The X-Woman called Rogue suddenly falls from the sky - but it is not Earth’s sky, as she lands on a strange alien landscape. ‘where the hell am -’ she thinks to herself, before a warrior in powerful armor appears before her. ‘Oh’ Rogue gasps, before realizing that she has landed on an alien planet, and is in the midst of a battle between multi-limbed green insect-like aliens with sharp teeth, and more humanoid aliens with jaguar-like markings on their skin. One of the warriors utters something in his naïve tongue, before slicing the had off one of the insect-like aliens. Blood flows across the landscape as the warriors and the insects battle ferociously. One of the insect-aliens uses some sort of psychic power, attacking one of the warriors, who turns and flees. ‘Definitely not in Kansas anymore’Rogue thinks to herself, wide-eyed.
Suddenly, one of the insect-like aliens leaps towards Rogue, who stands her ground, and punches it into the air. Her action is observed by the fighting factions, who all stop their battle and turn to her. One of the warriors utters something in their native language, while Rogue suddenly looks worried, and tells herself that this is not good. She starts to run, ‘Okay, what do Ah know? Ah’m on an alien planet. Maybe even in another dimension. Ah’ve fallen into the middle of a war. Don’t know the players, but Ah sure got their attention. Which means the first order’a business is to get outta here -’ Rogue tells herself, when suddenly, a large greenish alien appears before her. ‘That’s new’ Rogue realizes, before the alien slams a fist into the ground, breaking it up and sending Rogue falling backwards. ‘Oh yeah. One more thing. Ah still got some’a Ms Marvel’s powers’ Rogue reminds herself, as she gets up and flies through the large green creature, apparently comprised of many of the insect-like aliens merged together, as they fall apart when Rogue burst through them.
Rogue flies into the air, listing off the powers she has thanks to Ms Marvel - strength, durability, flight and energy blasts. But, she knows that every time she uses them she depletes them, and when they are gone, she will just be a normal person again - on a world where she has just made enemies of the locals. Rogue decides that she better hide, and hope that she never sees any of these folk again, as she flies away.
Shortly, Rogue has set down on another area of the alien planet, and walks through what appears to be a forest - where the trees are pink and the flowers are odd. Rogue tells herself that it doesn’t look like anyone followed her, but knows that is where the good news ends. She is walking to conserve her powers, but has no idea how much she has left before they will fade. Rogue knows that she must get home, but she hasn’t seen any sign of gateways, portals or advanced civilizations on the few scouting trips she made above the tree-line. Deciding that, as she can breathe, she must have landed on a planet where the atmosphere is Earth-like, or it is one of those magic dimensions where everyone can breathe. Some strange jelly-fish like creatures fly past her, and Rogue tells herself that, either way, civilization looks pretty medieval, if the warriors are any indication.
‘This ain’t good. Ah could be here a while. With mah friends…maybe all of Earth…in danger’ Rogue realizes, before telling herself to take it easy, as flipping out will go nobody any good. She hopes that someone notice she is gone from Earth and will come looking for her. Touching one of the plants, Rogue knows she has to start thinking about how she is going to survive until then. ‘How do Ah build a fire when the trees are made’a crystal?’ she wonders. ‘Come to that, what am Ah supposed to eat?’ Rogue asks herself, before recalling that the X-Men drill their students on alien world survival skills, so now it is time to show she can do as well as teach. She continues on, before coming to some trees that actually look like plants, not New Age window decorations. Looking at the fruit, Rogue decides that it isn’t the most appetizing she has seen, ‘But beggars can’t be choosers’ Rogue reminds herself, while realizing that for all she knows the fruit might explode on contact.
Rogue sees an alien animal on the tree, and it uses the fruit as food. ‘Well, Ah gotta eat something. Ah reckon this is the best thing Ah’ve seen on the menu’ Rogue tells herself as she reaches for the strange blue fruit. Suddenly, one of the warriors leaps through the trees and lunges at Rogue. He manages to grab her wrist as she tries to pull away. ‘All right, pal, you just bought yourself a world’a - hurt?’ Rogue begins, but the warrior simply knocks the blue fruit from her hand. ‘Wouldn’t eat that if I were you’ the warrior states. ‘Unless you’re a Parrathian Venom-Beast, it’ll liquefy your innards’ the warrior explains. ‘Who - Ah - Ah understand you’ Rogue remarks. The warrior removes his helmet and replies ‘And I you. You are speaking my language, though you are clearly not of the Vray. A moment ago, you spouted gibberish’ the warrior adds.
