A computer printout shows a group of mutants, sports of nature, born with an x-factor in their genetic structure that gives them more than human powers. Usually, these mutants form three separate teams - the fugitive X-Men, the public heroes X-Factor, and the young New Mutants. But now, they have banded together against a most uncommon enemy, the sovereign nation of Genosha. The mutants depicted on the print out are Warlock, first to fall in this undeclared war. Wolfsbane and Storm, now mindless Genoshan slaves. Psylocke, Gambit, Sunspot, Wolverine, Marvel Girl, Cable and Forge - prisoners whose powers have been blocked.
The escaped, but also powerless Boom-Boom and Rictor are forced to unite with their reluctant guardian, Jubilee, while remaining at large are Archangel, Cannonball, Cyclops, Banshee, Beast and Iceman - a strike force to abe reckoned with. This score sheet tallying the results of the latest battles between the Genoshans and the mutant invaders trembles in the tentacle of the monstrous Cameron Hodge, ally of the sovereign state of Genosha, and arch enemy to the mutants, for the results are impressive. Hodge slobbers as he grins wickedly , his technologically advanced body looming over the captive Jean “Marvel Girl” Grey, Roberto “Sunspot” DaCosta, Cable, Forge and Gambit, while several Magistrates keep guard.
Hodge declares that over half of the mutants have been captured, which is not bad for a few days work. ‘Just because you have us, Hodge, don’t begin to think you’ll keep us, or that you’ve won this war!’ Cable, mentor to the New Mutants warns him. ‘Won? Of course I’ve won, Cable. My tame Genoshan mind-reader has plucked the key to victory from your memories. I only regret that Forge remains unconscious! He is the one I need, for his knowledge of cybernetics is unequalled’ Hodge replies, before calling out to his mutate, Wipeout: ‘You blocked his powers! Answer me, old man! What have you done to him?’ Hodge demands. Nervously cowering nearby, Wipeout replies ‘Nothing, Commander! I’m blameless, I swear! I did no more to Forge than to these others’.
Hodge extends his tentacles down and pulls Forge up towards him, while Marvel Girl, Cable, Sunspot and Gambit remain on their knees, arms tied behind their backs. Hodge tells Wipeout that if he learns that it was not, he shall make him pay. ‘Out of my sight, you quivering turnip!’ Hodge booms, adding that the minds of his other victims have betrayed the replacement of the bombs they set. Hodge announces that first thing is first, that they shall go after the rest of X-Factor and leave the Forge conundrum for later. Jean stands up and asks Hodge why he is doing this. ‘Why have you turned against us? We were once your friends’ she reminds him. Hodge extends a tentacle at a rapid speed, and hits Jean, knocking her back to the floor. ‘Mutant fool! I could never be a friend of those whose destiny is to usurp humanity…unless humanity finds the means to stop them’ Hodge replies.
Hodge slobbers some more as he leers down at Jean Grey and tells her that he has always been X-Factor’s oldest and most obsessive enemy, and that he will destroy them as Archangel destroyed him. Hodge thinks to himself that with Genosha as his base, he will obliterate mutantkind from the face of the Earth. Magistrate Alex Summers suddenly calls out to Hodge, reminding him that the Genegineer said that the mutants were not to be damaged. Hodge thinks that this is the most bitter of ironies, that he, founder of the anti-mutant Right, would find himself not only served by mutant scum, but would be forced to acknowledge the reprimand of that gene joke Magistrate Alex Summers.
Worried, Alex a.k.a. the mutant Havok, wonders how he could have spoken to Hodge like that, as he is dangerous. Alex decides that there is something unsettling about these mutant invaders, something that makes him want to help them. He does not believe that he is their leader Cyclops’s long-lost brother, but neither does he excuse Hodge’s brutality, either. Suddenly, Hodge throws Forge down to Alex, telling him that since he has nothing better to do with himself than stand around and advise his betters, he can carry the unconscious mutant trash to his cell. Alex carries Forge on his shoulders as he and the other Magistrates lead the captive mutants to their cells. ‘Ten captured! Nine to go!’ Hodge calls out.
