Chris Powell a.k.a. Darkhawk stands on the rooftop of Avengers HQ, telling himself that he can’t believe he is doing this - going off to risk his life again - when his family needs him more than ever. ‘But what choice do I really have?’ he wonders. The decision has been made - the collected “unconverted” heroes, including Darkhawk, have elected to challenge the Goddess as well as her thralls, the “converted” heroes on her home planet, Paradise Omega. Now, the “unconverted” gather to board Mark V Quinjets which will - most likely - take them to their dooms. Also gathered on the rooftop are Havok and Polaris a.k.a. Alex Summers and Lorna Dane of X-Factor, who appear solemn. But the odds are irrelevant. The goal is paramount. The Goddess must be stopped. An image of the Goddess appears in the clear, blue sky as the Quinjets take flight.
Reed Richards a.k.a. Mr Fantastic and the android Avenger called the Vision grimly pilot the Quinjet that Darkhawk has boarded. Polaris, Strong Guy a.k.a. Guido Carosella, Dwyane “Night Thrasher“ Taylor and Ben Grimm a.k.a. the Thing occupy their time in a different manner, with a pack of playing cards. Night Thrasher tells them that by the time they reach Paradise Omega, he will have cleaned them out. ‘Says you, tough guy’ Lorna replies, while the Thing boasts that after a hand of poker with him, they will be wishing to meet up with the Goddess. Elsewhere on the Quinjet, Scott “Cyclops” Summers, Havok, Betsy “Psylocke” Braddock, Kyle Gibney a.k.a. Wildheart and Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, are less inclined to pass the time such light-heartedly. Cyclops stares out the window, into the stars.
Only Spider-Woman chooses to record her thoughts - for the benefit of her daughter. Holding the recording device in her hand, Julia Carpenter speaks into it: ‘It’s amazing, Rachel. I wish you could be here - I take that back, I’m grateful you’re not here. I wish I wasn’t either’ she admits. Darkhawk looks at Spider-Woman, he envies her for having someone to confide in about her life as a super hero. He recalls that he came so close to telling his Mom that he was Darkhawk earlier today. But he could bar to put her under the pressure of knowing that - along with all the other stuff she has to deal with. ‘Or did I just cop out?’ Chris wonders, wishing they would hurry up and arrive at Paradise Omega. He walks past the heroes playing poker, and the Thing asks him to join them for a few hands. Darkhawk declines the offer, explaining that he is not really in the mood. ‘That’s the best time, kiddo!’ Strong Guy declares. ‘Maybe later’ Darkhawk replies.
Darkhawk walks into another part of the Quinjet. He is not really up for hanging out. He wishes they would get to Paradise Omega and get this all over with. ‘Maybe I can chill out in this empty room’ he hopes. Chris is sick of playing her today, and wills the Darkhawk armor to vanish, returning to his regular human self. He hangs his head and wonders if he needs to stop being Darkhawk for a while, to get his own life in order - and his family’s. But Chris reminds himself that he decided a while back that as long as there was a need for Darkhawk he would take on that responsibility. Chris stares out a window, and thinks that it seems the way the world - the universe - is, there is always going to be a need for a guy like Darkhawk - like him. ‘Man, I’ve got to make it through this battle, so I can find out if my father is still really alive’. Chris reminds himself that the rest of these heroes have been through galactic events like this and lived to tell the tale. ‘Even I have…maybe we’ll survive this one, too’.
Queens, New York, the county courthouse, where ADA Grace Powell strides down a corridor, as a large man smoking a cigar tells her that they have the suspect inside, that it is an open and shut case. ‘Those usually end up being the toughest ones, Joe’ Grace points out. But Joe motions to the lanky man being led down the corridor by a police officer, and tells her that all evidence points to this guy being the one that killed the mobster. ‘That’s the knife artist, huh?’ Grace asks. Joe tells her that it is the alleged knife artist, and that she has to put together the case against him. Grace asks Joe to have the paperwork on her desk and she will look at it in the morning, as she has to get home. She carries on down the corridor, telling herself that she never thought her talk with Chris before would come to what it did - her ordering him to move out. Grace hated doing it, but with Mike gone, she has to do what is best for her, and Chris, and the twins. ‘I’ve got to get back to them. Putting away the bad guys will have to wait’ she decides.
