Strange Allies – Reluctant Heroes
Part 8: 'Spionage & Strategies
Weapon X and Jean Grey make it to London and meet up with the Human High Council, consisting of Bolivar Trask, his wife Moira, Emma Frost, Brian Braddock and Mariko Yashida. They hand them Sinister’s data rods and, while the Council members are busy decrypting and discussing the files, the two mutants agree to help in the evacuations. Riding a Sentinel, the couple arrives at a control tower of Apocalypse’s mid-atlantic sea wall. The Infinites send out a distress call, and Havok is teleported there as a back-up. Fortunately, Jean is able to keep him at bay while Logan takes out the control center of the entire sector, allowing the Sentinels to breach the seawall and head for the American shore to pick up all the humans that await their evacuation.
Back in London, the pair learns that the Council have decided that the only way to stop Apocalypse is a nuclear strike on North America. Logan applauds this decision, though Jean is not so sure about it. Some trouble starts at the landing site of the incoming Sentinels, caused by Box and Copycat, who have been posing as two refugees. The two former X-Men effectively deal with them, unaware that it is just a distraction for the Reavers, other operatives of Apocalypse, to secretly enter Eurasia. Jean finally decides that she doesn’t want to be involved in killing half of the world’s population, so she boards a plane to warn America of the coming attack. Logan tries to stop her, but Jean says the only way to prevent her from going would be to kill her. Unable to do that, all Logan can do is watch her leave.
While Weapon X instructs the Council about which targets to hit first in America, the Reavers hijack one of the Eurasian Armada’s airships and set another one on fire. Logan leaps onto the ship and deals with the cyborgs, though he is unable to save the second ship from exploding. Both crafts crash, permanently disabling the Analog Guidance System that is essential for the planned doomsday strike on America. At least Logan survives, though just barely, and walks away from the crashsite.
After his healing factor has done its job, Weapon X comes up with an idea for a possible replacement for the Guidance System. He travels to the remains of Wundagore mountain to locate the old aborigine mutant Gateway, who should possess the necessary skills to navigate the Armada towards America. Along the way, he runs into some more of the Reavers, but he slices them apart and then meets up with his old friend Carol Danvers. Together, they enter the top of the tower where, for the recent years, Gateway has been sitting and studying humanity’s history with the computers that surround him. Carol explains that Gateway attempts to absorb all that knowledge before it will be lost forever. Logan has no time to wait for Gateway to come out of his trance, so he destroys the computer terminals, getting Gateway’s attention. He explains the importance of the mission, but Gateway turns him down. Before they can continue their discussion, they are once more attacked by the Reavers. Gateway teleports the three of them aboard the Reavers‘ airship and a battle ensues. As Weapon X is nearly defeated, Carol throws herself onto Pierce, knocking the two of them out of the airplane. As they fall, she pulls her hand grenade's pin and the two explode in mid-air. Logan silently mourns his friend Carol for her heroic actions and Gateway decides that for Carol’s sake, he will do what Logan and the Human Council ask of him.
With Gateway joining them in their attack on Apocalypse's citadel in New York, the council board the lead airship moving towards America. During the flight, Logan talks with Emma about Jean. Although he feels betrayed by her, he knows why she chose as she did and he still loves her. As the armada enters a storm, Gateway gets on top of the craft to feel the weather patterns to better navigate. Logan follows him and, right then, Pierce once more attacks, accompanied by a second cyborg who turns out to be Carol Danvers. The grenade did not kill them and Pierce has turned her into one of his Reavers. He also had inside help with Brian Braddock secretly working for Apocalypse too. With the cockpit and command center of the lead ship destroyed, Brian comes to his senses and tries to stop Pierce, though in vain. Logan tries to talk Carol out of killing Gateway by reminding her of her past self. As he is about to reach her, Pierce kills her. With his right arm severely injured, Logan seems unable to stop Pierce from killing Gateway, but suddenly he pops the claws from his severed hand arm. Ever since that hand was cut off, he had kept secret that the claws of it were still retracted in his forearm. With Pierce out of the way, Gateway quickly takes charge of the situation, which at this point looks hopeless. Gateway creates a portal large enough for the entire Armada to travel through to their destination, Apocalypse's heartland. Logan sighs, part of him had hoped they would fail, but now they are going to kill everyone in New York, including Jean. [Weapon X (1st series) #1-4]
Part 9: Side-switching Siblings
Shortly after he sends Weapon X and Jean to London, Sinister decides that it is finally time to part ways with Apocalypse. Although he wonders how his betrayal will affect his surrogate sons, Cyclops and Havok, he leaves and blows up his office to cover any clues to his destination and plans.
In the breeding pens, it is just another day as usual. Despite the Brain Trust, a device empowered by six telepathic minds, psionically drugging the prisoners, some of them try to escape. They are easily captured by the Mutant Elite Force (Aurora, Northstar, Amazon, Cannonball, Havok, Cyclops and the Bedlam brothers) and turned over to the Beast, who uses their genetic material to create more Infinite soldiers. Once they realize that Sinister has abandoned them, Cyclops, as the highest ranking prelate, takes charge, much to Havok’s annoyance. The next day, Apocalypse officially puts Cyclops in command and, impressed by the older Summers brother, even hints that he might become the next Horseman. Havok envies his brother even more and schemes to take over.
