The Age of X-Man:
What would you sacrifice for your dreams? Nate Grey wonders. A moral question he could never answer until he met an alternate version of himself. Unlike the old Nate, he knew the infinite value of autonomous existence. He knew the virtue of selflessness leads to safety for future generations. That Nate is responsible for who he is now. He gave up everything to save a universe.
No matter how big a question he asked him, the other Nate always recounted the same parable. A curious boy asked his deity: What is the self? What? What is the body? What is divinity? The deity replied: they are the flowers at your feet. They are the flowing waters of the ocean. They are the dreams you dream. All are one. All are the same.
Now that humanity has evolved, he finally understands what the other Nate meant. They are all the same. They are still friends; they still work together.
As he meditates, Colossus paints, Storm does laundry. Magneto cooks, Nature Girl is busy in the garden, X-23 is fixing some pipes, Nightcrawler is hanging up posters from his movies and Jean Grey is reading several books at once.
But Nate knows better than everyone they are always alone. The difference is in this new era they embrace it. And indeed, the X-Men aren’t spending time in the same building, but each has a home of their own.
A little later, a klaxon calls the X-Men to X-Sanctuary. X-Man announces that a forest fire is threatening to engulf Los Angeles. Jean interrupts that it is worse. It is threatening the mutants of tomorrow. It’s encroaching on Cerebro West. Nature Girl mutters that’s where she was born. Nightcrawler demands instant action. Magneto asks if anyone has been displaced and if they have anywhere to go. X-Man scans and reveals part of a suburban zone has already been consumed. No reported injuries. No safe zone yet. Jean adds, the blaze is spreading quickly. Storm states the winds are picking up, spreading the fire. She will need Nature Girl’s help to reclaim the forest. X-Man and Colossus volunteer to accompany them. The rest are with Jean. She telepathically tries to calm the children’s minds but there are too many.
A little later, the X-jet hovers over the fire. Storm’s team jump down, while Jean and X-Man establish a psychic link between their groups.
Colossus and Nature Girl focus on saving wildlife, while Storm and X-Man try to contain the blaze from above.
Nature Girl leads Colossus to some trapped small animals. He is amazed how much life is in the woods. It’s easy to forget sometimes. It’s literally all she thinks about, Nature Girl replies grimly.
X-Man senses 315 people terrified nearby. Storm tells him to go, she has the wind under control.
The other group reaches the already burning children’s home. Magneto keeps up the building’s stability, while Nightcrawler start evacuating. Jean heads for the nursery. Left behind, X-23 mutters she will figure something out.
Jean reaches the nursery where the nurses are hiding with the kids and helps to get them out.
X-23 heads for the hatchery telepathically, asking what to do about the unborn children. Nightcrawler swears, then promises he will be down with her in a moment.
X-Man helps a plane, while Storm asks for his help. Colossus and Nature Girl have evacuated the animals and Nature Girl informs him Isabel, the black-tailed jackrabbit, adores him. She can tell he has a strong heart.
Inside the home, X-23 is told the babies cannot be taken out of the pods yet. She decides to take them in the pods. She grabs one pod and suddenly is hit by a memory of being together with her sister Gabby. She feels a sudden burst of pain then snaps out of it as Nightcrawler complains they won’t get all out in time. They have to try! she snaps.
In the sky, Storm and X-Man work on containing the smoke created by the conflagration. Colossus and Nature Girl evacuate more animals and Nature Girl asks Storm for more rain for the plants.
In the home, Jean leads the kids to the roof, where Magneto waits to evacuate them. While she psychically reaches out, she suddenly hears the message: are they tired of being alone? It’s okay to love.
X-Man flies towards the building and erects a telekinetic shield within hatchery. He informs Jean that they are protected.
Afterwards they lead the kids out. Several kids tell Kurt how much they love his movies arguing over whether “The Spy Who Bamfed Me” or “Planet of the Sapiens” is better. He tells them to wait until they see “Moonbamfer.”
Nature Girl and Colossus join them with several animals and Nature Girl insists on adopting the grizzly. In the meantime, Jean and Magneto give an interview.
Later, they all watch the interview on the news and agree this is the reason they are X-Men, to do good. Nightcrawler recalls how, in the past, they just fought instead of doing what really mattered. Nature Girl asks Jean if it is true that mutants used to procreate like other mammals. Jean is shocked at the question. Nature Girl presses on asking what romance is. A dead idea, Jean replies. A concept they have outgrown like family.
X-23 stands alone at the window, a tear running down her face. X-Man notices her trouble and suggests they take a walk. They do and Laura explains she saw something back there she can’t shake. Like pain… torture.
Nate offers to take a look inside her head but Laura demurs. She thinks just getting it out will help. He tells her he will listen. Laura continues that it was like a memory. It was a single fleeting image but more memories came with it. Feelings she doesn’t remember having. She doesn’t know anything about it… about her. She must sound crazy, but it happened. And with it came so much rage. She felt like hurting people for the first time in a long time. It was like being brought back to her childhood. She hesitates. No, not hers. She thinks she had a sister…. It’s all a mess. She grew up in a place like Cerebro. They weren’t always so friendly.
Nate tells her she is not crazy. He knows how she feels. Their “births” weren’t that different. He is also a product of cruel, unrelated genetic tampering. Stuff of the old world. Before the Resolution. He continues that he is an impossibility. He comes from a timeline that never existed. How absurd is that? He was manufactured in a lab from the genetic material of Jean Grey and Scott Summers. And, like her, he was designed to be a weapon. He was so powerful he barely understood it.
How have they never talked about this? Laura wonders. Because that would be bonding, he replies. Getting close. And that means moving away from perfection. He reveals that the truth is she does have a sister. Her name is Gabby and she is like her. A product of James Howlett’s DNA. But he can’t let Laura see her…
What? she shouts and unsheathes her claws. His eyes glow as he states, strictly this kind of recklessness can’t be part of their world. It is exactly the kind of negativity he is trying to eradicate. He is sorry but this is bigger than just them. He adjusts her memories and she walks away. They all had to give things up, he muses. It’s the only way dreams can last.
The next day, most of the X-Men are in the garden, all busy in their own way. Suddenly, Jean is hit by a telepathic message and loses her concentration. Are they tired of being alone? she repeats the message as she is caught in a seizure. It’s okay to love. They can show them the truth. Join their cause in Central Park this Saturday. Embrace the bonds that make life worth living.
The message over, Jean recovers. She explains she intercepted a psychic signal… a kind of rallying cry. Kurt points out the words she uttered sounded like the ones on the flyer. There is a resistance forming, Jean explains. What could they possibly be resisting? Storm wonders. Their way of life. Individualism, Jean replies. Storm is shocked. What more could they want? How could you denounce everything that makes the world good?
Nature Girl wants to know who is behind this. Jean got a few names: En Sabah Nur, Genesis and Kitty Pryde. Who the hell are they? X-Man wonders…
“There is a tyranny in the womb of every Utopia (Bertrand de Jouvenel).”