On an unnamed island in the South Pacific, a dark citadel rises from the core of a long extinct volcano. The black fortress’ inhabitants welcome no visitors, and enforce their privacy with an ironhanded resolve. Stealth technology cloaks the structure from the prying orbital eyes of the Satcam Net, and a gauntlet of air and ocean defense systems insures that no plane can steer near the island. For inside the dark citadel live two powerful shadows, who move through the world unnoticed and manipulate international politics and economics with invisible hands.
Inside the citadel, a woman that remains nameless for now, uses a floor-mounted imaging system and uses it to watch the entire world, which she considers to be her playground. The woman is responsible for many of the past decade’s crises and catastrophes, but only she knows which ones. The woman revels in her power, fomenting conflict for her own amusement. The woman commands her computer to find her Doom. The computer shows an image of Doom 2099 and finds him in Antarctica. The woman watches and sees how Doom once again escapes death, this time using one of the Chin San space platform’s lifeboats. The woman is glad to see this Doom be as resourceful as the original. As she expected him to be.
The computer reports about the earthquake that occurred. The woman joyfully observes, and hopes that the earth swallows Doom. The computer tries to track Doom, but underground it’s harder to do that. A metal hand touches the woman’s shoulder. The mysterious man tells her that she spends too much time watching that Doom. The woman sadistically asks the man if he is jealous. The man denies, telling the woman that he doesn’t want to give her that pleasure.
Meanwhile, in the Savage Land, three hunters laugh as they watch a Stegosaurus run for its life. They also laugh about the fact that their bosses in Archaeogenetics promised to pay big money for any dinosaur they could bring back. The hunters’ chauffeur steps on it and begins the chase. Pressman recalls the trouble they have been having at the mining site. He believes that their boss spends too much time with the swamp people. Pressman thinks that their boss is losing. The Stegosaurus collapses and the hunters aim at it, ready for the kill. But suddenly, the hunters get tree sap smacked on their heads! Surprised and angry, they look up and see a kid with a jet pack. The hunters know that the locals use the tree sap to gum up the machinery of outsiders. They see the kid laughing at them and decide to hunt him down.
They don’t care about the escaping dinosaur; the hunters just want to see one of the locals get as much grief as they have been giving them since they got there. The kid is faster than the hunters, who notice too late and ride off from a cliff! The kid enjoys his victory and hopes that the hunters will find out what it’s like to be hunted down if they don’t make it back to their camp by nightfall. The kid wants to contact the Rangers about this, but something else catches his attention. The kid lands and finds… an ice cave? The kid believes that the recent earthquakes must have opened up a new tunnel from outside the valley. The kid also knows that tunnels like this led the Plunders from the icy wastes of Antarctica to the Savage Land, and opened the gates to every country and corporation looking for a new frontier to strip his.
The kid enters the ice-cold cave. He recalls that Tola found a locker full of British uniforms from the nineteen hundreds in a snow pack once. He wonders if this cave could be as interesting as that finding. And it is. Though the kid has only seen it in the aviation database at school, he easily recognizes the stranded escape pod he sees in front of him. The kid believes that the pod must have landed there accidentally. The kid hesitates about opening it, but does so anyhow. But the pod is empty! The kid wonders if someone could have been inside the pod, and if so, where are they?
A burning and exhausted Doom steps up from a swamp. He is angry and can’t believe that he is there, as he should have landed in Latveria. Doom remembers standing on the bridge with Feng Huang, who said, “Raidian’s armor is mine! Mine!” And then they blew up, Doom remembers. No, he rethinks, as the space station he was in blew up, but he escaped in the pod. Doom tries to stand up, but discovers that his armor malfunctions, thanks to the flames. Doom thinks that the armor most likely got damaged in the explosion. Now, the armor feeds energy back, though that should not be happening. His back-up systems should engage and experience, but there’s nothing but a total break down. Doom collapses.