Another warrior moves forward, ‘She is of the Swarm! It’s their damnable hive-mind at work!’ the other warrior exclaims. He raises his large sword and tells his superior - Commander Chahr - to step back, while he slays her before she enslaves his thoughts. The large alien brings his sword down on Rogue, but it shatters when her fist makes contact. ‘What -?’ the warrior gasps. Commander Chahr smiles and announces that she is not of the Swarm, but something entirely new. ‘And quite impressive’ he adds, while calling the warrior Taros, and suggesting that he apologize, if he likes his head where it is. Taros kneels down and states that he regrets any insult. ‘Clearly you are not of the Swam. I recall now hat you shattered their colossus on the battlefield. You are the Alpha, and I defer to your power’ he announces. ‘Uh…okay. That’s nice, but it ain’t necessary’ Rogue tells him, before smiling and informing her companions that they can call her Rogue. She then thanks them for the heads-up about the fruit, before informing them that all she really wants is a decent meal, and asks if they have any tips.
Chahr informs Rogue that if she allows it, he believes he may be of help, and explains that there is a sap in the crystal trees that quenches both thirst and hunger. He breaks some of the tree off, and both he and Rogue drink from it. ‘Not bad at all. Kinda like molasses’ Rogue remarks, before telling Chahr that she is obliged, before asking him how he found her. Chahr tells Rogue that her remarkable show of strength sent the Swarm into retreat. ‘Frankly, our king was concerned by such a powerful newcomer to the battle. He bade us locate you…learn your nature and purpose. You were not difficult to track. Your scent is like no other on this world’ Chahr explains, before informing Rogue that he has questions - ‘From where do you hail? How is it you speak our tongue?’ he asks. They walk across the landscape, now followed by the army, and Rogue reveals that she is from another world. ‘Ah don’t speak your language…or didn’t until you tackled me. Your skin must a’ touched mine’ she tells him, explaining that when she touches another living being, she takes on their qualities. ‘Ah guess you’d say, touch their mind’.
‘You invaded my thoughts?’ Chahr asks. Rogue explains that she didn’t, and that the transfer must have only lasted a moment, otherwise he would be unconscious. She tells Chahr that she didn’t used to be able to control it, and spent years with other people’s thoughts in her head, but now she is pretty ornery about keeping her own thoughts. ‘We have more in common than you know. My people fight for the same freedom you speak of. The Swarm would subjugate us all to their hive-mind’ Chahr tells Rogue, adding that that is a fate worse than death for them. ‘The removal of all honor…all opportunity for betterment, for glory. The death of the part of us that gives life meaning’. Chahr tells Rogue that if she feels the same, he asks her to join their noble struggle. ‘The Swarm has driven us to near extinction. Overrun our ancestral homes in search of ever more resources for their insatiable needs. We fight over resources, but more, we fight for our very existence’ he tells her.
Rogue tells Chahr that she sympathizes, but points out that this isn’t her world, and that she has her own battles to fight, as right now, her friends are fighting them without me, and she has to figure out a way to get back to her world. Chahr replies that he understands, before announcing ‘And if I were to offer in exchange for your aid, to send you home?’, causing Rogue to go wide-eyed as she asks him ‘You…could do that?’. Chahr replies that he can try, informing Rogue that he doesn’t wish to deceive her, but magic is a lost art for the majority of his people. He tells her that ages ago, many of their ancestors were versed in the mystic arts. Today, though, the demands of war have supplanted those studies, and it has been centuries since anyone has attempted dimensional travel and returned. ‘But if there is hope for you, it lies there’ he adds.
Chahr tells Rogue that the old scrolls are in their capital city, but that they cannot leave here with the Swarm advancing on their lands, and their full armies marching to support them, as well as theirs for them. ‘With your aid, I am confident we will crush the Swarm in short order. Then I vow I will do all in my power to help you’ Chahr tells Rogue, who turns from him, and thinks about the situation, before turning back and taking Chahr’s hand, assuring him that she will do all in her power to help him. However, Rogue knows that Chahr thinks that her power includes what she borrowed from Ms Marvel, and that will fade - sooner, rather than later. She knows if that happens in battle, then she is as good as dead, and any other time, these guys are liable to kill her for false advertising. Rogue decides that her only chance is to put down the opposition fast, and hope it buys her enough goodwill that the Vray keep their promise even after she is just a normal girl. ‘Lotta “ifs” in that. Ah’m playing a dangerous game. Too bad the alternatives are a damn sight worse…’ Rogue thinks to herself.
