Downtown, famous reporter Trish Tilby is reporting on the current muggings, riots and accidents - not to mention the apparently heat-induced hallucinations which are being reported all over. Trish remarks that the record breaking heat wave continues for the second straight week with no end in sight, when, suddenly, a quartet of brightly-colored individuals come up behind her, ‘Tower ain’t no hallucination, sister!’ exclaims an over-sized blond buffoon as he snaps a lamp post in half, while a very muscular woman with dreads punches over two civilians, declaring ‘We’re the Alliance of Evil. And we’re a riot…all by ourselves!’.
Trish’s camera operator tells her to keep going, and informs her that he will patch this through to the network directly, as he begins filming Tower as he topples a car. ‘In this heat, violence grows from nothing. A chance remark, an imagined slight…’ Trish remarks, to which Tower exclaims ‘Nothin’? You call passin’ a Mutant Registration Act nothin’?’, before he declares that “Uncle Sam” threw them in jail, but an hour ago, the jail let them out!
Trish turns to the camera and remarks that the report of inanimate objects acting on their own volition is typical of those they have received by the score, tales of manhole covers and fire hydrants that attack passers-by, not to mention unobstructed drains that nonetheless back up, telephone lines filled with ghostly laughter, all as the deadline for the Mutant Registration Act nears. ‘It’s all just one problem among many faced by a city besieged by heat’.
‘This is Trish Tilby live for W-ARC’ the reporter exclaims, when suddenly, Timeshadow appears behind her and grabs her, enabling Frenzy to take her microphone. Frenzy turns to the camera and declares that the Mutant Registration Act might be one small problem, but that they of the Alliance of Evil intend to show the world that if their jails cannot hold mutants, then they surely cannot make them register!
Tower backs up his teammate, boasting that they will teach this city what mutants can do. ‘Especially mondo-mad mutants!’ he exclaims, adding ‘Hi, Mom!’. Frenzy challenges X-Factor to try and stop them, as some manholes blow their tops behind them, spouting water skyhigh. ‘You notice frenzy? This city’s getting weird!’ Tower mumbles.
Blocks away, on Manhattan’s fashionable Upper West Side, Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey and Bobby “Iceman” Drake of X-Factor have taken their charges out shopping, much to the kids’ disgust, as Rictor complains that they don’t want school clothes, or to be sent away to school - especially as it means Summer school! ‘Which you kids will need to catch up on years of missed lessons’ Grey points out, while Iceman tells the kids that they are pretty luck Andover accepted them, despite their spotty schooling. ‘That depends on how you define lucky’ mumbles Sally “Skids” Blevins, while her best-friend, Tabitha “Boom-Boom” Smith complains that they could have picked a store that is cool.
Jean reminds Boom-Boom that the city has been ordered to turn down their air conditioning to conserve energy, while Boom-Boom helps Rictor get a large jumper on, exclaiming that the clothes keep tangling themselves up. Rictor adds that no matter what size they try on, nothing fits. ‘This is supposed to be a small! And the large was too tight!’ he adds, to which Jean tells the kids that it is impossible, and that they mustn’t be reading the labels. Iceman suggests to Jean that they carry out the unwanted clothes, so Jean lifts all the unwanted clothes telekinetically and follows Bobby as he tells the kids to try on the new clothes and quit whining.
Rusty Collins tells his friends that Iceman has sure gotten “mature” all of a sudden, to which his girlfriend Sally supposes that he got some sense kicked into him when the Beast saved him from Infectia’s kiss. As Rictor tries to get the jumper off, he remarks that Bobby might be scared the Beast will die, to which Boom-Boom exclaims ‘Whatever he thinks, he’s making me crazy!’, while Artie Maddicks looks at his companion Leech who has tried on a wide-brimmed hat that is much too big for him.
Tabby remarks that she wonders what Cyclops, Jean and Iceman will do about the Mutant Registration. ‘Will they sign up or not?’ she asks, adding that it stinks making people register because they were born with powers, as if they were dangerous weapons or something. Tabby then points out that Rusty is the only one of them old enough for compulsory registration as she checks the label on a jacket. Tabby remarks that the rest of them, being minors, are supposed to register voluntarily, but that Jean said they shouldn’t bother.
