Marie Jennifer D’Ancanto (or prisoner #K-22351) walks up the courthouse steps in Valle Soleada, California. Outside the courthouse, two factions converge. One of these factions is the pro-Marie group, the other is the anti-Marie group and the only thing that stands between them is a handful of police officers.
Manoli Wetherell reports on the clash of the factions and Marie’s excuse of why she attacked the Mermaid Club’s patrons. Manoli states that Marie is upset over the recent takeover of her own neighborhood by a group that says they only want mutants to live there.
At the X-Corp headquarters in Los Angeles, Roberto DaCosta talks to the governor of California, telling him that he strongly deplores Marie’s hate-crime and anyone that shares his views will get his full support. The reply is not heard, but Bobby goes on to say that he believes an example needs to be made out of Marie so this heinous crime will not happen again. Back at the courthouse, the district attorney addresses a crowd of reporters and tells them that he is seeking the maximum penalty for her crimes. Minutes later, the judge questions Marie on how she will plead in the case. Marie stands to her feet and nervously pleads not guilty, as her lawyer sits uncaringly next to her.
In the night and at Anna’s beach house a mutant named Revenant (another word for ghost) walks the beach outside.
Anna Raven runs from the ocean in a joyful smile, as she thinks about how great her life has been of late. She has a job, a house of her own, her own “sweetie” and she has even picked a name out for herself. Running inside her house, Anna brushes her hair in front of her bathroom mirror and is shocked to see her eyes begin to glow. Suddenly, her hand begins to turn blue and she wonders how it is possible she is turning into Mystique when she has never imprinted her foster mother before? Running from the room, her towel falls to the ground, revealing her body to be in the form of Mystique. Rogue hears a voice inside her and knows that it is Mystique that is speaking to her. Rogue’s teammates rush in, only to be singly killed by Anna’s mutated hands. As she kills, Anna hears Mystique tell her that the two of them are almost identical; Mystique steals people’s appearance, while Rogue steals their minds. She hears the voice tell her that the only reason she is good is because of the hero’s memories she has stolen and, in truth, Anna is “bad to the bone.” Anna in Mystique’s form clutches her chest over a fallen Storm, in happy glee.
Back in the Present
Lila Cheney teleports back to Anna’s house with Sam Guthrie in her arms. Walking in the night, Lila trips over something on the floor and the two mutants hear a scream coming from Rogue’s room. Lila tells Sam that she wants to teleport them back to safety, but Sam tells her not to. They recognize the scream as Rogue and the two of them hear her scream that she is not MYSTIQUE!
Later in the morning, Anna sits in a fetal position at the kitchen table. She tells the others that her skin doesn’t feel right, because it’s smooth when it should be scaly and blue. Sage sits at the other end of the table and tells Rogue that she is not a metamorph and there isn’t any trace of the gene trigger in her DNA. Rogue tells Sage that she doesn’t know that for sure, because she has said in the past that she can’t get a decent scan of her genome. She next questions if she could be going through her secondary mutation. She questions the others what might be if Mystique messed with her genes when she was a young child? Sage tells Anna that, no matter how she began her life, her choices and decisions are hers exclusively. Sage goes on to say that it is intriguing to ponder the similarities between her nightmare last night and the ones that Marie said had plagued her family till her uncle signed the papers to sell her house. A dong at the door interrupts their conversation and Sage says “fascinating,” as if an event she has predicted is fixing to occur.
A man named Jarod Molloy introduces himself to the members in the house. Anna and Sam invite him into their house and they sit in the living room to discuss an offer Jarod tells them he has. Jarod tells Sam and Anna that Valle Soleada is changing and it isn’t a crime for them to want to be with their “own kind.” Sam tells Jarod that they have never had a problem in their neighborhood before. Jarod tells Sam that they may never have a problem, but he asks how their later children might feel going to a school centered on mutants? Outside, Sage uses her powers to eavesdrop on Jarod’s conversation and the others are intrigued to hear how convincing the Lawyer is.
Sam and Anna smile towards Jarod as he leaves and he tells them that when they consider all the factors. His offer is the best decision. When he is out of sight, Anna exclaims, “What a scam!” Sam agrees with Anna’s exclamation, but asks how baseline humans can fight against a mutant with the power to persuade them to leave their lives behind over nightmares? Bishop comes into the room along with the others and tells Sam that Jarod’s appearance puts a new perspective on Marie’s case. Sage, in agreement, doesn’t stop to explain. Instead, she heads towards her motorcycle and tells the others that she is going to trail Jarod’s car. Bishop looks over towards Lila, as he hears Sage’s last words about finding a good lawyer for Marie, and asks if she can transport him to New York. With an embrace, the two mutants port off to find the lawyer Sage was talking about. After the others are gone, Sam asks Anna if she is feeling better and she replies that she really isn’t, because her nightmares really hit where she lives. Rogue places a hand on Sam’s chest and he calls her “river rat” and tells her that he knows she has survived worse.
