Shown with flashback images of the “Age of X”, narrated by the White Queen in the present:
‘And then we woke up - and it was all a dream. Or, at least that’s probably the least disturbing way to think of it’. Emma Frost a.k.a. the White Queen explains that Dr Nemesis’s attempt to cure Legion’s schizophrenia backfired, and Legion spawned a new persona, which took the form of the woman he loved and trusted the most - Moira MacTaggert. Moira’s power was to mold reality, and she made a tiny, self-enclosed world and dragged everyone into it. This was a world in which an anti-mutant coalition ruled supreme, and sent its armies against them day and night.
Moira” re-wrote their memories so they all though that world was the real one - and, sick as it sounds, this was not intended as an attack on mutantkind, it was simply done for Legion’s sake, for in that world, he was respected, loved, and a true hero. But everyone else was distorted into less flattering shapes - Magneto into a benevolent dictator, Wolverine into a reluctant pacifist, and Cyclops into a means of execution, a Basilisk. ‘A good time was not had by all’ Emma remarks, explaining that Fortress X floated in a bubble only a couple of miles across, and it was a house of cards that started to fall down when Rogue accessed photos showing that there was nothing outside of the Fortress’ walls.
In the end, Legion absorbed “Moira” back into himself, something nether the X-Men, nor “Moira” suspected he could do, and this meant he was able to access the power set that belonged to this personality, and he subsequently dissolved the world that “Moira” had made, by a single effort of will, and brought everyone home, only seven days after “Moira” hijacked them all.
Emma sits at a table with several senior X-Men and members of the X-Club including Colossus, Cyclops, Wolverine, Angel, the Sub-Mariner, Dr Rao and Dr Nemesis. ‘Unfortunately, in subjective time, we spent a whole lifetime that other world. It’s not easy to shrug off’ Emma declares. Dr Kavita Rao tells Emma that is an understatement, and announces that she is seeing symptoms very similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. ‘From people who’ve just undergone years of suffering and horror? I’m not surprised’ Cyclops a.k.a. Scott Summers remarks, before asking ‘What can we do about it?’ Dr Nemesis announces that Legion is still his first priority, as per standing orders. ‘But if brainwashing is the problem, why don’t we go with more brainwashing as the solution?’ Dr Nemesis suggests.
Emma frowns and declares ‘Because it’s dangerous, reckless and unethical. Your comfort zone, Nemesis, not mine’. Emma adds that she will not implant false memories, as they never remain stable in the long run. ‘But I’m happy to suppress memories’ she offers, remarking that nobody has to keep any souvenirs from that place if they choose not to. ‘Good’ Cyclops replies and announces that he will put the word around, before revealing that a number of people have already asked for a memory wipe. ‘Here’s the list, you can start with -’ he begins.
Later, ‘Am I ready? Oh, man, am I ready. Do whatever it takes, Emma’ Sam Guthrie a.k.a. Cannonball, of the New Mutants team exclaims as he sits down before Emma, while Emma’s prized students, the Stepford Cuckoos, stand nearby. Emma tells Sam that she thought he had it all in the other reality - command, respect, a loving populace. ‘You don’t want to keep even a few of those memories?’ she asks. ‘No. Not a second. Wipe me clean’ Sam declares, revealing that his whole family died, except for Paige, and she blamed him for everything. ‘Maybe she was right. Maybe I should have seen the gene-wars coming’ he remarks.
Emma reassures Sam that none of that happened, as they were only in the bubble for a week, everything before that was an illusion. Sam replies that it still feels real, and tells Emma that sort of stuff can drive you crazy, turning over in your mind. ‘Very well. I’ll take those memories away from you’ Emma assures Sam. ‘And from Paige?’ Cannonball asks. ‘If she asks me to, Sam. Not otherwise’ Emma replies, before turning to the Stepford Cuckoos. ‘Already there, Ms Frost’ they announce.
Soon, ‘She keeps coming back. I keep thinking she’s gone, and then she comes back!’ Megan “Pixie” Gwynn explains, hanging her head. Emma asks if this “she” is Megan’s alter ego from the other reality. ‘Nightmare. Yeah’ Pixie confirms. Emma asks if they are just talking about memories, but Pixie replies that it is more than that. ‘She’s not a whole lot like me! She’s rude and bad-tempered, and - um - really dirty minded!’ Pixie exclaims, adding that Nightmare just takes over. ‘Like, I’ll be talking, or just sitting there, and suddenly - boing! Bat wings!’ Pixie announces, referring to the bat-like wings she sported during the “Age of X”.
