Rogue has stumbled upon the secret hidden deep within the bowels of Fortress X. And now she's public enemy number one. A fugitive amongst her own kind, Rogue goes on the run...but when your entire world is surrounded by an unbreakable forcefield wall, there's not far to go. Especially when a team of mutantkind's most ruthless killers is hot on your trail!
As the Age of X is set in an alternate universe, many familiar characters have different names. Keeping with the continuity of the story, all characters will be referred to by their new names. The most notable changes in this issue are:
- Basilisk = Cyclops
- Eclipse = Sunspot
- Legacy (or "Reaper") = Rogue
This issue starts following the events of New Mutants #22.
Magneto watched over the battlefield from outside. As he watched Gambit & Dazzler fight off the human Battle Wagons, he contemplated how he couldn't allow even the smallest gap in Fortress X's defences. Meanwhile, Moonstar's Cadre continued their hunt for Legacy. They'd found the unconscious bodies of Anole & Domino, and a trail of blood leading up a flight of stairs. However, Moonstar rationalised that Legacy's movements were consistently moving downwards, and was able to detect a tampered lock. Cypher analysed the information, deducted that Legacy was trying to misdirect them from her true destination, which was Wolverine's bar.
Inside the empty bar, Wolverine was cutting his bandaged arm. Even without his heightened senses he could still hear Legacy's heavy breathing. He invited her in to dress her wounds & offer her a drink.
Near the top of the Fortress Moira Mactaggert & Legion approached Magneto. Moira was angry by Reaper's psychic attach and was even less impressed when Magneto tried to defend her choice of codename (ie 'Legacy' instead of 'Reaper'). She offered the services of the Force Warriors to carefully pull the Fortress apart searching for Legacy & rebuild it telekinetically. Her adopted son Legion stressed that they would do anything to help. However, Magneto gratefully wavered the offer, insisting on joining the hunt himself.
As Wolverine cleaned Legacy's wounds, she explained that she'd managed to escape with the use of Anole's camouflage & Domino's luck. When Wolverine queried why she hadn't asked what he'd been doing with the knife when she entered, Legacy pointed out that she'd been inside his head & therefore knew he'd been testing his healing factor. She described her encounter with Charles Xavier & what happened when she absorbed his powers. Legacy explained that while inside Wolverine's mind she could sense someone else in there, someone they were both close to who was telling her to "smash it". She suspected that it was the Fortress & everything around it that she had to 'smash'. It was then that Legacy explained how she instinctively knew who Charles Xavier was, even though she'd never met him before. This troubled Wolverine who pressed that there weren't any mutants with the power to change a person's memories.
The door to the Rat Run exploded in a flash of purple light. Eclipse stood at the front of the Moonstar Cadre.
Inside his laboratory, Box insisted that he didn't like being addressed by his codename. However, Magneto was less accommodating to his wishes as he had been to Legacy's. Instead, Magneto demanded to know how Legacy had used Box's powers to enter "Danger's Rooms". Although Box attempted to hide under the Fifth Amendment, Magneto threatened to turn Box's laboratory into scrap. Threatened with the loss of the few things that helped him hold on to his humanity, Box confessed that he'd seen the digital camera filled with blank images. Box was crushed & sat with his head in his hands as Magneto demanded the answer to one last question.
Back inside the Rat Run, Wolverine stood his ground as the young mutants searched for Legacy. Cypher analysed blood samples & confirmed that it was Legacy's blood, while Moonstar found a lost glove. Wolverine stubbornly insisted that it was from a client who had been there the night before. It was when Magma realised he was stood on a trap door that Eclipse threatened Wolverine. They knew without his healing factor that Wolverine's heart would burst under any added pressure, yet he refused to move from the trap door. Eclipse was willing to kill anyone who threatened the safety of his home. However, Wolverine's life was spared when Moonstar discovered traces of blood on the windowsill.
X reported Moonstar's findings to Cannonball on the battlefield where he, Husk, Surge & Iceman were too busy fighting their own battles against the humans. Moonstar & her Cadre sped out onto the battlefield. They couldn't get a visual fix on Legacy as she was still camouflaged. As such, Dust provided a sandstorm in which any invisible body became visible when coated in sand. Moonstar shot an arrow, which caught Legacy through the shoulder. She lay in wait for the Cadre to catch up with her when Domino's stolen luck brought a human Battle Wagon to distract them. Karma possessed the humans and used them to kill each other, while Cypher easily convinced the Smart Bombs to detonate while still inside the vehicle. Legacy had escaped during the skirmish, but Dust remained on her trail. Meanwhile, X reported Legacy's location to Magneto who wanted to know whether she was dead or alive.
Staggering across the battlefield, Legacy managed to extract Moonstar's arrow. The wound in her shoulder began to heal itself. Before she could benefit from it Dust choked her and threatened to flay her alive, inside & out, if she even moved. Unexpectedly a pink bullet hit Dust. Seemingly out of nowhere, Gambit appeared & apologised for the hit as Dust exploded in a flash of pink energy & sand. Picking her off the ground, Gambit confessed he didn't understand why he was changing sides; all he knew was that he wanted to be by Legacy's side.
Magneto observed Gambit's betrayal from air above them. Determined not to allow any gaps in Fortress X's defence grow any larger, he magnetically summoned all the rubble, wrecked cars, tanks and girders into the air. He then redirected it all to crash down, burying Gambit & Legacy alive. Stood on top of the metallic burial mound, Magneto announced that all traitors to the "Brotherhood of X" would suffer the same fate.
Meanwhile, the Rat Run was left in shadow. The only light was from Wolverine's match as he it a lone candle, which emphasised the scar down his face. Hidden in the dark, Wolverine explained everything to Basilisk; everything that Legacy had told him, his suspicions of all the lies being told & all the questions that were never asked. He planned to stir up a lot of dirt in order to expose the truth. Basilisk admitted that despite all his previous sins he was willing to help.
This issue is followed by New Mutants #23.