A communications room at the Jean Grey School, in Westchester, New York, where Rogue has received an emergency distress call. ‘As you can see from the images I’m sending you, the riot’s in cellblock C’ a prison warden states via communicator. He explains that after recent damage to the Raft, his facility has been taking in superhuman criminals, not something that it was built for. Rogue watches the images which depict superhuman criminals engaged in a battle with regular prisoners and guards. The warden adds that they were issued a detachment of Guardsmen, but that they won’t last long, and explains that if the inmates move to adjacent cellblocks and release others, it will be a disaster.
The warden tells Rogue that the Fantastic Four are in some other dimension and the Avengers are spread around the world fixing the damage from the Phoenix situation. ‘We need help and we need it fast. Avengers dispatch suggested you’ he explains. Rogue informs the warden that most of the X-Men aren’t here, either. ‘See, we’re a school, and there’s a field trip to Tabula Rasa…’ her voice trails off, and she looks back up at the holo-images of the riot, before exclaiming ‘Y’know what? We’ll make do. We’re on our way, warden. Hang on just a few more minutes’ she tells him as she rushes out of the communications room, and down a corridor, finds Calvin Rankin a.k.a. the Mimic. Mimic tells Rogue that he was just coming to talk to her, but Rogue tells him that can talk in the Blackbird, as there is a prison riot upstate. ‘No one here except you and me. Gimme a lift to the hangar?’ Rogue asks. ‘Absolutely’ Mimic replies as he picks Rogue up and starts to fly to the hangar.
Soon, the Blackbird streaks skyward, and Rogue announces that the autopilot is set, before asking Mimic if she can borrow a couple of his abilities, at least until she gets close to some of the bad guys. ‘Sure. But won’t that cancel both our powers out?’ Mimic asks. Rogue explains that that will only happen if they try to copy each other at the same time. ‘Then go right ahead’ Mimic tells her, before Rogue asks him what it was he wanted to talk about. ‘Oh…right. I, uh, swear I wasn’t eavesdropping. But I overheard you and Gambit. Saying things were over between you and Magneto’ Mimic explains. ‘Oh’ Rogue replies, before telling Cal that she doesn’t want to jump to conclusions, and assuring him that she likes him a lot, but that she isn’t ready to be with anyone right now. ‘That’s what Ah was talking to Remy about. He saw it long before Ah did’ Rogue explains.
Rogue continues, revealing that Gambit knew she had to figure things out for herself, so he gave her some space, set her on the course she needed without pushing her, or telling her what to do. Rogue adds that she was thanking Gambit for being her best friend, pointing out that she knows how much it sucks being in the “friend zone”. ‘But Cal, that’s just all Ah got room for right now’ Rogue tells Calvin, who replies ‘Um, great. Really. Because I wasn’t asking you out’. Rogue covers her face with her hands, embarrassed. ‘Course not. Stupid and vain. Ah oughtta come with a warning label’. Mimic tells Rogue that he can see how she thought that, but explains that it was the things she said about being on your own and figuring things out, that is what he wanted to discuss.
Mimic informs Rogue that Dr McCoy told him that Michael - Weapon Omega - is going to be okay, cured, probably in the next few days. ‘Cal, that’s wonderful!’ Rogue smiles. ‘Yeah. It really is. And once he’s awake…I’m thinking about leaving the school. The X-Men’ Mimic reveals, staring out the window. Calvin tells Rogue that he has learned so much in a short time, about teamwork, and ways to use his powers, but not so much about himself. He turns back to her, and continues: ‘Who I want to be. What I want from life. Pretty big questions for anyone, but for me…the way my powers work, I tend to instinctively mimic strong personalities - the X-Men are full of them’.
‘Except for mine’ Mimic points out, adding that it is easy to lost himself, too easy, as he doesn’t know if what he feels is he, or Wolverine seeping in around the edges. ‘But then I look at you. Powers like mine. Background not that different. And you did it, you figured it out because you were here. Rogue…what should I do?’ Mimic asks. Rogue looks taken aback, before glancing out the window and announcing ‘There’s the prison’. Rogue gets out of her seat, and places a bare hand on Mimic’s wings, and tells him that for the moment, all he has to do is kick ass and stay alive. A hatch opens, and Rogue drops out of it, flying towards the prison, part of it on fire, using the newly-acquired wings.
Mimic follows, and the first part of the riot they come across, sees several Guardsmen in danger. ‘Get Quicksand! We can’t stop her!’ one of them exclaims as the criminal called Quicksand has made a sandstorm, engulfing many. ‘Damn right. How do you hold a force of nature?’ Quicksand boasts. ‘With another’ Rogue exclaims as she fires a blast of ice, freezing Quicksand. Rogue asks Mimic to back her up, and he does so, while some human prisoners also engage the Guardsmen in battle. ‘Nice work, but there’s already too many loose, too wide a range of power sets. Even with you two, we can’t stand up to them all’ a Guardsman calls out to Rogue. ‘Sugah, for me a “wide range of power sets” is like a trip to 31 Flavors’ Rogue replies, before telling him to give her a minute, and then the criminals’ skills are going to be working for her while Mimic continues to freeze Quicksand.
