy that he knows why she is here. ‘Redemption isn’t so easily bought. You’re chasing an illusion. Go away’ Charles snaps at her. But Frenzy declares that she wants to help. ‘And yet you tried to kill me. Twice’ Charles reminds her. ‘You want an apology? A promise? I’m not about killing people any more. I -’ Frenzy begins, before declaring that she wants what she had - the other her - in the Fortress. ‘I want everything she had. Just…read me, for God’s sake. Don’t make me say it!’ Frenzy exclaims. Charles stares at Frenzy and says nothing, before turning from her and muttering ‘Well, Jacob worked fourteen years for a wife’. ‘What?’ Frenzy asks. ‘It doesn’t matter. Strap in. We leave as soon as Rogue returns’ Xavier announces.
At that moment, Rogue walks past Bling and Loa as she approaches the laboratory complex. ‘Rogue!’ Dr Kavita Rao exclaims as Rogue enters one of the labs. Rogue informs Rao that she is going to need a few minutes in private. ‘Well, I’m very busy analyzing -’ Kavita begins, but Rogue interrupts: ‘Ah meant with your patient’ she tells her. ‘With what’s left of her, you mean. Fine. I’ll take a walk around the block. It’s been hard, just standing around and watching this happen’ Kavita remarks as she leaves. Rogue approaches Revenant - Rachel Summers - who sits in another room. Rachel thanks Rogue, and remarks that she knew she would come. ‘Then it was you? You did call me, just now? It was so faint…’ Rogue remarks. ‘So am I. I need a favor, Reaper. And there’s nobody else I can ask’ Rachel replies.
Now, Gambit rushes towards Time-Sink, while Legion recalls Cyclops saying that he wanted this contained. David tells himself that it might have been contained, but that there is a law that operates in cases like this. ‘It concerns worms. And cans’ Legion tells himself, as Gambit calls out to Time-Sink, telling him that he has got some cute tricks. ‘Oh, you haven’t seen anything, yet, Gambit’ Time-Sink replies. Gambit tells him that there is nowhere left to run to, as that is the trouble with hiding out on an island. ‘Who said anything about running?’ Time-Sink asks, as he raises his red-glowing fist. Suddenly, images flood into Gambit’s mind:
Gambit sees Belladonna, telling him that they were married only yesterday and now he is running out on her. ‘I would never have believed the man I loved was such a coward’ he remembers her saying. Another memory - this time of being very young and sitting before a safe, with his father standing over him. ‘Would be ashamed of you, even if you were not my son’ he remarks, before ordering his son to being again, and to do better this time, with no excuses. Gambit looks at Time-Sink, and asks ‘Wh - what did you -?’ before more memories flash before him - battles this time - Sabretooth, New Sun, Grovel and Bullseye.
‘Time’s up’ Time-Sink declares as Remy collapses before him, and lies motionless on the pier. Legion appears behind Time-Sink and tells him that this has to end, now. Time-Sink looks at Legion and replies ‘Yeah. It does. You know, I’m glad you came to me first. Some of the others didn’t have the stomach for a fight. They hadn’t worked out the equation yet’ he remarks. ‘What equation is that?’ Legion asks. ‘That for us to be free, you have to die’ Time-Sink replies, before telling Legion that he knows what he is thinking. ‘You’re thinking “I got this fancy control on my wrist. A thousand powers I can call on. This is gonna be real easy”. You’re thinking you’ll come out of this looking good. But trust me. Whatever you throw at me, I’ll hit a second early ot a year late’.
Legion holds up his wrist, and calls out ‘Seven-four-nine’. An instant later, energy crackles from Legion’s hand, straight towards Time-Sink - who suddenly appears behind Legion. ‘Missed me’ Time-Sink exclaims as he shoves a knife into Legion’s shoulder. Legion drops to his knees, and Time-Sink stands over him. ‘Wow. That’s bleeding really heavily, man. Wonder if you’ll last until they get you to a hospital. Here’s a clue: I can keep you lying there for a hundred years, and still hit the bars for happy hour’. Time-Sink crouches beside Legion and tells him that they should have rushed him all at once, as that one-at-a-time stuff was insane. He asks if that was just so they could stack up the fails and then he could come in and save the day.
‘N-no. Wasn’t that’ Legion replies, explaining that it took his father a long time to even make contact with Time-Sink’s mind, and then a little longer to give him a blind spot. ‘NO!’ Time-Sink shouts as Rogue comes up behind him and touches his face. Rogue tells Time-Sink that she is sorry, she had to come at him from a bad angle, otherwise he might have gotten a kiss out of this. ‘I’ll rot you to the bone, woman!’ Time-Sink boasts as he elbows Rogue off him. ‘I’ll rot you to dust, and laugh, while you -’ he remarks, as Legion gets to his feet, and calls out another number: ‘Three-ought-two’ he says, before punching Time-Sink at a rapid pace, and telling him to laugh this off.