Doom lies on the ground for several hours, disturbed by only the local creatures. His armor tries to repair itself, but fails to. Doom’s memory begins to hallucinate. Doom sees Kazimierz, and remembers him saying to him that revelation is at hand. Doom remembers his Gypsy brother goading him that he isn’t the same man he used to be anymore. Doom believes that the Y’Lestja must have done something to his mind. Doom suddenly sees Reed Richards in front of him. Now Doom is positive that he is hallucinating, because he knows that he killed Richards. Doom sees Richards talking to him. Richards shows him a picture, and tells Doom that science says that he is wrong. He didn’t kill him: the real Doom did. Doom wonders about who he is then.
Richards tells Doom that he is nothing but a mockery to the real Victor Von Doom. Doom knows that he is no other. Richards doesn’t believe that and tells Doom that he denies the evidence that lies in front of him: Doom’s memory loss. His curious youth. Richards tells Doom that he is just a callow youth claiming the wisdom of age. Doom says that his travels in space must have created a paradox. Richards doesn’t believe that. Doom wants to know the truth. Richards doesn’t want to reveal, and tells Doom that he will burn in the fires of his self-deceit. “Burn!” Richards tells Doom. “Burn!”
Fajrolago, Latveria’s “Fire Lake”, named for the effect a red-streaked sunset has upon the glassy waters.
The escape pod of Fortune and Poet lands in the lake. Considering that they had no time to check the pod’s safety, the two are glad to have landed back home safely. Poet laughs because Lei Fong slept through the whole ride. He asks Fortune how Kaz is doing. Fortune says that he has been mumbling since they hit Earth’s atmosphere. She is worried that the mindlink with the Y’Lestja might have damaged her brother’s brain permanently. Poet asks what Poet was saying. Fortune isn’t sure, but says that it sounded like “revelation is at hand.”
The Savage Land
Liebowitz and Bloodhawk (in his human form) ride on a bike through the Savage Land grasses. Liebowitz warns Hawk about the many dangers in the Land. Bloodhawk isn’t scared, he rather feels at home here. Liebowitz tells Hawk that’s natural, since the Savage Land too is primal and elemental, just like Bloodhawk is. Hawk asks Liebowitz if that is the reason why he has brought him here. Liebowitz explains that the old United Nations used to prohibit commercial exploitation of the Savage Land. Now, that has changed. Alchemax has begun a mining and drilling operation here at the swamp. It has also been muscling the fragile unified tribal alliance to go along with them.
Bloodhawk tells Liebowitz that he doesn’t need him to shut Alchemax down. He has plenty of experience in that field himself. Liebowitz confirms, but tells Hawk not to forget about sabotage. Liebowitz is talking about war!
Elsewhere in the Savage Land, Doom stands up. His armor is still burning and failing to repair itself. Doom sees the picture Richards showed him, but denies that he isn’t the same one. He shouts that he is Doom! His eyes begin to burn and catches the attention of a wild Tyrannosaurs Rex, who feels like his territory has been invaded. The dinosaur looks at Doom, who seems rather confused. Suddenly, he sees himself bound, and a mysterious evil looking man, wearing a hood and mesmerizing eyes. Doom shouts that these are not his memories and did not happen to him.
Doom tries to think straight, but his systems overload! The T-Rex attacks Doom and slams him against a tree! Doom can’t see and his body armor system overloads! The fire goes worse and hits the dinosaur and kills it! Panicking, Doom quickly stands up and takes his armor off and runs to a nearby river. He puts his face in the water, but a voice in front of him commands Doom to stand up. Doom does so, and sees Bloodhawk! Bloodhawk is angry at the man for killing one of the last Dinosaurs on the planet, but Bloodhawk tells Doom that he won’t do the same to him!
“For those who lose, though full of pain, this intellectual being, those thoughts that wander through eternity, to perish rather, swallow’d up and lost in the wide womb of uncreated night, devoid of sense and motion.”
- Milton, Paradise Lost.