(1959, the southwestern shore of Madripoor)
The Avengers have captured some Nazi sleeper agents. Three of them sit chained up on the beach, whilst the fourth, Axis Annie, is held by the throat at the mercy of Sabretooth. Namora assures Nick Fury that Creed is fine. They have an understanding. She listens to his sociopathic nonsense and he doesn’t kill indiscriminately. Fury doesn’t wish to take that chance so he steps in and asks Victor to back off. Creed complains that it’s just fine when Fury needs some dirty work done. Then it’s all ‘Hey! Great to see you Victor ol’ pal.’ But, the minute he wants to just kill somebody it’s ‘Ooh, ooh, bad Sabretooth!’
Fury asks Axis Annie to tell him about the medallion. Are they talking Red Skull or what? With blood dripping from her nose, she replies that, if he keeps Sabretooth away from her, she’ll tell him everything. She explains that the medallion appeared in her apartment in Sao Paulo as if from nowhere. She heard the same from Penny and the others so they then regrouped. “Just like that?” replies Fury. This thing shows up and they’re ready to go to the mat for National Socialism all over again? Annie replies that they heard the others had received medallions. She thinks it was Penny who said it was like something from that Amie board game… a get out of jail free card, maybe. Fury grins and turns to Victor. “Okay Victor. Now you can kill them.”
General Hill is at a restaurant with Senator Sandford and Geoffrey Sydenham. Sydenham still believes he can persuade the general to join him, but Hill is adamant that Sydenham is untrustworthy. He doesn’t like a thing about him. Sydenham tells him it’s a pity he doesn’t, because working with him is going to be far more effective than working on his own. While he and his so-called agents operate against toothless enemies, ignoring the very real red threat, he, with the assistance of brave and forward-thinking men like the senator…
Hill cuts him off in his prime and asks if he bored his way into a charge of treason. Sandford warns Hill that that’s enough, but Sydenham tells him to shut up. Hill tells Sydenham that he might want to take some of his own advice. Sydenham admits that he does go on a bit, but it’s all about the love he has of this country. He informs Hill that there are things about which he knows nothing. It would behoove him to join his team. Hill stands up and heads for the door. He turns as he leaves and tells Sydenham to shove it.
Madripoor’s capital city shares its sovereign nation’s name but, in truth, the city of Madripoor is two very different worlds: Lowtown, where the majority of her citizens dwell in unimaginable, hellish poverty and Hightown, where the elite masters of this tiny island nation rule a kleptocracy with the iron hand of fear.
Namora gives Dominic Fortune a lift into town and Fortune informs her that he met her cousin back in 1942 when he was sub-busting on the Murmansk run. Namora replies that Namor’s disappearance from Atlantis is a deeply tragic mystery for her people. Needless to say, she misses him terribly and she would prefer never to speak of this again. She asks him if their location is where he wants to be. Fortune replies that Madripoor may be a criminal enterprise disguised as a country but, despite that, or maybe because of it, official Madripoor keeps impeccable records of everything and everyone in town. So, Namora says, once they get inside the filing cabinet, they’ll be able to find their quarry. She teases him a little by noting that he seems unusually comfortable being alone on someone else’s property at night. He replies that if she’s asking whether he has experience as a thief… he would have to take the fifth.
She asks if he’s certain that what they are after is in this cabinet. Without question, he replies. He asks her to bring the lamp a little closer so he can pick the lock. Namora does better than that. She pulls out the drawer, snapping the lock with ease. Fortune thought they were going to have the element of surprise, but Namora says it’s not as if they’re going to spend time analyzing what they find. They find what they need to know and go directly to where these self-deluded supermen are laying low.
With the information they were after, the team heads to a large complex surrounded by woodland. Namora does an aerial reconnaissance and Fury asks what they’ve got. She informs him that there are four walls with limited access. He calls Victor, who informs him that he can see maybe a dozen guards with automatic weapons. Fury then calls Kraven who tells him that they have guard dogs but they smell strange. Fortune informs the team that according to their files, the dogs have been used for experimental surgery. Great, thinks Fury. Frankenstein guard dogs. He asks McTeague for his thoughts. When McTeague simply whistles, Fury asks him if that’s it. He whistles a happy tune? He tells Fury that it should be enough.
Inside the compound, the dogs with their glowing red eyes and cybernetic enhancements, respond to the whistle and turn on their masters. It’s a bloodbath. Robotically enhanced dogs bred for combat have no mercy. Inside, a man in a strange wheelchair shouts to two of his guards to get down there and shut the damned dogs up. They’re drowning out act two of Parsifal. A moment later and both Holhein and Bubenheimer come flying past him, having been taken out by Sabretooth. He charges at the man and says, “They call you Innsbruck the Planner, right? They call me Sabretooth and I gotta tell ya, I really hate opera.” As he charges, Innsbruck calls him a peasant and a freak. Not only that, but he’s rather a stupid freak as well. Sabretooth lunges at him but Innsbruck’s wheelchair raises from the ground and several extendable calipers appear, grab Sabretooth and defenestrate him.
