Genosha, where inside a room, a gleaming rat’s warren, a brooding spider’s web of wire, dotted by screens which project a single image - that of an announcement from the Genoshan President, Madame Reneau. ‘…the mutants who were captured will be executed as terrorists…against the Genoshan state…one has died already’ the President announces. The image of the haggard woman is reflected in the cracked glasses behind which eyes - made and all too human - glitter fanatically. An image that now enters the room, almost redundantly, in the flesh. ’You saw my announcement, Commander Hodge? What did you think?’ the President asks as she approaches Cameron Hodge.
What appeared to be human turns around - actually, his face appears human, but a cardboard cut-out of his human body was attached to his new form - a large cybernetic almost spider-like creature. Two tendrils wrap around the President as Cameron Hodge congratulates her. ’It was a tour d’force, a bravura performance!’ Hodge declares. Madame President thinks to herself that Hodge’s mechanical body is monstrous, disgusting. ’Surely even that madman can’t think that cardboard cut-out draped about his neck fools anyone. And yet…’ her thoughts trail off, as she tells Hodge that he was responsible for the death of the mutant called Warlock., adding that it is a death for which Genosha must now assume the blame.
‘Or perhaps credit - as you yourself have shrewdly realized’ Hodge grins, telling the President that it is a pity that Warlock did not survive his attempt at translation, but decides it is for the best, as now the world will know that she is serious, that they will believe her threats. Hodge declares that Genosha will be taken seriously and will know to fear her, and that the authority it lends her ultimatum will influence world opinion. ‘Mutants everywhere will be brought to heel and the Earth will tremble at Genosha’s feet!’ Hodge booms. Suddenly, both Hodge and the President turn to the door, as a third figure enters: ‘I thought I’d find you here, cocooned with that thing…discussing international policy with this…interloper!’ Genegineer Dr David Moreau exclaims, angrily.
Dr Moreau states that Warlock’s death was accidental and announces that three of their captives have escaped. ‘You knew this. And yet, by this announcement, you called the world’s wrath upon our heads!’ Hodge releases the President, who brushes her arms and announces that their parliament has agreed upon this course of action in answer to the mutants’ insolence. She states that their object lesson has begun, ad that this is no time to discuss his objections. She reminds the Genegineer that neither is it within his purview to condemn parliament’s decision. ‘your job is to produce the mutates that drive the Genoshan economy’ the President declares. Madame President assures the Genegineer that she does value his opinion, and suggests that if he has something to say to her in private, she would be glad to listen, in her office.
The President tries ushering the Genegineer out of Hodge’s lab, and she excuses them from Hodge who replies ‘Of course, my dear. I would never wish our alliance to create friction among the leaders of her magnificent country’, drool spilling from his mouth as he speaks. ‘That monster…!’ the Genegineer exclaims, as the President pushes him out of the office. In the corridor, the President tells the Genegineer that Hodge may be a monster, but they need him as much as he needs them. The Genegineer replies that their captives have escaped and points out that they will look like fools, to which the President replies that the mutants are in the citadel and will soon be recaptured.
‘Think, Genegineer…how long do you imagine that we can keep the base of Genosha’s prosperity secret from the world?’ Madame President asks. Hodge can be seen through the open door to his lab, he watches and listens to the President as she tells the Genegineer that the mutates whose powers maintain Genosha’s economy may, to the uneducated, appear human, but that they are specifically configured pieces of genetic engineering…modules whose ownership they must protect. ‘One has been stolen already…aided, I might add, by your own traitor son…and has taken refuge in America, protected by the mutant forces there’ the President declares, boasting that Genosha has countered with a show of strength, and that if they show weakness now, the world will be upon them and they will be overwhelmed. Madame President tells the Genegineer not to mistake her, as she knows that Hodge is mad, and yet they need each other’s power to accomplish their individual needs.
‘Though, in the end, we each plan the other’s destruction. A delightful woman. A perfect ally, so be it!’ Hodge thinks to himself. He extends his long neck towards a monitor, deciding that he should look at their hostages, their prisoners of war. Headshots of several mutants - Storm, Boom-Boom, Wolfsbane, Rictor and Warlock appear on a monitor, a large red “X” through Warlock’s image. Hodge tells himself that one is dead and three have escaped, but that it does not matter for Wolfsbane is still his captive, and when she is tamed, she will track the others.