Several of the powered-criminals see Rogue flying towards them. ‘Don’t let her touch you! She’s a power thief!’ Ruby Thursday tells everyone. Rogue manages to touch Ruby Thursday on the head, but energy bands extend from it, and Ruby Thursday explains that her head is artificial. The bands wrap around Rogue, while Ruby tells everyone with ranged attacks to fire, when she moves. Ruby Thursday moves back, and Rogue is forced upwards by a combined attack from the pyrokinetic Silk Fever and the electrical powers of Supercharger. Suddenly, ‘I’m sorry - so sorry’ a voice calls out behind Rogue. She turns around, to see the Schizoid Man hovering behind her. ‘Take you apart’ the Schizoid Man utters. ‘…I can’t stop him’ another voice exclaims, before the Schizoid Man releases several psionic projections at Rogue.
Mimic sees Rogue in trouble and fires an optic blast at the Schizoid Man, knocking him over. ‘Rogue! Fall back!’ Mimic calls out, and as he returns to freezing Quicksand, he asks ‘Are you -?’, to which Rogue assures him that she will be fine. ‘How’d they know what Ah can do?’ Rogue asks. A Guardsman approaches Rogue and tells her that more people know of her than she thinks. ‘They’re not going to let us near the. We need more backup’ he adds. Rogue tells him that there is no more backup, so they will have to do. Rogue reminds Mimic that as he can copy powers just by being close. With flame bursting from one hand and ice from the other, Mimic replies ‘And I will’, before telling Rogue that the man who attacked her, the Schizoid Man, is insane, and that being near him is like having snakes crawling into his head.
Mimic continues, ‘And the Griffin. He’s feral…I’ll do what I can, but mimicking such strong personalities, I’m barely hanging on’. Rogue goes over to him and puts a hand on his shoulder, asking if he can hold on a few more minutes, as she has an idea, but needs him to buy her time. ‘I…yes. Consider it done’ Mimic replies, before telling Rogue to please hurry, as he spins around and fires an optic blast at the Griffin. Rogue turns to the Guardsman and asks if there are inmates with powers in any other cellblocks, and if there are any on good behavior. The Guardsman displays a holo-blueprint of the prison and replies that there are a few. ‘But you can’t seriously want them out. They’ve got problems…mental…behavioral -’ he begins, Rogue assures him that she isn’t going to let them out, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help. With that, she flies off to another part of the prison.
Flying down the space between cells, Rogue gets some attention from the prisoners, one of whom shouts ‘Hey, my conjugal visit’s here!’, while another declares that she is setting up position, which means the C block guys are coming. ‘Aww yeah! Them walls are about to tumble down!’ another shouts. Rogue sets down on the floor and calls out to the prisoners, announcing that the riot is going to be stopped sooner or later, the Avengers will show up and it will all be over. ‘Keep talking and maybe you’ll believe it!” someone calls out. Rogue ignores the comment and continues: ‘Some of you know who Ah am. Ah can borrow anyone’s powers by touching ‘em. If they’re fighting me, it’s harder. Tough to get powers without part of their psyche, too. And Ah can’t afford voices in mah head right now. So Ah’m asking for volunteers’ Rogue calls out.
The entire cellblock bursts into a fit of laughter. ‘Oh, man, they’re really desperate’ one prisoner calls out. ‘You better run, little girl. If you’re still here when we get sprung, it’s gonna be nasty!’ another warns Rogue. ‘Yeah, Ah figured. Ah ain’t talking to all of you, or even most of you. You ain’t gonna listen no matter what Ah say’ Rogue replies. She continues: ‘Ah know you’re hoping the others’ll bust you out. And maybe some you are smart enough to know that’s a dead end. What’s it get you? Life on the run? Hiding, fighting just to stay alive?’ The prisoners all go quiet and listen as Rogue tells them that she has been where they are - full of hate for everybody, everything, and mad as hell because the world gave her a raw deal - and it did.
‘But so did Ah. Because Ah gave up on mahself. On any possibility it could be better’ she explains, adding that things got worse, she hurt many people, including herself, as that is all she thought she was capable of doing. Rogue reveals that when she went to the X-Men, she was desperate, and they had every reason to turn her away, some wanted to, but they didn’t. ‘Ah figured if they believed in me, Ah owed it to them to believe in mahself. To try. To get better’ Rogue adds. She explains that she found she could, that she was so much more than she had ever imagined possible. ‘Ah’m still learning that’ she admits.
Rogue tells the prisoners that the biggest lesson was that there were people who cared enough to help, but that at the end of the day, it was up to her. ‘Ah ain’t gonna lie. It was hard. Still is. And Ah live knowing it could all unravel if Ah make one wrong move’. One strange-looking prisoner listens intently, as Rogue announces that it all started with someone believing in her, and her taking that first step. ‘Ah believe in you. Now it’s your move’ she declares. There is more laughter, as a regular prisoner shouts ‘And that’s one to grow on! You are cracking me up, lady. You have got to be insane if you think any of us would -’, but the strange-looking prisoner interrupts, and tells Rogue that he has a kid. ‘If I cooperate, do I get out sooner?’