Alex and the Bedlam Brothers regularly spend their free time in the nightclub Heaven, a supposed neutral ground for humans and mutants, run by the Angel. Although it’s against Apocalypse’s law of miscegenation, Havok secretly has an affair with the club’s human singer, Scarlett McKenzie. He is unaware that she is actually a spy for the Human High Council, just like Angel’s apprentice Karma, who has already been discovered and arrested. Meanwhile, late at night, Cyclops actually helps some of the prisoners to escape. He has been questioning Apocalypse’s methods for quite some time and, equipped with a cloaking field, he guides a few prisoners to a secret meeting point, where they are picked up by Val Cooper, who is working in a resistance group. On one such occasion, Cyclops is almost exposed by his teammates Northstar and Aurora and, to ensure his escape he has to blast them, putting them both in a coma. Unnoticed by Scott, Havok observes the incident and is very happy to finally have some evidence against his brother.
Havok really thinks it is his lucky day when he discovers Jean Grey in the citadel. Having returned from London, she searches for Sinister, thinking that if anyone can help her to overthrow Apocalypse, and thus preventing the Human Council’s nuclear strike, it is he. Momentarily distracted by finding Sinister’s sanctum in ruins, she lets her guard down, allowing Havok to knock her out. When she awakens, she finds herself strapped in one of the interrogation devices of the Beast’s lab. The mad scientist already interrogated her when she was a prisoner years ago, but she refused any attempts of him breaking her spirit and, after long months, she was rescued by Logan. Havok takes his older brother to the lab, and Scott is stunned to see the beautiful redhead, remembering how he was drawn to her already years ago. Finally, Alex confronts Cyclops about freeing people from the pens and accuses him of working together with the known race traitor, Jean Grey. He tells him to kill her to prove his innocence but Scott refuses. Havok smiles and orders the Guthries to detain Cyclops and, in exchange for their loyalties, they receive a promotion. Alex becomes the base’s new commander while Scott is turned over to the Beast to suffer as a guinea pig in his labs.
Havok’s victory is spoiled when Scarlett’s treachery is discovered and she is arrested. During interrogation, she reveals that she is pregnant with Havok’s baby and Alex wonders how to deal with this. Apocalypse decides that without Sinister, the breeding pens are useless, so he wants them shut down and the prisoners to be culled. Havok passes the order on to the Mutant Elite, though not all of them like it. The Bedlams think that killing the weak is without honor. In the lab, Jean and Scott manage to escape and plan to release the prisoners. They head towards the Brain Trust, but they run into the Bedlams. However, instead of fighting, the two brothers opt to join them and help by dealing with the Guthries so that Jean and Scott can continue their plan. Jean proves to be the stronger telepath and destroys the Brain Trust, while the Bedlam Brothers sabotage the power plant. The many inmates of the pens bust out of their cells and, before a panic can start, Jean and Scott take charge and lead them out of the base towards freedom, Havok hot in their trail. [Factor X #1-4]
Part 10: Sinister’s Special Secret
After turning his back on the breeding pens, Sinister decides to bring forth a secret plan he has been working on for the past years. During the time Jean Grey was a prisoner, he had found that her genetic make-up was the perfect match for the DNA of Scott Summers and, unknown to both of them, Sinister had used their samples to grow a young boy with mutant powers of such degree that he would be able to defeat Apocalypse. This boy, named Nate Grey, had broken out of the lab he was held in and, unaware of his origin or his purpose, had joined a small resistance cell (Forge, Toad, Soaron, Brute, Mastermind and Sonique) that, disguised as a theatre group, travels around northern America. Sinister plans to manipulate the boy and, to avoid recognition, shapeshifts. In his new guise, he too joins the group under the name Essex. The Brute figures out his real identity but Sinister kills him before he can tell the others.
Forge, Nate’s mentor, constantly reminds the boy to be careful with his powers, so that they don’t alert any of Apocalypse’s troops to their presence, but Nate is fed up with having to hold back. Essex uses this to his advantage and starts manipulating Nate, for example, by encouraging him to use his powers to fly. He also suggests the rebels’ next target, a factory of Apocalypse where experiments are conducted on humans. Reluctantly, the group checks out the place and find only corpses, but are in turn discovered by the Madri. A battle ensues where Nate, after taking some lumps, uses the new appliance of his powers. Later, back in their camp, Nate confides in Theresa that he doesn’t like to be kept on the short leash.
Not before long, the Shadow King registers the new powerful psi-talent and tells his master about it. Immediately, Apocalypse sends out Domino and her team of bounty hunters to capture or kill the telepath. They arrive right in the middle of an argument between Forge and Essex. Domino demands that they hand over the telepath. Forge tries to pass off Mastermind as Nate, but the bounty hunters see through the ploy and kill him. Battle ensues and both teams have casualties. Finally, Nate gains the upper hand and makes Domino relive the deaths of all her victims, rendering her catatonic. Nate and Forge make up and Nate decides that Forge was right – he still has a lot to learn.
When Forge discovers the slain Brute, he gets into a fight with his murderer Essex, though gets killed as well. Nate telepathically feels Forge dying and his last words are to find Magneto. Nate angrily lashes out at Essex, who doesn’t die, but transforms into Sinister and promises him answers. The scientist tells Nate his origin and that he was intended to be a secret “superweapon” to destroy Apocalypse, whose bloodlust is interfering with Sinister’s own plans. Nate has enough of all this and injures Sinister mortally. However, he realizes that Sinister had a point: if he ever wants peace, he’ll have to destroy Apocalypse first. Nate says good-bye to his surviving friends and uses his telepathy to find out that Magneto is in Apocalypse’s citadel as a prisoner. Upon reaching Manhattan, Nate has a short encounter with Scott and Jean who are leading the prisoners to safety, but he proceeds on towards the stronghold. [X-Man #1-4]