‘These Genoshan fanatics think you mutant heroes will take the execution of one of their own lightly. Ha!‘ Hodge laughs, deciding that, with their help, the die has been cast. Another set of headshots appear, this time, of X-Factor who Hodge knows will come, bringing with them the tattered remnants of the New Mutants and the X-Men. Hodge tells himself that the world will know of their brutal and disastrous attack upon a sovereign state and will fear and reject them. Hodge boasts that the mutants of the world will be exterminated, and he will see done to Archangel, to all of them, even worse than was done to him.
Meanwhile, in a newsroom in Manhattan, an anchorman clarifies the position of the United States government in response to Genosha’s unprecedented announcement. ‘…and in a swift and bipartisan move, the US government has broken off diplomatic relations…’ the newscaster announces. In the studio, one of the staff off camera exclaims ‘What else could they do? No matter what they call themselves, the Genoshan’s are terrorists! But to kidnap American citizens on American soil in retaliation for some…some mutant squabble!’. Another of the staff agrees, and adds’ Especially underage citizens and to kill one of them they must be crazy!’
‘Crazy or not, the administration can’t let them get away with it!’ someone else declares. ‘And yet, we don’t want to go to war with Genosha either. They’ve invested billions of dollars here…in some ways they’ve been good allies’ another points out. She continues, remarking that the administration will encourage their cooperation through diplomatic and economic channels, and only if that fails will they start talking war. One of the women announces that there is one variation they have not considered, and asks what the mutant reaction is going to be.
The station’s producer, Paul Burton, calls out ‘Tell Henshaw I want live direct reaction from Washington, highest source possible!’, before asking where Trish is, as she covers the mutant issues. One of the others replies that Trish Tilby is in the air, on her way to an assignment in India. ‘Where I sent her! Great sense of timing! I’d fire myself if I wasn’t so good’ Paul remarks, before asking his staff to get hold of Mellon, to tell him to find out who these kids imprisoned on Genosha really are. ‘I want their life stories, interviews with their families… the works!’ Paul orders as an image of Wolfsbane, Boom-Boom and Rictor being captured is shown on screen.
Meantime, in Washington DC, the lawmakers who acted so swiftly to condemn Genosha’s terrorist act, now huddled behind closed doors, discussing, debating further options, while reporters jostle for interviews, jockey for questions. By contrast, the sky overhead seems serene and untroubled. Then, suddenly, it is rent by the scream of engines, the shriek of wings, as the publicly-known mutant heroes known as X-Factor, individuals endowed by birth with powers and abilities that seem, in some ways, miraculous, plus representatives of the more clandestine teams, the New Mutants and the X-Men, fly toward a meeting requested by the highest authority.
Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Archangel streaks across the sky, alongside X-Factor’s jet, where inside, Scott “Cyclops” Summers, Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey, Bobby “Iceman” Drake and Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast are joined with the X-Men’s Forge, and Cable, mentor to the New Mutants. The mysterious Cable announce that he doesn’t get it, as by slamming shut the hatch to the X-Mansion, locking the rest of them inside, Storm sealed the fate of the New Mutants. Annoyed by Cable’s comments, Jean quickly tells him that he was not there on the surface with Storm, so he has no right to second-guess her. Cable replies that he was not there to defend his students because Storm stopped him, and because of that, one of his charges has already died. Jean puts a hand on Cable’s shoulder and tells him that he can’t think that way, pointing out he doesn’t know what Storm’s motives were. ‘When we rescue her, I’m sure we’ll understand’ Jean announces.
Jean remarks that it is funny, for she was with Storm just minutes before she and the others were kidnapped. ‘Despite the fact that she’s in a child’s body now, we’d talked…laughed…liked old times’ Jean tells her friends, adding that she cannot believe this has happened to Warlock, to the New Mutants, to everyone. ‘From my memories…Madelyne’s memories…I know what kind of place Genosha is’ Jean reveals, telling her friends that on Genosha mutants are tortured, robbed of their bodies and their minds. Outside, Archangel radios into the jet and asks Cyclops what they are going to do, to which Cyclops replies that this is a very public provocation on Genosh’s part. ‘I keep asking myself - why? Why create an international incident? Why now?’ Scott calls out.
