(the Earth’s crust)
An unconscious Mademoiselle Strange and Umi wake up, only to find themselves trapped by Garokk. They mock him, but Garokk won’t let that intimidate him, as he now finally can assume the mantle of sorcerer supreme. He recalls being resurrected as a mindless slave and used in campaigns against the great heroes of Earth’s past. But he regained his consciousness and became the spirit of the Savage Land. He ensured his autonomy, knowing that there his destiny would one day be realized, and he would be born again as the undisputed master of the mystic arts!
Strange won’t allow that. Not without a good fight. Garokk hopes that it won’t come to that, so he decides to explain a little more about himself. He tells Strange that, in his previous life, he was a mighty sorcerer and ally to the Savage Land. But power drove him mad, and he died before his destiny could be realized. While Garokk speaks, Umi uses his telepathic powers to teach Strange a spell that’s powerful enough to break their bonds. Strange’s surprised to learn that Umi’s telepathic, but he claims there’s no time to explain now. Garokk overhears the psychic conversation and slaps Strange in the face for it.
(the Last Refuge)
Madeline cries for help, but nobody answers. She bumps into Metalhead, who, upon hearing that Shakti’s in danger, immediately decides to go help. Eddie goes with Maddie to Reed’s lab, where he finds Shakti awake again, but she can’t stand up because she feels too cold. Eddie runs over to her and promises to do anything he can to help her. He goes to fetch Xi’an, who’s busy practicing his powers. Eddie begs Xi’an for help, but he sees Shakti as a big girl who can take care of herself. Eddie tries to convince Xi’an, but has a hard time to. Xi’an even uses his powers to burn Eddie’s skin, making him understand not to take his help for granted. When Eddie asks Xi’an why he acts this way, he simply responds because he can.
A few minutes later, Xi’an has tried to fix Shakti’s entire nervous system. But since he has never done it before, Xi’an doesn’t know if it’s going to work. Shakti knows that, if Xi’an failed, she’ll be dead within hours. Eddie wonders what to do. Xi’an walks away, and tells him that they’ll just have to wait. Eddie thinks that Xi’an’s getting creepier by the day. When alone, Eddie is welcomed by Franklin.
Metalsmith, December and Isaacs get taken away by the Takers and brought to their base. They take out the same device which almost friend December, and use the painful experiment to analyze both her and Metalsmith. The Takers bring their prisoners inside their citadel, where Isaac is impressed by the advanced technology. She even recognizes one of the Hydroponic Replicators from the Ares Colony! She wonders what the Takers are doing with it: basic breeding? Clone replications to keep themselves alive? One of the Takers notices her talking and shows Isaacs some topographical schematics, but she doesn’t know from what.
The Taker opens a door, which, once opened, shocks Isaacs when she sees what’s inside. She finally knows why they’ve been stealing their equipment. The Takers are trying to do the exact same thing that Ares is: they are trying to terraform Mars! The Takers remain mute. December and Metalsmith want to know where the kids are that Isaacs told them the Takers had kidnapped, and where Twilight is and if she’s hurt. Suddenly, a child tries to phase through a wall, and with a painful voice screams “mother!”
More Phalanx emerge and warn that the Scout is arisen and that the slumber of the Phalanx has come to an end. Doom, Spider-Man and Xina try to defend themselves, and wonder what’s going on. Magus explains. He says that the planetoid that decimated Earth contains a legion of Phalanx embryos. Upon activation of the conscription program buried within the Scout’s genetic code, they will awaken to assimilate all of Earth’s resources. Including the piquant life force within the human flesh. Magus grabs Xina, this alarming Spider-Man.
Doom acts first and, in a furious rage, throws some blasts from his armor to Magus, but he’s unharmed. But he releases Xina nonetheless. For now. Doom warns Xina that they must commence with phase two. Spidey attacks Magus again. Doom wants to move over to the war’s next destination, namely the Savage Land. Xina calls Doom both a traitor and coward. But Doom simply sees himself as a survivor, and is certain that Xina will understand in time. He picks her up and escapes through a tunnel, leaving Spider-Man behind.
