(eighty years from now)
In a room in the White House, Dr. Falcone is told by a presidential aide that, for what it’s worth – and off the record – she is on his side. Replying to Mrs. Archer that that’s very comforting, Falcone then adds that it’s good to know that, while the president is seeking cover for an initiative that he signed off on… that she, his chief of staff, is on his side. That means a lot.
Leaning across her desk, Mrs. Archer rejoins that it’s not a matter of “political cover.” The president has simply rethought this initiative. The president, Falcone replies in kind, got his head handed to him courtesy of the Summers Rebellion and he’s running scared. Now angered, Mrs. Archer points her finger at Falcone and states emphatically that Falcone said he could keep his Sentinels under control! Their polling says ninety percent of Americans are more afraid of Sentinels than they are of mutants! Falcone has no one but himself to blame for this.
Having turned his back to her, Mrs. Archer does not see the smile that crosses his face. As she herself turns around to regard the bright light which cascades through her window, Dr. Falcone mirrors Archer’s words by informing her that she has no one but herself to blame for this. A moment later, the source of the light, an Omeganoid Sentinel, reaches through the wall of the White house, shattering everything in its path. “Ah,” Falcone says nonchalantly, “That’s my ride.”
As the Sentinel’s hand moves to close gently around him, Dr. Falcone tells Mrs. Archer to give his regards to her husband and children. If she’s very good… he’ll allow them to live. A moment later, two secret service agents burst into the room, guns drawn. They order each other to take the Sentinel down and to stop it, but as their bullets bounce harmlessly against its grasp, Falcone sarcastically dismisses that that’s really what’s going to happen right now.
Having recovered its master, the Sentinel straightens up, at which point Dr. Falcone orders it to take him to destination Omega Delta. Verbally acknowledging, the Sentinel complies, igniting its jet boots and taking to the sky. Now speaking to no one but his own ego, Falcone notes that he let the mutants destroy humanity… shred the very fabric of reality… but inconveniencing him is simply too much. As much as he despises cliché… the mutants will pay. His Sentinels will see to that.
Standing atop a building, watching the aerial battle between three Omeganoid Sentinels and both Siryn and his thrall, Monet, Cortex admits to himself that he does not understand any of this. Why did three Omeganoid Sentinels just drop out of nowhere? Where did that time portal come from? He knows that time travel skirts the edge of unleashing chaos, even under the best of circumstances… but this is a battle with a higher level of barely controlled chaos than even he was expecting. And considering he was forged in the heart of chaos… that’s saying something.
Having considered the situation enough, Cortex decides “to hell with it.” They aren’t his concern. Lenore is. Let Siryn dance with the Sentinels. He’ll attend to business and be on his… A flash knocks Cortex’s avatar, Monet St. Croix, off her return flight to the hotel. Incredulous, Cortex-Monet yells to two of the Sentinels, exclaiming that they’re on the same side! To this, the two Sentinels proclaim the fact that Monet St. Croix is a mutant, which are deemed a threat to humanity. Conclusion: we are not on the same side. With this, the two Sentinels pursue the now-fleeing Cortex-Monet.
Nearby, Siryn is unleashing a sonic scream, which deflects two palm blasts from the third Sentinel, which ricochets onto one of Cortex-Monet’s two Sentinels, destroying it. Pleased at this, Cortex notes that it had that coming. He swears, some of the luck associated with this entire enterprise has simply been abysmal.
To this, a strange voice proclaims that he can sympathize. Turning to its source, Cortex sees Longshot emerging from the stairwell and asks what the hell is he doing there? Innocently, Longshot replies that he was on the street level and wanted to get some elevation so he could possibly pitch in. He chose this building at random… and found him. What are the odds? Seriously, he then adds. What are they? He’s abysmal at math.
Back in Vermont, Father John Maddox returns to the land of the conscience, finding himself in the trashed study of his church. Still regaining his composure, he notes aloud that he has to call 911… but is told by Shatterstar, who appears in the hole that was once his study’s wall, that that won’t be necessary.