Holding his large gun, Forge replies that the wrong response on their part could provoke a world-wide outcry against mutantkind. Chilling a can of soda with his ice power, Bobby remarks that Forge is right, and suggests that might be what the Genoshans want. Hank points out that Iceman’s comment introduces the next question - why does their government want them. ‘To ask our aid or to prevent us from acting?’ Hank wonders. Cyclops replies that they will know soon enough, and adds that if their government is unwilling or unable to intervene, ‘We’re already preparing to provide our own response’ Scott reveals. The mutants descend over a supposedly secret base, and Cable remarks that he knows it well, as he escaped from here not long ago.
Several officials are standing on the grass below, and Cable declares ‘There’s our welcome wagon, whom I’ve had dealings with…not always pleasant. The mutants emerge from the jet, and Archangel lands alongside them, while Iceman asks Cable ‘What is with you, Cable? Don’t you get along with anybody?’ Cyclops approaches an attractive, well-dressed blonde woman, who extends her hand and introduces herself as Dr Valerie Cooper, Presidential Assistant for Mutant Affairs. Several officials and guards stand with her, as she thanks Cyclops for his prompt response in the face of the delicate international situation they now face. Valerie regrets that they cannot meet more openly, and announces that the President has a secret proposition for their ears only….
In Manhattan, where X-Factor’s giant, sentient Ship dominates the skyline, the reporters beam what they have learned to the people who have the right to know. A television monitor inside Ship depicts one such report right now: ‘This is Sam Mellon with the latest on the Genoshan crisis…while X-Factor has refused comment on the kidnapping, ARC News has learned that two of the teens are American citizens and another is Scots…’. Inside the hangar bay of Ship, the New Mutants Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie and Roberto “Sunspot” DaCosta are with the new member of the X-Men, the mysterious Gambit, and senior X-Man Sean “Banshee” Cassidy, where they are carefully loading an ultra-fast vertical takeoff craft with the esoteric paraphernalia of war. ‘You keep staring at that screen, Roberto, like maybe it’ll tell ya something you don’t know’ Cannonball tells his friend, who replies that it is horrible, that they are hovering over them like vultures, hungry for every scrap of information.
‘And meanwhile, Warlock is dead. Gone’ Cannonball exclaims, adding that he cannot believe they will never see him again, have him call them “self-friends”, make them laugh… his voice trails off, as Sunspot tells Cannonball that he has been thinking. ‘Just because they say Warlock’s dead, doesn’t mean it’s true. We thought the x-Men were dead, too, remember? And it was only a hoax’ he points out. Cannonball begins to cry, and slams a fist down on the aircraft, exclaiming that they thought Cypher was dead, only he stayed dead. ‘Why weren’t we there, on the surface with them? We could have done something, we could have helped!’ Sam shouts. Banshee points out that they could have been carried off by the Genoshans, too, and that at least this way they are free. ‘We have a plan…and we’re gonna get yuir friend back!’ Sean tells him.
Suddenly, the newsreader announces that they have an exclusive interview with the father of the mutant called Boom-Boom. A slovenly, drunken man living in a trailer park appears on screen, and declares ‘She ran away from me, the little tramp! Yeah, sure I knew she was with X-Factor. What did I care where she ended up?’ Mr Smith adds that his daughter is street trash. His next comment is “bleeped” out by the news team, before he remarks that she has been bad news since the day she was born. ‘You ask me, getting kidnapped like that, she’s getting what she deserves. I hear them Genoshans are pretty strict with their mutants. Maybe they can knock some respect into her’ he suggests.
‘Madonna! That…that inhuman monster…! Boom-Boom is his daughter, his own flesh and blood!’ Sunspot exclaims, tears forming in his eyes. ‘To say such things about her…and I thought my own father was bad…’ Roberto utters. Cannonball gives a half-smile and points out that Boom-Boom did always kinda resent that she did not get more media coverage, adding that she does like to be the center of attention. ‘But not like that, Sam’ Roberto replies. ‘No, buddy, not like that’ Sam agrees. Both young men stop crying, and frown.
