Appearing in "If I Should Die..."
- New York
- The Right's base
- Cyclops' Visor
- Smile-Face Armor
- Power jamming helmets
Synopsis for "If I Should Die..."
Continued from last issue....
Following an attack at the will reading of the late Warren Worthington, the charges in the care of X-Factor go to the basement of the X-Factor compound to unlock the door to the Morlock tunnels, expecting their teachers to return from there. What they instead find are an army of Smiley Face soldiers that attacked the will reading earlier. They have come to capture the young mutants, shooting them with tranquilizer darts and places power inhibitor helmets on them to negate their powers. The commotion brings Caliban, the only member of X-Factor not at the reading, and he attempts to fight off the creatures with his newly acquired fighting abilities, but he too is tranquilized. Noting that he is not on their list of mutants to pick up, and mocking him for being "useless", the Smiley Faces shoot him with what they hope is a lethal dose of tranquilizers. As the Smiley Faces roam through the compound to make sure there are no other mutants they pause to watch a news story on their attack at Worthington's will reading. They remark about how the only member of the press that was making a connection that X-Factor and the X-Terminators was Trish Tilby, and that she was injured in the attack.
While in the sewers under the city the members of X-Factor are travelling through the Morlock tunnels. They are slowed down by recent traps set up by the Morlocks to protect themselves, but they prove to be nothing more than a minor problem. As they make their way, they realize that they have been played for fools by Cameron Hodge, that he had been using Warren's fortune to fund his own secret anti-mutant campaign and that when they were about to expose X-Factor's ruse, he had measures in place to prevent them from doing so.
Above ground, Boom-Boom has returned to the X-Factor compound following her ordeal with the Fallen Angels, she finds the front door locked. Thinking she's been kicked out, Tabitha uses one of her time bombs to blast open the door and get inside. However, she quickly ducks and hides in a closet when she hears the Smiley Faces, who are just leaving. One of their number leaves a "calling card" letting X-Factor know that their organization, called the Right, was there. Tabitha decides to follow these attackers, and finds that they have taken her friends Rusty, Skids, Leech and Artie hostage and is about to attack them when she realizes that perhaps finding out where these goons came from is a better option. As she silently follows from behind, she comes across Caliban and finds that he is so doped up on tranquilizers, he won't be much help to her and continues on alone. Short moments later, the members of X-Factor arrive and find Caliban and are surprised that he is even still alive. Scott orders Jean and Hank to take Caliban to the infirmary while he and Bobby search for the children. As the Smiley Faces load up the captured children into their craft, Boom-Boom sneaks aboard the plane. There she finds Rictor is already awake, and tells him to keep quiet while she hides, and soon the plane takes off with Tabitha as an unknown stow-away.
Inside the compound, Scott and Bobby return to tell the others that the children are missing, and when Caliban comes around they ask him what happened. He describes the Right's attack on the compound and their kidnapping of the children. He tells them that he overheard one of the soldiers say that they were headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. X-Factor then rushes up stairs to change into their X-Terminator outfits and prepare to go. Caliban forces himself to get up and despite Cyclops's protests convinces them that he has to accompany them because his mutant tracking powers are their best bet at finding the children.
Meanwhile, the Right ship lands in Virginia and Boom-Boom secretly watches as her friends are loaded up into a school bust and taken away. Inside, Rictor explains to his friends that these are members of the Right and that they are taking them to one of their re-education camps where they will be tortured until they agree to do anything the Right tells them. Tabitha tracks the school bus to the Arlington Interactive Museum of Science. Snooping around, Boom-Boom runs into one of the Smiley Faces, but avoids capture by saying she is part of one of the legitimate buses full of school children on a field trip to the museum. Upon inspection, Tabitha is shocked to find that the Right are running the place like a real museum as a front to their true operation and decides it's time to call in some help. However Boom-Boom's mutant nature is detected by the Right's nerve center and they send some of their minions to capture her just as she is trying to call X-Factor. Fleeing, she uses her powers to make an escape through a door for personnel only. Finding a giant stairwell, she has no idea where to go, so instead she ducks into the ventilation shaft to escape. Elsewhere in the compound, Rusty is tossed back into the room where X-Factor's charges are being kept, his first session with members of the Right over. Rictor is horrified to see that they have beaten and injured his friend and tries to attack one of the guards, but only gets roughed up himself.
Interlude: Back in Manhattan, aboard his cloaked ship, Apocalypse has finished his modifications on his newest Horseman, Death and puts him through a test run in a combat simulation. When Death proves successful at an even higher expectation than Apocalypse had hoped for, he tells his Horsemen that soon humanity will learn the true meaning of fear.
At the science center, Tabitha happens across a vent looking into a room where Rictor is being tortured by members of the Right. Seeing that the young mutant is in horrific pain, Tabitha creates a diversion with one of her time bombs to send Rictor's tormentors out of the room to investigate. She then frees Rictor and pulls him out of the room, and uses her time bombs to blast off his helmet allowing him to access his powers. As they try to find their friends they are spotted by guards, causing Rictor to panic and make his powers flare out of control. This causes the platform they are on to shatter, and they just barely manage to grab onto the railings and prevent a fatal fall. Getting Rictor to calm down and climb up toward the leader of the Right who tells them they have no place to hide. To their shock and horror the leader of the Right unmasks, revealing himself to be none other than Cameron Hodge.
This story is continued next issue...
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