(the expedition team)
Luna rises back up to her friends from the water, and informs them that she has found Nostromo, or rather, what’s left of him. He’s turned into a techno-organic cocoon. This interests Jade, who wants to go check it out. Bloodhawk warns her about the dangers and tries to stop her, but Jade is determined to take the dive, as nobody present is as smart as she is. Winn thinks that they best leave Nostromo, as he might be mutating and they could disturb that. Willow gets angry and can’t believe Winn. Jade kind of agrees to let nature go, but Jade thinks that maybe Nostromo’s example can help humanity learn a bit more about mutants, and finally close the bad relationship they have with humans. Jade jumps into the water, but none of her friends are happy about it.
(the Last Refuge)
Victor asks Xi’an if Shakti is going to live, but he doesn’t know. But Xi’an does care about her. Victor wants to know, when it comes down to it, if Xi’an is going to try to end the schism between humans and mutants, like Cerebra has been trying to do, or if that dream is going to die with her. Xi’an sees that to be out of his hands, and says that whatever happens - happens. An angry crowd approaches the two mutants and demands answers. The leader of the mob’s daughter has been telling him stories about what’s going on in the so-called city hall, and now that Shakti, the only mutant they like a bit, is near dead, they want to know what’s going on.
Xi’an and the leader argue, and both aren’t impressed with one another, and wouldn’t hesitate to start the war again, this time in blood. Victor calms them both down, and suggests to work together and go to the town hall together to find the answers. The humans agree and leave. Xi’an is surprised that the humans actually listened to his reason. Victor walks away, giving Xi’an the advice to also try it sometime.
(the Earth’s crust)
Strange manages to use the spell Umi sent to her and escapes. Garokk is astonished. Strange explains that Chton’s shriek decimated Garokk’s Ta-Keth binding spell with ease. And, with the help of Umi’s dash of Nigiri’s nose, the escape simply couldn’t fail. Umi finds it a pleasure he could help. Umi silently notices that Strange’s potential is staggering, and wishes that he could teach her more. Strange throws another spell at Garokk, this time she creates a projection of a monster. Garokk isn’t impressed, and manages to open a portal, which power redirects Strange’s monster to her!
Garokk jumps behind Strange, and touches her shoulders. Energy flows out of her, making her feel cold, and… she turns into stone! Garokk triumphs, as the transference worked and his ascendance is realized. Strange is now bond to the Savage Land. And Garokk now not only walks the Earth again as a normal man, but also as the new Sorcerer Supreme!
The child from the wall cries for her mother, but then dies. Metalsmith notices that the kid came from a cave, and fears that Twilight might be inside it, too! Furious, he demonstrates his powers to the Takers, and warns them that Twilight better isn’t in there, and unharmed. Metalsmith frees himself and December using his powers, and they attack the Takers. December thanks Smith, and knows that Sister Nick would have been proud, Thor rest her soul, she says. The Takers take Isaacs hostage. December and Metalsmith wonder what to do, but the Taker releases Isaacs, when a new player pops up. It’s Twilight! She apparently has greater power than before and welcomes her friends, but tells them that this is no way to threat their newfound friends!
Magus is about to kill Spider-Man. But he has thought one step ahead, and has installed an electromagnetic dampening agent in his costume, rendering it impervious to the T.O. Virus. It harms Magus, and he has to release Spidey to tend to his wounds. Spidey takes advantage of Magus’ disorientation and jumps in the manhole, and plans to go after Doom and Xina.
Xina wants to know why Doom left Miguel upstairs. Doom wants Xina to listen to him. He explains that the Phalanx are able to tap into even the most complex machinery and bend it to their will. Doom claims that, ordinarily, the failsafes in his armor would protect him, should its integrity be compromised, but recently his vestments were bonded to his person via this century’s nanotechnology. Doom goes to sit in a machine, and claims to be one with it. However, he fears that the machine might be manipulated, this making him a liability. He no longer holds the location of the Scout as a trump card. He knows that Magus will attempt assimilation.