One of the Magistrates tells Alex that it looks like the battle he lost got him demoted to garbage collector, but Alex ignores the comment, and tells himself that Hodge has already cast doubt on the loyalty of the Genegineer because of his traitor son. ‘Now he’ll cast doubt on me because I was born a mutant, even though I’ve chosen to serve this state voluntarily…not as a mutate - but as a free mutant, like the Press Gang. Alex turns to the Magistrate and declares he has had to work three times as hard - be three times as good at his job and three times as loyal to Genosha as any Magistrate on his level. He declares that he cannot and will not let any mutant trickery make a fool of him or spoil his success.
As they are marched down a corridor, the captive mutants walk past three blank-slate mutates. One of them, however, looks familiar to Jean. Mutant 490. ‘Cable, look!’ Jean exclaims. Cable sees the mutate and realizes that it is Wolfsbane a.k.a. Rahne Sinclair. ‘What have they done to her?’ he wonders. Jean thinks to herself that when Rahne made that speech to them about voluntary service to the Genoshan state, she assumed Rahne was being coerced. But now she is not so sure. ‘Rahne!’ Sunspot calls out when he sees his long-time teammate, but Rahne offers no response. Cable tells Rahne to listen to him, and declares that things look bad, but that she needs to hang on and they will get her out of here. Wolfsbane looks at him, but offers no response.
‘She’s not listening. She acts like a zombie, Cable, as if she were dead inside!’ Sunspot points out. One of the Magistrates steps towards Cable and smacks him back with his large weapon, while telling the mutates to keep on their way, as this is not their affair. ‘Yes, boss’ Wolfsbane responds. The Magistrates kicks Cable down, while Hodge moves forward and suggests that Cable does not understand the full impact of what was done to Wolfsbane. ‘Or what will be done to you’ Hodge adds, before revealing that it is worse for Wolfsbane than others, and that he saw to that, as Wolfsbane’s mind has not been so thoroughly wiped. Suddenly, Cable breaks the shackles that keep his arms behind his back and lunges towards Hodge.
Cable tells himself that Wipeout’s power blocks somehow makes him unable to control his bionic left arm, rendering it useless. ‘No matter. I only need one hand…to rip off his stinking head!’ Cable thinks to himself as he manages to grab a handful of wires attached to Hodge’s head. Hodge tells himself that Cable moves like lightning, even without his powers, while grabbing Cable from behind with another tentacle. ‘Brilliant attempt, Cable. But as you see worse than useless!’ Hodge declares, as he extends the tentacles and whacks Cable backwards and forwards against the two walls. As he smacks into the walls, Cable tells himself that he had hoped to make a contribution, to enrich the lives of his students, but wonders how he can call himself their mentor if they can be brutalized like that while under his protection.
Hodge releases Cable, and he hits one wall hard, at full force, before Hodge fires several beams at Cable, trapping him against the wall. ‘You see how foolish was your effort against me…’ Hodge declares. Wounded, Cable reminds himself that Boom-Boom and Rictor are free, they escaped, and with the skills he taught them. Cable decides that he has made a difference in their lives, their safety, and maybe free, they will find a way to make a difference in Genosha.
Meanwhile, in a deserted warehouse, its location supplied by American intelligence, the rescue force plans its second strike. Inside the warehouse, Scott “Cyclops” Summers and Bobby “Iceman” Drake are changing into mutate costumes, while Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Archangel, Sam “Cannonball” Guthrie and Sean “Banshee” Cassidy are planting some explosives, and Dr Henry McCoy a.k.a. the Beast taps away at a computer. Someone points out that Cannonball looks bummed, and asks him what the trouble is. Sam replies that on the TV they have seen what the Genoshans did to Wolfsbane, and how they have captured the others. He asks what is to stop the Genoshans from mutating Cable or Jean. ‘Is that what you got in store for us, too?’ he enquires.
Cyclops replies that their teammates knew the risks they were taking and points out that the Genoshans will not get the chance to harm them. ‘If our plan works’ he admits. ‘A big “if”. The Genoshans have the resources of a whole country behind them’ Scott reminds himself, not to mention a leader whom they have not encountered yet, someone very powerful. Scott knows that by now, Genosha’s mind-readers will have brain scanned Jean and the others and learned of the charges openly planted. However, only he and Forge alone know about the secret weapon Forge has concocted, and its presence should be protected by his voluntary unconscious. Iceman then asks Cyclops what will happen if they run into his brother when they reach the citadel.