Shortly, Magneto, Charles and Frenzy have arrived on the pier, and Gambit has regained consciousness. Legion thanks Rogue for the timely intervention, to which Rogue suggests he thank the Professor, adding that she had to get real close to do that. Rogue remarks that it was not easy, as absorbing powers like his was like keeping hold of a live eel. Charles adds that, for the same reason, he found it so hard to make psi-contact with him, as Time-Sink isn’t a living being in the conventional sense. Charles tells his son that they have a very narrow window. ‘If he recovers -’ Charles begins, but Legion crouches back down beside Time-Sink and replies that he knows, Time-Sink would be a lot harder to take down the second time.
Legion adds that it is better to do this while Time-Sink is unconscious, in any case. ‘That way I don’t have to look him in the eye’ Legion explains as he places his hand over Time-Sink’s face, and tells himself that he already knows how to do this, as he did it in the reality bubble, to Moira. ‘I am not one, but Legion. There’s a whole world inside me. So this…this is just the force of gravity’ Legion tells himself as he re-absorbs Time-Sink back into himself. Legion stands up and tells his father that Time-Sink is safe and stowed. ‘That’s one down…and five to go’. Charles thanks his son, before telling Rogue that the next part depends on her. ‘Were you able to retrieve any memories from Time-Sink when you touched him?’ Charles asks. Rogue replies that she picked up fragments, but maybe enough.
Rogue explains that the personas agreed to separate and to lie low, they thought Europe was far enough away that it would buy them a little time. Rogue adds that Chain and Susan in Sunshine are both in London and that Styx spoke to them before they split up. Magneto announces that they will go to London. ‘Rogue and I will go ahead’ he adds, suggesting they will reconnoitre, he tells the others that they will meet them in the center of the city as soon as they arrive. Rogue and Magneto take flight, while the others walk back towards their ship. ‘That was the stupidest fight I was ever in’ Frenzy mutters. ‘You weren’t in it for long, Joanna’ Gambit points out. Frenzy tells Gambit that it has been a while since she broke any of his fingers, and points out that there is no in-flight movie. ‘Better shut that mouth’ she warns him.
At that moment, deep inside some cold catacombs, a blonde woman lies on a slab, several people surround her and reach out to her. ‘Been awhile since I broke any of your fingers, LeBeau. And there’s no in-flight movie. Better shut that mouth’ she calls out, somehow repeating Frenzy’s words. ‘But then, you just watched your girlfriend leave in Mangeto’s arms - you’re already hurting, aren’t you?’ the woman remarks, once again, calling out Frenzy’s words. Out of the shadows, a frightening figure emerges - it is Styx. He announces that he has heard enough, and orders3the connection cut. One of the others standing around the woman calls Styx his master and informs him that there is a risk, as the psychic backlash may destroy her mind. ‘Why should that matter? She lives in me…just like the rest of you!’ Styx replies.
Somewhere in space, an undetermined amount of time ago, the heroic Starjammers are currently under attack by a large number of tech-heavy beings. Korvus wields a massive sword to use against the enemy, while Lorna “Polaris” Dane casts forth a surge of powerful magnetic energy, and Alex “Havok” Summers releases a burst of plasma at the enemy, as he calls out to Rachel Summers, who is lingering back from her teammates, ‘We’ve got your back!’ Alex shouts. ‘Just do it, Rachel! Go!’ someone yells, and as Rachel cowers behind as boulder she reaches out with her psychic power, reaches out far across space - and pummels into Utopia, the island nation home of the X-Men - just as reality is warped by an escaped persona belonging to Legion. In this new reality, she is known as Revenant. Seven days pass, and she finds her essence stuck on Utopia.
Now, in a lab on Utopia, Revenant hovers in a room, ‘I believe…I was trying to reach out to you. Either to warn you about something, or else to ask for help’ she explains, adding that, any other time, she might have made it. ‘But this is hopeless. Where is my body right now? Am I asleep and dreaming somewhere? In a trance, or a coma?’ Rachel asks as Professor X uses his telepathy to attempt to answer these questions, but to no avail. ‘The truth is - I don’t even know if I’m alive or dead’ Rachel adds as the Stepford Cuckoos use their power to try and learn where she is. ‘Which is the very definition of futility’ Rachel adds as the White Queen frowns at her.
