In the Danger Room of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning in Salem Center, New York, the woman known as Psylocke delivers a crushing blow to her opponent. Sabretooth goes down face first into the ground, which is already torn up with debris everywhere. It was not long ago that Sabretooth nearly kill her. She vowed that he would never get a second chance.
Psylocke stands up with her arms outstretched with joy. She congratulates herself on taking Sabretooth down with one hit. She tells herself that the training session was marvelous. On the intercom to the Danger Room, Nightcrawler tells Psylocke that he is impressed, but telekinesis is more than beating up large and hairy enemies. A dime appears in front of Psylocke and Nightcrawler tells her that he wants to work on her fine motor control.
Psylocke realizes that Nightcrawler wants her to pick up the dime and tells her colleague that it won’t be a problem. She looks down at the dime on the ground, but it does not move. Mockingly, Nightcrawler informs her that everyone is waiting. Slightly annoyed, Psylocke tells him that she is working on it. When the dime still does not move, Nightcrawler tells her that they are still waiting. Psylocke gets pissed and tells Nightcrawler that, if he’d shut up and let her concentrate, he might see some results.
In the command room to the Danger Room are Nightcrawler, Rogue, and Tessa. Tessa tells Betsy that her enemies won’t be willing to wait and let her attack them in battle. Psylocke snaps at Tessa and insults the woman. Unfazed by the insult, Tessa tells Psylocke that she is merely stating a fact. If Psylocke does not master her abilities she will be a liability to the X-Men. Nightcrawler tells Tessa that she is being harsh but Tessa replies that she is in the mansion to analyze and observe. If she spares Psylocke’s feelings, asks Tessa, “Are you and your teammates prepared to pay the price?”
Rogue sits in a chair next to Tessa with her head resting on her fist, obviously bored. She asks Tessa why the X-Men should even trust her. Rogue reminds the woman that, not too long ago, she was working for Sebastian Shaw, one of the X-Men’s greatest enemies. Tessa turns to Rogue, who gets up, and says that, unlike the rest of the X-Men, Professor Xavier has known Tessa for a long time. Sometimes, Tessa says, the best way to safeguard a friend is to bind yourself to his mortal enemy.
Not accepting the answer, Rogue says that the saying could also work in reverse; Tessa could be infiltrating the X-Men for Shaw. Knowing Rogue won’t be persuaded with mere words, Tessa reminds the young girl that she herself started her career as a member of the Brotherhood of Mutants, led by an equally greater enemy, Mystique. The same accusation could be applied to her.
With a smile on her face, Tessa tells Rogue that, with their line of work, everything comes down to faith and trust. Both can easily be broken, however. Rogue is with the X-Men, who one time were her greatest enemies. They found a home for her with them and she proved her worth. Tessa asks Rogue if she would deny that opportunity to others. Rogue apologizes and tells Tessa that she of all people should have known better. Tessa says the apology is accepted. Rogue heads out into the hallway and tells Tessa and Nightcrawler to keep on working with Psylocke while she checks up on the others.
Rogue walks down the corridor, rubbing her forehead and wondering why she snapped at Tessa, who has been working at the mansion for weeks. Rogue tells herself that with all that has been happening in the last few days it is easy to be suspicious. Suddenly, a tremor shakes the mansion and the lights go out. Rogue tells herself that Psylocke must have given up and decided to smash things again. As Rogue goes to turn back a pair of gloved hands grabs her by the face and knocks her out.
Several miles away, at Harry’s Hideaway, a talk show is on the television. Outside, some bikers sit and watch the show while the X-Man Colossus draws a portrait of one of the waitresses. The host, Dr. Z, begins to talk about mutants. He first tells the viewers that mutants are, technically, another branch of the human tree. They are born with an X-factor that gives them abilities, which separate them from baseline humanity. However, these powers don’t mean they can do mundane tasks better. They can fly, melt steel, control the weather, and even twist the Earth’s magnetic field. One man, Magneto, threatened to destroy the world, so the United Nations have him his own country. The humans already on the island had to flee.
Now, though, things have changed, continues Dr. Z. Senator Robert Kelly knows first hand how dangerous mutants are. A few years ago the terrorists called the Brotherhood of Mutants tried to kill him. Later, they killed his wife in a fight with the so-called heroes the X-Men. Now he is running for President. The major parties disavow Kelly, says Dr. Z, but the host says that he supports him.