Cyclops puts on a metal eye-piece to cover his visor and tells Bobby that they do what they have to do. He adds that somehow they have brainwashed Alex into believing that he is a Genoshan Magistrate, one of them, so he is as much a captive, in a way, as Wolfsbane is. ‘But does that make him any less our enemy?’ the Beast asks. ‘That remains to be seen’ Cyclops replies, adding that by now their mind-scans will have revealed their location. ‘Not to worry, Scott. The folks who come here looking for us are going to wish they hadn’t’ Hank replies, while Bobby tells Cyclops that infiltrating the citadel is a good idea, before asking why his disguise has to be this good. ‘This gop’s sticky’ Bobby mutters as Hank covers his friend’s hair with a plasti-skin, telling him to hold still and that it is the best SHIELD has to offer. Cyclops turns to the others and tells them that they know the plan. ‘While ye’re below, we’re ta provide a crisis up above’ Banshee replies, while Cannonball declares that if they are lucky, they will grab themselves a hostage.
Back in the citadel, ‘Awright, into the cells, gene-jokes. Let’s go!’ Alex shouts as he the other Magistrates throw their prisoners into some dark cells. ‘What about the babe?’ one of the Magistrates asks while holding onto Marvel Girl. Another explains that she has been given a specially designated cell. ‘Have fun, sweets!’ the Magistrate exclaims as he throws Jean into the dark room. ‘What does he mean by that?’ Jean wonders. Sitting in the darkness, she asks herself what further horror can be in store for her, when, suddenly, a voice calls out to her: ‘Red. That you, Red?’ Jean looks up, and finds in the corner of the room, on a bench, Wolverine a.k.a. Logan, covered in blood and clutching a wound.
‘Wolverine! Logan, what have they done to you?’ Jean asks as she rushes over to her dear friend. A panel in the door opens, and Hodge peers into the cell. ‘Not a pretty sight, is he, my dear?’ Hodge asks Jean, pointing out that li9fe is a little harder for Wolverine these days without his healing factor. ‘I suspect that he may need the kind of care that only you can provide’ Hodge remarks. Jean frowns, and Hodge tells her that he regrets that they are required to share accommodation, but that already the holding cells are filled to capacity. ‘And with your help, I’ll be acquiring new captives almost immediately’ Hodge remarks, before bursting into laughter and closing the panel.
‘What was that about?’ Logan asks. Jean informs him that they were captured while wiring this place, and that Hodge had them mind scanned, so he has learned the location of everyone bomb they planted, as well as the hideout of Cyclops and the others. Jean sits down beside Wolverine, while Wolverine thinks to himself that Cyclops would have considered that possibility and planned for it. He knows that the cell might be monitored and decides to keep his mouth shut, not say anything to clue Hodge in. Jean realizes that Logan is in bad shape and is getting worse every minute, yet, she is helpless to save him. Jean touches Wolverine’s face and Logan tells her that back before she lost her telepathic power, she used to know what he was thinking, before he even thought it, and yet, he never had a clue what was going on inside her head.
‘And now…?’ Jean asks as she kisses Wolverine on the cheek. ‘Now we’re even’ Wolverine replies, looking at Jean intently. He puts a hand on her arm and tells her that it is good to see her, even here. It’s good to see you, too -’ Jean replies, before they kiss, suddenly. Jean has one hand on the wall and the other on Wolverine, while he wraps his arm around her. The kiss lasts for some time, but eventually, Jean begins to cry, and she pulls away. ‘Red, what is it?’ Logan asks, trying to sit up as he reaches out to her. ‘You…haven’t lost your touch. You’re still the best…at what you do…’ Jean replies. She tells herself that she does not have to be much of a mind reader to know that Wolverine is dying, and that he knows he is also.