Boom-Boom tells her friends that she thinks Jean is afraid the government wants to use them, before asking Rusty if he is even able to register as he is on the LAM from the navy. ‘I bet X-Factor had to give you a false I.D. just to get you into school’ she exclaims, when, suddenly, the jacket lunges at her, swallowing her, ‘What is it with this sweater, anyway!?’ she exclaims as she struggles inside it. ‘Help!’ Boom-Boom shouts, before releasing one of her patent plasma time-bombs, causing the jacket to shred around her, as she tumbles to the ground.
‘It attacked me, Rusty! I swear it tried to strangle me!’ Tabby declares. ‘Riiiiight’ Rusty replies sarcastically. ‘I bet the government can’t wait to get their paws on you!’. Rusty and Artie drop to the floor beside the scowling Boom-Boom. ‘I can see the headlines now…”mutant born with power to make energy pellets, defeats sweater”!’ Rusty jokes. ‘You know what’s scary, Rusty?’ Boom-Boom asks, resigned. ‘I think maybe you’re right’.
Iceman rushes back into the area of the store where his charges are and asks what is going on in here. ‘Now see what you’ve done’ Skids scolds her teammate, but Rusty Bobby not to worry, that Boom-Boom just had a little accident. ‘An accident?’ Bobby remarks, before pointing a finger at Boom-Boom and exclaiming that, ever since X-Factor rescued her, they have made every effort to impress upon her the importance, or restraint in the use of her power. ‘And now…’ Bobby begins, when suddenly, he is interrupted when Tower appears at the store window, ‘Hey, X-Factor!’ he shouts. ‘Somebody said you were here!’. And with that, the idiot member of the Alliance of Evil throws a large vehicle through the window. The kids all duck, while Iceman powers up.
Meanwhile, X-Factor’s sentient Ship hovers over the North Atlantic, where Scott “Cyclops” Summers, the team leader, watches as his friend and teammate Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast drifts between life and death. Ship remarks that it is sad that the Beast’s illness delays Cyclops’ pursuit of his missing son. Scott replies that he couldn’t pursue his son at any rate, as Freedom Force doesn’t know where he is. Cyclops adds though, that his only clue was Destiny’s oracular statement that his son was surrounded by cold mists and iron bars, and that his present is tied to his own past. ‘It was all so…nebulous’.
However, while leaning over the Beast’s bed, where Hank lies in his human form, Scott remarks that the iron bars almost have meaning. ‘If only I could think!’ he exclaims, to which Ship offers to induce a trance state where Scott could recall the incidence of bars in his life. ‘Maybe!’ Scott exclaims, while the Beast suddenly switches to his blue and furry form. Scott points out that Hank keeps doing that, when suddenly, the Beast raises his arms above his body, ‘Ship!’ shouts Cyclops, so Ship extends metal clamps upon the Beast to prevent him from thrashing about, while explaining that there is some indication the Beast is dying, and yet he appears stronger than ever.
Ship increases the force of the restraints and begins to re-examine the Beast, remarking that this flux in his physical state is caused by Infectia’s attempt to manipulate the molecular structure of his body. Ship adds that, before that, the Beast was physically assaulted again and again by the chemicals and the villainess Pestilence’s touch. ‘He had that combination to thank for his body’s increased strength’ Ship remarks, explaining that the Beast is using that strength to fight off Infectia’s change. ‘I fear that he may win the fight…and that the victory may kill him’ Ship exclaims.
Ship notes Cyclops’s concern for his friend, and apologizes for interrupting his vigil, before explaining that there is a situation in New York that he should be aware of. ‘New York? That’s where Jean and Bobby took the kids!’ Scott exclaims as a monitor flicks on, which is showing the tail-end of the Alliance of Evil’s “interview”: ‘We’re gonna teach the city what mutants can do, especially mondo mad mutants!’ Tower exclaims, ‘Hi Mom!’ he adds, as Frenzy challenges X-Factor to try and stop them. The Beast convulses as he switches back to his human form, while Scott exclaims ‘The Alliance of Evil!’ and recalls how they fought them in California, before the Alliance was extradited to New York. ‘They should have been in jail for twenty years, minimum!’ he exclaims, while Ship remarks that, unfortunately, they are out - and out for X-Factor’s blood.