‘Amplitude 15’ Dr Kavita Rao tells Doctor Nemesis, who replies ‘And periodicity right down to 20 micro-seconds’. Doctor Nemesis announces that Revenant cannot last much longer like this. ‘Minutes. An hour at most’. Doctor Nemesis stands before Revenant and tells her that he doesn’t know what to say. ‘Truly. We failed’ he admits, adding ‘Failed to stabilize you. Failed to back-track you to your source. Failed even to define what you are. Whatever it was you needed from us. We came up empty’. Doctor Nemesis turns and walks away, while a solemn Kavita looks up at Revenant and tells her that she is so sorry, before announcing ‘I’ll tell your father’.
Scott “Cyclops” Summers soon stands before Revenant and informs her that there are a number of things they can still do - that they are doing. Cyclops explains that the star-gates were shattered when Vulcan left Earth, but adds trhat there are other ways they can reach the Shi’ar. Scott tells Rachel that he is not going to say goodbye to her, that he is not going to stop looking. Rachel calls him “Dad” and thanks him for everything, adding that she missed him so much.
Sometime later, Rogue enters the laboratory. ‘Thank you. I knew you’d come’ Rachel tells Rogue, who asks ‘Then it was you? You did call me, just now? It was so faint’ Rogue replies. Revenant replies that she is faint, and calling Rogue “Reaper” explains that she needs a favor, and that there is nobody else she can ask. Revenant hangs her head as she asks Rogue to stay with her, to be here when she fades away to nothing - the way she was there for Heather and the others when they were in that place. Rogue explains that she is not the Reaper any more, and adds that this is not the time. Rachel replies that she feels like she is water that someone is holding in their cupped hands, like she is losing herself one drop at a time.
Rogue tells Rachel that it is not like that, assuring her that she will close her eyes here and open them somewhere else. ‘Right. That works either way, doesn’t it?’ Rachel asks. ‘Ah think you knew what you were doing when you came here’ Rogue announces. ‘But I didn’t know - couldn’t imagine - what I was walking into. When Moira’s mind-wipe hit me, my real memories just shattered. Maybe they’ll come back. Maybe they won’t’ Rachel replies. Rogue raises a hand towards Rachel and announces that she will try, but not because she thinks this is the end. ‘Ah’ll try because anything Ah get from you might help us to find you’ she explains. Rogue and Rachel touch finger-tips, and there is a burst of energy, as Rogue announces that it is working. ‘Ah’m seeing - Ah don’t know what Ah’m seeing, but Ah know it’s a place Ah’ve never been!’ Rogue exclaims.
The energy burst subsides, and Rachel’s hand passes through Rogues. ‘Gone, now. Whatever it was. This was a waste of your time’ Rachel declares. But Rogue assures her that it wasn’t, to which Rachel asks ‘You think - what? That there are grounds for hope?’. Rogue tells her ‘Better than hope’ and assures Rachel that she will see her again soon. ‘You’re sure of that?’ Revenant asks. ‘Ah’m sure of this much. God didn’t let you fly halfway across the universe just so we could watch you melt like ice in hot water’ she declares. Rachel’s form begins to fade away, but she tells Rogue that she is right, as this doesn’t feel like death. ‘But I think I’m about to find out’ Rachel calls out, before she vanishes. ‘Rachel! Rachel, talk to me!’ Rogue calls out.
But, there is echo on fruitless echo. And then, the past dropped down on Rogue like sand in an hourglass. What was close - what only just happened - came rushing in first. Second after second folded back into itself. The river flowing uphill. Because backwards was how Rogue got it from Rachel. And then it unwound, but backwards, and for a while, there was nothing.
Shortly, Rogue enters the room where Cyclops is working and informs him that Rachel is on a space station somewhere in the Shi’ar Imperium. ‘Go on’ Scott asks as he stands up. Rogue reveals that she thinks the place is really remote, that she caught an echo of Havok’s voice saying “five miles south of the universe”. Rogue tells Cyclops that if he can get in touch with anyone on Chandilar, or Lila Cheney, then tell them to look for a solar system that is really crowded. ‘Seventeen planets. Thirteen orbiting bio-habitats. And this station, which is as big as a couple of worlds put together’ Rogue reveals. ‘You got all this from Rachel’s mind? Where Emma and the Professor failed?’ Scott asks. Rogue reminds Scott that she was the Reaper, that this was pretty much all she did. ‘Ah guess it stays with you’ she tells him, adding that, whatever he can do, he has to do it now. ‘Because every last thing in that system is about to fall into the sun!’
At that moment, inside the space station, Rachel Summers awakes with a gasp. ‘Captain. It’s awake’ an alien voice calls out to its commanding officer, as Rachel looks around on the slab that she lies on. ‘Let me talk to her’ the Captain replies in his alien language. Someone readies their weapon, but another voice calls out ‘No, no. I’ve been practicing. I think my terran is up to this’. This alien grabs the weapon and aims it at Rachel’s head, informing her that they killed her friends and took their time doing it. ‘The next word you speak better be the one I want to hear…’.