Miguel (Spider-Man) lies unconscious in a lab. He is probed and scanned, and the scientists, wearing protective suits, find no traces of techno-organic growth. One of the scientists states that it doesn’t matter, any person found in the contaminated zone is to be treated in a certain way (probably killed), but another one objects, as Miguel is a special case. Right on cue, Spider-Man wakes up, thanks to another electric shock probe and jumps off the lab table. Hanging from the ceiling, he gazes out of the window and finds himself on an island completely made of techno-organic material. He then turns back on the scientists, prepared to fight, but one takes her helmet off, stopping him. It is a former acquaintance by the name Xina, who formerly worked for Alchemax. She welcomes him to the “Fatherland“.
In the Last Refuge, the X-Men help Mr. Fantastic to set up another lab project of his. Metalhead carries around the heavy things, Krystalin provides crystal structures to position the equipment in certain places and Morphine Somers, constantly bickering, checks circuits with Xi’An. Little Madelyne sneaks around, curious what they are doing, and manages to get inside, where she observes the Richards. Reed is, like always, busy with his experiment. His current project is a cross-linking of the remaining databanks and satellites to gain as much information on the status of Earth as possible. For example, he wants to know what happened to the Thing, who went to Mars with some members of X-Nation. Sue is concerned that Reed will never want to leave a world where so many problems need to be fixed, but she wants to return home to their son, Franklin. Krystalin sympathizes with her, right as the Human Torch flies in, offering Krys a date, but she gives him a cold shoulder. Checking their new network, Sue receives data from the halfway flooded Four Freedoms Plaza in New York; the Negative Portal is open again, so actually the Fantastic Four could return home !
In a cave beneath the jungle, the expedition team has stumbled over an alien spaceship. It seems to have been lying there hidden for about 1000 years. They try to go inside, but the door is locked and Jade is unable to open it with her electronic skills. Instead, La Lunatica pushes the door open and the group enters. They find evidence that the ship has come from Mars and also discover the dead remains of the alien pilot. Winn concludes that, because of there no being hull damages or apparent malfunctions, the ship must have been sabotaged. Hodge becomes impatient and tries to dissemble some machinery parts, which triggers an alarm. The door slams shut and the ship starts to explode section by section.
Beneath the Savage Land, Mademoiselle Strange is falling down a shaft and, thanks to much debris, she can’t concentrate on her spells. Finally, she hits the bottom and lies unmoving, as a small red hand reaches out to here. Regaining consciousness, Strange perceives this as an attack and grabs the hand, which belongs to a red lizard-like creature called Umi. It pretends to only having wanted to help her, but Strange doesn’t want his help. Their conversation is interrupted by a loud voice, coming from a giant face, cut in stone. Strange realizes that this is her attacker and uses her magics on him, but she is again overpowered by the stone fists. As the voice reminds Strange of the circumstances of her brother’s death (revealed next issue), Strange becomes really angry and destroys the face in stone, though the voice is still heard: that this was only the start. During the fight, Umi thinks that Strange “will be the one.“
On Mars, Father Jennifer, December, Twilight and Smith have been taken into the Ares colony. The human settlers living there are suspicious of them, as many of them have been abducted by unseen attackers. However, the priest is able to calm the situation and the settlers too have a voice of reason in Dr. Isaacs. She convinces the other settlers to lower their weapons and asks how things on Earth are. She is shocked to hear about the flood and 90% of humanity having drowned. Hayes too has tragic news; besides many of them missing, all their children and most of their equipment have been stolen by the "Takers.“
Uproar and Wulff have been fished out of the water by the Wild Boyz, who now beat them up in their boat colony. Wulff lashes out without plan and is easily taken out by Dorian and, as Uproar tries to help, he too is defeated by the rest of the Wild Boyz. They think about killing them, but a female voice orders them to stop. It’s Fiona, who claims the prizes fished out of the sea for the Big Boss. Yet, as Warbird shows her who the captives are, she decides that the traitorous Wulff (he abandoned the Wild Boys earlier) deserves a treatment called “the gauntlet.“ Uproar is locked up somewhere else.