Recognizing Shatterstar as the one who attacked them before, Father Maddox warns him to stay back! He has a gun… somewhere around here… so just stay right there until he finds it… which he admits is asking a lot, but he’d really appreciate it…
Appearing behind Shatterstar, Guido tells the “Padre” that it’s okay. Adding to this with his arm around him, Rictor introduces Shatterstar to the Reverend John Maddox and vice versa to Shatterstar. Waving innocently, Shatterstar tells Maddox that he understands he tried to kill him earlier. Haltingly affirming, Father Maddox asks back if he could please… you know… tell him why? Absolutely no idea, Shatterstar replies.
Lowering his head and massaging the bridge of his nose, Father Maddox tells the trio that he would be most appreciate it if the three of them would leave now. Told that it might not be a good idea, as he needs protection, the reverend replies that he’ll take his chances. When Rictor then points out that someone else could try to kill him, Maddox interrupts. He points out he was fine until Madrox showed up. Then someone tried to kill him. Then they showed up… and someone else tried to kill him. He has a theory he’d like to try. If X-Factor personnel stop showing up, maybe people will stop trying to kill him!
Reeling from the verbal assault, the three immediately leave, noting that they’ll show themselves out and that it was nice meeting him. In addition, Shatterstar makes sure to apologize to the reverend for trying to kill him.
(eighty years in the future…)
In his magnificent armor and draped in his cloak, Victor von Doom sits in a regal carriage, held aloft by his grateful servants, James Madrox, Ruby Summers, Trevor Fitzroy and his manservant Winston. Walking before the carriage and holding the royal standard which bears Doom’s crest is Layla Miller, who leads the way through the adoring crowd which throws rose petals before Doom’s path.
Yes! Yes, Doom exclaims. His people! Their monarch will miss them terribly, but it is necessary for him to take leave of them for a time! Rest assured, they will remain in his thoughts during his absence. And upon his return, Latveria will know a new era of prosperity and greatness. So swears Victor von Doom!
Outside the delusions of Victor von Doom, in the real world, the group pushes Doom in his wheelchair to their waiting van. Noting Doom’s ranting, Layla opines that it must be nice to see the world the way he does. Then again, at his age, it must be nice to see anything. Asked by Fitzroy why they are dragging this guy back to New Jersey, Madrox explains that he was being targeted by Sentinels. They can’t just leave him. Considering this, Ruby wonders aloud if it isn’t just as likely that they were targeting them and don’t give a rip about him? Maybe, Madrox admits, but he’d rather not take the chance.
Besides, he then adds, buried in the broken mind of “this guy” is everything they could possibly need to know about time travel. That makes him valuable for any number of reasons, so he comes with them. Considering what this means, Ruby notes that her father wants leads as to why their people are blinking out of existence, and he brings home Doctor Doom. Terrific.
As Ruby then aides Doom’s ascent via ramp into the back of the van, providing a “Right this way, you majesty,” in the process, Madrox pulls Layla aside and whispers in her ear emphatically that that’s Trevor Fitzroy! Replying quietly that she knows, she informs him that he joins and leave the rebellion whenever he feels like it. When he then reminds her that he creates time portals and could have sent her home, Layla rejoins that he doesn’t know they’re time portals, nor can he control them. That comes later. “Later?” Madrox grimaces. Like when he’s a demented super villain? “Pretty much,” she replies.
Grabbing her by both shoulders, Madrox tells Layla that they have to stop him before he does any of it! Okay, she replies immediately. She’ll distract him and Madrox will put a bullet in his brain. When Madrox is left dumbfounded, Layla continues to act incredulous, suggesting that instead he could stab him, or crush his wind pipe or… His eyes wide, Madrox replies that he can’t just kill in cold blood! Then stop whinging about it, she replies. As she then goes to enter the back of the van, Madrox defensively counters that he wasn’t whinging, to which Layla rejoins that, yeah, he was.