The White Queen asks Pixie how that makes her feel, to which Megan replies ‘Awful! She does such terrible things! And all she ever thinks about is…’ Megan’s voice trails off, before admitting that, honestly, Nightmare is kind of fun. The White Queen tells Pixie that all young women should have a fury in their armory, and assures Pixie that they can allow her to keep some edited highlights.
As the day goes on, more and more residents of Utopia visit the White Queen. The Sub-Mariner asks Emma to focus on his liaison with Ororo, as both of them have agreed to remember nothing of that relationship, explaining that Atlantis wishes to maintain friendly relations with Wakanda. Armor is next, and tells Emma that it only comes back in her dreams now, but she wants to be able to fall asleep without being scared that this world will turn out to be a dream. Dust explains that she was a different person there - harsher and crueler. ‘I do not want to believe that the potential for her exists in me’ she tells the White Queen.
‘It was misery and horror from start to finish. Rip it out of me!’ Madison Jeffries announces. Bobby “Iceman” Drake tells the White Queen that he gets enough of this “testing to destruction” stuff right here. ‘God knows I don’t need any more of it’ he adds.
However, Joanna Cargill a.k.a. Frenzy frowns and shouts ‘I changed my mind. Leave me alone!’
Meanwhile, David Haller a.k.a. Legion looks around - ‘I don’t feel good about coming back here. This is where it started. Where she incubated’ he remarks, referring to the landscape of his mind. Professor X walks alongside his son, and reminds him that Moira was only a part of him, and explains that she still is. Legion replies that makes it worse - as his own mind gave birth to a monster. ‘A monster with the power to juggle worlds like colored balls’ he adds. Legion grimaces, and asks his father how he thinks it feels to know that any one of these cells, containing other personalities, could house something worse. Charles explains to his son that they are dealing with metaphors here, visual symbols for invisible realities.
Xavier remarks that this is his son’s mental landscape, and the inhabitants of the cubes are all aspects of his nature. ‘So?’ David asks. ‘So perhaps the mistake was in the imagery we chose. Walls. Cells. Prison blocks. A gulag of the mind’ Charles replies. ‘Stressing separation, instead f integration’ Charles adds, before telling David to wake up and look at what is on his wrist. Legion does so, waking up, he and Charles are in a laboratory, with Dr Nemesis standing nearby. ‘What is it?’ Legion asks as he looks at the device on his wrist. Doctor Nemesis tells him that it is the neural equivalent of a telephone switchboard. Dr Nemesis explains that keying in a number stimulates cells in Legion’s thalamus and neocortex, which creates a one-way link between he and one of his sub-selves.
Dr Nemesis continues, revealing that this will allow Legion, for a few seconds at a time, to draw on the sub-persona’s power set without being overwhelmed by its personality. ‘We’ve learned from our mistakes and are confident this new device is sound’ he adds. ‘That’s insane!’ Legion exclaims throwing his hands into the air. ‘Almost by definition. But we think it will work’ Dr Nemesis replies, suggesting to Legion that he try it. ‘This feels absurd. Like rubbing a magic lamp, or -’ Legion begins as he touches the device on his wrist, and an instant later, has increased his size, he now towers over his father and Dr Nemesis. ‘Another triumph for the scientific method’ Dr Nemesis boasts. ‘You think so?’ Charles asks. ‘Well, we’d all better hope so. But if something goes wrong, I’ll be happy to apologize’ Dr Nemesis replies, adding that he is still imagining himself in that scenario.
Elsewhere on Utopia, at the amphitheatre, ‘Didn’t’ think you were coming, you being such a busy man’ Frenzy tells Cyclops as she sits on a platform, while the sun sets behind them. Cyclops explains that he was on his way to see Dr Rao, but that the two of them had to have this conversation, and sooner, better than later. ‘No’ Joanna replies. ‘No what?’ Scott asks. ‘We don’t have to talk. This isn’t about talking. If you can talk about it, you’re not feeling it’ she tells Scott. In agony, Joanna tells Scott that she knows he is feeling it, and remarks that he wrote his name on her bruises, and she loved him.
