The Queen Mother, Princess Shuri, Queen Ororo and several Wakandan government officials are gathered around a table, waiting for the royal physician B’gali to announce the state of the heavily injured King T’Challa. He informs them that his condition is tenuous, at best. He might not survive the night.
Silence greets his pronouncement. S’yan briefly thanks Dr. B’gali. With the doctor gone, Ramonda announces they have a great responsibility to T’Challa and Wakanda. Rumors of his conditions spread like wildfire. And whoever attacked him could be planning an invasion as they speak.
Let them come! Shuri announces, just because he’s down doesn’t mean Wakanda is defenseless. Her mother reminds her that the Black Panther is more than just the head of their military. He is the focal point, the spiritual grounding that has allowed them to thrive as a people for centuries. Without the Black Panther Wakanda cannot survive!
They still have one, Ororo corrects her. S’yan replies that T’Challa’s fate is in the hands of the Panther God now. Wakanda’s is in theirs. Or more specifically, in Ororo’s, the queen mother points out. S’yan agrees. Wakandan protocol dictates that leadership falls into the hands of the Queen until such time as the king can return. But since he is incapacitated, a new Black Panther must be chosen.
Ororo agrees and asks W’kabi why they don’t have more information on who T’Challa was meeting with. The giant warrior replies the king didn’t tell anyone and deactivated all of the tracking devices on the ship. S’yan announces they are poring over the wreckage and are checking satellite footage.
Ororo demands reports of their progress. She orders W’kabi to fortify Wakanda’s defenses immediately and alert their spies to keep an eye out for any indication of an attack. She wants all their field agents looking for who might be behind this. He leaves to do so.
Ororo announces their next task is to find the next Black Panther. S’yan had assumed it was her. Ororo corrects him that she is Queen of Wakanda, not the next Black Panther candidate by default. She will do everything in her power to assure that Wakanda is protected but her place is at her husband’s side. To find the new Black Panther, they need not leave this room. It is up to the Panther god to make the final choice but it is her belief that she stands among them. Someone who’s been trained for this moment her whole life. Everybody realizes she is talking about T’Challa’s younger sister, Shuri.
The queen mother immediately suggests she should take some time to consider all the factors, ignoring the withering glare her daughter shoots her. Ororo states her counsel is noted. The candidate is named. She tells Shuri to report to Zuri at once. She will immediately prepare to meet the Panther god and be judged by him. Shuri agrees and thanks her. Ororo seriously asks her not to thank her. More importantly don’t fail!
Three hours ago:
The Black Panther and two of his Dora Milaje were attacked by Dr. Doom leading several doombots. Doom announces T’Challa has no idea how much it pleases him that Doom will personally end his life. That will not happen, comes the reply. For all his posturing Doom has always been weak and now the Dora Milaje have had time to size up the situation, he is dead! He just doesn’t know it yet.
One of the warrior women attacks but Doom uses a shield to fend off her attack.
While she keeps him busy, the other Dora Milaje orders the plane’s autopilot to shoot the domboots. The second woman pushes the Panther ahead, telling him not to stop. Getting him to safety is the only thing that matters.
The other Dora Milaje attacks Doom fiercely and cleverly, even drawing blood.
The Panther refuses, shouting they must stay and fight! His bodyguard threatens that he either move or he will be carried away! No, she mutters a moment later, as even more robots emerge from the castle.
The Queen Mother Ramonda addresses Ororo, warning her Shuri is not ready. Not ready? Ororo interrupts her and reminds Ramonda her daughter is Wakandan royalty born and bred. She is the daughter of T’Chaka, the former King of Wakanda, and one of the greatest to ever don the habit of Black Panther. She has enjoyed the same education and training as T’Challa. Had he not claimed the mantle first, doubtlessly they would be addressing Shuri as the Black Panther today. Still, Ramonda fears, she is not ready for the challenges that lie ahead. Storm insists Shuri has been trained since birth to be the Panther. She’s ready now. Departing, she warns Ramonda not to cripple her daughter with her doubts.
Flashback, three hours ago:
One Dora Milaje is viciously fighting the robots, even attacking Doom himself. The other one notes the guns have stopped firing as she and the Panther have reached the plane. She calls for the autopilot, to find it is disabled.
The first Dor Milaje stands over Doom’s corpse, only to find it too is a robot. She calls after the others that it is a trap!
As T’Challa and the other Dora Milaje enter the plane they find the real Doom standing before them. His hand crackles with energy and Doom announces that upon T’Challa’s death he will raze his beloved Wakanda and wipe his legacy from the minds of its people. His only regret is T’Challa won’t be around to see it happen!
Another decoy? the Dora Milaje asks. No, the Panther replies curtly, it’s him. Doom fires at him.
The Dora Milaje outside the plane sees the detonation. Before Doom can finish the Black Panther and the second Dora Milaje off the first one fires at him from behind and orders her sister to go. She has ten seconds!
The second Dora Milaje picks up the heavily injured T’Challa and drags him to the plane. Doom has the other Dora Milaje by the throat as the plane takes off. Her death will not be a quick one, he promises. Go to hell! she replies and presses a button on her belt. An explosion takes her and also damages the plane. Only Doom is left standing.
Aboard the plane, the injured Dora Milaje switches on the autopilot and sets the course for home. She turns to the burned T’Challa. Her swordsister is gone. She pleads with him not to leave her…
Ororo looks at her still husband in the tank and pleads the same. Ramonda joins her, telling her he needs her more than ever. But is she doing enough? Ororo wonders. She’s doing everything physically possible, comes the reply. It’s only natural that she worries and pressures herself.
T’Challa always pulls through, Ororo replies. He’s the strongest human being she’s ever known. She’s never seen him so weak. Something is happening. This time she is afraid for all of them. She would do anything to save him.
Does she mean that? Ramonda asks. With all her heart! Ororo promises. After some consideration, Ramonda reveals there is one last hope of bringing him back from the brink. It is so dangerous a road that she dared not speak of it in front of the others. She doesn’t care if she has to go to hell itself, Ororo replies, tell her what she knows!
Meanwhile on the far side of the African continent. A group of men in a circle sense that the Panther from which Wakanda draws its strength lies before them like a wounded gazelle. They must seize the opportunity and uncage the lion…