‘Make us register, will you?’ Tower asks as he holds another car high over his head, while Frenzy, still fixed on the camera, declares that it is list them, recruit them and force them into Uncle Sam’s mutant army. ‘Well we’re the Alliance of Evil! We work for ourselves!’. Jean, Bobby rush into action, while the kids stand nearby. Rusty points out that the Alliance is demonstrating against the Mutant Registration Act, to which Sally asks if they try and stop the Alliance, does that make them for the Act? ‘You kids aren’t going to try and stop anything!’ Jean tells her charges, while Bobby tells the kids to stay there, as he and Jean will handle this.
Bobby rides an ice-sled towards the Alliance, while Jean flies towards the Alliance member Stinger, when suddenly, Tower, slams the car to the ground, creating an explosion, while Sally motions to where more manhole covers are popping up, like in the news. Boom-Boom remarks that it seems like the city is fighting on the bad guys’ side. Rusty points out that Iceman and Jean could handle those Alliance losers on their own easy, ‘But with this weird stuff going on…?’.
‘Besides, it’s four against two! We better help!’ exclaims Boom-Boom as she, followed by the others, rush to help their mentors, and Skids motions to Stinger who is behind Iceman. While Iceman bombards Tower with a full ice-storm, Stinger readies her powers behind Bobby. Rictor suggests that Rusty hang back, pointing out that if he use his powers out in the open today, especially when the government’s mind is on mutants, someone might recognize him and come after him.
‘Besides - my vibro-power will shake her up plenty!’ Rictor adds as he touches the ground and sends seismic waves in Stinger’s direction, knocking the pink-haired mutant off the ground and preventing her from using her powers on Bobby, who then makes a quick exit on his ice-sled, until Frenzy rushes to the base of it, ‘You won’t get away that easy!’ she exclaims as she uses her incredible strength to shatter Bobby’s sled, causing him to fall to the ground. ‘Hey Frenzy! Hands off!’ Grey exclaims as she uses her telekinesis to pull Frenzy through the air, dropping her when Timeshadow sneaks up behind Jean and wraps his hands around her throat exclaiming that it is a hands on sort of fight.
Rusty frowns as he watches, ‘Hiding back here…shirking combat…letting other people fight my battle for me…that’s sure not the way I planned it last year when I signed on with the Navy!’ Rusty thinks to himself.
Tower, in the meantime, has caught Bobby and holds him high in the air, while Boom-Boom runs between the oversized mutants legs, calling out to her friends that Tower has got Iceman, ‘Let him go or else…’ Tabby exclaims, before tossing a plasma time-bomb at Tower, causing him to stumble backwards, when, suddenly, Frenzy grabs Boom-Boom by her coat, ‘Not bad. For a child. Now try those little power pellets on me!’ she exclaims.
Meanwhile, in a Kansas City suburb, a small aircraft approaches a large house, ‘There. 27 Johnstone Drive, Tammy and Shelia Blake…ages 7 and 8’ remarks someone inside the vessel, adding that it is interesting the father is a nuclear engineer. ‘Both children appear physically normal…but genetic mutagen scan registered positive. Powers have not yet emerged, that will make it easier!’ the being exclaims, before turning to someone else in the aircraft, ‘Wake up, wake up, my darling boy. You have a play date with some little friends!’.
‘They’ll be scared, like before!’ the other exclaims. ‘But in your hands are clouds of glory. Use them!’ the first declares. ‘They won’t be the same’. ‘But they will be safe. Now, don’t forget your gun!’. Shortly, the second being opens a window to a bedroom where Tammy and Shelia Blake are sleeping, though they wake up when he enters. ‘Tammy, what is it?’ Shelia exclaims as they see the intruder climbing through their window. ‘It’s a Transformer’…I think!’ Tammy replies, adding that Josh said they were just toys, but she knew they were real.
‘I don’t know…’ Shelia remarks as she examines the intruder, but Tammy tells her not to be a jerk. ‘It’s friendly. It’s one of the good Transformers!’ Tammy exclaims as the intruder holds out his hand. Suddenly, ‘What’s all that noise? What’s going on in here?’ an adult’s voice exclaims. ‘Mom!’ Tammy shouts, when suddenly, the intruder fires some gas at them, putting them into some sort of trance. ‘What is it!’ the girls father exclaims as he and their mother enter the bedroom.