Frenzy reminds Cyclops that when they grappled, they ripped the room apart, but Scott tells Joanna that none of that was real. ‘Liar! Seven days of it was real. Seven nights!’ Frenzy snaps back. ‘God took less time than that to make the world!’ she adds. Scott hangs his head as he tells Joanna that the man she loved was an illusion. ‘Even if I was free to come to you - even if I wanted to - I’m not him. He never existed’ Scott replies. But Joanna goes up to Scott and runs a finger across his face, telling him that he is wrong. ‘I know who I am’ Scott replies. ‘No, you don’t. I looked into your eyes, lover. I’m not going to forget what I saw there!’ Joanna retorts, before frowning and telling Cyclops that when he is tired of pretending, when he is ready to come out of his shell and be the Basilisk again, she will still be here waiting.
Cyclops tells his former enemy that it was, unexpectedly, a privilege to fight alongside her. ‘You’ve earned your place here, and nobody is going to take it from you’ Scott tells her, before turning away from her and reminding her that the rest is all just smoke and mirrors. Frenzy watches Cyclops leave, before tearing up a large slab of concrete and using her incredible strength, she tosses it skyward.
A short time later, the massive slab of concrete lands on the beach that runs around the outer of Utopia, near where Rogue and Gambit a.k.a. Remy LeBeau are sitting. ‘It isn’t about what Ah did, it’s about what Ah thought’ Rogue tells Gambit, adding ‘More than that, Ah suppose - it’s about who Ah was’. ‘Who you thought you were’ Gambit corrects her. Rogue replies that it comes to the same thing - the lies soaked into them like pitch soaks into wood. ‘Ah was the Reaper. The angel of death’ Rogue declares, explaining that Legacy thought she was a monster. ‘Monsters don’t deserve love, and they don’t ask for it. They take what they’re given’ Rogue remarks. Remy puts an arm around Rogue and suggests to her that she can go to Emma and forget everything.
Rogue looks away and explains that she took on the memories of the dead in that place, and swore she would keep them safe. ‘Ah can’t break that promise - even if it was somebody else who made it’ she tells Remy. ‘So you keep Legacy’s memories to keep a promise that Legacy made’ Gambit states. ‘Exactly’ Rogue tells him as she turns to face him. Remy asks Rogue to remember how Legacy felt when they climbed the elevator shaft when she kissed him. Rogue replies that Legacy’s heart was beating like a steam hammer, everything was clear and everything was precious. ‘But she didn’t know if that because of you, or because she might be about to die’.
Gambit reminds Rogue that she said she was afraid to be with him until her control over her powers feels more secure. ‘I think you were lying. Not to me, but to yourself’ Gambit adds. He stands up and tells Rogue that when it comes to love, reasons for and reasons against should fall away, that you should just know. ‘There’s no doubt for me. No ambiguity. I’ve loved many women, but none was like you’ Gambit declares. ‘Remy, ah’d never -’ Rogue begins, but Gambit asks her to let him finish, and tells her that she is his home ad her harbor - not a station along the way, not a gamble or an experiment. ‘You’ll come to me when you know that. But don’t come to me before. Which means - for now - don’t come to me at all’.
Meanwhile, Cyclops has finally made it to Dr Rao, who thanks him for coming, and explains that there were several things she wanted to make him aware of. ‘I’m assuming that from your tone that they’re urgent?’ Scott asks. Checking her chart, Kavita replies that she has a whole range of flavors - good news, terrible news and everything in between. Rao suggests they start with exhibit A and motions to a room where Julian “Hellion” Keller is playing table-tennis - against himself, using one of his artificial hands to battle the other. Kavita tells him that it not just the hands, although they are amazing, and explains that as a biologist, she is more interested in the fine telekinetic motor skills Julian is using to control them.
Kavita informs Cyclops that Hellion did not have those skills a week ago, but now, it is as if he has had years of practice. She explains that “Moira” altered the neural pathways in his brain profoundly, and globally, and the effect is not fading. ‘That’s wonderful’ Scott replies. ‘Yes. It is a miracle. But I’m afraid it’s all downhill from there’ Kavita declare, closing her eyes, before motioning to an x-ray of Chamber’s chest cavity that she took yesterday, revealing that the reconstructive work done by the Clan Akkaba has completely disappeared - meaning that physically, Chamber is in the same condition as he was when he first joined the X-Men. Cyclops examines a chart and points out that Clan Akkaba’s techniques could be used again.