Meanwhile, at a scrap yard in the Bronx, where Broderick Bazin takes the next fatal step to eliminate his late father’s enemies - both real and suspected, as hw walks away from a body laying strewn across some damaged cars. ‘You’re paid in full, Mathers. Ther are many more on the list. But the Powell family are the ones who deserve to suffer the most’ Bazin declares.
And, at the Elmhurst Hotel in Queens, where the Powells are temporarily housed, Broderick’s sister, Allegra, screeches her car to a halt, and races the family’s room upstairs, where she starts pounding on the door, ‘Chris! I’ve got to talk to you! Open up!’ Allegra shouts. Chris’s younger brother, Jason, opens the door and informs Allegra that Chris doesn’t live here anymore, that their Mom threw him out. ‘What? Then where is he? I have to find him! He’s my only hope!’ Allegra exclaims. Jason replies that he doesn’t know wher Chris moved to, but Allegra frowns at him, ‘Don’t lie to me, brat! I’ll knock you into next week!’ she warns him. ‘I… I…’ is all Jason can utter.
And, back aboard the Quinjet: ‘Hey… you in here, Hawk?’ Spider-Woman calls out she enters the darkened room. ‘Wha -?’ Chris begins, before quickly turning his armor back on as Spider-Woman flicks the light switch. ‘Why the hermit routine?’ Spider-Woman inquires. ‘Oh, you know - deep thoughts. I’m a regular Jack Handey’ Darkhawk jokes. ‘Doing your own straight lines now, huh?’ Spider-Woman asks, before suggesting that he join the rest of them. ‘It’ll do you -’ she begins, but Darkhawk exclaims that his life is falling apart, and that it is all his fault. He raises his hand, clenches his fist and his claws start to release - ‘Easy, champ. We’ve got enough problems here without being sucked into space’ Julia tells him as she uses her psi-webs to pull his arm away from the window. Darkhawk spins around, and Julia looks worried, asking him if he is going to take a shot at her now. ‘I thought we were friends’ she reminds him. ‘I - I’m sorry, Spi’ Darkhawk replies.
Suddenly, ‘Stupid games…stupid people…trying to deny the reality of what’s going on with card games’ Night Thrasher mutters as he storms into the room. ‘You lost, huh, Thrash?’ Darkhawk asks. ‘Oh, you’re a riot, Hawk’ Night Thrasher mutters, angrily telling him that he is so superior with that brooding Hamlet routine of his, like the rest of them don’t have lives they are losing behind. ‘Don’t think I’m forgetting how close I came to setting my past straight - before you forced Zarko to take that chance from me’ he reminds Darkhawk, adding ‘That’s a hard thing to forgive and forget, friend’. Darkhawk reminds Night Thrasher that he did it to save his life. ‘For what - for me to risk it again here?’ Night Thrasher asks, annoyed. Darkhawk tells him to chill out, and that he is acting like an idiot.
‘Oh, really? And what’re you - Einstein Junior?’ Night Thrasher retorts. Darkhawk ells him that if he is looking for a fight, he is just in the mood. Spider-Woman steps between the young men and tells them to save it for the Goddess. Night Thrasher warns her to stay out of this, as it is between he and Darkhawk. He then slams his elbow into Darkhawk’s chest, and Darkhawk stumbles backwards. ‘Quit faking, Hawk. I know you’re tougher than that’ Night Thrasher raises his fists and asks ‘Do you want me to say it? Okay - I’m nervous as $#*! - I am spoiling for a fight - and you’re the lucky guy I’m gonna vent my frustration on!’ ‘Even though I’m a hundred times stronger than you?’ Darkhawk asks. ‘Guys!’ Spider-Woman calls out, but gets no response. ‘Thrash - this is what my force-blast at lowest power can do. Give it u!’ Darkhawk exclaims as he fires a blast of energy at Night Thrasher, knocking the New Warrior backwards.