Hours later, at a campsite, ‘Have you gone mad? Basing our entire plan on an outsider?’ one of the Vray asks Chahr, who kneels before him and addresses him as the King. Chahr explains that under normal circumstances he would have consulted with him first, but that there was no opportunity, for left alone, Rogue could have been taken by the Swarm and fought for them. ‘She may fight for them even now. This could be a trap’ the King points out, but Chahr tells him that the Swarm lack the imagination. ‘Still, we know nothing of her…her true loyalties. The men will nor follow her’ the King points out. Rogue stands nearby as Chahr tells the King that she proved herself the Alpha, both on the battlefield and against Taros, his strongest warrior. ‘They will follow her, in their hearts they do already’.
Chahr continues, asking his King if he may speak plainly, he states that for the first time in memory, they have something capable of overcoming the Swarm’s advantage in numbers. ‘We have a chance to win this eternal war. The men sense it. They hunger for it’ Chahr declares. The King turns and walks away, announcing that Chahr is responsible for this. ‘If she fails me…you fail me. And you will face the consequences’ he states. ‘Yes, my King’ Chahr replies. Rogue turns to Chahr and tells him she gets the feeling the King doesn’t like her much. ‘He has led us many years. Fought countless battles. His caution serves us well’ Chahr replies, before telling Rogue not to worry, as she has been accepted, and his warriors have finished preparing her shelter. ‘Mah what?’ Rogue asks as Chahr motions to a small building nearby. ‘You must be refreshed for the battle to come’ Chahr points out.
They enter the room, and Rogue sees a bed. She tells Chahr that she doesn’t need all this, but Chahr tells her that it is her right, as the Alpha. ‘As is your choice my warriors to be your evening’s companions’ Chahr explains. Several warriors follow Rogue and Chahr into the room, and Chahr orders them to disrobe. They do so, removing all of their clothes. ‘May goodness!’ Rogue gasps, turning away from them. ‘Choose as many as you wish’ Chahr assures Rogue, before he offers himself, should she find him worthy. Rogue covers her eyes and tells Chahr that this is all very considerate, but she wants everyone to put their pants back on. ‘Really, all Ah need is a pillow and Ah’m fine’ Rogue assures them. ‘Out, scum! You have displeased the Alpha!’ Chahr tells the warriors, who cover themselves and scamper out of the room. ‘Not at all. Their…qualifications… are very impressive. Ah’m just…’ Rogue begins, before going over to a small table and picking up a glass of liquid which she drinks.
‘I understand. You are bonded to a mate, on your homeworld’ Chahr remarks. Rogue replies that it is complicated, and tells Chahr that she would rather focus on the fight. ‘Spoken like a warrior’ Chahr declares, adding that he, too, lives for victory. He explains that his people do not recall the glory days of the Vray, when their civilization ruled this world, but he has read the stories, and informs Rogue that the Vray numbered in the millions, and achieved wonders unparalleled before or since - weapons, airships, tall, gleaming cities. ‘But, after the cataclysm, as our numbers dwindled those things were forgotten. Ever Vray was needed on the battlefield. Our arts, our science fell by the wayside’. Chahr tells Rogue that when he thinks of what his people once were, and to what they have been reduced to… ‘Your pardon. It is unseemly for a warrior to become so emotional’ Chahr declares.
‘No, not at all. Ah understand better’n you might imagine’ Rogue tells Chahr, informing him that her people are fighting a battle for their future, too. Chahr tells Rogue that he realizes how difficult it is for her, not to be at their side. ‘It is. But that’s not what I meant’ Rogue replies, before explaining that it kills her that she can’t help them, but she can rage about it, which doesn’t help nobody, or she can do the best she can where she is. Rogue tells Chahr that she doesn’t know that her help is going to be enough. ‘Ah’m not as strong as you think -’ she begins, but Chahr tells her to stop, and states that his people have a saying - ‘A warrior cannot choose when he dies…but he can choose how he dies’. He tells Rogue that if they die in battle, it will be glorious, and that is enough for him. He then turns and leaves Rogue’s quarters.
Later, Rogue is sleeping, when suddenly, her room is invaded by the Swarm! ‘Ah’ll say this. Y’all know how to make a girl feel wanted!’ Rogue exclaims as she leaps out of bed and throws the insect-like alien from her bed. Several more move around the floor, while Rogue creates and energy blast which keeps them at bay. ‘You here to recruit me too? Or just kill me? ‘she enquires, deciding that it doesn’t matter, as they aren’t big on offering a choice. ‘Ah’ll give you one. You can walk our or get thrown -’ Rogue begins as she suddenly loses her energy powers. ‘Uh…damnation. Ah always knew this would happen…’ she mutters, looking at her hands. The Swarm close in on Rogue, teeth barred, and Rogue mutters that she is going to die of bad timing!