‘It’s horrible! Tammy! Shelia! Run!’ the mother shouts, but the kids don’t move. ‘What’s wrong with them? Why won’t they move? Why won’t the answer me!?’ she exclaims. The father sees that the intruder has a weapon and attempts to push his wife to safety, but it’s too late, BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! The weapon fires, the kids are completely unaware as they just stand motionless, looking blankly ahead.
Shortly, the small aircraft flies away, ‘And here are new teammates for us, darling boy!’ the first exclaims. ‘The world seeks their destruction…but they are safe with us!’. The first remarks that there are more, that the list of mutant children grows like Jack’s beanstalk. ‘And those who would destroy them grow bolder each day!’. ‘Tomorrow we will rescue the others…as Nanny rescued you!’ Nanny exclaims. Nanny declares that tonight though, her darling must go back to sleep. ‘That’s right, close your eyes. You’ve earned your rest. You’re the best little Orphan Maker in the world’.
Back in New York, a civilian exclaims ‘Look, the lady-wrestler has one of the girls!’, referring to Frenzy. ‘And here I hide!’ Rusty thinks to himself, recalling that his father was a sailor and died in the war. ‘Mom’s dying wish was I’d grow up like my Dad. What I did was grow up like Uncle Ted, working in his hardware store…hating every minute of it’. As Rusty burns two small holes in a sweater, he remembers how his Uncle couldn’t wait to be rid of him, ‘Called me a whiner. Maybe I was’, and how his Uncle helped him sign on with the Navy - underage. ‘Said it’d make a man outta me. Made a mutant out of me instead!’
Rusty ties the sweater, with the two eyeholes, around his face and rushes towards the battle, recalling how the Alliance herks came after him once before, and now the kids need him out there, fighting with them. He hopes that the makeshift mask will do a good enough job oh hiding his identity as he turns to Frenzy and shouts ‘Let her go!’. Boom-Boom struggles in Frenzy’s grasp, while Frenzy smirks and replies ‘Give me one good reason why I should!?’ Rusty does, as he unleashes a powerful blast of Flame upon Frenzy, causing the villainess to release Tabby.
Rusty next turns to Timeshadow who is still holding on to Grey, and orders her to leave her. ‘Make me!’ Timeshadow replies. Rusty snaps his fingers and Timeshadow is surrounded by flame, knocking Grey to the ground. Sally, Rictor, Boom-Boom, Artie, Leech and Iceman all rush over to Jean, while the Alliance regroups, and Rusty stands in the middle of both teams. Frenzy has deducted that the man in the mask is Rusty, and tells him that his mask may hide his face, but not his power. ‘The little sailor-boy who burst into flames and burned a woman!’ Frenzy exclaims.
‘It was an accident! I didn’t know!’ Rusty exclaims. ‘A scared little boy who freaked and ran away!’ Frenzy exclaims, goading Rusty, who admits that he was scared, and then the Navy came after him with everything it had. ‘I stood and fought. My Daddy would have been proud!’ Rusty declares. But Frenzy tells Rusty that, nevertheless, it should have taught him not to set fires, but instead he hid, quivering in X-Factor’s shadow.
Trish Tilby watches and her cameraman records the scene, as Rusty exclaims that X-Factor saved him, that if it wasn’t for them, he would still be running, or else dead. He adds that X-Factor taught him control, and explains that he knew Timeshadow could move out of time and they he would if he had to, so by using his fire against him, he made Timeshadow move. ‘You’ve grown up, I see’ Frenzy remarks.
‘I tried to… recruit you once before. I’ll give you the chance again. Join us!’ Frenzy exclaims, which Cyclops sees, live on the monitor. ‘Rusty - No!’ Scott exclaims, before telling Ship that he should be there. ‘Then I will send you’ Ship replies, but Scott is worried about Hank, who, suddenly, cries ‘Nooooo!’ and breaks his restraints, once more shifting to his blue and furry form. Scott orders Ship to restrain Hank, but Ship replies that the Beast has grown too strong and he doesn’t think he can.
However, the Beast tells Cyclops not to worry, as he is okay. ‘WHAT?’ Scott asks, surprised. Hank explains that he heard Jean and Bobby, and the kids, in trouble with the Alliance, that he wanted to break loose, to help, but he couldn’t hold the thought. However, when the Alliance asked Rusty to join them, Hank explains that he knew he had to stop them, and struggled, harder than before, finally awakening from his nightmare, as he is now. ‘Blue again, and covered with fur…a monster, to some’. Hank exclaims though, that humanity is measured in mind and soul, not in number of hair follicles, adding that he can once again reason.
