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CyclopsQuote1 You were doing fine until you noticed Hodge! What is it about Hodge that frightens you? Quote2
RictorQuote1 Maybe... Maybe I just don't like an audience! Quote2
CyclopsQuote1 Bull! You didn't mind me watching! But seeing Hodge gave you the shakes! Quote2
RictorQuote1 It ain't lookin' at him! It's his voice... Cold. Like the voice of their leader... Quote2
CyclopsQuote1 Whose leader? Quote2
RictorQuote1 The Right... The guys who tortured me! Quote2

Appearing in "The Enemy Within!"

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Synopsis for "The Enemy Within!"

Continued from last issue...

X-Factor returns to their headquarters after rescuing the young mutant Rictor from the hands of the Right, waiting for them on the roof is Rusty and Skids. As Rusty thaws out Iceman, who has frozen into a solid block of ice thanks to the power boost given to him by Loki,[1] Scott makes some cryptic comments alluding to the fact that he thinks that Jean is really Phoenix. The only people who catch the reference are Rusty and Skids. When they try to go and tell someone, Skids slips on her own force-field causing her and Rusty to take a tumble. When Skids deactivates her forcefield, Rusty kisses her -- however she stops, worried that their young love might repeat the same path that Scott and Jean's romance has. Rusty points out to her though that it's unlikely that the same set of circumstances could happen to them. They go down and meet up with Hank just as he has finished settling Rictor in with some temporary lodging and clothes. When they try to tell Hank about Scott's talking to himself, Cameron Hodge's disturbing phone call, and Boom Boom's disappearance, Hank assures them that he will deal with all of them. He detracts their attention and has them introduce themselves to Rictor.

The next day, Scott has Rusty go through a training session with him. During the session Rusty explains his concerns about his relationship with Skids and asks Scott about his relationship with Jean. Unaware that Jean is overhearing him, he relates to a moment when he realizes that he was in love with Jean, it was some time ago when they were they took some R&R on a butte in New Mexico.[2] He relates to how Jean wanted to see his eyes and used her powers to keep back his optic blast. When finishing the recollection, Rusty asked if Jean could really hold back his optic blasts with her mental powers, Scott corrects himself and says it was Phoenix. At the mention of Phoenix's name, Jean drops the bed she was carrying telekinetically and storms off.

Witnessing this on the security monitors, Cameron Hodge finds his everything is going according to plan. Soon he is meeting with Scott regarding X-Factor's concern about the tone of their advertising campaign. In his confused state, Scott is easily strung along by Hodge who points out how many mutants they have already saved with their current operation and then he shiftily switches the subject to Jean, Phoenix, and Madelyne. As they are talking, they are watching a training session for Rictor being conducted by the Beast who is trying to get Rictor to focus his powers and shake him off a pole. Rictor is disturbed by Cameron's conversation with Scott to the point where his powers go partially out of control. As Cameron is insinuating that Jean, Phoenix and Madelyne are all the same woman, and telling Scott that he figured it out by looking at the computer database, Rictor manages to shake Beast off the pole. Noticing that Rictor is upset when the boy storms off to his room, Scott goes after him and Cameron is held up by Bobby who is once more upset about X-Factor's advertising tactics and their effects on mutant/human relations.

When Scott meets with Rictor, the boys tells him that Cameron's tone of voice reminded him of the lead of the Right, the group that captured, tortured him and then forced him to try and destroy the state of California. This upsets Rictor to the point his powers start shaking the entire building, bringing Jean with Artie and Leech in tow. Jean tells Scott to leave the boy alone, and leaves him in the care of Artie and Leech, since Leech's powers nullify Rictors. Scott storms out of the room, with Jean not far behind. When Scott goes up to his private penthouse in the complex and begins accessing the computer database, an image of Phoenix appears and reaffirms what he feared was true: That Jean, Phoenix, and Madelyne are the same woman. This image disappears when Jean enters the room. When Scott accuses her of being Pheonix, Jean finally loses it and attacks Scott. When Skids bursts in on them, they order her out of the room.

Scott insists that Jean is Phoenix, causing Jean a great deal of upset and heartbreak and the two lash out at each other, using their powers to try and prove their points. When Jean throws Scott against their helicopter, he plays possum until she can get close enough to him. Grabbing her he proves that she is really Phoenix by taking off his visor. When his optic blast is contained he assumes that his theory is true, until they realize that they are being watched by the children and that Scott's power nullification is coming from Leech.

When Scott realizes how close he came to killing Jean, he snaps out of his madness and feels horrible. However when they start investigating the ruins of his room, they find that his computer has been rigged to create a holographic projection of the Phoenix whenever a key is pressed. When they all wonder who could have been behind this ruse, Artie creates an image of who it was: Cameron Hodge.

While high above Manhattan, in a ship cloaked from the naked eye, Apocalypse meets with the mutant he has selected to be his fourth horseman, Death. Apocalypse asks him if he wishes to fly again and be able to get revenge against those who took his ability away. The man about to become Death say yes, and Apocalypse begins the process of bonding some of his own DNA to complete the process, warning his new minion that it will be painful.

This story is continued next issue...

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