Back outside of Washington, inside the secret base, the mutants listen to the glamorous Dr Cooper as she announces that officially, the US government does not deal with terrorist states and has broken off diplomatic relations with Genosha while it pursues, unofficially, other avenues that will hopefully lead to the return of the remaining hostages. Cable frowns as he addresses Valerie as “Ms Cooper” and asks her what she thinks the chances of that happening are. Valerie frowns back at Cable and replies ‘Frankly, not very good’, and explains that the Genoshans are adamant in their belief that their biologically altered humans, what they call mutates, are property, and that the X-Men have stolen one of them, which they want back at all costs.
‘You’re talking about Jenny Ransome?’ the Beast exclaims. ‘That’s bull! She’s a person, for the love of -’ Iceman begins, but Valerie announces that to the Genoshans, she is a unit of bio-technology, number “9817”. Valerie reminds the mutants that they defended Valerie rather effectively against their operatives who attacked Ship, and points out that the Genoshans have long memories and larger hatreds. ‘But why go after kids?’ Archangel asks. Valerie explains that it is retaliation, as the Genoshans consider the New Mutants and X-Factor part of the X-Men. ‘But why do it so publicly? Why create an international incident?’ Warren enquires. Valerie admits that the government has not figured this out yet. ‘There’s an element missing…something we don’t yet understand’ she explains.
Cyclops tells Valerie that they appreciate her clarification of the government’s position, before announcing that they have to leave. The mutants start to walk out of the office, but Valerie calls out to them, announcing that she has clarified the government’s official position, and states that unofficially, the government knows X-Factor will not abandon their charges, and nor does the government want them to remain in Genoshan hands. ‘There are…individuals who would be more than willing to assist’ Valerie announces. Cable turns to her and declares ‘And if we’re captured or killed the government will disavow any knowledge of our action’. Val turns to Forge and announces that they do not want him involved, for his skill in the manufacture of specialized artifacts is too valuable to waste. ‘Then you better make darn sure we’re not wasted’ Forge warns Valerie, reminding her that he is a private citizen, and he is in this little poker game.
Soon, Valerie presses a hand against a window, she hangs her head, upset. A colleague enters the room and asks ‘Couldn’t we have offered them more?’, to which Valerie replies that with the information they have received, they now have everything they need. She watches as X-Factor’s jet takes off, and declares that she is afraid the information they have is not going to be anywhere near enough.
Inside the jet, ‘We lost time engaging in that rigmarole. And what did we gain?’ Iceman snaps. ‘What we needed, Bobby. Information’ Cyclops replies, holding a folder labeled “Top secret: GENOSHA”. As the jet flies into the hangar bay on Ship, Cyclops adds that they have the assurance that whatever they do, the government will not try to stop them. The jet lands and the mutants get out from it, greeted by Banshee, Cannonball, Sunspot, Gambit as well as Iceman’s girlfriend, Opal Tanaka, who is holding Cyclops’ infant son, Nathan Christopher Summers. Cyclops tells the troops that they better hustle, as they are leaving in twenty minutes. ‘Then maybe you’ll want to say good-bye to your son?’ Opal suggests.
Cyclops is surprised to see Opal and asks her what she is doing here. Opal replies that she knew Bobby would be leaving soon, so she has come to say goodbye. Opal hands the baby over to Cyclops, who hugs his son and remarks that he doesn’t want to leave him, but it seems they have been left with no choice. Hank reminds Cyclops that they have seen the future and that it looked a lot like Genosha. He declares that if they don’t nip this madness in the bud, there might not be a future for little Christopher. Bobby kisses Opal, ‘Bye, beautiful. Don’t worry about us’ he tells her. ‘Just come back safe’ Opal tells him, while thinking to herself that she needs Bobby more now than ever. ‘I’m so…confused. Please be careful’ Opal thinks to herself. And, with a rumble, two X-Factor jets leap into the sky. ‘Move out, people. Let’s rock and roll!’ Cyclops orders.