Scott pulls up his head covering as the two of them rush into action, ‘Oh…the joy of languages…of ecstasy of ideas!’ Hank exclaims, adding that he shall reserve finesse for those who require it - brute strength should suffice against the Alliance, ‘And strength I have…in abundance!’ he remarks, before asking Ship for a teleportation beam.
‘Me? Join the Alliance of Evil?’ Rusty asks, back in New York. His mentors, girlfriend and friends look on with concern, while Frenzy tells Rusty not to pretend to be offended. ‘You’re, like, already on the run from the Navy!’ the dim Stinger points, while Tower declares that they’ve done enough gabbing, ‘I say, take ‘em now!’ But, suddenly, two powerful fists slam into the ground, knocking the Alliance over as they rush towards Rusty. ‘What was that?’ Frenzy exclaims.
‘I did it with my little fists!’ grins the Beast, clad in his yellow and brown costume, he tells the Alliance that they will run a little physics experiment here, and determine together what will happen when his fists impact with their faces. ‘Hank - is that you?’ a shocked Bobby asks. ‘You’re well…? You’re back! You’re smart!’ declares an astonished Rictor. ‘Well, well, well…Hank McCoy…a.k.a. the Beast!’ Frenzy mutters, while Artie Maddicks projects an astral image of the Beasts’ old appearance. ‘Yeah, Artie. Beast change’ Leech tells his friend.
‘You used to be an Avenger, didn’t you!’ Tower grumbles, while Boom-Boom exclaims ‘Oh gross! Fur…and fangs!’ Sally points out that the Beast has reverted to how he was before they knew him, while Stinger asks the Beast what he is doing slumming with the losers in X-Factor. Tower asks his team why they are still standing around gawking at the Beast, pointing out that they still outnumber x-Factor. ‘Au contraire. We have you surrounded!’ Hank exclaims as suddenly, Cyclops unleashes a powerful optic beam right at the Alliance of Evil.
‘Have you really?’ Frenzy asks as she and the Beast begin to punch each other up, while Tower runs towards the kids, ‘Gonna clear the decks for action! Gonna take the garbage out!’. ‘Yeah?’ asks Boom-Boom as she readies a time-bomb, tossing it at the oversized mutant, smacking him in his stomach, he tumbles to the ground with a massive crash, sending concrete everywhere.
Meanwhile, Skids has been protecting herself, Rictor, Artie and Leech from Stinger’s attack by extending her force field around them all. Rictor tells Sally to move, exclaiming that he can rattle Stinger good, ‘Is that before or after she electrocutes you, Rictor?’ Skids asks, before telling Rictor to keep behind her, while warning Leech not to get to close so that he shuts down her force field with his power-blocking. Suddenly though, Jean comes up behind Stinger and tells her charges not to sweat it, as she surrounds Stinger with a telekinetic containment bubble. ‘Works wonders, doesn’t it?’ Marvel Girl remarks, as Stinger shocks herself.
‘Stand still, you reject Avenger!’ Frenzy exclaims as the Beast easily evades her attack. Hank remarks ‘Neither strategically wise…nor necessary!’ as he extends his powerful legs and kicks Frenzy hard in the face. Timeshadow notes that the fight seems to be going against the Alliance and points out that as he is better at discretion than valor, he is going to bid them all a fond farewell. But, unable to disappear, Timeshadow wonders why he is still here. Suddenly, Iceman and Leech appear next to him, and Bobby smacks the creepy mutant over with a punch, while Leech exclaims ‘No powers. Leech’s…job!’.
Tower turns to Rusty, ‘I don’t get you Collins, fighting with the good guys. Do heroes have their mugs on wanted posters?’ he asks, holding up a WANTED poster with Rusty’s photo on it. ‘You act all pure and good, punk, but you’re really one of us, already!’. Suddenly, Rictor jumps on Tower’s head, ‘No, he’s not!’ Rictor exclaims, coming to his friends’ defense. Rictor begins using his powers directly on Tower’s head, while telling Rusty to tell Tower that the poster doesn’t mean anything. ‘You’re one of us! You’re one of the good guys! TELL HIM!’ Rictor shouts, but Rusty says nothing.
