Tyler has become incredibly pleased with himself. In one fell swoop, and with the help of Mr. Sinister, he has gained revenge upon all his hated enemies by unleashing the chaos-bringer, Stryfe, through his own father’s body. Holding up the Stryfe helmet in triumph, Tyler brags about his success to the captured Askani agent. The Askani is confused, especially by Zero’s actions. Tyler explains that he has convinced Zero to help him in his plans because in doing so, he will eliminate the one whose potential for destruction outweighs those she seeks to save. However, he wishes to know the truth about Cyclops and Jean Grey, and about Cable and Stryfe.
He uses his mutant abilities to draw the information from the Askani’s mind, which causes her pain. When Zero orders Tyler to stop hurting the Askani, Tyler points out that she is no longer alive, that she lost her physical body when she traveled back into time and therefore is no longer considered alive. Instead it is her causing him pain by withholding the information he seeks. Askani finally gives in to Tyler’s demands, at which point the events of the past are revealed through a hologram. In this, Tyler learns of Cyclops’s sacrifice, the day he gave up his son in order to save him from death.
Camp Verde, Arizona:
Stryfe looks at his new face in the mirror. Once again, he curses Cable for ruining a month’s worth of work by shaving his beard, as well as forcing him to start over in what he considers an accursed timeline. He turns to his main task, having ransacked Cable’s room looking for the armaments he will need to enact his revenge. He is soon interrupted by Siryn, who believing that she is speaking with Cable, asks him if he is going crazy by talking to himself. Siryn points out that he hasn’t been himself since his confrontation with Sinsear, and that holding back information is going against what he had promised them. Unable to remember Siryn’s name (and not really caring), Stryfe asks if she said something about Sinsear. Siryn starts to become alarmed, he is sounding different. Stryfe instead, insists that he is different, and then kisses her. Before she can react, he zaps her with a telepathic blow which knocks her unconscious.
Stryfe steps out of the room, and contemplates that perhaps Cable surrounds himself with youngsters because they have no defenses against his telepathy. Rictor, coming to the sound of Siryn’s cry soon meets the business end of Cable’s blaster, as Stryfe opens fire on the youth. Leaving the two injured X-Forcers behind, Stryfe enjoys the irony of his actions. Stryfe was the one who killed Rictor’s father, and Cable had finally convinced the boy that he wasn’t responsible. And now that he has gained the boy’s trust, he seemingly betrays him. Then, using the team’s IPAC, Stryfe takes off from the base.
Jean Grey tearfully watches the home videos of Cyclops, Madelyne and their son, and even though it wasn’t her who was physically there, she remembers the events as if they were her own memories. Tragically however, they only make her sad because they aren’t truly her own memories. She is soon joined by Cyclops, who states that he doesn’t look at the tapes anymore because they are too painful, not because of what he had lost but because of what they never had. Cyclops states that Nathan should have been their child, as well as a part of their marriage. Jean consoles Cyclops, and tells him that they chose to be X-Men, and the responsibilities that went along with them, and to just remember the good times. Cyclops in turn, wonders if they will ever have any good times again.
When Professor X enters the room, he asks why they couldn’t have that. If policemen, firefighters and soldiers have families, why can’t the X-Men? Cyclops states that reasons are simple. If his son can be twisted into Stryfe, what right do they have to endanger anyone else again? Professor X argues that they never had the chance to properly raise his son, and if they did, he would never have become Stryfe. Professor X’s assessments are confirmed when Domino enters the room, battered, bloody and nearly gravely injured, she confirms that Cyclops’s son didn’t grow up to become Stryfe, he grew up to become Cable.
Using the Askani’s knowledge of the future in conjunction with his own abilities to project images, Tyler is able to see the events that transpired directly after baby Nathan was transported into the future.