While back in Genosha, Cameron Hodge monitors X-Factor’s jets on his monitor and declares that this satellite shot is a marvel. ‘Shaw Industries has earned my gratitude and proved their worth!’ he decides, before telling himself that it is a pity their owner is a mutant and must be destroyed like all the others. ‘Valuable…yet tainted. But I digress…!’ Hodge announces that this unbridled joy, this glowing victory has rattled him. ‘For they are coming, as I predicted’ Hodge announces.
‘They’re coming to destroy Genosha!’ the Genegineer exclaims as he approaches Hodge from behind. Hodge spins around and wraps his tendrils around the Genegineer’s neck, shouting ‘Only if you allow them to, Genegineer! For the die is cast. There’s nothing you can do…nothing. Except to call upon your Press Gang and your magistrates to oppose them!’ Hodge lifts the Genegineer off the ground, ‘Especially the new chief who led the kidnapping foray. Yes…he’s a marvel…more an asset that you realize…ha!’ Hodge exclaims, adding that he will help him insure that it is the mutant invaders who are destroyed, and Genosha who wins. Sweat begins to pour down the face of the Genegineer as Hodge’s grip around his neck tightens.
Later, two vertical take-off craft come in fast and close to ground-level to avoid radar…with passengers who disembark on a rugged and deserted Genoshan coastline. The Beast and Sunspot carry large sacks on their backs, sacks holding some sort of equipment. The rest of the mutants are all carrying various backpacks. ‘We’re heeere!’ someone exclaims. Cyclops points out that the coast may be under surveillance, so they will have to be careful as they march inland. Scott tells Archangel and Cannonball to fly reconnaissance, and apologizes to Banshee for not sending him, remarking that his sonic scream might alert the enemy.
Sunspot asks Cyclops how far it is to the citadel, to which Cyclops reveals that it is about forty miles as the crow flies, overland. ‘And lugging these boxes’ Sunspot complains. ‘Forge, I suppose that it was necessary to pack the kitchen sink along with the other equipment’ the Beast remarks. ‘don’t look at me, Beast. It was Cyclops’s idea. I just tinkered together a few gadgets he thought we might need…’ Forge replies, to which Cyclops announces they will deploy the gadgets as soon as they near the citadel. The sun scorches down on the mutants as they cross the barren terrain. Cyclops tells everyone to be alert as they enter a natural amphitheater. ‘If there was ever an obvious place for an ambush, this is it!’ Cyclops declares.
Indeed, up on a nearby cliff, a mutate is watching the mutants, and radios back to his master: ‘They’re here…just like Mutate 7875 tells you’ the mutate announces. ‘The enemy comes!’ he adds. A voice calls back ‘I see them. All right, troops, we’ll do this by the book…and disable their leader first!’ With that, a burst of powerful solar energy slams into the back of Cyclops. ‘Get them!’ the Genoshan Magistrate to released the energy orders, pointing down towards the mutants. Over a dozen Genoshan Magistrates speed down the sides of the canyon, and begin firing their weapons. ‘Ambush!’ someone shouts, while the Beast suggests they bust into a few of these cases, pronto.
The mutants do not hesitate in defending themselves, while one of the Magistrates calls out to the mutate called Wipeout, ordering him to get down here, as the mutants are trouble. Jean helps up Cyclops after he was struck by the blast, and recognizes Wipeout from Madelyne’s memories of Genosha. Jean realizes that Wipeout is a mutate with the ability to block mutant powers, and decides that she has to take him out quickly, to slam him with every rock in sight before it is too late. She uses her telekinesis to cause a rockslide, large rocks fall down on top of Wipeout, and Jean kicks him in the head to knock him out.
Cyclops gets to his feet, his costume in tatters, he wonders what weapon could have done something like that, and why he is still alive. Suddenly, he is attacked by the solar beam once again. Scott struggles against the force of the energy, and realizes that it is not coming from a weapon, but a man. ‘Another one of Genosha’s tricks’ Cyclops tells himself, before deciding that two can play at that game, and releases a powerful optic blast, knocking back the Magistrate. Cyclops is surprised that only the Magistrate’s clothing is damaged, expecting more since he fired a full strength optic blast. The Magistrate lands in a pile of rocks, his uniform tattered, his weapons gone. The handsome blond man looks up and exclaims ‘You’re powerful, mutant, I’ll give you that! But your optic blast seems as ineffective on me…as my plasma blast on you!’ Cyclops is surprised when he sees who the Magistrate really is: ‘ALEX!’ Cyclops shouts upon realizing he is his brother, Alex “Havok” Summers.