Watching Wolverine and Jean via a monitor, Hodge’s tentacle touches the screen and a voice calls out to him: ‘Is it wise to put two of them together?’, to which Hodge informs the Genegineer that he has done so for a reason. He explains that as X-Factor’s friend and publicist, he had access to their dossiers, including the information that the telepath Charles Xavier compiled about them. Dr David Moreau a.k.a. the Genegineer stands alongside the blank-slate mutate once known as Ororo Munro a.k.a. Storm of the X-Men, while Hodge slobbers as he reveals that Wolverine has long harboured a secret passion for Marvel Girl, and though she is presently committed to Cyclops, X-Factor’s leader, Marvel Girl always found Wolverine attractive.
‘Were she to betray Cyclops, out of love for Wolverine…or even out of pity…that will destroy Cyclops more effectively than any weapon I could devise’ Hodge boasts, while telling the Genegineer that he assumes he and the President have acted upon the information that the mind scans provided, and that even now their forces are preparing to attack their hideout.
At that moment, outside the warehouse hideout, Magistrates are ready, armed with all sorts of weapons. ‘The strike force is in position, sir. Not a peep from the mutants. They seem to be unaware of our presence here’ one of them radios back to base. ‘They won’t be for long. Advance - NOW!’ comes the order. The Magistrates rush forward, and one of them shouts ‘Hands in the air, gene scum! Try anything - and you’re dead meat!’ But as they enter the warehouse, they find it empty and abandoned. One of them radios back to base, announcing that the mutants are long gone - and at that instant, the warehouse explodes in spectacular display.
Later, inside the President’s office, which occupies the penthouse suite in the pinnacle of the citadel. From its huge windows, the President, the Genegineer and Cameron Hodge have gathered to view the assault on the warehouse across the harbor. With them is the vacant mutate Storm. ‘Excellent, excellent. The successful capture and trial of the mutant terrorists…will extend the world’s perception of Genosha’s power and make us a force to be reckoned with’ the haggard Madame President Reneau declares. ‘And if it means a war? The Genosha I have worked for is a peaceful land…’ the Genegineer points out. ‘That, Genegineer, has always been a hypocrite’s delusion’ Hodge declares, telling the others that they have built this green and pleasant fantasy on the suffering of the super-powered slaves whom he, himself, created.
‘And your vendetta against the mutants, Hodge, will lead to the destruction of all I hold dear!’ the Genegineer exclaims. Hodge suggests they lay their cards on the table, and boasts that he will destroy the mutants, as the mutant Archangel destroyed him. ‘And with Genosha as your base, you plan to obliterate mutants from the Earth. Genosha is ours, Hodge. You won’t have it’ the Genegineer exclaims. But Hodge grins and replies ‘Such hostility, such suspicion. And among such perfect allies. Don’t you think you’re rushing things a bit, Genegineer?’ Hodge extends his head towards the President and the Genegineer and points out that the time to dissolve their alliance is after their mutual goal has been accomplished.
Hodge remarks that world opinion, of course, is turning against Genosha, and that there are rumors of blockades. The Prime Minister replies that they must act swiftly to legally try and condemn the mutants for their attacks and thieveries, to which the Genegineer asks how can they try when two of their initial captives have escaped and a third is dead. ‘Genosha will look ridiculous!’ he declares. Hodge points out that the warehouse has exploded, and even now the Magistrates assault the mutants in their lair. The mutate Storm stares blankly ahead, while rain begins to pour down outside. The Genegineer looks out the window and announces that a storm is building, and that at least that should prevent the spread of flames.
Suddenly, the door to the President’s suite is flung open. ‘Explosion… rocked the mutants hideout as our Magistrates entered it! Whole squad decimated!’ Magistrate Summers reports. ‘So the mutants are being captured, are they, Commander Hodge?’ the President asks. Alex announces that they will need to mobilize emergency units and fire fighters. The Genegineer rushes towards Alex and declares that with all the foreign reporters nosing around Genosha’s security has already been compromised. ‘And now this…!’ he gasps.
The President announces that the first priority must be the capture of those mutant terrorists . ‘Is that understood?’ she asks, before stating that upon their capture, the adults must be immediately arraigned for trial. ‘And the youngsters?’ Hodge asks. The President replies that if they are still at large, Genosha will announce that they have decided to be merciful and will try only their elders who led them to this wickedness. Suddenly, a vibration so intense that it is beyond sound shattering the windows, causing glass to crash all over the occupants of the suite.