‘No way! Just more of a challenge for my armor -’ Night Thrasher retorts, as he is knocked aside. ‘Hey, hey - did the Goddess just recruit one of you?’ Strong Guy asks as he, Havok, Psylocke, Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier and Angelica Jones a.k.a. Firestar enter the room. ‘I do not think so, Strong Guy. I think they are just nervous - like the rest of us’ Northstar suggests as he steps between Darkhawk and Night Thrasher, who tells the Alphan to keep out of his business. Night Thrasher puts his hand over Northstar’s face, while Northstar declares ‘Your business, my friend - has just become my business!’ and slams his fist into Night Thrasher’s chest. Another hero enters the room, Wildheart, who, ordinarily, would be happy to engaged in a brawl - but wonders if this is really the time or place - until Strong Guy slams his hand against the Alphan’s head.
Outside, the Thing asks the Human Torch if he hears the same thing he is hearing. ‘I hear it, Benjy - and I see it!’ Johnny replies as he turns towards the room, and sees the brawl. ‘What a buncha intellectuals’ the Thing mutters, before suggesting to his teammate that they show them how senseless puncingh and hitting is done. ‘All I can say is: Flame on!’ the Human Torch exclaims, while the Thing shouts ‘It’s clobbering time!’ and they enter the room, ‘Hey group - leave some for us!’ the Thing tells them as Wildheart kicks Darkhawk in the face, while grabbing at Strong Guy. ‘Hey, Wildheart - take an Alpha Flight!’ Strong Guy jokes as he throws Wildheart across the room towards the Thing. Psylocke dodges Night Thrasher, as the Thing grabs Wildheart and flings him towards a machine. ‘Hope it isn’t anything important’ the Thing mutters.
As the machinery breaks apart upon Wildheart crashing into it, Cyclops and Polaris enter the room, and just in time, as they combine their powers to keep the shrapnel contained. ‘But it looks like the brawling bug’s bitten almost everybody onboard!’ Polaris points out, as she observes the other heroes engaged in combat. ‘Hey, this is what we’re all here for - to protect our right to freely choose to act like total idiots!’ the Thing exclaims. ‘A right, Thing - or an obligation?’ Strong Guy enquires as they brawl. ‘Same difference’ the Thing responds. Spider-Woman wraps Strong Guy in a psi-web and tells him that this is no joke, as somebody could get hurt. ‘Now that’s maternal!’ Strong Guy exclaims. ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a mother’ Spider-Woman points out. ‘What a coincidence! People say the same thing about me!’ Strong Guy tells her.
Psylocke has Wildheart in her grasp, and raises her psi-knife towards him, warning him that it will put an end to his battling. ‘Psylocke - you’re taking this whole thing just a little too seriously’ Wildheart replies. Night Thrasher tosses Darkhawk across the room, and tells him ‘You’re stronger, Hawk - but I know how to use that strength against you!’ Darkhawk warns Night Thrasher that he is through holding back. The Thing tells Darkhawk not to be sore because Night Thrasher flipped him. ‘You still got more power than he can handle - why not use it on somebody who can - like me?’ the Thing suggests. ‘You asked for it, Grimm!’ Darkhawk replies as he fires a blast of energy at the Thing, who leaps aside just in time, replying that he was kidding - only, the blast hit’s the fuel line.
Cyclops moves out of the way as fuel starts to pour out of the pipe, and he tells everyone to stop brawling, as this just got serious. ‘Holy!’ Havok gasps, while Spider-Woman exclaims that they need a plan - quickly. ‘You infants certainly do!’ Mr Fantastic declares as he stretches his way into the room. ‘Reed!’ the Thing exclaims, as Reed adds that he planned to come in and calm everyone down anyway, but the little explosion made him think there may have been some urgency to it. Reed is holding a canister, while the Thing tells his friend if he is mad at them, to just say so. Reed holds the canister to the pipe and foam flows from it, which he hopes will keep the flames from the fuel from spreading - but suddenly, a pressure changes causes the pipes behind Reed to burst as well, and he cries out as he hit’s the floor. The Thing and the Human Torch race over to their teammate as the Thing asks what they are to do now.