At the Fatherland, Miguel is guided around by Xina. She explains that she was called there by the All-Father (turns out to be Doom), and that the island is made up of techno-organic cells of living circuitry. This is exactly what Spider-Man came to investigate, as they found a man with a lethal techno-organic infection at the coast of the Savage Land. Remembering his mission, he also thinks of Wulff and Uproar, but Xina tells him that if they are in the “contaminated zone“ and that they will have to remain there. Nobody is allowed to enter or leave it. They only fished Spider-Man out of the water, as they might need his help. Miguel is really upset and intends to search for them.
The whole scene has been observed by Doom on a video screen, as the Magus (Warlock’s father) enters his office. Apparently, he and Doom have some kind of a deal. Magus transformed Latveria into this techno-organic island, though admittedly not only for altruistic reasons. He intends to use it as a platform for Earth’s imminent rebirth. Doom, in turn, possesses knowledge of a so called Scout, who is needed for the Phalanx takeover.
In the cave below the jungle, the expedition team really is in trouble. The explosions are getting nearer, but neither Ryuteki’s devices, nor Luna’s strength can open the door anymore. Bloodhawk blames Hodge’s greed for their current situation. Willow has an idea how to stop the self-destruct sequence; she believes by morphing into the dead pilot she could stop it. The problem is that she never copied a dead person before. Having no other option, Willow carries out her plan and, while morphing, she cries out in pain. Finally, she manages to assume the alien form, looking like the Martian Takers, and the ship stops the self-destruct as it recognized her authority. Their lives are saved, but the team has another problem: Willow tells Nostromo that she can’t change back !
Mr. Fantastic still is working on his data research machine. Metalhead holds some equipment for him and, distracted, Reed calls him “Ben“ and “old friend,“ Much to Xi’an’s dislike, he even uses a bio-neural circuitry pack, filled with some of Cerebra’s energies, though originally it was in the X-Men’s possession. Finally, he has some time for Sue and Johnny, who eagerly alert him to the opened portal of the Negative Zone in New York; it might be their only chance to get back. Johnny says that they’ll go through, with or without him. Reed reasons that he has to help the people to get settled; actually he does it for Ben, who might not have survived the rocket launch to Mars. Sue understands that Reed can’t leave and ensures that she will wait for him forever, but she and her brother leave to get back to little Franklin. Hidden in a corner, little Maddie eavesdropped and cries about the tragic decision.
Switch to the arena place on the boat colony. Halloween Jack begs for his life, but his opponent defeats and kills him anyway. The next fight is announced: Uproar against Blowfish. Uproar wears an inhibitor collar but, for the fight, it is switched off. He grows to top size and easily knocks out Blowfish, who has green skin, a long tongue and two extra arms. The crowd demands the loser’s death but, as Uproar refuses to kill, he is taken into custody again and Blowfish is killed anyway. Somewhere else, a rat is seen in front of Wulff’s prison cell. A hand covered with fur reaches out, grabs the animal and pulls it inside to eat it.
It’s night on Mars. Smith wakes up and, checking on Twilight, he finds her bed untouched. He finds her outside talking with Dr. Isaacs. The scientist mentions that she misses her family, especially her son, who was left behind on Earth, while Twilight mourns for her dead teammate Clarion (his name was Hayes Isaacs – though Twilight fails to make the connection). Upon Smith’s arrival, Dr Hayes leaves for the base and the two teammates talk, yet she asks to be left alone for a while. He complies, but a few minutes later wants to apologize and goes out again. However, Twilight is gone, without a trace.
On Latveria, Spider-Man searches for a boat to leave but, instead, finds many people partially infected with the techno-organic virus. They alert the All-Father and as he shows up. Miguel finally knows that he is nobody else than Doom.
At the Last Refuge, Reed has been working non-stop on his device. Finally, it‘s finished, though untested. It resembles a big robot, though it has cables and connection going out of it in many different directions. Overall, it has a humanoid appearance, even a “face,“ and so little Maddie asks how Reed is gonna name the machine. Mr. Fantastic doesn’t understand why he should do so, but Maddie says that it is almost like a son. Reed Richards stumbles: “Franklin?“ and finally realizes what he was about to give up. Failing to notice the robot going online with “Father?“, Reed rushes to New York and reaches Sue and Johnny just in time. Together they enter the Negative Zone and hope to find their way home.