Down below in the prison block, Jean leaps to her feet and asks ‘What in the world…?’, while Wolverine tells her it was Banshee’s sonic scream. ‘I’d say the cavalry has just arrived’ Logan tells her.
Above, with the scream of powers unleashed, Cannonball and Banshee, led by Archangel, burst into the citadel. ‘Piece of cake! It’s like the President’s waiting for us!’ Sam declares. ‘But what’s that thing with her? Some sort of machinery?’ Archangel asks, referring to Hodge, as Banshee points out that it is moving, alive. Archangel suddenly sees the head attached to the body and gasps ‘Cameron Hodge? You lead these Genoshan madmen? But what -? How -?’ Warren exclaims. ‘You assumed, Archangel, that when you sliced off my head, I would necessarily die!’ Hodge replies, before revealing that through a deal with a demon and the miracle of Right technology, he got better.
Hodge grins wickedly at his former friend, while Warren goes wide-eyed. ‘Better?’ he exclaims, deciding that Hodge is mad, that he has returned as a living nightmare. Archangel lashes out at Hodge with razor sharp wings. For an instant, Hodge’s bosy phases to intangibility, then solidifies. Warren’s wings are stuck within Hodge, who grins and asks Archangel if he understands: ‘I am better, am I not?’ Hodge tells Archangel that his lethal wings are trapped in his body, caught in a vice-like clasp, and that there they will remain. ‘He’s right. I can’t break free’ Warren tells himself as he tries pulling at his wings, while Hodge wraps several tentacles around Warren, holding him in place.
Hodge boasts that this is but the very beginning. ‘You will scream and plead, but it will not matter!’ he tells his arch-enemy. Banshee orders Cannonball to grab the President, while he attempts to free Archangel. Sean flies closer to Hodge and releases his sonic scream in an attempt to shatter Hodge’s face plate and releases Archangel’s trapped wing tip. Hodge tells Banshee that it was a game try, but that this is a special order body, custom built to withstand the powers of his mutant enemies, as his natural body could not. But, with Banshee’s second shout, hairline cracks in the ceiling widen, and with a wrench, a giant sculpture crashes down - right over the President - lucky for her, Cannonball pushes her to safety, though he is pinned under the massive statue.
The President tells Hodge that she is grateful to him, and astounded at the audacity of the mutants. ‘Who would attack me even here, at my office of state’ she declares. ‘Like you ordered your men to attack us at our school?’ Cannonball asks as he struggles under the statue. ‘Silence, gene-joke! How dare you compare your deeds to that of Genosha’s President?’ Hodge booms, before pressing the spike at the end of his tail at Sam’s face, he declares that they have captured more of these mutants, as he predicted. He adds that if the others are where he thinks they are, then they will soon have them all.
Below, there is a roar of sirens as help pours toward the burning warehouse, and in the confusion, two mutates walk past several Magistrates. They carry a stretcher with a blanket covering who it is they carry. ‘Magistrate hurt, boss. Muties bomb hurt him bad’ one of the mutates claims. ‘What do you expect me to do about it? Take him to the infirmary in the citadel, you lazy devils, and be quick about it!’ the Magistrate orders.
Soon, the mutates - actually Iceman and Cyclops disguised - arrive at the infirmary. ‘At least we’re inside, Cyke’ Iceman whispers, while Cyclops adds that all they have left is the easy finishing steps. ‘Heads up…here comes the test’ Scott points out as several Magistrates walk towards them. ‘Hold it, mutates. What you got there?’ one of them asks. ‘Scientists from lab say take this mutate back to cell, they work on him more tomorrow’ Iceman replies. The Magistrate looks under the blanket and declares ‘Don’t give me any lip, boy’ before declaring ‘What an ugly sucker’ and asking what his number is. ‘He umber 666, boss’ Cyclops replies, smirking. ‘666? Hey, Joe, take a look! Somebody with a sense of humor numbered this one. 666 is -’ the Magistrate calls out to his colleague, only for the Beast to punch up through the blanket. ‘You guessed it, chump…the number of the Beast!’ Hank declares.
