Avengers Tower, the current HQ of HAMMER is under attack by the newly returned Nate Grey aka X-Man (vastly powerful mutant shaman. The Man with the Child in his Eyes).
He just created a new body for himself out of stolen psychic energy. Leaving dozens of unconscious psychics in his wake. He could have appeared inside the building but he wanted to make an entrance. So he smashes his way int. He didn’t stop to ask for help. It didn’t occur to him that he might need any.
He’s an omega-level mutant with a conscience which can be disconcerting. He lands among the panicked personnel and scans them. He tells one woman that he is dividing the just from the unjust. That UNICEF job she is considering, go do it! She runs away.
Okay he’s been briefed about him, a voice comes from behind him. Venom (Alien goo wrapped around a crunchy human killer. Hammer Horror). The monster adds he can’t say he remembers much. But he’ll save him time with “just” or “unjust.” I’m just me.
He’s here? a woman learns in another part of the building. Mystique (shapeshifter. Mother stands for Comfort). He waited until they got here. Maybe that’s no coincidence. They’ll rendezvous with the Avengers and intercept.
As she takes the lead to he elevator Omega (absorbs mutant energy Pulling out the Pin) asks her to wait. They’ve seen how powerful Grey is. Is he afraid? Mystique asks. Not of X-Man, comes the explanation by Mimic (Mimics mutant powers Don’t push your foot on the heartbrake). Of what absorbing X-Man’s power will do to him. They should let Mimic try first. He’s foreseen that X-Man won’t kill him and … he wants to use his precognitive power. To see more.
And then there is the final member, the so called “Dark Beast” (Furry psycho biologist The Kick Inside) who announces with concern that he doesn’t think any of them have good reason to rush into a superhero battle. Should they just go to the sidelines and see who’s winning?
Currently, Venom is trying to swallow Nate, finding he is not quite solid. That moment, Nate has found something in Venom’s brain. Remember how it was when he froze? Remember it now psychosomatically! Venom passes out, leaving only his human self.
Excellent for a first time player, comes a new comer’s voice. But now just look at your end-of-the-level bosses! It’s the Iron Patriot (Norman Osborn in armor. Big stripey Lie). Next to him Ares (Your actual god of war. Love and Anger), Hawkeye (actually Bullseye. He never misses. Heads, we’re dancing), the Sentry (a vast fragile power. Be Kind to my Mistakes), Ms. Marvel (really Moonstone. A psycho psychiatrist with superpowers. In the warm room) and Daken (son of Wolverine. An architect’s dream). Together they are the “Dark Avengers” (Osborn’s enforcers. Them Heavy People).
Nate bows mockingly. So very impressive, so very earnest! He doesn’t know why he’s even bothering! Clearly he’s going to get his butt kicked. But there’s one thing he doesn’t understand. He looks up at the Sentry, addressing him by his given name “Bob.” What is he doing with these guys? Back in the day he and Nate were partners, weren’t they?
He… he knew him? the Sentry asks confused. He didn’t forget him? What is he talking about? Nate asks. They called them “X-Man and the Sentry.” They fought the Brood, Galactus, the rogue Thor… the Void…
Confused, the Sentry flies off. Okay, Osborn admits, they knew Grey was clever. “Clever” be damned! Nate scoffs. He just told him the truth! Listen! He turns to all of the Avengers. Osborn has ruined this world. He’s forced mutants into exile. And he made Nate believe his mother was still alive. He doesn’t get away. But the rest of them… join with him against Osborn now! Or suffer the consequences!
Just listen to him! Ares announces with a broad grin. He lovesit. Grey might offer him a challenge. Osborn orders him to wait. You wait, the god of war retorts as he leads the attack. He intends to enjoy himself!
Osborn’s X-Men watch the fight from some distance. What is he thinking? Mystique asks Mimic. That he was an X-Man once, he replies darkly. Yes, McCoy agrees, that’s his greatest power (referring to Nate). To make people lose their common sense.
They need to be seen to be involved, Mystique decides. Mimic suggests he stands a chance of copying Grey’s power set. If he uses it against him just long enough to see what he needs to --
Guys, Omega suddenly moans as his powers go wild. I’m walking backwards for Christmas! Ying tong idle ay po!
Ms. Marvel, Daken and Ares all attack. Nate remarks Daken’s pheromone effect is interesting but he has sampled every chemical. He suggests Karla should fight someone with superstrength and speed as she has, but the attack of a god, he can’t find anything to counter Ares he states as he tries to hold back the wargod’s axe. He’s war personified, on every plane. In every future, too. Flattery will get him nowhere, Ares replies. Either fight or...
Doe a deer, a female deer! comes Omega’s voice as he flies toward them. Both of them look dumbstruck as he flies in between them (apologizing). Nate is momentarily stunned. Hawkeye intends to use that opportunity. No, Mimic shouts and fires the knife out of Bullseye’s hand with his optic blast. He flies toward Nate and tries to copy his power.
He wants to see, Nate realizes. Well then, see! He takes Cal onto another level of perception. They are between moments. They see the others as overlying images. Nate warns Cal not to touch them, not unless he’s tuned in, it takes practice. This is one of his three hundred ways of seeing, where he walks to gain wisdom.
Their future, Mimic asks hesitantly. Can it be changed? Sometimes, Nate replies, cryptically. Sometimes not. Either way, there’s always hope. The four of them are interesting. They are like a… chaotic pinball machine. They might help with what he’s going to do next. Or they might—
There he is! Ares shouts as he joins them. Hiding amongst time! He’s really impressed. Still, that doesn’t limit him!
Nate is thrown backward, passing Ms. Marvel’s image. The combat takes place out of time in the Planck length between moments. Nate is thrown though Karla Sofen’s history. She loses a memory from an afternoon in a garden.
Ares almost hits Nate with his axe. And a tribe in New Guinea tells tales of how the war god is fighting the new man. And how you can see in the stars that the war god is winning.
Ares grabs Nate by the throat. Nate’s eye glows as he reaches out to Mimic, telling him that soon he’ll have to decide, to start living! But for now, get back to normal time.
Back in reality, Mimic holds the unconscious Nate. He didn’t’ see! he complains.
Ares stands nearby triumphantly. Dismissively, he thanks Mimic for keeping Nate distracted. Vaguely.
Mimic helps up Omega while McCoy warns everyone to be careful. Grey is currently not made of normal matter. He looks solid enough, Iron Patriot replies as he kneels down next to the unconscious Nate. But point taken. Can they still get him into the Omega machine?
Nate seems to explode, with Osborn caught in the explosion. Ms. Marvel asks him if he is all right. He’s fine, he assures her, somewhat shaken. But Nathan Grey… His sensors say that was him dying.
They look at the smoking remnants of Nate’s corpse.
Nate’s remains are transported away and the Avengers leave. In a poor mood, Mystique walks away.
Alone in his office Osborn curiously stares at his hand, then gingerly touches his head. With a satisfied grin, he sits down, wondering where to start.
He is told Mystique wants to see him and lets her in. Amazing view, he greets her and asks what he can do for--? She has a list, comes the reply. She wants the explosive removed from her nervous system. She wants a jet with room for two and flight clearance for anywhere. And after that, she wants him to exhibit a complete lack of interest in her affairs.
Why ever should he give her that? he asks. Because, she tells him, she is an expert in people pretending to be other people and she’s still wearing her psychic baffler so she feels quite safe. And she thinks his relative stealth right now means he needs to keep what he’s done secret, Nate!
With this, Osborn’s left eye begins to glow…