X-Man informs En Sabah Nur that if he is to play the villain in X-Man’s perfect world. He will have to expect that he will occasionally have to deal with unexpected surprises, such as Omega Red. Maybe he should come to see it as Apocalypse is forcing him to evolve, Nate muses. He’ll consider the loss of En Sabah Nur’s son punishment enough for his indiscretion.
En Sabah Nur hesitatingly admits that Evan had to be removed. He was getting too close to him. And he had seen too much.
That’s what he saw, Eye-Boy tells the other Light Riders – Dazzler, Shadowcat, Unveil - and Colossus and now, thanks to Unveil’s mists so have they. He’s working with X-Man. He betrayed his own teachings, and he betrayed them.
Kitty berates herself for not seeing it while Colossus tries to comfort her.
Dazzler thinks for a bit then turns to Unveil. She reminds the other woman how she used her power to make the villagers believe what was in her mind to get them to evacuate. Unveil defends herself. Dazzler continues and asks if she has ever used that power on them. Sharesse protests that she is their friend and loves them. Dazzler interrupts her and orders her to answer the damn question. Kitty joins, asking if En Sabah Nur ever told her to make them blind to certain things. Sharesse protests at first, then her eyes begin to glow and she remembers…
When En Sabah Nur rescued her from the island, he told her she hadn’t even understood what her powers could do or how dangerous they were. She could be more than a “passion criminal.” Getting men and woman to share a viewpoint is how you build an army. How you get them to give themselves for a cause. He said with her mists she could be a horseman of the Apocalypse. If she wanted, she could be War itself!
That moment, En Sabah Nur enters. Unaware of what has transpired, he informs his Light Riders they are needed. There are reports of breaks in space and time. Then he notices the colorful mists and asks if they have been communing. The creation of the true X and ensuing communion are intended as their most powerful and sacred ritual, he chides. It’s never to be done without the leadership of their Murshid. And it’s not to be abused like some lowly act of self-pleasure! He trails off as he notices they all silently glare at him.
Kitty finally accuses him of using them. Dazzler adds he manipulated them, turning them into his assassins, and Eye-Boy shouts that Genesis just wanted to be one of them. He hits En Sabah Nur in the face accusing him of letting his son die!
En Sabah Nur’s head is turned unnaturally before he turns back. He calls Eye-Boy a lowly mutant possessed of nothing but multiple eyes and bad taste in music. He struck him! Huitzilopchtli of the Aztecs, Kali Ma, black mother of India, the first light of the mutant dawn, Lord Apocalypse. He transforms into his taller, more muscular Apocalypse form, ready to strike Trevor. He will not tolerate such heresy! But before his fist finds its goal, Colossus holds it back. Apocalypse orders him back. Colossus replies, he threw away everything for love of Kitty. He has nothing to lose He strikes Apocalypse with his elbow.
As they fall through the floor into the cellar, Apocalypse tells him this is not his fight. The Light Riders join them, agreeing as they too attack Apocalypse, who calls them arrogant, ungrateful fools. In his first years, he unified Sandriders to battle Rama Tut and Ozymandias. Throughout history, he has gathered powerful, disparate mutant and made them ride for him. Each horseman would have gladly died for the needs of evolution and survival. His cause is just! His beliefs are law! His leadership is unquestioned! And of all of them they believe themselves unique? Believe that he would need psychic manipulation to control them?
He transforms his hand into a ventilator to blow away Unveil, while at the same time reminding her how she was an outcast and he gave her purpose. He fires her at Dazzler, accusing that she rebelled because she couldn’t be one of the popular X-Men. She refuses to believe that. He hits he and tells her it’s the hard light of truth.
Eye-Boy fires his guns at him. No more rubber bullets, Apocalypse observes unimpressed. He must mean it this time. Surprising. He’s always lacked true conviction. Always seeing enough to doubt, but doubting himself most of all. Ha easily disarms the young man. Trevor needed him to give him faith, to heal his wounds… and what he gave he can take away. He tears at his hands but leaves them, deciding they are no threat to him.
Colossus and Kitty are next to attack. Colossus accuses him of working with the X-Men and taking Kitty from him. He wrestles him and asks Kitty to end this with her phasing power.
Kitty accuses him of keeping her deluded and lost, to keep her from the man she loves. Apocalypse reminds her where he found her and prevents her from phasing her hand into his chest by matching his molecular structure to hers.
Kitty screams in pain. Apocalypse agrees; there is another world. Colossus hits him to make him shut up, but Apocalypse mercilessly continues that, in that other world, Colossus and Kitty were to be married. Apocalypse fires from his arm cannon at Colossus, while revealing that Kitty left him at the altar. No matter how much psychic manipulation X-Man used, whenever Kitty saw Piotr, it reminded her of her greatest failure.
He mocks Colossus’ unrequited love when an alert sounds regarding spatial aberrations. Panicked, he addresses his Light Riders. He built Oracle to monitor the metaphysical integrity of the world after he discovered tears in the walls of dimensions. Of late, these stigmata have been opening with much higher regularity and intensity. They must cease their conflict now or…
Kitty phases the menorah she found into him from behind, allowing it to solidify in his torso and orders him to shut up. No more damn lies! He cries out in pain, then asks Oracle why he cannot remove the object. The reply is it is out of phase with this plane. It hails from the prime plane.
He chuckles. The menorah fallen from the heavens, designed by God. Nathan planted it there to be found and used on him. Brilliant. He tells the others that he lied but not to them. He lied to Nathan Grey, the X-Man. He didn’t let Evan die.
He explains. Nathan Grey believed even a utopia needed a villain. In return for Apocalypse’s continued existence, he had to be that villain. And in Nathan’s version of the word made better by the omission of love and intimacy, it would be Apocalypse’s duty to fight for it.
His features change, becoming once more the calm Murshid. But he has long believed in the hard indifference of evolution. The heartlessness of survival. And even though he wrote the words of the X-tracts, he is not one to be moved or changed… but he saw in another life his genes had been cloned creating a child. And that being had been raised by another, eventually even becoming one of the X-Men, his adversaries.
He resolved that being would become part of an experiment. And with Shadowcat’s help, he took him from the X-Men. He gave him a portion of his Celestial powers and named him Evan Sabah Nur. The Genesis to his Apocalypse. He falls to his knees.
In the past few years, he watched Evan grow. He witnessed his unique wisdom and kind, sensitive heart. He watched his impetuousness and impatience stemming from his passion for life. He saw his desire to make him proud. And, despite its impracticality, he came to know love. Evan’s life showed him what thousands of years of existence had not.
He asks them to look into the portals showing parts of his life as Apocalypse. He tells them this is what he will become if this world dies.
Oracle alerts him to a spatial anomaly incoming. The end is coming, he mutters exhausted. He asks Dazzler to save this world and help save other worlds from him. He offers his hand, pleading that they need to show Nathan Grey that love is survival. Show X-Man that love wins.
Kitty pulls the menorah out of his body and takes his proffered hand. “We seek to find the divinity within,” she quotes the X-tracts. Unveil joins Dazzler and continues, “and to express this revelation in an exchange with others.” “We believe community is not conflict,” Trevor and Dazzler join. “We believe love is not war,” En Sabah Nur finishes. “We believe mutant is not god.”
And, moments later, they find themselves joined by X-Man and the X-Men. Nate announces it is no coincidence that a revolution is both a movement and return to a point of origin. Somewhere they lost track… he never meant to hurt anybody. Nothing was supposed to be a threat, unless he wanted it to be…