As the host continues with his story, someone changes the channel to a Yankees game. Several of the men complain about it and look around to see who changed it. “I did,” says Colossus. One of the men tells Colossus to change the channel back. Colossus tells them that there is enough hatred in the world. He gets up and tells them that they should dedicate their lives to more charitable ideas. The three men are intimidated by Colossus’ huge size and back down. Colossus introduces himself as Peter Rasputin and asks if they want any beverages.
Rogue wakes up and wonders where she is. Unbeknownst to her, she is actually on top of the remains of a skyscraper. She gets up and tries to remember the last time she was taken by surprise. As she walks forward, the rubble under her feet give way and she falls off the building. Not worried, Rogue tries to fly, but she realizes that she cannot. At the last second, she grabs onto a girder that is jutting out from the building and pulls herself onto it.
Rogue looks out to the city and realizes that the place is nothing she has ever seen before. The architecture is a little different than most cities. However, the majority of the buildings are damaged, with giant holes gaping on their sides. Many are on fire. After surveying the area Rogue believes that an earthquake has hit the city. However, Rogue also realizes that with a city this large, the earthquake would have made the newspaper. Not even she could have missed this story. This means that the scenario is an illusion. Rogue begins to wonder who would do such a thing and why and how they stripped her of her powers.
At the other end of the girder is an opening into the building. While Rogue begins to shimmy her way to the hole, she does not notice a hand appear in the shadows. A lone claw pops out of the hand, making a “snikt” sound. When Rogue reaches the middle of the girder, it falls off. She discovers that somebody cut off the other end while she was moving towards the opening.
Rogue kicks off from the girder and towards the building. However, she knows that her opponent expects her to go into the hole now so, when she lands on the side of the building, she then jumps in another direction towards a flagpole. Rogue then continues to jump from pole to pole to the other side of the building. In the hole, Wolverine compliments Rogue and tells himself that she caught him by surprise. He expected her to leap into his arms, which meant he would win. Now she made the game interesting. Wolverine smiles as he goes after his prey.
Rogue reaches her second-to-last flagpole. She does a back flip from the pole and goes across to the opposite building, where she goes feet first into a boarded up window. After she breaks through the window and lands, she gives thanks for her muscles still having enough power. Rogue runs down the hallway and takes off her jacket. She tells herself that she must assume that anything she can do, her opponent can also.
Rogue reaches an elevator shaft, which is open. She wraps her hands in her jacket and grabs onto the wire of the elevator and slides down. She slides into a parking garage, her favorite jacket now in ruins. A devilish smile appears on Rogue’s face as she thinks of all the pleasure she will have when she gets even with her attacker.
At Harry’s Hideaway, the three bikers that Colossus spoke to earlier get on their bikes to leave for the night. Fred tells his buddies that he could have “taken that hick.” One of the men tells Fred that he is dreaming. A man Colossus’ size has to be a mutant the other says. The second man tells them to give it a rest and go home, because they have a board meeting tomorrow. Suddenly, the three hear motorcycles coming from the street. However, the street is empty, but the sounds get louder. As the men wonder what is happening, a bright light flashes in front of them and three motorcyclists appear. None of them are human.
In the bar, Colossus sketches a portrait a woman named Melanie while her friend, Kim, watches. Melanie tells Peter that he had guts standing up to the bikers. Peter tells her that there was no real danger. Melanie calls the men biker wanna bes and Kim calls the three losers. Suddenly, their attention is called to the door. Peter tells the women that their new arrivals are very much the real thing, unlike Fred and his friends. Standing there is a man with two women. The man is ghostly pale and wears silver armor. One of the women is also pale, with skulls all over her purple outfit. The last woman is dark blue with red eyes.
In what appears to be the ruins of a shopping mall, Wolverine continues his hunt for Rogue. Though it is pitch black and he has lost the girl, he knows his enhanced senses won’t keep her hidden for long. As he continues to walk into the room he steps on some rice cereal. Everywhere he steps, the rice makes popping sounds. Suddenly, from his left, a weighted bag is swung toward him; it is a classic ambush trap known as a deadfall.
Wolverine is unimpressed and thinks that he thought Rogue would know better. He pops out his claws and slashes at the bags. However, Wolverine has underestimated Rogue. The deadfall was filled with cayenne pepper. Wolverine collapses onto his knees and begins to choke and gag. His eyes water and his nose is filled with the pepper, making those two senses useless. Fortunately, he can still hear.
Wolverine quiets himself to listen. He picks up the sounds of several engines, which are moving on wheels. His vision still blurry, Wolverine can only see garbled images of his attackers. As he wonders where Rogue found back up, Wolverine jumps in the air to avoid being tackled. There is too much noise from the engines for him to find Rogue’s heartbeat, but he decides that he might as well take down the back up first. What he doesn’t realize is that the backup is just some mannequins, taped onto remote control cars. Sitting on a ledge, Rogue guides the vehicles with her remote controls. She has a devilish smile on her face.