(Tyler’s hologram / Cable’s backstory)
He witnesses the child’s arrival, and of the technicians who subsequently examine him. They call for the Mother Askani and inform her that the only thing keeping the child alive is some sore of protective electro-magnetic field and the remnants of a mechanical entity. Pulling the hood from her head, the Mother Askani (really a much older Rachel Summers) tells the technician that they arrived too late to prevent Nathan from being infected, and that they must prepare the cloning tanks. One of the technicians objects, stating that as members of the Askani, they do not use cloning technology because it borders on Eugenics, which is the way of En Sabah Nur. The Mother Askani argues that the importance of the child is paramount to the ethics of the situation, and that he must live no matter the cost. The Mother Askani then orders Boak to do as she says and that they have little time.
The events that Tyler is now witnessing anger him, as he slashes his way through the hologram and disrupts it. Tyler realizes that the Askani were successful in their endeavors to clone the baby, however the original did not die as expected and that they had both somehow lived. Askani, with a slight smile, confirms this, stating that while the clone was far healthier, something went greatly amiss…and instead of becoming their last hope, he became their greatest fear.
Smashing his fist into his equipment, Tyler finally deduces that it was the unaltered clone that grew up to become Stryfe, and that his father was in fact the original. Then grabbing the Askani by the throat, he asks her why his father never told the truth. The Askani, however, is cryptic with her answers.
Streaking over the southwest in their Blackbird, Jean Grey attends to the wounded Domino. She informs Professor X that she has tried without success to contact Cable, stating that all she feels is a void. Professor X points out that Cable and Stryfe have always been difficult to read psionically. He does deduce however, that the disturbance that Jean felt earlier could only have been Stryfe gaining control over Cable’s body. Though he does question why Stryfe would then walk head long directly into his enemies’ base. Domino tells Professor X to think like a warrior, that if Stryfe is back is would have to get his weaponry from his most available source.
Professor X asks that if Stryfe’s possession is absolute, how far are they willing to go to stop him. Domino makes her point by loading her weapon, and states that they will go as far as they will have to…it’s what Cable would’ve wanted.
Upon landing at X-Force’s headquarters, Professor X is surprised at the conditions his formers students live in. Domino points out that this was as good as Cable ever had. But suddenly, Professor X is interrupted by the mental emanations of the injured within the base. Shortly after, Siryn begins to regain consciousness. The Professor uses his own telepathy to repair the damage done to her by Stryfe. He asks her what happened, at which point Siryn informs them that it was Cable who had assaulted them, but something was different about him. Jean informs Siryn about Stryfe’s possession.
Professor X then ponders if Stryfe may not have been Cable all along, ever since his return from the events on the moon months before. Siryn points out that that would have been impossible, that Stryfe would never have been capable of the kindness that Cable has recently been showing. Domino informs the others that she has accessed one of Cable’s video diaries. In the video Cable is greatly disturbed by the goatee which he shaved off. Though it seems trivial, there was something fundamentally wrong about it, as much as the fact that he doesn’t remember even growing it.
The Professor deduces that Cable’s entry meant that Cable had to have been possessed once before, and that it was imperative that they find him because only Stryfe knows the cure behind the Legacy Virus.
Suddenly, the air’s filled with electricity and smoke, and from a teleportation rift, Zero emerges. Zero reiterates that he functions to neutralize all weapons of war, and that peace must be promoted. The X-Men are alarmed at Zero’s sudden arrival, which is only logical since the last time they met Zero he had been a pawn of Stryfe. Zero points out that while he was indentured to Stryfe, he was not functioning to the fullest of his capabilities. That has changed, however, and he is now willing to help the X-Men to put an end to a particular weapon of war…even if that means killing Cable.
The stolen IPAC comes to a landing just outside Tyler’s secret base, at which point Stryfe emerges armed and loaded for war. Blasting at the ground, he uncovers the base and quickly makes his way inside. While making his way through the base, he begins to hear voices, and he quickly discovers Tyler and Askani. Tyler orders that the Askani must find a way to access the memories of other Askani through their empathic link, however the Askani points out that without the others present she is unable to do as he asks. She warns him that she detects another anomalous presence in the area. But before she can elaborate on who it is an explosion consumes her.
Tyler grasps at the ground, but the melting form of the Askani slips through his fingers. Tyler asks who did such a thing, at which point he quickly receives his answer. Bursting forward with both his guns aimed at Tyler, Stryfe cries out, “Me, Tyler…Daddy Dearest!”