But, Cyclops’s next remark is swallowed in the sounds of battle, as the vastly overwhelmed mutants fight both Magistrate shock troopers, and members of the Press Gang. ‘Dig it, gene-jokes!’ one of the Magistrates, Hawkshaw, declares as he closes in on Sunspot and the Beast. ‘We’re gonna punch your lights out now - real now!’ another declares. ‘What is it with these jerks?’ Roberto asks the Beast, who replies ‘Hubris. Plain and simple…pride!’ as both Bobby and Hank punch their attackers. ‘Yeah? Or maybe just ignorance, something tells me they haven’t got a clue what they’re up against!’ Sunspot suggests. ‘At any rate, we just wiped the conceit off both their silly faces’ Hank replies as the Magistrates both fall backwards.
Meanwhile, one corner of the battlefield is a maelstrom of exploding energy, as Scott struggles against Alex. ‘Listen to me, Alex! I’m Scott! I’m your brother!’ he shouts. ‘My brother - a mutant terrorist? Don’t make me laugh!’ Alex replies. ‘And you’re fighting on the side of the fascists…who are the antithesis of all we stand for!’ Cyclops exclaims. Alex punches Scott hard in the face, causing him to fall to the ground. ‘Why, Alex…why?’ Scott asks. ‘Don’t you know who you are? Why won’t you remember?’ Scott asks as he lunges at Alex, both releasing their power against the other, while battling with their fists also. Alex shouts that he knows who he is - a Magistrate, a Genoshan, and that Cyclops is Genosha’s enemy. ‘And that makes you my enemy, too’ Alex declares.
Scott exclaims that Alex always was too stubborn for his own good, and shouts ‘Listen to me, butt-head! Try to think! Your plasma blasts don’t hurt me…and my optic blasts don’t hurt you…we just make each other stronger! Why do you think that is?’ Scott forces Alex to the ground, and begins punching his face while Alex tries to get his hands around Scott’ neck. ‘Answer me, bright boy! Why?’ Scott shouts. ‘Want me to tell you? It’s because you’re my stupid brother - and we’re genetically immune to each other’s power!’ Cyclops explains. But Alex shouts ‘Lies! Mutant lies! You’re a mutant…with enormous power…and all you can think to do is hammer me with your fists’.
Cyclops replies that it is the only thing he can think of to pound some sense into that thick head of Alex’s. Scott grabs his brothers’ ears, and begins smacking his head against the ground, declaring that it worked when they were little, and that it will work know, even if he has to crack Alex’s skull open to force the truth into it. Alex struggles against Scott, and wonders why this seems so familiar. ‘Why do I think we’ve fought like this before? Can what he says be true?’ Alex asks himself. He decides that it is impossible, as he was born here. ‘I remember…don’t I?’ he wonders. Suddenly, ‘No! You won’t trick me like this!’ Alex shouts, and releases a burst of energy as he shouts ‘Pipeline - get us out of here!’, and Cyclops is knocked backwards.
Meantime, in the depths of a Genoshan prison cell, the captive Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane of the New Mutants ponders her dismal fate. She is curled up in the corner of her cell, telling herself that Warlock sacrificed his freedom to help them all escape, so it seemed only right that she in turn help him. Rahne knows it is true she no longer has her powers and knew that she would likely end up in a prison cell again, but she thought Warlock would be here with her, and together, they would await their rescue. ‘Oh, ‘Lock, how can I have failed you so? How can I have let you die?’ Rahne glances sideways and hopes that the others do escape and bring help soon, for Hodge has threatened her with such vengeance, she fears she will not have the strength to bear it.
Elsewhere in the citadel Tabitha Smith a.k.a. Boom-Boom makes her escape, climbing up through an air duct. ‘The movies, like, always make air duct travel look like a picnic…! Some picnic!’ Tabby thinks to herself, deciding that these vertical shafts are the worst. ‘Man, I’d give anything for my power back’ she tells herself, before pushing the air duct grate away, wishing for one little time bomb that would blow Hodge to kingdom come. Boom-Boom wonders how the others are doing, and bets that she will reach the embassy before Storm does. Boom-Boom wonders how it got so late, and worries that the embassy might be closed, before realizing that she doesn’t have any Genoshan money. ‘Tough! I guess X-Factor will probably accept a collect phone call’ she decides.