‘I was an Avenger once, Frenzy!’ the Beast confirms, before explaining that he has been with X-Factor now for a while. Frenzy declares that she has read his specs, and that he is not so tough. ‘There’ve been some…dramatic improvements!’ Hank exclaims as he smacks Frenzy hard in the jaw, before she falls to the ground. Suddenly, a voice calls out ‘Hank? Hank, is that you?’ Beast turns, and sees Trish Tilby approaching him. ‘Trish - I…’ Hank is interrupted by the arrival of a chopper overhead, ‘Cease your vigilante activities immediately, X-Factor. Surrender your prisoners or face criminal charges!’ a voice from the chopper orders.
‘What?’ asks Bobby, before the chopper lands, and out steps…Freedom Force! ‘Of the United States government!’ Mystique, the team leader reminds X-Factor. Iceman tells Mystique that if they, being official types, feel so strongly about vigilantes, then perhaps they should have stepped in a little sooner - like before the fight finished. The Blob collects Timeshadow and Stinger, while Crimson Commando places cuffs on them, and Spiral collects Frenzy, Mystique exclaims that the Alliance aren’t worth getting Freedom Force’s hands dirty.
The Blob points out that the name Alliance of Evil is too close to Freedom Force’s old name, before they reformed, and they don’t appreciate that. The obese Blob adds that Uncle Sam is going to make the Alliance real sorry. ’Speaking of the government, there’s the matter of the Mutant Registration Act’ Mystique remarks, pointing out that they are all standing outside a post office, she assumes that everyone has come here to register like good mutant citizens. The Beast bounds past Mystique, and grabs one of the registration forms she is holding, remarking ’That shows some judgment, as such an attempt would prove extremely unprofitable…and embarrassing…to Freedom Force!’.
Hank appears to be completing the Registration Form, stating that they of X-Factor serve the people of this country unofficially, unlike Freedom Force, they are not employees of their government, paid to serve, subject to the whims of various administration. Hank points out that, nonetheless, his identity is well documented, as he has served his country as an Avenger in times past. He folds up his registration form into a paper dart and tosses it back to Mystique, remarking that he considers this document somewhat burdensome - onerous in fact, he has indeed signed it, an example of his willingness to serve in the future, should the need arise.
Cyclops states that the rest of them will sign these documents, acknowledging their public identities and public activities as mutant citizens, but only with the names they have chosen to represent these activities. Iceman creates an ice-table so he, Scott and Grey can sign the registration forms, and Jean declares that they will continue to protect their private identities, and their private lives. Iceman exclaims that if the government has a problem with that, then Freedom Force can try and beat it out of them.
Mystique turns to Rusty, who removes his mask, as he is asked what he will do. Mystique remarks that Freedom Force has suspected his association with X-Factor for some time. ’Now you have provided proof, you too, must sign!’ Rusty is handed a registration form, exclaiming that he won’t sign, and that he won’t run again either - or take the cowards way out. Rusty states that X-Factor’s activities are well documented, that they are the good guys, no matter what some people try to say. He declares that he is too, but that he is also a private citizen, with all the rights, privileges and obligations associated with citizenship in this great country.
‘Mutants…even mutants like the Brotherhood of Evil…aren’t deadly weapons like guns, that have to be registered…but human beings with special gifts and the same human rights as everyone else’. Rusty announces that tomorrow, he will voluntarily turn himself in a Portsmouth Naval Prison, where he will answer the poster’s allegations, but that he will not sign the onerous document. With that, Rusty burns the registration document.
Miles away from New York, in the main headquarters of the secret organization known as The Right. Two soldiers place some armor on the notorious Cameron Hodge, who remarks that, when he last faced mutant obscenities, he was hurled into the sea. Hodge tells his men that death loomed until fisherman pulled him from the water, reborn in hatred and re-dedication to their glorious purpose - that mutants must be expunged from the face of the Earth. Placing his helmet on, Hodge remarks that, again, Death threatens, when suddenly, the Horseman of Apocalypse Death arrives.
Hodge orders the troops to be deployed, and remarks that this time, he has seen Death coming, and is prepared to meet him in a headlong battle. ‘My allies are poised against him…and I am ready!’.