Rogue & Sam’s Flashback
Rogue has just joined the X-Men after leaving the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Outside the mansion, she is practicing against a tree. She kicks the tree and it falls to the ground, but there is a shock to the landing of the tree. Rogue hears a “Hey,” as if someone was below the tree when it fell. There was somebody and, to Rogue’s surprise, it was Sam Guthrie, the mutant the others called Cannonball. She apologizes to Sam but he tells her that it was no harm, no foul. He tells her that, since the two of them are southerners, they’re going to have to stick together. She helps him to his feet and tells him that she probably shouldn’t be there. Sam tells Rogue that the others were weary of him when he joined the New Mutants but, after a few days, they began to trust him. He tells her that the X-Men are descent folk, if she’ll just give them time.
Back in the Present
Anna hugs Sam tight and she tells him that if it weren’t for him she would have probably quit that night.
At the Presidential Ranch in Crawford, Texas, the two mutants stand up against the impending presence of their former allies in the government. Storm tells the others that they have all been adversaries in the past, but they have all come together for the good of the world. Storm goes on to say that mutants like Magneto are old news and the X-Men aren’t a threat any more. She tells them that the real threat is from their heirs, the young mutants that aren’t even considered legal adults. She tells them that it is time for the first generation of mutants to take responsibility for their heirs. Tan replies that their government has their own resources as well. Maria-Pilar Cortes asks Storm why she thinks Charles Xavier’s school isn’t the solution. Storm replies that Xavier’s school serves a purpose, but he has no legal sanction and he can’t be everywhere at once. Storm continues to speak to her illustrious audience about how humans feel more and more like prey and she wonders aloud who they’ll turn to for “redress?” She tells them that both sides need to follow the same rules and it shouldn’t be only up to humans to enforce these rules. She tells them that mutants should have the same say in the survival of the planet and its inhabitants. Storm walks away with Valerie and Alexei following her. Alexei tells Storm that she is an idealist. Storm counters by telling Alexei Mikhailovitch that he is a grandfather and should worry about the world his grandchildren will grow up in. Val asks Storm why they should trust her. Storm replies that they should trust her, because she trusts them and both factions don’t have a choice.
Back in Valle Soleada, California, specifically Summers Memorial Beach, the mutants of the area party. They all talk about different things, but the number one thing on their lips is the car that they forced off the road a while back. Nearby, Sam and Rogue talk about interrupting the mutants beach party. Sam asks Rogue if she is up for it and she replies that she is. With that said, Sam bursts onto the scene with a tremendous display of his power. The mutants around him try and battle him, but he throws them off, using the training the X-Men had taught him years earlier. Porous is able to force Sam to his knees and Cutter sees his opportunity to attack. Luckily for Sam, he gains his composure just in time, sending Cutter Sullivan sailing through the air. Porous presses his attack but, luckily for Sam, Rouge is nearby and she sends him to the ground with one well-placed punch. Dervish tries to force Rogue to exhaustion, but her plan backfires and Rogue is able to use the Barb’s from a nearby mutant to send them towards Dervish. Rogue jumps on the back of Dervish with two spikes in her hands and she tells Dervish that they use their powers for fun, but she is an X-Men and she is used to fighting for real!
A few minutes later Sam and Rogue stand near the fire, as the gang of mutants surrounds them to hear what they have to say. Sam displays the crime scene pictures of the accident with the D’Ancanto family and some mutants become shocked to realize that they caused another person’s death. Others, like Cutter, boast that the gene pool is better off with more static gone. Rogue, grimacing at their comment, tells them that they must think they’re pretty hard-core mutants. Cutter, flexing, tells her that she’s right, because they’re the “baddest of the bad” and no one can make them different. With an evil grin, Rogue stands to her feet and tells them that she might just have to show them what hardcore really means.
As Rogue continues her speech, Cannonball makes a call to Sage and tells her that Rogue is starting to scare him with the way she is acting. Sam then questions Sage about where she is and what she has found out? Sage sits on her bike outside of the X-Corp building and tells Sam that she has found where the lawyer works and their situation has just gotten worse!
Unknowingly, Elias Bogan is watching Sage and he states to himself that he knew, if he waited long enough, she would come back to him.