After a few moments of fighting, Wolverine realizes that Rogue is attacking him with mannequins. As he finishes off the last one, Rogue comes from behind with a bullwhip and wraps it around Wolverine’s left wrist. She yanks him closer, but Wolverine tells her that a bullwhip cannot hold him. Rogue wraps his right wrist with another whip and tells him that it is what’s attached to the other end of the line that counts. Rogue kicks a stick in half that is supporting a weight. The weight falls to the ground, which pulls the other ends of the whips. Wolverine is lifted into the air and is suspended.
Wolverine compliments Rogue in getting him into a position where it would be difficult for him to bust lose. However, he tells Rogue, he has enough play in his wrists for him to slash the ropes. Insulted, Rogue asks Wolverine if he thinks she is that dim. She puts a spear at the base of his chin. Rogue tells him that his bones are made out of adamantium and they are virtually unbreakable. However, she knows her anatomy. As she puts a spear against his chest, she tells him that she knows there is no way his healing factor can save him from a spear through his heart and another through his brain.
Wolverine twists his wrists and cuts the bullwhips as he raises he legs around the spears and snaps them. Rogue catches the spearheads as Wolverine lands in front of her. Rogue has a spear at his throat and another at his heart, while Wolverine has his claws ready to stab her. He reminds her that his healing factor will guarantee he will leave the battle alive. Rogue tells him that he forgot she could absorb his healing factor. Logan tells her that her powers are gone, but Rogue disagrees, telling him that she knows that is part of the illusion. She tells him one of them is bluffing, the other is going to die. She asks Wolverine if he wants to find out who it will be.
Wolverine tells her no and also tells the computer to end the Danger Room simulation. He then tells her that she did better than expected. Confused, Rogue puts together what happened to her just recently. She asks what she did better at. Wolverine tells her she did better at dealing with an adversary when she was at a major disadvantage. Rogue asks why he did this. Nightcrawler teleports into the room as Wolverine lights a cigar and tells her that the X-Men need a field leader. Based on the current roster, Rogue is it.
Moments later in the Situation Room, Rogue tells the others that they have to be nuts if they want her to be their leader. She sums up the events of the last three days and tells them that there are X-Men more qualified to lead. Wolverine tells Rogue that he does not have the right temperament, but will follow Rogue to the end. Psylocke says she is a novice with her new powers and cannot be leader. Nightcrawler tells Rogue that he is studying to be a priest and could not accept leadership. Thunderbird flatly tells Rogue that he just joined the team and has not earned the right to lead. Archangel tells her that his company takes precedence, but will help the X-Men as a reserve member.
Still in disbelief, Rogue tells herself that this cannot be happening. Slightly annoyed, Wolverine informs Rogue that the decision was not casual. Their lives depend on her leadership. They would not have chosen her if they did not think she could do it. Rogue asks Wolverine why Storm or Cable could not lead. Wolverine tells her that, even if the two were at the mansion, selecting Rogue would still be the right decision. Being part of the X-Men is to help them reach their potential, which includes taking on new roles. He tells her that she can tell them she does not have the qualifications to lead, but she would be a liar. Rogue asks what she has to do now and is told that she should take the job she earned and lead the X-Men.
A little bit later, Psylocke streaks across the sky in civilian clothes. She always dreamed of flying. She received her pilot’s license some time ago and spent all her time in the air, but nothing like that can be compared to how she flies now. The experience is more special with her boyfriend, Archangel, at her side. Psylocke calls out to Thunderbird, who is driving a car beneath them. She asks him to join her and Warren. Thunderbird passes the offer. He thinks to himself that, where she and Warren are concerned, three is a crowd. Also, he does not fully trust his powers. A car he can control at any speed, but what happens when he makes a mistake with his powers?
As the three near Harry’s Hideaway, there is a flash of light from within the bar and a biker is tossed out of the building. Quick maneuvering from Thunderbird lets him miss hitting the biker. Psylocke and Archangel land by two unconscious men. Psylocke tells Warren that there have never been bar fights at Harry’s. Archangel replies that Colossus was already at the bar and, if he could not give them a heads up, then something must be up.
Back in the Situation Room, Rogue realizes that being leader also means you can’t have fun. She sits, board out of her mind. Tessa tells her that not everyone is out having fun. Rogue comments on how the “non–stiffs” all left and tells Forge that she is just joking. Rogue tells him that she makes jokes so she does not have to hear the bad news he is probably going to give her about their current situation.