Therefore, he demands from Xina to infect him with the techno-organic virus, and allow it to bond to the nanotechs. Then, using the techniques Xina developed, she will extract the resultant product, purging Doom’s system of those infernal machines, and the Phalanx threat forever! Xina calls Doom insane, since the virus will kill him! Doom takes Xina’s hand, and tells her that the Phalanx cannot assimilate him, and that he will die tonight if that happens. In a gentle voice, Doom tells Xina that he has faith in her.
Xina does as asked, but the experiment makes Doom scream in pain. Spider-Man enters and asks what’s going on. After Xina has done that, Miguel agrees to try to rescue Doom, but only because Doom still holds his brother, Gabe. Spidey destroys the machine Doom sits in, but the doctor himself sits unconscious. Xina fears that he’s dead but, suddenly, Doom proudly steps forward!
One of the Wild Boys’ mysterious master reports to him the situation of Wulff’s escape. He doesn’t mind, and will let the boy come to him. Meanwhile, Wulff fights his way through some more guards, killing them all. Uproar tries to calm his friend down, but Wulff instead almost kills him! Fiona slaps Wulff on the head. He calms down but does nothing about that. This makes Uproar wonder. Wulff suggests to go scout ahead, and promises to meet up with the two later. Uproar asks Fiona about Wulff’s time with the Wild Boys.
Fiona realizes that Uproar wasn’t there when Wulff’s powers kicked in, which wasn’t so pleasant. She explains that the big boss found Wulff after his parents had kicked him out. The boss approached Wulff, and gave him a home, family, those kinds of things. Fiona says that Wulff found a place where he belonged and the boss got a new, loyal enforcer. Uproar asks what that means. Fiona reveals that Wulff was a full-out hardcore savage in those days, and that the big boss used him a lot. Uproar wants to know in what kinds of situations Wulff was used.
Fiona says that, when Wulff was sent out, nobody survived. Uproar can’t believe how one man can use a child like that. Fiona touches him and calms Uproar down. He finds it cool that she touches him. Wulff meets back with them, and has caught some smells behind a locked door. Uproar smashes it open, but they are surprised to find no resistance. They are welcomed by the big boss of the Wild Boys, who introduces himself as the Vulture! He reveals that Fiona was his double agent, and took her time to inform him where they were. Uproar can’t believe it. Fiona looks like she isn’t happy about it. The Vulture smiles, and is ready to have some fun.
(the expedition team)
Jade finds the cocoon Nostromo has changed into, and finds a weird looking bio-signature on it, and it’s nothing like Nostromo’s was. She further explores it and discovers that something is defiantly inside it, and the thing isn’t human!
Above, the tension rises up. Hodge doesn’t see the need to wait any longer for Nostromo and Jade, as he deems them useless. Bloodhawk gets angry hearing that statement, and the two fight. Luna tries to calm Bloodhawk down, but fails to. So, she uses her last option and gives Bloodhawk a kick against his head, knocking him out. Winn tends to Hodge and they both feel like they’re being watched. They are, though don’t notice their weird looking stalkers watching them from the ceiling, in the shadows.
Jade doesn’t know how to get Nostromo back up. Suddenly, the cocoon glows, and hatches! Jade screams, and the hatching makes the water rise, sending Jade back to the cave. Winn picks Nostromo up, and tells him to relax, and promises that everything’s going to be okay. Winn wants them to get them on Terra Firma first. To himself, he thinks that, then, finally, his mission will be complete!
The stalkers jump down and mention that they work for Doom and that they’re send to take Nostromo to him. Winn laughs, and transforms. Everyone stares at him, and Winn explains that, from this moment on, the unconscious Nostromo belongs, body and soul… to the Phalanx!