Appearing in "Crusade pt. 3"
- New X-Men
- X-Men students
Races and Species:
Synopsis for "Crusade pt. 3"
Several years ago, in the Mt. Haven Biowar complex, an earthquake opens the stasis tube holding William Stryker, separating him from the digital entity he'd been fused with, leaving Stryker in a state of shock.
Two years ago, and a despondent and disheveled Stryker travels to an abandoned church in Dallas, Texas, ready to kill himself. Just as he brings the gun to his throat, there is a flash of light, and Nimrod appears in front of him... before promptly collapsing. Stryker takes this as a sign from God.
In the present day, Stryker has finished describing this to Jay, as the young man looks on in horror at the Sentinel, which has now seen better days, its arms and legs missing and its insides opened up, signs of the Purifiers using it for their own ends.
Stryker continues onwards. He couldn't analyze the advanced tech within Nimrod, but he could make use of the historical databases it came with, and used these to see the future Nimrod came from, one slowly overridden with one where Mutants ruled the world. And then M-Day happened. Using the databases, Stryker found those who would have otherwise died and saved them, recruiting each one into his new Purifiers. Meanwhile, he used the database to analyze which Mutants were preventing his "Eden" from forming.
Jay speaks up, asking why he killed the children on the bus if they weren't Mutants. Stryker explains that they would have generated sympathy for Mutants, but Nimrod had no knowledge of them, and that was why he needed Jay. As it turns out, Jay informed Stryker of the bus full of students, having honestly believed he would've saved them. Stryker coldly retorts that "those without souls cannot be saved".
Back in the mansion, Dust and X-23 talk about Dust's faith, and how if Allah creates all things, then just as he is responsible for Laura's existence, he must be responsible for killing her mother. Sooraya tries to explain that this isn't the case, but she is pre-occupied with Jay, and wants to go find him. Laura offers to help, something Sooraya refuses, even when X-23 states it is most likely a trap. Sooraya calmly states that she doesn't believe it is Allah's will she dies, but if something does happen, it's pre-ordained.
Meanwhile, in Cyclops' office, he and David talk. The X-Men believe it's in his best interests to stay at the institute, since he's still a target, something his family has already agreed on. David reluctantly agrees to stay. At that moment, Beast bursts in, informing Cyclops of what's happened to Laurie.
Outside, Joshua is being held back from Logan, as he screams his head off about her death. Josh breaks free by using his powers to cover Logan's hands in sores and boils. Cannonball soon arrives and informs Scott that he can't find Jay. From a window, X-23 watches... dressed in one of Sooraya's robes.
Elsewhere, in Texas, Forge is listening to a news report about the media blackout over the X-Mansion, as he downloads data about the O*N*E Sentinels into a new project.
Back with Stryker, and he shows Jay visions of things to come. The mansion burning, Santo smashed, Josh dead, Cess being graphically electrocuted, Josh, Surge and X-23 all slain by the triumphant Purifiers... until a great cloud of dust kills them all. But Dust's actions come too late to save her friends. This is the future Stryker has seen. Previously, it would've been Wallflower who slayed them, but with her death, only Sooraya stands in his way. And she's blindly approaching the church
Instantly, Purifiers open fire, and she falls instantly. However, the image of the future remains. One Purifier is concerned, pointing out that in all previous cases, the change was immediate. As he says this, the image slowly begins to change. Satisfied, Stryker draws a gun, and aims it at Jay. He taunts him with the suggestion he'll be reunited with Julia Cabot, in Hell, before claiming he lead the men to the technology they used to kill her, before firing.
Back at the mansion, and several X-Men leave to investigate a lead in Lexington, leaving Emma, Bishop and Cannonball on guard. In the infirmary, Elixir remains beside Laurie, practically catatonic. Santo and Laurie go to check on Sooraya, since no-one's seen her all day. Santo pipes up with his hatred for X-23, expecting Cess to agree with her, which she doesn't. And then the explosions start. The Purifiers are at the gate, Stryker armed with one of Nimrod's arms, fashioned into a gauntlet he uses to freeze the Sentinels.
He then turns to his Purifiers, and declares that tonight, they will win their war.
- The cover of this issue is an homage to Uncanny X-Men #141.
- David complains he will be the first human student of the institute, though he's incorrect, the first human student having joined during the Chamber miniseries.
- Stryker's first flashback takes place after his appearance in X-Treme X-Men #30.
- This is not the first time Elixir's powers have been suggested to have negative effects, something displayed during the House of M tie-in issues. It's the first time, however, that 616-Elixir has been shown doing this.