Back on Earth at the Elmhurst, Grace Powell walks towards the hotel, ‘Is that - Allegra Bazin?’ she thinks to herself, while wondering what Allegra is doing here. Allegra sees Grace, and calls out to her: ‘Mrs Powell! Let me help you with those bags’. ‘I’m fine, Ms Bazin. Why are you -’ Grace begins, as Allegra explains that she has to know where Chris is, as her brother he needs her help, and she needs Chris. ‘Oh, really? Maybe you’ve given Chris too much help already, young lady’ ADA Powell declares. Allegra claims that Chris happens to be very fond of her, to which Grace stares the younger woman down: ‘That’s what I’m afraid of! I don’t need any son of mine hanging out with the daughter…of my husband’s killer!’ she exclaims. Allegra reminds Grace that her husband also killed her father. ‘Then maybe we’d better keep our families apart. Now get los - and stay lost’ ADA Powell warns her. ‘Of course, counselor. Nice behavior from an Assistant DA’ Allegra calls out. ‘Go!’ Grace shouts. Broderick is watching the argument from his car parked nearby. ‘Oh, how I love to see my enemies fight’ he thinks to himself, deciding that soon the scores will be evened, and his father will be able to rest in peace.
Back aboard the Quinjet, Reed Richards tells the other heroes that they should be able to do it, but only if they follow his exact directions. ‘Of course, Dr Richards’ Darkhawk calls out, while thinking to himself if he could sound any more like a dweeb. Reed instructs Spider-Woman to use her psi-webs to hold the pipe together, and Julia does just that. Reed tells Darkhawk to contain the excess energies with his force blast, and the young hero lets the energy pour over the pipe from his amulet, while the Human Torch does the spot-welding with his pinpoint flame, welding up the cracks. ‘You got it, brother-in-law!’ the Human Torch calls out. Reed then asks the Vision to make his hand intangible and make sure the wiring in the regulator is okay. The Vision makes his body intangible as he passes through the pipe, and then puts yhis hand into the regulator, announcing that it checks out. The Vision adds that the ship seems to be doing all right on autopilot while they work here.
Reed turns his attention to the second pipe, as the Thing is instructed to hold the two halves together. ‘Sure. Just speed it up, will ya! This is hot as Hades!’ the Thing exclaims. Polaris and Firestar hover nearby, as Polaris depolarizes the metal, while Firestar adds a microwave burst. The Thing cries out, announcing that makes it even hotter. He can’t hold on any longer, and removes his hands - just as the women finish their part.
Darkhawk turns away from the other heroes, and thinks that after the brawl he helped start, and the disaster he nearly caused, he has blown any credibility with these heroes - especially with the Fantastic Four. He wonders how he can ever ask Dr Richards to help him figure out more about his armor and the amulet. ‘So many questions didn’t get answered on the Darkhawk ship…’ his thoughts are then interrupted, as Reed calls out to him. ‘Here it comes’ Chris thinks to himself, before responding ‘Yes, Dr Richards?’ ‘That’s “Reed”, son’ Reed replies. ‘You screwed up today’ he tells the young hero, who replies that he knows that. But Reed tells him that acting like an adolescent seems to come with the territory. ‘Just ask the Thing and the Torch’. The Thing steps forward and tells Darkhawk that what Red is trying to say, is don’t sweat it, to learn from it, and move on. ‘Just don’t make any more mistakes, kid - or we’ll leave ya off right here!’ the Thing warns him. ‘You’d actually do that?’ Darkhawk asks. ‘From beneath his metal faceplate, the Thing tells Darkhawk that it is a joke, and to lighten up. ‘After all, all that’s at stake…is the fate of the universe’. And with that, the Quinjet streaks onwards to its destination.
Back at the Elmhurst, ADA Powell leads her twin children out of the building, while Jason asks why Bazin’s daughter wanted Chris. ‘Is he doing something to hurt you again?’ he asks. Grace tells her son that he isn’t, and that the whole Bazin family is just bad news. ‘I hate Chris for making you sad, Mom’ Jason adds. Grace tells him not to hate his brother, as he is just a little mixed up these days. ‘That’s right, Jase. He’s still our brother. He still loves us’ Jonathan tells his twin. Jason points out that Chris doesn’t act like it, as for months now bad stuff has happened to them - and it always seems like it is Chris’s fault some how. Grace tells her son ‘That’s enough’ and she wants him to let the subject rest. She hurries her children up along the sidewalk, warning them that they will be late for the Ninja Turtle movie. But, Grace doesn’t see the lanky man that they hurry past - Broderick Bazin, reading a newspaper with his back turned from the family. ‘Yes, Powells…hurry up - enjoy your last hours of peace’ he says to himself. He turns to look at Grace, grinning wickedly, he boasts that soon he will exact his revenge on them all….