A metal door suddenly slides downwards and Iceman tells his teammates that somebody just pushed the panic button. Iceman and Cyclops both punch their respective opponents, while the Beast bangs two Magistrates together, before ducking down to the door, and holding it up, while Bobby announces that more metal panels are slamming down to trap them here. The Beast manages to get to his feet and pull the panel up further, before alerting his friends to the fact that the door is heating up like a griddle, and tells the others to get under it, fast. Bobby ices up and tells Hank to go, while he opens it with super-chilled ice. He casts a wedge of ice into the gap, when suddenly, there is a burst of energy which shatters the ice, and the door slams down, trapping Hank and Bobby.
‘One out of three…ain’t bad’ Alex Summers declares as he appears before Cyclops. Scott calls out to his brother and tells him to remember who h is. ‘I’m not your brother. And I have my orders…from the President herself’ Alex announces, adding that he thought the renegade mutants might try to reach the cell block to rescue their friends. ‘As you see, I was waiting for you’. ‘Alex…’ Scott begins, but Alex shouts ‘Don’t call me that!’ and a plasma blast knocks Scott backwards. Scott tells himself that there is no point in zapping Alex back, as he is as immune to his optic blast as Scott is to the plasma. But the gun is a different matter, so Scott fires his optic power at the weapon, but the optic blast simply bounds off the weapon.
‘Good try, bunky, but no cigar! The gun’s protected from your powers by technology supplied by the Right organization’ Alex explains. He movies towards Cyclops, whose mutate costume is in tatters, and presses the gun right at Cyclops’s body. ‘The Right? As in Cameron Hodge? But he’s dead…isn’t he?’ Scott wonders, curious as to what Hodge has to do with all of this. ‘In defeating me, you made me look like a fool. Now you don’t look so great yourself!’ Alex declares, to which Scott asks him why he even tries. ‘Don’t you remember?’ he declares. Cyclops suddenly grabs the weapon and pushes it aside, ‘I’m your big brother. You never were able to take me in a fair fight’ he shouts, before twisting Alex’s arm, trapping him in a vice-like grip. ‘Somehow they’ve stolen your memories and inserted new ones’ Scott tells Alex, who replies that they couldn’t.
‘Isn’t that the technique they use on the mutates? What’s to prevent them from using it on you?’ Scott asks him, but Alex tells him not to be an idiot, wondering why they would bother. ‘To use you as a weapon against us…against me!’ Scott explains. ‘Weapon - hah! Your forces defeated my superior ones. The Commander himself accused me of weakness’ Alex replies, adding that now Scott is trying to make him betray his country. ‘I’m trying to stop you from betraying yourself’ Scott tells him. Determined, Scott tells Alex to remember when they were little, their parents’ plane exploded in flames, their mother pushed them from it with a single parachute between them. ‘I held you just like this. I didn’t let you go then…and I won’t let you go now!’ Cyclops declares, holding Alex firmly.
Tears suddenly swell in Alex’s eyes, and he realizes that he remembers, that this is true. ‘Somebody’s been messing with my mind…my life…’ he tells himself. Suddenly, a voice calls out ‘Ah, Magistrate Summers…you are defeated once again!’ ‘What in Heaven?’ Cyclops asks as he turns around, to find the monstrosity Hodge standing over him. ‘Heaven has nothing to do with it’ Hodge replies. ‘My gun’ Alex thinks to himself as he drops his weapon - but he lunges forward and picks it up, turning to Hodge, he shouts ‘Stop!’ ‘So the serpent has fangs! Surely, Magistrate, you don’t mean to use that weapon on me?’ Hodge enquires. ‘On you, Sir? Surely you don’t think I’d believe this gene-joke’s lies?’ Alex asks.
Hodge smacks Cyclops over to Alex, who holds his brother up and aims another gun at his head. ‘Certainly not, Magistrate. I am simply amazed at your perspicacity’ Hodge replies, remarking that he sees now how Alex hates this mutant who dares call him brother. ‘And when he dies, I guarantee it will be by your hand’ Hodge assures Alex. Alex frowns, and tells himself that there is no way he could save Scott without revealing his memory has returned and betraying himself. ‘There’s no point in both of us winding up in jail’ Alex knows that outside, he can work to aid their cause, and swears to himself that if anyone dies by his hand, it will be Hodge….