Meantime, Rictor lowers himself into the sewers. ‘Wonderful smell! And it seemed like such a good escape plan at the time!’ the young mutant tells himself, before deciding that at least the Magistrates will not be in a rush to follow him here. Rictor tells himself that it is just as well he let Rahne talk him into splitting up, as he would hate for her to have to wade through all this muck. Rictor wishes that he could stop worrying, and realizes that he is turning into an old worry-wart. Rictor decides that if Wolfsbane plays it slow an cautious, like he did, she will be fine. ‘Talk about cautious, at the speed I’m going she’ll probably reach the embassy before I do. Heck, she’s probably there already!’ Rictor decides. He knows that he cannot let himself think otherwise, or he will go back like a jerk to look for her.
Elsewhere, Ororo Munroe a.k.a. Storm of the X-Men plans to avail herself of a time honored if undramatic means of escape - sneaking out with the laundry service. ‘Being in this child-body is bad enough - but being deprived of my power is intolerable!’ Ororo tells herself as she hides behind a large laundry hamper on wheels. ‘Boom-Boom blames me, in part, for our captivity, and, in truth, I partly blame myself’. Storm overhears two Genoshan mutates sorting the laundry. ‘Alien-mutant killed. Turned to dust by commander’ one of the mutates declares, adding that the wolf-girl-mutant is captured, and Commander Hodge is angry. The second mutate reveals that the others are still free, though, scrabbling like mice through the walls of the citadel. Storm is surprised to learn this news, and wonders for how long the others will be free. Storm decides that she cannot escape, that she must do something more to insure their safety, and to provide them with an ace in the hole. ‘And I know just who our hostage should be!’ she tells herself.
At that moment, on a battlefield forty miles away. Marvel Girl ruses towards Cyclops, while the rest of X-Factor and their mutant associates gather nearby. ‘This may be victory, but it doesn’t feel much like it’ Archangel remarks. ‘Look how the ground is littered with weapons and clothing…just like at the X-Mansion’ Iceman exclaims. Archangel declares that at least they know how the Genoshans kidnapped the kids, not that the knowledge will do them much good now. Jean calls out to Scott, asking him what is wrong. Sitting on the ground, Cyclops declares that it is all wrong, that Alex, his brother, is a Magistrate, fighting with the Genoshans, and he doesn’t remember who he is.
Cyclops announces that he thinks Havok was sent here deliberately, but is not sure why. ‘To weaken us? Taunt us with their power?’ he wonders. ‘Whatever their purpose, his presence means this is more than a straight-forward international conflict’ Scott declares, explaining that it means someone has it in for them personally. Cable holds up a piece of paper and announces that they knew this location, probably using satellite surveillance. ‘Forge said he could whip together some scramblers to protect us from it. And that we can lose ‘em!’ Cable declares, before pointing out that he knows they had planned to circle round secretly. Cyclops agrees, and states ‘They know we’re coming. So there’s nothing stopping us from moving in on ‘em - fast and ugly!’ he declares.
In Hodge’s lab within the citadel, the madman watches the mutants on screen. ‘Mutant fools, how can you plan when you don’t even know your enemies…each with his private agenda? His own secret schemes!’ Hodge declares, remarking that the President has her fanatic desire to extend Genosha’s power and prestige, even if it means a war, while the self-deceiving Genegineer creates a service of slaves, and yet would destroy his own son to preserve this illusion of peace. ‘And I -? Who was once your oldest and most obsessive enemy…I will destroy you…as one of you has destroyed me. And with Genosha as mu base, I will obliterate your mutant race from the Earth!’ Hodge boasts.
The villain smiles wickedly as he tells Cyclops to plan well. ‘You think that in fighting your brother, you have faced the worst. Fool!’ Hodge reveals that he engineered Havok’s defeat, and have insured that he will be shamed by the loss. ‘Now he has something to prove. And his demonstration of loyalty to Genosha will betray you all into my hands…!’