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Rusty Collins was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Raised by his uncle, Rusty joins the US Navy at sixteen years of age. His mutant power, generation of fire, manifests itself violently, burning a woman. Rusty is arrested, but set the arresting officer aflame and escapes. X-Factor is alerted and came to the aid of Rusty, helping him to control his powers. He came to live with X-Factor, who were slowly gathering a small team of mutant wards. Rusty forms a relationship with Skids, a former Morlock. For a time, they all lived upon Ship, a sentient being in the form of a long, rectangular spacecraft that towered over all other Manhattan skyscrapers. Rusty and the X-Terminators help X-Factor when an old booby-trap activates, threatening Ship's brain with a gigantic bomb. Ultimately, the bomb explodes harmlessly far above Manhattan.
During the Inferno storyline, Skids and the other wards, taking the name X-Terminators, the name their mentors used when traveling in their mutant guises, teamed up with the New Mutants to help rescue mutant babies from N'astirh, who was using them to help keep open a portal to Limbo. Rusty himself had gone back into custody at the Navy but willingly goes with the group when he realizes his younger friends, Leech and Artie Maddicks have been captured by demonic forces. At the conclusion of Inferno, with Artie, Leech and the even younger kidnapped children involved rescued from the demons, Rusty joins the New Mutants, along with Skids, Rictor and Boom Boom. Rusty and Skids help out when long time New Mutants member Danielle Moonstar loses control of her mystical powers. During the incident they are separated from the rest of the group. Mystique's Freedom Force attacks them at Liberty Island. Part of this conflict involves the ultimate fate of the children Rusty helped rescue; he believes that Freedom Force had wrongfully taken them into custody. Due to a fight with Nitro and Vulture, Rusty is brought back into the sights of Freedom Force. While attempting to escape, he was severely injured by the Blob. While recovering in the hospital, he and Skids were contacted by members of the Mutant Liberation Front. With soldiers opening fire on them, they felt there was no other choice than to join them.
Shortly after, Rusty and Skids were brainwashed by Stryfe into being two of his soldiers. During this, Rusty is part of a MLF strike team sent to a museum to steal an ancient artifact. Cable, the man who took over the New Mutants soon after Rusty left, is there. Cable slays MLF member Sumo. He attempts to kill the rest of the group but only gets two of them in the arm, Rusty included. Due to the brainwashing, Rusty had no qualms about attacking former teammate Cannonball. The Mutant Liberation Front are then turned over to the authorities. Shortly after, Rusty and Skids were kidnapped by the Friends of Humanity. While being transported, X-Force (the team created by the former members of the New Mutants), rescued them. Arriving back to their base, X-Force was soon confronted by Exodus. He was inviting original New Mutants Cannonball and Sunspot to Avalon, a "safe haven" for selected mutants. Cannonball refused to go unless all former New Mutants present (Boom Boom, Rictor, Rusty and Skids) were invited also. While Exodus complained that Rusty and Skids were "damaged" due to their brainwashing, he finally acquiesced. Upon arriving at Avalon, the mutants were taken to "the Savior" (in reality Magneto), who used his powers to undo the brainwashing done to Rusty and Skids. When X-Force arrived to save their friends, Rusty and Skids decided they would stay with Magneto, feeling that they owed him. With thus being done, they joined the Acolytes. When a mutant body belonging to Holocaust, a "survivor" from the Age of Apocalypse, was discovered floating in space near Avalon it was brought on board. While on guard duty watching over the thought-to-be frozen body, Rusty's life force was drained by Holocaust, killing him.
Rusty is resurrected by means of the Transmode Virus to serve as part of Selene's army of deceased mutants. Under the control of Selene and Eli Bard, he takes part in the assault on the mutant nation of Utopia.
Powers and Abilities
Pyrokinesis: Rusty could create flames around his body or up to twenty feet away from himself. When his powers were activated, a psionic shield instinctively protected Rusty from harming himself.