‘Equinox, you traitor! You even think about it and you’re a dead man!’ someone shouts out from one of the cells above. Rogue tells Equinox that she can’t promise anything, but that she will try her damnedest. ‘Come on then. I’ve let her down enough’ Equinox calls out as he holds his hand out through the bars, and Rogue takes it. A few cells away is Armadillo, who tells Rogue that he has never been much good on his own. ‘Perhaps, through you, I can begin to change that’. Rogue tells him that he is, and thanks him as she places a hand on his. Slumped over in another cell is Man-Bull, ‘Hhhelp. Want to…help’ he utters. Rogue tells him that he is, and swears she won’t forget this, as she touches one of his large fingers.
‘Neither will we! You’re dead, all three of you! Dead!’ a voice exclaims. But, Rogue spins around, her form changing - eyes glowing, horns sprouting, skin morphing, she shouts ‘Wrong. Anyone so much as touches them, Ah’ll be back. And Ah’ll show you what Ah was like as a bad guy!’
Back in C block, Icemaster has trapped Mimic’s legs in a block of ice, while the Griffin flies overhead, and the Schizoid Man releases more mental constructs. ‘Darkness tearing at your mind. Worming in and spreading. I want you to let go. Embrace the madness. Just do it. Let your true self out’ the Schizoid Man beckons, while Mimic forces Ruby Thursday back with an optic blast. ‘Go to hell. I’m stronger than you. You can kill me. But you’ll never take who I am!’ Mimic exclaims as he knocks Griffin backwards. ‘How about neither!’ a voice calls out - Rogue has returns, and she knocks Icemaster over, adding his powers to her strange new appearance. Rogue slams a large bull-like fist into Griffin, forcing him down. ‘How about you all go back to your cells…before things get ugly’ Rogue suggests.
Lightmaster appears before Rogue and tells her that it is too late for that, as she passed “ugly” miles ago. Rogue rushes towards Lightmaster, who boasts that he can burn through that armadillo hide ‘I command light itself!’ Lightmaster exclaims, before screaming as Rogue puts a half-frosted half-flaming hand on him. ‘Whoop-de-doo, Lightmaster’ she mutters, before announcing that she also commands light itself now, and shoves him away with ease. Mimic encases Ruby Thursday in ice, while goes after Silk Fever. ‘Problem was, y’all wouldn’t let me get close. Now you ain’t got a choice’ Rogue tells the villains as she slams a large iced-fist into Silk Fever, before turning on the Griffin, forcing him down. ‘Your senior skip day’s over, kids!’ Rogue exclaims.
‘Folks. You think you can fight madness? You think you can stand up to the darkest visions of your own fractured minds?’ the Schizoid Man asks as he releases more psionic construct demons. The demons swarm around Rogue and Mimic, as Rogue responds by saying ‘Yeah, Ah done it a lot. Truth to tell…it’s getting kinda boring!’ she adds as she moves through the demons with ease, and slams a powerful fist against the Schizoid Man. The Guardsmen begin rounding up any escaped criminals, while Mimic approaches Rogue and exclaims that he might just ask her out after all. ‘Psshh. All Ah am to you is a pretty face’ Rogue replies, before telling Mimic that he did some nice work.
Later, the Blackbird returns to the Jean Grey School, and Rogue tells Calvin that about what he asked her earlier, he doesn’t need her to tell her what to do, and assures him that he is a lot stronger than he gives himself credit for. ‘You proved that today’ she adds, before telling Mimic that he can figure this out for himself, and whatever he decides, it will be the right thing. ‘What makes you so sure?’ Mimic asks. Walking out onto the school grounds, Rogue explains that she has figured out the hard way that the toughest thing to do is trust yourself, and that it is also the most important. ‘Ah ain’t talking about being arrogant…thinking you can do no wrong. You grew outta that a long time ago. It’s about asking yourself the right questions…and allowing yourself the time and space to work out the answers’ Rogue tells Calvin.
‘Discovering who you are, who you want to be, and figuring out how to close the gap’ Rogue remarks. ‘You think being here will help you do that, stay. You think it’s better done alone, with fewer distractions…go. Deep down, you already know’. Mimic listens to Rogue, before asking her what it feels like when you get there. ‘You don’t. It never ends’ Rogue responds, while another Blackbird lands nearby, and several faculty members - the Beast, Frenzy and Gambit - and several students - Anole, Armor, Graymalkin, Trance, Rockslide, Bling and Idie - emerge from it. Rogue tells Mimic that you are always learning about yourself and getting better, working not to make new mistakes, or slip back into old ones. ‘It’s called life’
Mimic thanks Rogue, who puts a hand on his shoulder and tells him ‘Anytime’, before Mimic takes to the sky. She watches him go, and several others gather around her - the Beast, Gambit, Anole, Armor and Rockslide, while Cannonball and Iceman appear overhead. ‘Cal’ Rogue calls out. ‘Hm?’ Mimic asks, looking back. ‘It feels great’ Rogue smiles.