Approaching the open door, Madrox is told by Ruby that he and Layla get to ride in the back with his highness. Replying absentmindedly no problem, Madrox then asks Ruby about Fitzroy. Asked what about him, Madrox reminds her that she’s lived the past eighty years. So… she knows what he becomes, right? Dispassionately, Ruby replies that she knows what he is now. That’s all that matters. Told that it’s not… that she knows it’s not, Ruby asks Madrox if he wants to kill Fitzroy. Told by him that he doesn’t, she orders him to stop whinging.
After Ruby has departed for the front of the van, Madrox calls out to Doom and asks what’s “whinging.” Without moving or further question, Doom explains that it’s complaining in a whining tone about something rather than taking the initiative to attend to it yourself. “Damn,” Madrox replies.
Citing that he has no time for this, Cortex unleashes a hand blast at Longshot, who uses a backflip to effortlessly dodge it. Replying to his foe that he might be right, Longshot adds especially if he forces him to kill him. Then he’ll be out of time for sure. With this, Longshot throws half a dozen flechettes at Cortex with a single toss. However, just as effortlessly, Cortex’s hands move in a blur, easily deflecting each blade.
Stating that that’s not really an issue, Cortex adds that Longshot can be of use to him. Removing his glasses, Cortex produces two techno-organic tendrils, one from each eye, which begin to snake toward Longshot. Monet is going to have a new playmate, he gloats. However, even as the two tendrils reach Longshot’s forehead, burying themselves into his mind, the last of the flechettes ricochets off of a billboard sign, unnoticed.
Nearby, the Omeganoid Sentinel which has been facing against Siryn concludes that energy attacks are proving futile and that physical assault is required. Changing tact, it uses its jets to propel itself toward Siryn, who has landed onto a rood. Now grounded, Siryn uses all of the strength of her scream on offensive, hitting the approaching Sentinel with everything she has. A moment before impact… the Omeganoid Sentinel shatters into debris.
On the street below, Darwin has returned to the area, having run from where Cortex-Monet had dropped him before. With the single-minded goal of getting back to Lenore, Darwin tells himself that the poor woman’s helpless. Anything could be happening right now! Anything at…! Darwin’s thought is interrupted as the detritus of what was once a Sentinel falls on him. A moment later, the buried, yet still living, Darwin laments coming to join X-Factor. “Fight the good fight… we’re low key… no giant robots… Riiiiiiight…”
As he uses part of his divided attention to utilize Monet’s strength to decapitate the Omeganoid Sentinel accosting her, Cortex wonders why he constantly has to multitask. Especially in this case, when the Sentinels are acting in a counter-productive manner. And this idiot, he adds, referring to Longshot, is another extradimensional, like Shatterstar. So he’s problematic.
In fact, Cortex then adds, the tendrils from his eyes continuing to bury themselves in Longshot’s mind, he’s remarkably like Shatterstar. In some ways identical. “I’ll be damned,” Cortex notes to himself. He’s… Suddenly, Longshot’s errant flechette finds its mark… in the base of Cortex’s neck.
High above, the enthralled Monet screams in abject pain and curls into a hovering fetal position. Yelling for him to get out of her head, Monet is oblivious to the approaching Omeganoid Sentinel. She is likely oblivious when the pain causes her to propel herself in a direction, which happens to be toward the Sentinel, and crashes through it, destroying it in the process.
Back on the roof, both Cortex and Longshot have collapsed, though unlike Longshot Cortex has not lost consciousness. Reaching for the flechette, Cortex notes that that’s going to leave a mark. Upon pulling out the blade, though no without much pain, Cortex notes that that is definitely going to require some serious payb…
Cortex stop in mid-thought, however, when he is grabbed by his jacket and lifted up by the incensed and no longer enthralled (and very naked) Monet St. Croix. Bearing her teeth, she snarls to Cortex that she’ll kill him for that. To this, the arriving Siryn calls out to her that maybe she might want to put on some clothes first. Though being swung around like a ragdoll, Cortex instructs Terry not to worry herself. It’s not like she has anything he hasn’t seen already. Right Monet? With this, Monet’s eyes go wide in surprise, as Cortex’s hood falls back, revealing the techno-modified face of Jamie Madrox.