Forge brings up a hologram of the Earth with the High Evolutionary’s station orbiting it. He tells Tessa, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Rogue that Shadowcat’s last transmission told him that she was trying to reenter Earth’s atmosphere in a suit that Seth left behind for her. However, Forge was unable to track where the suit landed. Nightcrawler says that they could contact Phoenix, who could use her telepathy to find Shadowcat. Rogue, taking lead, tells Forge to make a device to find Kitty while they follow up on Nightcrawler’s idea. Rogue then turns the subject to the Neo and tells Wolverine and Nightcrawler that they have to find a way back inside the church to save Cecilia Reyes and Detective Charlotte Jones.
At Harry’s, Thunderbird asks Archangel if the three figures before them are anyone they know. Archangel says they are new blood and Psylocke wonders out loud if it is open season on the X-Men. Thunderbird tells the three attackers that they don’t want to fight. Psylocke tells Thunderbird to speak for himself. In the bar, all the men are on their knees and groveling over the blue women. Colossus is by the bar in a trance, as the pale woman leans against him and the pale man puts red paint on the X-Man’s face.
The pale man introduces himself as Sanguine and tells Thunderbird that the X-Men would lose even if they did choose to fight. He then introduces the blue woman as Beldame and the pale woman as Wanderer. The three are the Goth. He tells the X-Men to surrender or run.
Unimpressed, Psylocke decides to use her telekinesis to yank Colossus away from Wanderer. However, her plan does not work and she finds herself being flung into the man’s chest. Archangel tells Thunderbird to call back up. Neal goes outside and raises his arm. He shoots a plasma bolt into the sky, which bursts like a firework.
At the Situation Room, Forge continues to brief Rogue on the situation in Brooklyn when suddenly the global map changes into a local map of the Xavier Institute and Harry’s Hideaway. Rogue sees Thunderbird’s distress call and tells Forge that the trouble is close to home. She tells him to get the mansion’s defenses and shields up. Rogue grabs Wolverine and Nightcrawler by their hands and tells them to hold on as she is going to be making some speed.
At the bar, Archangel is attacked by the bar customers who are under the thrall of Beldame. Though he does not want to hurt them, Archangel tells himself that he has to reach Psylocke. He tells Thunderbird to help him, but Thunderbird says that he cannot fully control his powers yet and he may kill someone with the raw power of the sun. Annoyed, Archangel tells Thunderbird that, if he doesn’t have the skills, he does not deserve to wear an X-Man uniform. As Archangel continues to punch the civilians, he thinks to himself that he should not be too hard on Neal. Warren remembers when he was a novice and when Cyclops was also scared to use his powers. That is why he is pulling his punches. A goose’s wing can break an arm, which means his wings can do a whole lot worse.
As Warren finishes off the last of the men, Sanguine comes out of nowhere and barely touches him with the tip of his finger. Suddenly, Warren feels as if the energy inside of him is being sucked out. Simultaneously, Sanguine’s pale skin become blood red. Sanguine tells Warren he will make a delicious pet and then throws the pale man into Thunderbird. Warren starts to mumble that he is lost and Sanguine is salvation.
Psylocke recuperates and creates a psychic katana. She slashes Sanguine, who is pale again, in hopes of scrambling his neural net. As she goes to deliver another blow, Beldame catches her wrist. Surprisingly, Psylocke finds that she cannot break lose. In a trance, Betsy just stands there as Beldame tells her that her blade can cut through anything. She then asks Betsy what would happen if the blade is turned against its master. To Psylocke’s horror, Beldame brings the katana to her throat. Betsy screams in pain and falls to the floor.
Sanguine tells the other two women that their lord will be pleased. Wanderer says that, when Sanguine gives the word, she will open the portal. Beldame tells her that the word is given.
Outside the tavern, Rogue closes in. Nightcrawler sees something happen at the tavern and tells Rogue to pull up. Harry’s Hideaway glows and a blast wave escapes the building and passes through the entire town of Salem Center. Rogue throws Wolverine towards the bar and Nightcrawler teleports in. The three break in only to find the bar empty.
Forge comes up on their comm-link and tells the three that things are worse than they suspected. The mansion’s shields barely held up against the energy blast. The computers are scanning for life signs, but are not picking up any in the town; everyone has vanished. Wolverine realizes that the whole town has been kidnapped and questions who would do it and why. Rogue tells her companions that they need to get back to the mansion. They need to call Gambit, because trouble like this requires the whole team.