‘If we had any record of those operations, yes. But it’s far beyond my level of expertise…and, I believe, Henry McCoy’s’ Kavita adds. Cyclops asks how Chamber is taking this, to which Kavita replies ‘As well as can be expected’. ‘Meaning?’ Scott asks. ‘He hasn’t tried to kill himself yet. Although it’s by no means certain that he could’ Kavita explains, before announcing that exhibit C was going to be Pixie’s wings, but that turned out to be a psychological problem. ‘So we’re left with the one person you’ve been so careful not to ask about’ Kavita declares as she opens a door, announcing ‘She said she has to leave soon. But she wanted to talk to you first’.
Cyclops’s jaw drops as he sees the mysterious Revenant hovering before him. Revenant drops down in front of Cyclops, ‘Hi, Dad. Been a long time’ she smiles. ‘Rachel…’ Scott replies. ‘Not really’ Revenant remarks, explaining that, in Fortress X, she was called Revenant. ‘Like the only way they could see me was as someone else’s ghost’. Revenant explains that she is not that, but that she is not Rachel, either - at least, not all of her. Kavita explains that the visible effect is caused by bremsstrahlung radiation from a plasma field - meaning she has no physical form as such.
Scott replies that he doesn’t understand, to which Revenant tells him that she was trying to make psi-contact with the Professor, or Emma, but she picked the wrong moment - the moment when “Moira” struck, and the universe turned inside-out, and she was carried along with it. Revenant - Rachel - reaches out to touch Cyclops’ hand, but his passes through her ghostly form, as she explains that this is just her mind, that her body is half a universe away, and whatever “Moira did to her, it severed the link. ‘Then tell me how to reach you. I mean, your physical form’ Cyclops asks. Rachel replies that she doesn’t have that information, that it seems like a mind out on its own is lot more delicate than a mind inside a body.
She adds that “Moira” gave her a bad edit, and she lost it, the words - the message. ‘She wrote over it, and it’s gone. I don’t know what it is I’m supposed to tell you’ she explains. Scott orders Kavita to convene the science team, to which Rao replies that she already took that liberty. ‘Don’t worry, sweetheart…we’re coming to bring you home’ Scott tells Rachel.
Meanwhile, Rogue looks out over the ocean, the sun setting in the background. ‘May I intrude, Rogue?’ Magneto asks as he drops down alongside his companion. Rogue looks up at him and tells him that she is not fit company for anyone right now. Magneto tells Rogue that, of all the people on the island, she is one of perhaps three whose company he would voluntarily seek - and the only one whose well-being currently concerns him. Rogue hangs her head and tells Magneto that she doesn’t want to be around him, that she cannot sort out her own thoughts from Legacy’s. ‘She loved you. Loved the General. He was the thing she clung to, when she felt like she was drowning’.
‘If it helps, he cared for her, too. He used her very much as a pilot uses a compass’ Magneto reveals. But Rogue replies ‘You’re not him. You’re nothing like him at all’ and tells Magnus that it is all like a problem in math that doesn’t relate to the real world. ‘Te real world. Yes. That’s where we have to live. But it doesn’t follow that we know each other any better here. That we see any more clearly’ Magneto replies. Rogue announces that she knows she has done unforgivable things, some of them to people she loves, and reminds Magneto that she knows he is at his most dangerous when he seems kind and reasonable. ‘Is there anything else Ah need to know?’ she asks.
‘Yes. Many things’ Magneto replies, but Rogue explains that it was a rhetorical question. Magneto calls Rogue “Anna” and reminds her that they came together for a reason. Rogue replies that “Moira” put them together, that was all, and she wrote the script. Rogue turns around as Magneto tells her that there is no script now. ‘Ah know that’ Rogue replies. Magneto asks her if she is afraid to speak her mind when the thoughts and the words are her own. Rogue looks away once again and tells Magneto that she is not afraid of him, or of anyone. She pauses, before telling Magneto that if he insists, they can talk.
‘Not here. If you’ll permit me, I prefer a little more privacy than Utopia allows’ Magneto remarks. ’Lord! It’s not a date, Magnus!’ Rogue retorts. ’No. Nothing of the kind’ Magnus replies. Rogue asks him where they are going, but he picks her up and takes flight, leaving Utopia, and announcing that they are going to the place that defines them all - the past!