Meanwhile, Fortune, Namora and Kraven, using a machine gun, take out the remaining dogs and Fortune points out that he got Victor. Namora asks him not to worry. They both know he’ll get over it.
(Falls Church, Virginia)
This small town which is just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C., has been a bedroom community for federal apparatchiks for over a century. When the Pentagon opened for business, every sleepy small town in a fifty mile radius was occupied by an invading army of intelligence, military and administrative personnel. And, like every small town that welcomed federal dollars, local real estate values quadrupled as the local landlords robbed the invading army blind.
General Hill is asleep in hid bed when an assassin materializes out of thin air. He points his gun at Hill but is immediately shot in the head by Gorilla Man, who appears at the window. General Hill stands up quickly but Gorilla Man asks him to relax. They’ve got his back. “We?” he asks. Gorilla Man informs him that McTeague warned Colonel Fury, who told Namora, who called Agent Woo, who called him. Hill says he’s grateful. Gorilla Man asks who this guy is, to which Hill reckons it beats the hell outta him. Gorilla Man asks if he has a lot of people who want to see him dead. Hill says he always figured they were judged by those who hate them as well as love them. He kneels beside the body and finds something odd. On the basis of rigor mortis, Gorilla Man didn’t kill him. The guy has been dead for days.
Fury and McTeague charge into the building. Now that they’ve got a few moments whilst they kill some guards, Fury asks him to bring him up to speed on what’s really going on. McTeague replies that it’s not like he had any or all the answers when he joined their little dustup. But, the events of the past several days both there and in Washington makes it appear that while it may appear they are waging a war against a single foe, the reality is that it is a conflict on two fronts. They are being compromised by elements of what would appear to be their own side, so to speak. Fury asks how McTeague fits into all this.
McTeague then provides him with some background. He explains that he came by his gifts quite naturally. His Welsh father was an Elvish Denyri, his Jewish mother a dark sister of the Kaballah. He is a double agent, apparently serving two masters - the United Kingdom and Israel’s Mossad. However, he is actually working solely for the survival of mankind in a war against the encroaching darkness. In 1945, he continues, Hitler’s ubermenschen and ubedmadschen faded into the shadows to await the glorious day when they would be summoned to save the world from democracy and from mongrel mutts like them. However, neither the fascists nor themselves ever had an inkling that the summons, when it came, would originate not with some fanatical national socialist cell kept alive by Hitler worship, but from elements of the United States intelligence services. Simply put, whereas he and Fury regard these monsters as scum to be eradicated, their true enemies see them as weapons to be wielded in the name of the United States of America.
Fury realizes that’s what Axis Annie meant by a get out of jail free card. McTeague adds that he believes this skull disk represents a covert mission of U.S. intelligence.
As they enter a room after taking out all the guards, Fury tells McTeague that he might have a shot at testing his theory. They see Innsbruck the Planner in his wheelchair but now trapped within the mangled metal, courtesy of Namora. She tells them it’s nice to see them. What kept them? Sabretooth laughs and tells them they missed a terrific show thanks to the Blonde Phantom and Namora. Louise explains that, thanks to Victor shredding the phone lines, their friend here couldn’t tell anybody about their surprise visit. But, she adds, something tells her that he really wants to talk to someone other than Namora.
Flying over Wakanda, an aircraft carries Dieter Skul and Count Von Blitzkrieg. Skul joined the Nazi Party the same day that the stock market crashed in New York City. Hitler is his martyred God and Nazism his persecuted faith. He never thought the day would come when he’d be waging war in the name of what he’d long regarded as the most decadent of democracies.
Von Blitzkrieg tells Skul that this is all for the good. Skul asks him if he’s convinced of this. Von Blitzkrieg replies that he is. They serve a former enemy against a common foe. Skul says he wishes he shared his conviction, but he supposes one must take the work one is given. Von Blitzkrieg doesn’t understand, but Skul says he was just thinking out loud about the irony of serving the Amies. Von Blitzkrieg replies that they both know these aren’t the same Yankees they fought in the Ardennes. “Quite so,” replies Skul. “Are you ready?” Von Blitzkrieg believes he is more than ready. He is eager to begin. Skul reckons in that case, it’s time for him to live up to his name.
Von Blitzkrieg heads underneath the plane and straps himself to a couple of chains. Thanks to his newly found benefactors, his lightning-based gifts have been ramped up to a new level, enabling him to launch a directly aimed electromagnetic pulse… a wave of energy that plunges the secret Wakandan Empire into darkness. The plane lands and Skul asks Fritz Krone to leave a unit of his robots to protect the area. The rest of them can follow him.
General Skul’s masters have assured him that with their princeling held hostage, pillaging Wakanda of its absurdly advanced technology will be child’s play, particularly since the so-called Avengers are preoccupied chasing their tails in Madripoor and Latveria.
Unfortunately, Dieter Skul is in for a nasty surprise. As he charges down a city center street, the Blonde Phantom tells him it’s been ages but, once his old pal Innsbruck started talking, she knew they were due for a reunion. Fury adds that he had to ask her to bring the rest of them along so ‘us veterans’ could get together and hash out some war stories.