Continued from X-Force #16. Apocalypse is weakened, in pain, and loving it. He runs into a group of X-Men waiting for him in his safe house with his Horsemen incapacitated. While they attempt to interrogate him, he knocks half the team out of the battle but is almost defeated before he teleports away.
X-Force, defeated, is incarcerated in the Danger Room while Havok and Gambit have a talk with Cannonball about helping track down Stryfe and the MLF.
Stryfe tortures Jean Grey at an undisclosed location with robotic arms.
Meanwhile, Bishop and Wolverine bust into Canada's Department K to find files on Cable and the MLF but come under attack and coincidentally run into Cable. Story continues in X-Factor #85.
Awakened too soon, a broken Apocalypse climbs to one of his old houses. He relishes the pain knowing that it makes him stronger in the end. He ponders his situation: his Horsemen on the loose without his consent and his Dark Riders waking him to hear that someone is acting in his name. This puzzle won't be answered yet; the X-Men are waiting for him. They have questions about the activities Apocalypse is supposedly participating in. They promise that they won't take it easy on him.
At the X-Mansion, X-Force receives an earful from Jubilee. The team is being held in the Danger Room with no amenities. They don't even get the benefit of scenery from the Shi'ar technology. Cannonball stews in the fact that he's let his team down. Jubilee finally gets escorted out by Strong Guy. Polaris looks on and begins crying. Havok enters and tries to comfort her. She wants a bit more lenience for these young mutants, but Havok stands firm in claiming that they have to be treated as prisoners until they can be sure that X-Force isn't hiding anything concerning Cable. The two then head to a briefing with Valerie Cooper.
Elsewhere in the mansion, Psylocke stands over the body of Professor Xavier. She sees his body slowly attack itself and transform into something else. She advances with her psi-blade drawn; she doesn't want anyone to have to suffer as she has. Before she can purge his brain, however, Moira generally announces the briefing. Psylocke promises to return.
In the house of Apocalypse, Iceman makes the first move and attempts to freeze Apocalypse in place. He receives a jolt in return and Apocalypse abandons his weakened body to one far more intimidating. Not buying it, Beast attacks. He is sent reeling into Storm, the two of them flying out the window. Apocalypse then turns to stare down Quicksilver.
In an undisclosed location, Jean Grey endures the horror of thousands of metal hands groping and prodding her. She can't use her powers to free herself. Her screams of frustration and pain are kept inside, as she doesn't want her captor to have the satisfaction of hearing her broken. She is finally released and deposited at the feet of Stryfe. He cryptically asks her if she felt like a baby being handled by aliens, lacking any love or affection. Jean passes out after asking why he would do this to her. He merely states that he was going to ask her the same thing.
At the briefing, Val Cooper informs the X-Men and X-Factor that Mr. Sinister had given her the name of the man responsible for their current problems: Stryfe. Before, Stryfe had only been engaged in small time terrorism - he seems to be aiming higher. Strong Guy wonders if Stryfe is just miffed about a glove he lost to X-Factor a few weeks back. Val isn't convinced but doesn't have any other clue as to why Stryfe would kidnap Cyclops and Jean Grey, let alone shoot Professor X. Jubilee then states that for all the group knows that Stryfe is really just Cable. Val then notices that Wolverine and Bishop haven't joined them yet. Gambit and Rogue assure the group that the two should be along any time now.
Wolverine and Bishop probably won't make that briefing, as they are in Canada. The men break into Department K in hopes of using the Canadian government's resources to locate any locations Cable might use for a safehouse. They trigger an alarm and have to fight off dozens of guards. The job is too easy for the two. Wolverine locates the Records Room and the men head that way. Bishop asks Wolverine to put in a good word for him to Storm. Wolverine, having seen that Bishop didn't kill anybody, agrees.
Back at the house of Apocalypse, Quicksilver decides to fight. He is quickly taken out when Apocalypse elongates his arm. He is then immediately tackled by Archangel and Colossus. Archangel is more than happy to decapitate his former master. They ask for the information they need to get things back to normal but Apocalypse merely summons the alien power that resides within his home and blasts the two mutants away. Standing over the bodies of his foes, Apocalypse knows that he should kill them. He also realizes that he must preserve his energies for the person responsible for his awakening. He teleports away.
In the X-Mansion, Cannonball is brought into a room with Havok and Gambit. Cannonball isn't sure what the bother is; he's already told them everything he knew about Cable. Gambit isn't so sure and makes a threat that expresses just that sentiment. Havok tries to take a more subtle approach. He knows X-Force has had run-ins with Stryfe and he wants Cannonball's help to bring the guy down. He even offers him his costume as a show of good faith. Cannonball isn't too confident, but Havok reassures him that his best is all that's ever been asked - or has he forgotten that in running around with Cable?
At Department K, Cable bodyslides in and hears the alarm. Professor informs him that there was a breach and Cable reasons that whoever broke in is probably going to have to deal with the security guards. He strolls in and blasts a hole in a wall to access the Records Room (as he's looking for information on Stryfe) and runs headlong into Wolverine and Bishop.