X-Factor Forever #4: Pawns

With Christopher taken from them, and abruptly disappearing, Marvel Girl’s protective maternal instincts take over. She is concerned only with finding him, but Cyclops reassures her that Christopher’s telekinetic bubble will protect him from immediate harm, and they can’t abandon the entire population of New York City, awaiting Arishem’s judgement.

Marvel Girl: “I heard what he said. I don’t care right now why the space gods are here or what they want! Christopher is crying! I can feel him...inside my mind. We’ve got to find him--!”
Cyclops: “Jean, no! Wait! We don’t know where Apocalypse has taken him. He’s not in any immediate danger. Nothing can hurt him. He’s inside his force bubble, he--”
Marvel Girl: “He’s wet and hungry and mad and--and scared, Scott. He’s...so scared!”
Cyclops: “And so are you! And so am I. And we’ll find him. Your...psychic link to Chris will lead us to him eventually. But right now--can we abandon this city, maybe the whole world, even for our own child? If any harm comes to him, I swear to you that Apocalypse will pay a terrible price. But we need to make the right decision...!”
Marvel Girl: “Sorry. You’re right. We...we have to think. But Scott...He’s so small...and helpless.”

While Apocalypse retreats to his hideout beneath the Himalayas, Caliban is left behind. He taunts Cyclops and Marvel Girl by questioning the parentage of Christopher, whether he was conceived naturally or artificially created by Mr Sinister.

Ship comes back online and sets a course for Mr Sinister’s lair in Nebraska where Caliban believes Apocalypse is headed to investigate Christopher’s genetics. X-Factor press Caliban for more answers to Apocalypse’s claim of mutants being barren. Caliban explains that viable children born of “a mutant liaison were the result of some external intervention be it magic or science” and “naturally” “conceived” children were “flawed” and “did not live past adolescence.” Christopher’s claim to naturally conception of two mutant parents is questionable due to Madelyn’s genetic history.

They arrive at Sinister’s lair. Marvel Girl does not sense Christopher’s presence. Venturing deeper into the lair, they come across Sinister’s hundreds of cloned mutant experiments, as well as Sinister and a clone of Sabretooth. Sinister unleashes his army of mutant clones on X-Factor. Apocalypse’s plan is in place. With X-Factor and Sinister distracting each other, Apocalypse can conduct his own research.

Sensing the worst yet to come, Cyclops and Marvel Girl brace themselves for what’s to come.

Marvel Girl: “Scott--” (She kisses him.)
Cyclops: “Jean...?!”
Marvel Girl: “In case we don’t make it out of here, I want you to know--in all my incarnations, since our beginning, you have been the center of my universe!”
Cyclops: “I felt you...in my heart. I love you!”
Marvel Girl: “Deep inside me, in a place I thought had died, I...I’ve always known.”
Cyclops: “Good that’s settled. Now let’s clear out this rat’s hole...”
Marvel Girl: “...And find our baby...and take him home!”

Previous: X-Factor Forever #3 | Next: X-Factor Forever #5