The assassin Ohyaku has the new Black Panther Shuri literally tied up with her steel whip, mocking that she put up a good fight for an amateur. Shuri kicks her and throws her over, ordering her to shut up. As she frees herself, she hears over her comm. device that twenty hostiles are inbound to her location. They come flying in. Shuri shouts she needs extraction now. A few seconds later, M’yra gets her out of the fight and the fly off. Strangely, Ohyaku seems pleased about how the fight went.
In Wakanda, T’Challa is spending time with the mystic, Zawavari, preparing for a ritual. T’Challa stresses he is not interested in a mystical journey. He needs this to get what he can’t get from weights and physical therapy. He needs power. The shaman warns him this may not be the safest path, but the fastest. The question is if the damaged vessel of his body will be able to contain the power. Save his warning for someone who hasn’t already seen the face of his own death, is the reply and T’Challa drinks. His eyes glow with energy, then he falls unconscious. He did warn him, Zawavari remarks.
On TV, conservative anchorman N’dega and his more liberal counterpart M’toka discuss the current economic crisis. After centuries of financial independence, superiority even, two major banks have failed, N’Dega announces. Two out of twenty, M’toka clarifies. Let’s not descend into panic journalism here. N’dega remarks that these two banks account for more than sixty percent of Wakanda’s international trade. They’ve succumbed to the fiscal virus that has been weakening economies around the world. M’toka believes it is too soon to view it as an indication of the direction their economy will take.
N’dega insists that Wakanda has incurred a national debt for the first time in history. And where is their royal family during this crisis? Where is their leadership? Ororo and the queen mother are… M’toka begins. N’dega cuts him off. The queen mother should be in retirement, not hustling spin control for an absentee princess regent. And why is Ororo even involved in politics? She is a foreigner and no longer their queen. The soft liberal view of “this too shall pass” is akin to burying your head in the sand. Wakanda is turning into a runaway train and there doesn’t seem to be anyone at the controls!
Watching all this with interest is Doctor Doom…
Elsewhere, Shuri has her people report on what they have learned. N’iix reminds her that Hellerman Exports was tied to the Broker, a man who has made a fortune selling stolen technologies to terrorist groups. On the client list, there are several only identified by initials and they might be stepping into dangerous waters here. The Broker keeps very detailed records on his clients including surveillance. There is a file that details at least forty transactions with someone called “Atl Salv.” Atlantean Salvage almost certainly. The client has been paid over a billion for this material. Like many of the biggest clients, he is known only by a codename: Rex.
Someone selling Atlantean technology nicknamed Rex. Please don’t tell her they are all thinking the same thing here, one of the guards jokes.
Elsewhere, King Namor watches news of Wakanda.
Shuri and her group are still going through the Broker’s records when there is a phone call. She is informed the decryption team has found a lead. Substantial money transfers to two former Wakanda nationals. Both former military. Both in the position to have access to the microchip used in the wrist cannon in the attack on the motorcycle cadre. Both living here in the United States. Military records, photos and last known addresses are being downloaded to Zakar’s security PDA.
Zakar informs them that one is in Philadelphia, the other in Brooklyn, Coney Island. Shuri decides to take Coney Island, while Zakar and M’yra are to follow the Philadelphia lead. N’iix is to stay and keep digging on their friend Rex. If they are guessing wrong on that, it could blow up in their faces. She needs proof…
On another plane, T’Challa faces the Panther god, announcing he is here because he needs to know what he must do to save his country. That’s the wrong question, the Panther tells him. He first needs to know what to do to save himself. He sees an image of Doctor Doom superimposed over a burning city.
The Broker’s people announce Shuri’s people have broken the code but haven’t decoded the whole file yet. They need them to follow the trail in the right sequence. One step at a time. One of his men remarks Shuri can never beat the Sub-Mariner. The Broker doesn’t care. Maybe she’ll get lucky and kill that half-breed abomination. That would make her a queen worthy of the name. But if Namor kills her, as he almost certainly will, that opens the door even wider for them.
Shuri calls Reed Richards, who asks after T’Challa’s health and then inquires what he can do for her or the Black Panther.
She explains her people have discovered some disturbing links between weapons used in the attack on her and Namor. Reed demands she tell him everything.
In Wakanda, T’Challa awakens from his trance state.
In the meantime, his wife Ororo is appearing on TV with the two news hosts. N’dega introduces her as the former queen and then talks about the weakening economy and the protests. What’s behind Wakanda’s current crisis? Is it, as many suggest, the absence of their princess regent at a time when guidance is most critical?
Ororo replies there is a rather common tendency to use knee-jerk statements like “crisis” as a blanket label. That kind of thinking shows little faith in who they are as a people and no faith at all in princess Shuri.
They are talking about what is essentially an absentee ruler, N’dega insists. Since ascending the throne, Shuri has spent more time abroad then where she belongs!
She has great faith that princess Shuri is exactly where she belongs, Storm replies, and she is doing everything she needs to do to keep this country safe from enemies, foreign and domestic.
Meanwhile, Shuri stalks a man called D’arun, a Wakandan national living under the alias Darius Tun. Enlisted in Wakandan airforce, quickly promoted to officer training and flight school, specialized in weapon systems. Worked as a test pilot. When did he leave?
Flea tells her he was injured in a case, took severance and left Wakanda two years ago. The decrypted info from the Broker names him as source for targeting systems microchips.
Shuri climbs through the window into the apartment. D’arun tries to flee. Shuri slashes his back. Who is she? he asks. He knows, she tells him. She will ask once nicely. A name and two words. The Broker. Targeting microchips. He stammers. Shh, she tells him. His queen is getting impatient…
She is not his queen! he spits. She and her family have brought Wakanda to the point of ruin and disgrace. They were a proud people once and will be so again!
Disguising treason and greed behind a mask of self-righteousness, that’s a new one! she scoffs. She is Wakanda! She is nothing! he shouts. She has betrayed the sacred heritage that made Wakanda great! If she were truly worthy to wear the Panther mantle, she would never have walked right into a trap!
Under his tunic, he reveals a harness strapped with explosives. Wakanda for Wakandans! he shouts and “Desturi,” then presses the red button and everything blows up.
Flea, who was in contact with Shuri, shouts her name.
In Wakanda, T’Challa witnesses the training of a young Dora Milae against a couple of Doombots. The bots quickly adapt to her combat style. T’Challa jumps into the arena and destroys the bot, telling her to show no mercy or hesitation. Quickly, he dismantles all three of them and the Dora Milaje marvel that he is fitter and more powerful than ever.
In New York, Shuri staggers out from the conflagration to find herself surrounded by Ohyaku and several armed cronies…